Saturday, 7 January 2012

how to crash your car

I often find myself thinking about the stories I would love to share on this blog. Often this isn't easy since there are lots of stories to tell. Tonight I started writing three and for some reason I now end up writing about how I crashed a car for my first (last?) time. And yay, there are even pictures and everything.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

The Beauty of Storytelling

In the ancient Ottoman Empire, a man should have done three things to have lived a good life:

I. Have a child.
II. Plant a tree.
III. Write a book.

Like having a son or daughter or planting a tree, writing a book is giving life. Giving life to your own thoughts. You have the unique chance to create something entirely new, something only you can create.
Storytellers are giving gifts to the world. And I am endlessly thankful for the old chaps still sticking around. I too deeply wish to give such beautiful, meaningful presents to children, women and men alike. Right now, in this very moment, I am on the threshold between being a mere writer or a creator of worlds, a real storyteller. On the threshold of deciding who I want to be.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

A place full of Love

St. John's, we've been parted since a couple of months now and I would like to thank you for a whole bunch of things. You really are a wonderful little town, with lots of rough edges and a huge, a huuuuuuuuuuge warm heart. Thank you so much for...
                                                                                                                        ...being so homey and friendly
                                                                                               ...your hiking trails everywhere
                                                                   ...your bonbon-like, happy houses
       ...the Duke's Fish'n Chips                        ...the disappearing moon at night
                      ...bringing so many terrific festivals to town
             ...the friendly and hospitable people who made me laugh so often
                      ..the George Town backery, a piece of Québec in Newfoundland
                          ...the lovely encounters Downtown which always happened when I least expected them  
                                                     and always were the most wonderful
                                           ...the dear friends I found in this remote part of the world                 
                                ...being part of The Sandwich short film and some other NIFCO productions
                                                     ...for showing me how much I really value film and music in my life
                                                          ...Hava Java's lovely café au lait and tasty sandwiches                         
                                                                ...moments of inner peace                              
                                                                             ...wind, storm and blizzards              
                                                        ...showing me that activism is most important in our modern society
                                                                        ...being all change and never boring. St. John's  
                                                                       I love you. I miss you. 
                                                               And I will be back. 

                                                  I promise.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

George Street Live!

A past story, written this August after having been to the George Street Festival for the first time. Ian, this one is for you. Do you smell weed, can hardly move, and see plenty of drunk people? Yes, you've found the place - welcome to George Street in St. John's.

What an amazing week. The Festival was hitting town and wow, this was one tremendous event! I had no idea that you can fit SO many people on such a small street. This August I went to see three concerts at the week-long festival; ignoring the fact that it was exam time. In retrospective, it appears as if my friend Ian and I spent the entire week on the Street. Night and Day. Day and Night. The vibe was always great, and - most importantly - always different. May I present three Nights full of joy, dancing, jumping around and infinite happiness:


The main reason for me to initially go to George Street; I got to know Great Big Sea's songs while travelling in Canada in 2oo9. They play a mixture of folk and rock; and since they are from St. John's all the people here L-O-V-E them. Can you believe that they haven't played on George Street for 5 years? Well, this year is indeed a great time to visit the festival then! They performed at the opening night and Newfoundland welcomed its home coming sons accordingly: with rain. Well, they didn't really care since they were covered under the stage's roof anyway...and no one else cared either; we are in St. John's after all. Rain is the last surprising thing there is for us Nordic Folks. There was singing and dancing all around, a glorious first night. Everyone was fascinated by frontman Alan Doyle's lively performance (or perhaps everyone was just wasted...).


Who would have thought that Dropkick Murphys could even top the first night's show? They did. Oh yeah, they did. I had never heard of these US guys before, but the rumours spoke for themselves. I stumbled in the concert with no idea of what to expect and massive wall of sound approached me rapidly. Dropkick's blasted our brains away, together with our inner ear. It was a gigantic mixture of Celtic music, rock, punk and a lot of bagpipes. Interestingly, the crowd this day was fundamentally different compared to the opening night. Of course. The people at this show were on average a bit younger and naturally banged their head quite a bit more. The slightly more aggressive melodies were faced by an army of security guards who were kept busy by the intoxicated audience. It was a great night full of headbanging, filming, headbanging and... well, headbanging. A fabulous show for everyone who likes Scottish and Irish punk rock.


