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[november 02, 2004 - ]
hihi. got another filled out feedback form. i'll update the 'answer-section' the coming days. tomorrow's thomas' birthday. we'll all go for a drink after work.
[november 4, 2004 - dass leute doof sind setz ich als bekannt voraus]
phew. it's thursday afternoon. didn't really have time to breathe the last couple of days. yesterday we went celebrating thomas' birthday, which was fun.first we went to a sushi restauant and after that to a bar. as a present we had made a music-video clip for kate bush's "running up that hill" from film footage that we have found on an old video-cassette of thomas. it shows him (at roughly age 26) and a friend striking poses and doing all kinds of weird things. i personally think that the video-clip ended up as one of the best things i've ever done in my short and limited history of media-studies and manipulation :o)
nina and bernd eating japanese food
bernd and achim drinking japanese beer

however, our mood was not the best since the results of the election were not exactly a reason to party. i'm just glad that i don't live in america! thomas was really, really pissed and outraged and angry. i tried to console everyone that four more years of bush will ultimately mean that hillary can step into the ring in 2008. GO HILLARY!!

i received two more feedback forms tonight :o) !!! updated the answer section today. bernd and i have been working on the network-application and the rest of the time was filled by assisting thomas and by preparing the seminar. no chance for any diss-work :o( tomorrow night achim, nina, princess superstar and i are invited by prof. f. and thomas for dinner.

right now i'm getting really tired. i'm hungry as well. and my eyes ache. i didn't sleep that well the last couple of days. bought leonard cohen's new cd. wow. weird. even weirder than ten new songs. there's one track however which i immediately loved: 'the letters'.

there are builders and workers all over the place, repairing the roof of the university and preparing to paint the corridor. they make a really nerve-wrecking fucking annoying noise that gives me head-ache. maybe i just get myself a coffee now.

[november 06, 2004 - your story was so long / the plot was so intense / it took you years to cross / the lines of self-defense]
the golden, sunny autumn weather has turned dark and gray and rainy. the sky looks like made of dirty concrete, the branches are bare and wet. i'm melancholic. maybe because of the music - cohen's 'the letters' on repeat - maybe because it's already getting dark at three thirty, maybe because x's not here, maybe because this week has been another major disappointment. at least in terms of work: even though the seminar went okay and bernd and i almost managed to finish the application for the funding - but i didn't do ANYthing for the diss. i had planned to be halfway through with it by now. and now i haven't even put together 16 pages. it's pathetic and i don't see how to manage at all. but that's nothing that i must think about too much: it will only put me down completely and give me even more head-aches.

here are more positive news: when i was sitting in the office yesterday noon i had logged in to my yahoo-messenager account and suddenly a window popped up and it said: "hi philipp! it's paula!" :o) so we chatted for half an hour. i switched on my web cam so she could also see me and i could give her a little guided tour through my office. later thomas came storming into the office and i told him to wave into the camera which he did. so perhaps chatting with paula will become a regular event.

yesterday night thomas, achim, nina, the princess and i went to prof. f. who had invited us to dinner (because we had helped organizing the deleuze conference in the summer). it was a really nice evening! the food was delicious! prof. f. is as much of a cook as he is a historian. thomas was in a great mood and he had even brought the dvd we had given him as a present (which features video footage of thomas twenty years ago) and after dinner we all watched it and laughed our heads off.

prof. f feeding his cats

achim feeding prof f.'s cats

nina reluctantly feeding prof. f.'s cats

thomas and the princess

princess superstar enjoying feeding prof. f.'s cats

prof. f.'s wife and the princess

while the evening was progressing i was talking to m. (prof. f.'s wife) about the band she used to play in and i realized that music has played an increasingly small role in my life in the last year. which is sad. but i haven't written any songs since "breathing water". the other week x. remarked that she has never seen me singing a song. and that's true. she hasn't seen me playing the guitar or singing. ever. she has a 200 lurkers cd but has never experienced them 'live'. neither has the princess.

the most beautiful line from cohen's dear heather: "hurt once and for all in silence / a long pain ending without a song to prove it." the music makes me tired, makes me realize how worn out i am. if it was for me i would just lie down and let the fucking life just pass by: don't mind the necessity of earning a living, don't mind the diss, the career, the seminars, the work. i only want a rest. from the thoughts and from the worries. even the simple task of keeping my head up is a strain that borders on pain.

