[september 1, 2003]monday: rainy, rather cold, 19:42 already. mood-o-meter: a solid 4.3. worked all day on formating thomas' article. actually i wanted to report about the past four days. sorry for not updating the journal as regularly as usual but there wasn't any time or any chance to do so. tonight blaine, sirka, princess superstar and i will meet for a drink. so "if you want me | you can find me | left of center | wondering about you" tonight: 21:00, 'sandbar'.
[september 02, 2003 - and still you laugh...]na sowas: charles bronson is dead! my secret rolemodel! it's 15:33, i'm sitting in the office. it has been a short night again. i definitely need more sleep. i was walking to the university yesterday morning when a student from our seminar walked towards me and said: "good morning. jesus, you look tired!" and i had almost said: i'm not tired - i'm old! it was quite nice yesterday night. but i had been out four nights in a row. on friday night i went out with cedric in bielefeld, then on saturday and sunday i went out with nicole and yesterday with blaine, sirka and nicole. later a friend of nicole joined us. cedric has made a great neil young compilation for me which is playing on repeat in the stereo. also i slowly get used to the new radiohead cd. there are ... got to go now, guess i'll continue tonight [later] "two and two always makes five". sitting at my desk, blanket wrapped around my shoulder. fridge is empty but humming silently. headphones on: radiohead blasting from left to right: angry, frustrated hysterical and useless. there are posters of the german band blumfeld all over town. they have released a new album. they are traitors. they were brilliant once. but they have sold everything i believed in. they are traitors. somebody's sister went to school with the singer of the band. rob once played table soccer with him. he has betrayed us. the album is called "jenseits von jedem". which is a line from an old song from back then when they were still good. as a matter of fact it's from my favorite blumfeld song: "ich - wie es wirklich war": "jenseits von jedem, words don't come easy. MEIN GOTT ICH BRAUCH SIE DENN SIE SCHNEIDEN IN MICH REIN UND IN MEIN LEBEN." somebody once said: "i think i need words..."
the other week princess superstar said to me: "you know, philipp. we're like two cripples. we both have only one leg. but we're supporting each other. and so we can walk." at first i smiled about it, but of course i like the hidden or not so hidden ahab-image in the simile. but then today princess superstar got a protheses, a beautiful one made of whalebone. she can walk on her own now. even jump. leaves the question what's happening to me. i guess i can decide to either fall down or just start hopping on one leg. but it's so tiresome. very, very tiresome. there's a phantom pain every now and then, but just cause you feel it doesn't mean it's there.
nothing is ever right. when i sit at my desk in the office trying to work on the article i'm thinking that i should be home, recording better versions of the 200 lurkers songs or composing new ones. i feel like letting this once in a lifetime chance slip through my fingers. i should work day and night to make the cd as good as possible. i know that it will turn out to be done only half heartedly, like everything i did so far. bitter mediocrity. and when i'm updating the journal i think that i actually should work on the article and write and write and write the dissertation. and when i'm out with princess superstar and blaine i'm thinking that i should be home working on a cover for the cd. and when i'm writing a mail to obtain the rights for linda's self-portrait because i want to use it for the cover i'm thinking that i should be out with m. and when i'm out with m. i'm thinking that i should be home writing songs. writing songs. which will turn out to be mediocre in the end. in the end. just cause you feel it. whenever i've jumped to the left i see that all i want is at my right. whenever i jump to the right it is sliding to the left. can you imagine that it wears me out?!? i can hardly remember a moment when i thought that i'm doing the right thing at the right time in the right place. and the devilish thing is that these moments, these moments that felt to be exactly right are those one that i don't want to remember, those that i don't want to be reminded about. how to get there.? there's someone walking into my room, sneaking in through the crack in the door, walking with his back to the wall, crawling across the book shelves like a shadow, i can see him from the corner of my eye as i'm staring onto the keyboard and my fingers that perform some kind of dance there. there's someone on my shoulder. there's someone on my shoulder. i can only do the wrong things. i can never do the right things. because doing one thing means not doing a thousand others. writing down one word means not writing down a thousand others.
[september 3, 2003 - looking for a kiss......looking for a kiss]lou reed is grunting "vanishing act" into my ear. minimalism at its best. quiet day today. nice day, actually. indian summer. cedric called when i was at the office and we talked on the phone for over an hour. had dinner with blaine and two coffee breaks with m. we have been mailing back and forth for a couple of nights now. nothing flirtatious, though. mostly "just" matter of fact, down to earth stuff. spent all day long trying to find out the contact address of linda mccartney's estate to obtain the rights for the self-portrait that i want to use for the cover of the cd. cedric finally gave me a tip where to find it. then i tried to compose a mail to suzanne because - call me morbid, call me pale, or rather: call me crazy, call me dumb - i will ask her whether she would be willing to add backing vocals to one of the tracks on "the space and the sea". i don't have anything to lose, and although the chances are more than slim i would never forgive myself if i didn't ask her.
[september 4, 2003 - we're one but we're not the same]irreducible multiplicity of thoughts. the first thing i saw today when i came walking down the corridor to the office was annemarie's (our secretary) dog that was lying motionless in the middle of the floor. it's a labrador. it's big. it's old. in fact it's almost-dead. it doesn't move. ever. it stinks. but it's soooo cute! everybody has to step over it because it is just lying there, looking at you as if it was thinking: 'sorry that i'm blocking the way, but i'm old and tired and my bones are hurting and i just can't move.' i have no idea how the hell it is getting to the university. obviously not on it's own four legs. i guess annemarie is carrying it. on the way to the university i was sitting in the rattling underground car, looking out of the window onto the tunnelwalls that were wooshing along in the darkness. and in the framed windowglass i saw a reflection of the people next to me and the advertisments and the ticketmachine and in between: me. and it was like a still from "who framed roger rabbit": everybody seemed to be a real-life character, made of flesh and blood, only i was a cartoon figure: grotesque, big ears, bright colors, moving in an odd way, funny to look at, academy-award-winning-unproportunal, hips broader than shoulders, dark rings under my eyes, a carricature of an anti-hero, a body that refuses moving gracefully. and i gazed at myself in utter amazement why such an attractive human being as m. is writing me five mails in one night. and i couldn't find an answer. and then the music started and all was well. "and could this be the time when somebody will come and say: look at yourself: you're not much use to anyone!"
but i still wanted to report about bielefeld: i met with daniel and reiner on saturday afternoon, actually to tell them that "the nerve bible" is history. but all of a sudden reiner said that he had worked out a plan to save the band and that we would rehearse when i'm in bielefeld, even if this wasn't on a regular bases, and that i should send cds to him and daniel when i've written a new song so that they could come up with arrangements. and i was really moved that he tried to go on with the nerve bible although he is playing in two other bands in bielefeld. and i couldn't say no. so the nerve bible is not really dead, only severley wounded. but it had been since october 1998 anyway.
had dinner with princess superstar and m. and now i'll start correcting term papers. it's a strange day. i've got the rhythm and melody of belle & sebastian's "sleep the clock around" in my bones and blood all day. i keep humming it, i keep tapping the beat, i have fragments of the lyrics popping up in my head. a strange day. i'm happy for no reason. the music and the sun and the clearness of the air have to be celebrated by a mad grin on my face. "what's up with YOU?" princess superstar asked and i couldn't even answer. a weird feeling that everything is all right. an odd notion that the universe is running according to a plan. a soothing impression that we're watched over. a certainty that nothing bad will happen to me. or maybe i'm just tired... m. brought me a robert mitchum cd that she had mentioned in her mails. "i know nothing, but i'm guessing: when we die we're not alone..." sent the mail to suzanne today asking her whether she would like to sing backing vocals. in the meantime it's 17:53 and the sun is slowly sinking. sahand has sent the photos from his farewell-party. everybody except for him looks simply gruesome! especially me and princess superstar. maybe i'll add some of them to the journal tonight. just to have some humor for a change...:o)
[later]was home at 19:30, and what do you think i did then after a day of sitting in the office, spending the whole time on trying to get the rights for the mccartney photograph and writing the mail to suzanne and other rather unimportant stuff? well, i did NOT write on the article or read some secondary literature. i sat down in front of the tv and watched SPONGE BOB! you see, the problem is that i'm always in the middle. i'm not this and i'm not that. i'm not intellectual enough to keep up or to compete with the REAL intellectuals and crack-heads (like thomas or ecki) and on the other hand people consider me to be too "heady" and too reflective. either too little thoughts or too many. oh well, i don't know. wish i was with suzanne on tour. they seem to have quite a lot of fun. in the last entry for the tour diary she wrote:
I forgot to mention yesterday how Doug and Mike were playing Lizard Man, where Mike would wave a piece of salad in the air and Doug would get down on all fours and waddle slowly across the floor, blinking his eyes and flinking his tongue out of his mouth. Their routines are getting more surreal as the tour goes along.
