"So why 'Alright Gandhi?'" An article by Dr Jan Gerhards of Westminster University
Published in Woman's Weekly and Good Housekeeping
So why 'Alright Gandhi'? Here I offer the results of a deep and heartfelt search into this question. I'm afraid I can't give you the closure that I, and probably you, have been searching for. I can probably only offer more questions than answers. You will have to decide for yourself, which, if any, of these theories resonates with you the most. (1) The reproach. One of the favourite explanations that Alright Gandhi likes to offer is the one about their friend who was saying something particularly pious. By way of reproach, another friend told them, 'alright, Gandhi', as if to say, 'get off your high horse'. (2) The surfing dream. According to Dom, he had a dream, or a vision, where he was approached by Gandhi, moving towards him on a surfboard. What do these symbols represent? This gliding approach of this old icon of independence and non-violence? According to Dom, this vision was a visit - possibly from Gandhi himself, wherever he is - helping the band with the difficulties they were having coming up with a name. If Gandhi surfs towards you, what do you say? "Alright! Gandhi!" of course, in your best Californian accent. There are doubts about this theory, however, since Dom joined the band after it had been named. Yet, he may have known Pietro, Rosa and Kalle before then - being on the Berlin scene - did he perhaps just take a very extreme interest in their band naming? (3) The greeting. Another explanation I have heard offered is that 'Alright Gandhi' is a cool, relaxed Berlin greeting. In this explanation, the 'alright' is a classic, laid-back way of saying 'hi'. If you add Gandhi on the end, the greeting evokes peace and freedom. (4) The lineage. Rosa has also claimed that Gandhi is Dom's great-great-grandfather. How should we interpret this? Is Dom's real name 'Alright' and his surname 'Gandhi'? I have my doubts about this theory, for the same reason as the surfing theory. (5) The anti-hero. Rosa, as we all know, has lyrics that are as mysterious as they are profound. Relateable yet not obvious, they deal with universal themes and fundamental questions of human nature. Never being one to give everything away, could it be that Rosa's true reason for the name has been kept secret until now? Perhaps the name itself is a critique of hero-worship - the very human, and ultimately redemptive message that 'nobody's perfect'. Gandhi was 'alright', he was a cool guy, but not perfect - let's not go overboard. Recent critiques of him surfacing again in Ghana merely serve us to remind us of this fact. Whatever the true explanation, or explanations, behind the name, perhaps that's a good note to end on. Give yourself a break. Gandhi was alright, and so are you. There's no shame in being human.
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