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Bleeding Edge

23.09.13
2 min
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I woke up this morning and my vacuum was full. My mother asked me on Skype which party I would have voted for, had I the right to vote in Germany, which I don’t, being Austrian. I’m not sure if I’m going to vote in Austria next week, given that I have been gone for 13 years and have no idea what’s going on. Another vacuum, the political. I went out to buy vacuum bags, which seems to be a bigger and more corrupt industry than printer ink and toner. Dust must be the greatest conqueror of them all, it occupies everything and will always be there, will always return. I made a mental note: research the history of the vacuum cleaner. I couldn’t find the right vacuum bag for my model, the Rowenta Power Space. That sucks, or doesn’t. Back home I found a package containing Thomas Pynchon’s new novel “Bleeding Edge”, as well as an email from Christopher, asking me to participate in the 60pages project, so naturally I decided that “Bleeding Edge” must be my first pick. It is set shortly before September 11th, 2001 and shortly after the collapse of the dotcom bubble, in another vacuum. There are covert FBI sting operations going on in the donut empires of the USA, a cruise ship carrying “AMBOPEDIA Frolix”, a yearly gathering of the American Borderline Personality Disorder Association, but also catering to people self-diagnosed with Generic Undiagnosed James Bond Syndrome (“Hasn’t made it into the DSM yet, but they’re lobbying, maybe the fifth edition…”), a video pirate whose strange method of zooming in and out of the cinema blockbusters he pirates is dubbed a “neo-Brechtian subversion of the diegesis” by an enthusiastic NYU professor, and all that before I reached page 15.

Jeet Thayil
People

When I recently met Jeet in Delhi, he could have gone as a mafia don of Bombay´s underworld in the 1970s. But then I do not know a single gangster who would be such a blessed multi-talent and such a colourful character. As a neo-novelist, performance poet, songwriter and guitarist, Jeet masters the art to combine his interdisciplinary affinity. Why should he always read from his sensational novel Narcopolis which earned him the 2013 South Asian Literature Prize and certainly a top celebrity status? He can easily lull audiences presenting excerpts from the book through soft, melodious, half-sung, lullaby-like whispers even when the sinister context should freeze the blood (or optionally heroin) in your veins. Jeet has travelled to many sleepless metropoles around the world since his childhood, but he also confesses that a nap is always a good idea. Innocently born in Kerala, a state in South India globally branded as God´s Own Country, he went to live in Hong Kong, New York and Bombay where he experienced quite some adventures until he landed up in Delhi. The Indian capital encouraged him to observe, by his standards, a relatively bourgeois lifestyle. I do not think that I will ever be able to hold a candle to him regarding narcotic expertise. Still I am not too depressed since Narcopolis had such a hallucinatory effect on my senses that I just had to inhale some pages to get temporarily stoned.

The Tills
People

When I saw them in Munich they looked gorgeous and at ease because they were at home in this city that they had charmed into loving them and sometimes worshipping them with a vengeance for their nightly ceremonies, a court following in their dynastically inclined city which seemed to have turned this dormant town into a moveable feast. When I saw them in Berlin they looked wild and slightly lost in the best possible way, wearing moustaches and the pride of people who know better than to feel lost, a gift of fate only bestowed upon the happy few. When I saw them in Paris they looked like they had just stepped out of a French movie that had never been made, neither in the 60s nor the 80s nor the naughts and surely not because of a lack of sex or pop or the sheer and beautiful provocation that youth is over and over again, for each time anew – but because they were the movie, it was already there, no point in trying to put that explosion of glamour and truth into a film. The Tills, Milen and Amedée, are, in other words, a cultural phenomenon of their own making. They do come from a thouroughly cosmopolitain background, the mother French-Bulgarian and publisher, the father a Munich institution as a museums man – but what is more, they are able to direct the vagabund longings of their period towards them, they are a magnet and their medium is music as much as the mirrow they provide for the rest of us, less blessed, devils only in our own minds.

