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august, 05, 1999 (tuesday)
      Subject:  Re: Guild Hall show and other stuff
      Date: Thu, 05 Aug 1999 17:09:57 +0200
      From: Philipp Hofmann <philipp.hofmann@mail.uni-bielefeld.de>
      Organization: Entropic Empire
      To: undertow@vega.net
      References: 1

Hi Suzanne and everybody else!

Well, I suppose this will get me into trouble, but here's my mini-manifesto (which sounds like the name of a small Italian car, doesn't it?)

SuzyV wrote:
As to the line: "I know how it is when something is gone" - one of you questioned whether the writer of the song (me) really can write and sing that line with credibility.  After all I HAVE all my limbs - how I can I presume to write about someone who has suffered to that degree?  I think that is a fair question.

Hmm, is it really? Because this question makes silent presumptions, namely

a) that there is a coherent, stable and self determined subject which is conscious of itself and his/her relation to the world and which can describe "real" events accurately,

b) that this subject can express his/her feelings and thoughts directly via the medium language, which s/he has control over,

c) that this medium is transparent and capable of reflecting the world.

I don't think that a writer is only allowed to write about what s/he has experienced. After all no one would state that a painter is only allowed to paint what s/he has seen (which would make Dali, Picasso, Ernst and Carrington an impossibility). And I do not think that a writer has to express/describe an actual event or something that has "really" happened to him/her. Because I don't think that one can reduce language to a sole function it can not fulfill: the transmission of information. Mimesis, mirroring of an empirical world is not what words can do. I don't think that language refers to anything but itself. And I don't think that there are "real" events or objective facts. At least nothing of this kind that can be expressed by language.

SuzyV continues:
I won't answer it for you.   All you can do really is look at the work as a whole (I mean all of it, including the prose writing and unreleased songs), and make a judgement. Is the writer of the song feeling melancholy and sorry for herself? (Well, sometimes I do.)  Which would render the song not credible?  Or has she experienced some kind of brutality (your word) that would allow you to believe that she is a reliable source of this information?

No, no, no... I think this is the wrong approach. It's not about authenticity. It's not about whether the author has expressed a genuine feeling. It's about whether s/he has expressed something in a genuine way! And I don't want a reliable narrator. I don't believe in a coherent, language-mastering author-subject-god-whatever. I believe that the author is dead. After all it's not the singer that kills you, it's the song. And when I'm reading "Feather & Bone" I don't get goose pimples and tears in my eyes because I think: "Wow, Suzanne has really had a hard time" but because this beautifully crafted language takes control of me, burns itself into my tongue and infects my body and my mind. It infects me because of its imaginative and not because of its mimetic power.

Of course this is not what I wanted to say. "It is impossible to say just what I mean" but I can give you three quotations which explain more than *my* awkward attempt to master language:
"I can barely touch my own self. How can I touch someone else? I am just an advertisement for a version of myself" - david byrne
"Language is what other people call a machine" - the nerve bible
"This machine will not communicate the thoughts and the strain I am under" - radiohead

Well, of course it all comes down to ideology, and please don't get me wrong: I'm not saying that my ideology is more valid than any other. It's just another view of things.
So don't be angry with me but

remember me,
(the sometimes annoying smart-ass)

E N T R O P I C   E M P I R E
visit the (by now almost famous) online diary
"Rockbands died when amateurs won" - david byrne

august, 08, 1999 (sunday)
       Subject: off topic/ Video Singles
       Date: Sun, 08 Aug 1999 19:40:28 +0200
       From: Philipp Hofmann <philipp.hofmann@mail.uni-bielefeld.de>
       Organization: Entropic Empire
       To: Undertow <undertow@vega.net>


