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[december 01, 2003 - i'm not looking for another as i wander in my time. walk me to the corner, our steps will always rhyme. you know my love goes with you as your love stays with me. it's just the way it changes like the shoreline and the sea]
the alarm clock was shrieking mercilessly this morning and after an unfinished night she turned around in half sleep with sad eyes, stretching her arms and legs, bending her neck and back in a perfect half circle, an arc that was radiating warmth and softness. "but let's not talk of love or chains and things we can't untie: your eyes are soft with sorrow..."
it's night now. yesterday at 1:30 at night, when she had put out the candles and tiptoed back to bed through the darkness carefully, the smoke from the wicks curled up to the ceiling in small vortices and soft eddies invisibly, i felt her cold feet touching my legs and i felt her breathing softly in my neck and her warm fingers were resting on my chest and i said in a very, very low voice: "i'm happy that somebody had left me."
[even later]
mixed keyla and daliah's voices into "breathing water" - think it works. sounds cute and bitter at the same time. listening to joni's "blue motel room" on repeat. the day passed quickly again. i don't know, i think there was something that i still wanted to write about, but i can't remember what. thomas has caught a cold. so have i. he's renovating his house and yesterday he has hit his thumb with the hammer. poor thomas. x and i aren't together tonight. thomas suggested that i give a seminar on cohen next semester. "if you do a course you'll HAVE to think about him!" he said. later this month my parents will come for a short visit. my father wants to see the cathedral and he asked me to find out whether there are any guided tours. so i checked the internet and said: "there are tours at 11 am, 12:30 am, 14 pm and 15:30 pm ..."
"splendid!" he said "we can leave here at half past seven and then take the tour at eleven..."
and i don't get it! why the hell would you want to drive off at seven thirty in the morning to catch the first tour when there are three more later that day! it's a week-end, for christ's sake! when i told thomas that my parents were staying for a visit he joked: "hm, maybe i'm here on saturday as well? will we have lunch with your parents??!" over my dead body. i'm not even sure whether i should introduce them to x. except for cedric, no one in bielefeld knows about her yet. by the way: any suggestions for a song of the month?
[december 3, 2003 - i can fly but i want his wings]
have uploaded the new version of "breathing water" :o). i gave thomas a cd yesterday because after all it's his children who are singing on it. the topic in the poetry lecture today was: plath and rich. when i came into the office this morning thomas was preparing transparencies of various poems of both authors, and one was "full fathom five" by plath and the last verse read:
Your shelled bed I remember.
Father, this thick air is murderous.
I would breathe water.
and *of course* that was the poem i stole the title and the central image of "breathing water" from. i knew that it came from a plath poem, but i had forgotten which one exactly (see the commentary on "breathing water" on 200lurkers.com) so i was glad to rediscover the line and thomas said: "i picked this one just for you!"

i'm pretty tired. didn't sleep too good tonight. x came by yesterday night (which was good, of course) but i couldn't fall asleep because i had a bad bellyache. however, due to this condition of being permanently conscious i was able to hear x starting to talk in her sleep suddenly. quite vividly, in fact. first she laughed (a kind of flirtatious laughter) and then she said "well, i guess i'll first have a look at this". and i really wondered about whom she was dreaming.

got an order for a 200 lurkers cd :o))))) it's twelvethirty at night now. x and i have invented a new game: finding freud. each time she's here she's hiding my sigmund freud action figure: behind the spices on the cupboard in the kitchen, in the flowerpot, behind the framed picture of unica zürn that's on my book shelf: we never really discussed the rules of the game or talked about it. freud simply vanishes when she has been visiting me and i find him and when she's been staying the next night he's gone again. there's a kiss in your name. and this obvious but true statement seems to make for a great chorus of a new song.

[december 5, 2003 -
friday noon. it's gray outside. i'm listening to steve reich: hypnotic and soothing. cup of tea steaming. the new ibook is breathing lightly on a pile of articles about leonard cohen. had planned to start my dissertation-day forty minutes ago with reading some reviews of the cohen novels but i got stuck cleaning my hard disk, erasing and sorting files. found the folder with the letters that i had sent to somebody two years ago. hated myself for having sent them. she said she wanted to read them but i shouldn't, i just shouldn't have given them to her. i started this journal on the day that i had sent them off. strange how different i am today, two years later. i think there have been two metamorphoses in my life: the first when i met somebody (and thomas and dagmar) and the second when she left me. and it more and more seems to me that the second one has been the more important transformation, the one that brought me much closer to who "i am".

spent the night at x's place. i didn't sleep very well. probably because i had overslept in the morning and wasn't really tired yet when we got to bed at night. also, x has two blankets: one is very conformable and warm and cozy, the other one is too short, cold and doesn't really fit into the cover. and she simply refuses to give me the good one! which is highly unfair! so i was lying there in the dark under the short, cold blanket, and each time my consciousness surfaced i heard her breathing close to me: long, regular breaths. i couldn't see her, but she was so close that i felt the air she was breathing on my neck and the heat she was radiating formed a body as distinct as any material one. overjoyed. still haven't found freud.

