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[january 01, 2003]
[text: laurie anderson | images: bill watterson] i'm on the train back home. the party was fun. i was back in the office at 5:30 in the morning. and at a quarter to ten the bells of the church that is nearby the university woke me up again. so about yesterday: i arrived at 8. andreas and blaine's friends from england were there already. unfortunately eva couldn't come, she spent new year's eve in wuppertal with her family. but all in all we were about 17 i guess. i especially enjoyed talking to wolfgang who is in blaine's basketball team - and to kas and john who are friends from london. [there were quite a number of people from london actually so most of the time the conversation switched from german to english and back again] i also very much enjoyed talking to anke, one of blaine's oldest friends. she's very interesting: quite shy i think. she was always talking with a soft, low voice, but her eyes were all the louder: from what i could see in the candle lights they were big and brown and very warm. very open. [i'm a sucker for beautiful eyes!] she has studied drama and now she's working for the leverkusen city council doing the co-ordination and funding of cultural projects and events: städtische kulturförderung. a great job, actually! unfortunately her boyfriend - whom i didn't like even on first sight before i even knew who he was - was with her. and you won't guess what his name is! exactly! anyway, we did a countdown at midnight and then watched the fireworks. blaine's flat is on the 5th floor, so we had a pretty good view. and for a couple of minutes it felt as if my heart would explode there somewhere above the city like one of the bright, colorful rockets as well. [just for the record: the first song in 2003 was abba, "dancing queen" - well after all it was a predominately gay|queer party...] then we told the future by melting lead, pouring it into cold water and interpreting the strange shapes: i had a scorpion, which instantly reminded me of that short prose piece by zürn. we also did the 'überraschungsei' oracle: you chose a ü-ei & then you have to interpret what's in it. i got a carnivorous flower. actually blaine had picked the ü-ei that i should have chosen, because he had a little steamboat the description of which said that it was an expedition to the south pole!! [hollow earth reference which would take too long to explain...] and oh yes, my x-mas present for blaine was a success. i had found a very early scritti politti album but wasn't sure whether he had it already. he didn't. at about half past 3 in the morning cedric [blaine's friend] tried some of the caviar and all of a sudden got an allergic rush that got so bad that blaine had to call a doctor. cedric then got a couple of shots and after half an hour was better again. but since it was 4 then already most of the guests left anyway. only wolfgang, kas, john and i were left. we still had a coffee together and then left at 5 as well.

now i'm back in b. and it's night again and i'm just dead tired! i need to sleep badly. tomorrow i will first meet with eve and later in the evening with tara and cedric. looking forward to this very much. friday is rehearsal! first time in three weeks i guess, and maybe i'll meet with nadine on sunday.

[january 2, 2003]
here's part of the story "Das Haus der Krankheiten" [the house of illness] by unica zürn that the scorpion i made on new year's eve reminded me of. in the chapter "das letzte Abenteuer" a paragraph starts with: "Mit dem Orakeln würde ich früh genug anfangen" and a bit further on it continues:
Auf dem Tisch stand ein silberner Teller; erst als ich mich darüberbeugte, sah ich zwei kleine Gespinste von grosser Zierlichkeit wie Nebelblumen darin liegen, die die Form von Herzen hatten. Mit feinen Nadelstichen, die mich zum Weinen brachten, drangen sie in meine Augen ein. Die Müdigkeit fiel von meinen Wimpern, und die letzten Schleier hoben sich. Mit einem bösen, klirrenden Ton fiel ein roter, lackierter Skorpion aus der Luft herab und schlug auf den Teller. Ohne darüber nachzudenken, ob ich ein Recht dazu hatte, zermalte ich ihn mit einer kleinen, steinernden Buddahstatue, die ich neben dem Teller fand. Das knirschende Wutgeräusch, das seine Zerstörung produzierte, wurde durch gläsernes Kreischen abgelöst, als ich ihn ins Feuer warf.
laurie's "big science" on repeat all morning. "you know i think we should put some mountains here..." i've got to wrap in the last christmas presents now.
[later]
it's two in the korning. cedric & tara just have left. i'm pretty dizzy from the beer. need to sleep badly now. greT CHRISTMAS PRESENTS: A NEW CD OF JONI MITHCELL; A beautifzully crafted and designed dozble cd even! need to sleep now. am tired and everything is moving. i think i even talked funny. egal. alles ist erlaubt um nicht an dich zu denekn.
[january 03, 2003]

"and oh my love, my darling
 i've hungered for your touch
 such a long lonely time
 and time goes by so slowly
 and time can do so much
 are you still mine?
 i need your love
 i need your love
 god speed your love
 to me..."

joni mitchell's dark, warm and wooden voice is floating through the flat. it's a christmas present of tara & cedric: travelogue. very classy! it kept raining all night long fiercely against my window but now it has stopped and it is mild outside: window open and the sound from the city makes me feel less cut off from everything. got a mail yesterday night from thomas: he and his wife were at a nina hagen concert on new year's eve but the way he phrased it was a little irritating because the syntax implies that HE was dressed up as a horse in a fetish-rubber suit and not the artists. and since it was already two in the morning when i read the mail and i had also had a couple of beers the image of thomas in a rubber suit somehow stayed with me. boy! talk about nightmares!
Subject: Re: artikel
Date: Thu, 02 Jan 2003 13:22:27 +0100
From: thomas.b@uni-koeln.de

Hey,

Konzert war schön! Wir sind mit "Schiva, Mama, Om, Shiva" Gesängen ins neue  Jahr gesungen worden. Wir, das sind Sahar, ich das Pferd und das Zebra,  denn es war gleichzeitig Fetischball!! Das Pferd komplett mit hochhackigen Hufenschuhen und Zaumzeug, das Zebra im Gummiganzkörperanzug!! Und dann war da noch der tätowierte Blob!!! Soviel zu Körper und Körperbildern... Aber die Musik war schön, von Ave Maria zu Nirvanacovern!! Dann haben wir uns nach ein Plakat signieren lassen, Sahar hat sie umarmt, und schon war es der erste...

Und du?

liebe Grüsse,
Thomas

"if your heart is on the floor | cause you've just seen your lover | coming through the door with a new fool | be cool | don't you sweat it | start right in right now trying to forget it | be cool | don't get riled | smile - keep it light | play it cool | play it cool | fifty-fifty | fire and ice | don't whine | kiss off that flanky valentine | you're nobody's fool | be cool fool | be cool" cedric & tara also brought me a bottle of bacardi plus a very stylish bacardi cuba libre glass, which looks really great! so great that i'll probably try to get a whole set of them. [later] uh, great! we had rehearsal and then daniel had to leave earlier so reiner and me planned to take the tram and after daniel left we played a couple of songs just with bass and guitar and then left for the tram which - unfortunately - drove off when we stepped out of the building. the next would only come in half an hour so we walked home. which was pretty - well -: cold.
[later]
it's one in the morning. just watched 12 monkeys. great film! really, really great. wonder whether you can sort of map the logic of trauma [belatedness etc] onto the plot. might work: the boy watching his own death etc. anyway, need to sleep now.
[january 4, 2003]
hm: strange dreams: i was in the university. it was night. there was some technician with me and we were checking the network connections of the pcs because we needed to find some fault and suddenly something was moving and there were rats in the room. and one was biting me just over the ankle: it was a sharp pain, not bad but it gave me some feeling of disgust. also dreamed about being at a party of some sorts and john krafft was there [the professor from miami] and i was telling him about thomas being dressed up as a horse. and obviously he REALLY dressed up as a horse because - and this is no dream - bernd sent a mail the other day also talking of thomas being a horse and sahar dressing up as a zebra. i don't know. either my life splashes into my dreams or my dreams keep splashing into my life. it's so bizarre sometimes that i wish i could make polaroids of it.
[later]
nicole just called and we loosely fixed a date for tuesday night when i'm back in cologne. she also had a mail from thomas writing about him being dressed up as a horse. i'm starting to get worried. sigh, these bloody quotes from the hollow earth articles: we have one participant who has masses of french quotes from a book by casanova, so we have to find en english edition of that book, find the equivalent passage and replace the french with the english quotes. and the same for a couple of other articles. mental note: for every future call for papers make sure that you explicitly tell people ALWAYS to quote from translations! by the way: it's snowing. not very strongly, though. only microscopic flakes that you can hardly see in the air and you only notice them by their accumulation on car tops and sidewalks that look like strewn with icing sugar.
[later]
the slow, soundless breaking up of seams so much could not be expressed these things that you and i suppressed when i was zapping through the channels and came across björk's video for "all is full of love" things that open up delicately like rosebuds filmed in fast motion, cuts that i thought had healed at least a little the snow gathers like bolds of lace waltzing on a bridal girl even the memory of blunt objects - like someone's love - is way too sharp to touch it listen...sounds like benny goodman floating through the snowy trees so i've got to get out the needle and the thread again and sew it back together the slightest touch of a stranger sets up a trembling in my bones such a tiresome operation performed again and again and why can't it just heal for good this time? sparkling skin and lines from old songs. "...denk ich mich dauernd zu dir hin".
[later]
well, went swimming. or at least that was what i had planned to do. but when i was standing in front of the swimming hall, looking through the glass, the snow falling onto my hair and josh rouse singing "hey porcupine" [ha! a great opportunity to enhance the "oooh!"-factor of today's entry] and i was trying to figure out why the hell the water was so crowded a young woman approached me and said "excuse me? can you spare some minutes tonight...?" and i thought: well this saturday night is taking a kind of VERY interesting turn. so i said "sure!" and she continued "our car is stuck and we need someone to help us getting out of the mud" and i thought: hm, that's an even more promising development: two attractive young women stuck in their car and i can help them! but when we turned the corner there was some guy standing by the car and not another girl. anyway, instead of swimming i spent the night helping them to get the car out of the mud. i'm SUCH a good person! wonder why nobody wants me! so now i'm back, listening to joni, writing a mail to paula that's long overdue and having a cuba. that is a cuba libre without the rum: only coke [i already woke up today with a headache so i thought i better don't push my luck too far tonight]. and since it's diet coke it's not really a cuba but a mallorca rather...
[later]
okay, actually it's time for bed, but i can't really sleep. joni mitchell and the whole orchestra in her back all cramped into my small, small room: hardly air to breathe. it's a strange sensation to listen to a song like "amelia" and although it's not half as catchy as "hey porcupine" or what have you you realize, that it's so much greater, that it's so much more poetic, that it will stay with you much longer. wish these were my lyrics. i need to write again. badly.
people will tell you where they've gone
they'll tell you where to go
but till you get there yourself
you never really know
and where some have found their paradise
others just come to harm
amelia, it was just a false alarm

