everything is illuminated

I am really ripping away today, but so what, nobody is watching the monkey juggle. To no one whatsoever, this is a another book report, this time on Jonathan Safran Foer, winner of the Guardian First Book Award 2002, with ‘Everything Is Illuminated’.
They say he is the best new writer in the world. I say he writes like he has diarrhea in his brain – that is a compliment, by the way. Off-handed, but still.

Safran Foer is one clever little Jew, the kind you very easily imagine you can imagine in your lazy mind. Neurotic, nerdy, skinny, badly dressed including fannypack, verbal like Woody Allen… but also imaginative and bold and bursting with brio and far too many ideas.
The b-b-b-book itself is a potpourri of comedy, tragedy, dashes of brilliance… and rather too much of boredom. Badabing badabong, just boring.
I am sure you can read the synopsis somewhere on the internet; I just feel that a story about searching his grandma in Ukraine is lame, no matter how well it is disguised behind brilliant language and originality. And why my o my why name a dog Sammy Davis, Junior, Junior? My teeth hurt from all the grinding.

Still, the guy is kosher, which means I can not wait until he writes something interesting. Shalom.

airport reading

About 5 am, Geneva airport. Heavy flu, sand in the eyes. Some old fool next to me is stretching his legs for awhile, which seems like perfectly normal behaviour at first. Then he gets up, starts playing with a plastic lid of some sorts, throwing it up in the air, running after it, dropping it on the floor. What the hell? This guy has gray hair, is probably 60, and plays around like a little kid. I shake my head in disbelief, and cracks open Friedrich Nietzsche’s ‘Twilight Of The Idols’. Why am I punishing myself like this? Shouldn’t I be reading something simple, like Dan Brown, instead?

The plane is late. When is it not? Every vitriolic word of Nietzsche passes by in indifference. It seems to be some sort of a declaration of war on reason, psychology and theology. I read a passage, I get lost, I don’t understand. I read the passage again. The same thing happens. We don’t get along, Nietzsche and I. I start to wonder if he got along with anyone at all? We touch the ground in Amsterdam, for a four-hour transit of emptiness – these cheap tickets kill me. I prowl the Schiphol for a sweetspot, and finally come across an available lounge chair, where I can get my feet up. I pounce, like a tiger in white Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars.
I can not get any sleep, although I am tired, which is no surprise to me. I am a lousy sleeper; when I actually sleep I sleep like an assassin. I watch some guy sit down in the chair next to me – in a matter of minutes he is pulling ZZZs like he is in paradise and talking to Jesus. It pisses me off in a royal way and I force myself to focus on ‘The Twilight Of Idols’.
Frankly, Nietzsche is not a poet. He writes with a heavy hammer, and bangs in his point of view, like I am the head of the nail. When I reach the end, I am relieved more than disappointed. Only poser-philosophers need apply.

What do I do next? I continue in great stubborn fashion with Friedrich Nietzsche’s ‘The Anti-Christ’…. hahaha. At first I find myself taunting the author, but the more I read the warmer I get in my clothes.
The plane is yet again late, and I’m dead sure the times on the screens are more guidelines than a measurement of accuracy. I buy a couple of bottles of Campari and Pernod, and continue turning the pages inside the crammed aircraft. This book is marvellous.

I quote: “Man is God’s first blunder… Woman was God’s second blunder. Woman is in her essence serpent… every evil comes into the world through woman… Man became God’s rival, science makes equal to God – it is all over with priests and gods if man becomes scientific – God’s mortal terror. God’s answer… Man shall not think.”

While not a fluent book, it is, in fact, more than marvellous. It is important. The crap has been peeled away, and it is completely naked of bullshit, totally devoid of fraud. It is a revaluation of values from 1895 – and I’m going to mail George W Bush and the Abdullahs a copy of it.

walk the line

I’m sitting down in front of the fingertip alphabet immediately after watching Walk The Line, the chronicle of Johnny Cash’s life, so forgive me for feeling the way I feel – the words will be tainted by heartbleed, and come out all dramatic and sentimental and wrong and weird and wired. But I am a sensitive man; I can not help it, it just burns, burns, burns.

I love the movie. Everything about it. First second to last. One guitar string after the other. Screw plot and cinematography and manuscripts and I don’t care whatnotandhow – when the acting is what it truly can be and the legend even more, it comes alive… on the screen and inside the viewer, this viewer.

Joaquin Phoenix was robbed at Oscar night; take a hike, Capote. To step into those dark and damp shoes of Cash and fill ’em up like that, own singing included, is the cocky guts I dream about. Praise the lord justice was served in form of the golden statuette for Reese Witherspoon as June Carter. I fell in love with her the moment her perfect reflection hit my retinas. Did you see her whipping those country legs? And where the hell did those bite marks on my knuckles come from?

