Category Archives: Life, the universe & everything

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As Above So Below

After a summer that didn’t only mean moving to a new home, but also trying to cope with the utterly unsensual summer temperatures, it is now time to cool down and dedicate our time to the sensual seasons of fall and winter, … hurray!
A good strategy in this respect is to follow what’s new in our dear friend Juan‘s art- and mind-world, for example by listening to what he told us about the pieces of his latest exhibition As Above So Below at Hilbertraum, Berlin.
It is always lovely to listen to him speak about his work, life, the universe & everything, which he does in a serene yet joyful way that leaves the spectator or listener with the feeling that someone takes the well thought-through subject-matter of their art serious, without appearing in the slightest way arrogant or omniscient – life is a game! The ancient dilemma that we cannot understand ourselves without understanding the universe and cannot understand the universe without understanding ourselves was at the heart of his talk, in which he drew most interesting parallels between concepts like history, solipsism, incompleteness, language, the babylonian origins of art/science and many more which I probably missed.
The skull is a symbol of life, not of death, I like this very much. Thanks Juan for an enlightening hour on a nicely-cool November afternoon!

Lets delve into the hidden layers of his-story, the Ge-schichten, on our quest to search for the hidden meta-language!

Kicks and Hugs

… and that’s when Xandl, Lydia and myself thought: why not go and have a nightcup, a cocktail somewhere close by, nothing out of the ordinary. The closest bar that evening happened to be Bryk Bar, a place I had been to twice: decent, but as requested nothing out of the ordinary. Enter the three of us. Seated and supplied with a small glass of water each we’re being served the more than mediocre salty snack (popcorn, good heavens!) and handed over the menu. Cocktails are ordered and take a long time to be served, which we are indifferent about, since the conversation is uplifting and the mood is summery. Cocktails are finally being served and the evening flows on, until at some point Xandl and I start to feel the emptiness in our water glasses. Since the sideboard just next to us hosts a large quantity of glasses already filled with tap water, we think no evil thoughts and serve ourselves. Suffice it to say that in Sweden for example, ANY sub-standard coffee shop has a table with tap water for anyone to serve themselves. High-end cocktail bars see it as a matter of course that their customers’ water glasses are never empty. Our lofty summer mood was in no way deteriorated until that point, we overlook such negligence with an air of aristocratic nonchalence native to well-traveled, grown-up citizens of Earth. After a prolonged period of time: arrival of Mademoiselle la Serveuse with her water jug. “What do I see? Why are there more water glasses?” She sharply looks at us, then to the sideboard, then back to us. Xandl, Lydia and I exchange glances of amazement without having any suitable answer … it is a situation to burst into hours of laughter, which turns into the epitome of grotesqueness as she adds without awaiting a reply from our part: “We have no self-service here. I’ll bring you the bill!” Bitte lachen Sie: jetzt! And there she goes and fetches the bill. Which we pay with an air of … etcetera, etcetera. What shall I say other than: there is a first time for everything. Being kicked out of a cocktail bar. Not in my wildest dreams. Because, believe me: we ARE the customers you really want as a bar. Not only because we have spent more money in 25 years in cocktail bars than other people have paid taxes all their lives, no, also and mainly because we are the most civilized and well behaved of drinkers! Bars from Tokyo, Melbourne, all over Europe to NYC will be able to testify and confirm. How the poor people of Bryk Bar were able to fail to see that we’ll never know, because of the obviousness for their having been erased from our mental drinks-landscape.

The story continues.

As Xandl&Lydia were headed for their hotel, I had the pleasure to bike to Kreuzberg, to Mister-Mister Johansson. Since the evening was fairly young and we are fairly old, I proposed to wash away the bitterness of recent events with a glass at the most formidable of bars in Berlin: Thelonious Bar. As we arrive we are greeted by the barkeeper, hands are shaken, drinks are stirred, the water glasses are never empty. The proprietor appears at some point and offers a round of sophisticated shots on the house, the barkeeper makes us try his latest addition to the rhum selection – bref: une soirée comme elle se doit! As we are about to head home, the proprietor hugs us on our way out! Round of smiles for everyone.

When does one ever get to experience the worst and the best of anything within two hours? Seldom. But that evening, I did. You lovely people of Thelonious Bar, I drink to your health and long life – à la votre! Good night, and good luck.

The Age of Aquarius

When I recently found this tiny and fabulous blue cocktail recipe booklet in mum’s kitchen in our countryside house, I had to “secure” it immediately 🙂 Not so much because of the recipes, which are obviously neither special nor unbiased, but rather an attempt of the brand to sell their average products, but much more because of the cute format and the lovely 50s/60s graphic design! Executed with much care, which is rarely seen today in similar tokens (Hendrick’s Gin was the producer of the only comparable booklet I’ve come across during recent years), it naturally does not satisfy 2018 standards of gender equality, although when looking at Sagittarius, the lady who blocks the arrow in a nonchalant way with her drink seems to think to herself: “Ah, fuck off!” and indulge in her own splendid ennui, superbly aided by her beverage (click to enlarge image).

Man sollte vermeiden den Stier zu ärgern … durch einen sanften Cocktail. Dem kann ich nur zustimmen!

