stoned-fishQ. How did the connection between Peter Green and the political activity in Berlin open up to you?

I first found a clip in a German celebrity magazine – about antique cars, of all things – in which Rainer Langhans first spoke about meeting Peter Green at Munich Airport, and the guitarist’s visit to the High Fish Commune. The anecdote has subsequently been bandied around internet chat sites. At that point, Langhans was someone I instantly recognised as this media icon from the 1960s, but I can’t say I was that familiar with the whole saga of Kommune 1.

Political action and music were so tightly entwined for a while, and then there was the whole hippy thing of ‘the journey’ – of self exploration and expanded consciousness which sounds rather laughable now. Total freedom – whatever that may be – is what both Kommune 1 and Peter Green thought they were pursuing on their own ‘journeys’. They went about it recklessly, and as we know, it didn’t end so well. The very differing conception of what the 1960s represented to that generation in England and Germany was another thing I was seeking to draw out.

Q. Little is known of Kommune 1 outside of Germany, what can you tell us about them?

K1 was a group of Berlin-based students who came together to explore the idea of living in a different way, inspired by the anti-consumerist doctrines of writers like Marcuse, and also by the Situationists. One of the left-wing theories floating around at the time was that the smallest cell of the state was the nuclear family, and it was this that had to be smashed if history wasn’t to repeat itself. It was very much a reaction to the terrible legacy of their parents’ generation and fascism.

K1 attracted almost instant notoriety for an alleged assassination attempt on the visiting vice-president of the United States – which turned out to have involved custard pies and flour bombs. It became all about political ‘actions’, demonstrations for a time – the most notable being what’s acknowledged as the turning point of the German student movement, when the unarmed Benno Ohnesorg was shot by a police officer called Kurras (who much later turned out to be an informer for the East German Stasi).

Satire and provocation though, was what K1 excelled at, particularly Langhans and Fritz Teufel.Their perceived lack of seriousness, however, alienated many, and the commune was eventually expelled from the high-minded German student’s movement, the SDS.

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