[november 9, 2004 - for the sword outwears its sheath / and the soul outwears the breast]
well, well, well. a seldom sight: today thomas lost his temper. thank god not because of me. his secretary has a very special understanding of the word 'work'. she usually arrives at about ten thirty, has a lunch break from twelve to two and then leaves at half past three. sometimes she does not show up at all because her mother comes to visit her or she leaves on a week long holiday in the middle of the semester, which she simply announces by saying: "i won't be here next week. i have to go sailing." today she arrived late and after a couple of minutes she announced: "i'm downtown. i have to buy a t-shirt!" that was when thomas' patience reached its limits (and let me tell you: thomas' patience is not a scarcely measured thing). of course what also played into it was that a couple of important people who should be working at the english seminar simply don't work. either because they are incompetent or because they're simply not there. or for both reasons. most of the work then has to be done by thomas: sitting in committees, doing the exams, correcting papers and advising up to 30 people in his office hours.

however there was some good news today as well: thomas and prof. f. will get funding for their deleuze conference next summer. they'll try to get all the big names: brian massumi, manuel delanda, rosi braidotti and maybe even zizek. it'll be quite an event!

the other good thing was that thomas came storming into the office today carrying a big board which he had gotten from the former office of mr. krieger, who had been the gray eminence of the english seminar. he had been responsible for all the bureaucratic work: coordinating the courses, prolonging the contracts of the student workers, doing most of the statistic work. he had never gotten used to the idea of working with a computer and until last semester there was still coming the sound of a mechanical typewriter from his office like some stubborn memory of times in which they still wrote with ink instead of light. the other prehistorical item that mr. krieger had kept in his office was a big board onto which you could - with the help of lego-stones - put numbers and letters, and bars which symbolized days, weeks or months. and thomas could get this for our department :o) it's fashionably unfashionable and thomas came up with the idea to create the poster for next summer's deleuze conference with it. which will be quite a challenge. but it's a good idea! YEAH! let's make art!

[november 11, 2004 - denn mir san kölsche mädschen...]
sooooooooooooooooooooooooo sehr hasse ich karneval! got a comment via the feedback form the other day:
COMMENTS = please tell thomas to invite johnny de philo to the next deleuze-conference again because he/she fucking changed my life!
good news: thomas and prof. f. will try to invite. her. i mean him. er.. her. him. her.
[november 15, 2004 - yeah you're worth the trouble and you're worth the pain / you're worth the worry i would do the same / if we all went back to another time / i will love you over i will love you over i will love you...]
the fucking server crashed so i can't get any mails. it's monday night, 22:23, i've just watched far from heaven - you know, thomas took the same film class as todd haynes. the guy he's acting with in the video that we have found and out of which we made the "running up that hill"-clip was todd haynes friend at that time. i mean friend-friend, like lover. i told you: we lead epic lives! it was funny: we got the film from somebody who downloaded it from the net, and every fifteen minutes there are kind of subtitles running along the lower half of the screen saying: "this copy is for award consideration only - no sale or public screening allowed"

right now i'm doing something that i haven't really done in a long time: listening to belle & sebastian. sunday afternoon i plugged in the guitar and hooked it up to the amplifier and tried to play a couple of songs. went okay, though my voice was hoarse and my fingers were rusty: they hurt like hell after ten minutes. also updated my window version and finally downloaded microsoft's service pack no. - which too me 6 hours (in words: six hours) to download. phew!! i need an tdsl connection! or a flatline. and what did the blood service pack bring me? the fucking internet explorer is behaving as if it was possessed by a demon: i don't need a bloody pop-up blockers and additional information-bars!

