[june 01, 2003 - it's not nuclear physics, you know]the gig went well. very well in fact. the weather was great. the songs went well, told the guys that i'll be moving. they took it well. we agreed on continuing with the band or at least to try it. the audience was relatively small but listened attentively. cedric was there as well. i'm pretty tired now. it's 21:44 and it's slowly getting dark. think i'll try to get some sleep before the usual let down sets in. tomorrow more.
[june 3, 2003 - your love shines, love shines on me...]favorite fleetwood mac song of the day: "love shines" - for no particular reason unfortunately... summer galore: it's eleven in the morning. birds are singing, students are pacing up and down the corridor. there are a lot of oral exams going on all week. just finished preparing the seminar for today: stanley fish. yesterday night i went to a biergarten with blaine and andreas and later nicole and kristina joined us.
not taping the gig made it a singular event, something unrepeatable, something that had to be enjoyed in the act of creating because it vanished just as quickly as it came about. a strange here and now intensity.
[later]the heat in the office is almost unbearable. it's 7:16pm. almost everybody has left. there are a thousand things storming through my mind and i can't write down a single one. i don't get it: i'm not REALLY at a loss for words when the topic of relationships is discussed, i am talking like a waterfall then. but as soon as it's about my own relationship - realationship especially - i can only ganze silently onto the albertus magnus platz although my mind was working like a steam engine. but no words came out. funny thing: life.
and on top of that i've got cockney rebel's "sebastian" in my head! phew. you know [talking two years back now] i wish we were still together and i could call you and discuss things with you. really. seems i have to find a different signifier for the desires than the one i used during the last months. i acted carelessly and i risked hurting people. and i guess i have hurt people. i have to grow up and take responsibilities. but then how could i know? how could i suspected. it's all so confusing. great excuse: confusing! i don't know what else to write. sometimes words DO fail me. not a pleasant feeling. it makes me angry. i'm sorry.
[june 4, 2003 - between the idea and the reality / between the motion and the act / falls the shadow. or: call me morbid, call me pale...]although it's not even eleven a.m. it's awfully hot in the office. the night didn't bring any relief. what's even more distressing: they're doing construction work on the street below the office and the sound of the air hammer is reverberating all through the room and the corridor. didn't sleep too well. woke up at 5:30. frustration is gnawing at my leg. i hate people who are happy. i hate people who are in love. the world has to suffer when i am suffering and the world has to be miserable and alone when i am. but the world won't listen!
here's how my great preparation for the class yesterday imploded in a matter of seconds: we wanted to discuss stanley fish's text "is there a text in this class" and i thought in order to raise the entertainment value of the session i would conduct the same experiment with the students that fish reports about in his essay "how to recognize a poem when you see one": he has presented a reading assignment consisting of six names to them and told them that this was a poem. so they started to analyze it and came up with a pretty convincing interpretation of the "poem" - the point of the anecdote is obviosuly that reading is not the art of constuing but of constructing a text. so i copied a "poem" for my students as well which consisted of parts of the notes that i took during a guest lecture last week and it looked like this:
p. 143: "Veil"and when i presented the "poem" in class i said: okay, what can you say about this poem? and one student raised her hand and she said: "well, actually this doesn't look like a poem at all. it lookes like notes that somebody took..."
disguise, covering of grief
double motion of indicating + covering
at the same time.
[a signifier that covers??]
however i insisted that it was a poem and they finally started analyzing it and came up with a couple of nice ideas but obviously the whole thing was slightly besides the point then... so that's the reward for coming up with innovative educational ideas...!
[later]i'm on my way back. - it's too hot. i'm too tired. i'm angry at people. and i'm hungry. yes - really angry! "In Kürze erreichen wir Unna!" so i'm back to the velvet underground.. i didn't have the guts to tell thomas that i won't come to the dgfa conference in munich this month. he stood in the doorway this morning and i looked at him and started a sentence but then i just said: "and, how were the exams going?" guess i was afraid of parental punishment. correction: of a punishment by my father. i anticipated the look of disappointment on his face that i knew from my father when i did something wrong. it's funny how thomas can make me feel like an eight year old boy again...
[june 5, 2003 - love me the way i love you]listening to bonny prince billy, a cd bernd copied for me: very calm, very quiet, very acoustic, very minimalistic: very beautiful. makes you want to grab your guitar and compose. [later] just talked to cedric on the phone for an hour while we were simultaneously watching yellow submarine. "can i bring my friend to tea..." - geeeezz!!
[june 6, 2003 - love is an object within an empty box...]sun: frozen in mid-explosion in a watery blue sky. music: soft and graceful like smooth pebbles. grass: short + green + endless. wind: pleasant & as smooth as the music. blanket: familiar, bright red + yellow. Design + Quality IKEA of Sweden. Made in Italy. bought in another life. thought the online journal could use a little visual humor... so there you go: my face from ca. 1980 to about 1999. have been listening to bonnie prince billy all day long. reminds me a lot of nick drake. bernd has also copied me the cd "supper" by snog [??] which sounds a lot like lou reed gone country. very weird.
recent events have made me think about the online journal. the obvious objection against the oj is of course aimed at the seeming mixing of the textual and the real level in the journal or rather at my denying it: because i keep insisting that what i am writing in the journal doesn't have a lot to do with the actual life i lead, that the persons and names that appear are not a 1:1 copy of the actual persons i encounter in "real" life, that the i in the journal & "the other i" [another accidental song tittle] are only loosely connected. but again and again people don't believe that there is a crack, a gpa between the oj and life because the situations and characters described bear such a close resemblance to the "real world" [well, obviously this is only a problem for people who do know me from the real world; for everybody else the distinction is irrelevant - but unfortunately for the first group of people the illusion on nonfictionality that the journal conveys becomes increasingly problematic] so i thought about how i am seeing the relation between world and text and the level of the fictional of the journal and how i could explain it.
and i came up with this great analogy: i guess you can draw a parallel to dreams and the remains of the day that become the material the unconscious is working with when you're asleep:
Es ist sehr wohl möglich, dass ein Tagesgedanke die Rolle des Unternehmers für den Traum spielt; aber der Unternehmer, der, wie man sagt, die Idee hat und den Drang, sie in die Tat umzusetzen, kann doch ohne Kapital nichts machen; er braucht einen Kapitalisten, der den Aufwand bestreitet, und dieser Kapitalist, der den psychischen Aufwand für den Traum beistellt, ist alle Male und unweigerlich, was immer auch der Tagesgedanke sein mag, ein Wunsch aus dem Unbewussten. (freud, traumdeutung)i would argue that the places, persons and contexts that one recognizes in the journal function as a kind of "dream material" - but this material is being condensed and displaced and can't be read without taking the workings of this metaphorical and metonymical motion into consideration.yes, the names, places and situations are the same as in real life but then they are not. at the same time.
just found out that there's a big laurie anderson retrospective in a museum in düsseldorf this summer!!!
[later]it's one in the morning. cars are passing by like waves crashing on the shore. "the way" [the song of the month] dropping out of the speakers. love me the way i love you. writing songs is the only important thing. and feeling something for you. and feeling something for you. and feeling something for you. these last days in bielefeld are getting unusually long. tried to set the poem from last month ["breathing water"] to music and found some very simple but very nice chords plus a melody. almost another song. came up with another new chord pattern as well. sigh. i think i could make five new songs in a matter of weeks. listened to "the state i'm in" by belle & sebastian this evening when i was preparing dinner. and i had to put the fork aside because the song was so great. if you're reading this and you like me and i don't know you yet why don't you write me?
[june 7, 2003 - And the movement in your brain / Sends you out into the rain]looked through my audio cassettes and tried to figure out which i will need in my new flat. there were really, really many many cassettes with songs i've once recorded. own compositions i had forgotten about (and luckily so!) and cover songs. from i guess 1990 to early nerve bible recordings in 1996. i didn't listen to them but i guess there's quite horrible and gruesome material among it! right now nick drake is singing. window's open. it's 8pm and i guess i'll go and get me an ice cream downtown tonight. spent two hours in the park this afternoon, reading zürn. great, great, great texts.
worked a little on the two new song. "breathing water" and "stop being overjoyed". also need to write a song that will be called: "the unexpected tenderness of inanimate objects". hey, i've got nothing to do today but write dadnda dadnda dadnda dadnda and here i sing - the only living boy in cologne... you know, when i was standing in the kitchen the other minute washing the salad and cutting an onion and singing to the indigo girls i realized that i am also missing you because i've lost these great semi-professional conversations. of course i still have them with cedric and blaine and tara but, you know, back then whenever one had a strange idea concerning theory or one didn't understand a certain fact we were just saying to each other: "hey, what doya think of that?" or "explain this to me!" there was instant feedback, and one could build up the most far fetched ideas and theoretical constructions. i miss that. "About the farmers and the fun / And the things behind the sun / And the people round your head / Who say everything's been said / And the movement in your brain / Sends you out into the rain."