this is the time for a round of sympathy for me. Because it's been a hard weekend. Our manager has dumped us. I'm not sure what made him our manager because he never managed to manage anything for us. Well, now he won't even *try* to manage anything for us anymore. He is now managing a band that is doing AC/DC cover songs... Then a pipe burst in the flat downstairs so the whole building has no water for the rest of the weekend and the coming week. And I'm sitting on the third floor in the hot and humid evening gazing over the city and I know that I just have to do SOMEthing so I won't lose my last sense of self respect. But it's this kind of evening when you suddenly realize that you will never write a good line again (and have you ever?), and you will never write a great melody again (and have you ever?) and if your songs were good then why have you've been replaced by a band that is covering AC/DC? The usual answer (namely that what you do is simply too sophisticated and way too avantgarde to be commercially successful or to be appreciated by anybody who is less sophisticated or avantgarde than you) won't comfort you, which is bad because you only had this one. This one and the truth. And it can't drive away these thoughts that scare the shit out of you: and what are you going to do with your life? Not writing, not singing. That's so painfully clear this evening, even though the air is thick and your mind is dizzy.
Somewhere along these lines I've lost the I and switched to you. The usual self-protection. But maybe I'm just another victim of the total eclipse of the sun next week. Historic as well as hysteric event: no other topic in the news. Crazed gunmen in America and peace talks in Israel and Ireland have suddenly shrunk to 15-seconds-overtures of the weather forecast. What will happen? Will space station Mirr crash onto earth? Will Jerry Springer become President? Will all David Byrne songs come true? That would be a fun apocalypse for a change! Other than this dull entropic decline called culture. But I guess everything will stay just as it was before. Except that the fine line between song and sign will blur even more.
You've guessed it. I'm so busy feeling sorry for myself that I forget to breathe. Which is not a healthy thing. So send your sympathy (or $100) to the usual address.
I was wondering if anybody was interested in a copy of The Video Singles. It's a private copy I made for a friend's birthday but he owned one already. It's a VHS PAL SECAM cassette so please be sure your machine can handle this format. I once bought a SV concert-video in the States and found out at home that there *is* a difference between video cassette and video cassette. That was when I still believed in the infinite power of technology, before I've tried to connect my modem to my PC...
Okay, I'll wait for the water to be turned on again, continue listening to David Byrne and try to figure out what to do with my life. Maybe I'll learn some AC/DC songs...
     I don't know how to suture
     what I read and what I write.
     Still I know that the future
     will be beautiful and bright.
That's a happy chorus sung to a sad melody. But even if all is lost I'll always have your sympathy.

remember me,

E N T R O P I C   E M P I R E
visit the (by now almost famous) online diary
"Rockbands died when amateurs won" - david byrne

I've just learned that the universe is expanding infinitely. I saw a documentation on ARTE and they said that the universe is expanding infinitely. Wait! That's not what I thought would happen! That's not what they have promised us!! I thought it would all come back to us, it would all fall back upon us. All matter reunited in a single spot, melting of good and bad of far and near of then and now. But instead: infinite expansion, things are getting further and further away. For ever. How depressing is this?
I feel cheated!

It's 23:15 and David Byrne is singing with the crickets. I know sometimes I can be wrong. I'll be wrong until you're next to me. I'll be wrong until you're next to me. Think again, Dave! Nothing's going to come back! What's lost is infinitely lost, speeding away forever.

In the house across the streets the woman is lying on the bed, talking to someone on the telephone. Red trousers, white shirt, blonde hair and black phone. The only thing that is certain to return is the longing and the loss. They will stay with me. I wish I could touch you. I just wish I'd find a sense of comfort SOMEwhere.

i don't know what to do
i don't know what to do
i will remeber you
but how can i
when you're drifting away from me
in an infinite motion
ever onwards
pushed by something
that i don't understand
and the sweetness of the music
mocks the bitterness of your death
when you are so distant that i miss you

no words

Monday, august 09, 1999
So this morning I came across the poem that Kirsten and I made almost, well, almost six years ago I guess. We were sitting in a pub or something, and there was this magazine that you get for free. And it had a page with poetry written and sent in by people.
Streit And since we had nothing better to do we started to make up a poem. We wanted it to be *really* bad, so obviously crap that everybody would notice at once. It went like this:
You are
You are pretty
You are pretty stupid

I am
I am pretty
I am pretty stupid

We are pretty stupid
We are pretty
We are

We signed it "Britta Ernst" and thought everybody *must* see that it's a hoax. They printed it. I was always wondering whether this was supposed to tell me something?

August 9, 1999 (MONDAY) 00:15 (so technically it's August 10)

Tried to chat with some people. visited a room for literary discussions. How depressing. 23 year-olds doing their Ph.D. at Oxford. I feel like a looser. Yeah! Yeah! Die schlimmen Gedanken kommen jetzt auch am Tag. The bad thoughts are coming in the middle of the day now, too. Wenn ich nicht aufpasse und vor mich hinträume when I'm not alert but daydreaming dann kommen sie und nisten sich ein then they are coming and they stay and they make me insane.

undesirable future


I am 26. I am afraid.

August 16, 1999 (Monday)

Okay, schluß mit lustig... Muss mich an die Linguistik Hausarbeit setzen. But before a couple of bewildering but positive things that have happened the past days. (I just realize that I'm hungry - gonna get myself something, be right back

back again (with three barrs of chocolate.
1st : got two new tapes from the undertow-tape-tree-tape. And it starts with two songs by Joni Mitchell, the second one being "Coming from the Cold" - and listening to it felt like a refilling. Great, great stuff!
2nd : Inga's name will be on the front cover of Das Paris der Beauvoir. YES!
3rd : got mail. Which confuses me. Try to explain later.
Christiane, Uwe and me having a fun-packed evening. Well, actually it was no evening - it was the morning of December 31st 1998 in Cordingen where Uwe was living then because he had the Arno Schmidt grant. And I was ruining everybody's day because I constantly had to think about Rob.
Sunday evening Uwe & Christiane came to visit us and it felt good talking to some sensible people. we agreed that the world is bad, all people who are more successful are dumb Yuppies, all who know more are smart-asses. Society is anti-art and anti-creativity and against arty and creative people such like us. Failing is a protest against the capitalistic, anti-intellectual structures of society. Basically we agreed that we are a bunch of beautiful losers.