received 200 lurkers praise and request for a cd on saturday :o). more good news: today bernd and i finished the network-application. now we only have to wait until the other eleven members have been checking it and then we can send it off next monday. hooooooray!!! this week bernd is turning 40. jesus! i have oooold friends! he's going to throw a big party on saturday and nina, princess superstar and i will be going. unfortunately achim can't come too since he is on vacation that week-end. we will all stay at thomas' place - which should be fun. his house is empty since his family is still in los angeles. bernd has also invited a couple of people from olomouc, bob and jana for example :o) today thomas tried to persuade bernd to invite a mutual friend, who is 70 already. "invite him!" thomas insisted "it might be the last birthday that he can attend...!"
"hm yes, but you know, most of the people who are coming are younger than i am and he's 70 already..."
"come on, invite him, he'd be really happy if you called him!"
"but there will be 60 people coming and i don't even have that much room!"
"invite him! he has invited you, too!"
"yes, to his 70s birthday. when i'm turning 70 i'll invite him as well!"
suddenly thomas voice became serious:
"come on bernd. it's not about the obligation. es geht um den menschen. it is all about the human being!"
i almost dropped my cup of coffee. it's all about the human being? such a statement out of thomas' mouth? i thought i was dreaming.
"well," bernd turned to me and said "it's like daddy is telling you to invite grandpa!"

by the way, courses and office hours of prof. absent had to be cancelled again today because he didn't show up to work. it's a ridiculous disgrace! but at least they have started painting the corridor. so hopefully the department will look a little friendlier in a couple of days.

[november 17, 2004 - i saw it once on a grand avenue that stretched into the distance. and you and i, we were walking there...]
first things first: it's bernd's 40th birthday today! so HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

got another feedback form with just the commentary filled out, so i rather post it here than in the answer section:

COMMENTS = a couple of hours ago, one of the most radical hip hop emcees in history has died:

               OL DIRTY BASTARD.

               He was hip hops thelonious monk and a member of the wu tang clan. rest in peace o-d-b.

               ol´ dirty bastard was also known as big baby jesus and dirt mc girt.

also, i got this mail today:

i was led to your site through a google search for a song.  strangely, yours is the ONLY one that came up with anything close to what i was looking for.

there is a song on a movie preview (in good company).  the audible words are "now i'm waking at the crack of dawn, just to send a little money home".  you have those words listed on your May 8, 2004 entry.  so, do you know what the song is?

if so, i would very much appreciate a reply.  your site is bizarre, but strangely enjoyable.

"some people know exactly where they're going." - the other minute i was doing the dishes and there were all those things in my head that i wanted to write down, all those things in ready sentences. but right now i can't really remember what it was that i wanted to put down. well, let's start with the facts and maybe the rest will follow: it's a wednesday night, 22:43. it's cold outside and raining. music: laurie anderson. [which reminds me that i would really like to listen to all four cds of laurie's united states i-iv with x. in one sitting. in a completely dark room. with images from the illustrated book-version of united states i-iv projected at the ceiling...]

anyway, good news today: manuel delanda will come the the deleuze conference. here's what i don't understand: arrived at the office at nine this morning and left at eight. 12 hours. almost the same yesterday. i think all in all i'm at the office nine hours a day. five days a week. five times nine equals 45. now, not regarding that i only got paid for 17 hours this still doesn't explain WHY on earth i have only written ONE LOUSY paragraph of the dissertation this week and last week and the week before and the week before. i don't get it. i wake up in the middle of the night and i realize how ridiculous all this is. out of the four or five thousand pages that deleuze has written i have read about, what? three hundred? four hundred? and out of those i have understood about 50. the entire diss project is doomed to fail. i think i've known this for a long time. the art is to close your eyes, practice perfect repression and advanced denial and just go on as if nothing would go totally wrong.

it's strange. i haven't really done any creative work for a long time. maybe the rumors are right and you only write or sing when you're unhappy, when the notion of loss becomes too big to bear. maybe it's the happiness and contemptment that the relationship with x. gives me that makes writing and singing superfluous?

realized again today that the best way to learn is to teach. the seminar was about 'the mirror stage' today. and for the first time i had the feeling that i actually understood it, even though thomas did NOT explain it to me. the session went quite well: the students were attentive and interested and participated in the discussion. i was totally nervous before the lesson - as usual -, and totally relieved and light hearted afterwards. the only thing that troubles me is my poor english. i realize how it limits what i say and how i'm saying it. it's strange, because when i'm writing i might make equally many mistakes, but i don't care so much about them. i can express myself much more eloquently than when i'm standing in front of the class. i'm only muttering and stumbling then.

did i mention that we're looking for a new colleague?? in january princess superstar and achim will stop working for the department :o((( so we're desperately looking for students to replace them - even though this is a task which is impossible to accomplish. schleim! but seriously, we have made flyers with an ad and actually we had thought that we would get thousands of applications - but so far we only got two. and both are not quite what we are looking for [by the way, you can find the flyer on thomas' homepage].