cruel & tender: photography and the realtonight x and i are going to an exhibition opening: "cruel and tender: photography and the real". perhaps the princess and blaine will join us. of course one of the most exciting and important events in the past week was the arrival of the new ibook. which looks pretty much like the old ibook, except that it doesn't have as many scratches yet. and the cd-drive is cooler: it doesn't have a slate that's coming out of the laptop, but you simply insert the cd into a slot and it is sucked into the computer. performance-wise the ibook doesn't differ from the one we've bought a couple of months ago: the same processor, the same hard drive, the same ram, the same software. but of course thomas (who was unpacking the new computer with sparkling eyes) only needed one look at the shining surface, the unscratched body and the cool cd-drive to decide that he will from now on use the new one. which is just fair - he has paid for it after all, but also crazy because now we (that is: mostly poor achim) have to configure the new ibook with all of thomas' preferences and we have to transfer all the data that he has stored on the old ibook onto the new one. which will take quite a lot of time. but then we're doing everything to keep the boss happy! :o)

when nina, nicole and i came to the poetry lecture this wednesday we took places near the front row, basically because i am taping each session and need to have a good place in order to get a decent recording of thomas' voice. and when we were sitting down, one student (who was sitting in the same row that our seats were) said, rather to herself: "seine garde kommt immer etwas später / his guard is always coming a little later" which was meant to be a funny comment and she was trying to start a conversation with us, but i was furious! how dare she! i'm not thomas guard, i'm his worst nightmare! (right after his two kids). when i told the story to x she said: "well, of course you are his guard! you are his fan! you are his groupie!" but i'm not. i'm his roadie, maybe.

[december 6, 2003 - she said: maybe these emotions are as near to love as love will ever be]
found freud. x had put him into the bunch of fake tulips in the kitchen. made a plan for the dissertation, at least for how to start working on it. i've got these two monographs by scobie and ondaatje about cohen, and they are discussing his work book by book. and i think i will make a comparison between the two: note what scobie thinks, note what ondaatje thinks and then see what i think about a particular volume of poems. of course the third step is kind of difficult because in it i will have to find my own way through cohen, and i still haven't decided on the vehicle. one possible vehicle would be deleuze, and i might move along the lines of concepts such as machine and matter and complexity. anyway, first of all i've got to read scobie and ondaatje.

the exhibition yesterday night was great. i've never been to the museum ludwig, which is the most important museum in germany for contemporary art. every first friday night of each month it is open for free from 19h-23h. the atmosphere was great: very unlike a museum, more like an event-space charged with a strange kind of intensity that radiated from the art-works. there were a lot of visitors, unfortunately blaine and the princess couldn't make it. but the princess joined us later in a cocktail bar.

when i talked to blaine on the phone yesterday afternoon he asked out of the blue: "so, are you happy?" it took me quite a while to answer. am i happy. no. of course not. and yes. of course i am. "i mean in terms of personal relationships..." he added after i had kept silent for three minutes. "well, i guess so." i said. and then i thought about it and i realized that the situation is rather strange. because i didn't even know what *kind* of relationship i have with x. we never named it. we never really talked about it. is it a love affair? or just an affair? is it something steady? is it a 'realationship'? is she my girl-friend? am i her boy-friend? is it a long term relation? somehow it seems that talking about it might be dangerous, might destroy something that is beautiful *because* it is unnamed, mysterious, unclear. i don't know. i just know that i want it to last as long as possible. i started under the premise that i didn't want a relationship. that i only wanted an affair. this has changed.

we're together now for two months. and the l-word has only been mentioned once. by me: "i think i l*** you". her reaction: silence. and then: "i think this scares me a little." it's strange: i think i know what she feels from how she acts, from her kisses, from her hugs, from spending so much time with me. and still i feel uncertain. which is also due to a couple of situations when we met ex-friends of her. not her recent one [this is a totally different story, and quite a difficult one :o(] but older ex-friends that she still has contact with. it's not the idea that she had former relationships and it is not the fact that she had more than i had. but meeting an exfriend is a kind of time-fold. in a curious manner it is bringing together past and future. past, because they are a part of her past life. and future, because it shows me how i will end one day. i know that i, too, will be an ex-friend some day. i mean, this is just a fact, right? most of the relationships that we start will end some day.

and this is my crank mind: because after this sort of traumatic experience with somebody i cannot let go of the thought that relationships will end. they are finite. and i keep looking for signs of this. i'm catching myself how i analyze a look of her or what she says for signs that the feelings for me are vanishing. i've become paranoiac and i don't have enough trust in ... hm, i had almost written: "in our love". but even this isn't clear yet. and the worst thing: i keep talking about it to her, which is not good because sometimes talking about things can make them happen. "hm" she said yesterday when we talked about this in the cocktail bar and i told her that i keep thinking about that relationships will end. and asking her whether she's thinking the same she answered: "maybe not that they will end but that they could end." which, of course, was a very wise answer.

i know that i'm not exclusive, that i'm not special. i am one in  a line of many. so is she. there is always already an end to it. that is what is so scary, but also soothing. i don't know. i promised myself never ever to bind myself too closely to a person again. what did i mean by too closely? too close is probably when you realize that you cannot do without the other. but still i feel that i WANT such a relationship. because it is the only way of leaning to a person, of finding rest and comfort and strength. if you lean on someone, you will fall down when she moves away. but if you don't lean on someone you have to stand all alone. maybe one can speak of - in analogy to the deleuzian concept of minor literature - minor love: local, temporal, nevertheless intensive - but no meta narration. no governing concept. an emotional structure that has emerged out of the clash of two systems or machines, an autopoetic generation of a closeness that might as well dissolve and give way to or evolve into other assemblages.

i think we're both kind of pessimistic and sometimes much too "reasonable". in contrast, blaine is mystifying his newly found love beyond everything, planning already to marry his new friend. even after seeing him for two hours at a conference he said that he was in love. why am i so careful about admitting what i'm feeling? maybe because it seems so strange to say it with all the implications that it has. the "never ending" that is implied. the exclusiveness that it implies.

have i told you about the secret vegalist already? well, since the undertow has changed so radically half a year ago, a couple of fans have opened a new list. it is not so much about suzanne but rather about creating once again that kind of familiar closeness that was there on the undertow before the change. the new list only has about 30 participants, and it is secret. meaning: neither suzanne nor the management nor the moderators of undertow know something about it and to join you have to be invited and you are asked not to talk about it on undertow. well, i was asked to join - :o) - and so i'm on two mailing lists then. anyway, since there are also italian members i posted the italian 200 lurkers cd review and asked for a translation. of course i didn't write what cd it was about. and somebody translated it and this is what it says:

A splendid cd, melancholic, a piece of life in which everybody can mirror themselves. It brought to my mind so many past moments, some sad, some happy, an introspective trip in all senses. Here and there it also brought to my mind other artists, first of all Simon & Garfunkel, with their music of great communicative ability. Download all tracks, and read where they come from, or what inspired the songs, you'll not be disappointed. Thanks a lot Philipp, much respect to you! =)
and half an hour later this mail followed:
Subject: [vegalist] 200 Lurkers (was: translation)
Date: Fri, 5 Dec 2003 13:46:53 -0800 (PST)
From: Jose Carlos Maltez <jc@xxxxxx.com>
To: vegalist@xxxx.it

And what was that review about, Philipp? The first thing on my mind was the 200 Lurkers! By the way, Philipp is too shy to announce it here, but you should all go to his site: http://www.200lurkers.com and find out some really great music.


which saved my day :0)

it got quite late yesterday night. we both had two and a half long island ice teas and we were pretty drunk. we walked home, singing 80s songs and reciting goethe and ts eliot. this morning x had a sort of hang over: she didn't really want to get up, her eyes were small and she was a little sick. and still her hair was shimmering like mother of pearl in the sunlight when we had breakfast. very beautiful. after x had left this morning freud had vanished again. found him this afternoon: he was standing on the frame of the unica-zürn poster that tara and cedric had given me as a birthday present.

[december 7, 2003 - to infinity and beyond!]
it's ten on a sunday night. just watched toy story. all those sound samples that i have used for the "rosemary/forever disneyland" cover appeared: "to infinity and beyond" and "farewell my friends, i go on to a better place!".

spent yesterday night and all of today with x: we went walking along the rhine and the weather was beautiful. cold, but beautiful. it was about four in the afternoon when we crossed the rhine on one of the big bridges that lead over the river, and on the horizon - in a clear, blue sky that was still bright - the full moon was rising majestically, hanging faintly and ghostlike and weightless over the city: huge and unreal.

yesterday night i, after all these thoughts and ideas i had written about yesterday had been circulating in my mind on the way to x's place, i took my courage and asked her: "honey, tell me. do we have a relationship?" and she said: "hm..." she leaned back, took a long and theatrical look around her flat, then looked at us and how she was lying in my arms on her sofa and finally she said: "well, darling. it almost seems that we have!" then she went up and walked into her study. when she came back she slipped me a small envelop. when i opened it i found a small piece of paper that said: "do you want to go with me?" and then three check boxes and the options: "yes", "no" and "maybe". i marked "maybe" and she hit me with a pillow. when i got home tonight (unfortunately x has to work from nine to three in the morning) i had received a mail from sahand:

Subject: 4 degrees
Date: Sun, 7 Dec 2003
From: Sahand <276iu@columbia.edu>
To: Philipp <philipp_hofmann@uni-koeln.de>


Reason for excitement on your part, but please don't soil yourself: I can draw a definitive four degrees of separation between you and Susan Vega.

Susan Vega was the babysitter for my roommate's best friend.  The degrees of separation are as follows: you to me (one degree), me to my roommate (two degrees), my roomate to her best friend (three degrees), the best friend to Susan Vega (four, tiny, short, miniscule degrees!).  Aren't you happy?  Life just keeps on getting better, doesn't it?

I'll see you sooner than you'd like,

it's a small, small world!!
[december 8, 2003 - and you want to travel with her / and you want to travel blind / and you know that you can trust her / for you've touched her perfect body / with your mind]
it's monday night, nine o'clock and x will arrive any minute. the day went by quickly. thomas was in good mood. he cleaned his office today, meaning that he threw out everything he thought was superfluous: papers, books, cds and videos. he has three book shelves full of books in his office that go from floor to ceiling. the books are ordered according to a simple principle: "just put it where is any space!" more than once he called me on the phone when he was home and i was in the office and asked me to find a particular book: "it's in my office. somewhere." which always results in a two hour hunt.

anyway, so today he threw out all the books he didn't need anymore and also about 40 video cassettes, of which only six or seven were labeled. the rest bore not a single clue of what might be on them. "here" he said when he came stumbling into our office, juggling a huge pile of cassettes that he threw onto nina's desk: "someone has to check what's on them and then add them to the video collection..." among them was also a cassette that had a label: it was a fifteen minute short film about a boarding school. now, when thomas was young, he went to a catholic boarding school - and from what he is reporting about this time it must have been traumatic for him. he's talking about these years of his past seldom enough, but when he does, disgust and unease mark his face. i'm not sure whether he was aware that this film was among the videos, but when he had left for lunch i put the cassette into the vcr and got an impression of the setting and the frame of mind that he had past his youth in. i wouldn't have swapped places with him. not for all the money in the world.

got two more 200 lurkers related mails:

Subject: Free CD
Date: Sun, 7 Dec 2003 17:56:24 EST
From: ChildOfRoadkill@xxxxxxx.edu
To: 200_lurkers@entropic-empire.com

Hi!  I heard about your site through word of mouth and I downloaded Space Walk... I think it's amazing - very calm and pleasant, and the lyrics are extremely insightful.  When I checked out the lyrics page and saw it was written for your grandfather, I listened to the song again and I got chills - it's a very, very touching song.

