Sunday, October 30, 2005

London again

So I am back in London. I arrived savely around lunch time. The trip to the airport by car was really easy and made me wonder why I have never done this before. We'll see how I manage the way back tired and in the dark.

At the check-in there was a little confusion. A VERY stressed BA lady told me to stand in a very long line, which did not seem to move at all. In fact, it really didn't move. One hour (!) later I found that I was in the wrong line. This one was for an earlier flight that had been canceled and its passengers were going nowhere. I scurried over to the correct check-in, gave the BA lady an evil stare, which she ignored, and checked in.

This afternoon I went on a walk through Little Venice, which is not far from the hotel I am staying in this time (it's where the conference is going to take place). The walk was very entertaining and expanded my knowledge of the English language. I know now why we say "randy" (prostitutes in Randolph Street), "legging it" (how the boats were moved through tunnels on the cannal - boatmen lying on their backs on top of the boats, feet in the air, legging the boat forward) and "he is a Bobby Dazzler" (bright light used by boatmen in tunnels). So there you go, we have all learned something useful today. Plus I have taken a nice walk and got my pedometer working.

Tonight I will probably go on the Haunted London walk. Ghost stories at night! Fantastic! Either that or Jack the Ripper. But first I will have to find a place where they sell curry. I am hunting for the perfect vegetable korma! The best one so far I had in the Indian restaurant behind the railway station in Epsom.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

What should have been a relaxed day...

...turned into something crammed full with things to do. I am off again to London soon for a two-day conference. And since I have only just come back, there were a couple of things that needed to be done (ironing being my least favourite one of them). Now it is all sorted and I am relaxing with a nice glass of wine.

The conference is on international financial accounting standards (IFRS for short). It is actually not going to be as boring as it may sound to you. Quite on the contrary, I find IFRS an exciting field to work in. God, I AM weird! Should I go and seek professional help?

I have decided to go to the airport by car. Mine is a Smart and I love it. It is small like me and I always find a parking space. I have never driven to the airport before, so maybe I should stop drinking and have a look at the map. Yes, good idea. Will definitely increase my chances of getting there on time.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


I have been travelling in England for a couple of days and I left my laptop at home deliberately. Firstly because I had a lot of baggage already and secondly I wanted to see how I would cope without it. Am I addicted to modern ways of communication? Well, yes. I did pop into an Internet cafe once to write some emails and check a few things. And I cheated from the outset because the Blackberry let me read my emails any time, any day. And I did. Scary!

I took notes on the trip the old fashioned way (pen and paper- my handwriting is a mess!) and will blog those over the next couple of days. I may even back-date the entries to the actual day. Would that be cheating? (Added Oct 27th - For the record: I have decided to cheat.)

The cat was very well looked after while I was away. He had a babysitter in the shape of my dad, who loves him to bits. Sometimes I think he loves the cat more than me. But both of them looked happy to see me again yesterday. The cat spent the night wrapped round my neck like a fur coat, purring. My dad, of course, did nothing of the kind.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Bye-bye, England

In the morning I paid another visit to my two quick snack favourites: Pret a Manger and Starbucks. Then off for more walking around the city. I ended up in yet another record store. They had an old Patti Smith album at a bargain price, I could not say no to that. Cashflow problem getting worse and worse.

When I arrived at Heathrow, I was informed that the BA catering company was still on strike. So thanks to the awful Texas Pacific Group (they wanted to buy the company I work for a while ago, so I know for sure they are the antichrist), I got a voucher worth ₤5 to be used at any food store within the airport. I wasn’t really hungry, but hey, you do not throw a voucher away, do you? So after checking out all the possible places to go to, I ended up in The Giraffe, eating slightly more than I should have. I really have to watch what I eat for a while now. And avoid the scales.

My flight was delayed for over 90 minutes, so when I finally got home, it was very late. I nevertheless stayed up for a while to cuddle my cat. I missed the hairy bugger.

Monday, October 24, 2005

London - part 2

I felt that after all the walking and the stress of moving rooms, I deserved a lie in but I woke up early and could go back to sleep. Therefore I decided to catch the 10:36 am to Victoria, like did some of the others in the group. But when we arrived at the station we found the train had been cancelled and we needed to change at Eastbourne. Did British Rail (or whatever they are now called) know that I was not travelling lightly? At least there were no stairs to master at Eastbourne.