[november 19, 2004 - we swore to ourselves ... a day in the sun dancing alone .. now it's coming to you the lessons i've learned the curse and the blessing they're one and the same .. hide yourself for me! .. i stood without clothes, danced in the sand i was aching with freedom.. remember this as how it should be -- baby i said it's all our hands...
friday night, 23:20. x. is lying on my bed. she fell asleep during the last ten minutes of annie hall. when i brushed my teeth and changed into my pajama the other minute i saw myself in the bathroom mirror and what i saw was miles away from an ideal-i: an abject, fat, contourless figure, dissolving, repulsive and .. well,  the blob. i need to lose weight. really really really. i have stopped working out [that is: running through the park] since thomas laughed at me one day and said that a twenty minutes work out is good for nothing. "you've got to run AT LEAST for 45 minutes!" he said. sure! after 45 minutes i need an oxygen tank! also where should i take the time? [hint: maybe don't sit in front of the tv all night long???] and besides: it's winter and it's dark at four thirty in the afternoon when i'm still at the office. in the park it's pitch dark and running next to the freeway is a little pointless. and i don't have the money to pay for the gym - like thomas with his personal trainer!

anyway, yestreday it was paula's birthday! so HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

i was in town today to get train tickets for me and princess superstar because we're going to bernd's birthday party tomorrow. and it was hell! the underground was crowded, people were forcing and pushing their ways through the crowd, shouting at each other or starting fights. also it had kept raining the entire day so everybody was wet and in a bad mood and armed with umbrellas that were glued to the window panes of the underground cars which were opaque from the steam of the shoving and the pushing. i have to eat less. and more healthy stuff. and i have to sing more. singing is work-out. i have to sing more. i should have two or three nights a week on which i'm doing an entire 45 minutes set. this should get me into practice again. i have to rediscover the fun in playing the guitar and singing. got a fit of panic today when i was walking up the stairs from the ground floor to the first floor where our offices are. reality caught up with me on the stairs and showed me - for a small clear-sighted moment - the inevitability of failing. which made my heart start flapping inside my chest like birds in panic. i can't even do original writing anymore [insert gequältes lächeln].

the door to the balcony is open and the indigo girls are singing. the wind is playing between my feet - it's cool and wet and it smells of leaves. when i was sitting in the office today i felt a very strange sensation. it was only the fraction of a second: i heard a voice. somewhere down the corridor or in one of the offices next door. i couldn't really make out whether it was a voice in a conversation or coming from a radio - but i *thought* it was singing. it was a female voice and it sounded like a part of one line of a verse of "luka". it was very short. it was just an ahnung. just a notion. but it brought back the memory of suzanne's voice full force. no - not the memory but it brought back the voice itself and all the feeling of familiarity, security, warmth and certainty that are connected to it. encountering her voice unexpectedly is one of the weirdest experiences and sensation i know.

it's a miracle. it's a miracle that she's lying there in my bed.

[november 24, 2004 - it's been tough but it's fast improving...!]
here we go: it's wednesday night already. 22:09 and x. is at work - i should be, too, preparing the michel serres text for tomorrow's colloquium. the seminar went okay today. we talked about feminist criticism and there were two presentations by students. it was a bit nerve wrecking, though: one of the students was so nervous that she could hardly speak and she had to stop in mid sentence every other minute and grasp for air and ideas how to finish it. i wanted to jump to her side and sort of help her but of course there was nothing i could do except for smiling friendly and nodding patiently. she finally finished after 40 minutes which felt like three hours!

yesterday night, thomas, bernd, x. and i went to a kind of memorial lecture for jacques derrida which was indescribable. rickels gave a lecture (which was okay) and he had brought his dog and told us how he introduced his dog to derrida at a conference. but the woman before him was simply from a parallel universe. she was a professor of philosophy. there's no point in describing how she filled the thirty minutes that she gesticulated wildly (actually she only had 15 minutes speaking time): derrida, heidegger, habermas, plato and many more all compressed into a totally ridiculous and affected rhetoric and grande gesture. bernd rolled his eyes ceaselessly, rickels' dog was growling at thomas and i thought if she will brush away that hair from her forehead one more time in such a nauseating affected manner i will staple it to her head!

