[june 4, 2004 - ]bought myself a 200 lurkers cardigan. looks great :o). spent a lot of time at the office. we've got new pcs and it took us quite a while to install all the programms and configure the settings. but it's worth it: finally we've got computers that are not crashing constantly! continued writing on the "forschungsstand". i hope to finish the first quarter this week-end so that i can give a sample of my writing to thomas and see what he's thinking.
[june 6, 2004 - all in all there's something to give]beautiful day. we've been to the flea-market and then x. had to go to work and i went home and worked, too and then i got a nice email concerning 200 lurkers and then i went running through the park and then i worked a little more and now it's night and i'm tired and air's "all i need" is playing on repeat and the forecast said that it would be getting 28° tomorrow and x is not here and i'm a little sad about that.
Subject: Great Musichm, i really wish i had some chocolate! or at least some cookies. i wish i had more time to put into the band. a keyboarder from bielefeld had mailed and asked me whether we could meet because he liked our music and wanted to join the lurkers. sometimes an overload of a particular feeling seizes me. it washes over me and leaves my clothes heavy, my hair dripping and my skin covered with goosflesh: the feeling of being pleased by my work, the desire to write a song, a scary panic concerning the dissertation and what will follow, a burning feeling of love for x., a strange desperation because i cannot write anymore. i don't know. i used to think life would be easier the older you get. got to think again. used to think life would get easier the more problems you have solved. but that's wrong as well. wish i was with you now. on a stage. in a light. singing and being sung.
Date: Sun, 6 Jun 2004 16:57:53 -0700 (PDT)
Great songs and wonderful lyrics! Your music reminds me of many of my favourite bands but has something refreshingly different about it. Are you in the process of getting signed to a record label? Also I am very impressed by the negative type artwork. I am a big fan of The Smiths and artwork and clever lyrics were a very important part of the group. I would very much like a copy of your cd, please let me know how to obtain it as I would love my friends to hear the songs.
[june 8, 2004 - by dread i'm inspired, by fear i'm amused...]it has gotten hot. i mean really hot. the sun kept beating upon the roof in front of the office and the hot, flickering air was blowing directly into our room. having three pcs, three monitors, a scanner and a printer switched on doesn't really help against the heat, either. anyway, lot of things to do. actually i had planned to give thomas a short text that i had written (a piece of my dissertation, just three pages of boring summary on the secondary literature on cohen) but i didn't find the time to finish it: yesterday we had the colloquium and after that i had to prepare the seminar for today (which i did until 8:30 at night) and today i had the seminar and then we had a staff meeting which went on for 2 1/2 hours. phew. and i'll have to write the protocol :o( anyway, i seem to spend more time in the office than anywhere else. i guess that i'm there almost for ten hours each day. not that i would manage to do very much during this time... even though the entire last week was a holiday i was there each day. if i would get paid for every single hour at work i would be a rich man.
in the colloquium we talked about foucault: bio power. blast! i had read the text the day before and thought: "well, that's a nice text, and nicely structured, too. and almost understandable. very nice..." and then thomas came and he read it in such a way which turned it into a brilliant text! into a text that is about materialities and representation and butler and deleuze and everything everything everything. and i just hadn't seen this, this obvious connection and these clear hints. it was great, and at the same time it was frustrating.
did i mention that a keyboarder mailed me and offered to play for 200 lurkers. i might meet with him next week. we'll see. there's so much to do and i'm so lazy. but when i got home tonight i was just dead tired. the seminar went okay. it's strange: sometimes they say things and sometimes they don't. i wish i could see myself. i wonder whether my teaching is structured. i wonder whether my teaching is interesting. i wonder whether i'm doing any teaching at all. i don't want to bore people. sometimes i think i do.
re-read a year ago. what suzanne wrote touched my heart as if i had read it for the first time: “Courtney Love does not need you” I told him. And I was right.
[june 10, 2004 - and you trusted to this, and you trusted to that...]what a strange day today. it felt like being in the rain forest all day because it was raining ceaselessly but it was also pretty warm and the sun was shining despite of the rain and the birds were singing. didn't really do all that i had planned to do today. realized the absurdity of the entire enterprise: i'm 32 now and when i have finished my dissertation i will have to do my habilitation and then i'm 40 and no chance of getting a job anywhere. if i had just an ounce of common sense i would try to get a job in a public relation agency.
x. is visiting her family and i am alone tonight. and tomorrow night. went running today, read ondaatje on beautiful losers and took down some quotations. slept a lot. actually the entire day felt like a video for belle & sebastian's "sleep the clock around". i will have to try to do all the work tomorrow that i dind't do today. wish i had some chocolate. did i mention that i got accepted to give a talk at the american studies colloquium in olomouc this september. bernd convinced me to accompany him. and in november i will probably go to amerikanisten post-graduate conference. PUKE! i want to do beautiful things. i want to do beautiful things. i want to do beautiful things. if you say things three times in a row they will get true.
[june 11, 2004 - doesn't that drive things home?]hm. somehow singing isn't as easy as it used to be. i have to strain my voice and i don't always get the right notes. i haven't practiced enough. i used to sing with ease, i mean i didn't have to press my voice - it just happened. as simple as breathing. now it's like i have to force every vocal out of my throat. not to mention playing guitar. it sounds awkward and my fingers are slow. i have to practice more. next week i will meet with the keyboarder from bielefeld. he's 48 but then i doesn't really matter: reiner had been 102 and i'm not going to waste my time making music anymore anyway.
you know, i think what i really like about suzanne is that she has these constant self-doubts. although she is one of the world's leading singer/songwriter and receives christmas presents from leonard cohen she is still questioning herself.
