When I was fifteen years old, I was an ugly girl, with dyed black hair, dark black glasses, wearing dark black gilets. I wanted to disappear and in a certain way it worked out, neither the beautiful blonde hair and long legged girls in my class or the tall, athletic boys took any notice of myself, just remembering me when they wanted to copy Latin or Greek homework. But on one long and dull summer afternoon, when I flickered through old and well-worn volumes of French books in an old bookshop, where I spent most of my days, I came across “ Le chevalier à la rose“ written by Hugo von Hofmannsthal and immediately fell in love, with both the story and the author. Hofmannsthal, this spoiled kid, of a decent Viennese family, a talented youth, inventive and successful, publishing poetry before entering an university, becoming the voice of a whole generation, good-looking, loved and lovely, charming even when dumping Stefan George, who of course fell in love with Hofmannsthal too. The story of „Der Rosenkavalier“ is as simple as enhancing, a women experienced and with a standing in the world has a much younger lover, but within the course of the play, she will loses him to a younger heiress, but while the story is so simple, Hofmannsthal’s libretto, is an appalling one, witty, comic, full of sarcasms, little dramas, and great feelings, including strikes on the social realities and it is written by someone who knows how to love. This year “ Der Rosenkavalier“ has it made on the stage of the famous Glyndebourne festival, but the focus is not as it definitely should, directed on the story, the music or the performance, but in many critics to be read, on the body of Irish mezzo soprano Tara Erraught. In the Financial Times Andrew Clark states that „ Tara Erraught is a hubby bundle of puppy-fat“ and other men joined the chorus describing her as “ dumpy“, “ unbelievable, unsightly and unappealing“, not to forget “ stocky“. And of course, for these music critics it is clear that Tara Erraught could not be imagined as a „plausible lover“. It is for sure that those who claim themselves as music critics are in fact shameless and respectless judges but even worse, and unbelievable sad, they do not know nothing about love. They have no idea about being loved, about desire and of course they could never be passionate about someone else. They have no longings and they belong in no one’s heart because they have no imagination left, no ability to embrace someone else’s heart, they just are miserable judges and poor in mind and heart. They will be forgotten in near future, whereas Tara Erraught will touch many people with her voice and her appearance, knowing to well how great a lover Hugo von Hofmannsthal has been.
„Where am I?“, is the first thing, I ask myself in the morning. I can spot the sea from looking out of the window. The sea does not care. Does one know the sea, while living on an island? The sea knows better. The grocer’s wife knows better, too. You are different from us, she says to me. She speaks without any sentiment. She asserts that as a fact. The housemaid of the priest cleans the church windows, it will soon start to rain, but as a matter of fact, the windows have to be cleaned today, even if the rain does not care. The rain will come, says the housemaid to me, she states it as a matter of fact. She cleans out the bucket on the street, the rain starts and the street shimmers for a minute or two. The rain shatters against the church windows, but the housemaid looks content, she cleaned the windows, she knows where she is. Is it true, according to Hölderlin that „the divine- like all grandeur- is not confined to big things but contained in small things?“ I don’t like Hölderlin very much, or did not liked myself very much, when I adored Hölderlin. Mind yourself, says a mother to her child. But the child does not mind. The child falls down on the ground and cries, the road is slippery after the rain. I saw this coming, says the grocer’s wife with a slightly triumphant smile. The road does not care. Does one know where a road leads to or where it ends? The old record player, makes a sizzling noise, Mahler’s „Song of a Wayfarer“ is echoed in his symphonic works many times. It must have appeared to him like a gentle reminder from a still-intact world but could an island be like this? This island probably will never be found. In the third song, there comes the outburst, „I’ve a glowing knife“ but Mackie Messer knew better and the grocer’s wife knows always best. Once a year the knife grinder comes, the shearer has already been here, the rain will stop maybe tomorrow, in the evening I forget where I am, the wayfarer will sing in his despair till the old record player stops with a crackling noise.