If language were liquidand then went from
It would be rushing in
Instead here we are
In a silence more eloquent
Than any word could ever be
I'd like to meet youto
In a timeless, placeless place
Somewhere out of context
And beyond all consequences
I won't use words againand ended with
They don't mean what I meant
They don't say what I said
They're just the crust of the meaning
With realms underneath
Never even moved through
And is gonethis song feels like it was an arm or a leg from my body. "solitude standing" had been the first "real" record that i had bought and there is nothing as familiar as the songs on it or the sound of suzanne's voice on this album. to get the text without "context" and so surprisingly and from a direction that i had least expected was a little like reading it for the first time. and a warm feeling waved through me.
And is gone
[september 5, 2003 - ]slow day. didn't leave the apartment. did the laundry. cleaned the room and the kitchen. wrote mails to m.. had the urgent desire to write a song. stared at the article for twenty minutes. closed the document. talked to princess superstar on the phone.listened to blumfeld. the early stuff. mailed to m.. and if my life was a tv-show, i'd switched the channel long ago. took an old chord pattern, an idea that i had over a year ago, and mixed it with suzanne counting "one, two, three, four" and a very old recording of a message that sue from japan had spoken on my answering machine three or four years ago. i had written a mail to undertow and she looked up my number in the international directory and called me. it was in the middle of the night, though, so we (it was still "we" back then) didn't hear the phone ring and when i got up in the morning her voice was on the machine. this was one of the rare moments in my life when something that i had written had an impact on reality, made someone in japan pick up the phone and call a total stranger.
[september 6, 2003 - one, two, three, four]suzanne's voice counting gently. this could become another "when you wish upon a starr"-like song. nothing much to report. or what would be to report is hard to express. got a mail from m., a rather careful one, reminding me about virtual levels and real levels and phew for a minute there i was a little confused because when i looked around in my life it was like: "woah! what's going on here, everything is so different!" but now it's back to normal, thank god it's all back to normal, to what i know, to what has happened before, to what i'm used to. to be quite honest i had not known how to cope with the fact that my private life was all of a sudden less frustrating than my professional life. so it's back to the representational level, which i seem to be able to master quite well. and hey, who cares about reality anyway?
"i'm a little late because still i had to squeeze out a pimple..." princess superstar said when she came in the door the other minute. we're going out now. see ya! but before we're listening to the soundtrack of "o brother where art thou" tat princess superstar brought along. ye ha!
[september 8, 2003 - it's just a question of time for old nobody]wonder whether it is a coincidence that the new blumfeld and the new pur cd have the same release date. still i'm listening to the early blumfeld stuff. "old nobody" on repeat (just the song, not the whole album). what a beautiful, soothing and tender track. since 50 minutes i'm officially living in cologne. got registered today. sitting in the office, sunny with occasional clouds, reading The Favourite Game again, hoping with each page that im turning that i might get an inspiration for the article, and while reading i'm drumming the rhythm of the song with a pencil on my arm, almost unconsciously, gently, not hard enough to hurt, not hard enough to call the sensation of wood on skin a pain, feels like cold drops of ice water are hitting on the same spot again and again, numbing the nerves. "fuhr fort und drüber weg."
[later]m. and i have exchanged over 70 mails in two weeks. i'm not quite sure whether this is supposed to mean anything, and what. but we will meet for a coffee tomorrow and thinking about it makes me feel queasy. i'm nervous. and i'm not quite sure whether that is supposed to mean anything. i remember when we met for the first time in april, at the birthday party of princess superstar, and how she started a conversation with me and how i couldn't really concentrate because i constantly thought: why is this smart and charming and attractive woman talking to ME of all the guys that are around?
anyway, do you want to know what the problem is in a nutshell? do you want to have a cunning analysis of what is wrong, what is the dilemma in life? okay, i'll tell you. here it is - and it is just a single sentence. it does not suffice to simply see beauty as long as you can't create it. there you are. brilliant, isn't it. it's this easy! that's the whole thing: it does not suffice to simply see beauty as long as you can't create it. of course it sounds simple, but actually it's quite tricky: because it implies a topological impossibility. how can you have the distance to something to look at it, to perceive it, to experience it and at the same time be part of it? you have to find a perspective that is outside while it is inside at the same time. "you are the outside of an inside like mine" suzanne once wrote. and i guess thomas would say: "hey, it's easy. be moebial!" but how can you be moebial when the twist that you need to make will break you. maybe i'm just not flexible enough? maybe the online journal is something like a moebius strip: undressing in public, showing my naked soul and heart ...... HA HA HA!!!
the princess isn't feeling very well today, in fact the last couple of weeks. tried to lift her mood today on the phone but i don't think that i succeeded. i had made a cd for her the other week which she really seems to like. today she said that she loved "famous blue raincoat" and in her last mail she quoted reed's "vanishing act". amazing. thomas will return in three days. gulp. on the one hand i'm really looking forward of having him back in cologne. but on the other... well, i wish i could hand in a cd instead of a dissertation. yes, i know! if i would spent half of the time complaining about it writing the bloody thing it had been finished last year. i'm no academic. let's face it. i should find someone who's sponsoring my life. i could spent the next six months alone on designing the cover for "the space and the sea", typesetting the lyrics and finding a way to make a great booklet. yesterday i had an idea for the 200 lurkers webpages: asking people to send in a photo of themselves with the cd. pictures like: "the cd and i while shopping", "the cd and i in the bath tub", "the cd and i mowing the lawn". but then i thought that with my broad fansbase there would be only two pictures: one of cedric and one of tara. although i guess that those would be pretty cute :o) hm, perhaps i could do some photomontages: thomas and the cd. bill clinton and the cd. elvis and the cd. yeah, great idea since i have loooots of time.....jesus!
[later]00:07. oh well, this is getting silly. it's past midnight and i should be in bed getting some sleep to be able to concentrate tomorrow and maybe add a paragraph or two to the article but what am i doing? i'm sitting in front of the monitor, heart beating almost as loud as the drums in heather nova's "not only human" that's playing on repeat and i'm checking my mails every five minutes. okay, i'll wait another twenty minutes and then i'll go to bed.
[september 9, 2003 - and i'm trying not to notice that she's hitching up her skirt...]plane flying by. clouds doing cheap magician's tricks with the sun. had coffee with m.. then office hours. it's half past four now. think i bored her. the princess is with me in the office writing a mail to thomas. more sun. beautiful light. the air is full of little things. some of them possibilities. i don't want to destroy them. i'm afraid of breaking them. they're floating in the rays of light like under water, weightlessly, and i don't want another "no." it feels so right this time. or maybe i'm just telling me this in my fantasy. that's why i'm afraid of unambiguity. because it could provoke a clear answer that might destroy everything, that will tear the opportunities out of their beautiful ballet and let them crash onto the ground as if someone had switched off the anti-gravity generator. i want to float for a while...
