Next Thursday (November 6), I will be hosting the launch of the Mauerweg (Berlin Wall Trail) book of my esteemed colleagues Paul Scraton (Under A Grey Sky/Traces of a Border) and Paul Sullivan (Slow Travel Berlin). There will be stories from the Berlin Wall, beer and music and you should come.
Mauerweg: Stories From The Wall brings together two separate walks around the entire 160km length of the former Berlin Wall Trail in the shape of a pair of interlocking essays and 18 full colour photos. The emphasis throughout is on the Wall’s fascinating stories: the tragic deaths and spectacular escapes of the past, exclusive interviews with Berliners who experienced the Wall first-hand, and the various ways in which the Wall continues to shape the contemporary city.
The authors of the book will be at the Circus Hostel on Rosenthaler Platz on the 6th November to talk about their experiences of walking the Mauerweg and some of the stories they encountered along the way. Following the talk there will be live music from Ken Burke. RSVP on Facebook.
More info about the book (and an excerpt) can be found here.
Tags:25 year anniversary·Berlin·Berlin Wall·Mauerweg
Inspired by this.
And then everything is full of inconsequential ’10 things to do when..’ lists and ‘You Won’t Believe the State of this Guy’s Asshole’ posts on Buzzfeed that everyone believes to be important news and in ten years we will have lost the ability to ask strangers to take our picture as everyone is carrying selfie sticks and worries about their followers on Instagram and everyone will keep posting unrelated images with life-advise-texts in their Facebook timeline and gradually loose any media competency they ever possessed while the largest refugee number since World War II is knocking on our doors and no one wonders why it’s 24 degrees in October and instead keeps buying houses for their imagined kids like nothing is going to ever change, nothing is going to change, ever. And you wonder why I hide here behind the words of men long dead like Roth and Celine and get drunk every day?
The Standing Stone opposite the Garda station on Townsend Street has vanished, and Molly Malone pushed up her cart to the tourist office. Maybe there are more customers here for her cockles and mussels. There are more tourist buses than before – at least as many as during Celtic Tiger times. Dublin now even has one of those obnoxious miniature road trains, shuttling Germans in Goretex from Christchurch to the Four Courts and back. ‘THE BEST TOUR IN TOWN’ is stenciled on its side. I am not sure I agree.
Above the bushes and trees in the Irishtown Nature Reserve, hundreds of crows are riding the winds coming in from Dublin Bay, barrel-rolling and playfully swooping down on each other.
One day I will die. Of liver failure or diabetes or by getting hit by a car or, my preferred version, in a spectacular explosion after I’ve saved my wife and the world from a megalomaniac madman. If I’m lucky, someone will sift through my notebooks and find something useful for other people to read, but most likely my books and kitchen chairs and tea kettle will end up in one of the shops in Wedding that buy household clearances en bloc. And no one will care about the fact that I once sat in front of the castle in Olsztyn with a beer, smoking my pipe and watched the sun set behind the ramparts and the forest. And neither shall I.
Stepping from the train from Constanța felt like disembarking in a war zone, near the final battle against alien invaders. Over the Black Sea a thunderstorm was raging, illuminating the towering night clouds every few minutes with flashing lightning, like artillery fire in the distance. Papers lanterns carrying candles were drifting across the sky like flaming pieces of debris, and the rotating bright green and red floodlights and thudding bass sounds of the beachfront clubs reminded me of searchlights and autocannons. We shouldered our bags and started walking towards our apartment, together with the throng of the other party recruits. We had arrived in Costineşti.
In Dublin, in summer, tracksuited men still sit in cafes and stare at the French and Polish waitresses, wishing they would sleep with them.
“Berlin is large and cruel, madness sprouts from the asphalt, it lurks in nooks and crannies, it waits for you behind this, behind that corner. It glows in the eyes of your seatmate on the tram, it is the motor that powers the tram, the machines, the elevators, the vacuum cleaners, it rules administration and housing offices; it steers the automobiles to run you over; it whirrs in the electrical wires so that their high tension hits you, it moves the revolving door, it shovels you into the bar dancing to the jazz band. It sits at the roulette table and conducts the game and ruins you. Up! Run away into the madhouse!”
- Joseph Roth
July 1st, 2014 · words
by Czeslaw Milosz
‘“So lasting they are, the rivers!” Only think. Sources somewhere in the mountains pulsate and springs seep from a rock, join in a stream, in the current of a river, and the river flows through centuries, millennia. Tribes, nations pass, and the river is still there, and yet it is not, for water does not stay the same, only the place and the name persist, as a metaphor for a permanent form and changing matter. The same rivers flowed in Europe when none of today’s countries existed and no languages known to us were spoken. It is in the names of rivers that traces of lost tribes survive. They lived, though, so long ago that nothing is certain and scholars make guesses which to other scholars seem unfounded. It is not even known how many of these names come from before the Indo-European invasion, which is estimated to have taken place two thousand to three thousand years B. C. Our civilization poisoned river waters, and their contamination acquires a powerful emotional meaning. As the course of a river is a symbol of time, we are inclined to think of a poisoned time. And yet the sources continue to gush and we believe time will be purified one day. I am a worshipper of flowing and would like to entrust my sins to the waters, let them be carried to the sea.’