Sunday morning I downloaded my mail and received this letter which was posted to Undertow:

Subject: levels of edit
   Date: Sat, 14 Aug 1999 23:03:58 -0400 (EDT)
   From: Electrngun@aol.com
     To: undertow@vega.net

Hello tow,

Forgive me, I'm drunk.  My girlfriend has gone off to Iowa to be with her
nieces, and I'm here with my dog.  So I'm drinking lots of beer and listening
to Lou Reed's Magic and Loss: not a good combination.  I'm thinking of my
father, who's been dead for 3 years.

"If I close my eyes, I see your face
and I'm not without you...
If I try hard and concentrate
I'm not without you...
If I try hard I can see your face
and I'm not without you"

Oh hell.  There's no one I'd rather share this with than you, and although
you're a wonderful bunch o' people, that's pathetic as all hell.

The impossibility of making herself understood in any way

at seven in the morning on the day of your death
i saw you in the kitchen
did not speak to you
thought i'd see you later

on such a night as this
on such a night
    the usual relay of twilights
    if there had been another hour
    on such a night

can i make this any plainer?

*written March 21: 11:30 am*
this delicate day in late March
late morning
reading Ginsburg
stared down the long relay of twilight      to darkness
then the door opens & gold on your face
dog sitting in sunlit window
my skull resting on pillow
    aching skull & sad heart

no: this writing is not exempt: it remains like all writing a pathetic
attempt to make you understand that *my heart is breaking*

if you could speak
what would you say?

no beer left, but still conscious.  i should make it clear that i only drink
once in a great while, like every couple months, because of the generally
predictable and hellishly sad results: ergo, this drivel.

my god: what solitude are you in now?
my only father      lying facedown on the garage floor
frozen      wondering
was summer ever coming?

do you see those birds?
i stared down the long relay of twilight
north american time

i would stop all clocks for you
i would laugh in death's face for you

i would kiss you        if you'd let me

these drunken thoughts
these Saturday thoughts

the tiger, embellishing itself --

one of my favorite lines from any poem is by Sylvia Plath, and it goes like
"You are the one solid the spaces lean on, envious."

every goddamn time i read that, i think: i'll never be that, no one will ever
feel that way about me.

all these fairy tales swallowed by night
all these things i tell myself

i hate what this life does to people.  i remember when i would write in my
apartment before i went to work.  i remember copying poems by Jorie Graham
and carrying them in my pocket.  i loved the feeling of pen on paper,
creating something out of nothing: ex nihilio.  black letters of fire.

thinking now of Philipp Hoffman and Suzy V.  wishing i could impress with

the problem is the door and finding its opening.

i must name myself and give that name meaning.  i think these things are up
to me.

i can find my way in solitude: does not scare me.  i know it terrifies you
[speaking now to my girlfriend].  your anger scares me.  i don't know what to
do, i forget myself.  i never get angry.  i never show it.  i get angry all
the time.

"you have to be very strong
cause you'll start from zero over & over again"

thinking of who i used to be.
days & days & days --

forgive me.  i can't explain this to anyone.  this is my indecisive memento,
these levels of edit i put myself through.  forgive me.


When I read the mail I was very impressed by the force of tha language and the imagery and I though that I can realte very well to it and then when I came across the line with my name I felt like my heart was standing still. Can you imagine, dear reader, how I felt? I leaned back and looked again but still there it was: my name and even more: my name in the same sentence as Suzanne's and even more: connected by an "and".
So here's what I answered:
Subject:  ...this writing is not exempt...
Date: Sun, 15 Aug 1999 16:57:34 +0200
From: Philipp Hofmann <philipp.hofmann@mail.uni-bielefeld.de>
Organization: Entropic Empire
To: Electrngun@aol.com
References: 1

Dear Paula,

thanks for your beautiful and very intense mail. Although I wasn't prepared for it this morning when I downloaded it among 29 surveys. It did make the top of my head come off. I don't really know how to respond because all that you've written is so close to me, though I think that we're very different persons and personalities. Your mail has been one of the most moving I've read since I've joined undertow. Thanks for posting it.

    "And if the building is burning
    move towards that door
    but don't put the flames out.
    There's a bit of magic in everything
    and then some loss to even things out."

remembering you,

I was just hoping she did not think I'm writing this because she mentioned my name. But I was *really* moved by the mail. Got a reply today:
Subject: Re: ...this writing is not exempt...
   Date: Sun, 15 Aug 1999 12:36:28 -0400 (EDT)
   From: Electrngun@aol.com
     To: philipp.hofmann@mail.uni-bielefeld.de


Remember the post you sent to the Undertow ("is it perfume from a dress that makes me so digress?") and the last part of it was absolutely incredible to me:  the part about you can be so close to someone you love, and they're sleeping next to you, and you want them to believe in you and "explain the world" to you.  Even though we've never met and are half a world away, you are one of the people I trust to explain the world to me, even if you can't explain it to yourself.

