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[february 01, 2003]
well, quite a busy day today. almost finished "ohne dich". only have to tape the vocals. i'll do this tonight i guess. more snow. socker match this afternoon. drunken fans passing singing by the window. seven dead astronauts in the sky and no new messages on server. "...if you see something in a nightsky that is clear it's just me burning in the outer atmosfear."

actually i wanted to write a couple of lines about the band, but i think i'm going for a walk first. it's half past nine and the streets are emptier now. quiter. calmer. whiter.

[february 02, 2003]
when i was standing under the shower this morning i thought about a song for the "song of the month" pop up window but couldn't really make up my mind. so when i was dressed and had re-arranged "huddinge" [you want to know what i'm sleeping on? well, get out your ikea catalogue and hunt for huddinge!] and the pc had booted up and laurie was smiling at me from the desktop i checked my mail and saw that cedric had suggested a song of the month:
Subject: entropic empire
Date: Sun, 02 Feb 2003 03:26:36 +0100
From: cedric@xxxxx.de

Dear YOU,

it's late at night and i just saw that the diary has entered a new month (again). the pl/space for the 'song of the month' still seems to be empty, so, i dare to make a proposal. however silly it might be. i fear, if anyone could listen to the music, they'd say: "oh well, that's not bryan adams, is it? or is it 'the great robbie williams ballad'?" but beyond reason this song is SO important for me in this 'difficult' times that i'd like to propose its lyrics (at least) for the 'song of the month'-section! i hope it speaks to you, as well!
Always yours,

and when i read them i thought that this was an excellent choice. and then i wondered why i like the lyrics so much and then i thought that something must be terribly wrong when you're identifying with the retrospective ramblings of a 60 years old ex junkie rock 'n' roller.

anyway, recorded the vocals for "ohne dich" last night and realized that the song isn't QUITE the way i want it to sound, so i guess i will still have to do a bit of mixing today. i'll meet with my parents and my sister and her friend this noon to have lunch at some egyptian restaurant. my sister has invited us. ?.

B L A S T ! ! just when i had mixed "ohne dich" i got an error message that some of the wav.-files were damaged. god knows how. and now i can't open the vocal tracks! ARRGGHH! i'm just happy that i had already made a final version mix! otherwise two days' work was wasted! nicole called and we talked for a while and then cedric called and we talked for a while and then nadine called and we talked for a while and fixed a date for tomorrow and catherine mailed and i answered and inbetween i made dinner and did the laundry. darüber ist es abend geworden. 22:05 and the days are too short. i probably won't start with the story about the band tonight. or maybe i will. we'll see.

oh well, why not. so here we go. everything started basically in 1995 [for contextualization see the "nadine day" entry on may 18, 2002]. i had put together a little solo set, basically with songs by suzanne vega & leonard cohen that i performed. once or twice i think ;o). anyway, nadine asked me why i didn't play with a band and i said "oh well" and "i don't know, but you know, it's just..." and "hm, a band is so..." and "and besides it's hard to find people..." so one day when we met at the university she showed me a little flyer that she had designed. it had my phone number on it and said that i was looking for people to found a band. and she gave it to me and said: copy it. put it on the white boards. and i did. two weeks passed and nothing happened. i was glad. because nothing is worse than having contact with people you do not know. [which obviously is quite an obstacle in getting to know people but i won't elaborate on that now...]

rob fooling around with the headphones in the studiobut one day the phone rang and my sister answered it [i was still living at my parent's back then, though my sister and i shared a separate flat in the house]. "there's somebody who wants to talk to you" she shouted into my room "some guy who's playing guitar..." so i went to the phone and my heart was beating unbearably loud and i picked up the receiver and i said "hello?" and a lively voice at the other end said "hi, this is rob terwesten. i'm calling because of your flyer..." and then we fixed a date and met at a bar later that week. when we met for the first time i realized that i liked him at once. he was a good deal shorter than me and a little older and he was very bright and quick and witty. we talked about music and about what making music means to us and suddenly we were having a very, very enjoyable conversation. he said that a friend of him called daniel was playing drums.

at that time they had a rehearsal room in detmold, a small city close to bielefeld, so our very first rehearsals took place in that small, and narrow room in which my head almost touched the ceiling. here i met daniel for the first time, and i also liked him from the start: he was a little taller than i and he was doing practical jokes all the time. the good thing was that both of them were not professional players: they took it very seriously but there was never any pressure or demand for virtuosity. everybody played as good as he could, and that was enough to make me feel really, really great! it was amazing playing with a whole band. later stephan joined us on the bass so we were four then. we found a rehearsal room in bielefeld and started to jam twice a week for three hours each. we very quickly came up with songs: basically rob had a chord pattern and i did the lyrics and then we sort of put it together during the rehearsals.

[in front: stephan (wearing lasses), rob, daniel & me] the first name we had was "colorless green ideas" from a sentence used in semantics teaching that goes "colorless green ideas sleep furiously". but somehow we knew that it wasn't the best name that you could have. and one day rob saw laurie anderson's book "stories from the nerve bible" lying on my desk and he said: "that's the perfect name: the nerve bible. all in favor say aye!" we had three ayes and one no from stephan. so from that day on we were the nerve bible. we made out first demo tape and sent it to a small magazine, that promptly published a review that was full of praise. which encouraged us to make more songs. it didn't take long and we were doing gigs. quite a number of them actually. we played at almost every venue possible in bielefeld and also in the cities nearby. rob and daniel [who were both studying law - stephan was as well!] knew a guy who was working in a sound studio, and thanks to him we got special rates so that in december 1995 we could record four songs which - along with a fifth, self recorded track - became our first cd: the prosecutor's love songs. mind you at that time having your music on cd was a special thing! and it was a "real" cd, meaning that we had a small label in hamburg who had them manufactured professionally: complete with cover that we had designed ourselves. this cd got raving reviews in the local papers as well.

daniel during rehearsalso we kept doing gigs and kept composing and a year later we had new songs for a second cd: tomorrow vladimir. this time we had less time in the studio so the recordings were a mix of material taped in the rehearsal room and overdubs taped in the studio. unfortunately there started to be some kind of tension between stephan and the rest of us. and in 1998 he left the band. he came back a couple of weeks later to play a last gig with us. after he had left we kept searching for a new bass player - which was more difficult than we had imagined. finally we found reiner, who had already played in all bands in bielefeld for 20 years. he is a real professional. rehearsals suddenly went much better because the atmosphere was relaxed and the four of us had more fun playing than ever before.

at that time we started experimenting with home recording software and we started taping new songs for a full length cd. as usual rob came up with a musical phrase or a chord pattern and i added the melody and the lyrics and together with daniel we did the "fine tuning", added a bridge here and a break there. it seemed to be heaven for us: before we only had a four track-tape and now we could use ten or twelve tracks! we recorded the drums in the rehearsal room with the mini disk recorder and then added the additional instruments at home in somebody and my flat. we spent a lot of days and a lot of nights doing guitar track after guitar track. often rob would say: "oh well, i'll just add some plain chords, keep it simple..." and then he suddenly and out of the blue started to play the most fragile and beautiful guitar line. it didn't take along and we had almost ten new songs - each of which we thought was really, really good. by that time we had become a little frustrated. we had gotten some reviews which were really bad, complaining about "confessional poetry"-lyrics and chauvinism because we didn't have a female member in the band [well, make sense of THAT!]. we didn't get any gigs in the bigger cities like hannover or dortmund and we had played everywhere in bielefeld. we seemed to have gotten stuck somehow. still the band was the second most important thing in my life, only topped by my relationship. [the nerve bible story continues...]

[february 3, 2003]
it's ten in the morning, i'll meet with nadine in an hour and we'll have breakfast at the "wunder-bar". actually before i wanted to work a little - you know, that kind of work that is really work and not fun, basically starting to write on the article. but i'm just sitting here and my mind is totally blank. how to start? how to proceed? how to end? cedric sent another mail tonight:
Subject: entropic empire
Date: Mon, 03 Feb 2003 02:48:34 +0100
From: cedric@xxxxx.de

