Yeah, I am back again. Sorry for missing last Sunday Music – after all it is a rare interruption I think ; yes, with a little pride thrown in, l’lI work the “thousand”.
Back in stone age – or will “they” now call it the “Golden Age of Blogging” ? – Cheesemeister once said something along the line “this is my goddam part of the internet, and I will say what I want, basteds” ! C was right back then, and it is right right now. (I was just reminded by wordpress that this blog runs on their platform for twelve years. Ach Gott. )
I am dead tired. Of a lot of things. Over the last weeks I was watching strange people do strange things, and it would be absolutely boring to give an accurate account. I have some stories stored in my head, and that is enough.
A lot would be to say about some political “things” happening right now, be it those Hearings in Amurga (where seemingly nobody cares about), be it Boris tearing up some contracts (did someone seriously expect something else ?), and the goddamn war in the East. I am too tired to discuss, to argue, to understand. Some limits have been crossed, and it seems that there is no way back.
Anyway. I still hope for a lump of money falling in my lap, so that I can retire meself to the countryside for a life of books, music, beauty and love. I’ll let you know when it happens.
Meanwhile I have to soldier on, rumbling. And here is some rumbling music, performed by three very confidence inspiring gentlemen, who call(ed) themselves AUM (Ger.). And remember, you’ll never find a hippie in Mississippi …



Sunday Music, Monday Edition

I am tired. Tired of all that “heroism” that pops up like mushrooms after a warm rain. Mostly performed in the form of breast thumping speeches by people who never have been forced to shoot a gun in their lives. Tired of war mongering backbenchers, or self styled intellectuals, of any colour. I am tired of the nonsense I see in politics, in the society, in academia and culture – we live in perverting times. Words & meanings get perverted, turned around, abused, sometimes I think a part of the western society is suicidal, and I can not help – and do not care whether this marks me as an “elitist” – but the level of stupidity has risen. And I am too sad, and fed up, to look for excuses in me (Age ? Self loathing ? Early senilism ?). I am not in the mood for listing examples, a look into the news should be enough.
This Sunday Music is titled L’Indifference, performed by the Cafe Accordion Orchestra. (Here is a song with the same title performed by Gilbert BÉCAUD (Ger., Eng.), with English subtitles).
I hope you like the music. May it be a bearable week.



Time to Stow These Books Away

A favoured idea among philosophers (I read it the last time it in a text by ORTEGA Y GASSET, I think BORGES uses the image too) is to describe mankind as shipwrecked. The conditio humana would then be a struggle for survival starting with zero, or the accidental debris an unforgiving sea spits at the castaway’s bare feet. To get an overview of human’s tools & generally usuable things, man needs to sort things, what reminds me of the saying “Ordnung ist das halbe Leben” / “Order is the half of live” – I think “being organised” is a fitting translation ; “half the life” means as much as “helps a lot”, pays out. Nobody ever said what life’s other half would be ?
Anyway, I have to restore order here, some books must vanish from my desk. Follows a list of titles I read since the last entry in this category.

SCHMIEDEL, Helga : Berüchtigte Duelle. 1. Aufl. Berlin, Leipzig 1992 (Enthält : GUTTANDIN, Friedhelm : Das Duell aus sozialwissenschaftlicher Sicht.)
The focus lies on German duels mainly of the 19th century, but earlier examples are also described. Mentioned are CASANOVA, PUSCHKIN and LERMONTOW – “Der Poet ist tod, er fiel als Sklave der Ehre …” / “The poet is dead, he fell a slave to honour …”, and it is a strange image of “honour” that lives in those early modern times. Nice little book.
Sadly I could find no more information about Ms SCHMIEDEL (1932-2012).

TRAXLER, Hans : Die Wahrheit über Hänsel und Gretel. Die Dokumentation des Märchens der Gebrüder Grimm. Mit Fotografien von Peter von TRESCKOW. 20. Aufl. Frankfurt / M. Februar 1988 (zuerst : Frankfurt / M. 1963)
The shocking truth about the crime that lies under the GRIMMS’ fairytale. Archaeological evidence proofs that a murderous crime was committed out of purely economical motifs. Shortly after the “witch’s” death the Nurembergian lebkuchen industry began to flourish.

Mittelrheinisches Landesmuseum Mainz (Ed.) ; WEBER, WIlhelm (Red.) : Rabanus Maurus in seiner Zeit 780-1980. 1980 Mainz am Rhein (Catalogue of an exhibition shown from 13th of September to 19th of October 1980)
Nicely done little catalogue that describes the stations of Rabanus’ (Ger., Eng.) life. It is nearly impossible to overstate the importance of this man for the intellectual life of 9th’s century East Franconian empire ; he played an important role in what later was called “Carolingian renaissance” – a very unfelicitous use of the word “renaissance”, it should be called educational reform – , and was called praeceptor Germaniae, Germany’s teacher, rightfully.
WEBER (1918-1999) (Ger.) was a German art historian & artist, and director of the Mittelrheinische Landesmuseum (today Landesmuseum Mainz (Ger., Eng.) from 1978-1983.

KÖRNER, Hans-Michael ; KÖRNER, Ingrid (Eds.) : Leopold Prinz von Bayern 1846-1930. Aus den Lebenserinnerungen. Regensburg 1983
Prince Leopold (Ger., Eng.) wrote a diary, at least partly through his life. He was the son of the later prince regent (Prinzregent) of Bavaria, Luitpold. His brother became the last Bavarian king Ludwig III. Leopold was married to Gisela of Austria, so the “k.u.k.” emperor, Kaiser Franz, was his father in law. The marriage seems to have been a happy one, based on real affection. Leopold was a curious man, there is a photograph of him aboard one of the early aeroplanes, a Otto (Ger., Eng.) double-decker of the Bavarian Air Corps, yeah !
Leopold was through his whole life trained as a soldier, he always kept up with new developments. He “decommissioned” shortly before the start of WWI, and was re-activated to lead the 9th army in the East. In 1916 he became “OberOst” (Ger., Eng.), and in this function he was responsible for the proceedings that lead to the treaty of Brest-Litowsk. Interesting man.
KÖRNER is a German historian, about his wife Ingrid I could find no information.