In London I decided to walk from Victoria to my hotel in Old Park Lane, because on the map it did not look very far. Big mistake. It started to rain and because of the heavy bags I was soon sweating, so I arrived at the hotel wet inside and outside. I bet this is a sight they do not often see in luxury hotels like this one (it is home to the Nobu restaurant were a couple of years ago it was “game, set and match” for Boris Becker in a closet).

The room was fantastic! And after a shower I felt human again and ready to go out and work my credit card. The Lilac Time’s “Astronauts +” had been re-released a couple of weeks ago and I did not manage to find it on the internet. There was only “Astronauts” without the “+” and I definitely wanted the “+”. At HMV on dreadful Oxford Street I finally got my hands on it. Hallelujah! I also bought “Intensive Care”, the Little Britain Series 2 dvd and more stuff. Another expensive stop at a bookshop and I returned to the hotel happy but with a significant cashflow problem.

Another hotel, another gym, another treadmill. This one the best out of all three. It is open 24 hours and comes with a personal trainer on duty all the time. He disappeared though when he realised that I knew exactly what I wanted to do and needed not further assistance than basic instructions on how to use the machine. I wish, I could afford to stay in places like that always.

In the evening I met James and Barbara in the bar of the hotel for a couple of drinks. It is a very nice bar, for hotel guests and members only. And as Jimbo pointed out, it must be the first one he was in, without prostitutes. I wonder where he normally stays at when he travels?

Barbara arrived a little later after a long
day at work and she looked very tired. The next day she was leaving for a business trip which sounded like “see Europe in a week”. I did not envy her!

Jimbo is going to run the NY marathon in two weeks time and as he put it, he is now past caring. He has been training hard and thinks, he will run in about 3h 45min. Funny, I had never put him down as sporty spice. He is also planning to run the London marathon next year, so I will not be completely alone! But if he really is that fast, he will finish about one hour before I will.

We left the bar and went to a pub called The Grapes in a little square in Mayfair. Having spent most of the day on busy Oxford Street I had completely forgotten that little streets and squares like this one exit in the city. I had my first pint of Guiness in a long time (the last one must have been when I had been to Ireland with a couple of friends ages ago) and we talked about anything and everything.

I slept like a baby that night in the softest bed ever. The hotel also provided the softest complimentary slippers I have ever had and I have actually taken them home with me. Am I a thief now? Do they clean them or do they throw them away after they have been used? I guess they throw them away but you never know…

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The 1066 Country Walk

Sunday we left again by bus at 9:30 am to do the 1066 country walk from Winchelsea to Rye. The bus driver was from Hastings and on the way he told us that a shopping centre had been built over the cricket ground there. Apparently an act of blasphemy! He was getting quite worked up about it. Mmmh, cricket is nothing that gets me overexcited.

The weather did though. And to prove that it was indeed brilliant, Linda took this picture of me squinting into the sun.

This walk was much better than the previous one. The views were beautiful and there much less stiles. We passed through the backyard of Paul McCartney’s windmill (he has his recording studio in it) and yes, you have guessed it, some of the ladies burst into song. I think I recognised Yesterday and Hey Jude.

But I bet, if Paul was home he felt like calling amnesty international to accuse us of torture. They even decided to shout “we love you, Paul” and “you were always our favourite”. A time warp back into the 60s for me and Mr McCartney (if indeed he was home).

In this graveyard we found the grave of a comedian, Spike Milligan. His family had "I told you I was ill" engraved on his tombstone. The Irish have a strange sense of humour!

Jochen collected more mushrooms and this time he threatened that he would give them to the chef of the hotel for our dinner!

And later I found the perfect street for me to live in on the way.

The walk ended in Rye and we had a couple of hours before the bus would pick us up. Rye is a pretty and in the old part of it quite picturesque town. But after two hours I felt I had seen everything there is to see and I was glad when we were on our way back to the hotel.

