Monday, 16 June 2008

As Monday begins, so does the enforcement of some sort of routine. Firstly, this weblog as a regular occurrence, the clearing of a throat. Secondly, the dedication of mornings to writing.

We bought bicycles yesterday, Cara and I. Hers was a beautiful slender purple, old-fashioned thing with a basket, just perfect for her jaunts round the city looking for wooden boxes and string. Mine however is an aberration of taste – a stolen bike with no brakes, seized gears and a defunct dynamo, spray-painted gold and sold to me for a ridiculous price. My only excuse was exhaustion after five hours sleep the night before.

I was hasty in the purchase, unable to haggle and mindful of the storm clouds looming over Mauerpark. So, like an idiot, I bought a gold bicycle. Immediately it broke and a random passer-by chastised me for supporting the black market of thieves. I tried to offer something in German about the laws of supply and demand, the excessive price of public transport, about recent legislation bestowed upon lawful bike dealers (meaning second-hand bike shops are too expensive to make selling legal). The passer-by’s views on market economies were different than mine and we, in some way, agreed to disagree. Still, the ride back was splendid and this city, day by day, begins to open up.

Today the plan is to finish this, publish this and prepare notes on Sowjetisches Ehrenmal which could feature as a chapter in a larger work at some point but for the time being will function as an exercise in compact writing. An exploration of memory and reappraisal is how it will serve, with the vehicle being the visiting and revisiting of the Soviet memorial with two different women at two different times in two different seasons. The real difference between the visits however was not the circumstance or company, but rather that one had innocence and the other anticipation. This is to be sketched out on paper, in those fox brown exercise books (Sebald-stolen description disclaimer – I cannot enthuse enough about the way he portrays colours) I have not yet used.

Cara is happy, although not feeling too well. On Saturday we met a lady called Sage who is visiting from Chicago. Sage works as one of the chief propsmasters for the American television show Oprah, and she and Cara began to talk immediately of this field – something I know nothing about. There are suggestions that Cara might visit theatres here in Berlin and try and get some work. I think I need to think about doing the same, but in my own field. I haven’t worked out where this field is yet, or even what is growing in it.

The rest of today is easy enough, as with every day in Berlin. Cycle to Friedrichshain in summer rain, read in some cafĂ©’s whist drinking bitter Turkish coffee, return and eat some great food. The Turk’s continued success in the European football championships is providing much night-time activity in the area where we live. Each goal is met with an instant shower of fireworks in the sky above and at the conclusion of each match, the streets become clogged with joyous supporters falling out of cars and running into flags.

Only one more thing of note today. Two sentences keep folding and unfolding themselves in my head. First is the perfect perfection of the old funny you can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be lead. The second is a spoonerism of sorts – a death worse than fate. No doubt used before, but succinct and laden with a laughable, obvious malice.