by the way, bernd's birthday was very nice! it was great and very entertaining meeting some of the czechs again who had traveled to aachen for bernd's birthday: bob and martina and mathew and jana were there, and also tom from kassel. actually almost the entire department wanted to come, but achim and nina were sick so they stayed in cologne. but besides thomas and princess superstar our former colleague martin was there as well, so it was almost like in old times. the princess and i spent the night at thomas' place and the next morning we went to have a luxurious breakfast at leyla's place with her husband (who is one of thomas' best friends) and her two year old daughter.

princess superstar at the railway station in aachen rote erdewhen we left i was a little depressed. it's sort of bringing me down to spent time with people who somehow manage to handle their lives, die ihr leben auf die reihe kriegen. you should have seen those flats! thomas' and also leyla's! and the sweet children. and all the high end technical equipment they have stuffed into their studies and living rooms. and the unobtrusive elegance their furniture radiates. and the sense of style they have. and the secure jobs they have. and the happy lives they lead.

but maybe my mood on sunday afternoon when the princess and i were taking pictures of each other at the railway station in aachen while we were waiting for the train home was also a little down because i still hadn't recovered from the shock. because at one point during bernd's party thomas came towards me - not storming but quite slowly actually which should have made me suspicious! - and he kneeled next to me (i was sitting at the sofa with most of a piece of chocolate cake in my mouth and the rest of it smeared all over my face and hands) and he said: "phillip!" he said "you know it can't go on like this! something has to happen!"
"i know" i said sadly and looked down half ashamed about the chocolate cake mess and half ashamed about the non existence of my dissertation.
"phillip, something has to happen!"
"yes..." mumble mumble....
"I want the first chapter when i'm back after christmas. I'll return on january 10th. I want the first chapter then! 40 pages. a page each day from now on!!"
"hm, a page each day???!"
"what! other people write four or five pages each day...!"
"four or five" i repeated in disbelieve.
"the first chapter when I'm back from the states!" he said again and added "okay?"
"okay..." i agreed. let's face it: i didn't really have the chance to disapprove and besides he was right: i HAVE to start now and blacken at least a page a day. that's what leonard does as well: blacken a page a day. so four days have passed since and you've got three guesses how many pages i have blackened already... i'm a hopeless case!

when i was waiting at the underground station this night on my way home from the office i was listening to a couple of mp3s from the last indigo girls album and suddenly i realized how i was making a kind of 'grunting' sound unwillingly and uncontrollably - like pleasure bubbling to the surface because the songs were so GREAT, fingers flying, drumming in tune with the rhythm and my mouth widening into a broad grimace-smile with each new chord and each additional backing voice and open cymbals, open piano, open drums.

you know, some days are just so beautifully surreal and absurd that it gives you back your hope in life, maybe even in a divine plan. you know, for example, as if you would get a mail from suzanne vega that says: "hi folks! by the way: i'm naked on the july cover of a calendar featuring all nude folk stars!" well, guess what happened today? suzanne sent a mail to the list saying:

Dear Towies,

I guess the cat is out of the bag. I was going to make an announcement myself  -- that is Eric was going to announce it, but now I will announce it sort of anticlimactically.

Yes, gang, that is me in the "Naked Folk Calendar", reading Edna St. Vincent Millay's biography, Savage Beauty. I am the July picture. As my mother said when she saw the photo, "Well, you certainly look naked!" Ruby said, "That's not TOO bad!" It is tastefully done, everything is covered, well mostly, anyway.

My personal favorite pic is Jack Hardy, naked on a horse, with a rifle and hat. Second goes to David Massengil and Lisi Tribble paying an homage to the famous Lennon/Yoko Ono portrait.

This calendar will be available for sale very soon at the SuzanneVega.com store. A portion of the proceeds goes to The Folk Alliance. Hope you enjoy it.

Affectionately, Suzanne

one reason more to be a suzanne vega fan :o) and it's not even the product of my sick imagination or another one of my fake cover creations!!!! it's too good to be fake and too absurd to be made up! and the images above are just teasers and not the full length body shots!!! you can order the calender here: http://www.nakedfolkcalendar.com