When I was back in my room, I found that my toilet was broken and the whole bathroom floor had been flooded. I had left a couple of bags on the floor and they were soaking wet. While I spent 80 minutes on the treadmill next to the steam room (yes, this meant that the gym had sauna temperature) the hotel decided that there was nothing they could do but move me to a different room. So, for one night I carried all my belongings to the other side of the hotel. Well, to say the truth, my incredibly heavy and large suitcase was carried by a young man from the hotel. Bless his cotton socks. The new room was actually much nicer than the old one, looking out to the beach instead of the station. Unfortunately it had a different shower system and I was too stupid it out. I ended up holding down a switch with my right foot to keep the water flowing. There must have been a better way to do this!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

From Ninfield to Bexhill

On Saturday we left at 9:30 am by bus for our first walk after a full English – in my case veggie – breakfast. I felt so full, I honestly thought I would not eat any of the picnic lunch we had been given.

We weren’t actually told where we were going. I only figured out later that we had been driven to Ninfield and then walked back to Bexhill.

The walk was ok but not very impressive. It took about 5 hours and we did not see the coast at all. I guess it served the purpose to find out how fit the members of the group really are.

The only lasting memories I have are an enormous amount of stiles (some of them in really bad condition), being molested by a group of horses and feeling incredibly hungry at 12 o’clock. I wolfed down my picnic lunch thinking that Nicki would certainly not approve of my new eating habits.

All along the way, Jochen collected mushrooms. We asked him, what he was going to do with them but he avoided answering for a while. Eventually he told us that he would dry them in his hotel room and use them for cooking back home. Imagine the face of the maid who had to clean his room! Would you call the hotel manager and report an unexpected fungus problem in one of the rooms?

Back at the hotel I had some time to read and listen to Radio 1. Dinner was the same procedure as the day before and went to bed again feeling full.

On the telly there was Robbie Williams in Berlin and Stephen Duffy again looked like an animal caught in the headlights of a car. By now, I WAS feeling sorry for him.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Cooden Beach

I take my training really seriously, so in the morning I was back on the treadmill. Same nice view as the day before, still no sign of Mr. Caine. But next to me on the other treadmill was the living proof that regular exercise is good for you! We got talking and when he told me that he had just turned 70, I almost catapulted myself off the machine by coming to an abrupt and complete standstill. Very embarrassing! But he looked at least 10 years younger, the fit image only slightly disturbed by a bit of a belly. He walks at least 5 miles every day and I bet he also works out. He was not a hotel guest but a resident in Chelsea harbour. In his own words, this meant that you could become a member of the hotel’s fitness club, if you could afford it. I guess, if you can afford to live in that part of the city, the fee for the gym is peanuts to you. I was not too impressed with the fitness club. He agreed and called it “pathetic” for a hotel of this size. Well, I would just have called it "very small".

Around lunch time I took the train from Victoria to a place called Cooden Beach on the Sussex coast. The train takes about two hours but only because it stops at every lamp post along the way. Cooden Beach is on the outskirts of Bexhill-on-Sea, which I did not see too much of but it looked like your typical English seaside town. In the summer this place must be heaving with tourists but around this time of year it is pretty quite.

I had booked a walking holiday with Countrywide Holidays (“leading the way for walkers”). I enjoy walking but do not like to do so on my own. Since I increasingly seem to have to take my holidays when none of my friends do, I decided to try out one of these organised trips. I did not really expect much from it and reckoned that if it turned out to be awful at least it was only a couple of days long and I would survive that. The walks were categorised as leisurely to moderate, so I expected the average age of the group to be around 70. (It was probably more around 60.)

The hotel was right next to the train station and after the luxury of the night before it was a bit of a disappointment. But any hotel would have been. At the reception I suddenly heard very heavy German accent right next to me. Instant dislike! I had not come all this way to meet Germans. Had I wanted that I would have gone for a walk in the Black Forrest.

When I asked the receptionist for Internet access, I was told that the next one was in Hastings, which is not exactly short walking distance. Well, at least my room had a television for my evening entertainment. I am so easy to please.

I was told that the group would meet in the lobby at 6:30 pm, which gave me a couple of hours to explore the neighbourhood.

