03.12.2005A German Brass Band in the Middle EastTouring the Orient with a Trumpet and a NotepadWhen Udo Moll toured the Middle East with the Schäl Sick Brass Band, he met with Mohammed Mounir, he encountered a young and kind man called "Jihad", and an image of Khomeini resembling Sean Connery, all of which he noted down in his diary...
Udo Moll, trumpet player of the "Schäl Sick Brass Band" - a group that started out as an alternative, multi-culti Carnival band in Cologne ten years ago The adventure begins in earnest in Frankfurt. Here is where the real intercontinental flights take off – the planes are much larger, and the stewardesses look much more chic, move more eloquently, and wear a permanent smile.
Some 15 minutes before we land in Teheran comes the great transformation – all the women pull out their headscarves, put them on, and adjust them properly so that with not too much hair shows, but also not too little.
The international airport in Teheran feels very comfortable straightaway. Everything is visibly laid out and the surroundings possess an atmosphere something like a faded tearoom, only decorated with worm-like writing on neon signs. The souvenir shop sells life-size replica plastic bazookas. Apparently, the myth of the resistance fighter plays an important role here.
We are then taken to the domestic airport. Here, there are separate entrances for men and women. Even when we were on the intercontinental flight, a young Iranian offered our singer Hajnalka an impassioned apology for her having to wear a headscarf, as if he personally felt responsible.
The waiting lounge looks like a Salvation Army dormitory. An Iranian is lying on almost every bench, sleeping until the check-in counter opens, shoes off and orderly stowed away in pairs under the benches.
It is three in the morning and we drive through Teheran. Chains of light and neon effects – on all buildings and public spaces – are obviously very popular here. It looks like Cologne's "Schildergasse" at Christmas.
Emerging out of the darkness over and over again are small groups of street sweepers, dressed in orange-colored overalls and facemasks, risking their lives by sweeping in the middle of the city expressway. They carry grotesquely large brooms with shovels at the opposite end. It seems to me like they are part of a misguided government work program – or a prison battalion.
Next stop: Shiraz (click 2)