Tag Archives: Cologne

Squaredancing

A baby blizzard has hit Cologne. At least, they’re calling it a blizzard – though if this was Vladivostok or Sapporo it wouldn’t pass for more than a sneeze.
A friend told me that when you catch a bus in Sapporo in winter, the driver stops twenty yards before the bus-stop so it can skid smoothly to a halt. There are road-heating systems on slopes, as part of the Special Law for Management of Road Traffic in Snowy and Cold Regions. Water discharged from Mt Moiwa power station is pumped into the Yamahana river to create a Snow Flowing Gutter, which is able to handle fifty 11-ton dump truckloads of snow every hour. I like how those words are capitalized: Snow Flowing Gutter.

Anyway, the rare occurrence of snow in Cologne is calming. The best thing about it is how quiet everything becomes, like wool wrapped around a microphone.
Late last night I was catching up with pop culture, investigating some show called Jersey Shore, and reading a Vanity Fair article about the latest casualty among those washed out heiresses who are famous for nothing. Celebrity-seeking detritus: it was a reminder that the worst Monroe-wannabee spray-tanned excesses of our culture are best experienced in 2D: filtered through a blog post on Café Con Lesley or Gawker, frozen in photos where they are not allowed to speak.

After that, I really needed a snowcrash to wipe everything clean. As well as some clattering music to scour the trash from my eyes (see below- a selection c/o Bumrocks, Coco Solid and Molly Kongshuttle). In the words of Velvet Underground, “1000 dreams that would awake me: different colours made of tears.”

Casey has already picked out the baby’s name: Ava-Monroe, after Marilyn, who has long been her idol. “I see a lot of similarities between us,” Casey says. “Her life makes me sad. I don’t think she was very happy. She was just very, very complicated and sort of a deep person, and nobody realized that. They thought she was some dumb blonde, and she wasn’t. She was a smart, smart broad. And I think that sometimes people look at me and think, Oh, Casey Johnson, she’s stupid, she’s blonde, she’s an heiress, blah, blah, blah.”
There’s a hint of melancholy in her eyes, and I ask if she’s feeling well. “Yeah,” she says. “I’m just a little tired.” Back in New York a few days later, though, I get a call from Casey. She’s cheerful now, excited, and she’s been shopping again. “I got a crib, and a changing table, and I got a car seat, and a stroller,” she says. And something for Ava-Monroe she just couldn’t resist: “the cutest leopard baby bikini. Oh my gosh. She is going to be dressed to kill.”

Ich Bin Keine Maschine

locasinlove

Just posting a few photos from my workmate Niklas’ band Locas in Love at a show in the Altes Pfandhaus in the Südstadt a couple of weeks ago.

The most enjoyable songs for me were ‘Maschine’ (I pretty much like any song with lyrics that confirm or deny being a robot or a machine), and their Julee Cruise – Falling cover version with dramatic ride cymbal flourishes. They also did a cover version of Aphrodite’s Child who are pretty rad.

locas2

Cute, aren’t they?

I couldn’t understand most of the patter between songs but it seemed to be stuff about looking for houses in the countryside and banging your head on the ceiling.

If you are based in NYC you can see them play in January at Cake Shop and Union Hall.

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Playground Love @ c/o Pop

playgroundmap

For anyone in the area who’s not going motorcycle-riding on Saturday, I’m playing at John Harten & Ansorge’s Playground Love marathon. There are monkey bars that spout water and a safe tarmac surface. It’ll be a blast: from today thru Sunday.

As you can see from the schedule below, John and Ansorge are playing at a quarter past infinity, or maybe 100 x 1,000,000 (I’m not so good at Roman numerals).

Picture 1

c/O Pop ist Los!

ice

Today is the first day of the c/o Pop festival here in Cologne.

As I was walking through the Brüsselerplatz I came across the organic ice cream van, which today served me a one-euro cone of mango mint flavour with complimentary c/o Pop wafer!

I don’t think I’ve ever actually eaten an advertisement before.

I asked the guy, whose ice cream van I have only spotted there on one other occasion, if he was always there. I guess that’s what you call a leading question. “Every afternoon,” he replied, “When the weather’s good” And he leaned out of his window to peer up at the grey and overcast sky as a few spikes of rain fell on our heads.

Despite, or perhaps because of the gusts of wind and intermittent patches of blue sky, there was a feeling of excitement in the air all day.

I didn’t ask the ice cream man if he was going to see Gravenhurst or D.A.F. play tonight. I didn’t call him a liar, either.

Just Being Frank

Frank is good at telling stories. The Detroit-raised MC has been in town this week, recording tracks with Adlib (Alphabet Zoo), who’s probably Germany’s best hip hop producer, by the way. On Thursday he laid down You Don’t Have to be a Bitch, and even sang the Om’Mas Keith-esque hook. You wouldn’t think he’d be in the mood for singing any lyrics other than those. He’s had a few ‘misunderstandings’ with a local promoter. I guess that’s all part of the fun of touring, even if some MCs are created equal. As Frank put it, Ghost Face Killer doesn’t have to put up this kind of situation (he shared a line up with the Wu Tang Clan in Copenhagen last week). Frank is far from a diva. He’s remarkably calm and cool about it all. At the local Vietnamese he recounted the story of his two-month tour to China. One minute he’s being put up in an apartment in Shanghai, by a club promoter who’s doing a nationwide tour on account of being African-American and fluent in Mandarin, and as a consequence has the mad hook ups. Apartment, driver, all of that. The next, he’s at a festival at the Taiwanese equivalent of Spring Break – sleeping on a mattress that’s so old it crumbles when he touches it. The shower and the toilet are on one surface so instead of stepping in germs, Frank satisfies himself with what he calls a ‘bird bath’ from the sink. He dusts off a little corner of the mattress and curls up to sleep (having spent two days in transit), but is woken by the promoter at midnight to have some Taiwanese jerk chicken (BTW: jerk chicken in Taiwan, WTF? I have to go to Taiwan). Later, when he tries to sleep, a saucer-sized spider appears on the wall, and an ex-army marine with long natty dreads tells him “It ain’t no thing, go to sleep.” It a brave dread who isn’t afraid of a lickle (big) spider crawling upwards. But this arachnid seems to be making it personal. Later, Frank wakes up to find the spider sitting on the ceiling directly above his face. He goes to war with the spider, only to wake to the presence of a lizard. Now he knows whose footprints he had earlier spied on the soap in the bathroom. Luckily the ex-army marine had been sitting there all night, smoking a cigarette, keeping an eye on that damn lizard.

It’s a jungle out there for touring hip hop MCs.

Speaking of stories, support Frank, go cop his records (especially the forthcoming EP with Adlib), and if you are a Dilla fan, check Youtube: Frank ‘n’ Dank are the the protégés of this era’s most influential hip hop producer. So you know, they can really tell it like it was..

http://www.myspace.com/frankndank
http://cdbaby.com/cd/franknitt
http://www.myspace.com/djadlib
http://www.brewerystudios.com

Where Am I?

Rheinpark

Seilbahn

Theatre

Seilbahn 2