Black Sunshine – through the years

This will be a short one. And full of clichés, so bear with me.

When I was 14, I discovered that, contrary to my classmates’ beliefs, there was more to music than N’Sync and the Backstreet Boys. Thank God.

My hometown’s music scene leaned heavily towards Rock and Metal, no pun intended. So I went to every gig there was, best friend in tow, staring doe-eyed at the guys and girls on stage – one eye always on the clock, lest I broke curfew.

Fast forward 17 years to last night.

My first real night out in… a too embarrassingly long time. I stood there, beer in hand, no curfew in sight and simply enjoyed my first “Black Sunshine” concert in 13 years.

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And it was good.

Not just the music, though I immensely enjoyed that. More the certainty that no one would call out “Mama” and I would have to stop anything I was doing at a moment’s notice.

I talked to old friends and aquaintances, met new ones, stood in people’s cigarette smoke and enjoyed the beer on their breath, simply for the novelty of it not being milk…

And then, at one a.m. I called it a night, hugged my friends and drove home to find my husband and daughter knocked out from the exertion of a sleepless evening. And it was good, even though duty called again at 6:30 and I was nowhere near being well-rested. Life is good.

13.11.2015

Today, on social media, I haven’t stopped talking about last night’s events. I don’t suppose I will anytime soon.

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A small number of “people” have caused millions of people a lot of pain. Presumably all in the name of a god that I can’t believe would condone this.

The attacks that hit closest to home for me ar those on Bataclan. I’ve visited hundreds of rock shows, from small venues to big halls and again and again I think “it could have been me”.  And, in a way, it was. Those more than 120 people were my sisters and brothers at heart. They loved Rock’n’Roll just as much as I do, and they wanted to have a good time.

Those terrorists who brutally took their lives want us all to be afraid now. Afraid to go out and enjoy what we do, cower and fear ” what if?”

I, for one, won’t do it.

I hate that my daughter’s growing up in a world where insanity like this exists.

And I won’t stand for her being afraid.

Tonight, my hometown’s Cow Club celebrates 30 years of supporting young bands. And my friends, shocked and sad as they are, won’t stay home tonight, too afraid to go out. They will grab a drink and stand shoulder to shoulder with their friends and defy last night’s killers by doing what they will always be doing – enjoy their freedom and do whatever the heck they want to.

A man, a book and a ship

Last night I left behind a sleeping baby and tired husband and drove the Autobahn south, to Cologne. I walked along the Rhine until I found the MS RheinEnergie/Literaturschiff at the KD Anleger, refulgent against the dark river.

IMG_20150317_202002In its belly waited a bearded word-smith, quickly signing away at a desk filled with books.

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The Literaturschiff was continuously flooded with guests until, shortly after 9 pm., the ship left shore and the excited susurrus swelled. As Patrick Rothfuss, of Kingkiller Chronicles fame, took the stage, one could find grinning faces all around, it was finally happening: the author was in Germany, in Cologne, and about to read excerpts from his latest novella, “the Slow Regard of Silent Things”. Joining him was ChrisTine Urspruch, whose gentle reading of Auri, Rothfuss’ pixie-esque trickster, was truly endearing, enchanting the audience as much as Rothfuss himself.

Joined by Denis Scheck for a question-and-answers session he spoke of growing up around books

“not literature”

his love for language

“I really admire Chaucer”

and especially for the Fantasy genre

“why can’t we do [what Chaucer does], but – with dragons!”

His disbelief was tangible when Rothfuss questioned why only “the tragic movies where people die” get all the Oscars, not the comic ones, referring to the late Terry Pratchett and his humorous genius.

It was a whirlwind of a night for a fan who wouldn’t have dreamed seeing “his wordship” in the flesh was possible. The pleasure was only slightly disturbed by Schecks impressive endeavor of trying to translate as much of Rothfuss’ detailed answers as possible. After the event, Rothfuss stayed until every one who so wished could take home a signed copy of one or several of his books, even if it took him until 1:30 am to do so.

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Sadly, the organisers managed to utter two conflictive pieces of information concerning where the actual signing session would take place, leading to much confusion and chaos for the fans – and for this one to suddenly find herself in the last third of the oh-so-long queue of waiting book-carriers.