After Dropkick Murphys, it was a good piece of luck that Hey Rosetta! is not quite as 'intense'. This young band stems from St. John's as well and played some Indie Rock which, thanks to Tim Baker's charming voice, is something very special and personal. The crowd changed another time and was now characterized by young girls and boys dressed in alternative styles; crazy, rainbow-coloured hair was flying around everywhere when Hey Rosetta! played their sweet melodies. It is tough to describe their sound though...there is a pure, simple beauty in it. If you like deeply, moving music, you should go check them out. This third show would have been a brilliant ending of Ian's and my George Street Week - but there was more to come!


I think I mentioned Russel Crowe briefly in one or the other post. His show kicked off one day after the festival; so technically, Ian and I were still in music-mode. And this, truly, from the bottom of my heart, was one of the best shows I have EVER (as in EVER!!!!!!) seen in my life. Lets not delude you by the fact that Russel Crowe is a famous actor - in fact, he was a folk singer before his acting career has even started. His deep voice is beautiful, especially when he is just talking. I describe Mr. Crowe as a "charming sea dog with a rough voice". While listening to him I had the deep wish to have a drink in a pub with the ex-gladiator. He seemed to be the perfect guy to hang out with. Also, he was not alone: his wife, a famous Australian folk singer and actress, was also there. Plus Alan Doyle and the whole crew from Crowe's 2o1o Robin Hood movie: Scott Grimes (Robin's witty, red-headed companion in the movie) and Kevin Durand (the strong, hammer-swinging fellow) joined in too; and they were all fabulously good in singing and making us laugh. Everyone in its own, unique way. Not to forget Size Two Shoes, two Irish guys beat-boxing and singing in Gaelic ( can I even use those two words in the same sentence?!). It was a memorable evening, which left me with some deep, deep thoughts. Here you can find some videos of the show.

Aaaaaaaaaaaand, surprise, surprise, something else happened! After visiting the CBC Radio station the podcast with me about the lineup for the Russel Crowe concert has finally been put online! Somehow it got lost but now it's there and available. This is what I love so much about St. John's: the people are as friendly as Canadians can possibly be (alright, as Newfoundlanders can possibly be). Check out the CBC podcast.

One week, one friend and a hand full concerts. What else do you need to have a great time?

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Midnight Musings

Now, in this very moment, it is precisely 1:23 in the middle of the night. The perfect time to write something I was longing to write long time ago. Plenty of thrilling and promising things have happened over the course of the past few months; amongst other things I once more flew across half the planet which was - as always - a highly enjoyable experience (I love planes of any kind and any size).

When people start asking you when you are going to post your next writing on your blog, you know it's time to let your fingers dance on the keyboard. So here we go, it's past midnight, and until I started writing these very lines I actually was kind of tired. However, the words seem to soak my tiredness away like a sponge.

For all of you in the far corners of the world, in Canada, Japan, Egypt, Ghana, France, Great Britain and Germany: my best wishes to all of you. I am looking forward to seeing each and everyone of you again. 

I am back in Germany since approximately two months. After studying in the beautiful and rough province of Newfoundland I decided to return to Europe. It was a decision which took time to make and it was a tough one. After spending eight great months in Canada I decided to not pay the high tuition fees anymore and instead to hop on a plane. I applied at a couple of European universities, amongst them Leipzig and Luxembourg. After coming back to Germany, I didn't spend much time at home - I jumped on a train and visited all the universities I was interested in. Finally, I made my decision where to study.

Now, since about two weeks I am living and studying in Leipzig - the most beautiful German city I have ever seen! If you are reading this and haven't been to Germany yet or are planning to visit this country again, make sure to come to Leipzig. It is far less known than Cologne or Berlin, nevertheless better than both stacked on top of each other. It's a student city and you can feel it wherever you go. I have a little apartment in the southern part of Leipzig, close to downtown. Here I am living with my roommates Lisa and Amalia. The latter is from Greece, so we do have an international shared apartment! Really nice. 

I am now studying German Language and Literature, and also Theatre Science and Cultural Studies.

And Creative Writing.

While studying at Memorial University in St. John's I learned a lot. Yes, also in an academic sense - but even more from the people around there. My roommates, teachers and friends. And all the people in this wonderful, friendly place. I am deeply thankful for having had the chance to go to St. John's and I WILL return one day (only without paying ridiculous amounts on education). Newfoundland is home.