Gregor Jansen
People

Die aktuelle Ausstellung in der Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, deren Leiter Gregor Jansen seit drei Jahren und für weitere fünf Jahre ist, die aktuelle Ausstellung heißt “Leben mit Pop. Eine Reproduktion des Kapitalistischen Realismus”. Das ist erstmal ein sehr schöner Titel voller Gegenwart und Ironie. Nicht nur, weil das, was da gezeigt wird, tatsächlich Reproduktionen sind. In den frühen 1960ern gab es mal den Kapitalistischen Realismus. Wirklich westdeutsche Kunst, aus der jungen Bundesrepublik, west-westdeutsch. Bonn war Hauptstadt, die Mauer stand, Beuys war in Hochform und dann kamen Manfred Kuttner, Konrad Lueg, Sigmar Polke und Gerhard Richter und machten Aktionen in Möbelhäusern und malten Gegenwart ab, Zeitungen, Fernsehen, Werbung. Fake. Wirtschaftswunder und Wehrmachtsuniformen. Pop eben. Sehr Düsseldorf. Florian Schneider und Ralf Hütter gründeten gerade ihre erste Band “Organisation”, Fluxus war überall, in Köln machte Rolf Dieter Brinkmann Pop Radio und ganz in der Nähe wurde Gregor Jansen geboren. Und jetzt leitet er dieses schöne Haus (auch ein tolles Stück Bundesrepublik, das mal abgerissen werden sollte) und erinnert uns an die Gegenwart. Kritiker haben geschrieben, dass das nur Reproduktionen seien, weil der Versicherungswert der Polkes und Richters für das kleine Haus viel zu hoch sei. Da wird sich Gregor schlapp gelacht haben. Die Taktik ist voll aufgegangen. Vom Spekulativen zum kapitalistischen Realismus. Das ist rheinischer Humor. Gemischt mit asiatischem. Westwärts. Endlich.

Frittatensuppe

17.09.13
1 min
Post

Frittatensuppe is the most delicious soup you can get in Austria. It’s a crazy mixture between Brühe and Eierkuchen. The Eierkuchen (egg pancakes) is sliced in tiny pieces and is floating in the Brühe (broth). It looks like an uncomplicated and not very spectacular meal. But it’s an explosion of taste. When the Brühe flows down your throat and the spongy slices of the Eierkuchen remain in your mouth, you almost feel like you are a real Austrian Madl. It’s spectacular and an explosion of taste. You can get a tiny little bowl of it for just 1.20€ everywhere. Spectacular. Spectacular. Spectacular. Last week I went to the doctor having a full health check up. He said my cholesterol level would be way to high. I think it’s the devilish Frittatensuppe. I can’t get enough of it. Teufelszeug.

Mavie Hörbiger
People

I know Mavie from the time she lived in Berlin. She had a small dog called Attila (like her great-uncle Attila Hörbiger, the Dienstmann in the Third Man, or was this his brother Paul? It was the father-projection of Isabelle Adjani in Claude Miller’s film The Eye Of the Beholder (Mortelle randonnée), Michel Serrault following his daughter-projection through France) and a Smart car. It was Mavie (“my life” in French), the dog and the car. They where a perfect set designed by some smartass in the valley. MaVie, MonChien, MaCaisse. She played theatre in Hannover. Lulu in a version by Moritz von Uslar. She was a star for being Heidi in a German comedy. Film loves her. All her glamour explodes on the screen. She went to Basel to play more theatre. She married, got pregnant, and moved with her husband to Vienna. Thomas Bernhard said the Austrians don’t respect anything but actors. Her husband is also an actor. A very famous one. Mavie plays now at the Burgtheater. It’s the Hörbiger legacy. The Burgtheater is the olymp of acting. At least if you are into theatre. Mavie has two children now. Wilma and Peter. MaVie. MonMarie. MonTheatre. Designed by Hörbiger.

David Iselin
People

It sounds somehow ridiculous to say it but David is a man in full. Although he is still young he looks at the world with a mature man’s eyes. He has the best bullshit detector that I know of and because he inspires confidence it is a privilege to have him as a friend. When I met him he impressed me with his being fluent in Japanese. Than he impressed me with his precise and elegant manners. He has the fitness of a military man and the mind of a philosopher; if you are looking for someone to cry with in front of Bellinis “Ecstasy of St. Francis” at the Frick on one day and go to war with on another he is the perfect man.

Jeanne Tremsal
People

“We met Jeanne for the first time in summer 2007, in the Erste Liga (First League) at the DJ Kaos Night. Zelinda, an Italian, introduced us to Jeanne as French, she knew that we are frogmunchers as well. We were all very drunk. A. was dancing with Jeanne wild rock’n’roll, while M. ordered more drinks at the bar. Since that night our friendship grew and moved from town to town. Paris, Berlin, Munich is our common home and our 60 mutual friends know our 60 shared secrets.” This was our text about Jeanne, full of love, full of shared emotions, brilliantly funny and smart. We sent it to Georg (ok, in German) and half an hour later he would ask: “Didn’t you see the website? The texts are all in English and longer… and funnier!” What? Where? Our text is funny. As funny as a text about friends can be. Jeanne will think it is funny. It is even making fun of us. And why English? Not French? Like us, like Jeanne. Who? What? Quoi? C’est drôle. C’est vachement drôle. Idiots.