„Women are vain. Men? Never! „( Kurt Tucholsky )
Even if my days are companionless these days, I still am willing to say that dearest F. the former attender of my days, can claim for himself the title as the dearest of all former companions possible. F. has many extraordinary qualities, women are falling in love with him, the moment they see him, even if he stands a kilometer away, trying to find his car keys. Anyway,while I am nearly as blind as a snake it took me much longer. F. is as charming as amusing, lovely and loved. And many songs could be sung to his praise. But there is one thing, which makes my dearest former companion very proud, even if he would never admit it, but no one else as myself, saw F. standing in front of more than one mirror, admiring his black curls. And to state this here too, the word curly-head possibly was invented only for dear F. and his head full of magnificent black curls. The curls suited him well, even more than well thought F. and all the women agreed. The mirror agreed, too. But when I spoke on the phone with F. yesterday, nothing was left of the friendly, happy and self-confident former companion. On the other side of the receiver the spirits were as low as you may imagine.“Read On, imagine, it happened over night“, said F. after an awful long period of sad silence. But what might happen overnight in a calm street in Rehavia, Jerusalem where the cats sleep in the middle of the street? Was it possible that old neighbor G. planted weed on the rooftop instead of tomatoes? Would neighbor B., a passionate collector of chess and bridge literature being able to steal beautiful neighbor’s R. underwear on the clothes line? Was it possible that sudden, out of the blue a woman did not fall in love with dear F.? No definitely not, not in this life. And I had to confess, I was not able to imagine anything that devastating.“ F. I replied, but don’t you think you heart would be lighter if you tell me the cause of your sorrows?“ On the other side of the telephone, you could hear, a deep, dark, breathing. „It’s so awful, so absolutely awful , and so totally unexpected“ sighs F. and for minute I am in doubt if probably the mailman opened a love letter addressed to F., but however after dear F. again sighed deeply, he told me while fighting back his tears, that when he woke up on a ordinary Monday, he did not find only one, or two, or worse enough three hairs turned grey, but a bunch of not only grey but snow-white hairs within his beloved curly tuft. And this is just the beginning, moans F. next week probably my teeth will start to hang loose, in two weeks I barely will manage to climb up the stairs, in three months my hands will shaking and in a year at the latest you will be either bold or have dyed your hair say I, before breaking out in laughter but on the other side of the phone there is only deadly silence left.
Every village and why should the village where I live in be different from that, has one inhabitant, who is the most sad person of all. In some villages or towns they call this person a clown because it is widely known that those who are the most funny always have blue hearts. This village here has no clown, maybe its too small or maybe the last clown ran away with the great-granddaughter of a pirate queen , but the most sad person in this village owns the local pub. Even if you can’t see the pub owner you can smell him, because he smells of vinegar, seven days a week. Even if you do your shopping at the grocer’s store, hours after the pub-owner bought his cigarettes, you can scent that he was already there, not only leaving vinegar behind but this sadness he carries around with him seven days a week. When you pass by the pub as I do early in the morning, you can see him drinking black coffee outside, leaning at one side of the door, not looking up, whoever might passing by, his view is fixed on the empty chips bags on the ground and the bubble-gum sticking around all over the place. Sometimes, I am sure even if no one ever will see him doing so, he will while smelling the roses, glancing around for the coffin. Worn-out looks the pub- owner and worn out look his guests, worn out is the pub itself. A dark brown, long ago painted room, scenting himself after too many drinker’s stories, where the sun never passes a visit to anyone. Never the pub-owner tells a witty story and never you hear his guests inventing a funny joke, no one looks sports games in this pub or bets on horses either. No one will welcome you and there is no menu besides fish and chips with vinegar of course. The pub owner looks at you, measuring your sadness against his own, you will lose, he does not enjoy his sadness, but bears it as if it were his duty, his sadness so deep like walking through an ocean of fog, impossible to escape, but possible it is to sit their, in the pub and to drink silently, interrupted by nothing else than the pub owner’s barking cough from time to time as to prevent that someone might tend to forget that this is no circus with a clown in the middle but a pub owned by the saddest person of the village where never a circus was seen and never a pirate queen’s daughter will arrive, solving three riddles, and taking the pub owner with her away on a splendid white grey.
Do you still have dreams left? What are you doing with leftovers? Do you really like parsnips? Or ever tried Parship? Did you ever close your eyes while driving? Do you bike or prefer a white pony to go to work? When its silent, do you dare to ask yourself if you are happy? When its so loud that no one can hear each other, do you try to scream louder than everyone else? Lucky Strikes or LUSH? Do you swear? Would you mind if I d0? When does the future begin? Is the past a younger brother or an older sister? Do you always brush your teeth? Did you ever eat chocolate after brushing your teeth? Do you enjoy opera? Are you a drama queen? What did you loose forever? Do you still miss it? Do you call back? Why do look all passport photos as shot already in prison? Is white chocolate really chocolate? Can you eat chocolate bunnys? Bunny or guinea-pig? Dry my soul, would you? Cool play or all on one card? Do you laugh when everybody does, even if its not funny? And what could make you stop? If your shoelaces are undone, do you care? Italian shoes or Sneakers? Are you sometimes a sneaker? In a bunk bed where would be your place? Do you takeover? Would you take my hand? How many trains do you have missed? Ever waited in vain? Do you sleep in station hotels? Can you assemble IKEA furniture? Do you use the manual or follow your own way ? Is there a way through live? Do you want to stay alive for long? Or be forever young? I never asked you but, I still want to know.
A shocking, insightful and very depressing text written by the great blogger and insightful feminist Caroline Criado-Perez on the threats and hate she experienced on Twitter.
Turn your Swag on. Contemporary Hip Hop musicians drawing on 16th century fashion.
The Iran is so much more we believe it to be and so it is time to meet more of those who move the country in a very different direction. The Persian version of skateboarding is a wonderful and moving example.