Still, it was worth it, just for being able to simply say

Thank you for writing

and, though having signed for such a long time, seeing a content twinkle in those tired eyes above the beard, which itself seemed to say

it was worth it

Solinger Jugendkulturfestival 2013 – Patrick Salmen, oder: die Späten bestraft das Leben!

Bei einem Mittagessen im Nordstadt Café kam mir dieser Flyer in die Hände:

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Hurra, dachte ich, Patrick Salmen kommt wieder in seine alte Heimat!

Ich wollte mir nicht von 18:00 bis 22:00 Uhr am Rathausplatz die Beine in den Bauch stehen und horchte also nach, wann in etwa der Auftritt sei. “Gegen 20:00 Uhr” hieß es – also trafen wir erst um kurz vor acht ein, um festzustellen: Salmen war schon in vollem Gange, hatte er doch schon um halb 8 gestartet.

Mist, wie Bernd das Brot sagt.

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Wir bekamen also nur noch die letzten, knapp 10 Minuten mit. Und fragten uns: wo sind die ganzen Jugendlichen? Der Altersdurchschnitt im Publikum lag bei Mitte 20; ich hatte eigentlich eine strahlende Horde weiblicher Teenies erwartet, die sehnsüchtig den bärtigen Mann anstarren.

Ich selbst habe zwischen 15 und 18 jedes Jugendkulturfestival besucht und wäre total froh gewesen, mir einen deutschen Poetry-Slam Meister ansehen zu dürfen – darf man hier so eine alte Phrase wie “Was ist los mit der Jugend von heute?” verwenden?

Gab es eine große Konkurrenzveranstaltung? Ist das Marketing gescheitert?

Die, die da waren hatten jedenfalls viel Spaß – hoffen wir, dass der Axtträger uns bald noch mal besucht – und den Teens eine zweite Chance gibt.

 

Cute Halloween costumes for all!

Forgive me, I haven’t posted cutesy stuff for a long time, it’s practically like I’ve weaned myself off it, but I couldn’t bypass this!

Today I read GCC‘s post about her trying to find Halloween costumes for her twins, and she talked about Pottery Barn‘s costumes.

And they are killing me, people. Killing with cuteness! Cuteness overload! Cannot comcute compute!

Before I start drooling on my keyboard, just check out those kids in tights:

 

 

It seems like the owl trend is still going strong, like this costume proves. I know at least one person who’ll be happy to know 🙂

Mrs. Prosch’s Olde Bakery digs this zappy number, how couldn’t she?

 

 

Had I a baby, I would consider this group costume– who can resist a delicious baby? Nobody, that’s who.

 

 

Might be a bit cannibalistic for some tastes, though.

What are you dressing up as for Halloween? Cute or scary? Or even skanky?

 

Euphorie! Euphorie! Patrick Salmen liest im Waldmeister, Solingen

“NRW-Vizemeister” und “deutschsprachiger Meister” im Poetry-Slam, Poet und Buchautor, Workshopleiter im kreativen Schreiben- Patrick Salmen muss eine große Visitenkarte haben.

Gestern Abend hat er sich in seine alte Heimatstadt begeben, in der er im mit Stuhlreihen gefütterten “Waldmeister” sehnsüchtig erwartet wurde. Rappelvoll war es und ein recht aufgeregtes Summen lag in der Luft, während auf den jungen Bartträger gewartet wurde.

Dieser sprang dann auch bald auf die Bühne und begann seinen “Soundcheck”, stellte fest, dass er zu hören war, verließ die Bühne, um Sekunden später wieder grinsend hinauf zu laufen, diesmal unter tosendem Applaus.

“Bart und Stimme” fasst Patrick Salmen auf den ersten Blick am offensichtlichsten zusammen.

Ersteres liegt auf der Hand, ist Salmen doch nach eigener Aussage nie ohne Gesichtsbehaarung unterwegs und unterrichtet Skeptiker gern über die Vorzüge von Bartstopppeln- auch auf großer Bühne.

Dabei kommt er so überzeugend rüber, dass eine große deutsche Herrenzeitschrift ihm schon eine Kolumne zum Thema angeboten hat, die Salmen allerdings ablehnte.

