I know why France voted no to the constitution. It’s because they are not done reading it yet. Have a look. Ugh! Good luck trying to use the phrase, “Hey buddy! I know my rights!” with a cop or fellow citizen here. They might call your bluff. Then they might ask you to help explain it.
France said no to the European constitution. What does this mean? I don’t know. I haven’t really been following it. The question I have that nobody seems to be able to answer is: In deciding some matters of European Union policy, why do some countries have a public referendum, such as the case in France, and some have a parliamentary decision, such as the case in Germany? I asked a roomful of Germans and heard a cricket symphony. Anybody know?
In other news, I rollerbladed from Rettmer to the Lopausee and back today, a total of almost 30km. The weather here is just awesome. The temperature over the last few days was between 75° and 80°.
I’ve been making more music lately. If I get any tracks finished, I’ll put them on the audio page.
I bought a lap steel guitar. It looks similar to this:
It sounds so cool. I’ve spent the last few days trying to figure out the different tunings.
Here is a pretty funny post from another expat in Germany.
You may have heard of the Trabant before but here is a little article about them. When I was little I had these weird fantasies of driving go-carts through the halls of my school. Strange, I know. Whenever I see a Trabi driving down the road, I think about driving it through the small allies and narrow streets of the Lüneburger Altstadt at top speed until it just falls apart. Demolition derby style. One really hard bump though is probably all it would take to knock one apart.
Thanks go out to PAL:NDRØM for hipping me to the Tortoise show last night in the Fabrik in Hamburg. It was pretty cool. The Hamburg indie/post/kraut-rock scene was out in full fucking force. I met a few people I knew there that I haven’t seen in a while. Even Werner the bartender from Cafe-Klatsch in Lüneburg was there. It was pure experimental Chicago music to the fullest.
This past weekend was a long holiday weekend. Pfingsten they call it in German and it qualifies for a day off. Why? I don’t know but I’m not complaining. The weather wasn’t great but those are the breaks. I would have like to go out and take some pictures of the Rapsfelder. They are so blazingly yellow, it’s almost supernatural.
On Friday evening I worked for a few hours before going to Jekyl and Hyde’s with Detlef.
On Saturday I worked for about 4 hours. In the evening I went to see Masha Qrella in the very small but very gemütlich Asta Wohnzimmer. It was a great show. I had never heard of her before the show but it was recommended to me by a friend. It was only during the encore that I recognized a song that I had heard a few times on the radio. Every time I heard it I was disappointed that the DJ never announced who it was. Now I know.
On Sunday Detlef had an Einweihungsparty. It was mainly a get together of people I studied with earlier at the Fachhochschule. We all caught up on what the others were up to lately. I told my joke in German and they thought the idea that Jesus would make a Frenchman a good football player was funnier than the punchline.
At around 1 in the morning I was swerving my way home along Am Sande and saw a group of 4 or 5 young guys walking the other way down the opposite side of the street. One of them was carrying a radio that was blaring some crazy beats with super sick distorted droning bass lines. It sounded really cool. I was grooving on it for a moment before they suddenly began to rap and sing. It was unlike anything I had ever heard. Some of them sang Maqam-like drones to accompany those from the radio while the others rapped over it in harmony. I don’t know what language it was but it wasn’t German, English, or French. Turkish? Arabic, perhaps? Whatever it was, it sounded amazing. It was like a Muslim call to prayer featuring My Bloody Valentine and DJ Premier.
The city was otherwise quite and still and the sounds were reflecting off the walls of the surrounding buildings creating a huge reverb sound. I watched for few minutes before they walked to the end of the street, turned the corner, and faded out.
You know when you are working on a big project and you start getting near the end and you start going crazy because you aren’t sure if you got all the loose ends tied up? You aren’t sure if you forgot something? Something glaringly obvious? Oh, you got lists to check alright. You got lists of lists. You start flipping out and sweating? Ah!!! Try doing it alone on your end; Not having anyone to help you. If you were working on a team, it would be easier because you would have others to help you. Try doing it in a language that is not your own. Some things are selbstverständlich. Well, to you but not everybody else. Try to stay calm and cool. Remember that you have a job and a roof over your head, your healthy and a pretty all-around swell guy. If it all gets totally fucked up, which we know it won’t, you’ll still be alive. It’s not that big of a deal.
