"...many of the objects prized by Camp taste are old-fashioned, out-of-date, démodé. It's not a love of the old as such. It's simply that the process of aging or deterioration provides the necessary detachment -- or arouses a necessary sympathy."
- Susan Sontag, "Notes on Camp"
The pop culture of a vanished society arouses a peculiarly confused kind of nostalgia, one for a time and place we never knew, and that we would likely have found almost as bizarre when it was fresh and new as we do now, when it is "out-of-date, démodé." When, as here, the Other has adopted for its own something from our own backyard, that feeling becomes particularly intense. I think this may be my favorite Leiber and Stoller cover this side of "Nuits d'Espagne," Dalida's take on "Spanish Harlem." I don't speak Russian, but it would appear that in the process of translation, poor ol' Charlie Brown has become his sister Polly.
Things I'd rather not think about based on this video: Soviet cosmetology; Eastern bloc synthetic fabrics (those suits look to be made of something only slightly more pliable than industrial insulation); and why, with the exception of the occasional half-hearted weak smile (and the entirely off-putting dance break at 1:12), all four performers give the impression they are grudgingly carrying out a duty imposed on them by an unjust world. Perhaps they were.
The quartet, I've learned, was called Accord. The group had wide popularity from the '50s well into the '80s. If this 1969 snippet has only whetted your appetite, you can experience a very special long form medley here. Filmed in 1975, and for reasons far from clear, it confines our dynamic foursome to a bouncing Lada sedan for its whole 20-plus minutes. Enjoy.