This week as it was to me
Front of mind for me is my trip to Germany, back to my old stomping ground of Würzburg. I don’t love travelling much at the moment, and the sagging sinkhole that is British rail at the moment really adds to the suckage – cancelled trains, hours of delay on the alternatives, some trains icy cold and others steaming hot. Add in nearly missing a flight due to mad queues, and there’s no surprise I crashed out asleep at 10ish last night…
On the bright side, this is where my travels took me:
The city was buzzing, both due to the music festival (see below) and the world cup – Germany winning by the skin of their teeth launched a shriek that could be heard wherever you were in the city.
We were in the middle of Schafkälte, which is a traditional German (and I believe pan-European) term for when the temperature drops precipitously late in June, well after the sheep shearing season, hence Schafkälte – sheep’s cold.
Art and improv
I was in Germany for a meetup with Der Kaktus, my old group who I love very much. We spent two days working on new skills with Antonio Vulpio:
who has a nice format where he plays with performers who aim to destroy the scene through bad habits that he needs to counter. We were training these counters, it was pretty interesting!
Then we went on to play a show at Umsonst und Draussen, the music festival that we do every year to close out the main indoor stage.
Big show. This year was especially fun. Got to sign a massive cassette, too.
Writing stuff and also prepping for the new job which starts this week. One thing I’ve begun is mapping out all the duties that seem to come with the job (not simple as it’s actually two part-time jobs with different managers and teams) and starting to tease out articulations of why they actually matter, inspired by the maybe apocryphal JFK story with the NASA janitor.
Perhaps if I can elucidate it enough I can link some of these things into saints or mythic heroic figures, to really put juice into tasks that in themselves feel tiresome.
The silver lining of my crappy journy home was a meeting on the final leg. An older man entered the train with me and when I helped him with his bag, said “I’m old and weak”. We laughed about this and shared terrible travel stories, and I learned he was a retired priest heading back from Liverpool from a funeral for a friend. We talked about what I do, improvisation and psychology, and my thoughts that in another life I would have perhaps chosen to take the path of priesthood; he shared stories about the different parishes he served, including the rough one that he dreaded when he begun but hated to leave at the end when asked to move on. We talked about the dogma of the church and his disaffection with it all, his interest in liberation theology and his time in the Philippines, and how at the end of everything, people are interesting and good. And how much there was in the church that was worthwhile, despite all the dogma and institutional baggage. We even leant into apophatic theology and chatted about Plotinus and the ineffable for a bit. Thanks, John. God bless.
And courtesy of Jay:
Nixon versus Leary – I might buy this book sometime.
Still trying to follow this narrative since covering it for work: When Children Say They’re Trans
Alan getting on the Crowley tip:
While I was travelling I took with me Lost Knowledge of the Imagination by Gary Lachman. Just read the intro so far but already a lot of good stuff.