Dear YOU,

YES! There is something terribly wrong, if you're able to identify with "the retospective ramblings of a 60 years old ex junkie rock 'n' roller'" ... but isn't this a start???
Always yours,

it's a strange morning. most of the snow has melted. most of the cars that were parked along the road have gone off to work. there are high clouds in the sky and a very strange feeling in my back, you know, that kind of feeling when you realize that you will have a very bad existential crisis within the next two hours. plan for today: meet with nadine, get the railway tickets for tomorrow, do some shopping for tonight's dinner, work so you get a better conscience, pack the things for cologne, finish that entry about the band.
hm, you might have guessed it but i only managed to do half the things that were on my list. spent a very nice noon and afternoon with nadine. we had great places in the bar: i was facing the large panorama panes and behind them people were running down the avenue like in an aquarium and the big, fluffy snow flakes were whirling around and "hejira" came to my mind: "i'm traveling in some vehicle | i'm sitting in some café | a defector from these petty wars | that shell shocked love away | i see something of myself in everyone | right at this moment of the world | the snow gathers like bolts of lace | waltzing on a bridal girl" talked to cedric on the phone. he had good news about his exams. when we were talking on the phone yesterday night we suddenly started discussing paul simon's album "graceland" and what a good video "you can call me al" had been and that the video for "the boy in the bubble" was so disappointing and then we wondered whether there's any video for the song "graceland" and we both didn't know at least we hadn't seen any and cedric said that he thought that this was quite a shame and that if HE had to shoot one he would use lots of afro-american elvis impersonators, which i thought was quite a brilliant idea. more mails to and from catherine. we will meet tomorrow night for a beer. right now the sound from the passing cars enters the room on the wave of soft, cold air that smells like snow. it's twenty to ten and leonard is singing about his popular colored piece of clothing. of course i didn't manage to finish that entry about the band today. tomorrow morning i'll be off to cologne again. looking forward to that. i'll be there on friday as well since blaine has invited me. sorry, don't have anything significant to say today. but sometimes that is just so. "i'm porous with travel fever | but i'm so glad to be on my own | still somehow the slightest touch of a stranger | can set up a trembling in my bones"
[february 5, 2003]
sorry, no entry for yesterday. but the day just went by much too fast. got to cologne in the morning, then the seminar, then lunch with eva, sirka, ute, tina & blaine, then work for thomas, then a coffee with irene, then more work and then i met with catherine in the evening. and a very strange thing happened: we were talking about the concept for an exhibition that she had worked on as part of her exams and she said: "well, you know, actually it's a pretty costly design because i had thought about a room with the shape of a circle and then you have all these small rooms around it like a piece of cake and you go from one room to the other..." and i said "like this?" and i drew a sketch like this:
and she said "yes, exactly" and what i had drawn was the sketch for the virtual laramée exhibition on the hollow earth cd-rom! so we had the same spatial idea for different exhibition projects. i also told her about the whole hollow earth connection and research and i think she was both interested and fascinated. it was good to see that it's not just three strange, unworldly literary scholars (thomas, cedric and me - some more unworldly (n'est pas, thomas!?) and some less unworldly) who think that this is a topic that is interesting on an intellectual as well as on an entertaining level. so catherine and i discussed quite a number of things until about midnight and then it was back home into my little, comfy, cozy office. i had five hours of sleep and then the morning started with a mail from thomas and more work to do. then a coffee with nicole and then some research and then some preparation for the seminar and then irene dropped in and then another coffee with nicole and now this short entry and then another quick coffee with blaine, tina and astrid and then seminar. by the way: having coffee usually means discussing work, exchanging ideas, approaches and theories - so it's not like we would be hanging around half of the day doing nothing. just wanted to set the record straight concerning this particular point.
[february 6, 2003]
aaaaarrrrggghh! headache. fuck. got to fill out a form for my job and tell them when i've started with my dissertation and when i'll have finished it. according to the new law you have to finish it within six years. three have already passed and i haven't written a single line. panic shook me today when i had realized that. and that NOW, when i wish i could spend more time than ever on the music. :o((((((((((((((

today i got a very strange call on my mobile phone from a woman who said i should stop sending her daughter "little letters! 'my darling' and 'honey' and such!" and i replied "what??" and she said "you know what i'm talking about! we've got your number on the display" and i said "i don't even know your daughter nor have the time to write messages to her!" and the woman got totally upset and said that she'd call the police if i didn't stop and then hung up. and i went: think. think. think. and then i thought that i had written three or four sms to blaine, the last one yesterday night: "Spatzi, hoer doch mal die neuen 200 lurkers songs: tracks 9 und 7!" ["honey, listen to the new 200 lurkers songs: tracks 9 and 7!"] and when i talked to him on the phone today he didn't really mention this message nor has he ever reacted to any other sms that i had written since he had his new cellular phone. i mean they were not important: either some teasing or some silly messages, but always using some sort of pet name. and when i thought about it i got the slight suspicion that i don't have the correct mobile phone number and that all those messages arrived at that poor woman's daughter's phone. o-h  m-y  g-o-d!

i'll be in cologne tomorrow afternoon|night because blaine has invited a couple of people over to his flat. before he and i will meet and have a coffee in some café. good news of the day: blaine overheard a conversation today in the hall of the university: two students who are in our seminar (and who could not see him) were talking and the one girl said: "you know, schulz and hofmann are soooo cool. and the seminar is so much fun!" well, of course she had put the names in the wrong order, but still i had to smile when blaine told me about it. yesterday in cologne i had a magazine in the mail: the cologne university magazine that features articles and news about the institution. and on the back cover it had this unbelievable ad from the "postbank", a financial institute: "this is the way graduates look who say goodbye to theory!" which, well, just says everything. we thought we couldn't believe it! so we decided to make a couple of really horrible photos of us next week and add them under the heading: "and this is the way graduates look who stick to it!" i mean they're putting SUCH an ad on the back cover of the university magazine! zwei blöde blonde bratzen und ein schleimiger jura fatzke, die nach der tollen after work party ins wellness studio gehen und zu hause im cd regal als oberste eine verdi cd liegen haben ["für wenn wir mal italienisch kochen...dann müsst ihr mal vorbeikommen! malte hat ein tolles rezept aus unserem letzten tosakan urlaub mitgebracht!"] die aber eigentlich den ganzen tag die neue kuschelrock hören und der kleine prinz lesen! (although the left one looks sort of nice...but still!) no wonder society doesn't accept those who think that theory rules!! and we do!!

so now that i've complained at length that i haven't started to do any serious research work for over three years i might as well continue telling you about the nerve bible. let me tell you a little more about rob. he was a really passionate guy. especially with regards to music. he had two "modes" of talking about music: on the one hand he sometimes played a song to me and just said: "listen to this bass line!" or "just listen to this chorus!" and he was so fascinated by it that he wouldn't say anything more but just turned up the volume and sort of sighed "oaoh!! isn't this great?! it's just great!" he had this simple, unreflective and unconditional love for a song. i had this as well, but i always thought that it was bad. in a way i learned from rob to - at times - just surrender to the beauty of the music or the lyrics. and on the other hand he had a very analytic mode in which he started to dissect the songs, track by track, instrument by instrument. and this way he told me a lot about songwriting because he pointed out special ideas, breaks, solos, bass lines, bridges and so on. he played a part of a song to me and said "listen how the verse changes into the bridge with this great bass line that drops down - and then there is this break in front of the chorus and the voice is singing that single word into it!"

the way we were writing songs together was almost uncanny. it wasn't that we were seeing each other much when we did not rehearse. we never went to the movies together or to a bar or had discussions about private and|or intimate things, but as soon as we started to write songs we seemed to be on exactly the same wavelength. often we didn't even have to speak out what we were thinking about how a song should proceed or when a bridge or a chorus should set in. we both knew when. we thought the same thing about it. sometimes when we had finished a song musically and the lyrics were missing he said very passionately: "oh, we need great lyrics, we need great lyrics! philipp! we need lyrics with words. with words. you know: great words!!! and his face went red and his eyes were on fire and he was infecting the rest of the band with his fever and his passion.

besides cedric rob was also the one who made me listen to new artists: he was a huge smiths and morrissey fan. yes, he was totally devoted to morrissey. but then he was listening to a very wide range of music: from pulp to blur and the blue aeroplanes, catherine wheel, radiohead of course and blumfeld. he was the one who brought blumfeld into my life. and element of crime. and tocotronic. he also listened to michael nyman and gene.

the other big passion he had besides the music was disney. he was a huge disney fan. he went to eurodisney every year. he saw every disney movie. he even bought "toy story" action figures that could speak and then he called me up and he let the puppet talk on my answering machine: "you're my favorite deputy!" he could be very silly and often he started to play crappy songs during rehearsal that he made up and he was improvising lyrics about me or daniel. at one gig daniel wasn't sure anymore when we would be doing a break at the end of a certain song so he looked at fron from behind the drums hoping to get some help. and rob looked at him and gave him a wrong clue deliberately. so suddenly daniel stopped playing and had a hard time joining in again without making it totally apparent that he had stopped at the wrong time.

at a gig: rob, me, stephan and daniel on drumsanyway, so back in october 1998 we were busy recording the cd with our home-studio equipment. actually everything was finished. we only needed robs guitar for two songs and we had to mix the tracks. but since he had just passed his exams he was on holiday for two weeks, visiting his brother in bavaria. one day reiner, daniel and i met to find a cover photo for the artwork, and we came up with an image from the exhibition catalogue of "the nerves end at the fingertips" which was pretty cool and which had some kind of "smiths" flair. "rob will definitely love it!" daniel said. we didn't really have a title for the cd yet, although - at a rehearsal - rob had suggested "a star after me" which was a line from the opening song. we planned to send the cd out to every label we could get our hands on. i think we had never been convinced more about out own material. it wasn't that we thought we were the greatest band on earth but we were confident that the songs weren't just crap.

at that time i had a student's job at the university, giving out video recorders and overhead projectors and copying tapes and videos. so that one day i was driving to work. and suzanne's "best of" collection had just been released that day. it was called "tried & true" and featured two new songs. so on the way to work i stopped at a record shop and bought it. when i was sitting in the bus to the university i was unwrapping the plastic and i got out the booklet with trembling fingers to read the liner notes and the lyrics for the new songs. one of the songs, the last one on the cd, was called "rosemary". i had never heard it before. but the lyrics impressed me very much. it started with the lines "do you remember how you walked with me | down the street into the square" and it ended with the lines: "all i know of you is in my memory | and all i ask is you: remember me" and when i read these last lines a shiver went down my spine and my skin caught fire and something unfolded inside and pressed the water into my eyes. the lines were just so simple and yet beautiful and although i didn't know the melody they read like music.