[later]when i got home i had a short message from m., saying that she's at work and that she'd write another mail later tonight. and instantly there was a feeling of fear mixed into my anticipation. fear might be too strong a word, actually. rather: sorrow. because every mail might also contain something that i don't want to hear. that will destroy the mystery. that will be too real. that will pull me out of the daydream that i have created myself, out of the story that i have told myself. i don't know. did i mention that a small crew of amateur film makers used our office the other week to shoot a scene for their film? today one of them came by and brought a six-pack of becks-beer as a thank you gift. the princess made the wrong mistake of letting me take the whole six-pack home, so this is going to be quite a relaxed night...
neil young is singing and his guitar sounds rusty and dirty. "cortez the killer" great melody. tomorrow afternoon the princess will take me shopping: we will buy new clothes for me. well, i reluctantly agreed to at least give it a shot... she has complained about my style - or rather lack of it - for a couple of weeks now. i think the whole topic was started by thomas who first complained about bernd's (my colleague) clothes (which were too casual for his tatse: bernd had been wearing shorts and t-shirt at a conference) and then it was my turn and he said that i was always wearing those brown colors and that i needed a change. and today i was wearing the beige sweater that i really like and nicole said it was "nichtssagend". so tomorrow she'll pick some clothes for me and maybe, perhaps, i will even buy them. checked my account today. less than i had hoped. i tried not to think about that these few euros were ALL the money i have. i don't have any savings. so if i lose my job i will be able to pay the rent for another month or maybe two if i don't eat anything - and that's that then. i must not think about it. otherwise i will panic. i wish there was some security in my life. i wish there was at least the smell of a future. "and i know she's living there and she loves me to this day i still can't remember where or how i lost my way"
[september 10, 2003 - schöne neue klotten, wie der westfale sagt...]gray day. cold day. it started to rain when i woke up at eight and it hasn't stopped yet. got lights on and music and a cup of hot coffee in front of me. i really was buying clothes with princess superstar today. however it took a while until we found the right store. i was not willing to pay 110 euros for a pair of trousers. and she was not willing to let me buy anything that i thought looked good. she kept frowning and saying "no, philipp! you CAN'T buy this!" so in the end we found a store and i bought two pairs of trousers (you know, those brownish/greenish military style thingies. well, not really military but the kind of trousers you're wearing if you intend to cross the sahara on your own...), a black cardigan (actually it reminded me a lot of those ones that rob used to wear. he only wore cardigans), and a black and a red t-shirt, just unicolored but nicely cut and made of a smooth fabric. so all in all five pieces. and what do you think that i paid?!? not 180 euros, not 150 euros and not 120 euros! i paid twohundredfuckingfourty euros! i almost passed out when i saw the digits on the cashier. i have never ever spent so much money on clothes on a single day! because usually i have this rule of thumb: everything that costs more than 100 euros must have a cd-rom drive. so PLEASE SEND MONEY!!!!!!!!!! i'm totally broke now and have to find a plan to survive until the end of the month. and i didn't even buy shoes... and we saw nice ones!
anyway, got "old nobody" on repeat again and to let you participate i think i'll just post the lyrics:
ich kann es jetzt fühlen durch Formen geschrittenshopping with the princess was fun. i've got new clothes now that i would never have bought if i had went without a style councelor.
ein Kommen und Gehen verkörpert die Zukunft
von innen gewollt geschieht es von außen
in and'rer Gestalt mit blinder Gewalt
vom Leben gezeichnet
ein ewiges Meer aus unnennbarer Zeit
von da komme ich her dorthin zieht es mich bald
nur eine Frage der Zeit (für)
von Nichts eine Ahnung geistert durch die Geschichte
durch alle Gedichte und spricht aus Erfahrung
fügt sich ins Dasein kann und will nicht allein sein
ruft sich ins Gedächtnis Dir als Vermächtnis
in Erinnerung zu bleiben
ein ewiges Meer aus unnennbarer Zeit
von da komme ich her dorthin zieh' ich Dich bald
von Zeit zu Zeit
niemand kennt mich ich spreche, mein Körper
trägt schon Formen von Alter und will das Zeitliche segnen
ich gehe mit Dir Du bist kein Traum
wir schweifen umher
in uns die Zeit um uns der Raum
in Deiner Nähe an Deiner Seite
entsteht eine Lücke sie reißt uns in Stücke
und sucht dann das Weite
ein ewiges Meer aus unnennbarer Zeit
von da kommen wir her dorthin zieht es uns bald
nur eine Frage der Zeit
aus unnennbarer Zeit von da komme ich her
und dorthin zieht es mich bald
es wird langsam Zeit für
[later]well, strange days. one emotional high is followed by another low which is followed by another high. yesterday night i felt so great that i played airdrums to heather nova's "london rain." was all out of breath when the song ended. tonight another low, the final one in this episode i suppose. mood-o-meter: 1.3. someone switched out the anti-gravity generator and i hit the floor face first. well, at least it's a situation that's not completely new to me, so i should be able to cope with it. the princess wrote a very sympathetic mail. last week we were invited to dinner along with a couple of her friends and the next day she wrote me a mail and told me that "T. said that we would act like an old married couple. And it wasn't meant in a flattering way! But she's right! We understand each other without words (but other times we don't understand each other even with a lot of words ;-)) and we talk to each other at least three times a day either in person or on the phone and we don't have any sex - just like an old couple ;-)"
[even later]oh well, i don't know what to think of it. i don't knwo. i just want for once that virtuality will turn into reality. that represnetation will turn into temptation. is that too mucb asked? also i'm drunk again. 23:59. ich kann es jetzt fühlen, durch formen geschritten. fuck. i'm not steering my life, my life is steering me.
[september 11, 2003]obvious song of the day: suzanne vega, "anniversary":
Fall and all attendant memoriesheute kotzt mich mein leben aber mal wieder so richtig an! i don't get it. you can give me an empty sheet of paper and a pen and i will have no problem to fill it with letters and words and sentences, first the front and then the back. but this morning i was sitting in front of the opened word document that actually should develop into SOMEthing: an article, a chapter, an essay, just SOMETHING. and i did not know what to write. as if i'd lost the ability to combine the words into paragraphs. i simply did not know what to write. i don't know what to do about it. i have no idea WHY this happens. the topic is interesting: i LOVE cohen, i LOVE the novels. i WANT to write it, i really just want to get the fucking dissertation done, and i have enough pressure: i HAVE to write it, otherwise i will lose my job. but still it just won't work. i'm clueless. and then i listen to the music and get angry at myself and at all that i'm not doing and that i'm blocking my own way and i wish i could just give myself a juicy kick in the ass.
Crowd the day with unrelated histories
Each year leaves its unresolving fantasies
Hang around each corner
Hang around each street.
Thick with ghosts, the wind whips round in circuitries
Carrying words as strangers exchange pleasantries
Do they intrude upon your private reveries
As they meet you on every corner
Meet you on each street.
Watch for daily braveries
Notice newfound courtesies
Finger sudden legacies...
As they wash down each corner
Clean up every street.
Mark the month and all its anniversaries
Put away the draft of all your eulegies
Clear the way for all your possibilities
They live upon each corner
Live on every street.
Make the time for all your future revelries.
documentary overkill today. which was to be expected. developed my very own theory of "2nd grade terrorism". which is the name for a phenomenon that follows the actual act of terrorism and is causally related to it but is far more disturbing, haunting and violent: george bush for example. or 9/11 documentaries. yellow press headlines.
[later]and thus we're closing another chapter in the endless book of the amorous almost-adventures of our hero. after 104 mails in 18 days it has been agreed upon the cancellation of a virtual affair that threatened to become too real. or rather not real enough. so cheers to us and to what's lost. and file it under failure. or: it's not going to stop til you wise up. let's see what an old, experienced partisan of love has to teach us: "What is a saint? A saint is someone who has achieved a remote human possibility. It is impossible to say what that possibility is. I think it has something to do with the energy of love. Contact with this energy results in a kind of balance in the chaos of existence. A saint does not dissolve the chaos; if he did the world would have changed long ago. I do not think that a saint dissolves the chaos even for himself, for there is something arrogant and warlike in the notion of a man setting the universe in order. It is a kind of balance that is his glory. He rides the drifts like an escaped ski. His course is a caress of the hill. His track is a drawing of the snow in a moment of its particular arrangement with wind and rock. Something in him so loves the world that he gives himself to the laws of gravity and chance. Far from flying with the angels, he traces with the fidelity of a seismograph needle the state of the solid bloody landscape. His house is dangerous and finite, but he is at home in the world. He can love the shapes of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of the heart. It's good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love" (cohen, beautiful losers).
