the pandora project - final contribution
lLayout by Tobias Prohl (former release at www.alphaville.de)
this final contribution is presented by the german fanclub 'faithful and true' (www.faithfulandtrue.de) written by ilwa drößler, except * written by stephan glanemann and melanie b. translation: ilwa drößler and yvonne herrmann proof-reading: sonja koch 
contents:
- faithful & true - fanclub history   [show article]
- the fanzine   [show article]
- our fan meetings   [show article]
- special events   [show article]
- alphaville's status in germany   [show article]
- welcome to alphaville   [show article]
- cooperation with other fanclubs   [show article]
- what does the internet mean to our fanclub?   [show article]
- what does alphaville mean (to me)?   [show article]

 
faithful & true - fanclub information

we're really glad to look back on a long fanclub history, for it has been in existence since 1986. at that time the fanclub was called 'fantastic dream' and it was just one of the local fanclubs in east germany. i (ilwa) was involved right from the very beginning and i'm really the heart of our fanclub.
i'm a hardcore-fan and i always wanted to commit myself alphaville and their fans. in 1986 via radio i learnt about a fanclub in east germany and soon i became a member of it. later on, i and 5 friends of mine founded the fanclub 'fantastic dream', but none of these friends is still a member today. in contrast to me, they didn't take the fanclub seriously. in fact, they only joined it on a whim. i got in touch with numerous fans all over the world.
in september 1991 we celebrated the 5th anniversary of the existence of our fanclub and i used this fact as an opportunity to write a poem - or better an ode - to the fanclub and alphaville. i sent this ode to various radio stations and it was read out on air together with the fanclub's address. uwe, also a fan, listened to it and so we got to know each other ... we've been married since 1993 and work for the fanclub together now. on the new year's eve of 1991/1992 the international fanclub 'moon office' was founded and, of course, we became a member. all local fanclubs were useless from then on, i.e. their existence was superfluous. the moon office offered everything a fan needed and we became involved in this fanclub. we wrote articles for several issues of the moonpaper, the fanclub's fanzine. but then difficulties arose, which in 1997 led to the closing of the international fanclub. because of the above mentioned difficulties, fans from abroad successfully started to found new fanclubs again and the germans followed this idea - so german fanclubs were re-born.
in march 1996 we re-opened our fanclub. we chose a new name, because things had been developing during all those years and we tried to express these changes in our new name 'faithful and true'. in comparison with other fanclubs, we aren't that conspicuously active, i.e. we aren't that present at concerts, as is typical of other fanclubs, for instance. the reason is that a lot of our members are still apprentices and therefore they can't afford to go to concerts regularly. another reason is that our fanclub consists of lots of quiet members. to be a fan doesn't necessarily mean attacking radio stations and newspapers. it also mean simply loving the music, listening to it and being well informed. to our mind, these fans aren't 'worse fans' and it might be the reason for our members' feeling 'at home' at us. so it's quite easy to deduce that our main aim is to offer our members a good service, including news about the band and interesting topics and to help our members find records and so on. and, of course, we welcome the fact, that our members get to know each other to create a big fan-familiy. everybody can become a member, but since our fanzine is written in german, it would be advantageous to understand german.
we have 70 members at present, i.e., we aren't the biggest fanclub, but this isn't our aim. we prefer a certain personal atmosphere and this is only feasible if the number of members isn't that high. we therefore don't mind that there is more than one fanclub in germany. 

what can a member expect? our fanzine comes out three times a year (april, august, december) and in between our ics-newsletter informs our members about latest news. these newsletters don't come out regularly but when required. we also inform our members about how and where they can get merchandising or alphaville's releases and we help them to obtain these things. the personal contact to our members is very important to us and if somebody wants to know something concerning alphaville, we are pleased to help. we organize fanclub meetings, as well, and we invite everybody to join us.