three hours later - i was at work, there weren't many customers - my now ex-girlfriend came in. and i was smiling because we hadn't planned to meet that afternoon and i walked towards her but she wasn't smiling. "hi! what are you doing here?" i asked her and she said to me in a low voice. "please sit down." all i know. and i didn't understand. of you. and she repeated "philipp, please sit down". in my memory. and then she said "this is not a joke. rob is dead."  you're my favorite deputy. and i didn't understand her at first. i couldn't make sense of it. it just didn't figure. nothing ever figures.

at the funeral we learned that he had a heart failure since his birth. he had never told us. he had been to the doctor and he said that he would not get very old if he wouldn't have an operation. so he had fixed a date for an operation a week after he would have come back from holidays. but he died ten days before that date. he was with his brother and they went to visit a famous castle in bavaria: schloss neuschwanstein, the role model for sleeping beauty's castle in disneyland. and while they were on the way to the castle he just dropped dead. his heart refused to work and he fell to the ground.

for over a year i was unable to cope with that. i think this inability was among the reasons why i alienated from my girlfriend which ended in losing her love altogether. i thought that i would never be able to write songs anymore. i didn't know how without rob. it was only then that i realized how much he meant for me, how much i owed to him, how much he had taught me and how much we had accomplished. and i had never even told him that. i never told him how much i liked him. it went downhill from then. first we continued to play without a second guitarist. then we had a new one for a year - but it didn't really work out. then we stopped playing.

a year ago i felt like trying to play in a band again, so i put an ad into the local newspaper that i was looking for musicians and guess who called me: daniel and reiner. so since then we're playing together again, even writing and recording new songs. besides that 200 lurkers started to develop last fall, of which daniel and reiner are a part as well.

all this is wrong. it's wrong to write three paragraphs about your death. there's so much more to say. so much that the writing would never stop. and i cannot stop talking about it. and i cannot stop crying about it. and i guess my life will just go on the way it did before. except that the fine line between song and sign will not blur anymore.

[february 7, 2003]
it's 3:43 in the morning, so actually it's february 8 already. i'm in the office. we spent the night at blaine's, which was fun. i'm tired now. dead tired. lotion is playing. "mark on my shoulder that won't go away..." i have to sleep now. my eyes ache. i wish i had never met you. i wish i had never felt how good things can be. i wish i had always only drowned in mediocracy. but - this doesn't make any sense. there's no con-text. or too much. "just before our love got lost..." everything will be compared to you and how are things supposed to measure up to you at all? [...] (passage delted by request) ... and this surprised me and it made me happier than i was willing to show. for some reason it suddenly had such a significance although it hadn't but then it had although it hadn't. it's silly, but i kept thinking about it all evening and all night long. i'm pathetic. i'm writing again when all i want is two arms to sink into. need to sleep now. good night.
[february 8, 2003]
i'm still at the office. it's noon and all's quiet in the building. i'll meet blaine in half an hour because i forgot to pick up the term papers yesterday night. yawn! next week is the last week of the semester. the cure are singing "love song". i'm humming along. i need more time. i simply need more time. the days are spent deciding what NOT to do because one has to chose. i hate to chose. i want to have everything. not just a selection. there you go. THAT sounds like a 30 year old semi-intellectual was talking, doesn't it.
it's eight in the evening and i've just arrived from cologne. spent a good part of the afternoon with blaine, discussing term papers and relationships. on my way from the university to blaine's flat i was passing a gallery that had an exhibition of various robert wilson chairs. interesting.
oh. by and by i keep remembering all the noteworthy events from the last two days. blaine and i met for a coffee yesterday afternoon at some café and we were frauengucken - womenwatching; which, by the way, is quite a fanciful occupation for somebody who does gender studies and somebody who sympathizes with somebody doing gender studies... - anyway, we were sitting in this café and i was learning how to smile at people without giving them the impression that i'm a mad killer on the run when they played the new johnny cash cd over the speakers and blaine kept swearing and cursing and complaining about the music but he had to bear it because we had just ordered another coffee :o))
[february 9, 2003]
started to work seriously on "cold smoke". hm, but i'm not sure. it's that kind of song that only works if you have a lot of instruments and backing vocals. i fear that it isn't really a "guitar-only" hit. anyway, wish i had an acoustic bass. also worked on the term papers most of the day. i wish i could tape songs without constantly having a bad conscience. i want somebody to forgive me, to say: "yes, it's okay that you've spent all day on working on another insignificant, unsuccessful song that the world does not need and that will not help you coping with the future...don't worry. it's okay." i would do anything if i could be sure that i will be able, that i will ha e the opportunity to write all the songs that i still want to write. it's silly, but sometimes i feel such a panic that i won't be able to do this, then suddenly everything becomes unimportant and the only thing that matters is to make a small, shining thing, like a semiprecious stone, a smooth and sparkling thing of words and sounds. and i don't understand it. i know that i have to use my energy and tome for something else but everything else is so unimportant. the bad thing just is that the world sees it the other way around. i and the world, we do not share the same judgment concerning the priority of things.

and even though the lyrics won't probably tell you anything without the melody and the music, here are the words for the new song. and yes - i've managed to use that line from dracula!

[cold smoke]

the party went out of hand
the kitchen is a mess and all the guests have left undressed
so now it's just the two of us
and a dozen dirty dishes

but let's not start to rub the stains
they will just get bigger, it will only make them bigger
let's never talk about tonight
and file it under failure

chorus (instrumental)

the men that you invited
were handsome & were strong and i just knew it would go wrong
the women here looked pretty, too
except when you got near them

let's share the last wine brotherly
tomorrow our clothes will smell of old jokes and cold smoke
so cheers to us and to what's lost
it was well worth losing

if you think i did you wrong
i ask for your forgiveness
and if you think you did me wrong
i am forgiving you
(repeat and fade out)

there you go. i leave it to your imagination to come up with the music. but i've used a drum sample from "gone again" by the indigo girls: the first 6 seconds of the intro. the chords are a mixture of the well loved and over over over used e-C-D and the great rolling chord pattern that frank came up with in a rehearsal about three years ago. go figure!
[february 10, 2003]
is it valentine's day already? i don't know. i don't care. just another short entry today: a single candle in my room and the moon is practicing geometry of silver light on the kitchen floor. it's night, indigo girl's "starkville" on repeat. "at the dawning of a road-worn day i called you on a whim just to say: "the morning birds are singing" but i could not do them justice so i hung up and fell back to sleep." i spent all day on recording "cold smoke". finished it and uploaded it. so there are two new songs now on the website: ohne dich & cold smoke. the cd has grown to twelve tracks. tomorrow will show whether "cold smoke" is good or not. if i still like it tomorrow it might stand the test of time. cedric called today and he said that he liked the lyrics, because they could be read on various levels. he also sent me a great photo of roland barthes. tomorrow i'm off to cologne again. last week of the semester. everything moves so fast. everything passes so quickly. too fast to make sense of it all. "i slipped out of my room into the rain i went running for my health, the headlights turned to moonlight and finally i was running by myself. at the dawn on some road-worn day i call you on a whim just to say: the morning birds are singing!"
[february 11, 2003]
sublime moment of the day: when you're standing on the platform at 6:30 in the morning and you can't feel the tips of your fingers anymore because it's so freezingly cold and then joni starts singing "unchained melody": "and oh my love, my darling, i've hungered for your touch..." now: in the train. no new metaphors for the old beauty of a clear sky that is set on fire by the rising sun. a couple of defiant stars, not further away than the net of powerlines and black branches that keep the train on the tracks. a controlled burning in the sky is drawing a golden vapor trail onto the blue nothing. the spine of my notebook is broken, a group of teenage schoolboys is playing chess with their maths teacher [my god! what has happened to rebellion?] while the rest of the pupils are reading out sms aloud. the rolling classroom.
it's 1:53 in the morning. actually this evening after everybody had left i thought about what to work: either correcting term papers or prepare the seminar or do some more research for the article. decided on watching a movie then: "the man who shot liberty vallance". halfway through it though i arranged with catherine to meet at some bar so we went out and had a couple of drinks and i've only just returned.
[february 12, 2003]
nicole said - while leaving the office -  "by the way, i dreamed about you last night. and i fell out of bed twice..." no, not really ;o) she said: "i dreamed about you last night. you looked like carsten spengelmann (a german tv presenter who - quite frankly - is better looking than me) and i was trying to match you with that one friend of mine, but somehow you missed each other so she was looking after you with a sad and sorry and longing expression on her face." this morning when we had a coffee she asked me whether i, too, had fanasies about having sex with two women at a time. conversations with nicole can sometimes suddenly take a very strange twist - not unenjoyable, though!

so this was my day (and i'm saving the good news for last): got up at half past six. worked. then at ten nicole came in and we had a coffee. after that i met blaine at a café and we had a coffee and discussed the seminar. then i went to the cafeteria with eva. when i returned it was time to pick up blaine and do the seminar. after the seminar is now and i've just received a very nice email from the bielefeld campus radio station that i sent the cd to the other week:

Betreff: 200 lurkers
Datum: Wed, 12 Feb 2003 17:39:34 +0100
Von: britta@xxxxx.de
An: 200lurkers@entropic-empire.com

hallo phillip.

wir haben hier bei hertz 87.9 dein album bekommen und packen dich gleich zweimal ins programm:
heut abend um sechs (ich hoffe, die mail kommt noch rechtzeitig) spielen wir estra-gone im musik-neuheitenmagazin intakt. morgen früh gegen acht wird deine site als link in der live-sendung vorgestellt.

vielleicht hast du die gelegenheit, reinzuhören.
ich kenn deine seite schon seit 1999, du warst einer der ersten mit weblog :)
liebe grüße


which basically says that they're going to play "estra-gone" tonight (or by now they already have) and that they will mention my site in the programm tomorrow morning. :o)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))) somehow i am really surprised about all the positive feedback!
"when you make everything i dread and everything i FEAR come true..." waiting at cologne station for my train. every brown and long haired woman makes me turn my head. it's so strange. i should be in high spirits & jubilating. i mean: i've got AIRPLAY again, even if this is a one time event on a local station. but actually wasn't this all i wanted? why am i strangely melancholic, then? "when my loves are dead and dying or they won't come near" dustin hoffman just passed by. i'm so tired that my bones ache. we had the last seminar session today. what a pity - i had just started to really enjoying it. the group of students was pretty good actually and working with them was fun! it's really strange: when i was doing my first seminar i had six pages of preparations: i had phrased every single sentence i wanted to say in advance. but now blaine and i just sit together before the session and talk and come up with ideas and then a lot simply develops in the course of the session. which is cool! and of course this only works if you have a teaching partner like blaine! although i think i've pissed him off today again. he was just going to turn the discussion to the gender roles in dracula but i wanted to add some remarks about the implicit moral of the novel so i asked him whether i could still make this comment before we would proceed and for some reason he doesn't quite like this. "just do it then!" - he told me after the session "but for heaven's sake don't ASK me in front of the class!" sorry!! der feine herr! i don't know why the excitement about the radio show is such a, well, blue one. maybe because it won't bring back the arms i miss. here's a small package of pepper that eva gave me when we were on the way back from lunch to the office. "here" she said "you might need it someday" i took it as a token of suppressed affection - that should give you an idea how desperate i am. "the man who shot liberty valance"
[february 13, 2003]
phew, it's eleven at night already and actually i didn't manage to do anything today except writing a couple of mails to blaine and finishing recording and mixing "cold smoke" - i taped new vocals, new bass lines and i added a keyboard track. i'll upload it to the web site tonight.

got up at eight this morning to listen to the radio program. they opened the feature about 200 lurkers with the introduction: "sometimes you wonder how people come up with the lyrics for their songs - 200 lurkers are telling you all about it on their web site" then they mentioned the lyrics ("very poetic" - thanks!) and they added that they were very autobiographic. he he. and then they read the comment that i added to the lyrics of "space walk":

this song is for my grandfather, whom i never got to know. he went to the states before i was born and became an astronaut for nasa. he always wanted to fly to the moon, but he never managed to do so: only orbital rounds and space walks. rumor has it that he was a big sinatra fan and that he sang "fly me to the moon" through the intercom when he went on space walks.
then they played "space walk" and mentioned the web site again. it was quite cool, actually! :o))

and by the way! nobody reminded me that the journal has had its first birthday three days ago!! i've been doing this for a whole year now. an entry each day. i think i only missed five or six days. a whole year. oh boy! and tomorrow is valentine's day, but i decided to ignore it. i won't even mention it. i won't talk about it. not a single line about valentine's day this year!

actually i also wanted to tell you that story about the student who came to the office hour yesterday to fetch a term paper that he had written. it was a surreal experience. he had written on dennis rodman - in the seminar "popular culture" that blaine and i had been giving last year. actually it could have been quite an interesting topic, but he chose to write on the thesis: dennis rodman and the american dream. his theoretical part was about a page long and consisted of the statement that the american dream means "to be successful". then he quoted from rodman's autobiography. ("he was born on blah blah, was raised in blah blah, then went to school in blah blah and although he was poor and black he became a superstar and that's why he's living the american dream") it was one of the most superficial and naive papers i ever had the pleasure to correct. but we decided to give him a d-, which meant that he had passed the course. so when he was picking up the paper he sat there (a sports student by the way - no further comments needed!!) and was shaking his head "i don't understand it" he said "why such a bad grade? i mean i have the secondary literature and quite frankly, i had been searching the whole library, but there's just not much literature on the american dream!" hello? not much literature on the american dream?? i was wondering in which library he had been searching. probably that of the german department!! i couldn't believe it! and then he said "and i mean it can't be wrong what i've written, can it? i mean dennis rodman has described it in his autobiography. he has described how things have been? so how can it be wrong?" hello?? since when are autobiographies sources of documentation of "how things have really been"?? and then he added: "and by the way. my girlfriend had read the whole paper and she had corrected it and she said that it was a good paper! and she is a major already and becoming a teacher [no comment needed!]!! so how can it be so bad when she said that it was good??" words failed me. i mean he hadn't even given the page numbers for the quotations that he had used, which is the most basic rule for writing a term paper!

[february 14, 2003]
obvious quote of the day: it's always the tired and the ordinary man. it's the challange it's funny and such. and then the cello it's so simple and plain. again. again. and the cello playing onelonglinetone i tell you it's funny but you like just to twist all my words i figure a house with the smoke and the fence the people round here take my words on this i would believe just in you just believe in you i would believe just in you just believe in you!

hm, we have this guy on the mailing list and he's writing a lot of strange things lately. things like:

Life is not just for fun, our realm is much deeper thing. There is a lot of urgent things in us, when we are calling for help, and looking for the truth. The truth is the answer. One very common way of trying to be righteous is to find out what is in your heart. If you think you are an artist, you are something different than the rest of the world. And if you think you are different, you can feel it under your skin! There are areas of freedom we could use for our progress, if we are able to look deeper. If our language is not able to explain our feelings, music is shortcut to eternity. Melody is the stairway, and poetry is a large room of our intuition. Suzanne's poetry is in delicate connection with her music.
now a couple of years ago - when i was younger - i would of course have started a passionate mail arguing against finding truth, righteousness, progress and eternity in art. but maybe i'm just too tired or maybe i've just too many other things to do. however, when paula answered the other day i thought: well, she's replied to it much better than i would have ever been able to!
Subject: Re: see within - machine ballerina
Date: Wed, 12 Feb 2003 19:24:15 -0600
From: "paula" <murmurfive@xxxxx.net>
To: <undertow@vega.net>

hello nenad and tow,

thank you, nenad, for so beautifully opening the door for me to talk about suzanne's poetry in "machine ballerina". all of suzanne's songs are poems, little lives that stand with us, blazing against the inarticulateness we all sometimes feel.

Am I an afternoon's pastime?
a thing on a string
to be thrown and retrieved
--"machine ballerina", 2001

Smile, no smile on this face today
Jerk like a thing on a string
and go join the parade
--"private goes public", 1992

i was going to say how, in "machine ballerina", suzanne's use of internal rhyme and alliteration reinforce her meaning, but then i thought, screw it. few people would understand and that's all boring anyway. so i decided to write from my heart. hang on.

to me, suzanne is more than a singer - she's a poet. i wonder if she considers herself one. i think the distinction is important. as a poet, she's built a world and invited us inside, for that's what poets do. poetry is the art of articulation, and suzanne is mastering this art.

Am I a toy on a tray?
a soft piece of clay
queen or clown for the day
machine ballerina
--"machine ballerina", 2001

As a child
you have a doll
you see this doll
sitting in her chair
--"as a child", 1992

and if poetry is the art of articulation, suzanne does what all truly great poets must do. she makes what she writes about personal and at the same time all-embracing. by inviting us into her world, suzanne offers up what she's learned with us, so that we might learn too. the truths she offers might be cautionary, as in "bad wisdom", or wry, as in "solitaire", or hopeful, as in "pilgrimage". each of us takes away something that holds meaning only to him or her.