Subject: MP3
Date: Sat, 6 Dec 2003 15:04:10 -0700
From: shoshinproductions@xxxxxxxxx.com
To: 200_lurkers@entropic-empire.com

Hello! My name is Brad and I work for a company called Shoshin Productions.  I surfed onto your site and liked what I heard.  I was wondering if you would mind me putting your MP3's on my internet radio station, http://radio.shoshinproductions.com.


on my way back home from the university i met one of the dubini brothers in the subway who was sitting all alone on a bright red plastic seat, scribbling down notes for a future film project. realized that i haven't got the slightest idea yet for what i will get people for christmas this year. wish i had written two new songs that would justify a new the space and the sea version.
[december 9, 2003 - the cricktes are chirping, they stop at my step. i stop my step and they start up again...]
tuesday. realize that i miss doing the seminar with blaine. because when i did i always had some kind of feedback. not that i had ever believed him when he said that the session was good, but still there seemed to be some kind of security that things go the right way. now i'm totally unsure. it's like performing into a void. do you know what i mean? i don't know if what i said, what i tried to relate, what i tried to explain, really made sense or arrived or was interesting or did make any impact at all. today the topic was: linguistic turn and the theories of saussure. and of course in the end the questions were: "and how can this help me to explain a novel?" sigh.

the late night show with harald schmidt won't continue in 2004. which is sad news, but still i was a little amazed today because first thomas, then gordon, then the princess and then blaine came in and said: "philipp! there will be no more harald schmidt! what are you gonna do now!?!?!" as if my life would depend upon it! ts!

wish i had the energy, the time and the concentration to write a song. [complain, complain, complain...! :o(.] talked for a long time about my parents with x yesterday night. in the end she said: "boy, you *are* pretty angry at them, aren't you?!" in other news: it has gotten really, really cold. if it rained it would snow. the full moon is glowing, a bright naked bulb that must be attracting a million moths that are flying into outer space and suffocate somewhere between earth and moon. i still don't have a song of the month. still waiting for your suggestions :o) but NO lenny kravitz!

[december 11, 2003 - you are my little kite, carried away in a wayward breeze...]
i'm gaining weight uncontrollably. which is usually a good sign that i'm happy. wish i had more time. the hours with x are too short, the hours in the office are not long enough to do all the work that's to do and the hours alone at home pass too quickly to write songs, update the journal or finally start the novel i still have to write before i die. also i want to make a video, photos, finish the hollow earth cd, finally finally finally do the solo live set and meet with the princess, blaine, eva and sirka. also i still need to understand deleuze. although i must say that the frustration about not understanding a single word of his writings is getting a little smaller recently. today in the colloquium bernd, who was sitting next to me, had as much of a hard time understanding as i had. which is good. academic losers of the world unite!

when i had a coffee with thomas today we started to talk about music, and for some reason we ended up discussing "hey ya" by outcast. and - surprise, surprise - we both like the song and the video that comes with it. then achim came and we asked him about his opinion and he liked the song as well. and then we asked bernd. and he liked it, too. and nina too. "well" i said "we should make t-shirts that say: university of cologne - american studies department: hey ya!" and then thomas said: "can't we put the song onto our website?" which we did. so each time you'll surf to our homepage you will hear the song being played :o)

thomas (from the record label) hasn't written again. guess i can forget about the record deal. who cares!?! when thomas (my boss) asked me "und, wie isses?" i said: "i haven't written a song in four month now!" he then joked about it, saying that i should do it in the subway on the way to work or at night but it's serious, it's serious, the woods are burning, the woods are burning. wish i was with x now. she called the other minute and asked whether i would come over. but it's 22h already and i have to get up in time tomorrow to prepare the seminar and read the cohen monographs and she has to get up early as well to work on her ma thesis and we wouldn't do us a favor if i'd stay the night tonight. but we will meet tomorrow.

[december 13, 2003 - and constant craving has always been...]
it's 23:23, just finished watching a documentary about freud and psychoanalysis with the princess. freud will be the topic in the seminar next week so i thought it might be a good idea to refresh my memory a little. yesterday night x and i went to see "whale rider" in a rather small and cozy movie theater. the film was okay. i had expected worse - although i didn't really like the end. it should have stopped ten minutes earlier. anyway, afterwards we went to a bar and i got pretty drunk on kölsch.

when i returned home this afternoon i worked a little and made myself a big bowl of salad. haven't eaten anything healthy in months and i should pick up that old habit because i could really need some energy and vitamins and esprit de vivre. next week we will have two christmas parties: one with the entire department on tuesday and one with the american studies department on thursday, which will be more fun. the princess and i have picked an arabian restaurant for thursday which both of us don't know and i hope that the place and the food will be okay. otherwise thomas will hold us responsible and probably take away the new ibook.

played a couple of songs today. which felt strange and unfamiliar. my hands were clumsy and not moving fast enough and my voice was rusted. i need to practice much more. when x and i entered the bar after the movie yesterday night there was an amplifier and a mic-stand in a corner and i instantly felt the old longing to perform again. morrissey is just singing "hold on to your friends" and the princess - while puitting on her coat and scarf - asks: "is that YOU? sounds like you!"

