Archive for February, 2010
It was good to get the paintings on the wall. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve panicked that I’d not done enough, but seeing them on the walls of the gallery, with space around them, it’s almost a perfect amount. Kinda looking forward to the tomorrow night’s opening now. And it was fun to put them up, too. Headphones on, listening to Band of Horses, Miniature Tigers, and Michael Jackson, banging nails in the wall… And any time I get to use a spirit level, I feel more of a man. It only took a couple of hours, so I had an afternoon free to explore the town. I could see a big tower, and I’d been told the river was that way, so I walked towards it. It’s a very cool tower.
It’s called the Rheinturm (Rhine Tower), it is (in my head) where Kraftwerk live. It’s where they sleep, where they have breakfast, where they play with their robots, and where they make their music. It stands on the bank of the Rhine which is fucking massive. A really wide river, and at the moment, the water is quite high. And it flows quick, too.
I stood on the thin walkway underneath a bridge, took a couple of photos, and then walked towards the town. As I left the walkway, I found myself right in front of an old man who was pissing against the bridge. I apologised, but, y’know, really, he should’ve apologised for public urination, and exposing his old man cock to me. It was stinky. Either he’d been drinking sewage smoothies, or it was a popular place to piss.
The centre of the town is kinda pretty, but kinda generically West German. Some nice buildings, but a lot of that post-war town planning, with pedestrianised areas full of McDonald’s and H&M-type; stores. I went into Starbucks to get a coffee, and found myself behind that worst possible collection of people in a Starbucks queue: four teenage girls spending their pocket money on venti-iced-tiramisu-accinos-with-three-pumps-of-cherry-syrup.
(I like how on this stone carving of Jesus on the cross, he looks more like a member of a 1970s German rock band than our Lord and Saviour.)
In hindsight, I’m kinda surprised that anyone was working today in Düsseldorf because – flappy hands – Depeche Mode are playing LIVE! HERE! TONITE! OMG! It’s a vast generalisation, but EVERY PERSON IN GERMANY LOVES DEPECHE MODE MORE THAN THEIR OWN MOTHER. If Rapunzel was set in modern day Germany, the wicked enchantress would be staying at home tonight, and you’d be going to the show and giving up your blond-haired daughter in a few months. Lots of black-haired folks milling around the centre of town, and a few Brits in Depeche Mode sweatshirts – sweatshirts! – getting their beer on. The Depeche Mode sweatshirt: for those times when you wanna show you love for the Peche, but it’s a bit nippy out. I say all this, of course, in the knowledge that I spent my whole time wandering around Düsseldorf listening to Kraftwerk. And I do kinda like Depeche Mode, and if I had a ticket for the show, I’d like to go.
Düsseldorf smells weird. Like wet dogs.
Even though I’ve been here before, and made the pilgrimage last time, I couldn’t come here without walking down Mintropstrasse to see the place where Kraftwerk’s Kling Klang studio is (was).
Last time, the big metal shutters were closed, but this time not, so I walked into the courtyard and, well, I don’t know where exactly their studio was, but I like to think it was next to the awesome grey Mercedes. Of course, I spent the whole time imagining people in the building looking out, thinking, Oh Jeez, another nerdy bloke taking bloody photos of nothing in particular because “Autobahn” was made here.
As I left the courtyard, I bumped into this older guy. “Hey!,” I said, “you’re Ralf Hütter, leader of Kraftwerk and keen cyclist!”
“Ja, I am,” said Ralf.
“Awesome! Listen to this!” I took off my headphones and thrust them onto his head. He pulled away like I was invading his personal space, but I was tenacious and managed to get them on his ears.
“Das ist Daft Punk,” said Ralf.
“Oh,” I said, “Well, I was listening to Kraftwerk a moment ago.”
“Yes, very good. Thank you. I must go now.”
“No, no, no, hold on a second.” I said, my knuckles whitening as I gripped his arms. “Listen, do you know who I am? I’m Craig Robinson.”
