It’s four weeks today since I moved to Berlin. It’s also May Day, but I have no-one to go to the riots with. I was in Friedrichshain last night, where gutterpunks roamed drunk and vanloads of police made their presence known. There was a feeling in the air, a tension that was more than a normal Friday night. People come from all over Germany to demonstrate on May Day, and police come from all over Germany to deal with it. This is the striving-to-be-nonpartisan summary, anyway; other summaries vary from “nobody cares about politics and they just want to smash things” to “everything was peaceful until those pesky cops showed up”. You know the drill.
Nobody I know is taking part in the festivities; everyone seems to have been devising complex strategies to avoid the hell out of the action. I’ve been trying to filter the scare stories and figure out whether it’s really going to be the apocalypse that everyone’s predicted (every year, there’s some soundbite about expecting “the worst violence in years”). I can’t really picture myself haplessly stumbling into the middle of a stand-off, anyway, but I guess I’m sitting this one out simply due to lack of any plans. I’m generally too jaded to go to demonstrations these days anyway – I know, I know, bad activist etc – but there’s an added thing here about being new in town and not being sure what’s going on, not to mention not speaking the language. Still, I feel like a bit of a copout. So to speak.
I went back to Belfast for five days. It would’ve been a week only the volcano got in the way. This was fine by me; having arrived in Berlin such a short time ago, I was wondering what possessed me to book a whole week in Ireland. I cheered when I saw my initial flight had been cancelled. Anyway, being back in Belfast is always kind of weird for me and so it was kind of weird this time too. It’s not to say I didn’t have a nice time, it’s just that it was weird also. I am only mentioning it here for the sake of reporting that I’ve been away.
On Thursday night I went to Schokoladen to see The Burning Hell from Canada. Hell yeah! I didn’t know what to expect beforehand, but really enjoyed the gig, as did my guests. I prefer to avoid writing about music for the most part, due to general cluelessness, but there is a man with a beard and a ukulele and entertaining lyrics and I think you should check them out. Also my new friend Ariel is playing clarinet with them on their European tour (and saxophone before it broke). And she is super. So.
- This is the sort of thing I have for breakfast/brunch each day.
Stuffed vine leaves, sundried tomatoes with garlic, halloumi cheese, fried aubergine.
- Also simits. Bread is generally more exciting over here than it is in the UK, with the exception of cranberry & rosemary bread, an occasional treat that I miss.
Goddamn writer’s block
You may have noticed that I am totally failing to update my other blog. This is in part due to deadlines and travel, which have also gotten in the way of this one, although clearly not to the same extent. And it is in part due to standard-grade writer’s block, whereby I am still searching for the right way to tell the next story; when this happens I generally just sit back and wait for inspiration to come (or rush something through and then resent it because I don’t like the way it was written). But I am beginning to wonder how long I am going to continue not being in the right headspace for it. And then I wonder whether that’s because I’m in a new relationship and don’t feel like analysing previous encounters right now? I do not know. I am just saying. I’m not actually planning to abandon the project or anything; who knows, maybe I will wake up tomorrow and the next post will write itself.
Speaking of waking up
I woke up in a panic yesterday morning, heart thumping, because I dreamed I missed the boarding call for a flight to Amsterdam because I was busy cooking a vegetarian sausage.
When I was ten I went to visit this rich kid who I thought I was maybe going to be friends with. (This did not turn out to be the case.) I came home and reported to my mother: they had this big house, and a tennis court, and all these animals, and all this land. I added that the rich kid explained that they didn’t have a swimming pool because of the cost of heating it.
Well, said my mother wryly. That’s a problem we don’t have.
Lately I’ve taken to complaining that I can’t afford to heat my swimming pool, any time I catch myself whining about anything that isn’t, in the grand scheme of things, a big deal. See: having an unstable income yet still a fair way to fall before I wind up in desperate poverty; not having a clue where my life is going yet having the luxury of living rent-free in Berlin for the summer; etc.
- On a similar note: IT’S LIKE LIVING IN RUSSIA. Which is what my brother informed me when he sent my Polish books and noted that the post office had no padded bags of any size. Yes. EXACTLY like living in Russia.