[december 14, 2003 - i've got to get out of bed, get a hammer and a nail, learn how to use my hands...]
oh boy - i would never have thought that i'm sooooooo out of shape! i slept for eleven hours tonight and when i got up i felt the urge to move, to run. so i decided that i would not only go for a walk in the afternoon but go running. so i compiled a mini disc for the walk man with songs that i thought would keep me running, the rhythm of which matched my running pace. but i had to realize that they didn't really match. first of all i almost collapsed after a few steps. i was amazed by how heavy i was. i remembered that running was a kind of smooth process in which you move forward almost effortlessly. that was not what i experienced this afternoon. it took me A LOT of effort to even remove my body from the earth. and i hadn't even moved it forward then! jesus! i was out of breath after 500 meters. naturally i never reached the state in which the hormones of happiness are released. so i kept running a few steps, and then walking again. then running again and then walking. now my legs hurt. it's so pathetic! i definitely need to exercise more! sigh!

tonight x will come by and we'll fix a salad. it's healthy food weekend. after i got up i started to read scobie on cohen and just when i wanted to make a few notes the phone rang. it was x and she said: "they've got saddam!" so i spent the rest of the morning watching cnn. when i got home after my little round through the park i took a long hot shower, did the laundry and washed the dishes. now it's six in the evening, i'm listening to one of cedric's compilation cds and work a little bit on the "images" section of the journal. i've added a photo of x.

right now "walls (circus)" by tom petty is playing and lindsey buckingham is doing the backing vocals - and cedric is right: lindsey is turning the whole song into a fleetwood mac song, simply by those great backing vocals!

[december 15, 2003 - In der betäubt ein großer Wille steht...]
everything is going wrong today. woke up after an unquiet night full of weird dreams. dreamed i took part in a seminar which was held in my old room in my parent's house. there were only three participants plus princess superstar and me. the teacher was a fatzke who wanted to discuss suzanne's "ironbound / fancy poultry" but he did not even recognized that the song had two parts. so i started to talk about the song and he didn't like what i said and all the time the princess was putting her foot into my face. very strange. anyway: when i woke up x was still fast asleep and it was cold in the room because we left the window open that night. i stumbled out of bed and when i looked over my shoulder she way lying there under the blanket, eyes closed and limbs twisted. she looked like a child. very vulnerable. did you know that her skin tastes like marzipan?

cedric wrote last night:

Subject: sorry
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 01:34:45 +0100
From: cedric <cedric@xxxxx.com>

Dear you!

Sorry, that I did not talk to you for a while!
Miss you in a strange way ...
I'm so PROUD of what you wrote about Buckingham, Tom Petty & me ...
... especially, since YOU're the one who understands music ...
... anyway ...
I'call you back,
always yours

PS: Lookin' more than foreward to meeting the both of you & NYE!

in the office thomas was scolding me. i was downloading something from the internet (for private christmas use) and he looked over my shoulder and said in a cold voice: "oh. is that the latest article on cohen?" we've got an objection to one of the exam essays. a student who failed had written a complaint and now we have to correct the essay all over again and write a detailed statement. thank god i was only the second corrector.

in the evening i went to town to do some christmas shopping and i didn't really get what i needed. one thing i ahd in mind doesn't work the way it should. when i told the princess on the phone she scolded me, too, saying that i couldn't use this and that it was wrong and i said "but you don't get it, i've searched everywhere, but you don't get it anywhere!" and she insisted "you do you do you do!" and i was pissed, because i had just spent two hours being shoved and pushed around in overcrowded shops and shopping malls. it was hell! and rule no. 1: don't listen to radiohead's "there there" when you're stuck in a crowd that all want to do their christmas shopping. because IT MAKES YOU AGGRESSIVE!!!!!!!!

when i arrived home i realized that a technical gadget i need to do an other christmas present is broken. blast! and then i searched for a cd that i need to do yet an other present and i couldn't find it. i'm really, really pissed now. silver lining: today a former student came into the office and said that three of her friends were interested in a 200 lurkers cd :o) yesterday night i played blaine's cd to x. [btw, you can check out his music here] when she looked at the cover of the cd she couldn't believe it: "that's blaine? really!?!"

tomorrow's the staff christmas party. i don't really feel like partying. there's too much to do, and i keep wasting day after day. thought that i might work a little on the critical reception of cohen's first two volumes of poetry but of course i didn't. instead i worked on the fucking hollow earth articles. they really suck. we have to get rid of them soon, otherwise something really, really terrible will happen. working in all these corrections is just a bloody pain in the ass.

my parents will come to visit on saturday. they want to see the cathedral and then go to the christmas fair. oh boy! it's the last saturday before christmas and the last shopping week-end and the city will just be packed with people. it will be hell! also sahand will stay for a short visit on friday and saturday. hope i'll have a chance to meet him. and then i still have to do all those christmas presents and correct and read for the colloquium and prepare the lecture on new media in january and do the hollow earth articles and i haven't even written a single word of the dissertation. sometimes i really, really feel like giving it up. like throwing all the fucking work into a corner and say: hell, i don't care anymore.

[december 16, 2003 - it's a hot day and i'm dressed lightly i move carefully through the crowd...]
woke up at 5:30 in the morning and couldn't get back to sleep again. felt unease, panic. too many gloomy thoughts. realized that there is no way to get it all done in 2 years: dissertation, latin, work for thomas, hollow earth, seminars, 200 lurkers and life. i'm stuck. i have no ideas of my own i haven't written a single article! worse: i haven't done so not because i don't want to but simply because i DON'T HAVE ANY IDEAS!! i'm reading literary theory, i'm half understanding it but it doesn't DO anything. no movement inside my head. no spark. other than to write myself. but no articles. it's pathetic. others are writing 10 or 11 or more in four years. plus reviews. plus conferences. i'm just feeling...hollow when it comes to literary criticism. i can provide my students with thousands of ideas for term papers but i myself can't come up with a halfway interesting and convincing topic. even the gender-article on cohen was stillborn. i know, i know: "but you are SO creative!??!" the fuck i am! ich zeig euch, was kreativ ist! i'm only circling around myself: egomanic, narcissistic circling.
WOW - what a christmas party (attention! irony!) what remains of the day is an overwhelming sense of futurelessness - which is of course an impossibility. thomas told us a lot about his youth at the boarding school he went to. he is obviously traumatized. talked to x. on the phone. she's down. wish i was with her now. i'm down as well. don't know what will come. i want a secure job!!
[december 17, 2003 - and everything is beautiful. but babe not you or me...]
fun day at work. thomas is in a constant brilliant mood. frightening. the poetry lecture was good today! he talked about minor literatures and i had some very vague ideas how to map this on cohen. missing x. oh boy - and i'm so confused that i even forgot to get off the underground at my stop. yesterday i had burned a cd-rom with data i needed for some of the x-mas presents i anted to make. and i forgot it at the office.

