Saturday, 22 August 2009

Another friend departs, leaving traces of movement all around, a luminous dotted line across a xeroxed map, oceans shaded in tight strikes of biro, coloured points locating somebody somewhere. Clusters of amber and barium pins, tips gently rusted tips from the damp wall, spell out words across the map, journeys undertaken and returned from, journeys alive and dead, journeys there and back.

An undersized maelstrom of social activity accompanies each visit of these flighting luminosities now transposed to paper. Last night we burrowed our way beneath the hanging mists following the electrical storms and crossed over into the former East, our feet striking the line of cobbles set into the city to denote the pre-existence of the wall, not once, but twice. There, not far from the black canal, where the white stillness of swans drifted into morning, we burrowed our way into some back courtyard, a skeletal steel frame of an outbuilding shadowing our stairly ascent.

These old buildings, post-industrial now of course, just girders and wood waiting for reuse, a reuse located last night in a collection of people out in search of detuned, electrified string instruments. Nadja, Ovo (and others we missed through a neglected watch) proceeded to set up layers of rhythm, chorus and overlapping distortion, mixing ritual with retrograde industrial feedback, the ambience of factories, slowing, cults of entertainment and reinterpretation at the expense of histories forgotten.

Other days in the week have also come and gone of course, days forgotten and remembered once more through writing, a wilful process of rewriting. Much time spent in the sunshine, absorbing as much as possible before the inevitable steep decline into a brief autumn. We spent time under the pavilions of the riverside, sheltering from the daytime heat or the evening insects, or walking through streets of rising dust, the hawkers slumped in off-white polyvinyl chairs buckling in the heat.

At some point, we stood out on a top-floor terrace, perched next to a lift-shaft drinking cool beers and looking out across the sleeping citiy. Gradually the lights blinked themselves out, save for the intermittent red-eyes of the distant transmission towers, and we watched the lighting storms roll in from the west. Wetterleuchten, they call it in German, glowing weather. Perhaps it is only sheet-lightning in English, or even summer-lightning, but glowing weather! That is a poetry unmatched. So it was then, as we stood on the balcony, a hundred feet above the courtyard below, and watched the weather glow towards us.

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