i wish that she was here tonight
it's so hard to obey
her sad request of me to kindly stay away
so this is how i hide the hurt
as the road leads cursed and charmed
i tell amelia, it was just a false alarm

maybe i've never really loved
i guess that is the truth
i've spent my whole life in clouds at icy altitudes
and looking down on everything
i crashed into her arms
amelia, it was just a false alarm

i pulled into the cactus tree motel
to shower off the dust
and i slept on the strange pillows of my wanderlust
i dreamed of 747s
over geometric farms
dreams, amelia, dreams and false alarms

[january 5, 2003]
it's tara's birthday today, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY! she's at her parent's place in krefeld and i just tried to call them but they're out. otherwise a quiet sunday: did some hollow earthing. went for a walk. now i'm going to meet with nadine and we'll have a drink somewhere. while walking i was listening to joni mitchell and just when i crossed the street to get to the park "hejira" started and something hit into my bones and my muscles and made my whole body cramp and my teeth where pressing together so forcefully and suddenly that i bit my tongue and the metallic taste in my mouth accompanied me all the way.
[later]
it's one in the morning. we've just been walking home through the falling snowfalkes that touched my face like sighs. "the wax rolls down like tears" i'm too tired to write. rttedg iurhht oppwe bhhrgft mmnnd: ihhgrt newkejf ghhgzt aeert.
[january 6, 2003]
all is white and getting whiter still. indigo girls are singing: "thought the time was passed when i could find beauty in the birds." there is a kind of cold beauty to things. like the snow. it's soft, and white and beautiful to look at, yet when you touch it, it's first cold and then it melts. i'm sure this is a metaphor for something. das sagt sich so leicht. und lebt sich so schwer. i'm hungry but i've decided not to eat. it must be possible to disappear. "now i'm trying to get back what i know that i should be" eva just mailed. seems like i have two dates on tuesday night. thought about that calvin & hobbes comic and i think it works so perfectly [well, at least for me] with the lyrics of "strange angels" because it simply fits the mood of the song: for me "strange angels" had always been about feeling rather small and insignificant, about being subjected to other people's will (or "god's" or chance's) and i think the character of calvin impersonates this perfectly: being small and powerless and the only thing you can fight the world with is some philosophic|poetic defiance. the other song by laurie which for me has a similar feeling is "dog show". und why is it snowing? and is it really snowing? or is it just my metaphor mind?
[later]
back from my round through the woods. beautiful. the snow crunching under my shoes, myriads of children riding down the hill in the park on their sledges, my numb fingers, the cold wind stinging in my face, flakes caught in eyelashes and melting on my lips, and when i had climbed the top of the hills the wood parted and i was looking to the west that was filled over and over with a pastel colored vermeer sky that formed a sharp line with the blanket of snow as white and blinding as a new word document. many people were passing by, mostly in each other's arms or holding hands or throwing powdery snowballs at each other. when i had reached the clearing it had started to snow again and it was erasing every memory and every mark from these miles of fields with a breathtaking nonviolence that i have been striving for so hard. in weissen, weichen flocken.
[january 7, 2003]
from yesterday night/this early morning:
"on such a night as this - on such a night" it's early in the morning. i should sleep but i can't. got to get up early in a couple of hours and it will be a long day. but i can't sleep. suddenly felt the need to listen to paula's voice. put on [atoms-dust]. "you are the one solid the spaces lean on" i've had so many thoughts in my mind again that my head sunk into the pillow deeper than usual. i shouldn't write this but i feel that i've lost all means of shelter. when these irrational fears came years ago i could go to her & she reacted in an irrational manner. just said: all will be well. taking me in her arms. chasing them away by her sheer presence. by her smell. by giving me the feeling of something unconditional, something that will be there regardless of what will happen. i'm missing this shield of irrationality now. do you know what i mean? i can tell myself that things aren't so bad, that it's just my weekly depression, that there are ways. but that's too reasonable, too rational. the wrong weapon against the fears that are immune to reason, they simply suck it in and strive on it and get bigger and bigger. i'm missing the shield of her voice, her smell, her touch that was not founded on reason or rationality. i feel like standing in a barren field on a hill in an icy snow storm. there isn't anything to shelter me. the words don't work very well against the wind. they have too many holes, are not solid enough. the wind just keeps whistling through them: through the os and as and it sounds like laughter. the same with songs. i'm tired of standing here, i don't know why i haven't simply gone away. tonight the wind is blowing badly again and its howling won't let me sleep. "can i make this any plainer?" sometimes, when i hear your voice, paula, it's as if you would stand at arms length away in the field, trembling in the wind as well. i cannot tell you how much i long for those unreasonable touches, for those irrational unconditionality and the words whispered: all will be well.
[this morning, on the train]
"(antagonists): all this ranting, all this wind, filling our ears with trash!" there's just one point i don't like about the "sire of sorrow" version on travelogue: namely that the antagonists' chorus [as in: greek chorus] is sung by a male choir. in the original version it was coming from the same voice, which i think expresses that feeling of being split between mourner and "antagonist", of being both at the same time, much better. "tell me, why do you starve the faithful?" yeah! happily embracing the culture of victimhood...! and although i can see the danger in paragraphs such as the one written yesterday night it won't make me not feel this way...
[later]
i've just been standing in line at the cafeteria, waiting to pay for my coffee which i wanted to have with blaine, sirka and eva when a girl approached me and said: "Mr. Hoffmann?" "Yes?" "I just wanted to tell you that the media studies seminar had met today again and that we all thought that the session you held before christmas had been the best..." i think i blushed pretty badly. sorry for advanced bragging but i just felt like mentioning this... :o) the little of what is left of the sun is reflected by the snow, creating a watery, milky light. i haven't managed to do anything i wanted today. time passes so quickly when i'm in the office. basically there are so many people around who all want to exchange christmas stories it's okay though, i'm enjoying it immensely.
[january 8, 2003]
just great! i'm at the station & the train simply doesn't come! fuck! canceled because of technical problems! anyway, so eva & i went to the movies yesterday night. and when the film was over it was half past twelve already. the last tram had gone so i walked back to the university which took me about 40 minutes. it was a moonless, cloudless night & when i walked over the dark field between the cafeteria and the university i felt like lying down on my back in the snow and keep gazing into the stars until sunrise. it was awesome. "millions of tiny teardrops, just sort of hanging there. and i did not know whether to laugh. or cry." in other news: the day passed too quickly again. got up at 6:30, worked. at 10 nicole dropped in and we had a coffee, at noon the two of us and sahand [the exchange student from rochester] had lunch. after that i had a short meeting with blaine and we discussed the seminar that started at three. but before, martin, achim and bernd came by and asked if i joined them for a coffee. after the seminar blaine, nicole and i kept discussing wuthering heights in the office. then it was 6:30, 12 hours had passed and i ran to catch my train which did not come. and inbetween all this cedric had called and we discussed a couple of hollow earth plans. now i'm pretty tired and hungry. i'm not in a poetic mood today, although the mood-o-meter, pumped up by the permanent socializing today had almost crossed the magic 5.0 mark, fell noticeably when i was on the way to the station. and i'm actually not quite sure why i put the "although" in the previous sentence because it somehow seems to imply that i'm in a poetic mood whenever i am depressed.

hm, i think i went a little too far yesterday night when i sent a short mail to eva after i had returned expressing my hopes that she got home okay after we had said good-bye in front of the movie theater and mentioning the awesome starry sky which - as i added boisterously - were not sparkling half as much as her eyes while the credits were rolling over the silver silken screen in the dark theater [we had discussed favorite eyes and eye colors that night so the reference wasn't totally random].