Thanks and take care, Philipp,


So just for the sake of completeness here#s the message she mentiones:

Subject: is it perfume from a dress that makes me so digress?
   Date: Tue, 20 Jul 1999 01:02:39 +0200
   From: Philipp Hofmann <philipp.hofmann@mail.uni-bielefeld.de>
Organization: Entropic Empire
     To: "Undertow@vega.net" <undertow@vega.net>

It's 00:08 now. My french window is open wide in my flat on the third floor. It's still warm outside, although there's a light rain falling down. My fiancée is asleep already. I'm missing her warm body and her smell now although she's only one room away. There's a big, sluggish ruby-red moon hanging low above the houses. Philip Glass is playing "Metamorphosis II" and the voice of T.S.Eliot is reading "The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock". It's so still outside! There's occasional lightning in the distance. So far away that the thunder won't reach the city. And the black sky is lit up for a split-second and the silhouettes of huge clouds appear and disappear in the same moment. I would love to hear this poem read by Suzanne. This is a mail without an aim, as you may have guessed already. So you might as well stop reading here. I feel like I'm missing something or someone that I know I can't have now. I've been singing this song all day long. We've been playing it at rehearsal tonight but our guitarist always played the wrong chords in the chorus, which was annoying. This has been a strange day. Too hot and far too humid. I couldn't concentrate. I could not work on my term paper about the initiation-motif in Maxine Hong-Kingston's The Woman Warrior. (If anybody could help me with this I would appreciate it very much!) The air was hardly breathable, people were nervous and touchy. And then all those strange mails from Undertow. Wow, what's going on there? I tried to make up my mind about it all day long. Tried to decide what I think about it. Tried to think of anything to say about it. But the more I tried to the less I could make any sense of it. So I'm mailing just to say that I can't say anything about the debate. But it's an odd feeling to experience such a discussion on Undertow. It feels like it does not belong there.
Another thing is that I received a mail today from someone in New York who tried to run a CDRom I was sending her. It was not an SISV-CD but it was something similar: a lot of html-files centering about the topic of The Hollow Earth. And she told me that she could not run the CD on her Mac. Which caused a sharp pain in my belly because my first thought (which accompanied me all day long) was: what if Suzanne has a Mac and she can't run SISV on it?
It's 00:58, "it is impossible to say just what I mean..." says T.S. and he's right. The moon has gone. Philip Glass is still here. "I have heard the mermaids singing each to each. I do not think that they will sing to me..." I'm going to bed now, trying to shut out all these aching thoughts and irritating voices and uncertain perspectives which can make you afraid at night when there's some-body lying next to you, only half covered because of the heat and humidity, who is breathing calmly and regularly and you desperately need someone to explain the world to you.
And if he isn't, I certainly am.

remember me,
(probably making another fool of himself)

So there you go. No, I can't make any sense of my life, either. One day I'm thinking that I'm just a creep and then I suddenly get such a mail. And there was even more mail:
Subject: Trost?
   Date: Thu, 12 Aug 1999 18:59:19 -0400
   From: Uwe Schwagmeier <USchwagmeier@compuserve.com>
     To: Philipp Hofmann <philipp.hofmann@uni-bielefeld.de>

Lieber Philipp,

gerade habe ich Dein Online-Tagebuch gelesen und bin im üblichen Zwiespalt
26! ----- Na, und ...?
Ich bin 30 und habe nicht so einen Aufstand davon gemacht wie zB [censored] ...
Ich fühle mich Dir nah (was machen da Altersangaben?) ...

Jetzt drehe ich mich um und greife in meine Bibliothek ... 'goldener Daumen' oder so ähnlich hieß früher das Prinzip ... na ...
mal sehen .... there we are ... :

"Wie schwankend sind die Urteile der Menschen! Ein einziger kleiner Umstand kann uns oft plötzlich für oder wider jemanden einnehmen. Und doch liegt uns oft an diesem Urteile, das andere von uns fällen, so viel. Aber weil wir nicht wollen, daß irgend jemand schlecht von uns urteilen solle, so
richten wir uns oft nach den Torheiten andrer, und verlieren darüber die gute Meinung edler Menschen. [...] Einem gro0en Unternehmen muß man allemal verschiedene kleinere aufopfern, sonst wird man nie zu seinem Zweck gelangen"
(Karl Philipp Moritz. "Beiträge zur Philosophie des Lebens".
Werke. Bd. 3: Erfahrung, Sprache, Denken. Hrsg. von Horst Günther; 61).


Es denkt an Dich

So - why is it more difficult for me to deal with Uwe's mail then with Paula's? Maybe because it lets the borders blurr, the borders between the persona in the diary and the person that looks like me, smells like me, talks like me, thinks like me in the empirical world. It mixes the material and the ...and now I'm looking for a word that means something like "made out of langauge" - but not "fictional". "Linguistic" won't do, too. The material and the languagial world, perhaps. Anyway, how shall I react? As the empirical person or as the persona of this journal?