So I went for a walk along the pebbled beach. The sound of the waves and the smell of the sea reconciled me with Cooden Beach, the hotel and life in general. It did not rain but it was quite windy, especially when I turned back.

In the lobby at 6:30. Shock, horror! The German guy from the reception turned out to be my guide. His name was Jochen and he had been living in England for about 25 years. He still sounded like Ltd Gruber from ‘Allo ‘Allo! The rest of the group was from the UK. Everyone seemed (and turned out to be) very nice and easy-going. I was actually despite Jochen looking forward to the walks.

Over the couple of days my eating habits were turned upside down. I normally have a coffee in the morning, my main meal at lunch time and a sandwich in the evening. Now I was eating a three course dinner, which combined with the coastal climate made me very very tired. I nearly fell asleep watching Friday nights with Jonathan Ross. But I fought hard to stay awake to see Robbie Williams perform some of his nwe songs live (liked them). Well, whom I really wanted to see was Stephen Duffy, who has apparently now become a permanent member of the Robbie Williams band. He looked uncomfortable like he wished he was somewhere else. Should I feel sorry for him? If he is not enjoying the media attention he is getting now, he will hate it soon. Because it is going to get worse and people start recognising him in the streets.

Then finally sleep, sleep, sleep…

Thursday, October 20, 2005

London - part 1

I hate flying. I am scared to death by the immense height and speed of the plane. It is completely over my head. I feel trapped and at the mercy of the laws of physics. But it is the cheapest and easiest way to get to England. And my desire to be there regularly overcomes my fear.

So on Thursday I boarded a BA plane to London Heathrow. Since it was the first proper holiday for a long time I had decided to spend my money on indulgence and selected two very nice and also very expensive hotels for the first and the last night of my stay. In between I did not have a choice of hotel since I decided to go on an organised hiking trip in Sussex. But more about that later.

The first hotel I chose is located in Chelsea harbour. Being an Aquarius I am naturally drawn to the water. My ideal place to live would be at the beach or at least within walking distance of it. So this was an easy decision and it turned out to be a good one. Chelsea harbour is a nice and quite area, where armed security guards make sure no "unwanted" people show up. Apparently quite a number of the rich and famous live around there.

I walked along the river and around the harbour (the latter takes only a couple of minutes; it is very small). I took some pictures with my brother digital camera that I had borrowed.

Before meeting with a friend of mine I went to the hotel’s gym for my marathon training unit of the day. From the treadmill I had an excellent view of the harbour and especially the tallest building, called The Belvedere. Apparently Michael Caine lives in it, but he was nowhere to be seen.

In the evening I walked all the way from the hotel to Charing Cross road to meet Barbara at a Salsa club she had recommended. When I walked along The Mall I couldn’t help thinking that in about six months time I would come running along this street or – in a worst case scenario – crawling towards the finish line of the London marathon.

The Salsa evening started with a two hour training course. We were split into groups and Barbara joined the intermediates having been there a couple of times already. I decided to stay with the beginners. The course was fun although I first had to dance with a girl from New Zealand due to a shortage of male participants and then with a huge guy (I am only 5ft 2in tall), who had two left feet. After the course a live band started playing (not very good) and it was “anybody can drag anybody onto the dance floor”. I decidedly did not like the look of the guy who came towards me and fled to the bar. The whole thing made me feel extremely uncomfortable. Call me boring and old-fashioned but I prefer to know people I do some sort of "forbidden dance" with at least a little. And the style was quite different from what we had been tought in the previous two hours!

My options were to sit and watch Barbara or to go back to the hotel. Since I feared I would be rather miserable and probably quite drunk if I stayed, I went back to the hotel. I guess, Barbara was not too happy about this, but since we had already agreed to go out for drinks on Monday, I think it was the best solution.

I had some wine in the hotel bar watching out for Mr Caine while at the same time reading “The Diary of a C-list celeb”. Very funny book! Went to bed feeling happy and slightly tipsy due to lack of any substantial food intake during the day.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Fom blonde to brunette

I have gone from blonde to brunette in just over an hour. The wonderful lovely Jan (alas - for us females - gay), the only man, no, the only human being that is allowed to do my hair, has convinced me to try something a little darker. My true colour is neither fish nor flesh, somewhere between blonde and brunette. "Mittelblond" is the official German term for it. "Strassenköterblond" is what I call it. Anyway, my hair has never been this dark before and I love it.