[later]i filled the bathtub with hot water, put a couple of candles in the bathroom, turned on the cd player and selected laurie anderson's "tightrope" (on repeat), switched off all superfluous light and drowned myself in the steaming water that smelled of oranges and lime wood oil. what a luxury. i haven't done this for years: in my other apartments i never had a bathtub, only a shower. started to get a little melancholic. i'm not sure whether that's because of losing m. or because of losing my job. mood-o-meter: 1.9. "this long thin line, made of my own blood" what a brilliant, brilliant song!
[even later]well...maybe i don't HAVE to understand this. i'm at my wit's end: the other minute m. mailed and asked me whether i would like to have a coffee with her tomorrow noon. well, guess i'll just give myself to the laws of gravity and chance and see where it gets me. and if i won't come back will you name a star after me?
[later]FUCKING BLOODY HELL!!!!!!!!!! I'M SUCH AN IDIOT, I'M SUCH A PINHEAD. I CAN'T EVEN DO A SIMPLE, A MOST SIMPLE JOB PROPERLY. FUCKING SHIT!!!!!!! thomas had asked me to insert a couple of illustrations into an article that he had to submit to a publisher and he had marked each illustration in the text with an "[ILL]" and OF COURSE I MISSED ONE! JESUS CHRIST!!!!! FUCK i can't even count to six! i can't believe it!!!! he mailed today and asked: what about the last image? and i was confused and had a closer look at the article again and it was so apparent!!! FUCK!!! i can't even do the simplest things!!! AAAAAAARRRRGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!! I COULD SHOT MYSELF! it's not only embarrassing, but it's also what thomas is supposed to think of someone who can't even do the most idiotic tasks properly! FUCK!!!!!
[september 12, 2003 - and then i see a darkness...]johnny cash is dead. a black day for music. i heard the news when i was coming into the office right from my meeting with m.. i was listening to cash's version of "then i see a darkness" on the md-player and since it was already half past four on a friday afternoon the corridor was completely empty and the office was as well so i did not take off the headphones and checked my mail and i had several messages from undertow that broke the news while his voice was singing in my ear. i called cedric instantly. so i met with m. for a coffee in "the kitchen" today and we sat there for over three hours. it was pretty strange: she kept talking and talking, lighting one cigarette after the next while i was very calm and rather tired - i didn't really sleep very well because of my faux pas with thomas' article - and looked at the scenery with a certain cinematographic distance. i wasn't really involved: self protection i suppose. so m. was talking about her family (very personal stuff as a matter of fact) i didn't really say a lot, and only at the very end when we had already paid she said: "so, what's the status quo now...?" i repressed all "rocking all over the world" jokes and said: "well, i don't think that i want to find myself in a situation in which i want more than our virtual relationship can offer or more than you want out of it. and i fear that this is exactly what is going to happen if we continue our mail exchange ..." she nodded (i had told her all this already the day before in a mail) and asked: "so does this mean that we won't have any more coffee-breaks in the university?" and i said: "no, coffee's okay of course..." and that was it. however it got a little embarrassing when i tried to explain to her that the things that i had written in the mails to her are different from the things in the online journal because in the journal the speaker is a fictive character, is just a narratological construct, whereas the "i" in the mails is pretty much me: the journal is fiction, the mails are "real". but since she doesn't know anything about the online journal and i did not intend to tell her it was rather complicated and ended in me stuttering and rambling along about various versions and orders of virtuality which must have sounded very confused :o).i'm a little sad now. tired. a little frustrated. a little disappointed. feeling a little betrayed. the good people are dying and relationships are ending before they've begun and thomas is propably already looking for someone who isn't as messy, disorganized and confused as i am. fuck. tonight the princess has invited me over for dinner. which is a silver lining. i'm tired. feeling a little like patrick today, sponge bob's best friend. he's not the brightest. he's not the fittest. but he's lovable. and basically too god for this world. he's just like me. "take a walk in the park | take a valium pill | read the letter you got from the memory girl | but it takes more than this to make sense of the day | yeah it takes more than milk to get rid of the taste | and you trusted to this and you trusted to that | when you saw it all come it was waving the flag | of the United States of Calamity, hey | after all that you've done boy i'm sure you're gonna pay..." bad headache. took a pill. i'm off to princess superstar now. wish my life had a "pause" button.
[later]it's three fifteen in the morning. i just got home. when i listened to the messages on the answering machine johnny cash's "ring of fire" started to play: cedric had called. the second message seemed to come from the man himself: a deep, dark and hoarse voice saying: "hi there, we're back and there's an interview with blumfeld on mtv. just thought you should know so that at least ONE person is watching it..." but it wasn't johnny, it was thomas. went out with the princess today. first she cooked for me and then we went to a bar. i got pretty drunk pretty fast again. this seems to become a habit. at two in the morning she we were sitting side by side on a couch in the bar and she told me about a sad event from her childhood and while she did she was staring onto the glass table in front of us and peeling the label from her bottle of beer and i was very dizzy and intoxicated and she looked so miserable while she was remembering all the sad little details from her past and i felt like comforting her somehow and suddenly i felt drawn to her and i reached out my hand to touch her cheek gently with my finger and just when i had almost reached her face she blocked it with her arm violently, turning to me and pressing my hand away from her with a force that surprised me. when i walked home i suddenly realized why i'm drinking so much lately and why i keep staying up all night, going to bed only unwillingly: it's because i fear the next day. what is lying ahead scares the living daylights out of me.
[september 13, 2003 -saturday. the sun is shining, no wind, mood-o-meter: 0.8. tired. two new sets of answers to the questionnaire. listened to "i wanna stay" by gemma hayes all day long. what a great guitar riff! what a great melody.
I wanna stay, out all night with youthis is not going to work. this is not going to work. this is not going to work. no inspiration. no amusement.
Yeah, you make my world all right
No sun was up, today we didn't mind
Too busy making the rain shine
And there goes everything..and I don't care
Yeah there goes everything...and I just don't care
As long as you're near
I gotta stay, out all night
'til I'm back feeling alright
And there goes everything..and I don't care
Yeah there goes everything, and I just don't care
As long as you're near...
[later]jesus. i feel like being drunk. the room is spinning and what's been straight is curved now. very strange. didn't even drink anything. don't have any balance and i'm tripping back and forth like on the deck of a swinging ship. found two nice new chord patterns and a drum sample that could be used for the new song. here's a proposition: i think it would be a good idea to also use some clippings from the answering machine for the new song: so if you want you can give me a call in the next four days and leave a message (please not more than 30 seconds) on the answering machine. it can be anything you like: you can read a poem or simply play some music onto it. you can read from a newspaper or sing a lullaby. it's up to you. so here's the number: 0221 / 5006151. unfortunately i don't know what you will have to dial if you're calling from overseas... i guess some access code for germany and then you have to leave out the "0" in "0221". i will not pick up the phone the next four days and you can be sure that the machine will take the call.
[september 14, 2003 - everything in sunlight. from here you seem hard to make out]paula wrote. she said that she might get electroshocks when she gets too depressed this winter. which made my blood freeze. just the other night i was sitting in princess superstar's apartment reading selected passages from plath's "bell jar" again while she was watching tv and simultaneously preparing the food (i told you: an old couple!) and suddenly i said: "wow! the last sentence of the very first paragraph is SO GREAT: 'I couldn't help wondering what it would be like, being burned alive all along your nerves'." i'm worrying about paula. realized that my wish to be loved by thomas has become so desperate that it's not healthy anymore.
