Monday, 31 March 2008

Pizza




After a long hard Saturday of driving around Ammersee, a few walks, lunches, coffees, more walks, basking in sunshine, taking pictures...we went back to B.'s place and she made this pizza.

Spot on Spring



On Sunday, the sun was warm, and the woods were full of Leberblümchen (Hepatica, Germany's consolation for not having bluebells) and Anemones.



My Mother walking


Clocks went forward and spring started.
(I consciously avoid saying "has sprung").
After a week of sightseeing, visiting galleries (Rothko in Kunsthalle, Daniel Bergmann and Jochen Klein in Pinakothek der Moderne), mountains, rivers and lakes with visiting friend D. from London, today it's back to work with a vengeance.
Something that made me laugh in the Guardian D. brought. Many British bobbies are moving to Canada, admitting that their jobs in Calgary arent necessarily as exciting as the one back home, but children "always wave to me. In the UK, kids might wave, but not using all of their fingers".
And so to work...

An unknown beautiful wildflower


Wonderful painting by Jochen Klein, the partner of Wolfgang Tilmans who died tragically young


An installation in Pinakothek dM by Daniel Bergmann (German for "miner"), about miners' clothes baskets.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Blog Fatigue


I am suffering from a general Web2 publication fatigue, what's the point etc. and will be having an extended break. going Undergroud for a while.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Bang Bang - All new


ZWEI ODER DREI DINGE, die es zu „meiner Zeit“ noch nicht gab.

Mobiltelefone Telefone waren für Kinder immer schon dazu da, Zeit zu vergeuden. Noch heute werden hochtechnologische Handy-Wunder oft dazu benutzt, eine fremde Nummer anzurufen und dann irgendeinen Scheiß zu erzählen. Heute geht es mit Lautsprecher, damit alle was davon haben. Eine Videofunktion auf dem Handy ist demnach „asking for trouble“ – siehe happy slapping etc.
Rap und Hip-HopAllerdings gab es schon damals Sänger wie Freddie Quinn, Vorläufer des Rap vielleicht, die so eine Art monotonen Sprechgesang in ihre Stücke einfließen ließen.
Computerspiele
Früher gab es "Mensch ärgere dich nicht“ und Monopoly, das spielte man zusammen, oder es wurde draußen Ochs am Berg oder Fangstl gespielt. Das ist vorbei. Wir Menschen über 50 schütteln nur noch die Köpfe über die autistischen Kriegsspiele der Generation Xbox. Ohne Playstation oder Wii für die jüngeren Jahrgänge geht nichts mehr. Mit zunehmendem Alter wird das Köpfe schütteln zur Hauptbeschäftigung, die jüngeren Leute denken dann, man habe Parkinson’s.
Barbiepuppen
Wir „baby boomers“ hatten zauberhafte Puppen mit zerbrechlichen Porzellanköpfen und handgenähten Puppenkleidern. Sie wurden oft in sehr professionellen Puppenwägen ausgefahren. Schon die jetzt 30-bis 40-jährigen konnten mit biegsamen Barbies spielen, die meist schicker gekleidet waren als ihre Mütter, in einer Kutsche fahren und teure Paläste bewohnen. Meine Puppe hatte nur eine Küche, aber keine Kinder. In die Kirche ging sie auch nicht.
Horrorfilme
Wir dachten als Kinder, schlimmer als Bambi könne es nicht kommen. Heute haben Kinder ihre eigenen Fernsehapparate im Schlafzimmer, mit denen sie sich ihre privaten Alpträume holen können. Der Höhepunkt im Freundeskreis ist es, ein nicht jugendfreies Video aus dem Videoverleih zu holen und sich zu Tode zu grausen.
i-pod
hieß in meiner zweiten Jugend noch Walkman, manchmal auch politisch korrekt Walkperson. War wesentlich einfacher zu bespielen als all das MP3 Zeug. Aber das sagen die Alten immer.
Navigationsgeräte
meine 85-jährige Mutter lachte sich tot über ihre neu technologisierten Freunde aus „dem Osten“, die es vorzogen, ihrem "Navi" in die Falle zu gehen (es endete mit einer Spirale um den Kreisverkehr) anstatt auf ihre in Jahrzehnten erworbene Ortskenntnis zu vertrauen. Wer braucht den Schmarrn? Nur Leute die keine Karten lesen können, und die schon gar nicht Ortsansässige fragen wollen.
Handy-Kamera
im Prinzip ein saudummes Spielzeug für Schuljungen, die auf der Rolltreppe Frauen unter den Rock fotografieren. Aber auch ein geniales Werkzeug, um unauffällige Schnappschüsse zu erzeugen, die anders nicht möglich wären. Ein wunderbares Spielzeug für alle Fotosüchtigen.
Straßenfestefrüher wurde daheim oder im Verein gefeiert, jetzt sitzen vom Säugling bis zum Rentner einmal im Jahr an regnerischen Julitagen alle auf Bierbänken auf einer Straße ihres Stadtteils, hören 60-jährigen Rockern beim Runternudeln von alten Stones-Nummern zu und essen Bratwurst.
Wikis, fotologs und andere Web2.0 Wunder
Jede/r kann und darf sich im Internet verwirklichen. What could be more wonderful? Es macht Arbeit endlich überflüssig, weil einfach keine Zeit dafür bleibt.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