Zweites bannt einen, sobald der Slammer den Mund aufmacht und seine überraschend tiefe Stimme freilässt, wie der Dompteur seinen Tiger in die Manege schickt.

Als Poet ist er deutschlandweit dafür bekannt, Wortwelten zu erschaffen, die Alliterationen aneinander aufzureihen, dem Alltäglichen den Alltag zu entfernen und kleine Erstaunlichkeiten übrig zu lassen. Er schreibt mit einer Leichtigkeit über zwischenmenschliche Sternstunden (“Nordwind”), die fernab von Schnulz sind und in jedem Deutschunterricht vorkommen sollten um zu zeigen, wie unprätentiös schön unsere Sprache sich anhören kann.

Wer als Deutscher über Dinge wie Liebe reden kann, ohne sich wie Florian Silbereisen anzuhören, hat schon gewonnen.

Beim Liveauftritt zeigt Salmen, dass er noch mehr kann.

Mit offenkundigem Spass gewährt er Einblicke in seine Solinger Kindheit, erzählt vom harten Gräfrather Pflaster, auf dem er sich boxershortstragend in der “Smiley-Gang” beweisen musste.

Von dem noch härteren Publikum, das ihn dieses Jahr auf dem Wacken empfing und in seine muskelbepackten, behaarten, tättowierten Arme schloss.

copyright: Patrick Salmen, via Facebook

Aber auch gern von Erfahrungen mit Damen im besten Alter, die ihre manikürten Hände dafür nutzen, bei QVC zu arbeiten. Ein Karriereweg, der Salmen selbst nächstes Jahr vielleicht auch schon offensteht, nachdem er im Frühjahr dort sein Verkaufstalent unter Beweis stellen darf. Am liebsten würde er für achtteilige Messersets werben, mit denen kennt er sich schon gut aus.

Als Solinger sind ihm Schneidwaren sowieso sympathisch, ist doch seiner Meinung nach “Ich habe eine Axt” einer der versatilsten Sätze der deutschen Sprache.

Wer mehr von Patrick Salmens Wortakrobatiken erleben möchte, sollte sich unbeding am 19. September in die Börse in Wuppertal begeben. Dort wird er mit Torsten Sträter mit dem gemeinsamen Programm “Als eine Kuh des Weges kam, fragte es die anderen Pferde…” auftreten.

Und vielleicht auch eine Axt im Gepäck haben.

 

Rotkäppchen im Papiertheater auf Schloss Burg – KULTUR SOMMER NACHT 2012

Was haben Busse und Kultur gemeinsam? In Solingen viel, wenn es um die KULTUR SOMMER NACHT 2012 geht.

Das Kombiticket für 10€ machte es gestern möglich, durch das Hop-on Hop-off Prinzip mit den SWS Bussen von Kultureinrichtung zu Kultureinrichtung zu tingeln- und nicht nur dort Konzerte oder Ausstellungen zu erleben. Schon die Busse selbst gaben die Gelegenheit, Kultur am eigenen Leib zu erfahren. Ob Wahrsagerei im Waldmeister O-Bus, Kult-Tour im Tageblatt Bus oder live Akustik Sets im Cowclub Rock’n’Roll Bus, für viele Geschmäcker war etwas dabei.

 

 

Besondere Leckerbissen fanden sich an den “Kultursternen”, den einzelnen Haltestellen der speziellen Busse.

Auf Schloss Burg etwa konnte man die Nase in das Burgtheater von Peter Schauerte-Lüke stecken, ein kleines aber sehr feines Papiertheater. Leider wird es demnächst ausziehen und für eine Besucherempfangshalle für die Burg Platz machen müssen.

Umso schöner war es, in dem schnuckeligen Saal im kleinen Rahmen “Little Red Riding Hood” anschauen zu dürfen. Ob fiepsiges Rotkäppchen, dramatische Gräfin oder bitter-bösen, gewieften Wolf – Herr Schauerte-Lüke hat alle Charaktere fest im Griff und bietet ein Schauspiel, bei dem selbst die Szenenbild-Wechsel Spass machen.