The weather is finally matching my autumn depression. Today the temperature has dropped significantly and it started raining. Time for a cup of tea, biscuits, The Lilac Time and a good book. Mmmh, I think I will revisit "Fever Pitch". Although the way the 1. FC Köln is currently playing my love for football is being put to the test big time.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Back to the office

I have been back to the office for a meeting with SAP to discuss our glossy success story marketing brochure. The fastes implementation project in the short history of release 4.0 apparently. It felt like years! But the message is: project in time, in scope, in budget. A very rare thing to happen.

Have pointed out (again) that some SAP merchandise should be coming my way if they really want to quote me saying nice things about their software and services in the brochure. Their mugs are really nice! I think the message was understood.

Have made arrangements to go to London for a business conference ("meet the experts"). It takes place during my hols but the topics are just too interesting to be missed. It means that I will go to London for my mini-break, come back home for a home mini-break and go back to London for a mini-conference break. Have I mentioned that I am afraid of flying?

On the way home I saw Mike Krüger filming in the main station. His nose really is that big. Not starstruck though, because I do not really like him.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

I have never been this fast before!

What a wonderful race! On what is probably the last fine day of the year along the river, over one bridge, through a beautiful park, back along the river, over another bridge and across the finish line. I have never been this fast before: 1h 24m 49s for 15km! The 10km I did in about 55 min (according to my watch). My best so far was 57 min. The training is obviously working! Happy, happy, happy...

Afterwards brunch at Nuria's place. They had so much food, it would have been enough for twice as many people!

All in all it has been a very good day.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


My printer is out of order. It thinks it's got a paper jam. But I have fixed more paper jams in my life than I care to remember! Trust me, this printer does NOT have a paper jam! The online help suggested that it may need new cartridges, so I went and bought a black one and a colour one for altogether €65. I am still hyperventilating. My brother recently bought a brand new printer that is also a scanner and photocopier for €70! Well, guess what. It did not need new cartridges, it is still refusing to work. Fortunately I had only inserted the black one as a test, so I could get my money back for the unused colour one. I feel like smashing this machine with a baseball bat, alas I haven't got one. So I will just throw it out of the window and buy a new one next week.

In the city

I have been to the city to get some special trousers for my hiking break next week. This city has about 1 million inhabitants and all of them seem to have had the same idea! I HATE crowds. They make me so aggressive that I scare myself. Had to buy a grande vanilla latte with an extra shot from Starbucks (my second home) to stable my nerves. Will listen to some Belle & Sebastian to calm me down. "The boy with the arab strap" usually does the trick.

Friday, October 14, 2005


I am now officially on holiday for three weeks. A reason to celebrate? Normally, yes. But in my case no. I have been given a Blackberry and together with the laptop, I now have a makeshift "home office". Of course, this is only for the highly unlikely event of an emergency! Hahaha!

They always manage to make me fear that the investors will walk into the sunset if I cannot be reached to answer their questions. It is very cleverly done, though! These innocent questions: "Are you going away or staying home? Oh, away only for a couple of days! In that case could you come into the office for important meetings? You know, just in case..." They suggest that I am much more important than I really am. I have a team that could answer most of the questions an investor is likely to ask. But I am being manipulate using my solidarity with the company I work for and my pride. So I say "yes, of course".

I am such a fool sometimes.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Just did the last training unit before the race on Sunday. It is a 15km race for charity and has been integrated into my marathon training schedule. My trainer has asked me to run between 1h 30m and 1h 40min. I have had a bit of a cold for the last couple of days, so it will probably be closer to 1h 40min (expectation managment). Ute and Nuria a running too and Ute is apparently bringing her neighbour along, whose name I have forgotten. I am getting old, I guess. Nuria has invited us to have brunch at her place after the race. So there is an incentive to run fast!