two or three thoughts about the family



Family: all those persons descended from a common ancestor; group of living things with common characteristics and a common source: die Manns, the Simpsons, die Simons ("Heimat"), die Kreitmeiers, nicht umsonst spricht man von "Familienbande"...
An old English saying:Familiarity breeds contempt.
"Family - that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape.
Far from being the basis of the good society, the family, with its narrow privacy and its tawdry secrets, is the source of all our discontents."

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Easter! Easter! Easter! and a bit of cricket


Edith Sitwell is one of the funniest and acerbic writers I know. Her comment on AE Housman's theme of death and cricket in "A Shropshire Lad", goes

Out I marched with bat and pad
See the son of grief at cricket
Trying to be glad..

"..."I do not think that Professor Housman has explained to us clearly enough how it is that cricket has saved men from dying. If he means us to understand that cricket, and cricket alone, has prevented men from committing suicide, then their continuation on this earth seems hardly worth while."
for my friend, G.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Easter Extravaganza


A truly dull day, perfect for staying at home. It is a wonderful luxury to just laze around and take pictures of chocolate easter eggs, bake an apple crumble and biscuits with the leftover dough, and wait for dinner to be on the table. I just opened my last bottle of Südtirol wine, a Pinot Noir 2004 from Alois Lageder. Tastes good, never mind the nose and the finish. The only drop of acid in this delicious cup is my work, always lurking in the background. But at least I have got some!
And this is what's playing: Dirty Three, Cinder (link top right of page).
Slouching on the sofa I started watching - not really wanting to - Pasolini's "Gospel according to Matthew". The gospel usually just makes me think of the "Life of Brian", being a cynic and a non-believer. I find comments like "What a way to spend Easter" at the sight of a crucifix hilarious. So I didn't expect to be moved to tears by this film, the black and white slow dignity of it, the impact of the lay actors' faces and the terrible image of Christ (a man, a human being) being nailed to a cross. If only I could believe in the "happy end", the rising, the redemption. I have lost faith even in the redemptive power of revolutions.
And - I have no idea what made Mel Gibson think he needed to or could improve on the telling of this story.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Hanami und Rohkost