I am gasping from joy of bubbling life, but at the same time struck by melancholy and the infinite sadness. I can only guess how hard it is to beat your personal demons, and rise while everyone around you is dragging you down. Yeah, wait… I am lying… I can do a whole lot more than ‘guess’…

But if I may push my own demons aside for a minute, then let me tell you this. Walk The Line is essentially a love story surrounded by the greatest country music ever made and sung. Watching Johnny and June sing together are moments in time when you realize what beauty means, what contrast means, what harmony means, what heart and family means, what love is all about. And that is what it is all about, always. Just watching it makes a difference – so, watch it!

It’s getting late. I’m going to bed. In my own ring of fire.

lausanne lounge

The locomotive surge of the vanishing V12 and a busty bottle of breakneck Barolo.
Me and Herr K have history, we go back beyond the swinging student days of London – this time, this late Thursday, we hook up by the classy Beau-Rivage at Lausanne Ouchy, to go a little moitié-moitié over a cheese fondue and vin blanc from the region’s own grapes. It is either that, or buy a Rolex – I am in Switzerland.
Later at the pad, we gossip incessantly and imbibe, among others, a splendid red Mas La Plana that really threw a party in my mouth/brain. Perhaps you understand me better when I say “deep dense cherry colour, with a touch of mahogany, simply a wonderfully intense bouquet, with hints of cranberries, cherries and truffles, and an incense-like quality developed during ageing in wood.”

Herr K. in a certain Kafka-novel did not own a metallic black Mercedes Benz CL 600 with tan leather interior, but this one does. On Friday we park our asses in said interior, and head out on the highway in damned dandy style. I am benched in the scary place, but silently I sit and plot to weasel my way into the driver’s seat, as six litres of twelve pots purr and the road drops beneath us.
We zoom around and up and down with Lac Leman stretching out besides us, framed by Alps of different nationalities. Somewhere along the line we reach pittoresque Montreux, where among many others our own Marshal Mannerheim spent his last years. I quip “This is truly the place you come to in preparation for death” when we strut along the shoreline. But the show must go on; we drop in to have a glas of rosé in a cosy chalet. My oral orifice is adorned by a white-filtered Yves Saint Laurent.
The evening is spent at the White Horse pub in Lausanne, where we abuse the happy hour rules to maximum… i.e, two for the price of one will always be a go-go green flag for boys waving the white-and-blue.
Later, having further sampled whiskeys and desperados, we manage to find our way home, where we feast in late-night time. Was there parmesan in honey, thick slices of prosciutto, big juicy olives, and a nice mouldy and ripe Italian cheese that smell like a potato cellar? Yes, there was.

After a late English breakfast on Saturday, we devote the day to Geneva and the Palexpo, 76e Salon International De L’Auto. I am a magpie – I can just not resist beautifully gleaming hypnotical things. Aesthetics, oh the cotton of my ragged soul.
This exhibition was a celebration of excess and I walked around making orgasmic sounds to the beat of visuality. The Bugatti Veyron, Porsche 911 GT3 and Turbo, Masers and Lambos and Aston Fucking Martin and Bloody Hell Bentley, Pagani and Spyker and freaky concepts of strange hedonism… well, I’m just gonna stop.

I completely raped my feet walking around there, but it was worth it. Just a few more days and I’ve recovered…

K bought some Benz accessories. The innocent girl at the stand asked “What kind of Mercedes do you have?” “CL 600”, K stated. Naturally, I had to ask him how good that made him feel. His belly bounced as he confirmed his loud satisfaction.

Then the bus took us back to the parking lot… no, it was not here… or was it… passed it… further… and further. We jumped off somewhere. It was raining. We got seriously lost. I felt like laying down in the street. My feet were killing me. Fury. I summoned up my dark powers. Started walking. Found the car.

After later sitting in a traffic jam in downtown Geneva for a few hours, it felt rather good to get back to K’s penthouse. The view from his huge balcony is fabulous, with naked Lac Leman in front of you, the long lights of the city of Evian on the French side of the lake, and behind that, the Alps up in the clouds, white-nosed and menacing.
I sat back on the couch and chilled in the company of a late GQ, while K hustled the kitchen like a man possessed. Fresh asparagus micro-steamed, some butter and salt. For the main course we eat a sauced-up GrÃ¥lle, who was once an old pÃ¥lle, but he can go down in history knowing he tasted yummy. Horsemeat is not common in Scandinavia…
My iPod connected to K’s Vaio was pushing out songs from new band The Editors when we cracked open the Barolo. The inside of the mouth turns into a raisin, goes into a deep coma of lust, violent convulsions of tastebud love, the taste lingers like the perfume on your pillow of last night’s girl.

At 2 am and a few bottles later it starts snowing, heavily. The Merc is shod with summer rubber. I am supposed to drive it tomorrow.

Wake up early Sunday morning and utter a yuurghh. The whole of Switzerland is covered in chaotic white powder, and I curse my deep-down dirty rotten luck. But lo and behold, the sun comes out for the first time – ever, it feels like. After some sightseeing in old city Lausanne, z.B. climbing the endless stairs to the cathedral and enjoying a splendid view, K hands me the key with the star on.