 
our fanzine

our fanzine 'ivorycityside' is lovingly called ics. the first issue was published in the summer of '88. it was only a5-sized and in comparison with today not that thick. but at that time it was difficult to create a gorgeous fanzine and particularly to copy it. i still remember clearly using my typewriter and blueprint-paper to produce 2 or 3 issues at the same time. this was possible because there were only 15 issues necessary. the fanzine didn't come out regularly but - because of a lack of material - sporadically. since 1996 our ics has been published in an a4-size; it's quite thick (approximately 25 to 30 pages) and partly coloured. during the years 1996-1999, the ics came out four times a year and from 2000 on it will be published three times a year.
the fanzine's concept hasn't changed since 1988. besides current material we use old one, too, of course. it's a huge advantage of a fanclub to open the material to everybody. if a fan finds something interesting, we are able to provide all other fans with this material. in our fanzine you can find important news as well as concert reports, interviews, reviews, odd things and lots more about alphaville.
in our opinion, it's important not only to report on alphaville in germany but also to offer our members an overall view of what alphaville and their fans are doing in the whole world. through a fanzine of an international fanclub -such as the moonoffice - it's possible to bring fans from the whole world together, but a local fanclub mostly concentrates on its own country, thus running the risk of isolation.
we try to counteract this tendency, and attach particular importance to international articles and our fans' creativity, because many of them are really talented. some make music, others write poems or stories.
so we also use our fanclub to make our members' creations public. since alphaville call themselves big film and music fans and in their songs often draw our attention to interesting films, records and books, we also use our fanzine to present things that are not directly connected with alphaville, but nevertheless very interesting. 


 
our fan meetings

our first fan meeting took place in berlin at a weekend in october 1997. we came together in a comfortable youth hostel in berlin tegel, i.e. it was situated out of the city centre. besides 14 german fans, alessandra montrucchio from italy joined us. we spent two wonderful and funny days together, we talked a lot about alphaville (particularly at night) and we danced. the video recorder didn't work, otherwise we would have watched videos, we interchanged old newspaper cuttings about our favourite band and knocked about the district. but above all, we very much enjoyed the two days. 
in september 1998 we met again in berlin. this time more fans took part and it was a kind of final rehearsal for the international fan meeting, because such an idea had already been in our mind for a long time. the scandinavian fanclub planned to go to berlin by minibus, but in the end hervè was the only fan from abroad. and now you might wonder why, but the explanation is following: shortly before our fan meeting it became known that a 'dreamscapes' release party would take place just one week after our fan meeting. it's understandable that the scandinavians changed their plans and preferred to go to germany one week later. i think, everybody would certainly have made this decision. but we all know alphaville - and their tendency to change appointments... the release party took place, indeed, but not in september 1998 but in january 1999. in marian's opinion, alphaville caused a lot of trouble with their spontaneous change regarding their party plans and wanted to apologize to their fans. in order to compensate the 18 fans, who nevertheless had come to the youth hostel in the centre of berlin, there was a big surprise: alphaville invited us for dinner to a greek restaurant and, as an absolute highlight, marian himself appeared in the course of the evening. it was wonderful, but we want to emphasize, that the presence of a member of the band isn't that important in comparison with a fantastic time spent with fans. 
in 1999 there was no fan meeting, since we (ilwa & uwe) couldn't join it for private reasons. our member decided not to plan a fan meeting without us.

besides official fanclub meetings there are spontaneous tiny fan-meetings, as well, but it's impossible to list them all. nevertheless, we want to tell you about the most special ones. 

in february 1994 ilwa and rosa (one of our members) met in salzgitter. the special thing about it was, that on rosa's initiative the two girls recorded a german version of 'romeos', which was not particularly professional, but it was later performed during an aids benefit event in salzgitter.
in the summer of 1994, for the very first time, we (ilwa & uwe) met both italian alessandras , who have been among our closest friends for years. from that time on we met them regularly in germany or italy at least once a year. 
in august 1997 another spontaneous fan meeting took place in hamburg. the italians alessandra m., silvia e., alessandra b. and susanna b. were on their way to a scandinavian fanclub meeting and stopped in hamburg. this fact was reason enough for us, tobi, monika, burkhard and michael to meet them there. 

this year both german fan clubs met in thale, a small town in the harz, on the third weekend in june. the wonderful landscape invited us to connect the fan meeting with a short family holiday, as other fans did, as well. our plan for the future is to include our family more and more in all the following fan meetings. as an absolute highlight marian and martin also went to thale to perform a few songs live.
but if you are interested in this report, you can take a look at our homepage. 