Ein Abend, an dem alles so leicht daneben war. Erst der Film von Doris Dörrie, "Kirschblüten - Hanami", der ganz vielversprechend und leise anfing und mich wirklich stark berührte. Die tiefe, wenn auch erstarrte Liebe des Ehepaares, die Kinder so kalt und abwehrend - ich dachte an Blanche Dubois in "A streetcar named desire": I have always relied on the kindness of strangers..
Leider verlief er sich dann in einem etwas pathetischen Japantourismus und wurde zu einer Art Mischung aus "Lost in Translation" mit einem Schuss "Winterreise". Man vermutet dass Elmar Wepper dachte - was der Bierbichler da macht, das kann ich auch - alternder Mann, verloren und verwirrt im Ausland, mit einem unschuldigen Mädchen als einer Art Schutzengel...na i woass ned..
Jedenfalls war es das Geld wert, Hannelore Elsner bayrisch reden zu hören. Anschließend im "Zerwirk" makrobiotisch gegessen - eine Erfahrung, die ich niemandem empfehlen möchte. Ein makrobio Restaurant, das sich nicht entblödet, "Wiener Schnitzel" auf die Tageskarte zu kreiden...UND Kerzen auf dem Tisch, handgemacht von wem? Tieren, natürlich. Das Curry knirschte zwischen den Zähnen vor lauter Currypulver und man sehnte sich nach dem "Maharani" am Stiglmaierplatz. An den Mangoldravioli schmeckte man kein frisches Gemüse, und natürlich ohne Parmesan - woran dachten wir nur, hier essen zu gehen? An einem eiskalten Märzabend wurden die Fettucine Alfredo kalt serviert.
Schmecken tat nichts, außer dem Wein ("den haben sie wenigstens nicht selbst gemacht", bemerkte meine Schwester). Die Nachspeise, ein Brownie mit, ahem, Sojaeis, schmeckte wie roher Plätzchenteig. Wer's mag..ich bestimmt nicht. Ich habe in London bessere Indian take-aways an der nächsten Ecke gegessen als hier diese 14 euro teure Ausgeburt.
Ich habe dort mal eine wirklich gute Dhal-Suppe gegessen...



Went to see a highly rated German Film by Doris Dörrie tonite which did not quite live up to my expectations. Why do German films always have this edge of bathos, always digging just that bit to deep. My niece liked it better than my sister and I did - I think she hinted at us being too old to have patience with things outside our mindsets...but we all agreed as films about Tokio go, "Lost in Translation" was more subtle. Then we had the worst meal I have had in years, in a very up itself macrobiotic restaurant called Zerwirk (München). Vegetable curry that grated between your teeth from the curry powder, very tough ravioli that didn't taste of the chard they were supposedly filled with. Raw cookie dough with soya ice cream for pudding...if you like that kind of thing. I don't. I have had better 3-quid curries from any old Indian take-away in London than this 14-euro abomination.
I had a nice dhal soup there once.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Egg Race



I never thought it would be so labour intensive to colour Easter eggs. It took me the best part of two hours to colour about eight eggs. Two broke and I had to eat them - probably resulting in constipation. My hands are stained blue and the eggs are barely coloured. It cost €3.50 for two tiny packets of working-not-very-well dye. Next year, I shall go to my butcher's round the corner and buy them ready dyed, en masse.
Ah, the charm of the home-made, how quickly it fades...

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

An alien landing on my balcony

A cry for help


Was las ich heute in der Financial Times? Ackermann, der ungeliebteste Kapitalist in Deutschland, "sehnt staatliche Hilfe herbei"? (FT 18.3.) Ein unschöner Anblick, wenn die, die jahrzehntelang immer "zu viel Staat" gerufen haben, zu Kreuze kriechen und beim Staat betteln gehen. Aber es geht ja um "Arbeitsplätze", und das rechtfertigt bekanntlich alles.

Today I read in the German edition of the Financial Times that the Chief of Germany's Deutsche Bank, a man who has become the symbol for unsympathetic market-driven capitalism, is longing for the state to rescue the banks. A somewhat distressing thought, on the background of economic elite crying "too much state" when profits are good. But rescued they will be - it's all about jobs, and the "jobs" argument excuses a number of revolting things.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Krimis - who needs them!