[january 9, 2003]
to say that it's chilly outside would be understatement of the months. it's fucking freezing cold!
[much later]
went for a small walk at half past eleven at night: put on my warmest sweater, mittens and scarf and coat. marvelous sky above the dark park and the black frozen water of the pond. was leaning with my back against the wooden railing, arcing my body against the sky and watching the stars, and the more i watched the more stars seem to appear: in all colors, in all sizes each one doing a different dance. marvelous music as well. don't have much to say today.
[january 10, 2003]
worked on thomas' articles. tonight: rehearsal. feeling like i have a fever, but don't think so. had a fit of panic again when i realized that it's january already and there's so much to do: got to write that article for uwe and sabine's "pocahontas"-volume, got to prepare the seminar for next semester and i HAVE to start working on the dissertation finally! wonder where the time is for writing, for making music. blah. same old concerns that i am tired of thinking and you are tired of hearing. created a drum-loop from an indigo girls song that i can use for one of the unfinished songs. listening a lot to joni mitchell. great lyrics.
[later]
rehearsal was fun. although reiner had sad news: we won't be playing at the "kneipenkult" festival next year either. we will probably never play anywhere. hm, i'm really hungry for sweets. maybe i'll go to the gas station down the road because even the ten o'clock shop is already closed. by the way: the gender forum issue with my review is finally online. so if you're interested visit www.genderforum.uni-koeln.de and in the current issue ["raceing questions" it is i think] you will find the review for Gender Reconstructions Ė Pornography and Perversion in Literature and Culture. oh well, even if you don't want to read it visit gender forum. it's worth it.
[later]
well, of course the gas station had closed already as well. jesus! it's half past ten and you can't even get a bar of chocolate! that's the kind of town i live in! if you're feeling sympathetic then send me some sweets. put them in en envelop and send them to: philipp hofmann, melanchthonstrasse 82, 33615 bielefeld, germany. it's much appreciated!
[january 11, 2003]
doing my rounds in the woods: the hill in the park bears deep, brown scars from all the sledges that have been racing down on the thin blanket of snow: fearless mothers holding on to their children on the back of wooden sledges, speeding downhill and over the path and onto the frozen pond, sliding over the ice in circles, startling a group of skaters as if they were nervous birds. later on top of the hills the awesome winter sun again, setting the trees and the snow on fire. nature as beautiful as culture. who would have thought of that?

made a rough sonic sketch of one of the unfinished songs. still need lyrics though. working title: a night at the office. now: some dracula [yes, i'm still at it!] and then sleep.

[january 12, 2003]
did some administrative work for cologne. hollow earthed. packed the things for cologne. watched mighty aphrodite. thomas sent two photos of his children on the beach. looking forward to tomorrow night: kalkofe night in cologne. tuesday night nicole and i are going out. no idea for that pocahontas article. weather: windy but warmer. mood-o-meter: hm, dunno. something around 3.2. only went for a small walk today. the words don't flow today. maybe frozen. "denk ich mich dauernd zu dir hin."
[january 13, 2003]
another short-entry day. it's 0:41 i'm sitting in the office, my sleeping bag unfolded on the floor. we have been watching kalkofe all night long. from eight to after twelve and i've been laughing tears. it was great! now joni's voice to end the evening. "i dreamt of  747s over geometric farms" it's good to have the music. i wouldn't know what to do without it.
[january 14, 2003]
it's 10:24 in the morning. i feel like singing. but i'm correcting term papers. irene just dropped in and mentioned en passant that martin has a new girlfriend. which is good for him [and i'm happy for him] but still i thought: wait a minute. how come that martin has a new relationship three weeks after his old one has ended and i've been alone for over a year? "a defector from the petty wars | until love sucks me back that way..."
[later]
the seminar went pretty well. we just had lunch and now i can concentrate on essay correction and gathering ideas for the article. ooops. i just got this month's cheque and realized that they have shortened my salary. so i'm back to 15 hours a week instead of 19. not so good news...
[later]
it's 19:21, i'm going to see nicole tonight and we're going to go out. i'm pretty tired, though. this evening irene dropped in again and we talked a little, which was nice but consumed another hour. also i'm physically exhausted today from all the laughing yesterday night. my whole body is aching, especially my belly. feeling like being caught in a movie, in some strange film about some strange person that i don't really want to portray. i should sue my agent. blaming somebody else and avoiding taking responsibility for unpleasant situations is one of my higher developed skills, along with seeing myself as the victim of unjust circumstances. well, i'll meet nicole at nine so there's still time to do some hollow earthing.

"strange angels - singing just for me" you know, it's so strange that nobody else can feel it. it is an emotion exclusively felt by me. i can only try to communicate it but nobody else can feel it as well. that makes it all so strange. like one has visions. like the feeling wasn't really there. like it wasn't really true. "all over me all over me"

[later]
it's 01:20 in the morning, i'just back from spending the night at a bar with nicole. it was very nice although i have said more than i wanted. intimate things. wasn't even drunk. at the table across the room a dark haired young woman was sitting with her friend, talking, smoking. i glanced over from time to time until nicole suddenly said: "do you find that girl over there attractive?" i think i blushed pretty badly since i didn't thought that anybody would notice me looking over to her. god! i wish i could spent a week outside of myself, watching me and making a list of "dos" and "don'ts". earlier in the evening she mentioned a book called "die unerträgliche leichtigkeit des seins" and something forced a smile upon my lips because it reminded me of an anagram poem that we did six years ago, our very first poem as a matter of fact, and we had used that title because she had a poster of the movie version of that book on her wall. so i had to smile and nicole said to me: see, there it is again, that arrogant smirk of yours! and i was shocked because i don't think that i am arrogant or that i want to look arrogant and it just was that i had to smile and if my smile looks arrogant than shit! that's pretty bad to make a good impression on people. and when i had walked her home and we were standing in front of the house i was looking over her shoulder for a quick moment and i was looking into that window where the lights were on and through a crack in the curtain i could see into the apartment and there on a shelf was the yellow ikea-vase we had in our kitchen, the one that had held the bunch of fake tulips that actually were a lamp. and suddenly our whole kitchen was there on the street. so now i'm back at the office, quiet building and i wish i could return to somebody, i wish i would come back to somebody at night. i'm always only returning to myself. nobody waiting, asking me: how's your day been? was it nice with nicole? what did you talk about? and then on my way back - i've been walking through half of the city again - savoy grand on the md. "yes, it's less than i ought to feel" and that scene in our kitchen on that sunday morning in front of me, in 3D, she sitting across the table, hands in her lap "it's less than i ought to feel" she crying. i don't. although it should have been the other way around. "yes, it's less than i ought to feel" she understanding what was happening that moment. me just looking into her face with a blank mind, wondering why she was crying and wanting to comfort her. i wanted her to stop crying. "than i ought to feel" she already so far away, so far that i couldn't even hold her in my arms although i wanted so much "yes, we should talk more" i just kept thinking: don't cry, don't cry. and i wasn't understanding a single thing. "we should touch more. much more". and i was thinking: i would do it tonight if i could.
[january 15, 2003]
short night, little red rabbit eyes. in my defense i have to say that i was under the influence of a couple of "kölsch" yesterday night. but even if you subtract the alcohol-factor it does not really sound like i was some cheerful guy to be with. rather that i'm a little on the depressive side. which - of course - is not true at all. this is a misconception that only the online journal conveys. in real life i'm not half as gloomy and sad as it seems! everybody can testify to that!
[later]
nikola just dropped in and told me about her exams and her thesis. she had a copy of a book by atwood about canadian literature which mentions cohen so i copied it. in an hour i will meet with nicole for a coffee. and just when i had finished the sentence bernd came in and we talked about mutilated bodies and about the hollow earth and then conny came in and asked me to help her set up the vcr and the beamer and now it's noon already.
[later]
the seminar went fine. before we all went to see a lecture given as part of this semester's lecture series. another 90 minutes that nobody will give me back! it was dreadful.
[later]
it's 23:07, i've just returned from cologne and of course it's raining cats & dogs in bielefeld. nicole had left a message on the answering machine so i called her back the other minute. she had a near black-out today in the university. now the late show starts and of course the talk guest is another viva vj. *sigh*. and harald schmidt is just telling us that he used to spend his summer holidays when he was a child in travemünde, a small city at the baltic sea. somebody and i spent a holiday there as well. and i can't believe it! i have talked today with nicole about the twin peaks dvds because she loves the series and cedric had bought the first season on dvd the other week. and just now schmidt's co-host said that he had watched the twin peaks dvds on christmas. and what's even more spooky! nicole told me half an hour ago that she believes in signs: that there's no chance but only signs, that all these strange accidents have a meaning.
[january 16, 2003]
what a happy surprise! when i opened my snail mail box this morning i had received a postcard from suzanne ['s management] with christmas wishes: it shows suzanne with her cousin and sister visiting macy's santa clause in 1965. of course there have been wild speculations on the tow as to where one can get such a cool cap that says "me" on the front. went shopping for food. unfortunately i have spent all money i got for christmas that i actually wanted to buy clothes with for all those little daily things and the railway tickets to cologne :o(
[later]
worked on the hollow earth translations. talked to cedric on the phone, discussing the hollow earth project, werewolves and my involuntary appearances. it's night now. mixed a cuba libre to lighten up my mood a little. i've got these thinking attacks: these seconds of clear-sightedness when you realize: wait! why are you sitting here, watching mad about you when actually you should be writing songs, writing a novel, writing a dissertation, be out getting to know women, more women and more women. these thoughts come with a vortex of desperation and panic when i realize that i will never be able to match how i dream to be and how i actually am. today i managed to escape this vortex. this doesn't work all the time and these are the moments when i'm feeling like having been given a great, fragile present: a gift of glass, a graceful abstract plastic that contained the seeds for a beautiful flower. but i did not manage to let this flower grow. i killed it. i did not water it enough. or i did water it too much. and in addition i dropped the glass structure and now it's broken and i'm holding it behind my back, hoping that no one will notice. having failed. i've disappointed my own expectations. i'm really, really wondering what the hell there is that fuels my narcissism. objectively considered i'm a stinking, middle-aged, lonely failure drowning in self-pity, unable to a) compete; b) having a working relationship; c) impress the people i set out to impress; lacking a) self-discipline; b) love for mankind c) a healthy sex-life d) a sense of appropriateness and i am just catching me talking to myself. in english. while writing this.

