FGA#44: Flametti, or the dandysim of the poor

Audiobook, read-along paperback, and 10-inch vinyl record

Concept: Robert Hamelijnck and Nienke Terpsma
Reading: Catherine Schelbert
Voice recording: Robert Hamelijnck
Sound editing and mixing: Nienke Terpsma
Audio post-production: Nico Bunnik, deBun Studio, Den Haag
Web development: Marcel Langenberg

Financial support:
Mondriaan Fund, Amsterdam
Château Mercier estate (Villa Ruffieux), Canton of Valais and the city of Sierre
FGA supplementary fund

Published by edition fink
www.editionfink.ch
ISBN 978-3-03746-272-0 (Audiobook + paperback + 10-inch vinyl)
ISBN 978-3-03746-271-3 (Audiobook + paperback)
ISSN 1874-0227

©2024 FGA (Robert Hamelijnck and Nienke Terpsma), Nina Hitz, Catherine Schelbert, and guests

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Flametti, or
the dandyism of the poor

translated and read
by Catherine Schelbert

Catherine Schelbert’s reading of Hugo Ball’s Flametti, or the dandyism of the poor was initiated by Robert Hamelijnck and Nienke Terpsma. It is published as FGA#44, to celebrate FGAs 20th anniversary, and consists of an audiobook/radio play, a read-along paperback, and 10-inch vinyl record.

Here you can listen to 30 minutes of the 6h 40min audiobook/radio play. You can order: here

Music in the spirit of Dada by Robert Hamelijnck, Nina Hitz, Nienke Terpsma, and guests. In this teaser also some fragments of a live per­for­mance by Local Jungle, Nina Hitz (cello and voice) & Vilbjørg Broch (voice and electronics).

Flametti is a novel that believes in art, and that believes in people. But it’s not at all clear why.”
Hannah Alpert-Abrams, Full Stop

“The idea of Cabaret Voltaire grew out of literary thoughts as well as the slum atmosphere of the musichall performers, the singers, the magicians, the fire-eaters and the others portrayed by Ball in his novel Flametti.”
Richard Huelsenbeck, Memoirs of a Dada Drummer

Flametti, or the dandyism of the poor is a dark satirical comedy about an impoverished vaudeville company and the rise and fall of its director Max Flametti, a figure of tragic proportions entangled in his inescapable self. It is also the story of the allure of the “Fuchsweide, the concert and entertainment quarter of the off-beat, fun-loving crowd,” which is in danger of being "cleansed" by the police. This deceptively straightforward, everyman tale eloquently renders the complex, conflicted, non-professionalized, messy, forgotten humus of a vibrant urban scene that prevailed in Zurich over a hundred years ago.

Hugo Ball wrote his hilarious, provocative, largely overlooked, semi-autobiographical novel in 1916, the same year he, Emmy Hennings, Tristan Tzara, and others founded Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich. Their artist-run nightclub existed for less than a year and gave birth to Dada as a form of artistic protest against the brutality of the First World War raging in Europe. They spread their ideas in absurd, grotesque performances, sound poetry, and manifestos. It is from this cultural and political context that the novel Flametti emerged.

Content warning: The novel contains historical slang including cultural, racist, and sexist stereotyping.

Catherine Schelbert’s translation of Flametti oder Vom Dandysmus der Armen, the first-ever in English, was published by Wakefield Press in 2014 and awarded the Helen & Kurt Wolff  Translation Prize in 2015.

©2024 FGA (Robert Hamelijnck and Nienke Terpsma), Nina Hitz, Catherine Schelbert, and guests