Last night I started reading a thriller I borrowed from a (male) friend, and I had to put it down and read a few calming pages of P.G.Wodehouse before going to sleep. I I felt so upset and revolted by it. It was all about snuff movies and female torsos littering Brighton Beach, and of course unlovable psychopaths behind it all...
Whatever happened to genteel whodunnits? Country house mysteries? Humour?
I can live with a bit of suspense, even a bit of illustrative sadism, as shown by Minette Walters, or a bit of nutcasery so lovingly described by Ruth Rendell. But for the life of me I can't see where the entertainment is in reading stories about raped children, dismembered women, cruel and sadistic murderers who torture people before burying them alive? Because - am I wrong in thinking thrillers are meant to be entertainment?
The author of the Brighton Massacre is someone called Peter James, by the way. Maybe he was relying on people thinking he was PD James.
I think I might have to re-read Agatha Christie, that's what I call NICE murders.

क्रिमिस व्हो नीड्स क्रिमिस



Deutsche Sprache, schwere Sprache:

Interpretationsspielraum
Zahnersatzzusatzversicherung
Apothekenfestzuschlag
Luftkissenfahrzeug
Kostendämpfungsmaßnahme
Arzneimittelabgabepreise

Silberfischchenköderdosen
Trainerfindungskommission

www.unwortdesjahres.org


Habseligkeiten?
Ich schlage vor: Schocklüften („Heute schon schockgelüftet?“)

Sunday, 16 March 2008

अ रैनी Sunday





this was all that happened today - weather! and an outing with my sister and my Mum to a new country inn, in which we didn't like - it's in a beautiful place, soft green countryside with snow-capped mountain in the near distance. But it served over-priced food that was up itself for no reason. Für die Bayern hier: Haflwirt oder so ähnlich in Münster bei Glonn; eine winzige etwas zu salzige Pfannkuchensuppe mit etwas zu glitschigen Pfannkuchenstücken, für vier Euro. Und ein ganz ordinäres Schnitzel mit McDonald-style pommes für 13 Euro. I don't think so!

Saturday, 15 March 2008

अ ब्लू ब्लू डे


A blue day in the hills above Schliersee, a beautiful mountain lake about 50 minutes away from München by train. The train is called BOB. no, really. Bayerische Oberlandbahn (Bavarian Mountain Railway). It goes every hour from our local station and takes you to the most gorgeous places within an hour. We walked up to Schliersbergalm, which is basically a children's playground with a beergarden attached, and a wondrous view. The food was more than edible, but not for crying out "YUM". To compensate, we had cake as soon as we got home, and I made delicious green and white fettuccine (paglia e fieno) from the best pasta brand, Montegrappa, with a vegetable "bolognese". Super delicious.
Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, Easter is coming soon - along with a cold spell, apparently.

and such graceful swans swanning on the lake...

Friday, 14 March 2008

Rolls today



When our Vietnamese neighbour has a visit from her son, she gets a bit flustered and sometimes forgets to buy something vital. Today, she phoned me because she needed oil for the spring rolls. Yes, I am happy to oblige - because I know we get our reward. Today,she brought us ten rolls...they are heaven. "I forgot to put in the onions!" Never mind the onions, here come the rolls.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

The Pre-Spring Blues



I like rain. We need rain.
In fact, I remember there were a few summers, back in England, when it felt like it would never rain again, everything dry and cracked, and when I travelled up to Scotland it felt blissful just seeing all that water, lochs, sea, rivers, rivulets, streams, more lochs...
Now when it's raining it is kind of easier to be at home and work. But sun will be nice, too. Soon.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Some people just don't care