anyway, my mother called this afternoon. she and dad are going on a short winter holiday trip on saturday. and on sunday it's my grandmother's 83rd birthday. she's living in a home because she needs to be nursed and has been rather "absent" the last ten years. well, my father's two sisters with their family will come and visit her and my mother wants me and my sister to go too. now, i'm not much of a family man. actually i can't really relate to my relatives. it's like meeting aliens. they're always only talking about the same things: either sports or about their next holiday and they're always asking the same questions about WHY in the world i am doing what i am doing because i don't earn a lot of money and who needs literature, books, and art anyway? what is it good for? who needs what i am doing? where is the VALUE? of course they're talking about financial value. so this group of strangers with whom i actually don't want to spend any time will meet on sunday and today my mother said on the phone: "i would really like you to go there as well. Just so they stop talking about that you never show up. Just to SHOW them!" and i said "naaaoo, i don't really feel like, i've got so much to do and, you know, why should i see them if i don't like them?" and my mother said: "Now, I don't want to put any pressure on you, but you would do me a big, big favor..." thanks, mom, for NOT putting any pressure on me! so i will go. thank god my sister will be there as well. see? i'm already wasting way too many words, thoughts and cuba libre on the whole situation!

[later]
okay, having excused my lack of responsibility by tonight's beverage above i might as well proceed to tell you that i've just opened a box of rusk. coco flavor. my favorite. the brand's name is brandt. and they have this logo that shows a child with a laughter that you would call in german grenzdebil: on the border to feeble-mindedness. and right now i'm feeling like that boy is grinning. so i'm going to quote almost all of the lyrics of today's song of the day. it's by the great mrs. joni mitchell: JUDGMENT OF THE MOON AND STARS. and blaine, i know that you tend to skip the lyrics but let me tell you: you're missing something! so here we go. [and actually that's a song you have to yell out from the top of a hill into the roaring storm]:
now you're thinking: "that's no substitute! it just don't do it
like the feel of a warm, warm body
loving your touch"
in the courts they carve your legend
they stick an apple in your jaw
and the women that you wanted
they get their laughs
long silk stockings
on the bedposts of refinement
you're too raw
they think you're too raw
it's the judgment of the moon and stars
your solitary path
draw yourself a bath
think what you like to have for supper
go take a walk
a park
a bridge
a tree
a river
revoked but not yet canceled
your gift goes on
in silence
in a bell jar
still the song...
you've got to shake your fists at lightning
you've got to roar like forest fire
you've got to spread your light like blazes
all across the sky!!!!!!!!!!!
they're going to aim the hoses on you
you show them you won't expire
no you won't expire
not till you burn up every passion
not even when you die!!!!
and the way she sings "fire" in the line "you've got to roar like forest fire" is the best moment on the whole disk! her voice is changing - almost cracking - from silk to sandpaper, no it's both at the same time! great!
[january 17, 2003]
kept translating hollow earth article. not much to report. went on my walk. i must admit: not a very exciting day, but rather productive.

[later]
0:37. bright blue moon. clear voice. the city flodded with water. 60 feet high. everything is under water. no sounds. the cars floating by clumsily. the light milky and people making little bubbles when they speak. under water. under water. under water. how to find you? maybe by your singing a weird trail of notes in the water one white whale in all these oceans one white whale slipping through the nets of silence under polar icecaps miles down you leave your echoes in the water one white whale in all these oceans one white whale one white whale one white whale one white whale one white whale one white whale one white whale one white whale one white whale one white whale one white whale one white whale one white whale one white whale one white whale one white whale one white whale one white whale one white whale

[january 18, 2003]
well. laurie anderson is the best. right now i'm listening to United States and she's just so great!
    "you can read the signs.
                                   you've been on this road before.
     do you want to go home?
     do you want to go home now?
                                  in my dream,
                                  i am your customer
     and the customer
     is always
                                                                         right.
     do you want to go home?
     do you want to go home now?"

more good news. had a full snailmail box today: someone has sent me some sweets :o)) and amazon has sent another indespensible masterpiece of 20th century post-war american literature: "calvin & hobbes: attack of the deranged mutant killer monster snow goons". here's one of my favorite panels:

[later]
went walking. continued to translate and just when i was working on the sentence: "Zimmetsternchen, Makaronchen, Bisquitchen, Lebküchelchen, Mandeltörtchen, Schokoladetörtchen und sonstiges Zuckerwerk aus Claurens 'Vergißmeinnicht', Damentaschenbüchern und Almanachen, Portion à 36 Kreuzer" | "cinnamon biscuits, macaroons, cookies, gingerbread, almond tarts, chocolate tarts and other sweets from Clauren's 'Forget-Me-Not', Ladies' handkerchiefs and almanacs, portion à 36 kreuzer" i suddenly had a bad hunger for biscuits. and since it still was ten minutes to ten i rushed off and bought some. so this is my evening: cookies, cuba libre, a dictionary and laurie anderson's song "big science" on repeat. yodellayheehoo.
[january 19, 2003]
hi there! i've survived the horror trip: i'm just back from my grandmother's birthday and i met a couple of relatives there that i actually had no intention of meeting, seeing or speaking. thank god i could avoid the spanish inquisition this time!

updated the "us" section: added pics of eva, sirka, achim, nicole and irene. hope they will forgive me :o)

what else is worth mentioning: got a long and serious email from sue today. she is also on "undertow" (the suzanne vega mailing list) and we had exchanged mails pretty regularly about two years ago. she had contributed to the|my "stuff inspired by suzanne vega" project: a great version of "world before columbus". actually we had planned to record something together. but since she is living in japan we decided that it would be best if i recorded the guitar tracks for a couple of vega songs, sent them to japan and sue would add the vocals. i did so, but then contact broke off and the project had never been finished, unfortunately. today she wrote that she HAD taped the vocals for the songs and whether i would interested in hearing them. OF COURSE! so i'll write back to her now.

it has started to rain. song on repeat: the cello version of "big science". united states live, disc four, track one.

