When I want to feel at home I watch the trailer of the film Bright Star. It connects me so much with England, with Hampstead – and blue bells. The beauty of English blue bell woods reaching the horizon with their colour I didn’t know from Germany and in fact, saw them the first time in the film Bright Star where I couldn’t believe that they were quite real. The Blaue Blume – takes back to the German Romantic where it stands for longing which itself is just an unsatisfying translation for the wonderful German word Sehnsucht.
Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art–
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors–
No–yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever–or else swoon to death.
While having managed my move, I am still trying to re-connect my life to England. Unwrapping pieces of memory has been part of establishing a new home in Berlin and caused some sentimental feelings. With a smile, however, I always look up to a small painting I bought on the Isles of Scilly I visited right before I left England and which casts back memories of an unbroken life on beaches I was walking on my own, collecting colourful shells, and singing songs by Soko and Pixies “I was swimming in the Caribbean”. Now, the painting has found a place on a Berlin shelf overlooking my new sunny home with view into a couple of trees that make me feel quite peaceful.
I wish I could discover the awesomely raw music by Jackson C. Frank again and hear his song Marlene like I did the first time. The song seemed to come from the unknown, unfolding like a long ribbon. Although listening to it repeatedly, I could not remember the tune just the atmosphere. Someone has written about Marlene on Youtube I’m stunned. Blown away like you can only be when you discover beauty for the first time. The moment I realised that the song is not a about a love story but a trauma in which Frank nearly burned to death when being a child, now being haunted by the girl he liked back then but died in the same fire made me just cry.
What power art thou, who from below
Hast made me rise unwillingly and slow
From beds of everlasting snow
See’st thou not how stiff and wondrous old
Far unfit to bear the bitter cold,
I can scarcely move or draw my breath
Let me, let me freeze again to death.
Klaus Nomi’s disturbing interpretation of Henry Purcell’s The Cold Song.
I haven’t heard a song by Tracy Chapman for probably 20 years. After her performance at the Nelson Mandela 70th Tribute Concert in 1988 she became a huge star in East Germany and then I loved her. I had forgotten about her – until today when a street musician in Brighton played her song “Fast Car”. I stopped and listened to the lyrics which I didn’t understand 20 years ago not only for lacking language skills and strangely, they were so close to me: You got a fast car / And we go cruising to entertain ourselves / You still ain’t got a job / And I work in a market as a checkout girl / I know things will get better / You’ll find work and I’ll get promoted / We’ll move out of the shelter / Buy a big house and live in the suburbs / You got a fast car / And I got a job that pays all our bills / You stay out drinking late at the bar / See more of your friends than you do of your kids / I’d always hoped for better / Thought maybe together you and me would find it / I got no plans I ain’t going nowhere / So take your fast car and keep on driving.