[later]01:14. bikes passing by without sound: just small lights rushing down the avenue like slow motion falling stars that have lost any sense of orientation. put on my new shirt and trousers and went to the ice cream parlour downtown, you know, the one we always used to go - just for the good old times. didn't meet you there. was glad that i didn't. was sad that i didn't. "love me the way i love you" - bonnie prince billy is singing effortlessly and in such a relaxed manner that he doesn't really seem to care whether you do or do not follow his invitation. whatever you decide for it'll be all right. what ever you've decided for it was all right. took my ice cream and strolled back home slowly, watching the reflection of my miserable figure in the windows of the shops that were already closed and that displayed the clothes, the shoes, the books, the jewelry like items in a museum.
[june 8, 2003 - ...und dann trinke ich immer ein bisschen eierlikör dann gehts mir wieder besser...]nothing to record. sorted my cd-roms which pretty much took all day. talked to nadine and cedric on the phone. thunderstorm in the middle of the day. recorded a rough version of "breathing water" - it does have little "cold smoke" touch to it, i guess. when i looked through the old cd-roms i came across a folder with nerve bible images. thought i'd share them with you:
this is daniel in the studio while we were recording the second cd.
although he DOES look a bit like captain jean luc picard: "energy!"
rob doing a helge schneider imitation.
backstage at the "zweischlingen". from the left: rob, me, stephan and daniel.
daniel doing a helge schneider imitation [obviously we had a lot of fun with those sunglasses].
rob and me in the studio.
[june 9, 2003 - And I was right.]sun and clouds. cool wind. holiday. suzanne posted from an airport in germany at 6:30 in the morning:
------------------------------------------------------------hm, just looked through the millions of old floppy disk that were still hidden in a dark corner of my shelf - bad idea obviously. but then in sorted out 80%: excessive destruction of data. i'm forcing myself to reduce my property so that everything will fit into the small room in cologne. besides the predictable letters and notes i also found a document with a "poem" back from 1996 when we were spending a couple of weeks in dagmar and stefan's cottage in the country.
Road Diary: Bowery Ballroom - NYC - May 28, 2003
New York City was the usual mayhem. My home town. We were very close to selling out which was great. At 10 in the morning we got a call from Gerry Leonard who was supposed to open the show. His mother had died suddenly, and he had to return to Ireland. Oh Gerry! We felt really bad. But we asked Dawn to open, and the audience loved her.
There was a pretty black woman up front who went crazy when I played Calypso, dancing and singing. I worried that if I caught her eye I would forget my lyrics again. She danced through Marlene too.
Lach was there and so was Lenny Kaye...
I had to read “Millie” as it was NY. Some people near my mother said she got teary eyed from it. I may have to stop reading it so much. I was a bit teary-eyed myself, remembering the last time I played the Bowery Ballroom, and how my brother Tim was there and drank most of the beer from the rider. There are certain venues I feel a definite melancholy thinking of Tim.
Was reminded of Timothy seeing a photo of Evan Dando in Rolling Stone, of Evan and Courtney Love kissing. Back in 94 when I had just given birth to Ruby, Timmy hung out for a few nights with Evan and with Courtney Love. She was playing the Beacon Theater and Tim was working on the crew.
They had some banter backstage -- “Who here is man enough to help me with my luggage?” she demanded to know. “You look like the kind of guy women give blow jobs to,” I think she said at the time, when he came forth and offered assistance, and of course he was smitten. Somehow he got her number or something. “She needs me!” he said to me. “Courtney Love does not need you” I told him. And I was right.
Das Kottenkoller-Sonneti especially love the line "Oh no! Fleas go near Tutti ryern." which probably nobody will understand but me. and i really wonder where the line "Klapp den Mond zu!" comes from since it can't be part of the anagram...
(Hans Magnus Kottenkoller, 1962-1995)
Oranges are not the only fruit.
No! Lie not for Rana. Thy gesture
is a throne, nay, forgotten rule.
Eyes in horror. Not a gun left at
rest. No gin for a honey-turtle. A
Surf on the long train to Eyre. A
soultraitor. Any fret gone. Hen
haunts tree. Try real onion fog!
Go lions near Troy? Treehut Fan.
Ryan, get out of here! Torn snail.
Hear our giant's tone for Yentl.
Oh no! Fleas go near Tutti ryern.
He is no log at fern-nut or a tyre
Klapp den Mond zu!
going to meet with nadine this afternoon. until then: preparation of the seminar. but first: coffee.
[later]23:56. back home. we spent the late evening in the park and then went to a bar, had drinks and dinner. was quite a nice night. still on the way back through the warm city a lot of people passed us: looking for some ark, beer bottle in one hand, hand of their lover in the other. i'm complaining again, don't i? great song by smog on repeat: "anniversary". here's a clipping from an internet review of the song: "Callahan saves his best moments for near the end. “Our Anniversary” is built on a gentle but taut bass-line, and when the soft guitar part kicks up it’s both minimal and magnificent. He weaves a quiet tale of being cooped up by a relationship’s obligations on a steaming summer night, when “The bullfrogs / And everything that can sing is singing / Its mating song.” The heartbeat of the guitar and bass is quietly yearning, and Callahan softly considers his options: “To hotwire and hightail crosses my mind.” Then, somehow, the repetitive instrumentation changes its tone to something more conciliatory, and the song winds down with the compromise of a clumsy sexual encounter and cheers for next year. “We are far from flowers / Cut and dried” Callahan admits, “So let us thrive / Just like the weeds / We can curse sometimes.”"
i'm sort of tired. tried to call thomas today to ask him whether i should come to cologne this week. but he wasn't home. so i sent a mail. i wasn't brave enough to also write that i won't be coming to the conference this week. he hasn't answered yet. it's four minutes past twelve now. tired. had a beer with tequila. not enough, though. nobody to look at. nobody to smile back. pathetic. i don't understand what r. barthes means by the "grain of the voice" and i remember how i packed away the cassettes that you taped for me, your voice from long ago that you recorded sitting late at night in a candlelit kichen of your first flat and you're whispering into the microphone things that let me fly. i didn't listen to them today, i just packed them into the cardboard box and didn't even look at them properly. yes - i'm missing what you've been. “Courtney Love does not need you” I told him. .A.n.d ..I.. w.a.s ..r.i.g.h.t..
[june 10, 2003 - i have measured out my life with coffeespoons]woke up this morning and felt like a herd of buffaloes had run over me all night: everything hurt: arms, legs and neck. i'm only writing another entry because i don't want to start to work: actually i should prepare the barthes text and the sessions on stein and eliot but instead i started this entry. which won't lead to anything since i don't have much to say. had bad dreams about being lost in a hotel and i couldn't find my room and stuff. very weird.
[later]sat in the park for two hours, preparing the session on modernism.
[june 11, 2003 - clipping the wings of your morning flight]wow! weird dreams!! woke up from a pain in my palm. realized that - while i was sleeping - i had been pressing my fingernail into it so that it had almost started to bleed: a blue crescent moon blooming on the white flesh. can't remember that this has happened before in my dreams! although, now that i think about it a couple of months ago i discovered bloody scratch marks on my back one morning and i had no idea where they could be coming from.
dreamt about thomas - naturally. and about daniel and reiner: we wanted to meet to play basketball (???!!!!) but it got later and later and i knew that i couldn't be there on time and i kept changing clothes to find a sport dress and i had to go there by bike and then i was in my old room again and everything was just VERY confusing.
i sent thomas an sms yesterday night. he hasn't replied yet and i have visions of him telling me that i don't need to come back to work when i care so little about my career.
went for a long walk this afternoon. the weather isn't as hot anymore but still sunny. very pleasant. worked on "breathing water" - think i taped all tracks. now i have to mix it. i'll probably wait till tomorrow so that i have some (sonic) distance to it. uncwilly posted to undertow about his favorite sv-song and he wrote:
Now: Rosemary[june 12, 2003 - when audrey hepburn died | I was drunk and slightly thrilled | feeling a strange sense of guilt]
Why? It just is. But, to add more rationale... This was the first song that I heard for the very first time Live, solo, acoustic, and intimate no less. I had the chance to hear it before, but 'saved myself' for it (I had heard the European Towies raving over it). Again, I was bowled over. The words were beautiful, the music inspired, the combination wonderful. Since that point (1999), Rosemary has continued to dominate (Philipp's Forever Disneyland version helped). Then, last summer, I lost someone very dear to me, and Rosemary took on new power. The words hit like a truck, often I am on the verge of tears listening to it (as I am now, it is about the 1 year anniversary of his death) and remembering my friend (and others who have lost loved ones).
melancholic day. gregory peck has died. mixed "breathing water". it's finished now. listened all day long to "for tim collins" by the blue aeroplanes: a little, 2 minutes guitar instrumental. window open. laundry is hanging in the kitchen and the perfume of washing powder is being blown through the apartment. slow evening. 20:22. uploaded the new 200 lurkers song. you can check it out here: www.200lurkers.com. click on "music" and then you can download an mp3 version of "breathing water". suzanne posted today: apparently she's already in duisburg, rehearsing for the show. sigh. so close! i should have spent the week in duisburg as well, hanging out in her hotel lobby ;o) sigh. you know, with the new songs and the way (other people's) music has gained importance during the last 1 1/2 years she is so much more everything i ever want to be, so much more a metaphor for where i want to be.
