10.09.2022 | “We’re Running Out Of Lables For Our Messed Up Minds”

Lyrics: “Lost Again” – Pet Needs, 2022

Not sure the title fits all the context of this post, but it fits my state of mind at the moment. So there you go.

Music | Check out Pet Needs new album “Primetime Entertainment”, it’s awesome. Some of their previous releases (EP, debut album) had crossed the edge of too loud/hard for me. Not on this one though. I’ve either gotten used to their style by now or they’ve toned it down a bit? I’m kidding, they clearly haven’t. But with some songs in this one they’ve also ventured into slower and much rawer territory, which came as a pleasant surprise. For instance, I did not expect the title track to be this kind of song. All in all, some wonderful ideas for stories worth telling, sensitive and important topics to touch on and some great lyrics. “Dear Abi” especially caught me by surprise, because it’s so raw and personal and I’m glad Johnny decided to share it with the world.

Just have a listen at your favourite streaming service or buy the album right away where you buy your music. [The links above lead to the band’s bandcamp, where you can listen AND buy] Here’s also a video for “Fear for the Whole Wide World”, which gives you an idea of their shows and the band in general. Great guys. I’m looking forward to seeing them a few more times this year.

Let’s switch from music promotion to more regular stuff. Although I don’t know what constitutes regular here at the moment. When I set up this new blog about two years ago, I had hoped it would get me motivated into writing more posts; shorter ones, more regularly, whatever. That didn’t really work out as I had planned. I’m still searching for the right content, I guess. How much to share or not to share? How to keep it interesting. If anyone is still following this after all. Until I find the big super perfect solution, I’ll drudge on with my occasional ramblings, I guess.

God Save The King | Yes, it does feel weird to write / say / think or sing that. Like probably many people around the world these past few days I have pondered on what my views of the British Royal Family are. To sum it up: it’s complicated for this white middleclass German. Part of the interest right now is probably the (social) media hype about the whole death of Queen Elizabeth II, the new king Charles III, the whole shebang of protocol and procedure and formalities. All the question: Should “The Crown” as institution even have any relevance today? In my social media feeds also were quite a few critical voices from the BIPOC community about all the terrible things that were done to their ancestors over centuries and even during Elizabeth II’s reign. I’m not well versed enough in British colonial history or the British governmental system, to say for sure how much of it all had been her or her family’s responsibility. But she was head of state and thus symbol for this nation and its politics, whether she liked it or not. I mean they still use the term “At Her/His Majesty’s pleasure…” on so many occasions and it’s not all just meant ceremonial, is it? So, I think those critical voices ought to be heard and I hate to see them been shut down with “But now is not the time” replies.

I miss my late mum quite a lot during these days and not because the Queen’s passing reminds me of my mum’s death last year. But following the British royal family (and other Europeans Royals as well) via yellow press or TV coverage of weddings, anniversaries, funerals was a thing we did together. My mum had a bit of gossipy but good natured interested in the Royals. I guess, because back in the late 1940s / early 1950s, the Royals were some of the few glamours celebrities available to a German audience; some of the few celebrities a young woman could have an interest in, if she was so inclined. I don’t know, we never talked about why she was interested. She just was, and I joined her in it from small age. It was a thing we did. One of the few things we actually did together, come to think of it and THAT now opens a whole other can of worms. I should make note of that and mention it to my therapist. Anyway, it feels so very weird to not talk through all that’s happening in the UK right now with her and to not watch all the TV coverage with her. It’s just not the same to do it alone in my living room.

To lighten things up… here’s a sort of random photo from Scotland. I’ve never been to Balmoral, but I think it lays somewhere in the distance of this view from Schiehallion.

On top of Schiehallion, May 2019

Therapy | Is still going well. I still haven’t established better routines to the extent that I had hoped, but I’m getting there, I think. We’re over half-way in and I need to make up my mind if I want to apply for more hours at my health insurance. It’s still a fascinating process to me. On the one hand I think “You should have gotten into that much earlier; it would have saved you so much emotional pain”. But I also know that I probably just hadn’t been ready at any earlier point in my life to articulate and openly talk about some of the things I’m struggling with. So, it’s all good, I guess.

Work | Is keeping me super busy and a bit stressed and all that at the moment. Because of unforeseen technical issues which take up so much time to solve. And because I think my counterparts in other departments could put more effort into our common projects and then I’m getting a bit pissed and ugh…! But I have lovely co-workers I can vent to over both issues, so that’s good. I still brough home some work to do on the weekend, because otherwise it’s going to be too nuts next week, where I’m taking off three days (Thursday – Monday) before a big work-event the Wednesday (after the Monday). I had planned that time off and booked things many months ago and I wouldn’t have scheduled that work event on that date, because of my other plans. But scheduling wasn’t up to me. I’ll have to deal with it, and I’ll probably check in with work for a short time each of the days even if I’m officially out of office, because I care about my work and this project and this event. Not as much as to cancel my personal plans – Ehm Lost Evenings in Germany, Hello? – but still. Sometimes I wish I could be more like those people at work who just don’t care as much. Though I really don’t want to be like them, because in that regard they suck. But still… the volume of the critical voice in my head was turned up a notch these past few days because the situation seems so overwhelming, and I don’t like it. I want that voice to be quiet! Hence the therapy. Among other things…

Let’s see how long it will take me to write another post. You can find me on Twitter for more regular updates and on Instagram (even though not as much).