Am I your Mad Magazine?
skin trampoline
pin-up pinball machine
your fantasy girl
of puzzling parts
but none fits or starts
--"machine ballerina", 2001

I stand in a wide flat land
no shadow or shade of a doubt
where the megaphone man
met the girl with her hand that's
covering most of her mouth
--"fat man and dancing girl", 1992

one poet that i've always thought of in relation to suzanne is sylvia plath, not for the content of the poetry so much as the technical aspects - the way they used rhyme and short, punchy words, and tried to use the minimum amount of words necessary to tell the story.

in "machine ballerina" we hear suzanne almost laughing at herself ("am i your mad magazine?/skin trampoline/pin-up pinball machine/your fantasy girl"), but it's a strident, sour humor that's aimed at whomever she's addressing.

compare this to the first stanza of plath's "morning song":

"Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements."

there's the same kind of dark humor and the same passion for reality, of not being afraid to write about what is seen and experienced, with its mystery and clarity. by doing so, suzanne makes the world she creates a world that is always becoming, one that's always changing, for it's the nature of poetry to change. it's the nature of people to change and for interpretations to change, for how you feel to change.

in the song, the singer cries out
but in the poem, the words themselves cry out.


i'm just back home with red, freezing cheeks, numb fingers and frozen lips from a long and rather chilly round through the woods and all the way i thought about complaining that i didn't get a SINGLE valentine's card and then when i just checked my mail i had a message from cedric: he sent an e-card with this picture and the heading: "be my valentine today!" oooohhh! total nett! [later] cedric called and then catherine called as well and we talked a little about how difficult it is for ideas to be actualized when you don't have any money. catherine has a couple of great ideas for exhibitions and if i only think about what we had all in mind for the hollow earth topic my heart grows heavy: besides the book and the cd-rom one could make a great conference and also an exhibition. actually cedric and i have already made up a concept. we've even made a little paper model of how we think it should look like: a dark room (preferably under the earth) and then all the information is on transparent paper that is lightened from behind. there's no other light. and then there are speakers and when you're standing on a particular spot you can hear various hollow earth music. and then there would have to be two or three pcs where you can click through the cd-rom, and this is projected via a beamer onto the wall. sigh. big dreams.
we also have started to produce a radio feature with readings from the most important hollow earth literature mixed with hollow earth music. christ! we could make a concept for a theme-evening on 'arte' (german-french cultural tv station) about the hollow earth in twenty minutes! it's just that nobody asks us. there are so many great ideas from exhibitions to books and films that would be worth making. i also would love to make a "real life" - hardcopy version of the "return of the repressed" image series that i did two years ago:
oh well, i'm already complaining about life's injustice again. i should be happy that i have a job in which i CAN do a lot of things actually. when i was sitting with catherine in a bar tuesday night and i had told her about my work and about thomas and what we were doing in the american studies department she looked at me and then looked at her wine and then at me again and then said: "you know, you are pretty lucky!" and i knew that she was right. i have to learn to be luckier, to be happier, to see the good things, to value them more, to enjoy them more, to hold on, to embrace what i've got instead of crying after all that i've lost or will never be able to have. "she was laughing she was laughing at me and i danced, and i danced" das sagt sich so leicht - und lebt sich so schwer. "in the song, the singer cries out but in the poem, the words themselves cry out." it's so strange - i'm still leaking. it's a friday night, 22:57, -4°c outside, and i'm still leaking. "i am inhabited by a cry" plath had written "nightly it flaps out, looking with its hooks, for something to love". and maybe the most irritating word in that line is "something". fort - da: mal wieder ohne dich. object small a. things i don't understand. la can. my mind is not designed for logical thinking. lnca. some songs sound so strange - as if i had never written them, as if i had never sung them. strange. they are so different from me that i don't recognize them anymore as ever being part of me. hm. guess what. i'm still leaking.
"i didn't sleep at all last night i thought my heart had mastered the runs of the seas but they appear not to care about calming lately..." james yorkston's "st. patrick" on repeat. it's 0:54. do emails have a memory? will words that i've typed in and then deleted leave an imprint on the screen? will traces of them be sent through the phone lines? and when the mail is opened, will all that i was not brave enough to leave on the page be there between the lines? like written in erased pencil. like a line that was crossed out. not readable anymore, but still there. the faint scent of a meaning or a feeling. things i did not reply to the question "how are you?": i think i'm missing you. i would have loved to push the hair back behind your ears and touched your cheek in the library. you summon a feeling of tenderness in me like the moon summons the flood. "and let things get out of hand is exactly what i've got planned"
[february 15, 2003]
saturday afternoon: it's pretty gray outside and the wind is whirling microsnowflakes around and around on the street like dust. everybody who's passing by with their dog or plastic bags of food has a frowning look, pursed lips and tries to find shelter under a woolen scarf or a warm hat or both. the radio programm did not bring about a recordable increase of hits on the 200 lurkers pages. seems i'm really dependent on verbal propaganda. tara is a jewel! she's ceaselessly distributing 200 lurkers cds in tübingen! i guess i, too, will put on my mittens and scraf now and go for a walk. i really wonder whether it's any use to send a couple of demo cds to small labels.
millions of people are passing by my window again - the soccer match is over - most of them males between 20 and 30. that kid living upstairs has very strange sleeping hours and was up quite early this morning which meant that i was up early as well. so after i did a special extended round through the woods this afternoon (almost two hours) i thought it might be a good idea to get a couple of minutes of sleep. and since the kangaroo upstairs was still practicing for the olympics i used earplugs to shut out the noise. i realize that my sleeping is different when i'm thus cut off from the world. my dreaming is in a way more intensive. very strange. listened to my "best of tanita tikaram" all day long. pretty good songs, actually!
hm, changed the intro page of the journal. thought it was about time. the image was kind of stupid anyways.
[february 16, 2003]
okay: today's "f for fake day". got up with the firm resolution to WORK today. of course i didn't but i recorded a live version of "space walk". well. not really "live". at least i stripped it down to just guitar and voice. then i added a little audience ;o) then i made a new "zeitgeist magazine" cover for the 200 lurkers page :o))) nicole called half an hour ago and we talked a little. now i'm a little uncertain about what i'll make for dinner. unfortunately i didn't really manage to get some exercise today. nadine called and then i called cedric and then the evening was over. nadine mentioned a class reunion which will take place at the end of march and she asked me to come too. i said: "well, i don't know" and she said "you've got to come" and i said: "uhm, i'm not sure?" and she said: "please! otherwise only strange people will be there...!" and i said "well, THAT's my point! and besides, vivian is married already..." because i think i really would like to meet her again. i guess i had some sort of minor crush on her back in high school. but she always already seemed to be 30 or something. she was always very grown-up and i wasn't, really. i never really dared to talk to her but i think that she was quite an interesting person. or still is. although she's married now. and rumor has it that she also has a kid. then nadine said that she had listened to "the space and the sea" the other day for the first time. "hm, i think i like it, actually" she said, although not very convincingly ;o) well with the new songs i have thirteen tracks now. which is almost too much for an album. this might scare people and they won't listen to it at all. maybe i should reduce the number of tracks to ten? sigh. but which one? no new messages on server.
[february 17, 2003]
i'm such an idiot! went to town to buy two new pair of trousers and two sweaters and a shirt. my optimism is adorable! i really wonder where i take the faith that i'll be able to pay for all this. but then i really felt like getting new clothes, getting a new skin. and still it's idiotic! because i realize that there's a reason behind all this: on the one hand to look as "good" as possible - whatever this might mean - and on the other to look as "different" as possible: i'm deliberately hunting for things that i would never have worn let's say two years ago. just to make an impossible impression. an impossible second first impression.

tried to upload the live version of "space walk" yesterday night. but i've used up all my webspace! wuahh!! so now i've got to rent more webspace to provide all the mp3s for people to download. which is not really a bad thing because i've just bought two new pair of trousers and two sweaters and a shirt and i've got LOTS of money!

anyway: yes - i want to see her again. on her own. without him. and just to take her hand and press a copy of the cd into it and show her how much i've changed with my new clothes and my new hair and my new looks and then i want to call up every single student in cologne to testify that i'm doing a good job and then i want to call up every new friend i've made to let them testify that i AM lovable. yes! that's my secret wish. well, not that secret anymore obviously. but would this chase the pity from her eyes? probably not. and thus it's always better to live for some secret wish, to work towards some imaginary moment than to have it and realize that i won't change anything.

i'm sitting in the kitchen, the afternoon sun comes sounding through the dirty windows and paints bright, glistening squares and circles all over the wall. the central heating is gurgling and the amber colored tea is steaming quietly and at peace with itself. outside cars & people are passing by and from my place at the kitchen table i can look on the street crossing. i could cry. it's all so beautiful. and i've got to find words, i've got to. in front of me on the wooden table: schmidt's "lake scenery with pocahontas", a pen and a couple of notes that i've made. i should be working but i keep getting up making tea, nervously, picking brown leafs from the palmtree in the corner, looking out of the window, listening to the silent phone through the open doors [nadine wanted to call and come over this evening]. joni is singing and the skeleton of the tree in front of the kitchen window is moved softly by some invisible wind. under the novel: the table cloth - blue and lilac abstract floral pattern, a fabric of memories of my first visit to her flat. it's one of the many things i still have but do not own. i could cry. i want to write. a novel. a poem. a letter. reading schmidt has woken a strange narrator in my head again and i'm hearing his voice commenting on everything i do, everything i see, everything i feel and think. i don't understand myself. this university-thing isn't for me! writing about writing doesn't feel right. it's like pretending to be somebody who is not me. listen to me! the atom-smasher of authenticity thinks he knows who he IS. what a laugh! and the world beyond the window is so much more fascinating than the world between the cover. joni is jazzing along, and her voice sounds exactly like the saxophone that is dominant in every of her songs, echoing her phrasing, echoing her voice. the little narrator inside my head won't cease whispering. i'm wearing the new clothes - i feel pretty o so pretty - and, so what? and, what now? i could write forever and still i would never arrive.

some people deserve to be shot slowly immediately!! just saw the counting crows' version of "big yellow taxi"! never thought that you could ruin a song so badly! oh boy! and it gets worse: obviously it's part of the soundtrack for some bloody annoying hugh grant / sandra bullock comedy called "two weeks notice". well, why get "we shall overcome" for terminator XV?? AAARRRGGGHHH!!

