Tonight I dreamed about that place.
There were people in this dream but no distinguishable characters. It was all about the place.
Getting there felt difficult. I rode two underground trains, not understanding where I was going. The light was depressing. Damp. It was everywhere but still there was no bright spot.
I don't remember how I got to the place. I read a sign that said "Coburg". Never been there, and I doubt it looks anything like my dream.
In my dream there was a square covered with grass, where black people read aloud from books. The sky was bright blue with a mild spring sun. And the air was light and calm, filled with the sounds of a waking forest. The black people changed shape, switching, depending on how you looked upon them. It was nice to watch them read.
Beyond the square was a light forest and a path leading through it. People walked up and down that path, talking, enjoying the day. It was not leading anywhere special. It was there just for the walking. But still, this was a city, albeit a small one. I knew that much.
I closed my eyes, felt the sun on my eye lids. It was perfect. I knew someone was looking at me and I didn't mind. This was the place. It was not where I had wanted to go, I hadn't even known it existed. But it was where I belonged. "I'm home," I said. Everything fell from me. The pain, doubts, worries, everything. None of it mattered anymore. Not here.
I woke with the image still in my head, the sensation dwindling. Now I can't even say how it felt to be at home. But I don't think I will ever forget what I saw.
New year's cuts.
Right. Looking back now I'm wondering how an idea as stupid as that could fit into my head at all. Ah well...
It was midnight, the dawn of the new year. Few minutes late actually. But I didn't care much, having finally reached the park a few hundred metres east. It was small compared to the Theresienwiese but there were fireworks nonetheless. The others were coming up behind me.
That small wire securing the cork of my champagne bottle had broken off on the way. I couldn't open it. Not a problem really, and it wasn't the only bottle anyway. Still, I wanted it open. Now.
So I smashed the bottle against a ping pong table.
Oh, it didn't burst right away. It took two more attempt. A friend of mine said, it was the most expensive baptism that ever happened to a ping pong table.
My hands bled from at least half a dozen cuts. In the dark I didn't see how much blood it really was. My girl-friend poured champagne over them, trying to wash out hidden splinters. But I wouldn't go home. I died a pack of hankies red before I decided to have a closer look.
In my bath room it didn't look all too good. There was a cut in my left palm that appeared especially nasty. Not terribly deep but the wound was wide open. I felt no pain. That damn champagne bottle must have been sharp as hell.
My wounds got cleaned, the bleeding was stopped. My colleagues returned. One of them inspected the hand. "I would sew it up. Got anything here?" I didn't. And I had no intention of visiting the surgical ER. Not at this time of the year. She shrugged. "It will heal I guess. But try to hold still."
Another friend used bandages to stabilise my hand, so the wound wouldn't crack open again. It still didn't hurt, so I wasn't worried. An infection was unlikely, it just bled too well. So I wrapped up my hand and continued to party. Until morning. After a few hours of sleep everything would be fine. The wound margins would adapt by themselves, I was sure.
Around noon I woke up and looked at the wound. The margins did not adapt. We took off to surgery.
The assistent was very helpful. "What happened?" - "Champagne bottle exploded in my hand. One cut won't adapt. It needs to be sewed up." - "How long ago?" - "Twelve hours." - "We won't sew it up then. Not after more than six hours." Yes, you will. Believe me.
We waited for an hour. I felt very stupid.
It was a coincidence. The doc on call was a friend. We had worked on the same surgical unit. He was a little suprised to see me, thought I'd come over to say hello. I showed him my hand. "Fix me." He told me to sit down and examined it. "How?" - "I tried to behead a bottle. Didn't work. No comment please." He started to write down a short report. "So, spontaneous explosion of a champagne bottle. Happens." His assistent came in. My doc nodded at him. "We'll sew it up." - "But it's twelve hours old." - "Ok. Then we won't sew it up." Yes, you will, I told him. So maybe the margins won't adapt primarily. But I can't run around with an open wound either. It's not decent.