 

 

Zusammen mit den interessanten Fakten über die Geschichte des Papiertheaters ist ein Besuch im Burgtheater unbedingt empfehlenswert.

Die Show hat das weitere Programm auf Schloss Burg im Rahmen der KULTUR SOMMER NACHT gemütlich abgerundet und den Konzertbesuchern eine kleine Erholungspause geboten.

Und die konnten sie gebrauchen, um gegen acht Uhr mit voller Kraft in die Show der Headliner Almost Vikings starten zu können, die den Burghof zum Beben gebracht haben.

A (short) adventure with Bubble tea

Last week many of my students arrived at our centre with bubble tea cups in hand, most of them gushing over how awesome they are.

So if, like me then, you’re not in the know about this trend, this is what wikipedia has to say:

 

“Bubble tea is the name for pearl milk tea and other similar tea and juice beverages that originated in tea shops in Taichung, Taiwan during the 1980s.

Drink recipes may vary, but most bubble teas contain a tea base mixed with fruit (or fruit syrup) and/or milk. Ice-blended versions of the drinks, similar to slushies, are also available, usually in fruit flavors.

One of the famous categories of bubble teas is “pearl milk tea” (also known as “boba milk tea” in parts of America), which contains small chewy balls made of tapioca starch, called “pearls” in Chinese (also known as “fenyuan 粉圆” or “zhenzhu 珍珠”). Pearls made of tapioca are also available in many places.”

 

In their opening week, Solingen’s shop selling the “tea”, located in the town centre on Kölnerstraße, had its customer’s lining up on the street for a beverage.

What for, I asked myself.

I had to see what all the buzz was about, so tonight I went there and checked it out.

After lots of contemplating, I ordered a small yoghurt grape “tea” with passionfruit bubbles.

The buying of the drink itself was an adventure.

Hubby and I stared at the three (!) ladies it took to mix the drink. One was pouring milk into a cup, the next one was measuring some grape sirup into a small cup whilst the third was engaged with a weird metal machine. After a few minutes and some more mysterious goings-on a label was coated to the top of my cup, which was then handed to me. Quite unceremoniously, as I might add, concerning all the brouhaha it took to make the drink.

 

 

Oh dear. The “tea” itself tasted nothing like grapes and a lot like Red Bull, making me question the amount of chemicals I had just swallowed.

I had to build up the balls to chew the bubbles, and making them pop was a rather unpleasant experience, with their somewhat milky and slick content spilling into my mouth. Blech.

After a few sips I decided that it wasn’t for me. How to dispose of the rest of the drink, I’m not sure yet. Does it classify as toxic waste?

The only pro I see in bubble tea are the rather cute pictures on the cups’ labels, like these two:

 

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This is definitely the first and last time I’ve bought a bubble tea.

 

I don’t think so!

 

The King and the Cobra

Marcel Krüger asked us to stop coming to his house, so people went to the Cobra instead.

In early November Krüger had his first self-published book coming out, which compiled stories from his blog, his project Sonic Iceland and even some articles that had previously been published in real newspapers.

 

 

What better way to celebrate than to return to his hometown, from which he’d fled several years ago in search of ginger maidens and Guiness. Luck had it that a festival was planned for Lindisfarne‘s 12th anniversary, so Mr. Krüger packed his bags and book and came running. At least I guess he did, knowing about his fear of flying. And he took the opportunity to re-unite with his old band Stuck, albeit going easy on the bellowing to save some strength for 8 p.m. when the Cobra’s cinema room’s door would open for his reading.

 

In the beginning Krüger seemed a bit tense, no wonder for not only was his family sitting in the first row, complete with parents, two brothers and his girlfriend, the rest of the small room was filled with old friends who had come to hear some stories first-hand.

 

 

But he quickly seemed to adapt to the scene and started to read about an eclectic mix of topics, from expats in Irelands to his above mentioned fear of flying and spiders. Since his book is written exclusively in English, Krüger translated some of his work so that the less capable German wouldn’t get lost in an English swirl.

 

 

Having read the stories before it was interesting to discover new aspects to them by way of Krüger’s introductions or intonation.