One of my favorite Irish food-blogger’s Conor Bofin shares a great pie-recipe and ditches spammers in a wonderful way.
Agitationism is this year’s main theme on Ireland’s Biennial. Rebecca O‘ Dwyer reflects why the EVA in Limerick is worth a visit or two or three…
My sister recommends La Roux new tune for rainy May days, as we have here in an endless, cold row.
Sometimes, mostly when I wait at some airport I tend to thumb through some of those magazines carrying somewhat fancy with garden in their title. Beautiful women with long hair and an aristocratic face look happily around while their roses are in full bloom and their man, who wear Wellies and are always accompanied by very elegant dogs with a pedigree reaching back to the days of Elizabeth I. looking backwards to prove that they can handle a spade as well as a very expensive pen, planting some very old and nearly forgotten plant in exactly the right angle, that even Versailles starts to look shabby and somewhat ordinary. But when I start to think of improving my own relationship towards my garden, which is the antidote to any magazine existing and looking at myself in the mirror, where nothing aristocratic looks back, I remember the many, many plants and flower pots that came into my household, year after year, which started to shiver and would if they could, screamed for help, when they saw me, because I have the absolute capability to kill flowers and plants within an extraordinary tempo. But this year, again after a stop at the shelves of some airport, I bought at the local Woodie’s a place as non aristocratic as you may be able to imagine, very sad looking primroses that were already too fainted to shiver or making any attempts to escape out of my basket. After a long and strict speech to the cat I planted the primroses into the front garden and against all predictions the primroses did very well, and the cat did even better and the primroses started towards a happy future and I rescued even more from the dungeon of Woodie’s just to note, if any „Free the Primroses“ activists are to be found among the readers, there is still work to be done! And how I loved my primroses, the blue ones and the yellow twins, as well as the red pair and the white one. Hi primroses, I said when I left the house and felt very aristocratic for the next thirty seconds and they nodded friendly in my direction and did the same when I came back. But on Saturday night, I suddenly woke up, hearing an awful noise outside, swoosh and swaash, the cat jumped upon the closet and I told myself that not even the Erlkönig would introduce himself with a swoosh and a swaash,but when I opened the door I learned very quickly that a group of drunken teenagers making their way home from the pub, used their umbrellas as swords, beheading the primroses while laughing out loud. In the morning I collected the sad relicts of the primroses and today at the airport, I went straight by, not even looking in the directions of the shelves, where the magazines carrying somewhat fancy with garden in their title.
„But the house goes only with the cat“, said the landlady in front of me and what else as to shrug your shoulders and to nod are you able to do, when you stand in front of someone, overladen with piles of book and the desperate need for somewhere to sleep? Finding an apartment in Ireland is close to hope to win in the lottery and I probably would have accepted a crocodile to look after and so I nodded again and moved in a few days later. But things were not as easy as I hoped them to be. The cat thought nothing good of me, the cat decided to think nothing of me at all and sat with her back towards me at the front door, leaving the house only to visit the grocer’s wife down the street to get some food. When the cat returned the cat looked deeply disappointed at me, realizing that I still was there. Good morning cat, said I day after day when I filled her bowl, which the cat ignored. But finally after ten long days of cold silence, to my great luck, the grocer’s wife got a dog and from the first minute they met, the cat and the dog hated each other with deep and lasting passion. And so the cat decided that I might be evil but not as evil as the grocer’s wife dog. Alright then cat, said I and you dear Reader, who knows the world and the cats better than I do, will laugh out loud, just a few rules cat, my books are absolute taboo as well as my desk but the cat was not impressed a tiny bit and thought the books would suit her very well as well as the paper, the green cashmere shawl and of course the cat, which is in truth a demanding tyrant, soon became the queen of my desk with an extraordinary talent to sleep so deep as I was eager to get some work done. And as it suits only a queen, she jilted one admirer after another, the wonderful grey cat who came over to visit her, watching her for hours outside of the window, was not worth her a single meow, the giant ginger cat who brought her a mouse as a morning gift was dismissed and when I mentioned carefully to her that maybe the white tiger from the upper road might be not the worst companion at all, the cat just looked at me, slightly annoyed because the cat knows too well that I don’t have a single admirer at all and no one who thinks of bringing me a morning gift. So it was me, who waved the white tiger a sad goodbye and so we both stayed who and where we are, I am waiting for her to finish a book I maybe want to read when she in some far away time might have finished her nap on it, she waiting for my keys in the door to fill up her bowl straight away and with the exclusive food brought home from the grocery store, which the cat never visits anymore to the great distress of the grocer’s wife. Only sometimes when the rain pours down dreadfully along the windows but the cats wants to be let outside, realizing that I am not able to stop the rain, even when queen cat moves to the front door where it rains too, the cat looks very disappointed into my direction, probably telling herself that she knew from the first moment on that I would not be able to handle the easiest things such as the weather and turns her back towards me.