[later]
"and other forms of boredom advertised as poetry..."
of course i did not write to sue. instead i talked to cedric on the phone for almost two hours. watched "shrek" then. was impressed by john cale's version of "hallelujah" which was part of the soundtrack. colored my hair and while doing so put on cohen's old skin for the new ceremony. but already at track no. 4 i got carried away: "field commander cohen". what a brilliant song!
Lover, come and lie with me, if my lover is who you are. And be your sweetest self a while, until I ask for more, my child. Then let the other selves be rung, yes, let them manifest and come 'til every taste is on the tongue, 'til love is pierced and love is hung, and every kind of freedom done, then, oh my love, oh my love, oh my love.
ah! to write such lyrics! ah, to write such a melody! i would give everything. i think i would sell my soul for that. a faustian singer.
[january 20, 2003]
went shopping big time today. bought socks and underwear and also a beige sweater - which is pretty nice - plus a brown, rather baroque shirt and a black sweatshirt. both are pretty risqué, because the sweatshirt ends above the waist and actually i rather have things that cover my bum. there are things that should better be covered. and the shirt is made out of some kind of stretch fabric and rather tight. and usually i'm wearing shirts that are too big, schlabbersachen, clothes that conceal my actual figure.

helge schneider is fantasizing in blue, telling us a beautiful underwaterworlddream featuring jacques cousteau. "krill steht auf dem speiseplan des grauwals auf seite eins" ein zweitausendmeter schwerer grauwal. the other day i saw the new song "helges möhrchensong" for the first time on tv. great song! very catchy. very complex as well. i'm really looking forward to the concert in march!

kind of a strange day today. actually there's enough to do but i have trouble concentrating.

[later]
i've packed my things for cologne. talked to cedric on the phone. did not finish all the mails i wanted to write. but the server of the university is down anyway, so i can't send any mails. a slow savoy grand song is playing. it's rather mild outside: window open. white street light. shadows of people passing by. "yes. it's less than i ought to feel" looking forward to cologne. sometimes words work like the water in the oceans: they come and go in waves, sometimes it's low tide and there are none around, just a dry, muddy ground that you get stuck in. and then again (with the full moon) it's high tide and the words take you and you're flowing over with them and you can swim in then and move freely, move without borders. of course the danger is always that the undertow will take you away and onto the open sea. but then i'd rather drown in the words than starve stuck in the mud. does this make any sense? "yes. we should talk more. we should touch more. much more."
[january 21, 2003]
it's 18:43 already. the day went by in a rush. highlight today: blaine's performance in the seminar. we were sitting in front of the class (36 students today) and we were just telling them that they have to hand in the term papers by april 21, when the new semester will start. and while i was explaining this blaine wanted to take a sip from his coffee. suddenly somebody yelled from the back of the class: "but april 21st, that's eastermonday" which was such a strange objection because of course when april 21st is a holiday then people can hand in their papers the day after or the day before, however blaine had to laugh and he sort of blew into his coffeecup and squirted the coffee all over his face. roaring laughter.

downloaded "helges mörchen-lied" which is playing on repeat now, pushing the mood-o-meter up to 4.5. spent all day long talking with eva, sirka and blaine, of course, discussing the seminar and other things. actually i wanted to work on the hollow earth articles but - no chance. "tumma lieber die mörchen" great melody! hm, actually i had planned to play a couple of songs tonight [you know, i've got a guitar hidden in a dark corner of the office and i had this craving for playing and singing this afternoon - might have been related to helge schneider] but there's a group of people down the corridor having a small party because somebody had just passed her habilitation, so i'll have to wait till they're gone. kept wondering all evening whether i'm missing something, i mentioned to blaine today that i was thinking of spending carnival in cologne this year, even actively participating. actually carnival is an event that is against everything i believe in, it is something i would normally flee from. but blaine said that that's the time when everybody can make a match, where people just get drunk, go out and hunt for some adventure: "abschleppen & abgeschleppt werden" to pick up and being picked up. but the more i kept thinking about this the more i realized that this isn't really what i'm out for: or is it? getting pissed and then fool around with somebody whose name you don't remember the other morning. this doesn't really sound like me. or does it? to be honest i would rather write a good song. would i really? "arm the lonely" does this mean that i'm boring? is it just because i'm scared? am i missing something. am i wasting days, weeks, months? will i regret that i didn't run around screwing everybody who hasn't climbed a tree by the time you've counted to three? what do i really want? "you can have me in a matter of moments"

[later]
it's 23:48. added another classic movie to my cologne-night-screenings: the maltese falcon. did you ever realize that steve buscemi looks a lot like humphrey bogart? anyway, got to sleep now. hope you sleep well, too. "tumma lieber die mörchen..."
[january 22, 2003]
song of the day: "classified" by laurie anderson
I came home today and you had rearranged all the furniture. And you had changed your name. And Iíd never seen you wear that pin-striped shirt before. And then I realized, I was in the wrong house.

In this picture, thereís a big blank piece of paper and Iím saying: Sign it. Go ahead. Itís blank. What have you got to lose? And the sunís coming up and you still havenít signed it and I keep saying: Sign it. Sign it.

Iím going to draw a picture and Iím going to put in an eight-lane superhighway and Iím going to draw you on it in an old jalopy. And then Iím going to draw a whole fleet of Mack trucks bareling along the highway with their brights on. And then Iím going to draw a flat tire on the jalopy and then Iím going to draw the whole jalopy in X-ray to show that youíve got no gas.

He said: You can take my money. You can take my life. You can take my gun. You can take my wife. But just make sure that when you do--you take grandma too.

Hey! That sounds great! That sounds really good! Just donít put my name on it, OK?  Take my name off it, all right? Wish they all could be California girls.

just prepared the seminar and got in a sort of interpretory frenzy because there's this one scene (chapter 12 of wuthering heights that fits so perfectly to freud's theory of the uncanny that it's almost, well, uncanny.
[later]
i was on the way to the lecture series today with ute & eva and when we were standing on the escalator ute asked me: "and, which film did you watch last night?" [i had met her yesterday evening when she was going home and i was walking up to the office armed with a bottle of coke and some chocolate bars and she asked whether this was my dinner and i said: "sure, i'm gonna watch a video now and have a great, trashy evening!" so that's why she asked about the film...] anyway, i said: "yes as a matter of fact i've been watching the maltese falcon. for the first time." and eva turned around and said: "really!? i've watched it for the first time recently as well!" and just when i wanted to tell them what my favorite scene was she went on: "my favorite scene, by the way, is when he says to her: "i'll hand you over to the police for murder although i love you. if you get twenty years in prison i will wait for you. if they hang you i will always remember you." which, of course, was MY favorite scene, too. so there you go! poor blaine! i wanted to tell him about this after the seminar today but he turned away and put his hands over his ears and said: "i don't want to know it, don't tell me, i don't know the film yet and i want to watch it so don't tell me!" so if he's read up till here he will know now who's the murder.

had a coffee with nicole this morning and i played her helges mörchenlied. she wasn't much impressed. in the seminar today we talked about "telling names" in wuthering heights - you know: heath-Cliff, Cat-Her(o)ine etc. and blaine asked whether anybody had an idea for "Hindley" and a woman said: "i looked it up in a dictionary and it said: Hirschkuh. roaring laughter.

now i'm on the train back to b. TIRED my eyes are aching. the seminar went well. have i said this before? have i said this before? "you can have me in a matter of moments" had an idea for a new song. well, at least for the lyrics. but right now it feels a little like: well, what's the USE of writing songs???? just listened to "strange angels" on the md. small luxury. the song has a kind of "graceland" sound. i haven't noticed this before! now early cohen songs. sparkling skin.

[later]
okay, i'm home. finally. massive delay again. anyway, on the way from the station to my flat i was listening to joni's "sire of sorrow" and i thought - again, and forgive me if i have commented on this before - that this is really, really a great song! because the lyrics are EXACTLY what i feel like: you know this situation: first there's this massive self pity and deep desperation, a feeling of being punished unjustly, a moaning and wailing, a crying and woeing. and then - and actually more or less at the same time - there's this other voice that tells you how stupid you are and that you've got to pull yourself together and that you've got to stop complaining and making a mountain out of a molehill. just like in the song. two voices. both are my voices. both are voices of others. and that is why i'll add the complete lyrics to today's entry although i've already quotes laurie at length this morning.
THE SIRE OF SORROW (JOB'S SAD SONG)

Let me speak, let me spit out my bitterness--
Born of grief and nights without sleep and festering flesh
Do you have eyes?
Can you see like mankind sees?
Why have you soured and curdled me?
Oh you tireless watcher!  What have I done to you?
That you make everything I dread and everything I fear come true?

Once I was blessed; I was awaited like the rain
Like eyes for the blind, like feet for the lame
Kings heard my words, and they sought out my company
But now the janitors of Shadowland flick their brooms at me
Oh you tireless watcher!  What have I done to you?
that you make everything I dread and everything I fear come true?