[february 18, 2003: "god must be a boogie man!"]
okay, are you ready for BIG news? you better sit down. here we go: 200 lurkers will soon have a very own domain!!!! i upgraded my webspace yesterday night and now i have three domain names! and besides www.entropic-empire.com i chose www.200lurkers.com.

also i decided to add a sort of heading to each journal-entry from now on. now if these aren't exciting news then you don't know what exciting news look like! spent all day with cedric at bielefeld university, he was helping me finding secondary literature for my pocahonats article. i haven't seen him for three or five weeks so it was really great having a face to face conversation again.

i just saw a "classic albums" documentary about "graceland" and, well, it was just great, seeing that small man sitting there behind the mixing board and you just want to climb into the television and be with him there in the studio and then i've of course put on "graceland" at once and listened to "diamonds on the soles of her shoes" on repeat while talking to cedric on the phone. tomorrow i'm going to cologne again. office hours and term paper corrections.
[february 19, 2003 - she makes the sign of a teaspoon, he makes the sign of a wave]
on my way to cologne: later than usual, so the sun's up already, glistening golden morning light. i'm crouched into the seat, my knees curled up and pressed against the seat in front of me. my mind dizzy and while i'm being transported through the scenery that is filled with trees and fields and factories i'm lost in a cloud of comfort. in my ears "diamonds on the soles of her shoes", such a relaxed and soothing rhythm, paul's voice well known, every word heard a thousand times before. i'm bathed in a fine scent of rose oil, smelling on my skin so similar to how it used to smell on her skin. the sound fragile and elaborated. i could cry. "people say i'm crazy..."
well experiment of the day: can you listen to a single paul simon song on repeat for three and a half hours? you can. made the ultimate pop quiz today: great albums for 1000 euros: from which song is this line: "she makes the sign of a teaspoon, he makes the sign of a wave"? nicole didn't know. eva didn't know. sirka didn't know. blaine didn't know but he said: "hm, sounds a bit like paul simon..." yes! he still CAN be saved! he's not lost to the dark side of the force completely!

plan for tonight: have dinner with eva, then cocktails. blaine and tina will join us at ten. hm, just came across a familiar signifier which popped up on my mobile phone display by mistake and i really made some surprised, chuckling noise. very strange. finally uploaded "space walk live" so if you really want to have some fun surf over to the 200 lurkers page and download it!

just talked to cedric on the phone. he'll have his oral exam on deleuze and guattari next week so keep your fingers crossed. and when i told him that i had listened to "diamonds on the soles of her shoes" all morning he said "oh! she makes the sign of a teaspoon - he makes the sign of a wave!" he also mentioned that he really liked "cold smoke". so surf over and download THAT as well! and then he said that "the pilot" is a song that makes him feel depressed - and i was totally surprised about that! because i personally think that it's rather an uplifting tune.

[later, much later]
oh boy! two long island ice tea have finished me. it's 01:32 and i've just walked back from the bar to the office and everything is pretty much turning around and around. it's a perfect sky again with perfect stars and a perfect moon and the night sky is not black but a deep, deep blue and again i just felt like lying on the lawn in front of the university and looking into the sky and slowly falling asleep there while the cold is covering me with frost. why must the perfect nights always end in perfect misery? tanananana tanananana. s. told about her plans she has for when she has finished her exams and she said: well, i'm not a very competitive person and i haven't said anything in the colloquium the whole last year and there are so much more people out there who are just more devoted to the cause so i came to the conclusion that working at the university isn't really anything for me. and of course she was speaking with my voice, she was telling me all these thoughts that i've had. and i got sick and the room started to spin. later after we said goodbye and i started walking back i cursed every moment that i did not look into your eyes. i was glad that there were the white lines on the sidewalk so i could walk in a straight line. i'm such a coward. i avoided your looks. i just want to lie and look into the stars. is that so much asked. and then fall asleep. i'm missing you. and i hate myself for it. it's all so tiresome. i'm tired. i'm tired.
[february 20, 2003 - i remember that time that you told me, you said: love is touching soul]
terrible hangover! headache galore and i overslept. actually i wanted to go to the housing company that rents these cheap apartments here in cologne but i just didn't manage. they only have opening hours quite early in the morning and to be honest: the way i look and appear this morning even i myself wouldn't want to have me as a tenant. so i'll give it another try next week. oh boy. my head is a churchbell.
i'm stepping out of the building and into the square in front of the university. the sunlight hits my face like a fist. the md player is purring softly, then the music starts where it had stopped yesterday night and collects me where it had left me: she makes the sign of a teaspoon, he makes the sign of a wave and the wind grabs my coat like wings and i dance across the square unable to tell whether my body moves to the music or the music to my body. sometimes the writing is like a dance as well, the lines flowing, flying, flickering over the white freely, not bound to resemble any signifier "and now i foam to wheat - a glitter of seas. the child's cry melts in the wall AND I AM THE ARROW..." behind the glass, sheltered but cut off - rows of windows are watching me, hundreds of people passing by - mostly unfamiliar faces. whenever i start thinking about the pocahontas article my mind starts wandering after a couple of minutes and "something else hauls me through air - thighs, hair; flakes from my heels."

"would you rather be deaf or rather be blind?" eva asked me yesterday night and it sounded like one of those famous first words that great songs open with. we were having dinner in a bar and at ten she said that it was time to go and meet blaine and tina whom we wanted to meet in some other cocktail bar and then, when we were standing on the sidewalk and our breaths were materializing in amorphous little clouds she said - almost as an aside while she put on her scarf and mittens: "actually we were already supposed to meet them at nine." i put on after-shave to compensate for my ordinary shoes - things flutter through my head like a swarm of moths. the borders of the heart uncoming and bleeding into the tablecloth like a stain that won't stop spreading. i don't know what this is but it scares me.

eva just dropped in and we had lunch at the cafeteria. now it's three in the afternoon, the sun is setting slowly and the contrabass in the orchestral version of "a case of you" drops from the speakers like honey and if feels as if a little animal was running down my cheek, tickling my skin with it's tiny cold feet, getting thinner and thinner, being consumed by the way, getting lost on the journey from eye to lips. but i'm still on my feet.
a part of you
pours out of me
in these lines
from time to time
i have a mixed track cd here at work and the last five tracks are poems by paula and when her voice came out of the speakers i had to stop working and start listening and the lines felt like acid burning the skin from my skull.
i'm on the way back home - well, sometimes driving back to b. feels more like leaving home. when eva & i had dinner in that bar yesterday night we spotted steve buscemi who was sitting two tables away - but we decided not to get any autographs. "diamonds on the soles of her shoes" on repeat again - it's like as long as this song is playing nothing could possibly happen to me. i'm save. this evening when i just wanted to get a bar of candy downstairs and i had locked the office ute came running up the corridor, waving her arms, stopping me and saying: "there's a mouse in my office!" so i instantly turned into FANTASTIC PHILIPP, defender of the weak and feeble minded [and linguistic scholars] and i got a dustbin to catch it and deliver the english department from the mutant monster mouse: only, it had vanished! i guess it thought it wiser to escape as long as it still had the chance instead of taking up the fight with FANTASTIC PHILIPP! one good deed each day! by the way: blaine has a new haircut. sorter and cooler. he has a totally different head now. not bad, though! i went to the hairdresser as well today, but nobody noticed :o( okay, the song is roughly 5 minutes long - i cut the a capella intro. so it can play 12 times in an hour. 4 hours to get to cologne: 48 times. and the same way back: 96 times. plus delay: 100 times "diamond on the soles of her shoes". beat that! got to look up "repetition compulsion" in the laplanche/pontalis when i'm back home!
[february 21, 2003 - kathy i'm lost, i said, though i knew she was sleeping. i'm empty and aching and i don't know why]
oh boy! this is gonna be a LOT of work! i'm sitting at a bar - alone, only accompanied by the pocahontas narration, a couple of empty pages, a pen and i'm trying to put down a first draft of the article. and it went amazingly well. although the handwritten pages will melt down to nothing when i've typed them into the pc. there's still no coherence to my thoughts and ideas about the text yet. blast! i realize that the kind of writing i'm doing for the journal does not really help training to come up with well structured and argumentatively convincing texts. SIGH. maybe instead of a proper article they can just print the link to the journal and i'm reporting about my messy thoughts on the subject there. sounds like a plan, doesn't it? don't think that the publishers will like it, though. maybe i should ask them ;o)

anyway, i'm sitting in the corner behind a small wooden table, candle in the middle of it, my second beer in front of me and the waitress [exceptionally pretty by the way] has just cleared the dishes of the salad that i've had. across the room there's rob's widow nicole sitting, the woman whom rob had been married to. she has looked at me while talking to the couple she's with but i couldn't tell from her looks whether she's recognized me or not. i was so surprised that i didn't even smile.