I am an automatic transmission virgin. The streets are new to me, wet, lined with snow, really narrow and packed with traffic. The car is big and too expensive. But I am the best driver in the world! Let’s rock and roll!
I punch the accelerator in the face and we boom off along the tricky special stages that line Lac Leman. The car is a pussycat, a sophisticat, so sweet and willing, so quiet and refined… but I am not here for sweet. I am bad. When traffic clears I do the same – I clear the space between the floormat and my right foot, unleash the beast. We are up to warp speed in no time, and K fidgets in the passenger seat. The push in the back is very strong and seamless, and you get the feel you could pull the moon to earth if you could just get your lasso around it.
Up in the vineyard mountains we go. Did I say the roads are narrow? Yes, they are. Once in awhile I hit a snowy spot, and the ESP lights up like a christmas tree. But the sun is shine, and the view is diamond. We find a great location for the diamond shine, I park the car, we say oooh and aaah, and notice a restaurant. Soup d’jour, I try to say to the woman, but the timing is off, so we settle for hazelnut petit-choux and tea.

We are waiting for the lights to turn green. I am impatient. Hungry. Eager. I look over to the left, some other guy in some other car looks back. I give him the cool smile of a man with the confidence of 12 cylinders. Yellow… gr.. I hit the loud pedal and the CL 600 squirms on the wet tarmac, finding grip, fucks off like a bat out of hell and becomes a vanishing point.
At the local Agip it seems to be a good idea to hand over the keys to K. I take some photos of him filling it up…

We eat Chinese for dinner. I make the nouilles vietnamese disappear with classic Tsingtao and chopstick bravado.

A Mouton Cadet by Rothschild acts as the sensual evening mistress, accompanied by the last YSLs, fading into continental night. I’ll see you in Nagu this summer, K. Remember to bring the Benz.

live forever

Aubrey de Grey, the bearded druid of biogerontology at University of Cambridge, is an inspiration to those (like me) who thinks that life is far too short. In fact, Dr. de Gray goes so far as to predict we will soon live to be 200 to 1000 years old. This is not fiction. I repeat, this is not fiction. Better yet, this means that when you are in the early thirties, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Wooohoooo! I was just feeling old yesterday; now I’m suddenly a baby.

I can almost taste the fountain of youth. Bring on the eternal life! I intend to outlive God himself!

the ghost rider gallery

The Ghost Rider Gallery has opened! All aboard. Mind the gap. Come with me for a digital ride along memory lane. This way, please. I’m not posting a link here, so just turn your round head to the right, and gaze upon Pages – The Ghost Rider Gallery. Therein lies the path to the pictures, as Hamlet would have said.

Courtesy of my lovable little bro, the maori from Chch, NZ.

thrillerino in torino

How delikat! Finland and Sweden meet up for the mama of all Finals, the end-all be-all, the perfect storm, the battle of Galactica, the Judgement Day, the Thrilla in Manila… or the Thrillerino in Torino. It is live and let die and kill or be killed, all at the same time. Could this be the day when Finland finally steps out from the shadows of Sweden?

3-2, and olympic gold in icehockey goes to Sweden.

Real time: Right now, I hear Tre Kronor sing their national anthem. I see the big white-blue lions crying in interviews. I see the yellow on blue being waved, everywhere. I see… no, I don’t see our flag, not even a painted chin. The difference between winner and loser could not be bigger.
What is that thing dingling from the lions’ neck? Silver cruelty, what a despicable disappointment of an excuse for a metal. It turns you into a bitter hater. I feel my veins turn into ice… the same ice we were crushed on. Gold lost, not silver won.

But we shall roar again.

Nessum Dorma. As Luciano Pavarotti wraps it up in Torino, Italia, I wonder and ponder this riddle – why does the Finnish 2 minutes seem so much longer than the Swedish 2 minutes?

It certainly appears that time is, indeed, relative.

ha-ha-harry callahan

This amused me for 11,3 seconds this morning (yes, I timed my chuckles). Some guy in Wisconsin recently tried to open an email-account at Yahoo!, but no matter how hard he tried, he just could not get it the way he wanted it – by using his surname, Callahan. The reason turned out to be the letters a-l-l-a-h inside his surname, or ‘god’ in Arabic.

Obviously I immediately imagined (and you can see how my mind works now) what Harry Callahan, a.k.a. tough cop Dirty Harry, would have done in the same situation. I’m betting he would’ve reached for his piece, (the heaviest handgun in the world), and locked his streetwise eyes on the computer, “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, DO YA PUNK!?”

I am so easily influenced by my surroundings; I was watching Magnum Force yesterday, Dirty Harry the day before, and today I will most likely watch The Enforcer, and then I’ll save Sudden Impact and The Dead Pool for next week. Oh yeah, oh yeah, I am a boisterous owner of a bulldozing kit of a damn dirty dvd box – The Dirty Harry Collection, complete with a smoking Magnum .44 pictured on the front and back side of the box.