(Antagonists: Man is the sire of sorrow)
I've lost all taste for life
I'm all complaints
Tell me why do you starve the faithful?
Why do you crucify the saints?
And you let the wicked prosper
You let their children frisk like deer
And my loves are dead or dying, or they don't come near
(Antagonists: We don't despise your chastening
God is correcting you)

Oh and look who comes to counsel my deep distress
Oh, these pompous physicians
What carelessness!
(Antagonists: Oh all this ranting all this wind
Filling our ears with trash)
Breathtaking ignorance adding insult to injury!
They come blaming and shaming
(Antagonists: Evil doer)
And shattering me
(Antagonists: This vain man wishes to seem wise
A man born of asses)
Oh you tireless watcher!  What have I done to you?
That you make everything I dread and everything I fear come true?

(Antagonists: We don't despise your chastening)
Already on a bed of sighs and screams,
And still you torture me with visions
You give me terrifying dreams!
Better I was carried from the womb straight to the grave.
I see the diggers waiting, they're leaning on their spades.

(Antagonists: Man is the sire of sorrow
Sure as the sparks ascend)
Where is hope while you're wondering what went wrong?
Why give me light and then this dark without a dawn?
(Antagonists: Evil is sweet in your mouth
Hiding under your tongue)
Show your face!
(Antagonists: What a long fall from grace)
Help me understand!
What is the reason for your heavy hand?
(Antagonists: You're stumbling in shadows
You have no name now)
Was it the sins of my youth?
What have I done to you?
That you make everything I dread and everything I fear come true?
(Antagonists: Oh your guilt must weigh so greatly)
Everything I dread and everything I fear come true
(Antagonists: Man is the sire of sorrow)
Oh you make everything I dread and everything I fear come true

[january 23, 2003]
wow! bad, bad dreams again. two times even. woke up in the middle of the night and when i had fallen back to sleep again it started anew.

idea for a seminar: "holy verses, sacred songs - biblical intertextuality in pop-lyrics" discussing the theory of intertextuality and examples such as: cohen: story of isaac; vega: rock in this pocket (david's song); joni mitchell: sire of sorrow (job's sad song) and i'm sure there's some laurie anderson song as well. mail me if you have more suggestions. it should be a real reference to the bible, not just a line or one single metaphor, but the whole song should be centered around it.

the glasses arrived today! so i've got a whole set of them now. just had been on my 90 minutes walk. although it rained cats and dogs this morning. but i had put on my old jeans, my famous gray raincoat and had put the md-player in a plastic bag to make it waterproof. thus equiped i did not mind getting soaked. it was great: all the hills were covered under the clouds so it felt like climbing up directly into the low, gray sky. have to do the dishes now...
[later]
it's ten past one already and i'm pretty tired. i'm feeling strangely melancholic. a very diffuse, unfocused feeling. spent all night writing a mail to c. and had a couple of thoughts which might be worth writing about. but not tonight anymore. tomorrow. but i'll leave you with another calvin & hobbes strip:
hm, leonard is talk-singing about his secret life with a voice that you cannot describe. you have to hear it. "i bite my lip | i buy what i'm told: from the latest hit | to the wisdom of old | but i'm always alone | and my heart is like ice | and it's crowded and cold | in my secret life". i'm very tired all of a sudden. i could fall asleep right on the spot. sitting on this chair. in front of this desk. with the headphones on and my eyes opened all night because i'm feeling too paralyzed to close them. it's like the song would suck all strength and tension out of my body and it is imploding, losing its shape, melting and at the same time yearning for something to lean on to so it won't come apart, for something to support it. a spine. a gaze. arms. bound in the odd sensation of being ready to approach anybody, a total stranger, someone walking down the street by chance and lean against him or her. lying in my bed hear the clock ticking. flashback. almost left behind. sometimes you picture me. too far ahead. to me. what you've said. go slow i fall behind! unwinds. after. i will catch you. if you're lost. time. if you fall i will catch you i will be waiting. my picture fades. watching through windows you're wondering if i'm okay. the drum beats out of time. if you fall. time after. if you're lost. time after. i fall behind. i will catch you. time after.
[january 24, 2003]
hm. bad nightmares. woke up at five in the morning and put on some music so i wouldn't get to sleep again. was so frightened. same old plot and dramatis personae. still it scared the shit out of me. thus headache today and heavy eyelids. think i will flee out in the woods for two hours this afternoon again. "you told me again you preferred handsome men, but for me you would make an exception". there must have been an accident on one of the main streets and now all the cars are redirected down my street. heavy traffic and long lines in front of the traffic lights as though there was a soccer match. "we are ugly but we have the music" if you should ever be looking for a verse to put on my tombstone, this one is on top of the list. sorry, i'm rambling...
[later]
hm, somehow it's pretty cold outside. i still got cold fingers although i've returned over an hour ago. worked on a new concept for the bibliography and chronology section for the hollow earth cd which i think is worth pursuing. tara sent a great photo with the heading: mr. president and primary cultural techniques. tried all afternoon to make that new link structure for the chronology. it's better than before, but not perfect yet. and it better be perfect because once the files are coded it's a lot of work to redesign them all. still haven't answered sue's mail. feel guilty about that. still haven't started to work on the pocahontas essay. feel guilty about that, too. still haven't started to write my dissertation. when i'm reading an article by thomas i'm thinking: THAT's what i want to do: write great literary essays. when i'm listening to joni mitchell i'm thinking: THAT's what i want to do: write great, orchestral songs. when i'm listening to suzanne vega i'm thinking: THAT's what i want: writing guitar based, simple songs. when i read cohen i'm thinking: THAT's what i want to do: write a great novel! when i'm reading plath i'm thinking: THAT's what i want to do: write great poems. when i'm doing the seminar i'm thinking: THAT's what i want to do: make great seminars. when i'm working on the hollow earth cd-rom i'm thinking: THAT's what i want to do: make a great, semi-scientific multi-media ...well, thing. when i'm seeing two people hugging each other in the park i'm thinking: THAT's what i want to do: be together with somebody. the list is endless. how am i supposed to do ANY of these things when i feel the desire to do ALL THE REST AT THE SAME TIME??
[later]
"filling our ear with trash..." thought about my affirmation for the written word instead of the spoken. or in other words: my preference for writing things instead of saying them "directly" to somebody in a conversation. blaine keeps complaining about this all the time. that i wouldn't say anything. only write. ONLY? i'm feeling much more comfortable behind the words. in a spatial as well as a temporal sense. writing things down creates a distance. it creates a second i, the written i, the i that is talking IN LANGUAGE which is simply a different i than the i in a conversation. in a conversation there's hardly any space and time for distance. why is distance so important to me? actually all i'm writing for is to breach a certain kind of distance. but at the same time i'm also writing to create distance. this doesn't make any sense. maybe by writing i'm trying to create another "self" [yes i know: dangerous term!], another speaker, who is me but not me, somebody i can hide behind, somebody who can get hurt without being wounded, somebody who takes the blows, somebody who is so detached from myself that i don't mind THAT much if he's criticized or rejected. at the same time the writing frees me from responsibility. although the written word in a way lasts longer than the spoken which is gone as soon as the sound has faded, i can construct a [poststructuralist based] position of autonomy of what is written: it doesn't have to do ANYthing with "reality", thus with me, i have always the chance to refer to the linguistic closed circuit, can always say: but it's just words refering to other words refering to other words. i'm only seeing myself in words. i'm not familiar with other semiotic systems of expression. maybe that is part of the problem. the problem that is me. maybe i've never really been able to show somebody that i love her?? rubbish!!!!! "send me somebody who's strong and somewhat sincere..." joni is praying. can't understand why she chose those strange songs from court & spark for travelogue and not the beautiful, awesome ones like "court & spark", "same situation" and "down to you". but then who can make sense of any album from the 70s? listened to leonard's death of a ladies' man today and was utterly confused again: das soll wohl alles sowas sein...
[later]
it's 0:14 and since last night's nightmares made sleep more tiresome than relaxing i'm yawning and yearning for bed, warm covers and a soft pillow. but nevertheless there's a wave of some strange "openness" suddenly: i tell you, these moments shortly before you sleep and shortly after you've woken up are the most dangerous: unguarded, unrepressed, transparent borders between what you feel and what you don't want to feel. right now, as i said, a strange feeling of grateful openness - perhaps induced by the music? - a feeling of being ready to let down every shield and every defense. a feeling of losing everything you want to do, every idea, every value, past and possible future and a odd willingness to be dragged along. "i'd like to meet you in a timeless, placeless place. somewhere out of context and beyond all consequences" well, as usual suzanne says it best. that's the feeling EXACTLY. just received another filled out feedback form :o)
[january 25, 2003]
hey! cool! more filled out feedback forms! :o) you know, i'm such an idiot sometimes. yesterday night - my room had already turned by 90° - a thought flickered in my head: it seemed like a good idea, it made me look forward to the morning, it was some sort of plan: i wanted to go to town this morning to hunt for a present for tara. seemed like a good idea but then i suddenly realized that i had tried to trick myself. because of course the sole inspiration for the thought was the hope to meet somebody. IF there's a time when i could meet her by accident it would be on a saturday morning. i'm such a pinhead. like a child who repeatedly presses his hands on the hot oven. again and again. i mean i know what i'm dreaming about: that i will pass by and she's just impressed and everything she ever felt for me would be unearthed, uncovered, like it was still there, only hidden; that it would come back, or perhaps even that there would be something new, something even stronger, something even more durable. in any case some wonder. a miracle. magic. but jesus! this is not the new testament!! i had almost tricked myself into doom! because of course first of all she would NOT be there alone but with him probably and second her reaction is of course not the one that i fantasize about! she'd not stop startled, invite me for a glass of vine that night and tell me how much better life had been before and how much she's missing me. boy, sometimes i'm just functioning like a child, having the most stupid and ridiculous dreams and hopes. so, naive. so embarrassingly stupid. so when i had realized all this i reminded myself of RULE NO. 1: i only want to see, to hear from or of her, to meet her when she [sorry, this sounds stupid now] is in love with me. this excludes the next seventy years i suppose. and that's why i'm staying home this morning and i'll go looking for a present on monday when she's at work. reason won! hooray!
[later, much later. another place. almost another planet]
spent all night writing a mail to c.. then just the other moment i was looking for a certain photo in the old journal and i came across an entry from august 1999 and it pierced my heart like a sharp icicle. and all the other entries made my blood freeze: talking about love carelessly, without considering the infinite value of what i had, without showing a single word of appreciation of the person i was with. ich bin ein beschissenes arschloch.
[january 26, 2003]
what an exciting sunday morning: had tea instead of coffee today!! ich muss echt auspassen, dass mir meine kleine welt nicht ZU aufregend wird! got another feedback form! :o) it's a gray day. the perfect day to work which i will do now. "maybe cedric's right" i was just thinking when i checked my mails and laurie anderson was singing "slip away". "maybe the song really is about uncle lou and how he's falling asleep and thus is some sort of love song". i always thought that it was about watching somebody dying, but there's this line "you slipped away into the remains of the day" and "the remains of the day" could be a quote from the interpretation of dreams since the remains of the day are the basic building blocks of dreams.
[sunday night already]
hollow earthed. made some progress with the chronology. i think the link structure and layout is almost perfect now. of course only until thomas will view it and rearrange everything. another mail from and to c.. tried to play a couple of songs this evening. worked pretty well. actually i wanted to start working on the pocahontas essay - i think i have planned this for four weeks now. there must be SOME reason that i haven't done so...hm...MAYBE BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO IDEAS, YOU PEABRAIN?? listened to suzanne's cologne concert from last february. great stuff! it kept raining all day long. the drops knocking onto the windowsill like some animal that wants to get in. very poesque. nevermore. tried to look something up about subjectivity in guattari's chaosmosis:
So we are proposing to decenter the question of the subject onto the question of subjectivity. Traditionally, the subject was conceived as the ultimate essence of individualization, as a pure, empty, prereflexive apprehension of the world, a nucleus of sensibility, of expressivity - the unifier of states of consciousness. With subjectivity we place the emphasis instead on the founding instance of intentionality. This involves taking the relation between subject and object by the middle and foregrounding the expressive instance (or the interpretant of the Peircean triad). [...] A partial subjectivity -- pre-personal, polyphonic, collective and machinic. (21-22)
not that i would understand any of this, but nevertheless it seems to leave some kind of weird impression that works, almost secretly, and develops ideas and thoughts which i would rather express in some kind of aesthetic than scientific context. [however, the really frustrating part is of course that there actually ARE people who DO understand the above paragraph!] aesthetics is my only chance of making something extraordinary. my head is simply too small to be a brilliant thinker. i might  have a big heart [oooooohhhh...!] but my ability to engage in an intelligent reflection about abstract matters is severely limited. maybe it's better to write a 2nd class song than a 3rd class essay on the relation between the subject-concept in 20th century french philosophy and a post-war canadian novel. oh come on, i DO deserve a round of pity!