“Oh yes, I am looking very much forward to seeing Hot Tub Time Machine. And I like you in The Office. You use a lot of make-up in the movies, right?”
“No, I’m not that Craig Robinson. I’m the one who does Minipops and I did an animated thing about a duck called Ralf named after you.”
“Oh, I see. You are him. Well, I don’t like you.”
“I’m sorry to hear that, Ralf. I like you very much. I think your music is fantastic, and quite frankly, I was disappointed when I saw that “The Catalogue” box set had pixiliated artwork and you never asked me to do it. It, and I’m not over-exaggerating here, would’ve been my dream job.”
“Well, as I said, Other Craig Robinson, I think your work is shit, so I could not give a – how you say – toss what you think. Good day to you, please let go of my ankles.”
I wrote the following into my iPod around lunchtime today.
Sat on the doorstep of the Nina sagt gallery. The step is deep enough to shield me from the rain. Waiting for Nina, the gallery owner, to arrive. She went off to sort out booze and music for the opening tomorrow before I left her apartment, where she’s graciously putting me up for the weekend. I can see my paintings rested against the walls through the window. Now I’m here and there’s nothing I can add to the work, I’m a wee bit calmer about it all. And sitting here, dry but with rain coming down just inches from my face, listening to the Steve Miller Band (my current obsession), I feel kinda good.
Düsseldorfians walking by, the occasional smile, and for some reason I feel safe. I feel like I could fall asleep in this doorway. Times like this I wonder if taking up something like meditation would be good. I’d like to feel calmer more often. At the moment, though, I’m going through a phase of cluster headaches. I’m sure I must’ve mentioned them before, but if you don’t know what they are, they’re headaches that come in clusters. The length and size of the clusters vary from person to person, and I get it easy, comparatively.
I usually get them for a three or four week period, then nothing for eight months to a year. This last period of remission has been the longest since I started getting the headaches in my early twenties. This is my first cluster since September 2008. If you look on Wikipedia, you’ll see they are also known as suicide headaches. A rather ominous name, but if I was one of the poor souls who gets them every day for months on end, that name would seem a lot more apt. As it is, I ordinarily get them every 48 hours at about 2am for three to four weeks. I had my first one of this cluster last Friday, another on Sunday, and again on Wednesday.
It’s only since my last outbreak that I’ve known what they were. For many years I thought they were part of the iritis I occasionally get. My eye doctor was a bit perplexed by that, but seemed to concur. It just so happened that I would get them around the same time I was getting iritis. When they started to appear at times when no iritis was going on, a doctor thought they were likely to be migraines. So for about three years I was treated with migraine medication but with no real relief. Then I read an article in a British newspaper that mentioned a guy was medicating himself for these weird headaches with magic mushrooms. That obviously piqued my interest, so I read up on cluster headaches and found the symptoms to be the exact same thing that i was having: set-your-clock regularity, searing pain behind one eye, and being woken up by them. And during an active phase, alcohol being a trigger.
That last one is particularly frustrating cos I’d like to have a beer to celebrate my exhibition tomorrow night, but I can’t cos it’ll bring a headache on as sure as eggs is eggs. But looking at online forums, people have lots of non-prescription methods of retarding the headaches which, if not killing them, makes them less powerful and shorter in duration. So this period is a trial run for self-medication. When the first one happened on Friday, I went straight to the kitchen, switched the kettle on, and made a pot of coffee. Caffeine, you see, works for some people. And it helped for me. Instead of a three to four hour headache, it was gone in an hour-and-a-half. And it never reached the normal peak of pain.
In preparation for Sunday’s headache, I bought a couple of cans of Red Bull. Energy drinks were said to be a good way of killing it quickly. It had the same effect as the coffee because, again, by the time the pain woke me up, it was already in full flow. For some reason, I didn’t have one on Tuesday night. I dunno how much I should believe this, but I stayed awake and kinda had a bullish self-belief that I. Will. Not. Have. A. Headache. But it seems all I’d done was postpone it by 24 hours. I was still awake when it kicked in on Wednesday so gave it a threeway blast of possible remedies. Can of Red Bull, a few blasts of pure oxygen (mentioned on the forums as the best cure) and, err, sexual activity. Why the last one can cure a headache, I don’t know, but it was worth a shot. So I popped open the laptop, went to a porn site, and, well, I don’t need to describe the rest. But it worked a treat. The headache never went beyond a regular headache level of pain and lasted just half an hour. I’d like to thank Belladonna and Dana Vespoli for their sterling help with that.