decided to send a demo cd to that label in sweden that bernd had told me about. maybe i should also write another mail to thomas (from the record label). still need a present for my sister. this weekend sahand will visit from ny. a former student of mine - who has a band - invited me to come to a gig on saturday. "we'll play a couple of bowie covers and also belle and sebastian" he said. unfortunately i won't have time to check out his band (because my parents will be there and sahand and also x asked whether i'd accompany her to a party), but if you have time and nothing better to do go and support your local scene: saturday at 21:00h, at the "null b" which is at the chlodwigplatz in cologne. the band is called "starmen" and they have a website here.

[december 18, 2003 - for what it's worth: i love you. for what it's worth: i really do]
on the way to work: it's blood cold outside. passing billboard signs announcing christmas cds by boybands and other 16 year olds. music is made by calvin klein models. spent all night preparing x-mas presents and the demo cd that i want to send to sweden. i have to go to the hairdresser. urgently! so can you squeeze me into an empty page of your diary? paula has written a rather bleak mail. wish there was a way to cheer her up a little.

in the meantime it's 18:06, we're off to our little christmas party of the american studies department. see you!

[december 20, 2003 - take the long way around the sea]
it's raining cats and dogs. today my parents and my sister visited. it was okay. we went to the cathedral and to the christmas fairs. yes, i guess it was okay. what else happened? on thursday in the colloquium we talked about topology and projective geometry as opposed to cartesian space. my brain got all twisted and looped. thomas talked about folded space and surfaces that are fractal and are becoming spaces asymptotically. i don't know: i just can't picture it in my mind. every now and then i THOUGHT i would understand but it slipped through the holes in my brain and vanished in the fractal, porous surface of my moebial mind.

bad news: thomas and the princess have a secret. and they won't let me in. thursday night at the christmas party thomas whispered to the princess (he mad sure that it was loud enough, though, that i could understand it): "we've got to talk. just the two of us..." later she admitted that it has to do with me. i hope that it will be something about a lifetime contract for my job. wishful thinking.

the christmas party was fun. although the restaurant was a let down. it was really disappointing. but after we had dinner we went to a bar and got hopelessly drunk. well, the princess and i did, the rest stayed rather sober. bernd was so cute! at one point he took his backpack and pulled 24 cds out of it which he gave to us as a christmas present: two for everybody. one album by "triakel" (a swedish folk group) and one with various christmas songs. and the very first of these tracks is called "long way around the sea" by low and it's SUBLIME: very minimalistic, just acoustic guitar and a little bass and some organ plus a great melody and awesome backing vocals in the chorus. it's rather melancholic and sad, but in a relaxed sort of way. really, really beautiful!!

we have finally added music to bernd's homepage as well. after he had heard the mp3 that we added to the index page of the american studies department he brought some music for his sub-site. it's hilarious! thomas hates it, of course, but i think it pretty much fits to bernd. especially the combination of his "fields of studies" and the music! so check it out at: http://www.uni-koeln.de/phil-fak/englisch/berressem/herzogenrath/index.htm

when we were standing in the bar on thursday night nina said out of the blue to me: "philipp, you look like an angel that's just been fallen out of the sky...!" and thomas added dryly: "yes - but headfirst!" at about half past twelve only the princess and i were left and we stayed till one and then went home as well. it was really nice. it felt like family. only better.

x is at the party. i didn't have the energy to go, too. i didn't sleep much thursday night and i woke up today at 6:30 and couldn't go back to sleep because my prollige neighbor came home drunk and turned on the stereo full volume. the party is in my quarter so she will stay the night here. which is good. i love to smell her and i love to touch her and something is missing when she's not sleeping next to me. today she had hidden freud in the hollow earth model (see entry for [february 14, 2003] and scroll down).

she took my hand and touched the inside of it, softly running down the lines and folds of my palm. We've come so far / We've followed the star / Harod heard, / Said "Bring me word" / Take the long way around the sea "you're sweating" she whispered "why are you sweating?" i didn't really know how to answer. "why are you sweating?" she replied. "maybe because i'm scared?" i said carefully. "scared of what?" Take the long way around the sea i stared into my palm and onto her warm fingers that were resting in my hand. "maybe i'm scared of you..." my heart was beating wildly "...because i have to tell you something." On Christmas day / On bended knee / Please accept / The gifts we bring "i love you." and it felt like i was confessing that i had broken a window with my football Take the long way around the sea she leaned over and kissed me. once. twice. Take the long way around the sea. and again and again. no words. finally: "i always think that this requires some sort of smart answer..." no, not smart. another kiss. then: "sometimes i'm thinking: i don't mind becoming pregnant. we would marry then and move together and have a baby. not that i want to have a baby...!" We turn to go / An angel shone / Said, "Don't go back / To Harod's throne" / Take the long way around the sea / Take the long way around the sea