It didn't take long. Soon enough I was sewed up. Short x-ray: uneventful. Tetanus inocculation. All good. He shook my hand on the way out. Wounds heal quickly in that area. "Happy new year," he said. "Happy 2006," I answered.
The wound is almost closed now. Secondary adapting. There will be a scar. The first scar of the year 2006. This should teach me thing or two about champagne and ping pong tables.
Happy new year.
"Christ is born."
The older I get, the more I understand that Christmas is much less about Christian faith and much more about the European melting pot of cultures: catholic, othodox, jewish, germanic, celtic.
The date is that of the old German winter sun feast. The tree is of celtic origin, the presents a gift of the bishop St. Nicolaus who gave them to the poor children of his home village. And there is so much more.
Europe was built on Christian culture, they say. But what is Christian culture about? It all began in Rome where the different beliefs came together and mingled. Christianity was inevitably part of that process. Tolkien portrayed it as a soup.
And what about us? We are Christian not despite but because of it. Christmas trees are Heathen things, they say. True. But it is also more Christian than anything else.
Merry Christmas, my friends.
The people we were.
Can't say I miss university. Not really. What I do miss is everything that surrounded it: the community, the café life, specialised discussions, and of course the act of not going to lectures. It was more than a method, it was a feeling, a way of life. A life long gone.
At times I can still see myself, sitting in some café, voices all around, a book in front of me, possibly waiting for a friend of mine to finally arrive, smile, hug, sit down, the point where I can finally close the damn book, regard the people around and just... be. I feel old just thinking about it.
My mother kept telling me this was the best time of my life. I wanted to believe her but couldn't. The time passed and there was nothing I could do to make it stop.
Maybe that's part of the deal though. To not be aware until it's too late. Well, that's bullshit by the way. There were a few moments when I was totally aware: of myself, my friends, the city, life and what we had. But there was no freeze frame, the moment sped away like a passing train.
What was it exactly that made life so different then? Can we capture it? Conjure it? Can we reconnect?
I thought it was all about finding new things but in many ways that's not true. It is about rediscovering the source, wherever it might be now. It is shifting, together with us. And we need to find it. Unless we stop being who we are.
Deep deep down.
I am caught up in routine. In the morning I go to work like everyone else. Only difference: I spend my time writing. That and drinking champagne with my boss and collegues. At times I wonder about the stuff I wrote and how quickly it all happened. I ponder on the fact that I'm a journalist and that I make my living with words. It is so strange that it can't be anything besides normal.
But I guess I'm still the same. Or even more like me? Damn...
Where is my home?
There. It is done. Just in time I settled down in my new home. Outside the temperatures are sinking rapidly, ice and vast amounts of snow are slowing down life itself. It is good to be inside.
Wherever that is. I forgot: feeling at home is not something you can simply switch on. These walls are just walls, my desk just a desk, my bed just metal and matress. Something is missing. And I feel alone.
Well, I have an entire winter to start building a home within these walls. Inside...
This is the last working night in my old home. Tomorrow I will disconnect this comp, my stereom tv. My kitchen will be left behind, it is as good as sold. I'm aching to be gone.
No one can find me
Here in my soul
Got the keys to my new home. In my pocket. Countdown...
Work called to tell me that I was writing well but not what I should be writing at all. "Martin, you did the wrong numbers." Lots of laughing in the background. I checked my notes, only to see that... they're right. Bugger. Between laughs my boss told me that the article I wrote a week ago is quite brilliant, and that she'd publish it this week. And that maybe she should have taught me a thing or two about numbers as well. Big joke. I'm glad everyone's having a good time. Ah well. Better watch out for numbers next time.
Stay tuned for more stuff about songs, the future and life in general.
Blogging for pros.
Currently I am divided between three jobs: journalist, band member and medical doctor. Can't do all of it at once? You can! You just gotta eat your breakfast in the bathroom, brush your teeth while you're typing and cram your sleep in between two articles.
Nah, it's not that bad really. But you learn a lot about the value of spare time. God, I'm tired.