Posted by Suzanne Vega (Suzanne) on Thursday, June 12, 2003 - 2:14 pm:
Duisberg, Germany Wednesday 6-11-03
Whew! Long day. Today I did a press conference at 11, then rehearsed from 1 until 11:30 at night with (with a couple of eating breaks). We worked on finishing up my songs and started on the cover tunes. We have rearranged some of the songs to have extended parts where Bill and Greg can improvise - “Blood makes Noise” is one and really sounded good. We are doing this one completely acoustically, the first time I have ever performed without the sample. It took off right away. Other songs with the extended parts are “Penitent” and “Room of the Street”, which got really trance-y.
The we started on the covers - “Erie Canal” is rollicking. “The Look of Love” is luscious, but really hard for me to sing on pitch. I knew that would be the case but put it forth anyway, as I love it. The audience should think of these two shows as a spiritual experiment!
the wind is catching on. it's blowing through the rooms like a ghost, like a haunting. something is dragging me out of the window. a longing to be where you are. the blue aeroplanes song is still playing, no words, just the two guitars, the branches of the chestnut tree are waving back and forth and the window is rocking gently. where are you? it feels wrong being here. it feels wrong and i don't know how to make it feel right. ten to ten. the light is fading. i want to stand right in front of you and wave both my arms and shout: look at me, look at me, look at me. "you kill yourself for recognition". recognition.
and just when i checked my mail i received a post from the mailing list. apparently the tribute cd that some of us have put together has been sent to the various participants:
Posted by gerlinda (Gerlinda) on Thursday, June 12, 2003 - 3:32 pm:i'm not really sure which tracks of mine are on it. i've sent fred about five, i guess: the various suzyv cover songs i recorded during the last three years. seems like they have put "blood sings" onto it besides "the rent song".
I have just received my TRIBUTE CD!!!!! WHHHOOOOOOHOOOO!!! After skipping track 1, so that i wouldn't have to hear my own horrid voice, I've just listened to Phillip's brilliant cover of "Blood Sings," and now I'm onto Fred's very cool version of "In Liverpool."
[june 13, 2003 - conversation on the phone tonight: ich: "heute war unsere haustür kaputt - das schloss hat nicht funktioniert..." cedric: "darüber hat sich kafka auch immer beschwert!"]sitting on a bench in the park, reading scobie's book on cohen. sun is hot, dogs are barking, the ducks are sitting in groups on the lawn. young mothers are sitting in groups as well, trying to teach their babies to stand upright in the shades of the big oak trees. those who don't wear sunglasses are lost. i'm thinking about sunday. [later] well, it's 23:37 already. spent the day doing this and that, sorting things, went to town to get a ticket for sunday. listened to morrissey today. "my love is as sharp as a needle in your eye / you must be a fool to pass me by" great. right now i'm listening to the 200 lurkers demo cd that i put together for anke. i'll meet her tuesday night. she's working for the city of leverkusen doing cultural work and perhaps there's a chance that she can help me to play a support gig. and besides it'll be just plain fun to spend an evening with her and to talk to her a little more than the few words we were able to exchange the two times we have met at blaine's parties. and since she will get married this year she's the perfect victim and projective plane for all my longings, dreams and wishes. you know, today is one of these days when i really like what i've recorded. often when i'm hearing my own stuff i feel somewhat embarrassed and think: how pathetic. but tonight i really like it. good songs. just a pity that they can't make you love me. or her. or her. they were designed to do that. instead they're just, well, there. you know every morning i'm thinking that it might be worth a shot to send you a copy of the space and the sea. and every night the day ends with the realization that this would be the most foolish thing i could do. okay now: let's be honest! of course i'm all wound up and excited because the ultimate question is of course: a) will she remember me?! b) will she recognize me? and c) will she make any comment about the cd that i sent her? and how will i cope with the fact that she won't say anything about it? and how on earth will i cope if she WILL say something? "your eyes are filled with fear / that you know from your past / that on the way from hand to mouth / god will fall into the dust" this line from "the little lighthouse" was inspired by something nicole told me: she grew up in a small catholic village and her grandmother told her that during communion she must not take the wafer into her hands because crumbs of it could fall onto the floor and since it was christ's body she might spill him into the dust. thus she stuck out her tongue and the priest put it directly into her mouth. cedric found a great web site today: http://www.nybooks.com/gallery. it's the new york review of books gallery and you can find thousand of caricatures there. jesus! i've just seen a big insect moving over the desk - and my heart stopped for a minute. only that it wasn't an insect at all but the lighter and that it wasn't moving but lying there at the same place that it had been lying all night long. guess this means that it's time for bed. "say something." "i'm trying." "what do we do now?" "wait for godot." "ah!"
[june 14, 2003 - i don't know how to suture / what i read and what i write / still i know that the future / will be beautiful and bright]it's noon, saturday, sunny and warm. listening to an old "a star after me" copy that i found while sorting my cds. there are songs on it that i had already forgotten and arrangments that i rediscover with a lot of joy! for exapmle the guitars in the chorus of "headcrash" or the ending of "namedropping" or the great great great electric guitar in "suture" and that strange percussion sound that rob, daniel and i made by drumming onto a cardboard box that we put over a microphone: we sat there in the living room of our flat in the wilhelm-raabe strasse on the floor on the blue carpet and were drumming for ten minutes onto the box: a kindergarten band. unfortunately the sound quality of the whole album is really crap. we should have sold a car and taped it in a proper studio!! "where were you, when thomas pynchon died? where were you when i needed you? where were you when leonard cohen died? where were you when i needed you?"
[later]YES! YES! YES! thomas just called. everything is alright and he hardly even mentioned that i was not at the conference!! i cannot tell you HOW relieved i am! PHEW!!!
[later]took 30 minutes to figure out what i'll be wearing tomorrow. just watched "who's afraid of virginia woolf". intense. jesus, what a GREAT film!
[june 17, 2003 - and all i ask is you remember me]Subject: Duisburg (germany), june 15 2003 feat. b. frisell
Posted by philipp hofmann (Philipp) on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 5:45 am:
hello fellow toasters,
here's my impression of suzanne's sunday night concert with bill frisell - i only had three hours of sleep last night so please forgive me if i'm getting a little too melancholic at the end...
the concert yesterday night (15.06.) in duisburg was exceptional! the venue was a semi open air hall in an old industrial park that used to be a steel factory. since the concert was part of the "ruhrtriennale" (a 'high culture' event) the audience was rather unusual for a pop/rock concert: a lot of people in suits, a little stiff at the beginning: i hardly dared to tap my foot to the beat. there was an intermission in the middle of the set in which you could have champagne in the "lobby". also there was quite a big gap between the stage and the first rows, so i missed the usual feeling of intimacy a little. but in the end people were raving! suzanne and bill had to give two encores (or even three)? and the audience was stomping their feet madly.
the band consisted of suzanne on guitar/vocals, bill on electric guitar, a mixture of woody allen and marc shulman on drums (sorry, forgot the name), zech (?) on bass and a pedal steel guitarist whose name i can't remember as well. goes without saying that they were all great musicians. suzanne didn't talk as much as usual between songs. when she did make a remark (to introduce "never be your maggie may" for example) it was always witty and triggered some response from the audience. the set was a mixture of cover songs and of songs by suzanne. cover songs included elvis costello: "beyond belief" (it fucking rocked!!!), a judy collins 'lullaby' that suzanne used to sing to her sister (the chorus went something like: "if you don't sleep daddy's gonna give you the belt…"), randy newman: "i think it's going to rain today", bob dylan: "it's alright ma", the classic "the look of love", "erie canal" and "mack the knife" from the three penny opera. from her own songs they played "blood makes noise", "room off the street", "in liverpool", "gypsy", "caramel", "bad wisdom" (!), "luka", "marlene on the wall", "the queen & the soldier", "never be your maggie may", "widow's walk" and "penitent". bill's electric guitar and the pedal steel guitar gave the songs a sort of unfamiliar but exquisite and dense sound - you could almost see colors dancing across the stage. one of the highlights was "tom's diner" with a great audience participation.