Sadly, though, I got the worst of the bunch last night. After arriving in Düsseldorf, Nina, a couple of her friends, and I drove 20 minutes up the road to Cologne to go to the opening party of a clothes shop. Claudio, one of Nina’s friends, is a fashion blogger, so I’m sure it was interesting for him. Me, well, anyone who knows me will know my interest in clothing doesn’t really extend beyond baseball caps. Still, Cologne’s beautiful and fashionable people were out in droves, and, my oh my, there are some stunning women in Cologne. But the lights and loud music were doing me no good. I was hoping I could get bullish with the headache again, but to no avail.
I left to get a Red Bull (what a disgusting drink that is, too, and it always leaves me feeling really dehydrated) and I got the key from Nina and went to sit in the car to wait the headache out. The car was parked in an underground garage. It was difficult to get comfortable and shield myself from the lights in the garage. I ended up lying on the back seat groaning to myself. A couple of hours later, the others left the party, we drove back to Düsseldorf, and soon I was in bed as the embers of the headache burned themselves out. And what a night’s sleep. A good solid ten disruption-free hours. Still got a slight “shadow” of the headache today, which tends to happen, but I feel a lot better for the sleep. Anyway, Nina’s just arrived. Time to hang my paintings.
This weekend, on Saturday, my exhibition at the Nina sagt Kunstgalerie in Düsseldorf opens. The show is called Back to the Future IV. It’s an exhibition of twenty-one paintings done over the past four months. You wouldn’t really know it to look at them, but it has been one of the most difficult projects I’ve ever worked on. Mostly because sitting there, in front of an easel, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the past couple of years of my life. And while there’s no real unifying theme that you’d be able to tell from looking at the paintings, I guess that is the theme: trying to take stock of my thirty-eighth and thirty-ninth years as a human being. Obviously, I will return to my reptilian form shortly, but it felt like a good thing to reflect on those things. I’m not sure you can tell that there’s any element of taking stock by looking at the work, but it does kinda sum things up for me. And doing the work has made things a little clearer in my head.
Frankly, I’m really nervous about the show. I’m usually confident about the work that I do; over-confident possibly. But not this time. I’m shitting my pants. My friend Hanni came around last night to look at the paintings. She liked what I’d done, and more than anyone, I trust her eyes, so I’m feeling a bit better about it all. All of which is a rather poor way of saying: if you’re in Kraftwerk’s home town between 27 February and 20 March and have a free moment, you can see some of my stuff at Nina sagt Kunstgalerie, Talstraße 118, Düsseldorf. I’ll be there for the opening night thingy this Saturday, so, y’know, feel free to say hello; I’m not as grumpy as I might look (well, sometimes I am, but on Saturday I won’t be, hopefully).
Found this photo of a Lego moon landing. Probably taken at some point in the Seventies. Large version on Flickr.
Found this photo in a box last night. It was taken in September 2002 in the cafe at the
Safeway Morrisons supermarket in Lincoln. Large version on Flickr.
“We as a society appear to be scraping the bottom of the barrel for new Web-gallery ideas.”
“really???? REALLY???? youthoughtthiswouldinterestus?”
“Perhaps “masquerading as art” should be the title.”
“Today I was feeling sorry for myself, thinking I didn’t have much going on, things I wanted weren’t happening… Until I saw this. Now I feel much, much better.”
“wtf is the point of this?”
“Is it just me or is this guy really creepy?”
Those Tic Tacs got stuck while I was in the US. So it’s only right that I put up a gallery of European Stuck Tic Tacs, right? Right?