Listening to the Cure's "Seventeen Seconds", one of their best albums. "A forest" has been my companion for more than 20 years now, but the bass line of it still gives me goose bumps. Awesome!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


I went to my Aikido class yesterday. Our dojo must be the most beautiful one in the world! I doubt that the new fish will survive the winter though. I arrived rather early, so I could watch the advanced Aikidokas' training session. It looks so easy, but trust me, it's not! After two years I am still an absolute beginner. It is so difficult to free your mind and not forestall what is coming. Especially as Uke you know, you will fall because that is what this attact and defence training is all about. But to wait for the impulse from Tori and not fall in some "anticipatory obedience" is hard.

After class we went to our favourite Mexican again. And Nicki - I said "no" to Nachos Sonora! That took all my willpower. They were right there under my nose and smelt delicious.

Maria has opened her own architecture firm recently and yesteday evening she told me about her first proper client. Apparently he is the "please do not be creative, just build what I have sketched" type, but it is start.

Monday, October 10, 2005


...helpless reading about yet another catastrophe that took thousands of lives. At the same time I am shocked about the detachment with which I look at the pictures. Have I seen too many of them? Am I growing cold or is it a self-protection mechanism? It is sad that it takes things like that to make me appreciate again that I am leading a good life. I have been rather unsatisfied and unhappy about a couple of things lately. But my problems are nothing really, nothing to lose sleep about.

In the paper today it said that the immediate help the USA is going to send to earthquake region is an amazing $ 100,000! Are you sure America? THAT much??? Recently a very rich man paid a very rich popstar £1 million to sing for an hour. Am I the only one who thinks something is not quite right here?

Sunday, October 09, 2005


I briefly thought about correcting my mistake in the original post from 10/07/2005 "I have been back to the record store". But I feel what has been posted should remain unchanged, so here is a correction for what I said about Stephen Duffy and "Keep Going" (not that it really matters):

In the article from 2003 the SZ did not call him one of the greatest songwriters of our time. They did that in an article in 2004. What they wrote in 2003 was that with "Keep Going" he had released a "life changing album". Not quite as flattering but still true.


Well, that did not quite work out the way I thought it would! Thank God next year's World Cup takes place in our country. We would not qualify for it in the state we are currently in. England did not impress me either. I think I will put all my money on Ghana or Angola...

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Another passion - the footie

I love football. Sometimes I play with collegues after work but not at the moment because of the marathon training. I am useless in defence and even worse as a striker. But I try! And I run for the ball! And I enjoy it!

My favourite team is 1. FC Köln and a couple of years ago I became a member of the club. They may not be the best in the league but they surely are the most entertaining. And Sunday mornings when I run in the park, I can see the team's training. They do try hard!

Today there is footie on television. The cat and I will have a quite afternoon and evening, watching England beat Austria and then Germany beat Turkey. Olé, olé, olé!


I have added some more links of organisations etc. I feel passionate about. The links section should be seen as "under construction", more links will probably follow over time. For clarity I have shortened the text behind some of the ones that were there from the start. It does not mean that I have changed my mind about them!

When I started this blog I was worried that adding links to other websites would be violating someone's copyrights. Just because everybody does it, doesn't mean it's correct, right? But a lawyer I know told me that I need not worry about that unless I use anything on those websites for commercial reasons. But apparently there could be trouble ahead if you (whoever you are) uses one of the links and suffers some damage from that (what could that be, I wonder?). So I now have this little disclaimer underneath the links, which seems a bit silly really, but better save than sorry.

The thought that anyone can just add a link on his/her website to mine is a bit scary! What if that website contains something that I do not endorse? And then some freak, who visits that website because he likes what's on it, ends up on mine. I really do not like that idea! But apparently that is a risk you take when you live in cyberspace.

If I have added a link to your website and you feel uncomfortable about this e.g. because you think this blog is crap, please let me know and I will delete it! Promised!

Friday, October 07, 2005

My marathon ambitions

I started running in April 2003. Another thing I started without really knowing why. Only a couple of weeks before I had been telling someone who was training for a marathon that running was the most boring sport I could think of. Now the treadmill is my second home. Mmmh...

Almost immediately after the first race (10km in 00:59:33 Champion chip time) I started toying with the idea of running a marathon. But I did not feel that I had the endurance and time to prepare for it properly. Two months ago I registered for the Flora London Marathon 2006.