Posted by Suzanne Vega (Suzanne) on Friday, June 11, 2004 - 2:03 pm:when i woke up early this morning i couldn't get back to sleep again (because i had been sleeping all day yesterday) so the thoughts started. and the thoughts turned into concerns. and the concerns changed into worries. and the worries turned into fear and the fear into panic. but it wasn't so much a panic but a moment of clear-sightedness, of understanding that all this will end in a disaster. that i need to pull the emergency break. that i would have to find a REAL job and some REAL perspective. that i'd have to find a future. and that i'd have to talk to thomas about this. so when i was sitting in the office today and he came storming in he said: "and? how are things?" of course i didn't say a thing. i gave him the first four pages of what i have written so far the other day. it took him 6.2 seconds to read over it, hand it back to me, say "well, okay", turn around and storm out of the office. so much for "motivation".
Del Duomo Cathedral March 11, 2004
Saturday March 13, 2004 Milan-New York
I don’t know if it was the choice of songs that made performing on
Thursday so difficult, or the creeping cold of the marbled walls of
the cathedral, which was quiet numbing, but by the time I got to the
second song which was “Pilgrimage”, I was feeing a strange growing
sensation of fear in my body, which affected my voice. My voice began
to shake noticeably and I couldn’t get it to stop. I did what I always
do if I feel things going awry on stage – I look at the audience and
try to feel the connection to them, look at their eyes, but this time
I could barely see the beginning of the 4,000 assembled people in the
Not only that but when I looked upwards as I often do during any
performance, I saw the suspended figure of Jesus Christ on the cross,
illuminated and hanging there in the dark. I felt very fragile and
very judged, in a sense. Later I thought about how a gig like this is
so odd in terms of the timing – coming not when I am fit and have been
touring a lot but when I have been home, doing business and looking
So from this ordinary existence I am summoned forth by a impish priest
from Milan to sing the most intimate songs of my whole life. Not the
entertaining songs that people know me for, but the really difficult
ones, the summations of my spiritual existence on earth so far.
Pilgrimage is about finding my father, among other things and singing
it in that atmosphere made me feel fragile and stretched to my limits,
physically – the high notes are very high and sustained, and I could
barely control the wobbling. I came off stage feeling humbled and
very, very human.
I fared a little better with Caspar Hauser’s song, which I did play
live for a while. My voice had finally stopped shaking….
Beforehand I was wondering what does on wear to a show like this one?
What will make a statement in a Gothic cathedral of that size?
Should I wear a ballgown? Should I try to match the mise-en-scene by
wearing something Gothic like Amy Lee from Evanescence? Something
floor length and black with religious jewelry? I remembered from my
previous time singing there how cold it is. It’s colder inside than
out. The marble retains the chill and sustains it some how. What would
Patti Smith wear?
So I wore a gold Catherine Malandrino blouse with a silk undershirt
beneath it, brown suede pants, wool socks, boots, a cardigan sweater,
a jacket over all of that, and most of the time what Jeremy Morrison
used to call “The Super Shawl”, a huge brown blanket of sorts. A
choker at my neck of brown velvet and yellow stones. I may as well
have been naked for all the “statement” I felt it made.
The statement was really the event itself and my lyrics and musical
presence, and the tapes by Mark Wallinger, who in real life is a
mischievous looking Englishman who somehow retains the aura of a
schoolboy. The evening was full of disturbing images, beginning with
the “opening words” read by a woman who had been a dancer from
Pakistan. Her husband had thrown lye in her face during a domestic
dispute. She came to Italy in 2000 as a refugee. In the darkness of
the cathedral you could see she was still lithe and graceful, and then
suddenly her two eyes looking out of a welter of what had once been
i seem to have lost my voice. yes - i know: a melodramatic statement and i don't really mean it that way but then i do. words don't fall into their place as easily as they used to. they don't get original anymore. my way of expressing seems to have changed. it has moved into my fingers, into my skin. i don't get comfort from words anymore, i get comfort from touching her skin and smelling her hair and hearing her breathing next to me. i don't make words but a gesture, brush away a strand of her hair or embrace her. and i really cannot understand how a poor, helpless creature as she is can give me so much strength and hope when she is weak and hopeless herself.
i don't know. suddenly i keep musing about the BIG question such as: what is life about? what is happiness? what is my task and what is the plan? how can you create something beautiful when you feel like a pile of crap. how can you love someone when you're tired and weak and know that you've done everything wrong. no. not everything.
this is for the protocol: i don't care about literature. i don't care
about literary theory. i don't care about meta and hyper and cyber and
post. i don't care about reading. i can't discuss and i can't analyze.
i can't give lectures and i can't think structurally. not to mention poststructurally.
i am a one legged churchill who's been put into the olympic runners team
by mistake. it's all a mistake. that's exactly what my life feels like:
a mistake. a freak accident. something so weird and absurd that nobody
notices how grotesque the situation actually is. and all i want is to make
something beautiful. all i want is to make something beautiful. and be
with you. she has filled out the questionnaire today
and now i miss her, too. "and to let things get out of hand is exactly
what i've got planned"