I just finished an article on the female libido, and apparently there are not many people who can tell anything about it. There are pills thought of course, somehow there are always pills. It was tough enough to do the research, took me more than a week. You can hardly call that efficient. Glad it's done.
The Fraunhofer Insitute who brought us mp3 are now working on an enhanced format that will include surround information. For stereo boxes. No, I have no idea how that is gonna work, but it's a frequency thing apparently. I'm thrilled.
See? That was a five minute entry. Perfectly on schedule...
Moving. Was about bloody time.
I'm sitting here in the midst of rather many boxes. My book shelves, a mirror for life, are empty. Well, almost. And already this doesn't feel like home any longer. There are changes going on.
Life is different now, and I can't even say when it started. I lost track. University time has quickly become a thing of the past. And right now I'm doing what I always wanted to do: I write. A hired gun. My band is about to release a new album, supported by a kind record label. My pretty has said good-bye to her mother's home and has en passant
become a well-paid working girl. Everything is... different.
I'm leaving and I'm enjoying it. Never liked this place much, not really. Maybe I should have left sooner. Can't wait to be moved. The thought feels nice.
Anyway. I'm still in a room full of boxes. And by god, are they heavy.
Good-bye to rock n' roll.
While the results of the German elections made sure that everyone is talking more than she should, one bit of news left the whole nation speechless: Joschka Fischer is leaving.
It must be him for no one else does such a good job at surprising everyone just when you thought there was no room for more surprises. At the last TV show he was laid back, cool, a deep contrast to his surroundings. He was reasonable, that's what he's so very good at. It's why he's Germany's most popular politician. That and his one-liners:
"I was the last live rock n' roller of German politics. Now comes the playback generation."
Only hours after the show he announced his decision to his fellow party members. He'd been their head for more than 20 years now. It was time to make way for the young ones. He will stay in parliament but in a back seat. That's what he said, followed by: "And now I'm going home. Bye."
Fischer was the first green foreign minister in history. Some say he was the best foreign minister in the history of Germany. In any case, whether you liked him or not, you had to respect him. For his coolness, his matter-of-fact-ness, for keeping a level head in the most dire situation. For his speech at the UN in 2003, shorly before the Iraq war was about to be started:
explain to my people why they should start a war over this? I
cannot explain it to them!"
Still, he was right to go now. It was time. The responsibility has to be passed on to the next generation. And maybe, at the right moment, someone will think: "What would Joschka have done?"
Between the lines.
By the way, I've finished my article about MCS. It will now be sold to the highest bidder.
For me it was unconceivable how the media evaded this matter. Can't see the forest for the trees I guess. Well, too late.
Promised pictures, didn't I?
This is St. David's, Pembrokeshire, at the utmost south-west of Wales. This metropole with its proud some thousand inhabitants is really a city. Why, you ask? Well, because it's got its own cathedral. There.
And while you're at it, please mind the coast.
"Hey, what's this button for?"
This is how it is. I just came back from Wales. Took pictures but they're not developed just yet. There are two things I'd like to post but my html has gotten kind of wonky, so I have some problems integrating the texts into the website. Ah well, that's what you get for taking a few days off.
I'll be moving pretty soon, which leaves me with even less time for writing. The plan is to throw out as much as possible, so I won't have to take it with me. Right now my gaze is as destructive as a delete button.
There's this article about MCS that I should have written ages ago. No idea why it turns out to be so complicated. The matter itself is not exactly complex, neither is the data. Maybe it's just me. Oh great.
I'm officially sick of sandwiches.
Trying to bottle a stream.
There is no stop in a process like writing stuff. You can try. You can sit down and say things like "I'll take a break" or "I'm on holyday, dammit!". Doesn't matter.
The current album is not even fully recorded, we're still playing the old one when on stage, but my mind is way ahead. And writing new songs. Four up to now.