JESUS! GOD HELP US! a member of the kelly family is guest star in "zimmer frei"! WHY O WHY! it could have been such a nice evening...

nicole called and we talked while "zimmer frei" was flickering soundlessly like an artificial fire in the corner of the room. it has stopped raining.

[january 27, 2003]
i think i'm being ripped off. i have paid for a 24 hours day, but i have the slight suspicion that i'm only getting 20 or 21. got to check that! i'll stop the time tomorrow and see whether i get the WHOLE deal! it's evening already again. the day started with a walk downtown. found a present for tara. yesterday night i had the idea of sending a 200 lurkers cd to the local newspaper. from time to time they have small cd reviews of local bands so i thought i might give it a shot and since i had been in town anyway i brought it in person this morning. two hours later my phone rang. it was a reporter from the paper asking me about the cd and about 200 lurkers. "it sounds very interesting" she said "of course you haven't provided a lot of information so would you mind meeting me this week and maybe we can do a report on the band" i was almost speechless. this was the very last thing that i had expected! so i'm meeting her on thursday and maybe they will publish a small article on 200 lurkers.

of course this threw me into utter confusion again. because if there will be an article than there might be a couple of people who will check out the web site. probably more than ever before and more than ever will in the future. so it would be great to have those new songs which are faaaaar from being finished. there's just no chance of recording them in time because they're not even written yet, bloody hell! also i want to do a re-recording of "ohne dich". listened to the old version and it's not really up to date anymore. i could actually manage that. it wouldn't take too long i suppose since music and lyrics are finished. SIGH. so what i need now is a neat device to stop time so that i've got enough nights to finish the two (or even three) new song plus "ohne dich" before people will visit the site. SIGH SIGH SIGH!

in other news: more mails from and to catherine. she sent me her phone number to fix a date and place to meet in cologne. tried to call her but only got to speak to her answering machine. also talked to cedric today: the new lou reed cd is released today. packed my things for cologne.

"we are so small between the stars | so large against the sky | and lost among the subway crowds | i try to catch your eye..." cedric played me a couple of tunes from uncle lou's new cd over the phone. hm. one track is quite beautiful, the others are not exactly "my cup of tea" has cedric suggested with slight hint to belle & sebastian. tomorrow i'll go to cologne again, probably torturing my brain with ideas how i can still write and record the songs. you know, the strange thing is: i'm NEVER satisfied. wonder whether this is pathologic. actually i should sleep now since i've got to get up early but i'm not really tired yet. leonard is singing so beautifully. how can you come up with such awesome melodies?

[later]
it's 23:31. catherine called and i think we talked for almost an hour and a half. got to sleep now. see you tomorrow.
[january 28, 2003]
today is SILLY SHIRT DAY. which means that i'm wearing the new shirt which actually is way too tight. it's for people whith an athletic body. with an aesthetic body. two attributes which unfortunately are not REALLY describing my shape. anyway, when i was standing in blaine's office this morning the door opened and eva came in. she didn't see me at first because i was standing in a corner and when she turned around she looked at me, at the silly shirt, stopped midway in her sentence, startled, made a step backwards and then said: "oh..." pause "is that your new baroque shirt?" she asked me. "yes" i replied with an insecure voice and the "yes" was more a question than an affirmation "it's silly shirt day today" i added. "hm..." she said. pause. "das ist ja richtig knackig..."

i started the day in cologne with scaring the shit out of blaine. [sorry!] when i arrived at my office i switched on the computer and wrote an eamil to him that i was still in bielefed and that i wouldn't come for the seminar today. our offices are just a couple of rooms away so after he had responded with an appropriate answer ["wichsficker!"] i went over and knocked on the door. somehow i had the funny feeling that he was only slightly amused by my little practical joke.

anyway, the seminar went well and after the session we went to the cafeteria with eva, sirka, ute and gordon. which was fun! we discussed several interesting topics ranging from holidays in sweden [by the way a place helge schneider likes to spend his holidays as well. only in his fantasy, though. but that's cheaper - he argues. and the food is always good...] to christina ugly-era's performance on national tv last saturday. "you know what" blaine said "she was singing live and she had a great voice! it was excellent! my friends thought so as well, and they don't even like her!" to which i strongly protested because just the other night cedric had told me on the phone how miserable and pathetic he thought her singing had been. so i said: "well, actually cedric said the exact opposite. and i think in such questions i trust him more..." for a short moment i thought that blaine would attack me with the fork...

when i returned i actually wanted to start doing all the research stuff for thomas. but then achim came into the office. i hadn't seen him for three weeks now since he's been writing on his exam thesis. and when i asked him how things were going he was very reluctant and told me that he was pretty desperate about it. that he even thought of not handing it in because he just wasn't sure whether it was ANY good. so he told me what he had set out to do [mapping concepts of complexity theory onto the novels of william gibson] and actually he had a couple of very good ideas. but i guess he had thought so long about it that they all seemed profane to him. so we talked about how he could manage to restructure things and i tried to help him see what good points he already had and that it would be just stupid NOT to finish the thesis. we did so for almost two hours. during that time nicola dropped in with a friend of hers and when the three had left and i was alone again the phone rang:

"wie isses?" a familiar voice on the other end of the line said: it was thomas who called in from l.a. to discuss a couple of things that had to be done this week. so we talked work and after that we talked a little private and he asked how our kalkofe-night had been [and now that i'm writing this i wonder how he KNEW. i haven't told him about this!] and i said: "it was great! we had a lot of fun. of course not half as much fun as we would have had if you had been there as well!" and he laughed and replied: "yeah! if you cannot be with the one you love, love the one you're with. that's an old truth!"

so after that long distance call from the states i wrote another mail to catherine and then watched a video. now it's 22:23 and i'm dead tired. only had five hours of sleep last night - which is just not enough. so i will get to bed [well, that is what i have as a bed here in the office] now and officially end the SILLY SHIRT DAY.