Just take a deep breath and dive in. Half the fun is fighting your way out.
Yesterday marked the 6o year anniversary of Germany’s surrender in May of 1945 in Rheims, France. Unknown to many locals, is that the unconditional surrender was practically sealed a few days earlier on May 4th, in a small village near Lüneburg called Wendisch Evern. This is literally a 20 minute bike ride from my front door.
I tried to find info about it in English but didn’t come up with much other than a geocaching page here. Since the text is a bit hard to find on that page, I included it below. It is actually a translation from this page which has some pictures of a memorial near the spot where the surrender took place. Some pictures of Hans Georg von Friedeburg and Bernard Montgomery are available here.
More by a coincidental thought from the English field marshal Montgomery as from military considerations, it was Wendisch Evern where the end of the Second World War was sealed practically. The details are to reread in:
Pless, Helmut C: Lueneburg 45, Lueneburg, 1982 (publishing house of the local newspaper)
The British armed forces had already occupied a passage up to the Baltic Sea. For instance from Wismar to Doemitz at the Elbe a front had developed against the advancing Russians and from Luebeck to Hamburg a front against the German armed forces.
The commander Montgomery had pitched his headquarters, after capturing Lueneburg on April, 18 1945, first on a farm in Oedeme. On April, 30 he shifted it to Haecklingen. There on May 3, the German negotiation delegation (under the guidance of the general admiral v. Friedeburg assigned by Hitler successor) arrives.
General admiral v. Friedeburg offers the delivery of the three German armies, which operate in the area. Montgomery demands the unconditional surrender of all German troops in Holland, Northwest Germany and Denmark, otherwise the war was continued. He sets a date up to the next evening.
Montgomery is sure that the Germans would submit.
Always on keeping of the English prestige and its personal publicity mindfully, he meets instructions for direction for the framework of the surrender act necessary according to his opinion: He selects the hill between Deutsch- and Wendisch Evern to be the place of the surrender conclusion. In a press conference on 4 May at 5 p.m. he informs the journalists of newspapers and broadcast about the forthcoming event. He requests them to be witnesses of the historical ceremony. (Pless)
At 6 p.m. the German delegation arrives and signs the document, which seals the unconditional surrender. The surrender enters into force on May, 5 in the morning at 8 a.m.. The “Timeloberg” was called later “Victory Hill” by the Englishmen. Montgomery decided to raise a memorial stone with a bronze plate set up there:
“HERE, ON 4TH MAY 1945, A DELEGATION FROM THE GERMAN HIGH COMMAND SURRENDERED UNCONDITIONALLY TO FIELD-MARSHAL MONTGOMERY ALL LAND, SEA AND AIR FORCES IN NORTH-WEST GERMANY, DENMARK AND HOLLAND”
Because the bronze plate was stolen, and because the monument did not appear protected sufficiently to the Englishmen, several men from Wendisch Evern had to keep watch on the Timeloberg. Even the mayor at that time Karl Basse was hold responsible. 1958 Montgomery shifted the monument to the area of the Royal Military college in Sandhurst.
Today a simple stone reminds of the actual end of the Second World War in Wendisch Evern. 1995 the monument was established at the end of the dirt road to the Timeloberg. The stone is located some hundred meters far away from the place, in which Montgomery 1945 received the surrender. The exact place lies in a training area (inaccessible) of the german armed forces. It is not to be recognized in the area no more.
A few days ago I got an email from my high school English teacher, Mrs. Felice. She probably stumbled across this post from a few months ago. That was pretty cool and unexpected. It was short and to the point to say the least. I was a little nervous about writing back, mainly because I wanted my grammar and punctuation to be perfect. Heh. When you have different sets of rules for commas in 2 different languages bouncing around in your skull, it is sometimes difficult to remember which is which. Sometimes I catch myself applying the German rules when I write in English and vise versa. They are similar but slightly different. Want examples? Too bad. Maybe some other time.