Sunday, September 26, 2004

When confronted with the thousand years of western civilisation that is found in continental Europe, a colonial like myself can develop a culture inferiority complex until one hears Euro-pop music which immediately remedies the affliction. This thought popped into my head as I ignored the drunken ramblings of my companion. He is currently performing a litany about the emptiness of American culture. I then muse about his reaction to my lighting a cocktail napkin and throwing it into his lap. I believe this to be the only appropriate response when one is presented with this sort of nonsense.

Friday, September 24, 2004

I am reading "The Secret Life of Dali". It is fantastic. It is a shame that he's become a parody of himself and his art is now nothing more than coffee mug and mouse pad decorations. He writes but describes things in terms of painting. Words are an ungainly medium for communicating anything of worth. To completely capture some filiment of thought with the ackward tool of language is a rare event. That is why when some one has expressed perfectly something I have been trying to formulate it becomes pointless to attempt repetition. In this book Dali has done it twice. Everytime he speaks of his wife he expresses love sublime perfectly. Dali can be forgiven for his sins for the devotion and adoration of the woman, Gala. I have just read the second time, he has expressed a thought that has occured to me but never been able to express.

"Throughout my life it has in fact been very difficult for me to get used to the disconcerting and flabbergasting "normality" of the beings who surround me and who people the world. I always say to myself, "Nothing of what might happen ever happens!"
I cannot understand why man should be capable of so little fantasy. I cannot understand why bus drivers should not have a desire once in a while to crash into a five-and-ten-cent store window and catch a few toys on the fly for their wives, and amuse the children who happened to be around."

Thursday, September 23, 2004

I am nomadic by nature. Given three years in one location and I get restless. I begin to look at maps and atlases at the breakfast table looking at the dots that represent cities I have never visited. As a consequence there is no dot on any map that I can point to and say, “home”. I am regularly asked, “Where are you from?” To which I reply that is a difficult question to answer and then I list the several places I lived in growing up. I regularly return to the city that I spent most of my memorable childhood. I am never draw back by nostalgia or pining but to visit my mother who still lives there. This city in which I live can almost be considered an exception. I doubt I’ll ever be able to call it home (mainly because I am constantly reminded I belong somewhere else. “Where are you from?”) When I disembark from the plane and I hear that beautiful, sometimes incomprehensible, Scottish accent busy in everyday meaningless chatter, I feel I have returned to something safe and familiar. I could stay another three years easily.

Monday, September 20, 2004

I have just returned from my adventures in Germany. So many things to mention, to describe, and to ponder. In due time I will make these but it is my first day in the office, I am feeling the unusual sensation of initiative and will try to make the most of it. So, just a little post.

Berlin is an incredible city. So much art. Big wide streets. Street art scattered like confetti. So much of recent western civilisation has occured among these blocks. The decimated corpse of an ancient cathedral testifies to the consequences of world war. A strip of pavement demarcates where one ideaology was seperated by another. It used to be a wall. A very famous wall which most germans step over with out a glance or thought. Why should they? They lived here it was just a wall to them, to us tourists it was a far more frightening abstraction. Now, in this city which is familiar with the ways of walls and their purpose of keeping one seperated from another has a new wall. This one is much smaller than the earlier incarnation. This one surrounds a square block of city which contains in the middle an ordinary building which just happens to have a bald eagle emblem and an American flag. When I saw the huge concrete fortifications blocking the road, I first thought it was a recreation of Checkpoint Charlie for the benefit of the tourists. The men and women standing gaurd were not in period uniforms. They were modern day police. You are allowed to approach the building by foot which I did to the consernations of my companion (Germans in uniform still make her nervous). At every street corner there were two police. The building was dwarfed by the security measures. It made me incredibly sad. After visiting sites like the remains of the Berlin wall and a concentration camp to see yet another barrier. Whether made to keep people in or keep them out, there is no denying that walls in Germany mean sadness for me.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Ladies and Gentleman! I have arrived. I am now the number two result for the google search on Rasputin's genitals. I love looking at how people find my blog. Where is Canada? It's too early to blame cabin fever for searching rasputin's genitals.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Watched a woman savoring a chocolate muffin. She stood in the street lost to the world with an expression of ecstacy.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Last week I went to see this man. It is a rare occasion that the individual responsible for the music I enjoy is still alive. So, I paid the ridiculous amount for the tickets. I haven’t been to a live show in quite awhile. Years ago, there wasn’t a week I didn’t wake with clothes that smelt of cigarettes and spilt dollar beer, but I have become much more discriminating these days.
The opening bands were hit and miss. I enjoyed the skiffle band from Hull. The toes tapped. The head bounced. Occasionally, I knew the words to some of the old standards and I sang happily sang along. The next band sounded like one of those ‘Celtic waves’ CDs. You know the ones where they show rolling green hills dotted with sheep and convivial pub gatherings and if you buy now they will throw in a ‘kiss me I’m Irish’ button. I used the opportunity to queue up for a drink or two.
Then came Shane. It seems silly to point out that he was extremely inebriated. This is a man whose teeth have all rotted out of his head due to his predilection towards schnapps and Irish Crème (which, by the way, is nothing but sweetened condensed milk and whiskey. Beurk!). He was wobbly on his feet and grinning the mad toothless grin of a professional drunk. He not only sang off key but also sang to a different tempo. He was a mess, but the crowd was just relieved that he showed up. Song number two started with him no less drunk but a switch had been flipped. He was in perfect form. His cracked mumbling voice sang all the sadness and revelry that make me love the music so much. I sang along. Danced. Got tossed around with the aimless shifts of the crowd. One of the moments of perfection occurred, where time ceases, reflective thought ceases to ruin your enjoyment, and a person is completely in the moment. It is rare event but it is sublime. To think it all occurred during a gig of a drunken Irishman singing simple songs while one is being tussled, showered with beer, and abusing one’s hearing.
The bus ride home was fun. The other punters filled the cabin with stamping feet and choruses. Everyone sang along and chattered about the great show. “chust sublime” everyone agreed.