[december 22, 2003 - i swear the whole world could feel my heart beat]
well, only two days until christmas. i think i more or less got all presents. it was sad to say good-bye to x this morning because we won't see each other for a week. i went over to her place last night and she had cooked and we watched "it's a wonderful life" but switched off the vcr in the middle of the film because it was sort of ... hm, ... slow. when i went back home today i even found a present for my sister (she's the one in the yellow bathrobe, i am the one in the striped sweater. i think there should be a law that allows you to sue your parents for dressing you the way they did when you were young and had no means to defend yourself). x will be off tomorrow to visit her family and i will be off the day after and won't return until january 1st. she will come to herford on new year's eve and we will stay at tara & cedric's. tonight i'm going to meet with princess superstar who has invited a couple of people to a bar before everybody's leaving for christmas.
[december 23, 2003 - we've come so far, we've followed the star...]
tuesday night, ten o'clock. the heating is gurgling and i've just packed my things for my one week trip to bielefeld and herford. i will try to continue writing: i've got the ibook with me so i should be able to update the journal. this morning i went running again. it went a little better than it did last time. yet i still have to find the right music to run to. actually i wanted to work on the diss (mind you: this doesn't mean actually WRITING but just reading secondary texts) but i got all caught up in doing the dishes, answering emails, preparing dinner, packing, watching tv and taking a loooong hot bath.

i've bought "the piano player" by elfriede jelinek yesterday so i'll have something uplifting to read during the holidays. incidentally it's the book that x is writing her ma thesis on :o) i'm missing her. she went to see her family today and when she called this afternoon i really wished that we could spent the holidays together. i also talked to tara & cedric on the phone today. looking forward to seeing them again. anyway, just in case i won't be able to post any news tomorrow:

have a merry christmas everybody!!

{december 24, 2003 - hm, the ibook doesn't seem to have square brackets...)
i'm in bielefeld. the trip has really been a trip to the past because i will stay in my old room for a week now. very strange. after i moved out in 1996 my parents rented the apartment to two students who have moved out this winter. the apartment is a small, three room attic apartment in my parents' house. and while it was rented i didn't have a chance to go there and have a look. today i was standing in my old room for the first time in seven years. i got an email the other week from nadine who told everybody that the graduation class of 92 will meet on december 27 on the christmas fair. hm, maybe i'll go and join my former class mates.

there's snow lying around in little mountains everywhere in my parents' garden and the cat is sleeping in its basket underneath the heating. i'm alone: my parents are at church and my sister and her friend haven't arrived yet. i've put on the x-mas cd i've made for tara and cedric because i have - unfortunately - forgotten to bring any cds. and there's no way that i will listen to my parent's music for an entire week!

yesterday night was the last time that the harald schmidt late show was broadcasted: and instead of making a big fuss about it they just tried to make it as unexciting and normal as usual. however they had the great idea of playing a scene from "end game" wich was both fun and very fitting.

(december 25, 2003 - take the long way around the sea...)
ho! ho! ho! it's christmas and the snow has melted. the cat is lying curled up on the sofa, purring in its sleep. the christmas tree is scenting and i'm sitting alone in the living room of my parents' place.  it's 1:33 pm and cold outside. i got alittle drunk last night. first my sister and her boyfriend came over and after we had dinner the rest of the family came by: my three aunts with their husbands and children. it was okay: i had to answer a couple of questions such as: "und, was macht das studium?" but i had five beer by then already so i didn't really mind anymore :o) my sister and i got a great gift: my father has been renovating our former children's room which had been my mother's sewing room for years now, and behind the wooden panles he discovered the old wallpaper that we once had and he gave my sister and me a piece of it: it was strange, because all of a sudden a thousand memories returned. when i looked at the familiar pattern  it was like being thrown back in time.  the wallpaper has a lot of animals from africa on it: lions, apes, zebras, elefants and so on.

anyway, at twelve at night people started to leave and i went up to my bedroom with another (the 7th) beer - and you know me: more then four beers make me act funny. which i did: i wrote a mail to x. wich i think turned out to be a little melodramatic and corny. i said "i think" because i've sent it off this morning without re-reading it.  the last time we saw each other (on monday) she gave me an envelop and said "don't open before christmas" and so yesterday night, after we had dinner and exchanged gifts, i went upstairs and opened the envelop and it contained a christmas card with her photo on the front cover: it was a picture taken by those photo-automats where you can make four shots of your portrait and she is wearing a santa claus cap and laughing and kissing into the camera. pretty cool!!!

actually i wanted to work on the "new media lecture" that i have to give on january 14th, but i've got a sort of a headache. so maybe i will only read a little. i also thought of scanning some of my children's photos from the various photo albums that my parents have.

it's 23:23. from the attic window i can see all over town. the lights are glistening like a giant, amorphous christmas tree. in the distance i can see the university. the chestnut tree has become so tall that the naked branches move across the pane like brittle bony fingers. the icy december wind moves in through the cracks of the roof, i hurry from the window to the bed. cold thighs, cold feet and then finally the blanket hugs me like an old friend.  the room is empty except for the small bed, a chair and a table.  i can't believe that i've lived here once.

"and, how is it going in cologne..." my cousin marion asked me yesterday night "...with the women?" i could have said something about x but i didn't. because i don't want to use her. and i would, i would. i would take her and brag about her and say: look! i might be a loser, i don't have a steady job and i haven't finished my dissertation yet - but look, what a girlfriend i've got. i don't want to tell my family about her because i don't want anybody to know anything about me. i want to remain a blank figure. i want to invent myself, create little stories about my life in cologne, be a fictional character. i don't want them to get too close to me. i want distance created by fiction. i want control about what people - my aunts and uncles and cousins and neighbors - know and think about me. does this make sense? "when you've fallen on the highway and you're lying in the rain. and they ask you how you're doing of course you say you can't complain. when you're squeezed for information that's when you got to play dumb. you just say you're out there waiting for the miracle, for the miracle to come..."
the four little portraits of x are watching me from the small table