 
special events

besides the regular fanclub work, including the ics, newletters and fanclub meetings, we organize other things. recently we carried out our plans of producing a fanbook. the intension behind the fanbook is the following: we want our members to get to know each other and create a kind of family, but this is quite complicated, since it's impossible for all the members to meet at a fixed place and time. that's why the idea of a collection of portraits of our members came into our mind. to realize this idea, everybody had to fill in a questionnaire and almost every fan added a picture. now every member has got one issue of this fanbook and is able to get to know the other fans. hopefully, it's a good support to become friends, for instance if there are fans, who live near your own town or who share similar interests or at least to recognize other fans at a concert. the next project is a collection of translated alphaville texts, but we are still working on it. we devote a lot of time to the translation to be sure to get a result with a high quality. there are a lot of fans, who are supporting us, i.e. lots of different ideas intermingle. the translations are particularly intended for fans, who are uncertain regarding their english, but there is more to it. the translations will be followed by interpretations, but it will take a while for everything to be finished. but we are sure that it's going to be really good. 
and there are a lot of small things: 
>from time to time one member of our fanclub is able to obtain rarities, which we can offer to everybody. we also help our members (especially those who don't have an internet access) to get alphaville releases and other things that are connected with alphaville. either we acquire these things for our fans or we let them know, where they can get the things they are looking for. we always helped our members to find their way to alphaville parties or concerts, as well. sometimes we were happy to offer our members special conditions which were very often initiated by the fanclub 'golden feeling'. from time to time we were able to organize locations, where an alphaville concert took place in the end. this is what we are constantly trying, but it doesn't always work as you can imagine. and it's worth mentioning that we reported on alphaville in the german synthi-pop-magazine re.flexion and we are going to do so in the future.


 
alphaville's status in germany 

alphaville popularity in germany depends on the region. we don't know exactly the reasons, but alphaville are more popular in the eastern part of germany. we think is has to do with the life in east germany, that wasn't that fast-moving. people from east germany were therefore still able to remember alphaville, whereas in west germany alphaville had long since ceased to be popular. but even in the eastern part of germany alphaville's popularity differs from region to region. 
in saxony, situated in the south of germany, alphaville enjoy widespread popularity and this fact is confirmed in the high number of concerts alphaville have already given there. 
in the north of germany and in the surroundings of berlin alphaville have a difficult job, because of the cool mentality of the nordic people. it's difficult to bring them out of their shell; they mostly stand motionless in front of the stage with a glass of beer in their hand and it's difficult to recognize whether they enjoy the concert or not - in comparison with saxony, where the people are enthusiastic from the very first beginning of the concert. 
alphaville's popularity also depends on the local media. german media mostly ignores alphaville, but sometimes there is a presenter or an editor who likes their music and then you can hear alphaville on the radio. unfortunately only the well-known hits of the stars from the 80's, who aren't forever young anymore... not more and not less.
sometimes we think the media is prejudiced against alphaville. we don't know why such a good music, which is partly really up to date and steadfast is ignored. sometimes we wish that we could send a tape by alphaville to radio stations, without telling them the name of the band. we are convinced that the music would be well received by the radio stations. we think the name alphaville deters many people and would like to know why.
why are promoters from the western part of germany afraid to organize an alphaville concert? the answer to that question is just speculative. we think it's because of the prejudices and promoters are simply afraid of being in the red after an alphaville concert, for the band hasn't been able to produce a real hit for years. alphaville have more or less disappeared from the media landscape and lots of people don't even know that alphaville are still alive. this is what we had to learn again and again during several concerts. it's a vicious circle: without being present in the media, you can't have a hit and without a hit it's quite difficult to give a concert where it would be important and so the media doesn't take an interest in you.