it was obvious that they had a great time playing together. sometimes they weren't quite of the same opinion about when a song would end or how long a solo would last so there was a high level of improvisation and "letting go", it really seemed like the songs were happening at that very moment and were gone in the next which created a very intense sense of the here & now of the event that cannot be replayed or captured. the very last song was "rosemary" and suzanne played it with bill and the pedal steel guitarist and they hadn't actually rehearsed it so she taught them the song on stage - which was cool! they picked up the chord pattern and the mood of the song instantly and it was one of the most haunting versions i've ever heard.
the sound in general was excellent! suzanne's voice was always clear and loud enough but still embedded in the "spacey" sound from the band. every instrument was very distinct and yet they formed a coherent sound. apparently there were quite a lot of journalists present and rumor has it that the reporter from the "frankfurter allgemeinen" (which is like the german equivalent to the new york times) was "on his knees". also i understand that glynn had taped the performance on video so we might get a glimpse of it on the dvd.
it was great meeting martin and vlad, fellow towies. they both made a number of photos and maybe some of them will make it onto the website.
the post-show meeting was strange but great - as usual: the weird mix of feeling welcomed but at the same time being worried about intruding and robbing suzanne and the band of the well deserved rest and peace after the show (they had to get on the bus to travel across europe to budapest that same night). yet suzanne and the guys (and a very, very charming ruby and her equally charming friend) were very nice, offered us something to drink and we had a little chat. the topics ranged from 9/11 to ruby playing the "blood makes noise" drum pattern [though she soon lost interest and preferred torturing the food ("look mum! i'm squeezing the sausage!")]. glynn told us how he used to drive with a couple of drunken friends once "the only way i could still be steering was by shutting one eye" he said "that narrowed it down to three roads…", zech (?) the bass player showed his false teeth to everybody while eating, grossing out suzanne. bill frisell sat at the side, smiling all the time shyly - he seemed like a really nice guy and - as suzanne pointed out on stage - "a man of few words". suzanne stressed that these two concerts with bill had been a very special experience for her and that singing "mack the knife" and those other classics gave her a lot of confidence. everybody in the "temporary" band was a little melancholic that the time together was up and that the "vega" part of it was soon off to budapest.
it was great meeting and talking to suzanne again - i think as much as i love her songs i like her sense of humor and i'm always amazed at how she manages to make me feel totally at ease and, well, at home in a way.
okay, this ends the official review and now starts the unofficial, private part:
and yet - even though it was a perfect concert and a perfect summer night with a big yellow moon hanging caught in a couple of milky clouds - i felt a sense of disappointment when we left.
well, i guess it'll take a few words to explain this. as i have lamented on this list more than enough the last couple of years have been pretty rough because on top of various other things that went wrong the girl i was engaged to told me - somewhat out of the blue - that she's in love with another guy and left me shortly before christmas and one day after we recorded "the queen and the soldier" and "knight moves" together.
in this time of hurt and longing and anger and humiliation and pain and red eyes and nights with bad, bad dreams and doubts and doubts and doubts suzanne played in cologne early last year, which was just a sublime experience. it definitely was the best gig i've seen - ever!
however the musical experience of that night was topped when glynn took us backstage and suzanne recognized me from previous meetings. i was thrilled. she remembered me. having just been erased and crossed out from the life and the heart and the mind of the one person i really loved the fact that suzanne remembered me, remembered my name and my posts suddenly gave me back an enormous sense of dignity. maybe i was not a piece of trash after all. when she signed a postcard for me she added: "after all this time".
and this sentence was so fantastically ambiguous, so abstract and very straight forward, so tongue in cheek and literal at the same time: it seemed that it held my whole "history" of admiring suzanne's music: from the first embarrassing and strange expression of my admiration for her work from 15 years ago [which i actually had hoped she would have forgotten] to my involvement with the undertow and the first tribute cd - it all was there in this single sentence: after all this time - a verbal winking. it was like i would 'mean' something to her - like there was something connected to my name, to my face, a signification that showed me that i had managed to capture the attention of this special person whose words and music has influenced me so much, has accompanied me for half my life and has been - among the love and the care of my friends - the one thing that gave me some hold, some sense of comfort and strength after the break up. the one thing that kept me sane.
when i moved out of our flat and was living alone again i put the postcard on my wall in the kitchen - and every time it caught my eye it made me smile and glow a little inside. and just as songs like "Soap & Water", "It Makes Me Wonder" or "Harbor Song" it encouraged me to not give in to the blows of depression and desperation but to turn them into words and music instead of being turned by them into shapes and shades that were uncanny and frightening. and thus i started writing songs again, which i hadn't really done in a long time. i doubt that i had ever been able to do this had it not been for the strength, dignity and inspiration that one can find in suzanne's art and in her open and often patient way to deal with, well, with us.
yesterday night, however, she did not recognize me. at least this was my impression. okay, granted: since we last met i have lost 25 pounds, i have colored my hair black, i have a different hair style and i'm wearing contacts instead of glasses. so actually pretty much everything about me changed that can be changed without having major cosmetic surgery. and of course i cannot and i do not expect suzanne to remember everybody on the list, to know their faces, to keep track with people's lives and looks.
and still i had hoped for that smile of recognition, the short moment of remembering who i was. for a 'specialness' that i had hoped would be there despite my changed appearance, maybe in my eyes or in my voice. i could have said: "hi suzanne, great show! i'm philipp from the tow, you know, the 'remember me' guy." but for some reason i did not. and i also did not say: "you know, i'm the one who sent you a cd the other month - unasked - with all these strange songs by 200 lurkers…" i did not say any of these things because i suddenly felt so, well, sober and the voice of reason was shouting in my ear: "act like a 30 year old and not like a presumptuous, spoiled child! you're sitting here, talking to a very nice person who is tired, who is stressed out and who will have to travel on the bus the whole next night and day and who still takes the time to answer your questions and to listen to your comments about the concert, who makes you feel welcome, who even makes you feel like being a temporary member of the band and you also want her to remember you and everything you've said and sung? don't push your luck too far, sucker!"
and yet i was hoping all the time that she would, at some point in the conversation, turn to me and say: "now i know! didn't you sent in a cd recently?"
for me one of the most moving posts in the last couple of months has been suzanne's entry in the Road Diary: Bowery Ballroom - NYC - May 28, 2003 which ends with the anecdote of how her brother met courtney love and somehow got her number. the story ends with tim saying to suzanne:
"She needs me!" he said to me. "Courtney Love does not need you" I told him. And I was right.
yes, i think suzanne was right: courtney love didn't need him or you or me or anybody of us. but sometimes it's a little comfort to pretend that she would.
hm, guess there is not really a point to this story. just thought that you might understand.
anyway, a BIG thanks to suzanne, glynn and the rest of the guys for an unforgettable night.
Subject: Duisburg (germany), june 15 2003 feat.
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 06:30:07 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Undertow Message Board" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Posted by Suzanne Vega (Suzanne) on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 9:00 am:
Dear Philipp --
Of course I remembered you! It just took a few minutes because as you said everything about you has changed.
Subject: On The Road To Budapest - June 16, 2003
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 08:00:13 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Undertow Message Board" <undertow@SuzanneVega.com>
Posted by Suzanne Vega (Suzanne) on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 10:29 am:
On the road to Budapest, Monday, June 16,
(Recap of Century of Song Festival)
The shows were amazing this weekend! What an intense week! The audience was great both nights, between 900 and 1000 people both nights. Both times the audience started out reserved and slowly warmed up, and were shouting and stamping by the end.
Friday night we were all running on adrenaline, I think with panic thrown in there - so much music learned in such a short amount of time. We opened with Room off the Street. Bill didn’t want to start with something sharply - he seems to prefer taking his time, gathering momentum, and that’s what we did, extending long bits of it while he played his loops, until I felt the impulse to go to the mike and sing the next verse.
Then we went right into Widow’s Walk. This was more or less the usual arrangement of it. The Erie Canal was next, and in this context it had a humor to it, especially with the arrangement we had of it. There was a lot of shuffling and setting up of the next song which was It’s Alright Ma, I’m only bleeding, by Bob Dylan. Its an eight minute song and in rehearsal was blistering. I think we were a little nervous in performance but still the audience responded really well, with a sort of long slow sustained applause...
Then we went right into Blood Makes Noise. Kenny was great on the drums, and we extended long bits of it which built up in intensity. Bill and I had a signal by which he would look at me and I would trigger the ending. It felt weird at first having it so early in the set, but we really threw ourselves into it.
Then came Behind Blue Eyes by Pete Townsend. I love singing this song and always wanted to sing it. In rehearsal I was afraid of it at first but the words felt surprisingly natural. The audience really got this one and we started to hear some cheers and yells.