started to compile a "best of paul simon" for eva. the problem is that i don't really own all the important solo cds. but after having watched the "classic albums" documentary about graceland i've been listening to ps quite a lot - well, let's be honest: exclusively. i'm like cedric in this respect. i tend to listen to people cyclically. had my joni mitchell phase after i've had the laurie anderson phase and now it's paul simon. well, he's a good one. hm. alcohol doesn't really help to think clearer. the flame of the candle is hypnotizing me, i feel all thoughts sinking slowly to the ground of my mind like sand thrown into the water, leaving a clear and transparent realm. the flame keeps on flickering in my eyes even if i don't look at it any longer, a burning after image, there but not there, still irritating my vision, dancing in the distance when i look up and on the paper when i'm starting to write again. i really wonder for whom i'm waiting here... she won't come. and if she comes she won't be here. stupid thoughts! i thought you'd sunken to the ground? i thought you'd settled at the bottom for good.

updated the 200 lurkers page today. changed the index page. added a couple of images that appear at random when the page is loaded. try it for yourself! and more importantly: let everybody know about it: www.200lurkers.com

well, when i got home reiner had left a message on the answering machine; "hi philipp! there's something about you in the latest issue of "ultimo" [a free city magazine for bielefeld with a circulation of 31.000] and i'm wondering what you think about it!" and my heart stopped. i thought: my god! a bad review. they're bashing me to hell and back. so i put on my coat again and rushed out to the nearest bar where the "ultimo" is on display and here's what they've written on the second page under the heading "heimatmusik":
Bielefeld ist doch New York. Jedenfalls spielen sie hin und wieder drüben Songs im Radio, die hier nicht mal aus dem Probekeller raus kommen. Oder hüben gründet eine Band, die es gar nicht mehr gibt, ein Seiten-Projekt im Internet, vertreibt dort kostenlose CDs und verwickelt die Besucher in schweres Hirnschlingern zwischen Harmonien von Jethro Tull und Philosophie von Deleuze Guattari: 200 Lurkers sind vielleicht nicht Bielefelds allererste virtuelle Band, aber vermutlich die leiseste.
Die Lurkers sind ein Singer/Songwriter-Ausläufe von Nerve Bible, dem weltweiten Lokal-Geheimtipp für viele Jahre. Nach dem Tod ihres Gitarristen Rob Terwesten versank die Band im Schweigen, jetzt spielt Texter Philip Hofmann mit wechselnden Bible-Resten alte Stücke neu ein, montiert einen romantischen Love-Song aus Lewinsky/Clinton-Schnipseln oder ist deprimiert, weil er Samuel Beckett damals im Café nicht angesprochen hat. Alles ist ruhig und halbakustisch dahingeklampft aber mit allerlei Snippets schön hoch und breit produziert... und es ist umsonst. Denn die Lurkers setzen nicht nur ihre Songs (und die von Nerve Bible) ins Netz, sie verschicken auch ihre CD "The Space & the Sea" einfach gegen Rückporto an jeden, der fragt.
Ob sie aber je live auftreten? "Wegen der Schliessung verschiedener Jugendheime in und um Bielefeld" sei das eher unwahrscheinlich, teilt die Band mit. Außerdem fühlt man sich virtuell scheinbar besonders lebendig, jedenfalls sehen die vielen Web-Experimente auf der Homepage (edel in Grautönen - ohne Flash!) so aus.
Kontakt: p.hofmann, melanchthonstr. 82 / www.entropic-empire.com
YAHAHAHAHAHAH!! i was running home, overcome with joy! i'm a sucker for good reviews! a sweet moment of pure bliss! more good news: the nerve bible will play live at the "leineweber" (a rather big city festival) on may 24! our first gig in over a year!

and then i instantly found a reason to hate myself again. when i got home with the latest ultimo edition i was pretty hysterical and the first thing i did was calling cedric and reading it to him. but before i tried to make a joke and said "YUHU!" and he asked "is everything all right?" and he knew that i had been to a bar to work on the article so i said "i was at the bar and [name deleted] came in and asked me to marry her!" and there was silence for a moment and then i said "noooo!" and i heard how cedric relaxed on the other end of the line and he replied: "phew! for a moment i REALLY thought you had met her. that you had been at a bar and she had come in and now everything would be too late..." and even before he had finished the sentence my mind scanned it for information, for any hints although i didn't intend to it just did this on it's own without having had the order to do so and i thought: hm, this probably means that she is NOT single again and that she did NOT mention occasionally that it might be quite nice to meet me again... i'm such a fucking idiot! it's ridiculous, really, it's like a disease.

it's almost one in the morning again and i think i've got to get some sleep now. see you tomorrow. thanks for being there! i really mean it.

[february 22, 2003 - oh i just know that something good is going to happen, i don't know when, but just saying it could even make it happen!]
while burning the best of paul simon for eva this morning i put on kate bush. haven't listened to her for a long time and: wow, it blew me away! great songs! "cloudbusting" - awesome! worked a little more on the 200 lurkers pages. i've got thirteen different images for the index page now. one will be chosen by a random function on load. decided to limit the images to portraits of actors. i think having all those portraits fits the idea behind 200 lurkers: the photo is the image of an image - most of the time the viewer can not decide from the portrait whether the actor is photographed "in character" or "in private". the distinction blurs. the images are de-contextualized. like stills from a movie they don't have anything they refer to, no image of difference before or after them. take for example the second portrait: is this spock or is it leonard nimoy? or is it leonard nimoy as mr. spock? which parts of the face are nimoy's, which are spock's? where does nimoy end and spock start? at the ears? the portraits stress the artificiality, the construction of identity via an image. every expression is always already a pose, inscribed into a semiotic system. the portrait undermines the fiction of an authentic, 'true' moment that could be captured by the machine. it is the isolation of the moment, the stopping of time that freezes the face as an eternal signifier within the frame of the photo. "you know what: i love you better now"
cornfield burnout
elisabeth taylor

by the way: here's the tracklist for the paul simon compilation:

"she makes the sign of a teaspoon"
the best (?) of paul simon solo - 1

1. for emily - whenever i may find her
2. kathy's song
3. april come she will
4. 50 ways to leave your lover
5. here come's the sun - live
6. the only living boy in new york
7. something so right
8. late in the evening
9. that's why god made the movies
10. how the heart approaches what it yearns
11. jonah
12. hearts & bones
13. maybe i think too much
14. train in the distance
15. rene & georgette magritte with their dog after the war
16. the late great johnny ace
17. the boy in the bubble
18. graceland
19. call me al
20. diamonds on the soles of her shoes

"he makes the sign of a wave"
the best (?) of paul simon solo - 2

1. crazy love vol. 2
2. all around the world
3. under african sky
4. the obvious child
5. the coast
6. she moves on - live
7. further to fly
8. born at the right time - live
9. the rhythm of the saints
10. the boy in the bubble - live
11. graceland - live
12. call me al - live
13. america - live
14. that's where i belong
15. look at that
16. love
17. quiet
18. the cool, cool river

i know, i know: a couple of tracks are from the old s&g times and "here comes the sun" is not even written by simon but hey! they're good songs anyway!
[february 23, 2003 - she comes back to tell me she's gone...]
"...as if i didn't know that, as if i didn't know my own bed. as if i'd never noticed the way she brushed her hair from her forehead" it's 4 in the afternoon and i'm just back from a long and sunny walk. most of the snow and ice has melted, even up on the hills. i've been listening to the new paul simon compilation and a cuople of kate bush tracks and i remembered a conversation with blaine from last week when we were discussing singing along to music while listening to it on the walk man. and he said that he frequently does this. "well, not in the underground, of course!" he said and i was stunned because actually i thought only very, very strange people would sing out aloud to their walk man and that i would NEVER do this! i hate to be noticed! i want to blend in with the crowd. i certainly don't want to walk down the street singing! but when i WAS walking down the street this afternoon and the sun was shining into my face and paul simon was singing i really envied blaine for his courage.

updated the info-page of 200 lurkers a little and cleaned the kitchen. now i'm going to work on the article and maybe tonight i'll be going down to the "café berlin" again for a beer and more ideas on pocahontas. i'll be in cologne tomorrow and in the evening nicole and i will meet to see "bowling for columbine".