the current status of alphaville illustrated by a medium-sized german town: hildesheim
(by stephan glanemann)
unfortunately the inhabitants of hildesheim don't take an interest in alphaville. the main problem is that they are quite easy to influence, i.e. the selling of records is generally going well, but it just concerns bands, that hold high chart positions or that are often on tv. this is probably where the real alphaville problem starts: 
alphaville are very active, but nobody recognizes this fact. from time to time i talk to people on the train and i am often astonished, because the people's reaction to alphaville isn't bad at all. older people still know alphaville from their youth and the younger ones know the band at least from their parents. sometimes i hear things like: 'i liked alphaville very much, but i haven't heard anything from them anymore.' or 'they are still alive?' or 'are they still active?'
the worst reaction was, after i had told someone that i listen to alphaville's music, that this person made a face and exclaimed: 'how can you listen to such rubbish?' and he added, that he was glad that that kind of music (i think, he meant synthie-pop) had died out. but i'm sure that people would change their mind if alphaville had another hit. in my opinion, the real problem is the insufficient promotion, i think. in hildesheim people mainly listen to a radio station called hit radio antenne. there they seldom play alphaville and if so, only the hits. 
in hildesheim there is a kind of pub, where almost the whole town - from young people to the older generation - meets at the weekend. it's a huge pub with a dj. fortunately some friends of mine and i know the dj quite well and he's often willing to play the music we want to hear. as i approached him for 'big in japan' for the first time, he surprisingly answered that he liked this song and the band, but he didn't own the song. the next weekend, i gave him the maxi from the year 92. he played it, but the audience didn't show any reaction at all. of course, hardly anybody listens to the music in a pub at the weekend, but on the other hand ... it would have been great. it's the same at parties, where lots of different kinds of music is played. but nobody hits on the idea of playing 'dance with me' or 'romeos'. you can mainly listen to deine lakaien or depeche mode. i hope things will change one day, because that's what alphaville deserve, for they have been active for 15 years and they are - besides kraftwerk - the german pioneers in the synthie-pop-area - and whoever is able to be in the music business over that long time, can't possibly have done so much wrong. 


 
welcome to alphaville

(by melanie b.)
how can one become a fan of alphaville, an unique band, whose heyday is already over? how can one get information about alphaville at all if not by the skin of one's teeth? how can one possibly become a member of a fanclub and how do things continue then... ? 
there are a lot more questions like this, but i just want to tell you, how in my case things developed:
it was a typical winter's day without snow. i should really have gone to school, but i was lying on the couch instead, with a hot-water bottle on my stomach and an ice-pack on my head, because i wasn't well at all. the day was quite terrible and i hoped for better times. at any rate at such moments music is the best medicine not to become completely mad. it was one of those days where i wasn't able to listen to the music i usually like. that's why i was desperately looking for a record on my father's shelves and suddenly i discovered an album called 'forever young'. as i read the track list on the reverse, which included 'big in japan', the penny finally dropped, since i knew that song from the radio. i inserted the record and what happened afterwards astonished me. it was the first record that i had discovered and i grew more and more delighted the more songs i listened to. i started asking myself then, whether the band was from germany or not. the pronunciation of the band's name is up to everybody...
i listened to that record for weeks. besides 'forever young' i was listening to other tapes that belonged to my father. one day he said that the two songs, which i was listening to at full volume, were also from alphaville.

oh dear, i was thunderstruck! after 'romeos' and 'for a million', there was 'forever young' and i didn't recognize that i was listening to one and the same voice. the songs just sounded different. at any rate, from that time on i knew that i needed more alphaville records and a long and desperate search for the album that included 'romeos' started. 
my father only remembered the golden cover, but in every music store in and around munich i only found 'forever young'. i thought: well, maybe the rest of alphaville is not good enough and 'forever young' is the one and only splendid album. for weeks i was only looking for a golden cover and suddenly, among a pile of very cheap records, it caught my eye. there it was: it was called 'the breathtaking blue'! my passion for alphaville increased rapidly and my father couldn't escape listening to their music, for he heard it through the wall of my room and could not but regonize that i really liked the music. and it was true. 
then everything proceeded fast: from time to time i used the internet at work to find some information, but there wasn't anything special ... just one thing aroused my attention: the introduction of ilwa and uwe from the fan club 'faithful and true'. it was just funny and i was pleased to see that, more or less through alphaville, two people had got to know each other and had fallen in love. i wrote down their address and later on i sent a nice letter to them. very soon i received a lovely reply, even with a lot of information beforehand. it just took a while, but finally i, too, was one of the inhabitants of alphaville. this was in june 1999 and time passed by. meanwhile, i got a lot of information; either from ilwa and uwe or from the ics or from the alphaville homepage, which i can't access at work anymore, because it's blocked. you can take a wild guess why. all in all, the fan club gave me an understanding of alphaville and i am able to keep up to date. if you don't want to become a member of a fan club, i advise you to have a look at the alphaville homepage. i like the structure and i think, it shows clearly, that alphaville are still alive! but in my opinion, it's nicer to be a member of a fan club, because you don't feel lonely. you can be sure that there are lots of people, who have something in common and it's really exciting to get to know them. and you recognize the people who are busily working for alphaville and their fans.
finally i just want to add, that because of the fanclub and its community spirit i don't feel as if i fight alone in the whole wide world anymore. this is certainly the way lots of fans have felt before and i was one of them... but how does one become aware of alphaville? this is a story that differs individually. this was in short my version...