Animated GIF from photos taken at PGE Park in Portland, Oregon last summer. A couple of the background people are enjoyable to watch, too; specifically the girl putting the white cap on, and the girl in the white t-shirt swishing her hair.
I have no real opinion on the re-working of We Are the World. I watched the video and realised how few modern singers I can recognise. We’ve had a couple of re-workings of the Band Aid song; they come and go, and we don’t remember anything about the re-workings apart from that they’re not the original. I guess it’s possible that for 15-year-olds, this could be their definitive version of We Are the World. The main thing I noticed though was Brian Wilson. One always gets the feeling that he doesn’t really know what’s going on. I’ve seen him live a few times, and I never got the feeling that he wouldn’t rather be at home with a tub of ice cream. He looks so out of place in the We Are the World video. But more than that: why the fuck is Al Jardine in the front row?
Damn girl you are so sweet and humble!
Damn girl scout cookies can’t stop eaying ya…nom nom nom
Damn girl stop throwing yourself @ this dude.
Damn girl u luv u sum burgerz huh? Lol
damn girl…2 hours? Smh yall females
Damn girl busted again
Damn girl, your taking forever to come back
damn girl i hope everything works out
damn girl! Ahaha i could easily say the same.
damn girl we use to be friends
Damn girl !! You know we gone get to it tooooooniiiiight toooooonight tooooniiight tooooniiiight!
damn girl get a job there
damn girl, you hurt my side when you said that….
damn girl u must b bored lol
Damn girl! Lol
damn girl, yu gained weight!!
damn girl you dont need this shit.
damn girl tv, couches wat else.
damn girl hand it over til i check out all the hotness :P
damn girl hahaha
damn girl i respect everything ur doing
damn girl where u stay at??
DAMN….GIRL WAT YOU TRYNNA DO?
damn girl damn yous a sexy chiiick
Damn girl, why aren’t we facebook friends?
Damn Girl! You’s A Sexy Chick!
damn girl you got ass like that I know I gotta follow you lol
Damn girl u broke.
Damn girl! I need to learn from you..except I have no booty so there goes that.
Damn girl, growl like a bear
Damn Girl, Is You Ever Gonna #ShutTheHellUp ?
Damn girl!!! I wanna b wit u 4eva!!
Previously: Battery’s dead
7.30am. It’s 44 days since I’ve been up this early in the morning. That’s the dubious beauty of keeping a chart of your sleep hours: you know exactly how long it has been since you were up at a time when most people are getting up. It’s only the second time this year that I’ve been awake before 9.00am. Pathetic, really. Especially when you contrast it with the six times I’ve woken after noon in that time. Only had six hours sleep. And I woke up four times within those six hours. And I dreamt I was smoking in bed. Not just smoking in bed, but I was dreaming that I was sleeping and smoking at the same time. For some reason, I feel like I should listen to some Small Faces. I went outside to get some milk. More snow on the ground. Joy. My friend Max and I went to see Dave Bazan last night. I didn’t really know his music before, but I heard him doing a few songs on the radio in Seattle last year. He’s really good. You should see him if he’s coming to your town. The woman working behind the bar at the venue had the exact same glasses as me. They looked better on her because she was very pretty. There’ll probably be a few boring posts like this. Gotta just get back in the habit of writing. By way of a distraction, here’s some photos of details of a few of the paintings that’ll be in the Back to the Future IV exhibition.
I fell asleep with A Clockwork Orange playing. I don’t really understand why I chose to watch that particular film at 5.30 in the morning. I woke up around noon. And when I turned my laptop on, I was slightly surprised to find I’d done a drunken blog post. Oops. It was good, though, to go out and get a bit too drunk. I’ve been feeling fairly tightly wound for the past seven or eight weeks and really needed a nice big get-fucked-up night. And even though I kinda wish I hadn’t put up that drunken blog post, in one way, I’m happy I did. I’ve gotten out of the habit of writing about stuff and it has been a wee bit tough to get back into it. I read old blog posts and see a more interesting person than I feel now.