They are unloading a truck with boxes of beer for the bar across the street. The bottles are clinging and the sky is yellow. It's 14:21 and it looks like rain. No sun. "It's getting fall..." Inga said the other day. I wish I had a 3 year scholarship for writing. And then a three year scholarship for composing. Another piece of chocolate.
No news from Suzanne. But wisdom from Joni:

when I thought life had some meaning then I thought I had some choice

now: Hausarbeit
jetzt: termpaper

August 17, 1999 (Tuesday)
no eMail transcriptions today but real, hard facts: no news from nobody. nothing new about sisv. nothing new about the Hollow Earth project. Hanjo was supposed to send the demo cd to the publishers and they will have to decide about it. I'm not sure why exactly I want the project so desperately to become realized since it only means more work without getting paid and losing more time. but at least I can pretend then that I am doing something USEFUL!

I'm listening to "Dreaming" and "Magic and Loss" from the CD with the same title. Have put it on repeat. Have put on headphones. Yesterday I've strated started my first tender attempts to write a song again. Could work. Might be a chorus. ;Might become SOMEthing. But still I'm hesitant to present it to the rest of the band. I just don't want it to be destroyed. And I fear that is what might happen. There's just not enough wavelength between me and Frank I fear... well, we have simply a different approach, a diferent background, which can be good, which can be productive but just in this special case I think it isn't. Which is bad.

Anyway, I was at the university this morning. In fact all morning. When I walked through Mrs. Beyn's door (she's the secretary of Prof. Braungart)she was talking to Eckhard (who is, as you might remember, my boss. He has moved to another city so I am doing the work for him here, which is basically organizing and searching the library) on the phone. I then talked to him, too. Felt awkward. Did not know what to say.

Obviously there was a little get-together of all the people I do not want to meet today: there was Brenda - I ignored her. There was meike - I ignored her. There was Jenny - I igtnored her. Do people actually think that I am an inpolite, ignorant bastard?
So in the library I was trying to find all those books and articles Eckhard wanted me to photocopy. And I was looking for that 1998 issue of Ästhetik und Kommunikation and I could not find it. The backcatalog ended in 1987. So I went to the counter and I asked the librarian. And she told me, in a cool and calm voice which was on the edge of inpoliteness, to look in the computer. I *did* think for a second about replying:"But I don't *feel* like looking it up myself. Can't you just tell me?" but decided against it.
Anyway after two hours of extensive search I had all the books I wanted (nearly all) so I started copying, which went like this: Flash! woe, woe, woe Flash! woe next page and Flash! woe, woe, woe Flash! woe and next page and Flash! woe, woe, woe Flash! woe

August 18, 1999 Wednesday
Sorry, but yesterday, just when I wanted to tell you about the rest of the day, Uwe called and we were talking for about an hour on the phone. Then I had to do the laundry, the washing up and the dinner and then Inga came from work and then the evening was over and we were watching Ally MacBeal (YES I CONFESS!) and I was too tired to write. Anyway, I will continue now:
So I was standing at the Xerox machine and it went Flash! woe, woe, woe Flash! woe next page and Flash! woe, woe, woe Flash! woe and next page and Flash! woe, woe, woe Flash! woe next page and it was mesmerizing. After about 5098 pages I felt lobotomized and was glad that the copy-check was empty eventually. On my way back home the bus was full of kids coming from school. And they were screaming and running around and shouting at each other and throwing things through the air and I was glad I had my walk-man with me and Joni Mitchell's soothing voice in my ears. Otherwise something really unfortunate for those kids might have happened...
(I ordered five Joni Mitchell CDs yesterday from zweitausendeins, they were all reasonably cheap) So I was trying to ignore the kids in the bus and concentrated on the urban world which was passing by outside. Well, we were driving through some really bad neighborhoods and there were all these proles out there, looking like Helge Schneider - but they *meant* it! Frightening. Greasy hair, sticky skin, cigarette and plastic bag, and not even a sense of *bad* style plus complete absence of any sign of intelligent life in their eyes. Frightening. Am I too negative? The other day when I was downtown I went through the shopping mall and there were some young people (about 20-24) with leaflets and caps on their head saying that they were from some environmental organization. And they were stopping the people passing by and started to discuss with them. So when I went by this young woman approached me, looked into my face and said: "Are you caring about the environment?" And I looked back and I raised my eyebrows and said with a slightly amazed tone: "No." and went on. Her face was worth a thousand bucks.

I'm listening to Morrissey's "Alma Matters" from Maladjusted and hey, why has this not been a single? Such a great chorus! Makes you want to dance. And sing along to it.
Okay now, I think it's time now to continue working on my linguistic paper (which I wanted to have finished by now already). See you.