[later]23:23. i also sent a mail to undertow asking the towies to talk on my answering machine and today i received two phone calls for the song :o) seems like it works :o) unfortunately i don't know who called so if YOU have thanks a lot!! :o)
the m. episode has been closed for good. she wanted me as a good friend, a comrade, a brother for talking and writing. basically writing. hm, seems like i CAN create a certain fascination with words, however it never manages to survive the real life test. i don't want any more mail mates or pan pals or virtual relationships. i want realationships. and words just can't give you this. music can't give you this as well. hell, i'm not talking about sex here, i'm talking about a material closeness, the feeling that fields of energy change in intensity when she enters the room, that space is reorganized suddenly, that lines curve and that every particle of your body is drawn to another body like matter into a collapsing, black sun. words can't substitute. "words support like bone" peter gabriel once sung in "mercy street" - but, dear reader, don't be fooled! that's not true. they make it only worse. just like the music. they cannot end the longing, they start it, they enforce it. the gemma hayes track is so beautiful, the first 30 seconds alone are pure beauty. an acoustic guitar riff, picked in a swinging rhythm, infinitely relaxed, sucking all strength out of your body and you simply melt away. it doesn't sound sad but it is sad, it doesn't sound melancholic but it is, although she's playing major chords (A and E) it sounds like a minor melody. then her voice enters with a terrible ease, she's almost whispering, she's not singing to the listener, only to herself, she doesn't put any force or strength into the voice, she doesn't care about being heard. how is this supposed to support? how is this supposed to help against the longing? how is this supposed not to make your head spin with the desire to be someone else, to do something else, to be part of it? dear reader, words and songs fool you! the best way to get through the day is to shut your eyes and ears and ignore the beauty. just ignore it. it won't get you anywhere except closer to where it's hurting.
[september 15. 2003 - and there goes everything and i don't care as long as you're there]00:51. i'm tired. thomas is back. met him today. it's good that he's back. told him about the record deal. cedric called when i was in the office, the princess was there as well and we talked for over two hours i guess. princess superstar says sex sells. and that i should talk about more spicy things. i don't know. the most sexual connotated thing that happened today was that she (the princess) told me that m. had told her that i had sensual, kissable lips. i thought this was a nice compliment. especially since somebody used to say the same thing.
when i was walking home from the subway station in the evening the sun was still shining, it was pretty warm, most people had opened their window or were sitting on benches on the playground or were chatting standing in small groups in the entrance of the corner shop. and while i was walking through the street with a high row of fin de siecle houses to my left and another row to my right i saw the swallows diving through these canyons weightlessly, shooting through the air like bullets, as if these dirty and old houses, which are only of an unapparent beauty, a beauty that was hardly visibel under the dust and grayness of the bricks, as if these houses were a high cliff crumbling into the ocean. and i thought that if the swallows can pretend that the houses are a cliff than i can also turn my gray and gloomy life into a colorfull, indidan summer evening. well, there's no point to this, and the princess will probably mumble to herself "blah, blah, blah" now and i must admit that it sounded more poetic when the idea was shoting through my head as pure, prelinguistic thought.
need to sleep now. thanks for reading. i mean it.
[september 16, 2003 - my god, hope you're on call. cause i maybe in danger of crashing before i get too far]mood-o-meter: 0.7 for no particular reason other than the frustration of constantly reaching my borders, my limits. no great melody. no idea for the article. no new chord pattern that is half as beautiful as the things i hear around me. no words other than the incoherent rambling i'm doing here. "my god, is it all right when i turn my back around?" gemma hayes is singing and it's such a beautiful track that i would trade all i've written and recorded so far for it. sorry, i don't know myself what that's all supposed to mean. the weather is beautiful, the sun is shining, it's mild and warm, the air is full of insects and plankton, the trees are waving gently like seaweed under water and the birds are singing like dolphins but my skin is thin and paper-like and every touch hurts and i only want to crawl under the sheets bind my knees to my chest and sleep. why can't i find such a melody? it sounds so simple. it sound so natural.
m. mailed to the 200 lurkers and sent in a short review of the cd which i have posted in the "opinions" section of www.200lurkers.com. princess superstar asked me if i would like to come over for dinner tonight which is good and i'm glad that she asked and that i don't have to be alone tonight. there's something coming with a leaving. a presence conditioned by a lack. it does not suffice to simply see beauty as long as you can't create it.
new set of answers to the questionnaire this morning.
[september 17, 2003 - you and me and what army?]sitting at princess superstar's kitchen table. she's talking to some stranger on the phone, a female voice, maybe m., maybe not - she's smoking, both her legs pulled up on the chair. two candles are burning quietly - the only source of light. the clock is ticking patiently - the only source of sound apart from the distant voice in the receiver, the faint roaring of the city four flights below and the crackling of the burning tobacco. i'm breathing regularly - too tired to think. got up at 8 today after a short night. three bottles of beer on the table, promising forgetfulness and reconciliation- as you notice, i'm getting pathetically pathological melancholic again. it was a nice day at the university: being with thomas was fun - really. it's good to have him back.
[september 18, 2003 - the unexpected tenderness of inanimate objects]strange day. went to the university because i had office hours. suddenly m. was standing in the doorway, giving me a cd that she had bought the other day: "hey, listen to it, you might like it" she said. later princess superstar called and told me about a nightmare she had last night: she's always remembering her dreams: remarkable.
then she said: "philipp, it's such a beautiful day, why don't we take a blanket and spend the afternoon in the park..." which we did. it really was a nice day: warm, sunny, no clouds, mild wind. so we met at three in the park and just when she had arranged the blanket and we had sat down her phone rang - "she just cried out: "jesus! i'm so sorry! i totally forgot!" and then said to me while she was trying to slip into her shoes as fast as possible: "darling, i'm so sorry, but i have an important appointment! i'm sorry, i have to go! call m., will you? i promised her that we would give her a call but i've got to go now! i'll be back soon..." and off she went.
so i called m. and she came by after the university and stayed for three cigarettes and it was fine because i felt detached which probably was because i felt sort of detached all day long. it was so unreal, the whole scenery: the golden autumn sun, the grass full of people on their blankets, above us some branches and beyond it an infinite blue that just went on forever, without relation. and at the other side of the park sat a guitar player and it looked like the soundtrack wasn't properly synchronized with the images because the sound arrived a second later than the picture of his arm moving. it didn't fit together. there was something torn, ein riss. it looked artificial. it felt false.
and hoping that it would make me stop thinking about it i let myself drop onto my back and stared into the sky while m. was telling me a story that i didn't really listened to because all of a sudden the whole weight of the world was resting upon my chest, my arms and legs and i couldn't move them, i couldn't move any muscle in my body and i thought: no! you have to get up NOW, you have to run home now! you have to to so much and you've so little time left, you have to start now, you have to run, to run now, run home and DO something, start working, start doing all those things that have piled up into one huge mountain. run home now and stop wasting your time. you will be sorry for every moment that you've been lying her in the park, on the grass, with that girl, in the sun, you'll be sorry for every fucking second that you're just wasting - but i couldn't move. i just couldn't move.
then the princess returned and m. left and after another hour we went home as well. when i opened the door of my apartment i saw that i had a message on the answering machine. and when i played it a female voice said: "i hurt myself today, to see if i still feel. i focus on the pain the only thing that's real. the needle tears a whole the old familiar sting. try to kill it all the way but i remember everything." and it sent a shiver down my spine and although i did not recognize the voice i thought that i knew it. from somewhere. it sounded familiar. it took me four hours until i realized that it is tara's voice.
