Tozovac: Serbian for “Awesome”

While going through the usual social media distraction bullshit. I saw this going around. It’s a list of 21 Painfully Awkward Band Photos. Go on, look through them. Can you hear the Horsemen telling you to come and see? I can. Most of these are hilariously awful. All but one.

One album cover is completely awesome.

This one.

Dođi da vidiš

Dođi da vidiš

My first thought was “Who is this dude?”, but my brain already knew… and then I looked it up. I was right! It’s Predrag Živković Tozovac, a famous Serbian folk singer. Born in the same year as my father, Tozovac had the distinction of being born in a more badass place than Fairbanks, Alaska, like dad; Tozovac was born in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and he probably saw more shit than you, I, or dad ever did.

Yugoslavia has a special place in my heart, you see, seeing as my mother’s family is from Slovenia. Laubach is also from Slovenia, and the music and arts have always been strongly encouraged in the Yugoslav countries. Tozovac is no different, and his folk music is pretty sweet. And he is indeed rather popular in his homeland, as I know “Zlatna” means “Gold”. But what about the other bits? Something about Jeremiah and a round Jeremiah, I think. My Serbo-Croat is rusty.

Of course, I want to come up with my own story behind that photo. I mean, there he is Tozovac, famous music star of his people, mounted atop one of the only sad instruments of Balkan diplomacy, an artillery weapon. I like to think that while he wants peace and happiness for everyone, he is also willing to protect sloboda– freedom and liberty– at any cost. Tito kept them free from Soviet rule, but Yugoslavia still had its problems, many caused by Tito himself. I like to think Tozovac is telling everyone “But I can see our freedom in the future. Look! And this makes a nice seat if we don’t use it to kill people”.

Tozovac protested openly against unrepentant butcher and all-around piece of shit Slobodan Milošević. I remember quite clearly watching the footage on CNN as Milošević’s regime was taken down, with reporters saying stuff along the lines of “You can still see he has supporters; people are chanting his name”. No. They weren’t. They were chanting “Freedom”. It’s just a sad, sad irony that one of history’s nastiest humans just happened to have the name “Free” or “Freedom”.

I know a great artist named Freedom. He is not a brutal dictator. As far as I know.

Can you imagine if Stalin had chosen “Pero”, instead? Actually, being known as “Feather” instead of “Man of Steel”? Then again, “Pero” can mean blade, feather, and probably more things depending on context I’m guessing. Also, considering who “Man of Steel” brings up in our minds these days, “Stalin” is efficiently scary enough.

Вверх, вверх, и далеко в ГУЛАГ, товарищи!

Вверх, вверх, и далеко в ГУЛАГ, товарищи!

The next time you are laughing about silly album covers, just remember that there’s a story behind those people. I’ll give you that most of those stories probably involve pathetic misery, laughable ideas, and mental illness, but one or more of them could be folk heroes, and way more badass than our own soft and pasty folk heroes are in North America.

There. Now you might know some new stuff. If not, at least you got to while away some more time until your biological vessel expires. Huzzah!

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