Strange times, Erasmian late nights

“Welcome to Abercromby Square!” bellowed Peter in perfect Michael Buffer style. “And as usual we have a late-night concert for you. Tonight it will be the wonderful Hana from the beautiful Czech Republic!”

The gang clapped. As the sun went down on the beautiful little park in between the university buildings, right next to my department of Ancient History, we sat on or in front of one of the benches, some bottles of wine with us, the seagulls wheeling overhead, and waited for the music to commence. Continue reading

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All them Empires striking back OR: Why Chewbacca never pees

Pepe and I went for an open Question Time on climate change in the Student Guild´s Stanley Theatre, where university representatives and members of the green party talked a lot of sense but, as was often the habit of scholars, palavered and cross-referenced and lapsed into an infinite loop of mind parade never to come to a real conclusion. Only when the organizer of the event, a young lively alternative girl, all smiles and uncomplicated, stepped up to the stage in order to add her five cents, did some life come into this convention. We were supposed to move our own buttocks, to do something ourselves, multiply the message, bring it to the people and start the process by acting ourselves. It did not help complaining about those we despised for their bigotry and their reluctance to change the world for the better in a truly beneficial sense. I had a poster of Bush as the world´s biggest terrorist on my door. A very student-like form of protest of course. I was listening to Springsteen, Guthrie and Public Enemy and tried writing my own protest poetry. This chap had failed to sign the Kyoto charter, so much on the topic, but that was just one of the many evils he set into this world. Encouraging the flow of investment. “History… we don´t know. We´ll all be dead”, he said, and maybe he was right in a horrible, twisted way, just as Mein Kampf might have been on the right track when postulating that life was war, see the Clinton doctrine, and Clinton was who we liked much more, wasn´t he? but as heard yet again in the inaugural lecture of the new professor of ancient history the other day, neo-imperialism reigned the world. “We are an Empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.“ That was cynical post-modernism at its best. I had watched Winterbottom´s disturbing Road to Guantanamo recently. Perspective. One word, one idea might have several definitions, one definition might describe a million things. The world was amorphous. Continue reading

Our first Performance – of naked audiences and shaky knees

So when we were on our way to the Academy Restaurant in the Liverpool Community College at Duke Street, he chatted with the pretty Turk and they laughed and still danced a bit more in the street. There was something about the way she touched his arm. I am not sure he noticed but I was pretty sure Agnes did.

     Ken, with Hana´s help, had organized a posh dinner for us, and the caravan was drooling over the ideas the menu had inspired. Chicken and Bacon gateau with apricot chutney, smoked haddock and bacon rarebit, corned beef pilaf, chicken sauté Bourguignonne, a tian of braised oxtail, lamb with potato Fondant, vegetable primavera, apple tarfait and other things I could not pronounce. Continue reading

A Big Plate of Sideorders – A new moon

It was Lucia´s flat again. Only this time did Agnes celebrate her birthday. Everything looked adorably unhealthy.

For the first time I brought along my dainty new guitar. Agnes and I had gone downtown to scavage the local music shops for the cheapest one possible. For a handful of pounds we had purchased identical sisters and with all pride prickling in our fingers had brought them home. I baptized my new purring darling Annabel (Which was really a name out of nowhere, no implications, no burning houses), Agnes christened hers Chaos. Which probably would have been a fitting title for mine too. Now I was constantly plucking about on it, while we all, party garloons in our hair, were playing guess the celebrity. Charming we looked with the post-its on our foreheads. Continue reading

A Big Plate of Sideorders – Oh what a sheep!

The whole long caravan followed Richard along the river, the sole envoy of the University, a young whole-hearted guy with strong arms, sunglasses on top of his head, a man who loved to laugh.

     On the other side of the stream, grazed a white sheep with a thick black wooly coat. Agnes had taught me this one French thing on our last trip: Petit muton. Little sheep. It had become my new catchphrase and my proof that not only my Spanish was now fluent but also my French. It was even the one thing I said to Agnes´s parents when they visited her and I met them all in the street (They were rather surprised). Thus, “Petit muton!” was what I said to the sheep. Continue reading

A big Plate of Sideorders – Up the Anglican: Of Religion, old and new, and of looking down

When I woke up, morning had broken. It had also taken over the world with full force and knocked on my window for a few hours with its strongest beams, desperately trying to wake me up, and when it had grown tired of waiting for me, it had passed entirely.

I peeled my vegetable self out of bed and hauled it on the chair before the laptop. In garish colours, the chat programme spat the newest chunk of information into my face. Melli shared her idea of climbing the tower of the Anglican Cathedral at 12 sharp. A fine plan in my eyes. Until I checked the time. I had but twenty minutes. Continue reading