[december 26, 2003 - no music]
it's 12:13 am. i cannot sleep. i've been lying on my back, looking up to the dark ceiling for two hours while the panic about the dissertation slowly filled the room like thick fog and shook my heart back and forth. when i switched on the light it crawled back under the bed and into the cracks of the corners like a roach. it's bloody cold in here. have i said this before? got myself an extra blanket from downstairs which only led to confusion in bed: my arms and legs don't know how to order the blankets and i feel like being caught in a fishnet.

the storm is rattling angrily at the window that is groaning and moaning. i wish i could sleep. today my father's sister came to visit with her husband and my cousin, who is a week younger than i am. he "has made it" though: he has got a job in a bank, working in the stock exchange department. the technical term for this kind of job is: "was vernünftiges geworden!" everybody adores him for this. including me, i guess. i suppose i'm a little envious. i wish i too had a job that pays better and is securer than working at the university. i want security. in everything. i want a secure future. emotionally, financially: no alarms and no surprises please! oh well, i'm only writing this because i know that this will never happen. if i could choose between a predictable, secure life and the one i'm leading now i think i would stick to what i've got. it sounds strange: as if my life was totally exciting and full of adventures - which it isn't, of course. and yet i'm lying awake in the middle of the night, kept from sleeping by a heart in uproar. i don't know.

this morning i received the most beautiful mail that anybody has ever written to me: it was x's answer to the mail i had sent her the previous night. tomorrow night is the graduation class reunion: a chance to see nadine again. haven't seen her for four months or more. in the meantime it's an hour later and five degrees colder. i'm amazed that my breath is not forming little clouds yet. i still cannot sleep. i don't really know anything to write: i'm a hundred pages into "the piano player" and i really like it. reminds me a little of how zürn writes.

if i had a secure job i would be the luckiest man on earth. the fear about the future is something that i don't seem to be able to learn to cope with. thought a lot about why everybody was so amazed about george michael's coming out a couple of years ago when it was pretty clear that he was gay even back in the good old "wham" times. i mean they had this song - which is being played endlessly these days - about his big love: obviously a swedish guy named lars: "lars christmas, i gave you my heart..."

{december 28, 2003 -
yo! it's sunday and i've just retruned from a little walk with nadine. we went to the graveyard ( a friend of hers has died only three weeks ago) and then through the little zoo that we have in bielefeld. there was a large group of deers and when we came closer they came up to the fence and luckily i had a "knopers" with me which we fed them. it was sooooo cute! :o)

yesterday night i went to the class reunion and actually nadine had told fourty people that we'd meet - but only five turned up: nadine, britta and her friend, margit, nicole and me.  it was fun, though. we all went having dinner and it was nice to meet britta again. haven't seen her for years although we had been good comerads in school. (nadine, britta, hanno and me formed a group that was called "the gang")

(december 30, 2003 - it's the end of the year as we know it, and i feel fine...)
sitting in my parents' living room listening to vivaldi. the cat is asleep. again. or still. i'm not quite sure whether it has moved at all in the past days. i should check whether it is still alive...
ouch! it is.
yesterday i went with cedric to hannover and we made a little shopping tour through the city. we got there with cedric's new car ( a chrysler!)  and while we were driving on the highway he said: "tell me, what is the point of all those photos of children in this month's file of the journal?" and he was right!  three of the four images of this month are children. i hadn't planned this! sometimes things just take their very own, beautiful ways.

got an sms yesterday afternoon when cedric and i were strolling through "karstadt" (not that there isn't any "karstadt" in bielefeld or herford...) that read: "hi philipp. i've just had a coffee with thomas. don't worry: daddy still loves you! kisses, the princess!" i was furious! thomas had been to cologne during the x-mas holidays (he is actually living with his wife and family in a city near the dutch border) and had a coffee with the princess. WITHOUT TELLING ME OR ASKING ME WHETHER I WANT TO JOIN THEM. outrageous!

when i met nadine the other day i told her about x and she said: "so, she's nice!?"
"very much so!" i said
"would i like her?"
"i think you will like her much more than you liked somebody!"
"yeah, i guess you're right. i never really liked her. i mean, she was nice, but sometimes, you know, sometimes she was a little, well.... i don't know. she always had this frowning impression on her face. and those pursed lips..."
for a moment i felt like defending somebody. and then the feeling was gone.

the evening sun is coming through the clouds and shining into the living room. the cat is lying on its back, the legs pressed under her chin: very cute. but don't be fooled: it's a bloody dangerous cat. if you get too close she will get you a nice tattoo with her claws! the princess called and she told me a little about her meeting with thomas yesterday. "you know..." she mused "thomas said that he, too, didn't have a life before he met his wife thirteen years ago..." and i wasn't quite sure to what the "too" was referring to. "he said he only read and wrote and studied for years. he didn't do anything else..." i nodded, an affirmative gesture which, in a telephone conversation, was sort of wasted. "....but he said that's the way it is. if you want to have a career, you've got to give up your life first. and then, when you've made it, everything is better. that's the reward!"

had an obscure and futile fit of frustration again. i haven't done ten percent of all the things i had intended to do "between the years". i had packed my bag full with texts and files but i only overslept each day, watched dvds, had coffee and tea with nadine and didn't really manage to work. i wish i could kick myself in the butt.

anyway, i'm not quite sure whether i will manage to update the journal tomorrow. i will drive to herford by train, help tara and cedric preparing dinner and in the evening x will come from cologne.

here are some new year's resolutions:
1) obvious: write the dissertation
2) write songs (again)
3) be a better teacher
4) be a better lover
5) eat less sweets and more healthy food
6) work out
7) stop complaining
8) watch less tv
9) read more

it's ten at night. my parents have been fighting like two children and my fathjer went upstairs, my mother to her bedroom which left the control about the tv remote control  in my hands. it's time that i get out of here.  met with nadine in town and we had a coffee.

anyway: happy new year!!!!