We got cheers for the Queen and the Soldier, which we did next. After that Bill and I did a spare little version of Have You Met Miss Jones, by Rogers and Hart, or was it Rogers and Hammerstein? I took it from the Ella Fitzgerald version. I used to sing this around the house when I did the dishes. This led us into the romantic section - on Friday I sang The Look of Love by Bacharach/David, and then Caramel. Sunday we reversed it, then sang Marlene on the Wall. Then had an intermission. The Look Of Love makes my face go hot every time I sing it and I can barely look at the audience.
By the first intermission we were all feeling like we were really onto something, once we got over the panic of remembering everything, there was a feeling of some kind of spiritual interaction that’s hard to describe, a weird sort of buzz and euphoria for band and audience alike that we could all feel. Thomas the dramaturg (is there really such a word?), he was the one in charge of the press and the in charge of curating the festival, he was beside himself with happiness, and told us he thought it was great. We were pleased so far but very aware that we had the whole second half to go....
The guys started the second half by playing Hank William's Lost Highway. It started with one of the cloudy beginnings I was becoming accustomed to. Then it swelled in intensity which was really fun, to watch the interaction between Greg Leisz and Bill and feel the spiral. I watched this from the side, and watched the audience, who really got into this.
Bill would sort of look over in my direction to cue me to come on, I did, and we went into In Liverpool with Greg beginning the song, doing the piano part on one of his guitars. From there we did Bad Wisdom, the traditional arrangement, more or less. Penitent had a cloudy beginning, a long extended intro while it gathered intensity, then lifted off. I played guitar on that one. The audience really responded to that one both nights, cheering and yelling.
Then Bill and I did a really stark version of I Think Its Going To Rain by Randy Newman. I had done this one in a Musical Theater Class taught by Shirley Kaplan and loved doing it, its always been one of my favorites. It was so stark, there was very little accompaniment and it felt quite bare. The audience was still, and unbelievably quiet for this one.
After that we did I’ll Never Be Your Maggie May, the traditional arrangement, then launched into Beyond Belief, by Elvis Costello. The guys sounded so good on this, its been about 13 years since I had done it, but they really jumped in there and nailed it. I liked singing loud and this was Ruby’s favorite. It has such an intricate snakey melody.
We did Gypsy with Greg and Bill playing with me which got a bit tangled on Sunday as I forgot my lyrics, and also everyone had been drinking red wine during the break. We did Liverpool Lullaby, the version I learned off of the Judy Collins In My Life album, but we swung it up quite a bit, did it in 3/4, and did it more harshly than she sings it. I introduced the band and this led us into Luka, which we galloped through the first night and settled back for the second night. Everyone was clapping and yelling and whistling.
We went off stage. We had not worked up any arrangement for Tom’s Diner, so I just went out and performed it as usual. I told the guys backstage, Look, this is an intellectual German audience, they are not going to sing Do-do-do-do in between all the verses, but to my surprise and pleasure they did. The Friday audience really responded to the word “cathedral” and went on so long clapping, it got to be very funny. The audience on Sunday shushed each other into being quiet, which was also really funny.
Then I called the guys out again, and we did a simple droll version of Mack the Knife we had prepared, which the audience cheered and whistled for.
The first night we were unprepared for the intensity of the audience response, we just kept wandering out and taking bows while the audience whistled, stamped and yelled. We were smiling at each other and wondering what to do. They wouldn’t stop, so we decided I would go out and sing Rosemary, which I did alone the first night, and brought Bill and Greg out with me the second night and taught it to them on stage, which the audience went crazy over.
Then it was all over, and we all stared at each other with our mouths open. Bill said the first night, “It feels like something really happened!” Everybody was weirdly jubilant, hugging each other. Even the van drivers were struck by this funny delirium and one of them grabbed me and hugged me, thanking me for the music. Bill kept smiling. I hated to leave, I felt in love with everybody and just wanted stay there in the venue which was this amazing steel factory, huge, words can’t describe how vast this venue was.
We met some of the Towies again - Vlad who had been there the previous night and also Philipp who looks different somehow from the last times I have seen him.
Then we had to pop on the bus to get to Budapest which is where I am writing this. We all had a nightcap in the bar last night, I had a single malt scotch and gave Greg a list of song titles I had been carrying around in my wallet, one of which was “I hate pedal steel”. I couldn’t remember what had brought that to mind, but his playing and the way he used his instruments changed my mind about that. It used to remind me of a period in my life that I didn’t like, and I couldn’t bear to hear it. But now we laughed about it, and then had to get on the bus and leave our new friends.
Also we had to leave Zev who played bass splendidly through this whole adventure, as he is on his way back to New York and we will meet Mikey, Doug and Billy here in Budapest. He whipped out his teeth at some point and we have pictures to prove it.
[june 18, 2003 - low bridge! everybody down!]tired! met anke yesterday night and we had a couple of beers - actually too many for me. was back in the office at one at night when i actually could have used 12 hours of sleep. yawn. it was very nice! she's a very old friend of blaine, they went to elementary school together so we had a great time gossiping about him. blaine [and the whole staff of prof. neumeier] is in london this week. prof. antor is also on an excursion so the corridor has been really quiet this week. thomas just left for home and i think i will pack my things as well and head for bielefeld. when i was sitting in that bar waiting for anke yesterday night someone across the room was reading the frankfurter allgemeine zeitung and i saw that it had an article on the concert in duisburg with a nice photo of suzanne. so when i was walking home early in the morning i stopped at some corner shop that was still open and bought the paper. unfortunately the article is very badly written, although it is praising the perfromance. i've translated it and sent it to the list. here it is:
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, June 17, 2003it's sooooo nice of suzanne to mention again in her road diary that she DID recognize me - but not at once because i looked so different ["We met some of the Towies again - Vlad who had been there the previous night and also Philipp who looks different somehow from the last times I have seen him."] when i am pretty sure that she did NOT recognize me at all - she even asked, when she was signing something for me: "what's your name?" and when i said "philipp" that didn't really seem to help her at all to remember me ;o) but it's soooo cute that she insists on having remembered me. that's sooo sweet. i think she must be in love with me! *sigh*
Is she in the steel-business? - Strange the way a songwriter's life can go: Suzanne Vega in Duisburg
by Edo Reents
"The blast furnace, in front of which the musicians will perform is still partially conserved, just as many things in the newly opened "Giesshalle" in the cultural park in Duisburg-North have been kept in their quasi natural state from when the city was still governed by the steel industry. The place has been turned into a very pleasant, semi open air venue with about 900 seats, a movable roof, a lot of rusty brown steel and walls made of bricks arranged in a cross pattern. So here they used to make steel. But only very few people in the audience are melancholic for these old days: "There isn't much industry here anymore."
In any case it was a great idea of Thomas Wörderhoff - responsible for the exquisite Century of Song series that is part of the Ruhrtriennale - to woo such a sophisticated and almost ethereal vanishing figure as Suzanne Vega into this worker's milieu directly in front of the blast furnace. The name of her profession fits the series: in the middle of the 80s, when people had enough of the excesses of punk, disco and wave and started to welcome the rebirth of the classic singer/songwriter style à la Baez, Saint-Marie and Mitchell, the American found a grateful and perceptive audience in Europe as well.
So now she was standing up there with her four companions, with whom she had never worked before. This kind of making music 'into the blue' and with only a very limited time to rehearse is part of the working concept of the Century of Song: the songs are tested on their durability and usability: an aptitude test that not only tolerates new interpretations and arrangements, but demands them. That the American jazz guitarist Bill Frisell is assisting Vega in this might have raised concerns that an acknowledged technician is playing a singer - who is not really famous for over-interpreting her song but whose virtue is that of aloofness - to pieces. but nothing of this sort happened. Frisell put his virtuosity in the service of the good cause and created a softly swinging and relaxed sound that was more reminiscent of west coast pop than jazz, and that the other musicians held together firmly. In particular Greg Leisz contrasted Frisell's singing, beautifully beady tones with the decent howlings of his steel guitar, thus gently pushing the whole sound towards country again and again.
The sovereign and charming Suzanne Vega must have liked it: her folk style was kept untouched - obviously especially in her older compositions such as "Marlene on the wall" and "Luka" - but also in her recent songs such as "I'll never be your Maggie Mae" which is not so much a document of feminism than simply a self-assertion which puts the melancholic-inexperienced chauvinism of the young rod Stewart in his place.
But what made this performance so very special were the cover songs. The abysmal "Behind Blue eyes" by The Who became a transparent, almost painless ballad; a song like "It's alright Ma (I'm only bleeding)" - which is heavy on the lyric side even for Dylan standards - was stripped of its mocking edge - but not of its effect - by the clear voice; Elvis Costello's "Beyond Belief" - surely a highlight of the relaxed evening - came down like a sledgehammer and without its cynicism. Except when you see it the other way around: the abandonment of sympathy for what she is singing - which has always been a trait of her performances - is a very cynic thing to do in the first place. Suzanne Vega showed once again - even in an unfamiliar setting and in a new, totally unobtrusive musical context - that she is the master of distance."