There’s gotta be a way to bash through it, though, and just typing is probably the best way. Just type. And include hyperlinks to the songs I am listening to as I type. Getting from my apartment to the bar last night was quite eventful. I was getting dressed, went into my office to get my shoes, and there was a smell like something was burning. I had a check around, everything seemed fine, but the smell was still there. Left the apartment and there was a stronger smoke smell in the stairwell. And it was a bit hazy, too. Hymn From a Village. The people who live in the flat below me had had some sort of fire. As I left there were a bunch of firemen and policemen stood around. (See, this is the problem, I don’t feel what I have to talk about is actually very interesting.) It obviously wasn’t that bad, cos lots of people, the tennants and stuff, were all just hanging around, and the firemen didn’t seem to care that much about their presence. Then there was a woman on the subway platform who was quite clearly having some sort of problem, shouting at people. As a train pulled in, she got on, and two ambulance dudes got on behind her to try and take her off. Lazarus. She and her companion insisted they were fine. On the train, at the next station, a woman got on and stood next to me near the door. As soon as the doors slid shut, she burst out crying. Next station, a woman who was selling a Big Issue-style magazine was trying to sell them and asking for spare change. The only change I had was eleven cents in coppers. She looked at my hand, looked at my slightly apologetic face, and shrugged my offer away.
Walking around is tough in Berlin at the moment. After five or six weeks of on/off/on again snow, the pavements have become caked with re-frozen slush. Tiny steps, no big strides. I’m glad I’m not an OAP with a dodgy hip. I fell over a couple of days ago. No damage done. My Favourite Dress. Not sure if I’m misremembering the past, but it seems to me that shopkeepers used to clear the pavements when I was younger. I know they did in Bellingham last year. Berlin is a grind when it is like this. The never ending greyness. Grey grey grey grey. Every single day. Right now, I’ve got a tickle in my ear. Seeing how long I can leave it before I have to stick my knuckle in there and have a good wiggle around. The weather and my mood are hand in hand right now. I had to re-type “weather” three times just then. (Waether.) I’d like to get my bicycle out and go for a ride, but it’s too cold, too icy. Sproston Green. I feel like I scraping the last dregs out of an old Nutella jar with this post. Hoping that by doing so, I can permit myself to open a nice new jar, stick a knife in and, and, whatever the end of this metaphor is. You know what I mean, and even if I’ve not made myself clear, it probably doesn’t matter. Actually, there’s no probably about it. Still, there are few things in life as simple and enjoyable as peeling off the thing on a new jar of Nutella and sticking a tea spoon in there and sucking the goodness off. End of blah blah. Big Decision.
Nothing beats the Super Bowl. Such an enjoyable occasion. And one can get drunk. Very drunk. Go Saints. And then slip slide on the Berlin ice all the way home. And then take a photo of yourself in the bathroom mirror for posterity whilst one listens to the Wonder Stuff. Yep. drunk. Fuck normal life. Fuck everything. Being drunk is good good good. I fucking hate daylight and sobriety. I bet on the game and won 35 euros. And spent it on Jaegermeister. Gulp. 5-ish in the morning. This is the end of the blog post I may well regret in the morning.
My battery’s dying, for those interested
fuck, the battery’s dying
Shitt, my battery’s dying :(
Ahhhh! My battery’s dying!
Ahhhh! Phone battery’s dying!
Uh-oh battery’s dying. =(
Frack! My battery’s dying!
Damn my battery’s dying
battery’s dying :’(
gahn battery’s dying
ok, battery’s dying, gotta go..
aww battery’s dying :| goodnightt :)
welp battery’s dying
My battery’s dying. . . Crap. :(
My battery’s dying fml
Lol, my phone battery’s dying.
Stupid battery’s dying
AAAAH GOD, MY BATTERY’S DYING!!
UGH… MY BATTERY’S DYING. . N0000000000000000000!
Battery’s dying!!!! Omg!!
Gutted! Battery’s dying
Urgh, my battery’s dying -.-
I came across this, a two-part video explanation of the rules of British, or Welsh, baseball.