And even though the scene itself might have been nicer had the reading been in the Cobra’s Kantine, the room’s atmosphere of good will towards the author was tangible, which was really nice to experience. Whatever face I looked at either seemed just happy to see Mr. Krüger back on German soil, intrigued by his stories or smiling at his snarky side-remarks.

The evening was rounded off with a “cover” reading of Neil Gaiman’s “The day the saucers came” and his “Tale of two Spiders”. It ended with Mr. Krüger, deservedly, selling some copies of his book and then, equally deservedly, retreating to the Kantine for a small family celebration of his first reading in Germany.

 

Something wicked this way comes…

Monday left me exhausted from my HoD weekend and personal stuff. I was about to shoo all ghosts away, draw my drapes and call it a day.

I’m so glad I didn’t.

Instead I put on my big-girl-pants, figuratively speaking, packed my bag and headed over to Blankbeins, make-up-central for the night.

My Halloween survival kit contained a pair of black wings, a black dress and some make-up. And a wig. So what if all the others bought them to get long, dark hair? I have those 365 days in a row, I wanted a wig, too.

At the Blankbeins the whole kitchen table was covered in little pots and crucibles, mirrors and wipes, scary sweets and powdered make-up.

 

 

From my time of arrival everyone got uglier from minute to minute. Hair and skin whitened, ulcerous postules appeared where beforehand was immaculate skin. Scars crossed bulging tissue and teeth were shown that would scare away the most hardened dentist.

Fortunately hem-seams didn’t rise, as our posse doesn’t believe the now so fashionable credo that “slutty is the new scary”. No sexy pumpkins, sexy witches or sexy hot-dogs here, thank-you-very-much!

 

 

To be honest, we had a sexy nurse, but she was foremost a scary nurse (think of a certain game that became a movie relatively recently) and just couldn’t help the sexy part.

 

 

After all the painting, forming and playing around was done we were left with a fabulous ensemble.

We had a delirious monk that looked pestilence-ridden, a clown worse than the house of 1000 corpses, a strangled ghost bride, a scary Chucky-esque doll, a regular zombie and an one-armed one. With the scary nurse and my fallen-angel self we were quite the sight.

Good thing that we ordered some pizza, we may be undead, but we’re still hungry. Now, where’s my small brain-pizza with extra pus?

 

 

This year’s Halloweenparty at the Getaway wasn’t free for costumed guests like it had been the previous year, but admittance wasn’t too steep.

Upon our arrival at half past 10 not many guests were there yet, and even less dressed up.

The venue itself looked marvelous.

 

 

 

(all darkness and no tripod make

Liz a dull photographer)

Really too bad that most guests were either too uptight or lazy for a costume… their loss, really!

 

 

The first few hours of the night really rocked, the DJ delivered the tunes and we danced our undead asses off.

More people showed up in costumes and the place got quite crowded – except the “cocktail bar” where we stayed all night. Most of the other guests seemed to prefer their mainstream-sheep-music to our rocking beats. Again, their loss, our gain. At least we still had breathing room. Figuratively speaking, since the cocktail bar is the Get’s only smoker’s room.

 

As one shitty song started to follow the next the evening turned long and my legs heavy.

Because my Hammer of Doom weekend left me cash-less I was on a tight budget of 10 Euros, six of which I had already spent on the entrance fee. I was down to 2 Euros and the Getaway didn’t promise any more entertainment we hadn’t had enjoyed up until that point, it was already about half past one. So most of us decided to head on over to the RED, to undertake part two of the traditional “Get – RED – bed” routine.

Over there we were greeted by a handfull of customers, not one in costume as far as I could see, and the two owners. They had candy, horror movies and intricately carved pumpkins, definetely an upgrade to Get’s simply carved ones.

 

 

 

I certainly wouldn’t want that last guy to visit me that night!

Exhaustion made us take our heads hats and head home, to fall into bed and be dead until dark sunrise.

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Postscript I:

I will add more scary pictures of the posse once I have permission.

 

Postscript II:

This is your chance for the first “Liz is Sparta” give-away.

The person to guess all references to  scary popculture books or movies is in for a special treat.

Winners will be drawn out of all participants who post their guess in the comment-section.