[june 19, 2003 - your eyes. it's a days work. just looking into them]strange day. it's a holiday and it's very humid. not much sun: too cloudy. got a very sad email from paula today. she's psychotic again, hearing voices and thinking that the sun would steal her brain. wish there was a way to help her. she sent a long description of how she met suzanne the other month after a concert:
i'll tell you about meeting suzanne. fatima and i found glynn, who was up in the balcony behind the soundboard. glynn gave fatima a huge hug and as we waited for glynn to finish up, some towies appeared. glynn took us down the back stairs which were narrow and steep and dimly lit; these led directly to the stage where doug yowell was tearing down his drum kit. doug, who knew fatima from a previous gig, gave her a big hug and then glynn led the towies down more narrow stairs to the backstage area. there were, i'd guess, around 10-15 towies in an area between the stairs and a wall completely covered with a mirror - a very small, cramped space. to the right was the green room where suzanne was. glynn went in to tell her that the towies were here and he also told her that there was a surprise - she hates surprises - apparently some family of hers showed up that night after the show that she hadn't expected. so suzanne opens the door and sees fatima - she's the surprise - and suzanne's jaw drops and is struck momentarily speechless while fatima and suzanne hug each other tightly. they talk for a few minutes. suzanne, looking weary but content, then moves over to the wall with the mirror and leans up against it and asks glynn if he has the bag with the postcards in it. he goes to fetch it and there's tame chit-chat among the towies - i don't remember what was said or if anything was said to suzanne - i think somebody told her "nice show" or something like that. glynn comes back with the postcards. suzanne takes a stack and hands them around - i didn't take one - they were the "retrospective" postcards that we here in the u.s. had got in the mail. of course then suzanne starts signing them, "to john, suzanne vega", but it's only now that i wish i had had her sign one for me. i was standing slightly apart from the towies, clutching my book of poetry - did i mention that i was going to give that to her? i was nervous but i felt like i was on a mission! so suzanne signs innumerable postcards and there's more small talk and suzanne looks over at me and asks, "do you want anything signed?" and i said, "no, but i'd like to give you something," and she nodded. i walked up to her, turning my back to the other towies, then turning round to them, said, "i'm sorry," apologizing for turning my back on them, and suzanne said good naturedly, "yes! no one look!" so i was face to face with suzanne, and i had to look down a little bit, because i'm taller than her. and i said, "i want to give you a book of my poetry, because your words have come out so often in mine." and she looked - i can't put my finger on it - touched and a bit happy. and i had printed out the prose poem that i sent you and tucked in the back cover, and i told her "for god's sake, read this first, because i wrote it only a few weeks ago and it's the best thing!" and she laughed. then i had her sign the booklet to the "retrospective" cd. and she asked if she'd seen me before, maybe in austin, and i said yes. and she said, "whenever i read your posts i think, 'paula from texas'". i told her that i had flown down to texas for that show and that i really lived in south dakota. i stepped back into my place and the other towies left. fatima and i and glynn and suzanne stood in a circle and fatima and suzanne talked about each other's health. then suzanne and i talked about our shoes, because we have the same kind - converse all-stars. and we talked for a bit more and she and glynn said their goodbyes, since the public radio station was holding a reception for her. that's how it went. i didn't stammer once, a high achievement!and that's so cool because the last things i said to suzanne when we left was: "cool sneakers!" pointing to her shoes. the mood paula described at the backstage meeting seemed to be so different from what i exprienced: what i remember was always a very relaxed atmosphere - it was like being together with cedric or blaine. it was like sitting in front of somebody who is ... i don't know how to describe it. it sounds so silly. sigh. and if he isn't i certainly am. and maybe having her writing "thank you for everything" is something special after all. at least it opens another infinite site that is deep enough to swallow me and my projections.she first wrote "!thank you" then looked up, looked at the writing again and added "for everything". then handed it back to me. and i can't help it, but there always was some trace of questions in her eyes, or a shyness (?) or maybe rather the look that you give someone whom you see sitting in a bar at another table and whom you wonder about for some reason or another. (i hope you know that i'm only kidding!!! well, sort of.)
got a mail from another towie from whom i haven't heard in a long time:
Subject: hello there[june 20, 2003 - fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck]
Date: Sun, 15 Jun 2003 14:35:25 -0700
From: "doris daytheearthstoodstill" <email@example.com>
hey, philipp, it's bluey. haven't heard from you in a long time, and then today i got that message about the suzanne vega tribute thingy being done and i thought, yarg! i haven't heard from philipp in awhile. better write to him to see how he's doing. so, here i am, writing to you to see how you're doing.
how're you doing?
i just went to your website, for the first time in awhile (sorry....) i like the new look, the negatives of the old movie stars are very nice, although leonard nimoy is sort of frightening. anyway, hope things are well.
sadly dispensing pharmaceuticals since 2001.
one thing i know, this pain will go - fuck fuck FUCK!! just met her. went shopping and there she stood, gazing at a bottle of red wine. i had already packed the shopping cart but i only pushed it aside in a panic, and headed for the exit, straight home. - i only saw her from behind but i recognized her immediately. don't think she saw me which is good. fuck fuck fuck FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK!!!!!!!!!! just when i had told myself that she wasn't real after all that she was just a fucking night mare i must be reminded that she DOES exist and that her hair is still as beautiful as i keep remembering. even more so. fuck! usually i check the parking lot before i enter the store but today i din't because i thought: i'll be moving in two weeks anyway what should happen? fuck. i started to tremble all over at once, pushing the people aside and just trying tio get away. FFFFFFFFFEgbh ^üoh5 n´ß0klrwtbgöiwqjrfnt 2905uzoö5weiz wü0t96hlioq45hjz6p9386u´20ü5nzälekijn tfüqwr09u6ü049j6äözqA$Ö=%&q8zb n#äp5h wol pw598ztjh nflkigz2v490z5uböowifjhtlwbmo8ruzlkgjnhl.kejärqlkfn,lkab cx wäortjhäpri9wtp9842oizh-.wirohöwlrstnbs diw lo86ruhz ldi8ttkz jhp9 lisfjfjgjgjgkfgkgflkhsgfkxcfkgb ksjfg mnrtg xmc4w98tub ycrtrkxcg.doödlfgldsflfglk.isgtlöjsfs fguhmnmjhxdrföo 8914ß98hs.d 3pw958thj eop9rohn ölkjthblksjgfhliwo 9486hnwsik ep598h kdj hp98th hfiutghilser zkjdx r9oµs tfg8cd ft,kjt4wqöio48uvh wö qp85z6 ewpolweo8ivnp9wrev üpwt590u pöwo8rs5 pw9r8 zp9sr8zuwlö noiwerwp495wüß459utv#wp59u np39w45hg 8w65fuck fuck fuck fcuk fuck fuck fuck fuck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
okay then - i took my md player, put on my sneakers and went for a long walk through the woods, which was good. the wind was blowing through my hair and the angry guitars of catherine wheel were blowing through my head. it really felt like walking away from something and i couldn't be fast enough, think i did my round in record time. nicole said on the phone "i'm so glad that you met her! it's good to see for you that it's over!" but i don't see ANYthing and it has the exact opposite effect. questions over questions: did she see me? what did she think? why was she there in the first place? maybe she hoped to meet me? see how fast this is getting absurd again?!? this really wasn't supposed to happen. from time to time i had the wish to meet her but not like this, not unprepared, not in reality, not when i don't know the outcome. i'm such an idiot. i'm meeting these two women [plus the very charming anke who mailed today and asked me whether i would like to go to the theater with her] within one week and what do i make of it??? Oh love of mine, would you condescend to help me because I'm stupid and blind?
when i came back from my walk this afternoon the mailman was standing in front of the door and had a parcel for me: it was the 2003 undertow tribute cd "It's a one time thing it just happens a lot" to which i have contributed as well. i think everybody else had already received his/her cd [including suzanne who got hers on tuesday]. so i was really curious and it is just great! my mood lifted immediately and the mood-o-meter climbed from 1.2 to 3.5 - the cd is just awesome: the artwork is great and it looks like a professional cd with a colored booklet that is beautifully designed. what is a little frightening is that they have included four of my covers. which means that i am contributing the most tracks (there is a total of 21 songs) and since the cd also includes "ramblings on days of open hand" by paula which i mixed the music for and a cover version of "the all of nothing" (which i sort of helped to give life to) by william there are actually six tracks that i am involved in.
hm, didn't really manage to do anything useful today. made my income tax declaration this morning. but that was it then. then came the meeting and after that i was knocked out a couple of hours. tomorrow i'll visit my parents and start organizing moving to cologne. did i mention that the flat is empty now? the former tenant has moved so theoretically i could move in any day. but not practically because i'll be in tübingen next week. i'll start the week in cologne with the sessions on gertrude stein and ts eliot and on tuesday afternoon cedric will stop by on his way from herford to tübingen and pick me up. susan sontag will give a series of lectures at the university there and since i always wanted to visit tara (she's working at the university of tübingen) this is a great opportunity to see her again and spent a couple of days with her. i'll return on friday night so don't be amazed if there are no entries for a couple of days next week.