Finn Canonica
People

My first contact with Finn was via an email exchange between Tokyo and Zurich. I sent him a text I had written about a walk through the Ryogoku neighbourhood, which is famous mainly for all the Sumo stables of Tokyo that are located there. I thought the text would fit very nicely into DAS MAGAZIN. Finn didn’t think the same. That’s how we became friends. I tell him stories about Japan and he challenges me what the journalistic point in it was. I usually have no idea. He once gave me a book (he gives books to everybody all the time) called ‘Moo Pak’ by Gabriel Josipovici. Jack Toledano, the main character, talks to his friend Damien Anderson on long walks through London (actually about a novel that never gets written, but that’s not the point). Finn is Jack. When you meet him you have to walk (or at least move), and discuss the world. And believe me, these are never easy walks. He goes fast. It’s always the slopes, the hills, the long streets. We have walked together fast through Tokyo (loving it), fast through Hong Kong (hating it), fast through New York, Berlin, Zurich (loving and sometimes hating it). It’s always very navy seals (team 6 to be clear). ‘The only easy day was yesterday’, they say. What do you do with the summers you have left? Never waste time with boring people. Never sit when you can walk. Never drink coffee for more than 10 minutes. Never kneel down. Never obey. Never eat shit. Never dress badly. Never waste time in offices, in stupid meetings, inside. Go outside. Just fucking do it. Hoaah. #60

Stefano Sardo
People

Did I mention the table in Telluride with Frances Ford Coppola, Bruce Dern and Don DeLillo? Yes, I did. Actually I did mention it twice. Later, when the whole situation dissolved I went outside, where you had this incredible view on the Rockies. It was getting dark and I wanted a cigarette. The Europeans usually stand together outside and smoke (Douglas Coupland, Microserfes: “These poor Europeans.”) I had spoken to Stefano briefly at JFK before we entered the charter. Now I asked him for a fag. His brother, a chain smoker, knew that Bärbel a German volunteer to the festival for 33 years had a pack of American Spirits. The orange ones. Nice. It’s always good to be around Italians at parties. Stefano is a two-smokes-a-day-man like me. They told me about The Slow Food Story––his documentary. Stefano’s brother came by car from Oakland, in the San Francisco Bay area. He is in the Slow Food business, importing the good stuff from Italy. Stefano told me that he is usually a scriptwriter. Slow Food Story is his first documentary. Because the movement came from Bra, his hometown. All of Stefano’s scripts and projects sound great: Il ragazzo invisibile (scheduled for 2014), 1992 (TV series), In Treatment (TV series), Pronti a tutto, La doppia ora, Come si deve. If you google these, (not that I google anymore) you get images of all these good-looking actors and actresses but no storyline. If you google Stefano Sardo you get a lot about the Slow Food Story but also this design line from the German Möbelhaus “Porta” comes up: Couches and sofas by Stefano Sardo. Lots of Polstermöbel. Back to Slow Food: Stefano’s film was scheduled for the Saturday morning. The cinema was packed. Michael Moore came from somewhere to see it. The festival co-director Tom Luddy introduced it mentioning his long-time friendship to Alice Waters and that he gave more interviews over the years about food than about film. This is for me the most interesting angle about Slow Food: Tom Luddy and Alice Waters* came out of the 1960s Berkeley Free Speech movement. Luddy was a Maoist––Carlo Pertini, the motor behind the Italian Slow Food movement, was a political activist in the communist movement Partito di Unità Proletaria. Furthermore the Italians behind it were mostly very funny comedians. Stefano’s film is also really funny. Really Italian. We met Stefano the day after Telluride in Berlin, jetlagged, giving interviews for the film’s German distribution in October. We convinced him to write his 60picks for the next 60 days. Now!

*In 1980, Werner Herzog asked Waters to cook his shoe for the film Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe. She prepared the shoe in the Chez Panisse kitchen, braising it in duck fat, herbs, and spices.

Bleeding Edge

23.09.13
2 min

Frittatensuppe

17.09.13
1 min