North Korean High School Band Disciplined for Playing Cream’s “Badge”

A North Korean file photo of The Dear Leaders taken last year performing the national anthem.
An undated North Korean file photo of The Dear Leaders taken last year performing the national anthem. Source: North Korean Ministry of Culture and Information.

Pyongyang, North Korea — The North Korean news service is reporting this week that a group of Pyongyang High School students are currently be disciplined for spontaneously breaking into an unapproved version of the British Band Cream’s iconic 1969 psychedelic hit “Badge.” The student musicians, consisting of two boys and two girls ranging from 15 to 17 years of age, formed “The Dear Leaders”  two years ago under the guidance of the school’s director the Honorable Seok Min, have been taken to an undisclosed location in one of the northern provinces for cultural “re-education.”

“Badge” is a pop rock song performed by British rock music group Cream. It was written by Eric Clapton and George Harrison and was included as a track on Cream’s final album, Goodbye and according to North Korean officials, it has been used as a tool of Western propaganda for over 40 years.

According to North Korean state television, the unsanctioned performance was a result of “impure western hegemonic forces attempting to destabilize the North Korea with culturally vile representations of capitalist excess.” It is unclear how the four students not only learned how to play the relatively complicated Cream song, but more concerning to Ministry of Culture and Information officials is how they actually came across the iconic piece of Anglo psychedelic popular music.

“The forces of western imperialism are not only working to undermine the defense efforts of our Supreme Leader,” said a reporter on North Korean state television via translation, “but they seek to corrupt and undermine the pure North Korean hearts of our children.”

When asked about the North Korean disciplinary action against the students yesterday during his unplanned press conference, President Trump initially seemed confused by the question, and then launched into an explanation of his unprecedented victory in November 2016, and a few other non-sequitur items.

President Trump Responds

“We’re gonna deal harshly with North Korea, you better believe it,” said President Trump responding to a question from a local Washington D.C. television station Fox 36. “I mean, look at the number of electoral votes I got. Can we at least agree that it was a bigger number than anyone predicted? Now, how about an honest question for once?”

A spokesperson for the White House said that there are no plans to increase pressure on Pyongyang with additional sanctions, but there is a possibility that the Trump Administration might want to “make an example of North Korea,” implying that there might be some kind of unspecified military action. When asked for clarification, the spokesperson replied, “just wait and see.”

As for the fate of the four detained and “re-educated” students, North Korean officials released this statement through back-channel news wires.

“The four glorious children are being well taken care of at the Hoeryong Love and Understanding Center in the North Hamgyong province. They are re-learning virtue and purging the influence of materialistic imperialism through the well-practiced discipline of work.”

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