Tuesday, July 30, 2002


Ive settled in here nicely now. I am taking german lessons twice weekly. Its almost as painful as being your own dentist.

Mostly lots of swimming in nice lakes. Johannes has a dacha in the country that we go to. I always thought of a dacha as some place that you flee to when there is a coup, but actually its a cottage on a lake. Almost everyone in the former east had access to one. Now they are selling them to people in the former West. They are actually quite happy to be rid of them. They want to vacation in Vegas. My music projekt with Johannes goes slowly, but I have written some nice tunes.

I saw an old musikkomodie on tv yesterday. It was made in technicolor on a wide screen format in 1961. The soundtrack was just like an Elvis Presley film only in German with a German sensibility. Of course there were lots of cool cars and girls in beehives and bikinis. Except for the language difference the big giveaway was that whenever there was a big dance number and one of these 1960 girls wearing frosted lipstick raised their arms they had hairy pits. Often much darker than the hair on their heads.

I head to Malaga next week. Not much money left and I dont know
anybody. The perfect combination for adventure.

Hope you are having a great summer.


Saturday, July 20, 2002


There were butterflies in the hallway today.

It rained everyday last week in Berlin. I held on to my New York warmth for a day or two, but then it got me, this shivering, bone tingling, chill. People here were wondering if it was the end of summer, or the end of the world.

There was no point in even looking at this dissappointing sun and so it was avoided. Like everyone I stayed out all night. Berlin time is essentially New York time, you just slide on over. One gets home at six am, which is midnight back home and then sleeps until two which is eight, normal.

There were rumors all week that summer would come back sometime late Friday. It did. There were so many party opportunities for Saturday it was hard to choose. I went to look for one a DJ friend had organised in Monbijou Park, a little green near Hackesher Markt. They had started playing at noon and had promised to go through the night. The party was held in this swimming park, with a very modern low slung white building and a nice grey plaza. there was green and trees and little candles in paperbags every where. You could see the Ferhnsee Turm between the trees reflecting in the glitter blue of pool. The DJ was playing very cooling summery music. There was a grill and a bar and lots of pretty Berliners. In the distance, down by the river you could hear music and screaming, something wild was going on down there.

I tried to talk to a few people but the atmosphere was too cool, too hip. Finally I went to this one really freaky looking girl covered in tatoos and piercings who nobody else was also talking to. We tried to get the dancing started but nobody joined us. I complained to her that I couldnt find my friends.

"You know, she said, there´s another party going on by the spree, maybe that´s where they are."

I split thinking she might be right. She was. I met Ellen and her friends there on a blanket. There were no bathrooms. There were bottles everywhere. A completely haphazard array of candles. People making out. The wild party. It was free, and all different kinds of people were dancing, dancing very hard by this murky green canal. We made it until dawn, until 5, until 6, until the DJs gave up. This party wasnt getting any smaller, as people left other clubs, it grew and the dancing got harder.

Ellen and I rode bikes home. I slept until two and then fled the city to my friends dacha in Brandenburg. After the train I had to bicycle 24km on bad eastern roads to get there through arbored streets and cobblestone villages. I didnt know the way. I had to ask, but I made it. I went for a swim on a pretty little lake, had a barbecue. Talked, had great inspirations and slept.

The next day we swam again across the lake and back. I made my way to the train, this time on a longer but better route. I rode down the magnificent Karl Marx Allee, the Fernsee Turm again, farther, more silvery, pointing towards the kosmos. I had dinner on Simon Dach Str. In the grimness of the week before it had been empty. Now the cafe tables were full up and down. On a Monday. People were smiling, loosening up, phone numbers were exchanged.

This morning I did the wash. On my way out there were butterflies fluttering in the hallway. Rusty, yellow, black green and brown making it, fufilling it, and then dying on the sunlit windowsills.

Finnally, summer in Berlin


Monday, July 15, 2002


I am here in Berlin. The plane was half full and still nobody died. The flight was actually quite wonderful. Air France really knows how to do it. Everyone has one of those little interactive active matrix screens. There were several movies to pick from, all kinds of music, games and shopping.

I watched The Majestic first, a movie that died in the theaters so fast they had to put it in a ditch and throw lime on it. I figured if the French had chosen it there must be something to it. I loved it. No, I really loved it. Jim Carrey turned in his first top to bottom solid serious performance. I always thought that in the hands of the right director he could be a great actor. The cimematography and art direction worked flawlessly together. I think that the 50s will be Americas touchstone period. It is the age that defines us, like Victorian England or Medieval France. The script held no surprises but was expertly written with lots of poetic flourishes. The dialog was genuine and workable. I cried four or five times.

Then I watched most of Charolette Gray. It was ok. Fantastic locations, south of France... cant be beaten, well told story, good acting. I just wasnt really in the mood.

The dinner was two or three notches above the usual 3 mile high fare. What makes it all work is the style in which it is presented. They have the nicest plastic ware I have ever seen. The glasses say to you, "I'm not crystal, but let me remind you of the beauty of real glass." There was a decent selection of wines, champagne. I put on a mild buzz, listened to a dicerning selection of Jazz and did the crossword in The Herald Tribune.

Charles De Galle 2 is the modern architecture equivalent of a peoples palace. It has soaring glass and steel ceilings that float skyward. Everything is clean, moving foward and into the future. My connection to Berlin was turned back because of bad weather.You cant fly nowadays without god or terrorists trying to kill you.

I finnally made it. All is gemuetlich in my Prenzlauerberg flat.

More to come