I still have many stories to tell from this mystic, foggy island. Although I am not presently living in St. John's, I am often thinking about it while looking into the future of being in Leipzig at the same time.

I fell in love with Canada years ago and this deep, emotional feeling has not crumpled the tiniest bit. Thank you Canada, thank you Newfoundland and thank you St. John's from the bottom of my heart. You are all incredible places.

Good night.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Sword-swinging, beautiful Mind comes to St. John's

Sometimes, life knocks on your door, holding a little surprise in its beautiful hands. This is the time when you ask yourself how it could possibly be any better. And then you take a deep breath and jump right into action.
One day, I heard a rumour about Russell Crowe – yes, the Gladiator, Beautiful Mind, Robin Hood- Russell Crowe – coming to St. John's. He and Alan Doyle, singer and guitarist of Newfoundland's most famous band Great Big Sea, are old friends. The rumours were rather vague and of the kind one usually does not pay too much attention to. However, people mumbled that Mr. Crowe might be in St. John's in the next couple of weeks to give a concert. Alright, let's get this straight:

Russell Crowe? Singing? In St. John's? Wow.

Day two, I rushed downtown to Fred's, my favourite CD Store, to investigate. I quickly figured out where and when to get tickets.

Day three, I came two hours early and of course was by far not the first one waiting for the ticket office to open. Some fans arrived already at five (!) in the morning, seven hours early. The line-up was a great social experience and something I till then had only seen in the movies. Everyone was in good spirits and we were all exited about the upcoming event. In fact, Mr. Crowe was already a musician before his movie career started – but of course, only very few were standing in line because of his musical talent.

The theatre opened its doors, the crowd cheered enthusiastically. Tickets were hold up high like trophies by those who got some. After two hours in line, which I theoretically should have spent in my English class, I also got two of these neat, little pieces of paper.

The CBC was there as well, even three different departments. I got interviewed twice and apparently I was on the radio and on TV this day. Unfortunately, there have been no podcasts uploaded online, although I was desperately looking for them to post here. But hey, maybe you can spot me here.

* * *

Whenever you have a chance to partake in an extraordinary event, don't hesitate to do so. A musician is coming to town and you have to go to school? Don't worry about class, check out the concert. A theatre group performs and you can't afford it? Skip the next few coffees and make it happen.

And if it's meant to be, everything will work out just fine.

My English class got cancelled that day.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

St. John's goes nuts

St. John's, you are awesome. And I am very enthusiastic about being here right now.
About three weeks ago, when the first sunny days arose, my current home town awoke from its winter sleep. And let not fool you, this awakening was more spectacular than one might think. Within only a few days St. John's changed so rapidly, it is hard to believe that this is the very same town.

The summer here on the Avalon Peninsula is extremely short, and there is no doubt that every single Newfie is aware of this. The winter is rough and wet, the spring is windy and wet and the autumn is colourful and...well, wet. Only July, August and September are mostly sunny and give the folks around here finally the chance to wear shorts. And, most importantly, to rock the hell out of these three months! What better way is there to enjoy the summer than kicking it off with some stirring concerts?

An impressive total of eleven festivals blow the minds of everyone currently residing in this wonderful town. Yes, you read right: ELEVEN festivals. Music, theatre and community celebrations happen in this very moment all over St. John's. The musicians will make every sunny day where do you want to go?

How about some blues and jazz, performed by over 1oo international artists at the Wreckhouse International Jazz & Blues Festival? Yes, that's right. One hundred musicians, and that's only one of the events. Or do you prefer traditional Irish fiddling? Than the Féile Séamus Creagh is the right event for you. What about Hamlet open air, next to the roaring thunder of the coast? – Check out Shakespeare by the Sea. Now, make sure to put money in thy purse to see even more stunning performances; at the Soundshift Festival for instance. And finally, behold, friends and visitors...if you happen to be in St. John's between July and August, you don't want to miss the finest of the finest, the most spectacular, the oldest festival there is on the North American continent...

The George Street Festival. One street, one week, Newfoundland's most well-known musicians and thousands of fans. Great Big Sea, Hey Rosetta!, and Dropkick Murphys will all be there.

The summer might be short around here, but the people in St. John's know how to celebrate its arrival!
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