23:46. mood-o-meter: 0.8 and falling. beautiful guitar work of gemma hayes in my ears. "My God Hope you're on call 'Cause I maybe in danger of crashing before I get to fall Let's cry girl While neighbours have their backs turned I'm having trouble believing anything you say Keep the car running outside You go and make up your mind You're staying here running wild with me *You know I could still love her, yeah* My God Looks like I'm going it alone Can't wipe the tears away fast enough Now I can't see the road Got a boot full of dreams And a pocket full of reasons not to stay Got a cross of Jesus around my neck Hoping he'll help me find my way" sitting very still, gazing at the blinking cursor, waiting that everything will break out in a storm of fury or madness or violence or tears or songs or words. but it just keeps on roaming inside, moving through me from left to right and from top to bottom, stretching underneath my skin like cancer. "you have to go to sleep early tonight" the princess said on the phone this evening. "is everything all right?" cedric asked two times when i called him tonight to ask whether he knew if tara had left the hurt-message on the answering machine. fzjutg vuw 9oij iuh98 gl yr ol 99 uli .n j hzgiuh ff hl ä0 7gk ku yr65 9ihi. mmjk bbhiluvfiu cxew6 5 9hkljh78 ß guzg 7 kuztf32bo iuj vkö#üp 09u izvb something's wrong. feeling so hollow that you could stuff the whole world inside of me and there would still be room enough for your heart. it feels like i could fall into me for ever without hitting a ground. no new messages on server.
[september 19, 2003 - see me go i'm not earthbound, i barely touch upon the ground, like mercury i'm sailing free maybe you'll catch me next time around...]it's three in the afternoon. sun galore. birds are singing. french window open and the stillness of the backyard is creeping over the carpet like fog. i have done NOTHING the first half of the day. i have slept for ten hours and then got up and answered a couple of mails and had a coffee and put on music and ate some cookies. i'm not worth the words i make. random zürn quote of the day which i have stolen from the "september 19, 2002" entry: "Sollte ich Sie wirklich noch einmal sehen, was ich uns nicht wünsche, so weiss ich, dass ich gerne Tränen vergiessen würde, bei ihrem Anblick. Ich versuche, meine kleinen Pflichten zu erfüllen, nicht mit viel Vergnügen und so entsteht langsam die winterliche Ordnung. Jetzt, wo die Erde hart und eisig wird, wünsche ich allen, die ich liebe, die Lampe, den Ofen und das Bett. Nicht einmal, wenn alle Türen zu Ihnen hin geöffnet wären, möchte ich gehen, bis ich vor Ihnen stehe. Meine wenigen Erinnerungen an Sie wachsen und und ich bin klein geworden, inmitten dieser Bilder, stehe und sehe Sie von weitem an." (erdachte briefe)
m. called an hour ago and left a message on my mailbox. she asked if i was at the university and if i would like to have an icecream with her. and then she added that she would go to the park now and read in the sun. i did not call back.
you know, i need a clearly defined task. i need someone who says: carry this pile of stones from a to b. that's something i can do. but each time i'm siting down to work i just get lost at the very beginning. i don't have a plan. i don't have a structure. i could start anywhere and end anywhere. i cannot set borders. i need small packages of work that keep me busy one or two days and end with a partial success. but everything i do won't turn out to be building blocks. i'm reading a text or writing a paragraph and it doesn't really help to create the whole. it seems useless and the value for the whole project is just nil. i want a dissertation lego set. i don't mind if it has a thousand parts as long as i know that each little stone will help me get to the complete, glorious ending. does this make sense? i talked to thomas about my problems with writing on monday and he gave me some good advice that sounded logical and helpfull while we were sitting there, talking. but now, that i'm sitting here in front of the monitor i feel lost again. he said that you don't have to start with a brilliant idea. that the idea will follow later. that everything must come out of the text. that you have to start extracting quotes and then you comment on the quotes and you see where it will get you. it sounded so simple, the way he said it.
[later]it's eleven at night. found a great new chord pattern: an uplifting one, played in 6/8 with open chords. it has summer hit potential :o). i was walking down to the hardware store this afternoon and the streets were just crowded with people who were sitting in cafés, eating ice creams, pushing their bikes along, carrying groceries and bottles, pointing into shop windows, grown ups were throwing water bombs onto children on the sidewalk and each window and door was open and the mild wind was mixing the private and the public, curtains were flattering onto the streets like flags and the atmosphere was so relaxed and so special: because summer had returned and everybody was wearing the t-shirts and shorts they had already put away.
princess superstar called tonight: she's visiting her parents who are living in a small village four hours away from cologne. she was at the hairdressers and has red hair now. can't wait to see her!
m. sent an sms tonight: "why m.?" [because in real life her name starts with another letter - if she exists in real life at all. perhaps she's just a fiction of the journal ;o)] and i wrote her back saying that i picked it because of cohen's "so long, marianne." so i suppose she has discovered the journal tonight. well, maybe my strange ramblings about various levels of virtuality will make more sense to her now.
suzanne is singing "playing" - one of the unreleased tracks. haven't
listened to it very much. it's strange to hear the voice singing words
and melodies i do not know by heart.
[september 20, 2003 - if i stop the movie, the film starts to burn]i've got the pressing urge to go out and do something. the sun is shining, there's a mosaic of green shadows dancing across the brick walls in the backyard, people are having coffee on their balconies, pachelbel's "canon" is metamorphosing ever so slightly and gracefully, marching forwards slowly with majestic, baroque dance steps. i have slept till ten in the morning and then i slept another two hours this afternoon. i don't know where the sudden desire for sleep comes from but i guess i have to make up for a couple of very short nights from the last weeks. so now i'm all wound up, ready to DO something. lines have started to arrange themselves inside my head, to form something, attracting other words and it looks a little like the birth of a star: more and more words and lines and chords get drawn into a black hole until it suddenly explodes in a bright, hot light and a structure is created. well, of course this is a hugely romatisized fiction, and not even a very innovative one. but it might happen today. or tomorrow.
unfortunately, the urge to DO something is not related to work. it is related to leaving this room, however. but i know that i should not do this. i should not get up until i have at least read through "the favourite game" and made some comments while reading. however it would be a different thing altogether if i had a reason to go out, if someone, if YOU, would propose to have a beer somewhere today or tomorrow or spend the afternoon in the park today or tomorrow ;o). so if you want to give me a reason to leave my apartment and enjoy the beautiful weather and your equally sunny company just write me a mail.
[later]TA TA!! today the 30th set of answers to the feedback form arrived in my mailbox!! i never thought that this would happen someday when i introduced the feature to the journal. so if you would like to help to push the answer rate to the 50s mark, you can click here and fill out the questionnaire yourself. and if you would like to read the 30 sets of answers that have come in so far you can click here. and if you want to do something totally different you can click here.
just stumbled over a beautiful passage in cohen's "the favourite game": the protagonist (a jewish canadian writer in his early 20s) is working in a brass factory, mainly because he a) want to punish himself by manual labor and b) he is fascinated by the sight of the liquid metal. however, the work he is supposed to do is just a repetitive, boring pulling of wire. from time to time he witnesses how the molten metal is poured into the molds:
The more bored he became the more inhuman was the beauty of the brass. It was too bright to look at. You needed goggles. It was too hot to stand close to. You needed an apron. Many times a day he watched the metal being poured, feeling the heat even where he sat. the arch of liquid came to represent an intensity he would never achieve.which is another way of saying that it does not suffice to simply see beauty as long as you can't create it.