It is easier for overseas entries. We do not have to enter into the ballot, we simply book this once in lifetime experience with a registered travel agent. The official website says that right now it is 6 months, 15 days and 14 hours away. I am scared but I will do it!

Why London? In March this year I bought a ticket to see "Little Britain" in Oxford. I have never booked a show so well in advance, but I am a big fan of the show. The Flora London Marathon is the day before. It is as simple as that.

I've been back to the record store today

I seem to spend most of my lunch breaks in the record store lately. Single-handedly saving the ailing record industry! Today's purchases are an interesting mix, but so is my whole record collection:

Leela James - A change is gonna come

I heard her on the radio a couple of times. Amazing voice. She calls her music "backyard soul". Will find out what that is suppossed to be...

Franz Ferdinand - You could have it so much better

The second album of the English band with the German name. Voted record of the month in the October edition of the Musikexpress. When I woke up this morning, "do you want to" was playing on the radio. I have been humming it since then. Therefore I have bought the record to exorcise the tune by heavy rotation on my stereo.

Stephen Duffy - I love my friends

The Süddeutsche Zeitung made "Keep going" by The Lilac Time (see links section) its record of the year 2003. They published an article in which they called Stephen Duffy one of the greatest songwriters ever. My reaction was "oh, he is still alive?". I remembered him as the Pete Best of Duran Duran and Stephen "Tintin" Duffy of short-lived 80's fame. But they were right, his music is beautiful. I have since then been working my way backwards through his releases. I hope more people start doing that, now he is getting more popular writing even more beautiful songs with Robbie Williams (another one of my favourites and it is no longer embarrassing to say that; the boy-band days are far behind him; no link to his website though, because it's crap). I have postponed buying this particular album for so long because it is usually described as "Brit pop". We'll see...

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The cat thinks it's a star

After the praise he received in a forum "somewhere only we know" on the Internet, the cat's ego has been blown out of proportion! He thinks he is a star now. He has got himself a manager, opened a fan club and ordered a stack of autograph cards. He will be touring Europe next, I think. But for now he is lying on the living room table behind me, his yellow eyes staring at my back. He does not like it, when I deal with other things than him. Well, tough luck! I have a blog to write.

Right now we are listening to Jack Johnson singing about "Banana Pancakes". I bought his new CD today and the price brought tears to my eyes! €18.99 and it is not even a special edition! But it is truely beautiful music, simple in the best sense of the word with a laid-back feel to it. In a world, where this annoying frog can make it to No.1 in the charts, we cannot be thankful enough that this kind of music exists!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Maybe this is why...

Have been thinking about the reason for starting this. Still confused. I tried keeping a diary twice, once as a child and then again as a teenager. Both times I gave up after a couple of entries because I felt I had nothing worth writing down. Compared to the published diaries I had read my stuff sounded trivial.

Maybe I am giving it another try (only in a slightly more modern form) because of an article I read in the newspaper today. Once a week a reporter publishes an interview with some ordinary person. She walks through our city, approaches someone and invites him/her to a cup of coffee. They chat about anything the person would like to chat about and this "interview" is then published. So far 100 such interviews have been published and in today's article the reporter took stock of her experiences. What surprised me was that she said, there is no "coffee casting". If she talks to someone, the interview is published. Everyone has an interesting story to tell. So maybe I have too...

Odd decision

So, I have decided to start a blog. Odd decision. Have really no idea where this is going. We'll see...

So first of all a picture of the cat that is not grey but always hungry. He currently weighs in at 10.7 kg. Heavy bones, I guess.

His name is Struppi, which is the German name of Milou, Tintin's dog. Why? Well, when the vet asked me what his name was, so she could put it down in his "passport", I did not want "alter Pisser" in there (which translates into exactly what you think). I had been calling him that because the first time he entered my home, he urinated against my beautiful sofa (managed to get the stains out completely and have therefore forgiven him). He was stray cat, who decided I was the one who was going to feed him from now on. How could I say no? He looked shaggy, which in German is "struppig", so it seemed a good idea at the time. And since he does not listen to anything I call him, it doesn't really matter.