Morrissey again, same song. Couldn't really listen to Morrissey or the Smiths for a long time since it was Rob's favorite music. But this song is just so desperately happy that it fits my mood quite well. There are those high bells in the background - sounds great! Plus a thousand guitars doing high fingerpicking stuff, now: the bridge with a great bassline and the chorus again. Very good backing vocals. Always present but hardly recognizable.
Anyway, it's
August 19, 1999, 8:58 am
and I feel like continuing writing on this new song. But then, just when I was pouring in the tea, this feeling fell upon me: "what for?" Why should I write another song? It's just a waste of time, isn't it? Let's be honest: the odds to get a record deal are too ridiculous to even being mentioned and we have sold the last CD pretty exactly ten times. Excluding friends and relatives four times. So for whom shall I write another song? And why?
And then there was the old answer which is always there when you doubt what you are doing: for yourself, because it makes you feel better. Just do it for your own sake. But that's such a poor reason, really. It doesn't suffice anymore. Because I feel cheated. Had I used all this time and energy and money I have put into the band and the writing into, let's say: my studies, I would be BETTER of now. By far! I'd be a wise man, I'd have a well paid job, I'd have a secure life, I'd have success - and probably I'd be unhappy. No, it's not like I'm regretting anything. But it's just so tiresome to work and work and make and do and write and record and play and then after four years you're looking back and say: so what? And you still don't know more. Because wasn't this the starting point of the whole enterprise? To find out whether you are any good? Hasn't this been the aim of your work? To find out whether there is something to your lyrics, your songs. And now, after four years, you're standing there, looking back and you bravely ignore the facts. Namely that nothing has happened. The impact your work had was minimal and you know that this could be the answer to the initial question but you bravely ignore it and go on.
Somewhere along the lines I skipped the I and switched to you - again.

so the choice I have made
may seem strange to you
but who asked you anyway?
it's my life to wreck my own way
you see to someone somewhere
oh yeah!
alma matters in mind, body and soul
in part and in whole
so the life I have made
may seem wrong to you
but I've never been surer
it's my life to ruin my own way
because to someone somewhere
oh yeah!
alma matters in mind, body and soul
in part and in whole

August 20, 1999 (FRIDAY)
Inga's talking to Uwe on the phone, discussing the new publications of Edition Ebersbach. Last week, when Christiane & Uwe were here, we were brainstorming about the new Women in Rock Calender and who could be in it. Here's the list we made (no particular order):
Stevie Nicks
Suzanne Vega (I suggested her although she's already in the current calender
Joni Mitchell
Tori Amos
Paula Cole
Diana Ross
Heather Nova
Kate Bush
Cheralee Dillon
Annie Lennox
Indigo Girls
Kristin Hersh
Melissa Etheridge
PJ Harvey
Missy Elliot
Shawn Colvin
Debbie Harry
kd lang
Michelle Shocked
Natalie Merchant
Alanis Morrisette
Moe Tucker
Tanita Tikaram
Anette Humpe
Janet Jackson
Katharina Frank
Billie Holiday
Marlene Dietrich
Edith Piaf
J.Cr´co (?)
Marilyn Monroe
Doris Day
Hildegard Knef
Kim Wilde
Kylie Minogue
Joan Armatrading
Laura Nyro
Carol King
Joan Baez
Bette Midler
Tina Weymouth
Eddie Brickel
Bettina Wegener
Neneh Cherry 
(how do you spell her?)
Connie Francis
Karen Carpenter
Dolly Parton
Linda Ronstead
Petula Clark
Nancy Sinatra
Bonnie Rait
Dusty Springfield
Barbara Streisand
Kate Pierson (?)
Courtney Love
Cindy Lauper
Jennifer Warnes
Joan Jett
Grace Jones
Chrissy Hynde
any more suggestions (except for Patti Smith, Björk, Laurie Anderson, Gianna Nannini, Tina Turner, Sinead O'Connor, Lauryn Hill, Janis Joplin, Nina Hagen, Tracy Chapman and Marianne Faithful who are already featured in next year's calendar)? Let us know!
August 24, 1999
I wanted to write yestreday night already, but I was too tired. Anyway, strange to say anything. I'm listening to Joni Mitchell all the time. Makes me songwriting again. Rehearsal yesterday was not good. Frank presented another chord pattern again. C, D, e again.
mickey Unorganic again. The rage inside me again as I sat there watching him play these meaningless chords. They are just meaningless when he plays them. Always the same, awkward and adolescent sound. And just when I thought:I don't want this I don't want this I don't want this is so far away from what we used to do this is so far away from what I feel is good, just when I thought this I suddenly saw the key to the rehearsal-room hanging there with the Disneyland keyring pendant which was Rob's and Mickey was watching from the wall, his mocking smile says it all as he recalls the rise and fall of every soldier passing.
And it made me think of Rosemary/Forever Disneyland, the song by Suzanne that I altered and recorded for Stuff Inspired by Suzanne Vega (by the way: no news about it)
Rosemary / Forever Disneyland

Do you remember how you walked with me
down the street into the square?
How the women selling rosemary
pressed the branches to your chest,
promised luck and all the rest,
and put their fingers in your hair?