[september 21, 2003 - it's like a movie really, it's just taking so long to end]okay. i do admit: the second paragraph i wrote yesterday was a mistake. it's a mistake to try to let reality swap into the fiction of the journal or the fiction of the journal swap into real life. it was a mistake. it seemed to be a good idea yesterday, but now that i think about it have to realize that it was just the attempt of a fictive character to trick himself into reality. to jump out of the plastic box with one glass wall into the world. but it's a pandora's box. you better don't open the monitor!
worked a little on the new songs. well, actually there are two new songs in the making. i guess the 6/8 one, which is more uplifting, is the easier one to write, record and finish. but i want to manage the slower one first because it's the one in which i want to use the voice samples from the answering machine. i do have three basic chord patterns for verse, bridge and chorus, but no melody yet except for the chorus. and no words except for the chorus. and no idea, how the overall sound of it shall be like. i have a drumloop from heather nova's "not only human" which gives me some hints and guidelines as to how the general mood of the song will be like. the other thing i realize is that it's hard to work on a song if you can't really concentrate on it. i am spending twenty minutes on recording a guitar track and then i suddenly shift back into bad conscience mood and take the books and continue reading. "breathing water" happened almost as one piece, the words were written in one hour and the music in another and it just went together effortlessly. this new one is going to be very fragmented.
re-reading the favourite game is tiresome. because you can't *really* read it. it's a mixture of reading and reflecting and constantly putting what you've just read into a context or trying to extract a context or a structure from what you've just read. there's no real immersion into the fictive world, you constantly surface again to make notes, to think about a paragraph, a sentence, a word and you cannot enjoy the reading process. that's no complaint. just a statement. and not even a very interesting one. in the meantime it's one o'clock on a sunday afternoon, the smell of peas and potatoes is mixing with the sound of cutlery clinging and plates and glasses ringing in the backyard and on the balconies. it's a delicious day. a day to start a novel. missing you slightly. among the cellos and harpsichord the secret wish that the phone will ring and you'll come over to read on my balcony while i finish the first chapter of the book i always wanted to write and in the evening we'll go out and have dinner somewhere and mix with the beautiful people and talk about everything that has been and will be and then we'll make up for all the days we've wasted.
when he closed the book the whole world had turned third person again. this happened once in a while when he had read too much, when the voice from the book had slipped into his mind and felt at home there, roaming around and feeding on his thoughts like a parasite. the pulsing music of steve reich made the room vibrate in short, nervous waves. he knew that he had to get out, there was nothing in his room that held him back and the frustration of having failed to make the random tones, instruments and chords of what he euphemistically called a "song" work the way he had hoped made his leg jump up and down nervously. move. among the buildings and the people and the warm sunday evening air. move.
he didn't want to write about himself any longer like a war reporter covert with mud in a world war one trench in france, romanticizing about comradeship and courage for those lucky bastards who had stayed home. he wanted to be discovered. he wanted to be explored. he didn't want to explain himself. only boring people explain themselves, he thought. only boring people write about themselves. the interesting people are written about. he was wondering whether there would be anybody again who would care to approach him on the bases of unconditionality.
when he returned from walking the length of the avenue down and back again he prepared an egg and ham sandwich and while chewing he stared into the drawer that was filled with video cassettes and picked "husbands & wives". it was dark outside when the credits rolled over the screen. and quiet. no birds, hardly a car or a shout. he longed for what he had just seen. relationships and adventure and hurt and being in love again. his life had never been like in the movies. he was aware that it would probably never resemble "casablanca", and this was okay with him, but his life hadn't even been anything like a woody allen film! not even that!
'bloody hell' he thought, 'the attempt to exorcise the voice inside my head by means of grotesque self-pity doesn't seem to work!' then he put the keyboard aside, took the book again and continued to work for another hour...
[september 22, 2003 - will you keep on bringing out the best in me?]worked all day in the office, had coffee with sirka who told me about her ma thesis, which is quite an interesting topic: photography and documentary writing. thought for a moment that i might have the wrong topic for my phd... it's night now. i'm going to pick up princess superstar at the station later. she's been spending the weekend at her parents' and will return tonight. got another set of answers :o).
[september 23, 2003 - eine königin unter den bieren...]it's 0:58 and i'm just back home. thought i might update the journal a little. bought a beer at the cornershop and some crackers and now i'm enjoying the quiet of night time.
so we (achim, the princess, christina, martin, his girlfriend, thomas and i) went to see don delillo who was reading in the cinema that eva and sirka are working for, which is really convenient, because this spares me to describe another scenery and i can use the setup of the cinema that i've established a few months back... it was really quite a nice evening. before we had dinner together and afterwards we went to have a beer with eva and sirka and her friend michael. delillo was cool, he read from his new novel. however the best moment was when thomas made a dry remark that wasn't really exhaustively funny but it cracked me up for whatever reasons. there were two microphones set up on the stage, and i asked him: "hm, is he coming as two persons " ["kommt er zu zweit?"] and thomas said without even thinking or looking at me: "sure: don and delillo..." okay, maybe you should have been there...
in the meantime i've spread out half of the crackers all over the floor and underneath the desk. sigh. worked all day on an article for the hollow earth volume by mrs. menke and i almost puked. she obviously thinks that she's derrida and can write as cryptic as him - but she's even worse. we have to translate her article from german to english and 70% of her sentences just don't make any sense. her style is simply bad. really, i'm not someone who says that things have always to be expressed clear and straightforward: complex thoughts need a complex language. but she simply doesn't adhere to the grammatical rules of german. which is very frustrating. also she uses quotations without giving the sources etc. and it's simply not possible to translate the babbling that she's doing into another language.
here's something i wrote yesterday night while i was waiting for the
train that brought the princess back to cologne:
he was sitting at the station - it had gotten dark and every platform was bathed in neon light. people with suitcases, soft drinks running down in little streams across the fake marble plates onto the tracks, pigeons with just one leg, a steel skeleton carrying a dirty glass roof that has been part of songs, a male voice from the speakers, trains creaking along the tracks like slow, sleepy animals, 1st class passengers departing from their muzzles, women with roses, men smiling silently amused by their original romantic idea which owned them a kiss and the luxury of not having to spend the night alone. he was tired and nervous and unzufrieden mit der welt. the iron beams and crosses which supported the roof looked like a film set made of fishbone. some were dimly lit by spotlights as if to highlight the ugly functionality that changed into an urban beauty as soon as he turned on the walkman and he thought that he could hear the current whizzing through the wire above him with an angry, violent hiss.
[september 25, 2003 - "wie realität sein sollte"]he had a strange, newly found pleasure in the third person. it was like being a totally different person from the old boring self that had accompanied him for over a year now. "yes," he thought "i will continue being third person...hey! wait a minute! something isn't working here..." and while we leave our antihero to puzzle about the confusing ways of narratological framing we briefly turn our gaze to a scene in the subway station yesterday morning, when he was waiting for the train to take him to work. he was listening to a mini disk that he had compiled so long ago that he didn't really know anymore which songs were on it (he had the annoying habit of not documenting track lists on mds and cds that he was burning). so suddenly - and even more important: unexpectedly - the piano of aimee mann's "wise up" started and it seemed to have the power to stop time: the clock stopped, the train froze while halfway into the station, people stopped moving and breathing and looking and for a short, delicious moment (he always used to think of those moments as "delicious") he had the vision of writing a song, a slow song, only with a piano. three verses, one great chorus and in the last verse soft strings are fading in that you don't really notice at first unless they're playing the most delicious (there it was again) second voice in the last chorus. it didn't really seem to be an obstacle that he couldn't play the piano at all. but the idea of using this unfamiliar tool held some hope that something unfamiliar, surprising would be the result. perhaps a song in the third person?
he had packed his back all morning because he would drive to bielefeld this afternoon. tomorrow his band had a gig in a small youthclub in an even smaller village in the rural country around bielefeld. they were playing with three other bands, which meant a 40 minutes set only but also probably more people in the audience as usual. he hadn't played the set for over a month now and he wondered how it would turn out tomorrow. they had a rehearsal tonight, but not really a chance to make up for weeks of not playing together. his fingers had gotten slow and rusted and he wasn't certain whether he would remember his own lyrics anymore. but he wasn't nervous about it. the gig wasn't important. it would just be for the fun of it and he was determined to have some! he felt a, well, let's say: professional calmness: they had played a lot of venues before - not as much as they had liked but enough to be relaxed and cool about it. of course not the last 20 minutes before they had to start: he was always nervous then.
so he was looking forward to tomorrow. he had a date with nadine the afternoon before the gig, and the following day he would stay at cedric's place. so not much chance to update the journal. "but i'll be back...!" he thundered then stopped, realized what he just said and added: "oh fuck..."
