58. Fascist

Tapehead no 58 

On the 50th anniversary of his suicide, Hitler’s Death – The Final Report contains many amazing moments: film of Eva Braun picking mountain flowers, looking like a bawdy version of Heidi; the last picture ever taken of Hitler – coat collar up, military cap down, looking like a giant jackdaw; and the last remaining piece of him, a crab-shaped slice of his skull.

The central mystery in the programme is this: did Hitler shoot himself at the same time he took cyanide, or was the bullet administered after his death by his valet to make it look as if he died a soldier’s death. (And why did he name his alsatian Blondie?)

The programme is based on an investigation carried out by Stalin’s secret service. It includes a Russian officer recalling how she was entrusted with a small, maroon box (for safekeeping) and told “Hitler’s teeth are in this box” and features some of the people who were with him in the bunker who are, amazingly, still around to give their testimonies.

His doctor recalls how Hitler looked in his last days – “a living corpse, a dead soul” – the result of the 92 different medicines he was prescribed in his last year (including amphetamines and cocaine eyedrops).

Hitler’s closest possessions form the bunker are revealed, notably 

“a walking-stick celebrating the annexation of Austria” and sketchbook of his “simple” drawings, drawings which bear a disturbing resemblance to Prince Charles’s watercolours.

The bodies ended up being buried in a courtyard at the East German HQ of the Russian counter-intelligence group, Smersh, where they remained until 1970 when they were finally destroyed once and for all.

As the programme puts it, “For 25 years, Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun lay buried under this puddle.”

It obviously rains a lot in East Germany.

Modern Times’ film The Tribe is a brilliant piece of anti-new Age Traveller/Agitator/Raver propaganda that Goebbels himself would be proud of. 

Purporting to be a celebration of the “environmental warriors'” epic struggle to occupy a disused church in Camden and halt the M11, Tapehead is glad to report that the travelers, squatters and environmentalist get stitched up like kippers.

The film shows them flagrantly playing the flute, chanting “we are a circle/with no beginning” and then taking their dirty washing home to mummy’s house in the suburbs.

The group’s behaviour on the tube shows a total disregard for anyone else’s civil liberties and we see them haranguing a foreigner to make her sign their petition even though she can’t speak a word of English. (Their response, predictably, is just to shout louder).

The Tribe are the sort of people who, if you asked them the time, would make a speech about the injustice of the world and the destruction of the lovely, lovely country. They wear floppy hats, multi-coloured leggings, tatty jumpers and dance around (badly) to badly played bongos. 

One of them sings protest some (“the bailiff came to town/to knock some house down/to build a road that no-one wants”) wearing an elasticated carrot on her nose. 

“Everyone,” she announces, “is a warrior of the rainbow.” 

Everyone except Tapehead.

Dave Stewart is a great guitarist, a good writer of pop songs (total number of these without Annie Lennox: zero), and a diamond geezer. Interesting? No. Important? Er, no. Unfortunately Omnibus have convinced themselves that Dave’s panic attacks are deep; his insecurities and ideas on death profound They think footage of him falling over as a child is some sort of archive.

What Tapehead thinks is this: Dave Stewart (whose vocals here sound alarmingly similar to Al Stewart) is guilty of the most heinous of crimes against humanity – jamming. He is a muso. Ask him the time and he will get his guitar out.

Tapehead also thinks the shot of him in his early days with a band called Longdance looks exactly like Gail Tilsley. Shocking.


Hitler’s Death – The Final Report: Sun, 9.05pm-10pm, BBC1

Omnibus: Tue, 10.50pm-11.40pm, BBC1

Modern Times: Weds, 9pm-9.50pm, BBC2