Funnily enough, and as often is the case, a related item popped up around the same time independently, in the form of the formidable cocktail book by Tony Conigliaro’s 69 Colebrooke Row, one of our favourite London cocktail bars, which Björn brought me from a recent solo-trip to the town of funk (how DARE he drink those Hemingway Daiquiris without me!?). A fabulous book already by it’s stories and cocktail recipes, the drawings by Yasmin Sandytia it contains – although having a distinct contemporary touch – are very much reminiscent of the 50s/60s aesthetics as found in above shown Cinzano booklet in my opinion.

À la votre – to what we love!

Graphic art in cocktail books now and then …


Spät aber doch, ein post über Xandls “Joiseph“. Virtuell kann man nicht kosten … aber das ist auch gut so. Wein hat mit Genuss zu tun, und Genuss mit sich Zeit nehmen. Es muss nicht immer alles instantan zur Verfügung stehen, das wollen uns bloß die jedes-Jahr-ein-neues-Handy-Industrie & Co einreden. Wir glauben ihnen nicht. Stattdessen lassen wir uns Zeit und trinken Joiseph.

Bei so einem koidn Joiseph an einem lauen Sommerabend … da muss bei einem einfachen Menschen einfach Freude aufkommen!

Groß auch war die Überraschung, als letzten Sommer im Gro, Stockholm plötzlich ein Joiseph an der Theke stand. Die Sommelière war begeistert als sie ihn entdeckte, wie sie persönlich berichtete. À la votre! kann man da nur sagen.

Joiseph @Gro restaurant, Stockholm

Category “brains”, because as with any other alcoholic beverage … use caution in order to protect it! 😉

No plastic money anymore, die Banken gegen ihn …

Where do we go from here? And why do we go anywhere? How frequently is “frequent”? And by which means do we move? Questions, questions, …

A blog post about an expired credit card? Where could be the sensuality in such an endeavour? Blog of the Senses. Money as such is unsensual. At most it has a haptic quality. It actually HAS a lot of haptic aspects. Bills, coins. How vain and ephemeral they are. Mindtwisters of humanity. Yet fascinating. Young people panicked when the Euro was introduced in Austria. They had to multiply/divide by 13,76. Horror ensued. Not in my grandma’s household. She pragmatically took her notebook and said: “Whenever the currency changes, I prepare a little list with prices of things I usually buy and/or have to pay in order to get used to the new numbers.” She smiled a bit I think to remember. For her it was the 5th currency she had lived to see. I don’t think she ever owned a credit card in her life. Sweden is abolishing cash now, and other countries will follow for sure, giving way to banks to charge us negative interest (since we can’t take out all our “cash” from their accounts anymore and thus force them to play capitalism to our benefit …. enfin. Whom do I want to fool. We live in the best of all possible worlds, we know that much. Bitcoin is not a solution, is it?). I lost track. Cash. Plastic money. Right. This particular plastic money thingy of mine has a certain (hi)story to tell. It is in a way synonym for an era. An era of longing, of long distances, of frequent travelling (british English – good bye, by the way, we will miss you, islanders. You’re Europeans – if you want to be that or not!). It didn’t (just) pay for a lot of trips, from Tokyo to Martinique, from Reykjavik to Athens, Lisbon to Helsinki. Through all those years and most of all maintenant, it reminds me of the obvious: that money – be it plastic, bronze, gold, haptic or not – is a bitch! Mindtwister of humanity. Travelling is mind-expanding. Being able to do it without risk and limits is a luxury only very few people on Earth enjoy. Lets remind ourselves of that from time to time.
By now many (both) readers will have realized that this blog post is trying to follow a spiral-shaped path and is not really sure of where it is going. 😉 Be it as it may, … I wish I had the means to travel for real, and if a physicist says a thing like this we all know what it means: space! Spaceships! REAL travel involves spaceships, doesn’t it? I wonder if on Betegeuze-Alpha they still have cash. In a way I hope they have. I like the haptic quality of a coin. Recently, I see those little posters which they put above pissoirs in cafés and restaurants in Germany, sponsored by the ministry of health, saying that cash/bills/coins carry germs! WTF. One doesn’t die so quickly. Humanity wouldn’t be here otherwise. Think of toilets in the middle ages (if any!). Our DNA is programmed to survive a few dirty coins in 2018! It has been in more fn dirty places in the course of history, believe me … believe HISTORY!
Sådär. I’m not a frequent traveler anymore. So be it, Jedi. Jacques Brel just started singing “Ne me quitte pas”. I always hate/love him for doing that. One can travel ANYwhere if one’s phantasy is just large enough. He knew it. Maybe he was one of those people who have been everywhere.

For those who read until here:

And for those of you who do NOT long to just board the next atlantic cruiser to leave for whatever shore it may head for …: all hope is gone.

Die Hoffnung stirbt zuletzt und nichts wird so heiß gegessen wie es gekocht wird. Man muss nirgends hinreisen. Das gesamte Universum ist unseren Gehirnen zu jedem Zeitpunkt zugänglich. Jede/r Unbekannte ist befreundet und freundlich gesinnt. Freundschaft ist Sinnlichkeit. Chér inconnu. Chére inconnue.

Good night, and good luck.