[september 26, 2003 - i'm travelling in some vehicle, sitting in some café]he was sitting in a corner of a corner-cafè, watching the street, watching other guests, reading cohen, drinking a coffee, waiting. writing. waiting. writing. waiting. which is he same thing, really. but it would take countless more pages until he would have understood this simple equation. returning to and walking through his old hometown was like walking through a museum. he was glad that people had preserved the city after he had left it like someone had preserved freud's original study or goethe's garden house. a whole city just for him.
he tugged up his sleeve, turned the sheet of paper and made a clean start at the upper left corner, trying to concentrate on his work. however, he couldn't really - the princess had just called the other minute and he realized that he missed talking to her more than would be good. "Think work!" his ratio insisted "think work!" what had he done so far? he had extracted parts of the text that featured the signifier "body". stupid mechanical work. a computer could do this better. and only he could have been so naive to believe that the relevant text parts concerning the concept of body only conglomerate around the signifier "body".
but apart from that he had decontextualized quotes, passages, images and when he would write about them later, comment on them, he would have to recontextualize them again. as if the passages told him more about the novel when they're detached from it and what was it that he wanted to learn about them in the first place? THAT was the important and difficult question. would analyzing the body images in both novels get him anywhere? how can you approach the complexity and multilayerdness of a novel without writing a novel yourself? what are the QUESTIONS you have to ask the text? he seemed to have lost everything he had learned about interpretation. he was swallowed by the text and scared by the possibilities. and he hated himself for using such big words for such a small scale problem.
there was something about MACHINES in the text. it seemed to be important because it surfaced again and again. it the sheer presence of the word enough to bind D&G to the novel??? "Ma...Mm...Mam...Machinery breaking down" he heard paula's voice in his head. she had stuttered when she had read this line from one of her poems. the word "machinery" didn't seem to come over her lips, her body refused to say it. "Ma...Mm...Mam...Machinery breaking down". was that a link between body and machinery? breaking down. this wouldn't get him anywhere, either. he hated his fucking job. no - that's not true. we know that.
outside the world went on as if there wasn't a fundamental gap between what he was supposed to do and what he could do. if he was diving into the world, became part of the rushing and pushing then he was able to repress these facts that started to threaten his existence. a terrible idea raised its ugly head: maybe his obsession with his private life was a secret strategy to distract him from his professional failings [and he liked to dramatize his little crisis with overinflated words like "failing"] "yes," he thought "3rd person is a lot more metacommentaryfriendly!". and then nadine entered the café...
[september 28, 2003 - rockbands died when amateurs won...]great! sunday afternoon, a quarter past five and ahead of me three hours of being packed like sardines in a crushed tin box. around me a group of old men (in theirs 60s) wearing pastel colored jackets and slippers and making one smart assish remark after the next - not a lot of fun. i spent the last two days in herford at cedric's place which - in contrast - WAS a lot of fun. even though cedric's motto for life is "being oppa" [being grandfather] - but he is oppa with style!! distinctions are important!
about the gig: we had rehearsal on tuesday night and it went quite well. on friday night daniel picked me up and we got there in time to see the soundcheck of the first band [heavy on wire - schwer auf draht (sigh!)]: five 18 year olds. the audience was about the same age: from 15 to 18 and then again from 40 to 50 (their parents). they played for too long and kept annoying the sound technician and had all their classmates jumping up and down in front of the stage - when we played everybody disappeared except for cedric and daniel's girlfriend veronique. but we didn't mind. we played for the 20-25 people who were left listening: more than usual. one guy was standing in front of the stage: frozen, motionless, staring at me the whole time. there was also a guy from the local newspaper who made photos and wrote down a couple of remarks and listened attentively. however, it was a lot of fun and we played pretty well although we hadn't rehearsed in almost 2 months. oh and yes! robert palmer had died the day we had the gig so i made some remarks about him. last time we had a gig the german actor günther pfitzmann had died. cedric said that the sound wasn't very good but at least i could hear myself pretty well on stage. "headcrash" was brilliant. singing the coda with reiner's accentuated bass and daniel's steady bass drum is just, well, beyond words. it's heaven. whenever i'm singing the last chorus something is cracking in the back of my head, as if something was released, as if some infinite room would open up that i'm falling into and i try to put all the motion and the movement of falling into the voice.
right after we had finished playing, daniel and veronique left - unfortunately with my bag in the trunk of their car. i only realized this when it was too late. fortunately i had my mobile phone with me. unfortunately daniel had switched his off. fortunately i knew they wanted to go to veronique's place. unfortunately i had no idea where she was living. so we called the operator and after a lot of back and forth i had a phone number: the number of her father, unfortunately, which i did not know. so i called (in the meantime it was half past twelve at night) and he picked up and i excused myself a thousand times and fortunately he had the mobile phone number of veronique. he wasn't even mad that i called him in the middle of the night but asked, after i had explained to him who i was: "haven't i seen you on stage this summer?"
so eventually i called veronique and we arranged a meeting in the parking lot of a mcdonald's where cedric and i were waiting: i exhausted and happy to get my things back and cedric slightly amused about my uncoordination and sudden activities to get my things back. we had something to eat and sat there on the corner in the neon light in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night and we probably looked like a still from a neo noir film: two tired and worn out detectives waiting for the meeting with their secret informant.
[september 29, 2003 - if i can get you to dance...]downloaded a couple of new fleetwood mac songs this afternoon that we had listened to when i was at cedric's. great - of course it's oppa music - but sublime one!! SAY YOU WILL SAY YOU WILL GIVE ME ONE MORE CHANCE AT LEAST GIVE ME TIME TO CHANGE YOUR MIND IT ALWAYS SEEMS TO HEAL THE WOUNDS IF I CAN GET YOU TO DANCE what a chorus!!!!! makes every fiber in my body want to sing and write a song. tambourine! i need more tambourine! and cymbals! cymbals are essential! and children singing! i should ask thomas whether keyla or dalia (his daughters - 6 and 4 years old) would sing along to a 200 lurkers song. there are SOOOOO many songs to write!!! say you will say you will! songs are the most important thing. period.
[september 30, 2003 - and i can't help the feeling, i could blow through the ceiling, if i just turn and run!!!!!!!!!]last entry for this month. it has gotten cold. i've got new shoes. i've sent out the invitations for the housewarming/birthday party on october 10 at 19h. why don't you join us, if you don't have anything better to do *********************. that's also the address to send birthday presents to.
it was strange. i have met princess superstar and her friend x. (still have to come up with a name for her) in town today. x and i have been mailing back and forth the last couples of weeks and there is sort of a story behind it, but it's long and complicated and frankly it's none of your business ;o) anyway, we had been mailing this morning and then in the afternoon the three of us met in a café and i caught myself thinking: "hm, i really would love to check my mail now, maybe x has answered" when she was sitting next to me in the café or walking with me through the book store or talking with me about the university, about getting lost in foreign cities and about the princess when she couldn't hear us. and when x couldn't hear us the princess whispered while we were standing in front of a shop window: "why don't you ask her whether she would like to have a coffee with you now...?" but i didn't because...well...i don't know. there really wasn't a reason for not asking her except for my cowardice. if you don't do anything the chances to make a mistake are pretty slim. however sometimes it can be a mistake to not do anything. "what have i become, my sweetest friend?" i don't know. i'm just hoping that i will notice when nothing is a mistake and when nothing is the right thing to do. "i will let you down i will make you hurt." the trick is to suture the wound between what i write and what i am. i used to write melodies for songs in the 90s but entropy always wins. and it wears me out. it wears me out. it wears me out. and it weaeaeaeaeaeaeaears...
i don't know what i'm thinking. that's nothing new. that's something
i tried to find out via this journal. the new situation is that, in addition,
i don't know what i'm feeling. there has never really been a doubt about
my feelings since i've started this journal. but suddenly things start
to change. which might be a good thing. we'll see. stay tuned for another