Last night I did nice things: First, I went to see an Israeli film in Theatinerkino with Bine, "The band's visit" (Bikur ha-tizmoret). It was hilarious and at the same time you didn't know whether to laugh or to cry. Such absurd situations, who thought them up? The band in pale blue Operetta uniforms pulling their wheelie suitcases through the desert. Or when three of the Egyptian band members stay with the Israeli family, and they have absolutely no conversation, suddenly the host starts singing "Summertime", and they all fall in with tuneless voices. I nearly wet myself. After a little drink in Literaturcafé (which, after having a "democratic makeover, is even more expensive and packed with tables like sardines), I overcame my inclination to go home and couch-potato, and instead joined Marius & Co to celebrate his birthday in his favourite bar, which must not be named since they absolutely ignore the no-smoking rule and made it a feeble sort of "club" - you ring the bell to get in and get in. Great place, good company, and a choice of Whiskeys.
Oh, and I had my hair cut.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008


When the work pressure is greatest, escapism becomes even more powerful. Sadly, a healthy and hard-working life is not necessarily a guarantee for a long life - I heard today about someone I know who was diagnosed with cancer. This made me aware (as if I needed to be) how important it is to be as hedonistic as possible. So, what I did was, I went to get my hair cut and coloured, in the Klartext training salon, in Bine's School. They also dyed my lashes and my eyebrows, and while I was being coloured, the hairdressing student gave me a hand massage. I realized once more that I could quite easily settle into a life of being stupid and pampered, where I never read a newspaper again, only Hello! magazine, and spend my day doing nice things, instead of worrying about how sick the world is. Since I will never be rich and pampered, I have long ago joined the LOVOS - people practising a "lifestyle of voluntary simplicity". I think we probably invented LOVOS. Now, this is the kind of stuff that I research for a living, and I concluded quite happily that LOVOS are, on the whole, of no interest whatever for marketing purposes.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Sights to see when going to Grafing

Meine Sonntage in Grafing, bei meiner Mutter, und unsere gemeinsamen Familienausflüge in die Berge sind zur Zeit so ziemlich alles, was ich an Reisen mache. Das kommt mir entgegen, denn ich bin von Natur aus keine große Abenteurerin. Zu vielen meiner tollsten Ferien, die ich hatte, musste ich halb gezwungen werden, was eine gewisse Parallele hat zu dem was Liesl Karlstadt über Karl Valentin sagte: "Er kann München nicht verlassen. Die kürzeste Eisenbahnreise ist eine geistige Tortur für ihn. Dem Maschinisten könnte plötzlich unwohl werden, der Weichensteller könnte betrunken sein, das Schienenbett könnte unterspült sein". Es erinnerte mich dann auch an Herbert Achternbusch (der ja als geistiger Nachfolger von Valentin gehandelt wird). Wir sprachen übers Fliegen (das mich natürlich nervös macht) und er sagte, beim Landen habe er immer Angst, dass die Räder blockieren. Danke, Herbert! Daran hatte ich vorher noch nie gedacht, weil ich beim Landen bisher immer das Gefühl hatte, naja, runter kommen sie immer...
The Sunday outings to Grafing, where my Mum lives, and our various family outings seem to limit the scope of my travelling these days. I am not a natural traveller, anyway, my best holidays were caused by someone more or less bullying me into travelling. A bit like what Liesl Karlstadt says about Karl Valentin "He is unable to leave München. The briefest train journey is a spiritual torture for him, the machinist might fall ill, the pointsman might be drunk, the railway might be eroded by water...".

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Never on Sunday..

Es war ein Sonntag hell und klar
Ein Sonntag wirklich wunderbar
Der Sonntag war so einzig schön
Ich hab' nicht leicht an schöner'n g'sehn.
Er geht ei'm wirklich durch's Gemüt
Wenn man an solchen Sonntag sieht.
Doch dauerte es gar nicht lang,
Weil bald der Abend kam heran,
Stockfinster wurd' es um mich her
Und ich sah keinen Sonntag mehr.
Karl Valentin (Romanze in C-moll)


Sunday morning, a sunny morning, a get-the-hell-out-of-bed morning which doesn't keep its promise. It's still March and cold. Longing to take my coat and my socks off, to walk on soft grass, to swim in the blue water of the lake. Not long now..