[june 21, 2003 - i'm not afraid of meeting you / i fickle and i brag about it / neither will i cry for you and like a bird freed from its cage / night and all day i play and sing ...]it's 23:41 - i'm tired. just coming back from my parents. it was quite nice actually - managed to correct a couple of essays while i was sitting in their garden and the cat was lying at my feet. there's not much to report, actually. nicole called when i wasn't in and someone who did not leave a message on the answering machine. thirty minutes after i saw her in the supermarket yesterday the phone rang and when i said my name the person on the other end hung up.
it's dark and cold now outside. the mood-o-meter is falling point by point with each minute the night proceeds. the longing for you is growing. i'm cold and i shiver and the air is cool. it smells like burned wood and the light from the street lamp is cruel and bright. the spiders have come in through the cracks in the door and the open window and their building their nests in every corner of the room and they have circled the bed. "and after all these things there's a question i must ask / when everyone has called me out and said i am the worst / and asked for voices on my side my love would you sing first? / would you say: he's okay / he's better than the rest / he's innocent in god's eyes / and in my he is the best!" where are you? i'm so glad that you turned away graciously and i did not have to look into your face, into your eyes. your eyes. your eyes. your eyes. your eyes. your eyes. your eyes. your eyes. it's cold in here. i'm missing you. call me.
[june 22, 2003]worked in the park. blaine called. he's back from london. i don't know, i guess he did not really believe me when i told him that i was madly in love with suzanne. and then i was just looking through the photos that vlad made at the vega concert in paderborn two years ago because the artwork of the tribute cd featured a couple of photos from the gig. and you know, it was strange: but there was this one photo that scared me a little because the face of that woman suddenly looked so much like the face of another woman and i asked myself whether my fascination with the one had to do with my fascination for the other. very confusing. anyway, suzanne has sent a secret love message to me via the list. she very cleverly posted another entry into the road diary:
Posted by Suzanne Vega (Suzanne) on Sunday, June 22, 2003 - 12:27 pm:
When we got back to the hotel it was a brand new hotel, and someone with great taste had done it up to be a cross between an English manor and some kind of old world 1930’s Ralph Lauren atmosphere, where Dinah Washington and Billy Holiday’s music played throughout the hotel in each room, the linens were luxurious, the sofas were deep brown leather. There was a wood burning fire in the lobby and the smell wafted up into the courtyard. Billy wanted a cup of coffee while he waited in the lobby and they brought him a cup on a silver tray. Huge books on capitalism in the library in the front room!
I looked out into the courtyard for a minute when the rain came down, I noticed it was sunny at the same time. As I watched the sky, I saw a pale rainbow forming through the clouds and I was filled with some kind of feeling I don’t know the name of -- not nostalgia, which looks backwards -- but the wind blew through the juniper and pine bushes in the courtyard, mingling with the wood smoke and the rain, and I had the sense of some new kind of world. I was moved that someone had thought of these things in advance, and had thought of providing comfort, and I was grateful that I was there at that moment to receive it.
but if you read it carefully [of course you must know the secret code] then it says: "i adore you, phillip!" [unfortunately she can't spell my name yet...] i have packed my things for next week. looking forward to spending a couple of days in tübingen. i'll return friday night - after a six hour drive on the train. not really looking forward to this! hope the batteries of the md player will not collapse. this evening - at about six - the doorbell rang and reiner stood there: "hi!" he said "just wanted to pop in and say hello!" this is highly unusual. he hasn't done this ever before. he started talking about the band and that he'll try to get some gigs in the fall and i was a little moved because it seemed like he came to show how much he cared about the nerve bible and how little he wanted us to split.
poor cedric is currently writing his ma thesis which has to be finished by tuesday afternoon. he is working day and night - literally! so let's all send him a virtual "hang on, mate!"
it's 22:13 already. got to get up early tomorrow so i better call it a day. you know, life sucks. it really does. but what am i supposed to do about it...?
[june 23, 2003 - for what it's worth - i love you! for what it's worth - i really do!]it's a quarter to eight, i'm sitting in the office listening to the new cardigans cd - very good! the seminar today didn't really went well: the topic was gertrude stein but somehow the students were apathic and couldn't really be motivated - hm hopefully this will change tomorrow. might also be the weather: it's very hot and humid and it's hard to move or even think. when i was sitting in blaine's office this morning and thomas came in we suddenly were talking about the vega concert and i said that she had fallen in love with me and what was very shocking: THEY BELIEVED THAT I BELIEVED THAT! they thought i was serious! and thomas said that i would always fall for women that were "spröde" (austere, aloof, rough) and i cried "that's not true!" and he said "it is! [deleted] was just like suzanne vega!". and of course that's not true but it was so spooky because i had written this comment to the photo yesterday night. and he said that my taste was so strange because i was the opposite of being "spröde". i was "anti-spröde". which of course is wrong. IF someone is spröde than it's me! i don't know. blaine and thomas are living on different planets! when i talked to nicole and complaint about this i said: "you know, today thomas said my taste in women was very peculiar because i would always go for the..." and she completed the sentence: "spröde ones! yes, that's what he told me a week ago..."
[later]going to meet blaine in the beer garden.
[june 24, 2003 - my heart is broken, it's worn out at the knees, hearing muffled, seeing blind soon it will hit the deep freeze...]went with blaine to a biergarten yesterday night (and told him all about the backstage meeting and about suzanne's secret crush on me) and later joined nicole and a couple of her friends in a bar downtown.
sitting in a diner now, having a cinnamon tea and waiting for my persian dinner. has been a very busy day. helped thomas with the oral exams from four to eight. the seminar was strange, very strange. when i asked: "what do you think about the poem [love song of j. alfred prufrock] nobody said a word. then i asked: what is it about? silence. who is it about [with regards to the give-away title a not too complicated question]. silence. i had almost said: okay - if you don't have anything to say about the poem then just let's call it a day and we'll enjoy the sun! and then - very slowly - people started to talk. but very reluctantly. now, if they cannot say anything about 120 lines of eliot i wonder how dreadful and cruel the discussion on 12 lines of cummings will get next week! phew! but i don't see why WE should tell them OUR opinion on the poems - that's not the point of the seminar. it's not a lecture, for god's sake. and still it's hard to say this because when i was a student i NEVER said anything in class as well. but then it doesn't seem like they weren't enjoying the seminar. the other day they spontaneously organized a pub crawl with the whole course next week.
oh, paul auster just passed by. my eyes are aching though i've been wearing glasses all day long instead of the contacts. when thomas, blaine, bernd and i were standing/sitting/leaning against the wall in blaine's office monday morning and i told them about my eternally burning love for suzanne thomas was sort of shocked and when i said: "i can't believe that you're actually believing this!" he said "well, wo das herz voll ist, da quillt der mund von über!" what the heart is filled with will pour out of the mouth - apparently some old german proverb. and when he came into the office yesterday he had the dvd of "stange days" in his heands (which he is using for his seminar on contemporary science fiction) and he said "i've watched this yesterday night - not bad. there was one point when i had to think about you. somebody's saying: 'the memories are fading away. they are meant to do so!' think about it! get a life!!" and then yesterday afternoon there were a group of people waiting in front of his office because he had office hours and nina was talking to someone waiting and she was talking about her wedding and then thomas somehow got involved in the discussion and told about how in america you can marry on your own in the absence of the partner (especially when he's serving overseas in the arms, liberating an oilproducing country or hunting for weapons of mass destruction in iceland) and i had to ask him something and i popped in in the middle of this discussion and for some reason said "what?" and he said "well, it's about marriages, nothing that you'd need to know!" thank you, this was very flattering, thomas!
[june 25, 2003]favorite song of this week: weaklazyliar's version of "cracking" on it's a one time thing... great, simply great!