31.08.2022 | “Juni, Juli, Augusti…” – A Swedish Summer Day 25 Years Ago

In early August 1997 Bro2 drove me all the way up to Stockholm, Sweden from Germany so I could start my term abroad at the Kunglia Tekniska Högskolan. Exciting times. I had been a big fan of Roxette for a few years by then and been to Sweden on (fan)-vacation before. Roxette and the Swedish music Per & Marie had released before Roxette was the reason I started learning Swedish in the first place.

Two of my closest friends (back then and still today) came up to visit at the end of August, before the new uni term started in Germany. Terms hadn’t started in Sweden either so besides the language class I had time to spend with my friends. Or maybe the language class had already ended? I can’t remember, it’s a fucking long time ago. I don’t recall in bright detail what the three of us did together during our visit. The classic tourist things to do in Stockholm. Gamla Stan, the old town. Skansen, the open air museum. The Vasa museum with the sunken ship recovered after it had been down in the sea for a few centuries.

There are two moments I recall well though. The first for unknown reasons. We had spent some time on the inner city island Skeppsholmen and ended up having some snacks sitting up on a cliff on the adjoning small island Kastellholmen. I was teaching my friends the Swedish lyrics to the few new songs Per Gessle (from Roxette) had released with his former Swedish band Gyllene Tider the year before. “Juni, Juli, Augusti” for instance or “Gå och fiska”. Easygoing popsongs.

The 2nd memory is from our day trip on 31st August to Drottingholm, the residence of the Swedish Royal Family, a bit outside central Stockholm. You can’t visit the palace itself – the royal family lives there – but the grounds and parks and such and it was a lovely sunny summer day. At some point during the day we noticed that the flag on top of the castle was flying half-mast and we wondered for a bit. Was it a sign that the family wasn’t in residence? Usually it’s a sign of mourning. But who could have died in Sweden? We didn’t think about it for too long though as I recall. When we came back to the gates to catch the bus back to the city, we passed a small kiosk selling drinks and newspapers. I think my friends might have went to use the restrooms there as well, because I’m pretty sure I was on my own when I saw the front of the Swedish tabloid Expressen with a photo of Lady Di and the headline that she had died in a car crash the night before. I bought the paper and tried to translate the story as best I could for my friends with my still rudimentary Swedish.

I don’t remember how much attention I paid to what was going on in the UK in the days following. My term started and I had to go to classes and start of term activities and get to know other people in my year and all. I’m sure I caught the gist of it. I do remember watching the funeral on my TV in my room the week or so later. I had watched all the royal wedding, anniversaries and such on TV with my mum up till that point, because she had a thing for it. So I did watch it in my room in Stockholm as well. On my floor at the dorm there also had been a guy from the UK. Alex? I don’t remember. I do remember that I thought he was one of the cool guys, a bit punk, but nice. British! I was not cool then. Neither now, but now I don’t care that much at least. We didn’t talk about Lady Di or the whole thing at all, I think. But he was watching the funeral on the TV in the common room and not in an ironical way. It did matter to him. I probably could have joined him, but like I said, I wasn’t cool and way to insecure and all that 25 years ago.

Weird the things you remember. The one other thing I still remember from that TV coverage – maybe because it’s been shown again and again later – was the sad, heart breaking visual of the small Prince Harry (and William of course as well) walking in the funeral procession. I had only been two years older when I had to bury my father eight years before that. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to have the whole world watching you while you do that. Looking back on it all now, I feel a bit bad for later having judged Prince Harry for all the stupid things he did while he was getting older: the Nazi uniform at a dress-up party, playing strip poker in a hotel room in Las Vegas… He was messed up. He had gotten messed up with what happened to him and most probably also how his family – the firm – handled it all.

Anyway… that’s my memory of that day in August 25 years ago.

Not Drottningholm, but Stockholm at least 🙂

28.08.2022 | Week 35

I should stop trying to come up with reasons and apologies for not posting more during the week and just accept that at the moment a weekly recap on Sunday (evening) is all I’m ready for or willing to do. There will be other times. Someday. I hope.

Work was mostly fine this week, which is a relief. Still lots to do, but at least I’m getting good feedback and that’s worth a lot. For someone like me who doubts herself a lot. Like A LOT! From next week on I’ll try to be back to the two-days-at-the-office schedule, for as long as the pandemic and/or the expected energy crisis here in Germany will let me. In regards to the energy crisis: on Friday I rather impromptu bought some small solar panels for my windowsill, basically. Usually they are thought to be for people out camping, hiking, that kind of thing, but I thought I could just as well make use of it in my flat and start charging my small devices (phone, mediaplayer, powerbank, rechargeable batteries…) with some solar power. I’m still trying it out, but so far I#m quite happy with how it’s going.

Therapy is still going fine. I learn a lot about myself and bit by bit manage to establish helpful routines and break unhelpful thought patterns. I should have started that years ago. Seriously! I’m also glad that I can talk openly about it with my coworkers, because they also have their share of mental health problems, as it turns out. We really “are just like everybody else” to quote my favourite songwriter once more.

Not much else has been happening. My life is boring AF at the moment. As always. I’m getting excited for Frank Turner’s “Lost Evenings” in Berlin in 2.5 weeks and another Frank gig in Cologne three days before that. Yes, that’s five Frank gigs in a one week. So, what? I’m excited. I’m not sure I’ll do other touristy things during the day of the festival. There will be panels and other side events (still to be announced) and I might just spend my days with a book on the patio of my hotel or on a bench at the canal near by until it’s time to head over to the venue. Pacing myself, because from experience I know Lost Evenings can be exhausting! But I’m looking forward to it. To meet up with gig buddies from all over Europe and a few from the US as well.

Lost Evenings, 2018
“This is my culture, man, this is my home” – Lost Evenings 2018

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