Saturday, 8 March 2008

International Women's Day

In the Seventies, I lived in London. Women's liberation meant women's friendships, enthusiastic self-finding and exciting group dynamics. It meant we could really have it all, but it was also a form of empathy and solidarity with women who weren't as lucky as we. Above all - we had such fun. We explored new forms of relationships, we created new magazines and wrote different kinds of books, we sang new songs, and I made friendships that are lasting a lifetime.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Im Wald und in der Wirtschaft



I visited my Mother today. We do the usual round of buying chocolates, complaining in the hearing-aid shop about the hearing-aid not working, and then we have lunch in the family favourite inn. Despite "not having any appetite", our dear Mum loves the fried fish there and we devour a hearty lunch. Afterwards we have a walk, in which she walks with her sporty three-wheeler walking-aid down the avenue of trees, while I run around the three ponds in the middle of the woods and then we meet by the car. The little blue flowers in the picture are Leberblümchen ("hepatica", my German equivalent of bluebells which don't seem to exist here).
These announcers of spring colour the dark woods with their luminous blue - more subtle than the sea of blue that bluebells create.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Three or four things that tell me I am getting old

1. I find myself taking more and more fotos of flowers, and other non-human subjects. When I was young, flowers would have bored me to death.

2. When I was told by Carin that the "Eels" concert was completely sold out, I felt myself not minding all that much. Formerly this would have really really mattered, a lot.

3. I see pictures of my friends' children's children on flickr. How can Jess who was 18 months old when I first met her, have a little boy who is that same age now? where does that leave me??

4. Sometimes, when I write a date on a form or on a cheque and don't concentrate, I find myself writing something like 1988...which does not seem that long ago.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Winter returns



Over night, snow finally returns, only half convinced but enough to turn the Botanical Gardens into a fairy tale place. I often ride my bike there, to get away from my desk (I work from home, researching topics such as "consumer boom in Russia" and "LOHAS" - so I need to get out occasionally!). Sunny but very cold, suddenly. All the blooms are coming out on the trees and crocuses, hellebores and snow drops were surprised by the white blanket. They can stand it, though, luckily, nature is pretty but also pretty tough.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Politically incorrect apple crumble

Click on picture to see full scale of yumminess.




This is the fastest gratification imaginable - just put apple halves in a buttered quiche dish, sprinkle walnuts over them and cover with a layer of (ahem, buttery) shortcrust pastry. Bake slowly at low-ish temperature so the apples sort of melt. Eat with your loved ones, or alone with a DVD you always wanted to watch on a rainy afternoon.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Posted by Picasa





For the past few days, I have been having fantasies about going on holiday, somewhere by the sea like Cornwall, or Isola del Giglio, or Lisbon, or even some stormy Scottish beach. I have never been a hardy traveller - flying horrifies me. Hence, the idea of flying to Bora Bora does not enter my horizon, even if I could afford it. So instead I go on a cycling day out with my sister, an outing with the family to a great restaurant near the mountains, or I enjoy the local cultural highlight of having a pint of the strong spring beer, Salvator, in the traditional brewery restaurant Nockherberg with friends. Ironically, we call that Fastenzeit (Lent) in Bavaria.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

थे वे टू perfection

Baking is hit and miss with me, sometimes cakes come out perfectly, sometimes - especially when disguised with jam, like this brioche that wanted to be a Bavarian Rohrnudel, they are edible - but not very photogenic.
I love jam. This morning I opened a quince jelly for breakfast that a friend of my Mother's made. Very cannily, Mum doesn't eat those unknown quantities, but passes them on to me. I am the culinary guinea pig in the family, I suppose.
As I was eating it, I was reading a short story by Bavarian author Kathrin Passig in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. It is about a character called Frau Heinleim, who keeps an axolotl and is digging a pool for it under the quince tree in her garden. This made me laugh out loud: "Very little happiness research has been done around the quince tree, a tree whose leafage makes up for the suffering inflicted on humanity by quince jelly". This is almost as funny as some of the writing by P.G.Wodehouse.