HOLLANDER, Anne : Anzug und Eros. Eine Geschichte der Modernen Kleidung. Aus dem Amerikanischen von Nele LÖW-BEER. Berlin 1995 (zuerst : Sex and Suits, NewYork 1994)
Interesting. Makes me want to read Ms’s HOLLANDERs (1930-2014) (Eng.) other books too.

CLINE, Eric H. : Armageddon. Auf der Suche nach der biblischen Stadt Salomons. Aus dem Englischen von Cornelius HARTZ. Darmstadt 2021 (zuerst : Digging up Armageddon. The Search for the Lost City of Salomon. Princeton (USA), Woodstock (UK) 2020)
Oh dear. It is about the inner workings of the whole archaelogical endeavour from 1920 to 1940 : All the nasty infight, warts and all, properly archived – and finally analysed and retold by archaeologist Eric CLINE (Ger., Eng.) – makes me throw away books about archaeological endeavours once and for all. Armageddon, yeah !

MANN, Frido : Democracy Will Win. Bekenntnisse eines Weltbürgers. Darmstadt 2022
Frido (born 1940) (Ger.) is the grandson of Thomas. The inducement for this text is that the German state bought the house of the Mann family in Pacific Palisades (Ger., Eng.), and established a place for transatlantic dialogue.
I am not that sure that democracy will win, and generally mean that Frido’s “confessions” would have gained from a little reworking. But Frido says so.

MOSSE, George L. : Die Geschichte des Rassismus in Europa. Aus dem Amerikanischen von Elfriede BURAU und Hans Günther Holl. Revised and supplemented by the author, Frankfurt / M. October 1990
George L. MOSSE (1918-1999) (Ger., Eng.) : Read it, discuss it, understand it.

BODDICE, Rob : Die Geschichte der Gefühle von der Antike bis heute. Aus dem Englischen von Mirjam STIEGEL. Darmstadt 2020 (zuerst : A History of Feelings, London 2019)
Goodness, how does this guy manage his sources ? Erudite, original, ambitious.

GOSZTONY, Peter : Stalins Fremde Heere. Das Schicksal der nichtsowjetischen Truppen im Rahmen der Roten Armee 1941-1945. Bonn 1981
Who says Anders must say Berling too – sorry, a bad joke, understandable only when you know the names, and what they stand for. Both are Polish soldiers, but that may be the only thing they have in common, them generals.
Peter GOSZTONYI (1931-1999) (Ger.) is, as far as I can see, the first, and possibly still the only one, who wrote a history of the non-russian units in the red army during WWII. Very informative. I only hope that he archived his materials correctly, most of it may be ir-replacable.

Maybe you found something interesting that makes you read for yourself – that would justify this list, this futile try to bring order to the debris – ach, ach, und nochmal : Ach !

Drifting Gently

First I have to admit that I do not “like” to dream in my sleep. I know that it is not a question of “like” or “dis-like”, every human being, maybe every mammal (think of dogs & cats), does dream while sleeping. I have no real idea about what it actually is, what the brain does and why. It may be a process of “cleansing”, of processing daily occurrences, it may a kind of steam-rolling through outdated memories to create space for new memories. All I know is that it is a very powerful “machine” creating images, feelings, situations.
I do not suffer from nightmares, in fact I can barely remember any dream that frightened me, or made me wake up screaming. This happened in my life very seldom, years ago for the last time, and I can not remember what it was.
I still can remember two dreams, one was peculiar and I once wrote about it here. The other involved a kind of war scene, and I think I died there. But again, these were not frightening, but very impressive.
Usually I go to sleep, and if it all goes well I simply loose consciousness, and come back some hours later. Sometimes, when my sleep is interrupted by a call of nature, the awakening is a bit like emerging through layers, an image, a shadow may be lingering in my head, and when I go back under the sheet, it continues.
I think what I described is absolutely normal. In those dreams it is “me” who is talking, moving (one way or another), meeting people, seeing things.
But for some months now, something changed. Now it is a voice that tells me what happens, or does not happen. It is like an auctorial narrator, the (all knowing) voice out of the “off” in a film that talks, and keeps on talking. I can not remember the text, not even single sentences or phrases.
As a child I once tried to find out where the “I” is. I located it somewhere between my eyes, a little upwards behind the forehead. The narrator is not my “i”, and I have no clue who or what it is, who speaks there. In a dream some weeks ago I saw a modern house, do not ask me why I knew that it was built between the wars, sometimes around 1930 (it was top modern for the age, think of the Rietvelt house, but different), it was located in the then Czech Republic ; in front of it stood a Tatra car, red, with three headlights (maybe a 603), dirt was dripping from its right front wheel. I thought something along the line that you have here most modern European design, but the road is not macadamised (and the word “makadmisiert” (tarred) was there), while the narrator took over, and the journey went on. It switched from “I” to “the narrator”.
I have no idea what to make out of this. Maybe I am just getting a bit paranoid from too much isolation, or maybe I start to lean towards hypochondria. But as long as there are no voices telling me what to do in the outside world, and as long as no Janizaries are approaching, all will be fine.