Heavy Metal In Baghdad


About a month ago, I watched a movie that left an important trace on my soul, and my mind keeps coming back to it. The movie is called Heavy Metal In Baghdad, it’s a documentary about the only Iraqi heavy metal band. Yes, oppression, bombs, faith, and heavy metal.

The film reminded me of something intangible, a personal memory, the legend of Western freedom that existed in the collective psyche of my parents’ generation, back when I was a child in the Soviet Union.

That magical word, “America”. Anything goes. Something to dream about. I watched Back To The Future so many times it could have easily made holes in my TV set [untranslatable Russian humor].

When I moved to America, I was surprised. Rockstars were less sophisticated than I expected, and suddenly, I had to explain myself to a different kind of zombies, every fucking day. Freedom required simplification, beating myself on the chest, gaudy ornaments, and hustling of the lowest kind. The whole thing was only different on the surface.

Perharps, that was my way of finding out about life on planet Earth.

It is fascinating to me. Two sets of taboos, two different approaches to soul-buying, and history keeps rolling: love, lies, faith, beauty and all. In the USSR (or in Baghdad I am sure), it was impossible to to say “sex” or “jazz”. In America, you can say “sex” or “jazz” all day long, yet it is almost completely futile to broadcast anything pure and human.

Yet, beauty?