 
co-operation with other fanclubs

if there wasn't an international fan club, but only local ones, fans would run the risk of isolation. from the beginning on, we tried to avoid this and so we created the section 'fanclub galaxy' in our fanzine. this is a section where we inform our members about alphaville fan clubs and their
activities. and the wonderful thing about it is that other fanclubs provide this section now, as well. that means that we are in contact with lots of fanclubs, we interchange our experience and try to help each other, of course. since 1999 all the fan club leaders have been meeting in a chat and interchange news and problems. we go so far as to claim that the idea of an alphaville tribut album would have been impossible without the co-operation. the dreamscapes interview was also collective work. every fan club collected the fans' questions about dreamscape which were given to marian. we hope for an interview which all the fanclubs will publish in their fanzines in the respective national languages to move a bit closer again. 


 
what's the meaning of the internet to the fanclub?

of course the internet is a real gold-mine. for example, such a close co-operation between the fan clubs would be impossible without the internet. we find a lot of things in the net that we can use for our fanzine. and also those who don't have an access of their own get a glimpse into the online- world. furthermore we can spread information via email to our members who have an account very fast and cheaply.
one day - exactly in the summer of 1996 - we decided to create our own homepage. but what should we to publish there? should we to do another page with the usual news, concert dates and all the other information that was already available on so many other pages? we thought that would be very boring and silly. so we decided to translate the most important and most interesting content from our fanzine into english and put it on our page. why this in english? well, first, there is still the incentive for german fans to become a member of our club in order to be able to get the fanzine written in german. and second, it's the language of the internet. and once more we saw the opportunity to build a bridge to other fans to show them what we were doing in the fan club. everybody could have a share in our work and we moved a bit closer again. by the way: you can find detailed reports on our fan club meetings or some creative work done by our members on our homepage at www.faithfulandtrue.de
sometimes we wonder if the internet renders fan clubs superfluous some day. to be honest for a long time we were absolutely sure that this would be the inevitable consequence. how can one get faster and cheaper information about one's favourite band than downloading everything from the internet? soon nearly everyone will have his/her own internet account and who will be willing to pay an extra- member fee for a fanclub then?
but then some fans that were already online told us they would miss a fanclub though. their arguments were that it was completely different to hold a printed magazine in one's hands and to be able to take it along to every place you like instead of sitting in front of the screen of the computer. besides the personal contact with one another, meetings and sharing one's experience and emotions are very important to them and they told us it was absolutely different in a fan club and not replaceable by mailinglists or chats, for instance. 


 
what does alphaville mean (to me)?