 I had met you just the day before,
like an accident of fate,
in the window there behind your door.
How I wanted to break in
to that room beneath your skin,
but all that would have to wait.

In the Carmen of the Martyrs,
with the statues in the courtyard
whose heads and hands were taken,
in the burden of the sun;
I had come to meet you
with a question in my footsteps,
I was going up the hillside
and the journey just begun.

My sister says she never dreams at night.
There are days when I know why;
those possibilities within our sight,
with no way of coming true,
some things just don't get through
into this world, although they try.

In the silence all around me
and the ruins which surround me
the memory is feeding
on the songs which we have sung.
We did it our own way
and I know it was a good one
but the journey now has ended
before it had begun.
Do you remember how you played with me
for our supper, against the fears?
And that day that I bought "Rosemary"
Daniel called me and he cried
and he said that you had died
and I cried your weight in tears.

Since then there hasn't passed a single day
on which I did not think of you.
Now that you have left and gone away,
you are with me even more
than you ever were before
but what am I supposed to do?
In the silence all around me

and the ruins which surround me
my need for you is growing
like the flowers on your grave.
I never cared to tell you
that you were a a good friend - 
but I hope that where you are now
is forever Disneyland.

All I know of you
is in my memory.
All I ask is you
remember me.

I met Eckhard (my boss) yesterday and we were discussing what work is ahead the next weeks and months. Started my linguistic paper and prepared an online survey. Still have to wait for the reaction of Dr. Gramley and Dr. Pätzold. Created Mail of the Month. See link on the left.
On Saturday we spent the evening with Uwe, which was cool. We were watching a documentary about a photographer called Addams who took photos of people living in rural Kentucky. Frightening. X-File faces staring at you from the screen, the personified abject and Other. Anyway, during that night Uwe and Inga said some nice things about this journal. Which made me feel awkwared an uneasy. Don#t know why. Inga said I was being , well ich würde mich anstellen but that's not it. Anyway, I'm defending myself again when there's no need to because this is MY journal and I gonna write what I want. Period. Joni Mitchell is great. Favorite songs at the moment: Come in From the Cold.
Yesterday night I had so much on my mind - don't know what it was.

I have packed
I'm leaving this place,
empty as it is now
that you have left.
I have waited long enough
The milk got sour
the trash is rotting.
I did not dare to leave the house
of fear I'd miss your call.
I did not sleep, just waited
and anticipated
your coming home.
But the letters you snail mailed
never arrived.
And I guess my life will go on
just as it was before.
Except that the fine line
between song and sign
will not blur anymore.
I have packed
all that reminds me of you
and though they're heavy
I'll take these things with me
so that leaving does not mean:
leaving you behind.
When you come back
and read this
I hope that you will follow
and find me.
While waiting I listened
to the same songs over&over again.
I know them by heart now.
Know them better than I
knew you.
And I guess my life will go on
just as it was before
except for these word
like drops from a tap
that does not close anymore.
I have packed.
I have to go.
Have to go on.
I know you understand this.
And I guess my life will go on
just as it was before
except that this crack in my heart
will not heal
I'm complaining again. In the meantime it's 12:33 pm and I successfully manage to avoid working on my term paper. Got a mail from Inga last night. About how she's longing for the time years back when the world was under control and everything seemed to be so easy. I know what she means. I think I know how she's feeling. And I have the same impression: like we have lost something over the last two years. What Melville would express like: a sadder and a wiser boy. We have lost some part of our innocence with which we took life for granted. Life and living. Now there are more worries, more doubts, more problems that are threatening the very way we live. But also more reflection, more observation. And now we suddenly are surprised by the feeling of being old. Of having wasted chances. Of not having taken opportunities. Regret. For the first time in our lifes. And the sudden panic that you will never become what you intended to be.

okay, okay: I'm not working on my term paper. So what? I'm gonna pick up Inga from the station soon. I'm still listening to Joni K8tchell. And I still cna't type. I'm wodering whether I will ever write such great songs. The other week I tried to record some songs with just one voice and guitar. I thought I might still make it solo, if anything else fails. You don't need much. Suzanne and Joni have prooved it: just a guitar, a voice and songs. So i tried. But I didn't take into account that you have to be able to PLAY the guitar, that you a GOOD voice and GREAT songs. So I was rather disappointed by the recording results. Wish I knew some musicians. "Come in from the Cold" again. For the 23rd time today.