[june 26, 2003 - in tübingen, on thursday: no traffic on the avenue. the light is pale and thin like you]when i arrived in tübingen yesterday evening the air was orange and pregnant with unheard thunder. the atmosphere was rather gloomy and dark - however this changed when tara came running up the stairs of the train station to pick me up. immediately a feeling of holiday set in. tübingen is a rather picturesque city and it would take me the whole afternoon only to describe the cobblestone streets, the old, lopsided houses and their wooden blinds that surround the churchyard and the well that i'm sitting at with my coffee. the square is flooded with sunlight and waves of people - mostly students - are passing by.
when tara picked me up yesterday we went having dinner at an indian restaurant at the banks of the river. we talked about the university and our seminar and about thomas and cedric and then she asked: "would you like to tell me about meeting [deleted]?" and i said "well, no!" then thought for a second and revised my opinion: "well, actually it must have been quite a comic scene: me running away in a panic, leaving the shopping cart just like this - usually i check the parking lot for her car, but that day i hadn't. i better had!" "she was there by car?" tara asked? and i nodded and she continued: "really, although she's living so close to the supermarket..." and that was just a little too much information because i had no idea where she is living and with whom or whether she had moved out of our old apartment at all [which WAS pretty close to the supermarket] and i couldn't help thinking: that bitch! she's living with him now in our old apartment! and for a short moment i got angry and then sad and then the delicious food came and i forgot about it.
this morning i visited tara in her office in the university. it's huge!!!!! i told her that in cologne three people would live and sleep in such a big office! it's pretty nice actually - with two big bookshelves and a carpet and in the corner on a small table lay a print out of an email with an attached photo of blaine, tina and me and in the shelf stood a card in [deleted]'s handwriting: a poem or a songtext i couldn't really tell and it was signed: "[deleted] + " and i couldn't read the second name because it was covered by another card in front of it and i started to sweat for a minute and then it was over.
tara has a great apartment: it's full of those little thingies that made me feel comfortable at once: postcards of freud & suzanne on the wall, little colored candlesticks and a lot of 200 lurkers memorabilia. we had breakfast in a diner at the university and then she had to work for a couple of hours which i used for sightseeing and coffee and writing this. the weather is perfect. tonight cedric will come down from herford and tara has invited a couple of friends and colleagues from the university. déjà vu - gone! confusing dreams tonight. without her, though fortunately. i dreamt i was at some kind of party with blaine and i had forgotten my backpack and for some reason prof. bald - who is a linguistic prof in cologne - came after me undressed and sexually harassed me! frightening! woke up in the middle of the night starting to muse about cedric's idea of combining the concept of intertextuality with that of metamorphoses.
[june 27, 2003 - ...und DAS sagt ein Mann, der Myron Fishnick heisst!]okay - i've prolonged my stay in tübingen by a day. right now i'm sitting at the marketplace, waiting for cedric & tara. yesterday night tara invited a couple of people and we made a japanese dish - it was actually quite a nice evening and her colleagues were very different from what i had expected. you know, doing american studies one always looks down on those people who are doing medieval studies because they usually are VERY conservative, do not appreciate contemporary literary theory and are much better educated - at least than i am. so i'm only envious of course. anyway, when we had settled at the table and we were starting to eat tara wanted to put on some music and when she was standing in front of the stereo she suddenly took one cd and wanted to hide it on top of the shelf, then hesitated and went into the kitchen and returned without it. "how nice" i thought " she's hiding a cd that [deleted] and [deleted] have made for her so that i won't find it." - but then later, when cedric arrived, it turned out that it was a present for cedric and that she had hidden it so he wouldn't see it the moment he came in. i MUST stop thinking that the entire world is revolving around ME, because it just isn't! "and what i really want to know is this: are things getting better? or are they getting worse? can we start all over again? stop. pause. can we start all over again? can we start all over again? start all over again? we're in record. good morning. good night. we're in record."
[june 28, 2003 - i never really learned how to love you but i know that i love you through the hole in the sky. this is an invitation. it's not a threat. if you want communication, that's what you get. i'm talking, i'm talking, i don't know how to connect. i hold the record for being patient, with your kind of hesitation]saturday, 10:30. tara and cedric are still asleep. we went to the lecture of susan sontag yesterday night. it was pretty impressive. she "delivers" as they say. not very demanding but very entertaining. she talked about the concept of translation. it was crowded: about 500 to 600 people! t & c got their sontag books signed and afterwards we got drunk in a cocktail bar and on the way home we kept singing "immer wieder sontags kommt die erinnerung!"
17:30: tired. i'm sitting in the train, feeling displaced. the days with tara & cedric were great - now i'm being transported through an unknown landscape, passing through unfamiliar stations and towns and i wish i had already moved to cologne. i'm sad, returning to the empty apartment is not something i'm particularly looking forward to. i want someone i can be with. this is not just some defiant, stupid wish, it's an existential necessity. i wonder when suzanne will come to take me away. a few houses are grouped around a church tower, nested between the hills, every now and then woods, then fields and in the distance small villages again. toy world. unreal and far away. "i can't stop being overjoyed" it doesn't feel right being me.
[later]the sun is blinding
dear you -funny that it seems that i have to think about you most often when i'm at a train station. why are train stations connected to dreams? why are train stations connected to whales? and why are they connected to you? the sun's reflected on the silver roofs of the trains, golden lines pirecing my eyes and i'm still three hours away from ... [?] i shouldn't do this at all since it's ridiculous - but then what isn't? i realize that i don't have anything to say or write to you. and the other thing i realize is that whenever i put down "you" its signified is always already the plural, the sickening paradoxical oneness of you + him. i should be happy, relieved and glad about the first realization, but for some reason i'm not. because the lack of words is not the same as the lack of feeling - i hate that it has come so far: that what you are NOT weighs morethan what you ARE - but then i feel the same about myself. how would a conversation with you be like? i'm frequently asking myself this - and other things. i'm so grateful that i did not see (into) your face. i've written this before but it's true so much that i can write it again. are you happy? and this question is three questions at the same time. nothing has happened that could fill your place. nothing that would go beyond a smile and a friendly look from a female, attractive stranger. sad for me. lucky for you. no, not lucky but ironic because back then i never managed to show or articulate that. belated love is a useless thing. and even the word "love" seems to be wrong here. "but i do do feel that i do do will miss you muuuaach" i hear kayla singing. "i'm trying to write something so beautiful that it will make you ache from longing" i hear paula saying. and now you've got me pinned to the floor with longing - but it has never been for what you've written or said. it has never been just for the representation of you. you created something that makes me ache from longign and it's only you. "only" is the wrong word here. too many of them, those damned wrong words. nothing you wrote has ever been as beautiful as what you were. i'm drifting into a weird kind of essentialism - granted! thomas would say: into intensities. and here we are again back full circle: "help me because i can't stop being overjoyed". this is not to make sense. this is to leave a trace. find me, please oh find me. i'm tired. i cannot tell you how tired i am. it's getting dark already. that days are getting shorter again already. summer's over and nothing has changed.
[june 29, 2003 - JUST CAUSE YOU FEEL IT DOESN'T MEAN IT'S THERE!!!!!]prepared the seminar all day long. checked 140 mails that i got while i was in tübingen. did the laundry. worried about all the organization that moving to cologne demands. it seems to be difficult to find a date when everybody is free to give me a hand.
[june 30, 2003 - boxes of pictures of people i do not know. i touch their cardboard faces: they must go...]it's monday, 22:24, just watched kubrick's version of lolita. now: windows open, traces of the summer sun scattered across the twillight horizon, "mercy street" on repeat, police sirens howling in the avenue in front of the university. anne sexton's voice familiar and sad and me feeling the same way. the seminar went well today: cummings. tomorrow: frost. i will get the keys for the apartment tomorrow evening and on wednesday afternoon i will start painting the walls and the ceiling, probably with blaine and nicole's help.
here's what i thought about the last couple of days when i was packing, moving empty boxes from one corner of the room to the other: what shall i do with all the stuff that's hers? the carpets? the video cassettes with the recordings we made for her father's 60s birthday? her pajama? i could put it all in a box and write her a mail whether she wants to have it back or not. or i could take the box to her parents, simply ring at their door uninvited and without warning and give it to them. or i could just throw the stuff away or not care about it. after extensive thinking back and forth i decided for the third option.
the other question is whether i should tell her that i've moved, send her my new address? maybe even invite her to the housewarming party? for some reason i love the thought of having the apartment filled with all the people: cedric and tara and blaine and thomas and nicole and eva and sirka and nadine and tina and ute and gordon and kristina and nina and achim and irene and nikola and then having [deleted] walking in. but it wouldn't be a triumph. at least not for me. it would be another let down. it would just be another moment filled to the rim with pain.
no! i should just go on like i did in the last 18 months: pretending
like she had never happened. pretending like she was not there at all any
more. at least towards her even if i don't seem to be able to pretend it
towards myself. so point taken and decision made. because moving will not
change anything within the hollows of my heart. it will only be when i'm
in a new relationship, when i've fallen in love again - and not with some
red haired singer songwriter but with someone who anwers my sentiments
- that i should think of contacting her again. but then it will be superfluous
because then i won't feel any need to speak to her, hear her voice, look
into her eyes, smell her skin or touch her hair anymore. all my striving
is aimed at this day!