(written by ilwa drößler) 
in 1989 a book came out in germany. a girl (c. from f.) described in it how in 1985 she fell in love with marian gold, singer of the famous band alphaville, and how she did everything in her power to meet him and to make him interested in her. not many fans own this book. that's why we are publishing it in parts for the members of our fanzine with the friendly agreement of the author. after we've released the first part of this book we got much more feedback as usual. on the one hand it surprised us, but on the other hand not so much. i recalled my own reaction. 
actually i once planned to write down my own alphaville- story just for myself. i had already made some notes but finally i never finished this idea. not long ago a tv show with alphaville from the year 1986 was repeated on tv. this tv show is connected with a lot of emotions for me. so i decided to write down at least this part of the whole story. 
so, what's behind this tv show? there are really mainly negative memories, namely that i didn't watch the original show in 1986. i saw it only later on a video- tape. the day after the original show my classmates (oh it's so long ago...) asked me if i had seen it. of course they knew about my weakness for alphaville and for marian in particular. it was such a shock- i hadn't!
it was in 1986 and east germany, where i lived, still existed. i must admit my parents didn't allow me to watch west german tv channels. being teachers they were so scared of getting into trouble. but that's another longer story...
you can certainly imagine how bad it was for me to know alphaville were on tv and i missed it. at that time i felt as if the end of the world was near. after all my chances to see alphaville on tv were very low anyway. and at that time alphaville returned after a longer break (we're quite familiar with these breaks, you know...). so it wasn't a tv show among many others. it was the very first one after months! besides, i was a teenager and my emotions reacted immediately. it was a severe blow to me. to top it all my dear classmates told bad jokes about marian in order to tease me. they all knew how much it hurt me and they enjoyed it.
okay, nowadays i can smile about it. but who would have thought at the time that things would turn out as they finally did. who would have thought that we would ever be able to stand in the first row of an alphaville concert?
1. obstacle: i lived in east germany and alphaville were a band from west germany.
2. obstacle: alphaville didn't play live
3. obstacle: they were so famous and had so many fans, that if they would play live one day, why should i of all fans be in the first row?
when i thought about meeting marian personally at that time i thought i would have to die. i would lie if i insisted that i was never in love with marian. but was it really love? well, as a teenager i was constantly searching for the love of my life. it often happens that teenagers fall in love with their idols. these idols can't help it and they can't break someone's heart. the picture of how the star must be in real life, is created by many (never completely correct) reports from magazines, lyrics of the songs and a big portion of one's own fantasy, one's own dreams. probably it has not so much to do with the real marian (probably it's a distorted picture or the real marian). but finally that's not so important. 
in spite of this marian has influenced me a lot in a positive way. during that time i learnt a lot about myself. it enabled me to shape my own life the way i dreamt it in my deepest inside. through marian and alphaville my general knowledge has increased and is still increasing, because the lyrics of the songs refer to so many other books, movies or music of which one would probably be unaware otherwise. furthermore so many long lasting and close friendships of mine are based on alphaville. well, meanwhile, it hasn't so much to do with alphaville anymore. now there are so many other things that stick us together. but everything once started because of alphaville. i also dare saying alphaville are the reason for my being open-minded. probably i wouldn't have so many good friends abroad without alphaville and i wouldn't have heard so much about the culture of these countries. in general, alphaville always made me think about the environment and other things. i'm extraordinarily thankful for that. okay, mostly it came from myself and i should thank myself. but i'm aware at any rate that alphaville always played a significant role in my life.
i was often asked how i was able to drive marian out of my mind again. i for my part i can only say it happened automatically when i met the love of my life, uwe. oh yes, that was also because of alphaville... but that's again another story...
a special emotion for marian is still there. i still go weak at the knees when i meet him and every time i'm angry that i suddenly stop thinking and i get the impression that i am only talking nonsense. grrr...
but it's really incredible, today we talk about our children...i never dreamt of such things...
i'm in contact with only a few of my earlier classmates now. but they couldn't believe that i'm still a fan of alphaville (that the band still exists as well) and what i'm doing with the fan club and so on. the former needling has turned into respect. 
i accepted that somehow alphaville are part of my life. as well as the fan club. even if it's a lot of work, i need it to be satisfied. i love to thing about alphaville is that the world we fans created breaks free. only the matter that comes into being is really alphaville. and we are all right in the middle of it! 
 

fool's licence 
(written by ilwa drößler in dec.1997)

daddy says:'girl be home at 10 tonight'
she grumbles:'don't preach i'm still a child'
susan laughts about her
where's the dangerous place?
don't you feel he controls you
and an angel's whispering
but his words she can't hear
now set the fools free
they'll never come near

there are places we hate
because big bosses dictate
here we believe to be free
a magic paradise to be
to all appearances
by the years we forgot
look deep into dark
what was real
what's their tale
there are the outcasts
they came and gone fast
we call them fools
never have seen unwritten rules
susan denials, continues her way
but what can you do if you hate grey?
and the angels are singing
but their songs no one hears
the fools have their freedom
won't stop any dance
while we are talking 
we close our eyes
we don't see the main things
free, but what is the price
 

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