PS: he he. got to share this with you because, well, yes, maybe i'm a little proud. a fellow towie asked for a cd the other week so i sent one over [to portugal i think it was] and he wrote a couple of lines today:

Subject: about your music...
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 2003 18:13:58 -0000
From: João Pedro Rodrigues <joarod@moonbeam.com>

Hello,

I'm listening to your album with great pleasure, I must say!
Very nice songs, and an outstanding production. (I don't know if this is home-made, but if it is, congratulations, it's a hell of a work!)

As I hear the songs, several musicians/groups cross my mind (Jethro Tull, Sid Barret, David Bowie, Simon and Garfunkel, and yes, Suzanne Vega too) but I don't like pointing out similarities between music, because they are often reductive (I've just done it, sorry!).

Often when we say "this group seems like that group" we're talking about lack of originality, well this is definitely not the case. The songs are truly originals.

Keep up the good work.

João Pedro
 

[january 29, 2003]

on the train: it's 20:01, i'm still two hours away from home ["home", pah!] and across the isle somebody is listening to lenny kravitz. "are you gonna go my way?" no way! i met eva at the station, she was going to visit her friend in wuppertal so i had company for the first part of my trip.

the seminar went well. sometimes it's like improvising on stage and although i'm actually not somebody who can do this it worked today for Dracula. blaine was well prepared, though, and i think i ruined his concept again today by my stream of consciousness free association kind of kamikaze ramblings.

wondered again today whether i'm doing things the right way: blaine was telling about andreas today "yeah, you know, there was this girl bar-tending at the Westpol and he invited her for a drink and then she said..." and i thought "why don't YOU invite anyone for a drink!?" and blaine proceeded "...and then on new years eve he met her again but by that time he was with that other girl the he'd gotten to know shortly before..." and i thought "hm..." but you stand there so nice in your blizzard of ice and actually andreas appears to be a rather shy guy, not some typical..., well you know. spent a long time watching from his lonely wooden tower

so i just got home. reiner has left a message on the answering machine. he asked me to call him back. his voice sounded a bit alarming, though. i don't hope that it's about quitting the band. which reminds me of my meeting with the reporter tomorrow noon. i'm still not sure WHAT to say exactly. i mean reiner and daniel don't know anything about "200 lurkers" and actually i should have told them but everything happened so quick... and they will lean that way forever while suzanne holds the mirror.

[january 30, 2003]
phew. it's over. actually it was quite nice. i went to the publishing house of the newspaper which is in the middle of downtown. i told the lady at the counter that i''m there for a 12 o'clock date with mrs. hillepriebe and she called her down. actually she was much nicer [and much more attractive: that kind of woman that might as well have been eckhard s.'s girlfriend: hip, but not too girlish, collecting spex sampler cds and dj-ing now and then at some club] than her name would suggest. she was accompanied by a young girl, a trainee from school. we went around the block and had a coffee. she got out her sketchbook and made some notes while we were talking. i followed cedric's advise and was pretty frank about the whole situation, you know: that daniel and reiner don't know anything about 200 lurkers yet. the other option would have been to make up a completely fake biography and story around the project. there were two or three questions when i wished that i had gone for the latter option because she asked about what i've studied and what i'm doing now and one thing led to the next and suddenly she was writing down that i was doing my phd thesis on cohen's novels. gulp. also telling that i am a literary scholar working at the university felt so, hm, strange, so pretentious in a way. i didn't want to say that. it should be a secret. my whole life should be a secret!! because it doesn't have to do anything with the music. there were a thousand other things i suddenly wanted to tell about the songs, about the lyrics, about the production and all the people who have supported me like cedric and tara and blaine and all this was so much more important than what i am doing for a job or how old i am. anyway, the whole interview lasted about 35 minutes which went by much too quickly. then she got out her camera and said to herself: "hm, should we take a photo of you, just to be on the save side?" at which i frowned and shook my head reluctantly and the trainee said faster than she should have (and she blushed a little after that) "yes!" but i could convince her to better publish the cover image of the cd if she should need a photo to go along with the article. well, then it was over and i had the strange feeling that i had only told her 3% of what there is to say about the nerve bible (and she had never heard of us before!!) and 200 lurkers, which felt to be wrong in a way, not for me but for daniel and reiner and rob and the songs and suddenly i realized how many memories i had about the band and what a long and rich history we had and how happy i should be to be a part of it.
[later]
worked all day on the 200 lurkers pages and made some changes, adjustments and additions. haven't uploaded the whole lot yet, though. catherine mailed. she has received the cd and while listening to it she was reminded of a catalogue for an exhibition of contemporary photography: the nerves end at the fingertips! and she said that she had actually visited the exhibition and that she even still had a poster: baby ducks following a wooden mother. which is of course quite a coincidence because that catalogue was the inspiration for the song with the same title and it also features an introduction written by thomas. so catherine might have known him already! also talked to cedric on the phone for about two and a half hours. now it's half past twelve and the whole city is covered with snow: beautiful! in other news: it's sahar's [thomas' wife] birthday today.
[january 31, 2003]
finished working on the 200 lurkers pages and uploaded them. thought for a long time whether it's a good think to have a new clickable feature: "opinions" where people can send their opinion on the music. i tried to put myself in the shoes of somebody who is visiting 200 lurkers by chance. and i think the first thing i would check out before i'd go through the trouble of downloading big mp3 files or ordering a cd would be to see what other people have thought about the songs. so this might actually help to get people more curious about the project and thus i eventually decided to have the new "opinions" section. which of course means that i need a lot of opinions about 200 lurkers now. and that's where YOU come in...! ;o) in a whitmanesque fashion i have - for a start - put on the feedback i've gotten from bernd, kathryn and joão without asking them... which is not really politically correct...
[later]
more snow. think i'm going for a nice snow walk now. thought a lot about recording "ohne dich". might start today.
[later]
i did not go for a walk. instead i started recording a new version of "ohne dich". then rehearsal. i told daniel and reiner about 200 lurkers and about the interview and it seemed like it was okay. phew. when i came back i wanted to tape the vocals for "ohne dich" but i suddenly realized that i had forgotten my bag in daniel's car complete with all my papers, my money and also the microphone. argh! so i recorded two undertwater-guitar tracks instead. nicole called and we talked for half an hour about mulholland drive and other topics i have absolutely no clue about. "ich will immer so viel erleben und verschlafe doch nur die zeit und kaum dass ich einmal nicht müde bin ist der sommer schon wieder vorbei..." my fridge is as empty as my head. actually i should have gone shopping for food today but after i had finished working on the web site it was three o'clock already and i feared to meet somebody at the supermarket. i remembered how i went shopping the other week at some "dangerous time": i kept running down the isle, my eyes fixed on the floor, pushing the shopping cart madly. "ich will immer so gern berauscht sein und werde doch immer nur breit und kaum dass ich einmal nüchtern bin ist der sommer schon wieder vorbei..." so i didn't go and now i don't have anything to eat or drink. which is fine because i thought that it might be good to have another weekend without food. i'm eating way too much again. i was looking through some old photos because i scanned a couple of nerve bible shots for tomorrow's entry and i look so young and thin on them! "ich will dich so gerne vergessen und bin dazu doch nicht bereit und kaum dass ich dich einmal wiederseh' ist der sommer schon wieder vorbei..." no new messages on server. i'm tired. tomorrow another month will start again. more time that's passing. time that's wasted. time that's a distance between...oh well. fuck. ghrts hbbrt oier ng ttsderg! iooedf, njggh ugg trh ddcvfg. iirtezfd mmn.