August 25, 1999 (Wednesday)
Crap day today. ried all day long to finish that new song for which I haven't even a title. Now I'm sitting at the stationagain waiting for Inga. What I have written yesterday at this time and at this spot is crap, too. I'm going to delete it now. The song does not work yet. Or perhaps I've played it too much today. It lacks melody. The chord pattern is pretty good but there's no melody. Dull day. Got desperate when I was staring at the computer screen listening to JM. I will never be what I want to be. I will never do what I want to do. Or will I? Why am I not writing? What am I waiting for? You to return? Why am I not writing when I have nothing to do all day long? Because it scares me. That's it! It scares methe shit out of me. You're like the pilot: You make the metaphor come true. Will I ever make something come true?
I was born and raised
in a town you do not know -
but still you say
you like the lot of words
I make about
these ordinary things like
my anger and my hunger
and my loss and my despair.
And you say
you pray
for me.
But Jesus was a sailor
and Jesus was a beggar
he was not much of a writer,
and not much of a singer.
(I checked the Book
he may have cried
but he never sung.)
And in his days the record biz
was still concerned with Art
and not with selling.
I'm getting bitter while I
hate the ones I love and see
big busted bimbos
on MTV
having everything
I ever
I ever
dreamed of.

Anyway...No news from Suzanne about SISV. No news from Gramlold about my term paper. Instead discussions about Plath on Undertow. I just realize that I have no stories. Which is not good if you want to become a writer. I have nothing to say. And I wonder where other people take those stories from. Maybe it#s better just to stop talking if you've got nothing to say. Or you just continue saying nothing nothing nothing



Mind you: this is not a poem. This is my despair. And I wish I had a river I could skate away on. But it's not even fall yet.
PS: It's strange. Everytime I'm saving the august99.htm file the computer or somebody adds a couple of blank lines. Very strange. A lot of blank lines have suddenly appeared giving the document a strange structure. Suddenly bold, 30point sentences are surrounded by blank lines so that at one point in scrolling down they are alone on the screen. Like a slogan from an ad. Like a commercial statement. "Buy now" or something. Strange. The machine is adding her own aesthetics. 

August 29, 1999, SUNDAY
I'm pissed off. Inga and I had a fight and now I'm pissed off. I regret it already (the fight I mean) but what can I do now? Say that I'm sorry? I'm not. Say that she#s right? She's not. But still I don#t want to fight with her. We're acting like an old couple sometimes. The worst thing is the feeling that the really reason for the fight is something different, something graver. The feeling that she is missing something that I can't give her because that#s what it feels like there is something that she's missing and I can't provide. Like she's unhappy. Like she wants to be somewhere else. With somebody else. I'm unfair again.

so, jetzt ist schluß hier mit den lustigen bunten clownereien. muß heute in die sprechstunde von pätzold. und das am

31 AUGUST 1999, einem DIENSTAG.
Also popalso: wochenende war aufregend: ich habe das Gutachten von Hanjo über meine Tätigkeit als Tutor bekommen und es klingt sehr, hmm, unkonventionell könnte man sagen. E*G*A*L : Uwe und Xtiane haben es sich angesehen und emine meinen, es ist eigentlich, im Grunde sozusagen,in Ordnung.

Anyway, I have presented the new song (which is, by the way, based on that Neil Diamond-like chord pattern I've been writing a couple of weeks ago) at rehearsal yesterday and we tried to play it with the whole band. Could work. The bass is not quiet enough for *my* taste, but that's just me. But it could work. I especially like the soft drums Daniel is playing.

We are going to see Morrissey in Hamburg in October. Patricia (Daniel's girl friend) came by yesterday to ask me whether we wanted some tickets, too. How could I say no? I've never seen him in concert before and I'm really curious. And who knows whether there will be another chance?

I've got to say a thing or two about the quarrel on sunday. About fifteen minutes after I wrote the coloured lines there was peace again.

...and there are more and more lines coming, coming back to me, pouring from a place i do not know and I don't know whether they are good and I don't know what to do with them except for writing them down without a purpose yes I wish I was in a position to USE them to USE them to USE them for a song or a book, to expose them, to let them be read because that's wht they are striving for: and i'm ashamed to admit it.

Phew! Moby is relieved. He could escape Ahab! I'm listening to "uh-oh" by david byrne. Uwe gave it to us the other week. It's not as bad as I thought it was. In fact it's pretty cool. It's just a shame that byrne did not include the lyrics. I hate CDs without lyrics. Almost as much as I hate linguistic term papers or office hours of people who teach linguistics. Dr. Pätzold looked at the questionnaire I prepared to find out something about the use of emoticons in online communication and made some suggestions for improvement such as "Hm, 'informal and formal' eMails...do you think the informants will know what you mean?" "Good point, Dr. P. you're right, actually I wanted to hand out the questionnaire to idiots only..."
And I only wonder why it takes so long for me to finish that damned paper. Actually I do not wonder. I guess it's because it scares me to go forward. This would be my final "Schein". After it the exams starts. And I'mscared of them (naturally). But what's worse: I'm scared what will be after the exams. I'm scared of going forth. This is not a good thing and not a pleasant feeling.
But how can I hope to explain myself here; and yet, in some dim, random way, explain myself I must, else all these chapters might be naught.