i'm sitting at the "berlin" again: it's rather empty - so is my beer. tried to order the ideas but it just got more messy. low-fi electronic music, candles are mirrored in the silver pipe of the air conditioning that is hanging from the ceiling like a lurking animal. behind the counter: the waitress dressed in black: tight top & out-of-bed hair. not unpretty, though. she has high cheekbones, with one hand she's holding on to the shelf while she's gesticulating with the other. from this angle she's looking a little indian ;-) "you don't want to hurt me but see how deep the bullet lies"

on the way to the bar: "running up that hill" - what a brilliant song! "tell me we both matter, don't we???!!???" wonder how an acoustic version would sound like? when i stepped out of the door the black sky was overfilled with stars and swallowed me like a wave. oh great: "I will survive!" sigh. conversation at the bar: "how did arminia play [bielefeld's soccer team]?" "0:0" "well, that's better than nothing!" ? belly button free music: kylie minoge now => na na na na na na na na. waitress washin her hands, drying them on her apron, filling glasses, do i want to have another beer? "you. you and me. you and me won't be unhappy!" more ideas for the article, but no order yet. "i knew you were in love with him cause i saw you dancing in the gym. the day the music died..." balancing cups and glasses rather gracefully over wooden squares on the ground, sugar & ashtrays on every table and a candle. now she's standing still, staring as if dreaming. no new messages on server. brushing her hair from her forehead, filling another glass, crossing arms in front of her belly, adding sugar to her coffee, stirring, and me, mad with recording, smiling inwardly at what the hell i'm doing here: wanted to write on the article - wish i had a laptop here. oh god: oasis! i'm such an idiot. thought that i might as well send a friendly smile to the waitress to which she reacted with the question: "can i bring you anything?" so i ordered another beer. my life is a comedy show. okay, the humor is rather scarce and specific - but still! "don't look back in anger" the last bars of a predictable oasis song are fading out and for a moment it's very quiet and she bends down, replaces the empty glass with a full one: "here you are" - "thanks" exchange of smiles, and some cuban jazzy song starts. turns around. walks away. serves another customer. i blush. i'm tired. feeling the beer: cool fingers & dizzy mind. useless words again. comforting, though, don't know why. my own private little world. do you know the feeling when your head's too heavy for your body. and it keeps swinging on your neck from side to side, not unlike a bell. the arc of a love affair waiting to be restored. hm, wish i could torkel into the arms of somebody, well: of just anybody, oh well - you know what i mean. words are good. period. heaven! from cuban jazz sounds to pink: "get this party started!" somebody dims the light. robbie williams has no regrets: sign to leave.

[february 24, 2003 - and then she kissed me and i realized she probably was right...]
on the way to cologne: we're stopping at unna, the city where her sister lives. and suddenly a boundless longing breaks loose again and spills itself all over my clothes, the seats, the other passengers, the whole train and the world outside. when i was sitting in the kitchen in the sunday afternoon sun yesterday, the texts & papers in front of me and ready to start writing the article, i suddenly remembered that i had told eva that i once had long hair and that she wondered what i might have looked like so i got up from the kitchen table and fetched the box with all my photos and i started looking through them on the search for a shot of me with long hair. and i came across an envelop that was titled "at dagmar and stephan's place" and i knew that she would be on them but i couldn't stop my hands from opening it and my fingers didn't hesitate to shuffle through the images and boom there was half of her face and it came back to me incomparably and i threw the photos back into the box and closed it and put it away. "ah...here i am" it feels like she had been in my dreams tonight although i can't really remember. just a faint afterimage, blurring when i'm trying to fix it. like it shines on me! maybe it's her birthday that is coming nearer and nearer. gray factory backyards, brown grass, broken walls and dirty curtains. YOUR HONESTY. LIKE IT SHINES ON ME.
[later, much later]
it's 0:50. i'm just back from watching bowling for columbine. you've GOT to see this movie, it's great! especially the first 45 minutes!! nicole fell asleep in the last half ;o)) she was sitting in her seat like a little bird and had my coat over her shoulders and her head had sunken to the side. before the film we had dinner and it was a very nice evening. now i think i'm trying the great chord pattern that i found this afternoon for "the only living boy in new york" - have a good night everybody! schmatz!
[february 25, 2003 - on such a night as this, on such a night...]
you are swimming in the ocean and the beach is so far in your back that you can hardly see the sandcolored line on the horizon when you turn and look, out of breath, being rocked up and down. and then suddenly you feel something taking hold of your ankle with a smooth and warm touch and then it jerks you down, two, three meters below the water, violently and holding you there. you look up and the sun is breaking at the surface and you can see where the air is but you can't get back there because something is holding you. i'm tired. it's almost 11:30 in the morning and i'm sitting in the office and it's completely dark. i've switched the lights on but there must be a power failure because it's still dark and "if you kisses couldn't hold her, your tears won't bring her back" catherine wrote last night, quoting a line from a song. no, this writing is not exempt. headache and my eyes are stinging from the contacts. i'm looking up and i can see where the air is. winter moves up my back gently and my hair is flowing round me head like seaweeds. when i open my mouth little bubbles are rising patiently to the surface. this water is cold. "all these things i tell myself". somebody must have put stones under my skin. im panicing if there had been another hour on such a night. propellers in my head.
had lunch with eva and we were walking back to the university through the almost spring like sun and the warm air and the people playing ball on the lawn and the dogs running around and she said: "nice cds by the way!" she had listened to the two best of paul simon cds that i had given her yesterday evening. and she continued "and i must say that '50 ways to leave your lover' is really a great song!!" and i said "yes! isn't it!? it's teriffic!" and i wanted to add: except for the chorus, i really think it doesn't fit to the rest of the song and that i would love to have "50 ways" just with the verses but before i could say this she continued: "except for the chorus! i really don't like the chorus! it would be great to delete it from the song!" there you go! then she gave me a small package of salt as a present. [compare the entry for february 12] "you can defend yourself with this one as well" she said "strew it into the attacker's eyes or rub it into open wounds..."
[february 26, 2003 - tell me we both matter, don't we??]
hm, tried to tape an acoustic version of "running up that hill". my plan was: have the basic drum pattern played on the guitar by drumming onto the corpus and then have basically only one guitar: gentle chords in the verses (played on every half note) and then in the chorus a more rhythmic, strumming pattern. but i tried and it and it just doesn't sound! it isn't really working, unfortunately :o( which means that i now have to get back to writing on the article. work-avoiding-strategy failed miserably!
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important question of the day: why do the ideas you have about a book, for example "lake scenery" & "beautiful losers", seem to be really great as long as you think them. and why do they sound so profane when you've written them down. star filled sky again when i was walking back home from the café where i had worked a little: i took the quiet, dark back alleys to see the stars better. it was cold though and i put my right hand deep into the sweater-sleeve of my left arm and my left hand deep into the sweater-sleeve of my right arm and kate bush started to sing "breathing" - great song - when i pulled my hands back to fetch the keys from my pockets there was skin and blood under the nails.
[february 27, 2003 - suddenly my feet are feet of mud, it all goes slow-mo...]
bad, bad dreams: oh boy, i still dream of organon, i was at her new flat, for some reason spending the night there you were making rain but she was there and not there and you're out of reach his jeans on her cupboard when you and sleep escaped me and she was keeping a little baby cat imprisoned in her shower you're making rain and she was turning around everytime i wanted to talk to her you're making rain woke up breathing, room cold and my body aching like i'd been running all night. it's funny how, even now you're miles away old favorite songs as small comfort, but they're only stirring me up even more with a hired plane tonight's the night of the flight like a swallow, there's no risk with headphones on and the blanket wrapped around my shoulders and the world outside is mute, which is good, mute cars, mute people, mute houses and windows DRUMROLL: give me a break oh let me try give me something to show for my miserable life give me something to take would you break even my wings like a swallow let me, let me go!! !!  but you're not a swallow LET ME, LET ME GO!! !! LET ME, LET ME GO!! !!  LET ME, LET ME GO!! !! !! !! !! !! !! !! WHEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

cedric has his oral exams today: philosophy [deleuze & hume). so keep your fingers crossed. i'll meet him this afternoon at the university to see how it went.

yawn! it's 23:24 already. just sort of planned the next days: tomorrow morning: cologne, tomorrow night i'll be going out with blaine, then saturday the helge schneider concert (yeah!) and i'll return on sunday noon. sunday afternoon rehearsal and sunday night i'll be meeting with cedric and tara. i'll definitely need a holiday on monday!
[february 28, 2003 - all i ever wanted was just to come in from the cold]
hhhwiuqö ke ergqer oernq /& ajr valr ÄA ak v+aöfv i iaf vv ji afvaofv rfngve8r aeor84t4jk5 48 4 84 nö i ööö uefnn re dfberwqet; IAiu iuba lammndy.ncbpi iaka bjfb lalakajg oerori oafn psg-r5tna-fv   erg oiie 8
it's almost two in the morning. i'm back at the office. [yes - of course it's a little comfortless but then walking through the dark and empty university at night with the rows of books whispering to each other in the lightless library does have some kind of aesthetic, if only the aesthetic of comfortlessness.]

anyway, no hot flirts, no irresistable offers to spend the night at some cozier place. well, one tall, blond girl kept looking at me  - or rather through me - persistently but then she was stoned up to her hairtips. it would have been impossible to start a conversation anyway, because the music was so loud that you couldn't talk to each other. so i didn't have the chance to talk to anke, which i thought was quite a pity :o( the only thing left to do was to dance. which i did. and i was sweating rivers! whew! they played everything from madonna to rex gildo. i danced to almost everything :o) blaine, his friend cedric, anke and her friend oliver had dressed up as the characters from "tanz der vampire", that polanski vampire comedy the english title of which i am to tired to find out now. they looked great!!!! and hey! blaine looks just great in a suit!

now my skin smells of smoke and the contacts are bugging me. sade is singing: "you think i'd leave your side baby, you know me better than that." rain on the way from the club to the office. "you think i leave you down when you're down on your knees - i wouldn't do that" god. the helicopters in my head again. nhhtuie, nfheriu uq304 ggrtwehj . jjt r tz  ngghtd llkf öpq acxeootzd fgrt ccvdfe - öloth . jghrrt bedd fgrü "ootzrh!" fggrte hg btjilom, mjke.

stay with me for another month. "and if only you could see into me"