Bone Music – a Testament to the Underground Courage

Probably the most unusual record in my collection! In post WWII Russia, Stalin banned the possession of any western music. All records allowed in the country had to be of Russian composers.

The museum of art in Tel Aviv, now features a collection of these. it's called "Forbidden music
The museum of art in Tel Aviv, now features a collection of these. it’s called “Forbidden music

But there was an underground hungry for Western popular music—everything from jazz and blues to rock & roll. But smuggling vinyl was dangerous, and acquiring the scarce material to make copies of those records that did make it into the country was expensive and very risky.

An ingenuous solution to this problem began to emerge in the form of “bone music,” or sometimes called “bones ‘n’ ribs” music, or simply Ribs. A young 19 year-old sound engineer Ruslan Bogoslowski in Leningrad changed the game when he created a device to bootleg western albums so he could distribute them across Russia. Problem was he couldn’t find material to bootleg his pressings onto, vinyl was scare as were all petroleum products after the war.

Soviet bone music

Then, one day he stumbled upon a pile of discarded X-rays. It worked. At the time, Russian law mandated that all X-rays had to be destroyed after 1 year of storage because they were flammable so he dug through trash bins and paid off orderlies for x-rays and for 20 years he handmade about 1,000,000 bootlegs onto X-ray film of everything from classical to the Beach Boys, eventually spending five years imprisoned in Siberia for this rebellion.

For over 20 years, Bone Music was the only way Russian music lovers could get western music, which they played at “music and coffee parties” in their kitchens, away from the KGB ears and eyes.

Fatherland First mistook empty bus seats for women wearing burqas

empty bus seats - women wearing burqas.jpg
Johan Slattavik was bored one day when he decided to play a prank on Fatherland First, an anti-immigrant group in Norway. So he posted the above photo, with a simple question: “What do people think of this?” More than 100 comments quickly poured in. “It looks really scary, should be banned. You can never know who is under there. Could be terrorists with weapons,” one user wrote. Others described it as “frightening” and “tragic.”

For many members of the group, which is called “Fedrelandet viktigst” or “Fatherland first,” the image encapsulated the problems Norway was facing after an influx of Muslim immigrants in the past few years.

Except, of course, take a second look: Those aren’t women in burqas. They’re bus seats.

Writing in Norwegian, one commented: “Not possible to see if they are men or women – if they have piles of stolen goods under the bed sheets – or at worst weapons and bombs.”


One user wrote: “Get them out of our country… Frightening times we are living in.”


Lawyer proves his case by killing himself

killing himself.jpg
In 1871 while representing a defendant in a murder case lawyer Clement Vallandigham a United States Congressman and one time political opponent of Abraham Lincoln wanted to prove the supposed murder weapon could have accidentally been fired by the victim. Taking the gun from evidence Vallandigham tried to demonstrate to the jury how the victim might have shot himself. His mistake was in not checking to see if the gun was loaded. Just as Vallandigham had speculated the firearm discharged and just as he’d conjectured the result was a mortal wound. On an upbeat note at least the defendant was acquitted.