My songs are mostly music, I could never do the "lyrics first" trick. Weaving a song around some definite content doesn't work for me, I find it very limiting. Instead I wait for the music to come along, pleading occasionally, freely associating. At some point the song just... happens. I make up some lines, "fake lyrics", so I won't forget the melody. I give it a working title, which often ends up as the real title. The new ones are called Hateworld
. Apparently I'm in a sort of one-word-title phase right now.
They're pretty good, I think, maybe my best work until now. They're very concrete, focused, they're songs on a mission
! And they just keep coming.
(At the same time I'm always scared of running out of songs. Which is both, silly and serious. I guess it's part of the show.)
They are closer to me than my old stuff. Much closer. It gives them an emotional charge and leaves me a little fragile. Hey, who can tell the difference anyway? It will be interesting to put it on a new record. And see what happens.
A google of everything.
Amazed and disbelieving I sit in front of Google Earth
, very much like a child who has just been handed a whole planet to play with. The illusion is far from perfect, but what an illusion it is. Of course, the first thing I did was look for my house. And see, I found it. Very, very easy to find. Don't forget to tilt a little, or a little more, and suddenly it's like surfing the clouds, on towards the horizon. (Only that it seems even more childish now, thinking that there is such a thing as a horizon.)
In the paper I read that some of the pictures are more than 3 years old. The Munich Allianz Stadium has not been completed yet in this world. But hell, who are we to prove Google wrong.
This is mainstream.
Our label boss is successful but not popular, the main reason being that he is selling his stuff. As a business man he knows how to do it. In closed sub cultures this can be a bad bad thing. So we get questions like "why did you do it?", "are you selling out?", "why do you wanna be part of this mainstream machine?" etc.
Here's my answer: because we like him. When we were down, rejected by all major labels, short of broke and wondering how we would be able finance our new album, when everyone else showed us the finger, he gave us a chance. He was the only one who said: "let's try this." Who liked our sound and offered us support. Who agreed to do all the dirty work while we concentrate on our music.
This is mainstream? Hell, we sure need a lot more of that
Sorry people, but we can't hate him for that. Not even if we try.
Things are happening at amazing speed now. My band was offered a record deal, and we accepted. It was a matter of days. I got a short email from the label, three of us took off to Berlin and came back with the contract already signed.
Now we're busy recording stuff. When we're done we'll give the copy to our label. We're part of the show. Musicians with a job.
Changes in history.
In his spare time Martin studies medicine at the LMU in Munich and has conceptional problems thinking of himself as a doctor. When confronted with his approaching exam he will most likely laugh at you and give you an implied clue to shut up and not pursue that subject any further.
Sooner or later I'll have to change this neat and until recently very true part of my bio. This I realised a while ago, but I haven't done anything yet. Possibly because parts of it are still true, and I don't know how to alter it in a way it will still make sense afterwards. As silly as it sounds, it is an unnerving process. But eventually inevitable. Oh dear.
Hello. Please excuse my long absence, there was quite a lot going on. And I'm curious to see how it's all going to sound once it is written down.
My time of studying has come to an end. Suddenly I become aware that I am no longer a student. And that feels... weird.
I remember so vividly how it all started. How I entered the university for the first time, examined my first patient, took my first blood sample. How I never thought about it all ending, it just never came to my mind. Later I would assist in surgery, listen to people's worries, make sure that psychiatric patients get a new job and a home once they leave the clinic. But I did this as a student. Always as a student.
Now I am a medical doctor. And I don't know how to do things. I don't know how to do things as a medical doctor
Reason tells me that I should just do what I've always been doing. That seemed to work well enough, didn't it? It's not that easy though. For I am no longer a student and cannot do things they way I did then. Simply because...
Maybe it has to do with responsibility. Not only towards the patient but towards the job itself. The profession. My
profession. Yes. See, it is no longer about being a student.
As my dear said: "Now, if someone screams 'is there a doctor around?', you have to say 'here!'" I don't think I'm fully aware of what this means, not yet. It still has to crawl up to my consciousness.
Martin, MD. Who the hell would have thought...