Monday, 28 June 2010

Poems You See Before You Die - Hörstück & Multimediales Spektakel am 30. Juli 2010, im Blauen Haus, Frankfurt

Präsentiert von und der Glutton Group Frankfurt:


Das Projekt Poems You See Before You Die vereint die Bildende Kunst des Frankfurter Künstlers Ray Rubeque mit der von der japanischen Haiku- und Tanka-Formen inspirierte Lyrik des Frankfurter Autoren George Koehler.

Seit der Zusammenarbeit der Glutton Group Frankfurt mit dem Internet-Vorleseforum wurde die Bild/Text-Verbindung um Rezitation und Musik erweitert.

Am Freitag, d. 30. Juli 2010 erwartet den Zuschauer im Blauen Haus Frankfurt, Niederräderufer 2, eine Ausstellung (ab 18:00 Uhr) sowie eine multimediale zweisprachige Lesung mit Musik (um 21:30 Uhr).

Die Klanglesung führen Christoph Maasch und George Koehler (Stimmen) auf mit Mitgliedern der Free-Music-Surprise-Band "Petra Strohm" (Uschi Wentzell, Tenor-Saxophon; Clemens Mühlenhoff, Sopran- u. Bariton-Saxophon; Peter Kaiser, e-Bass; Matthias Kuhls, e-Gitarre)

Das ganze Open-Air und in romantischer Lage direkt am Mainufer, mit Speis und Trank. Wir freuen uns auf euer Kommen!

Alles um das Projekt: Poems You See Before You Die

Hier passierts! Blaues Haus, Frankfurt - Musik, Kunst, Events, Freizeit

Schauspieler lesen Literatur: DIE SPRECHBUDE

Link to us: The Glutton Group, Frankfurt

Rezension 1: SCHOENER DENKEN über Poems You See Before You Die

Rezension 2: EXPERIMENTA online-Kulturmagazin (Ausgabe Sept. 2009, Seite 24-29) über Poems You See Before You Die

Gedichte zum hören: Poems You See goes Sprechbude

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Glutton Group auf dem Stimmenfang Festival im Blauen Haus

Am 15.05.2010 treffen jeder Menge Poetry Slammer und Singer/Songwriter auf dem Stimmenfang Festival im Blauen Haus Frankfurt aufeinander. Für Unterhaltung und Vielfalt ist daher garantiert.

Um 21:00 Uhr gehts los!
Mehr Info unter Blaues Haus - Begegnungsstätte für Kunst, Literatur, Musik

Die Glutton Group ist dabei!
Gedichte + Stimme: George Koehler
Bilder: Ray Rubeque
mit Uschi Wentzell (Tenorsaxophon)

See you there!

Blaues Haus
Verein für Kunst und freie Zeit
Niederräderufer 2
60528 Frankfurt am Main

Monday, 26 April 2010

Funky Buddha Popart Invasion 2 - Neue Ausstellung von Ray Rubeque

Funky Buddha Popart Invasion 2
- tolle neue Bilder von Ray Rubeque

Freitag, den 7. Mai 2010
Vernissage um 20:00 Uhr
True Confessions - Klanglesung / "Live-Hörspiel" - ab 21:00 Uhr
Text + Stimme: George Koehler
Musik: Mitglieder der Frankfurter Gruppe Petra Strohm,
und evtl. Gastmusiker

Cafe & Bar Die Brücke
Brückenstrasse 19
Link zu Die Brücke, Café und Bar in Ffm-Sachsenhausen

Link to The Glutton Group, Frankfurt

True Confessions - KlangLesung am 07.05.2010 von George Koehler & Petra Strohm

Die Vernissage der neuen Ausstellung von Ray Rubeque bestreitet der Dichter "Ranting & Raving" George Koehler gemeinsam mit der Frankfurter free music Gruppe Petra Strohm - ein freak out der besonderen Art wird geboten!

Ray Rubeques neue Bilder können im gemütlichen Sachsenhäuser Szene-Treff Die Brücke (Café und Bar) bis zum 04.06. bestaunt werden.

See you there!

Funky Buddha Popart Invasion 2
- eine Ausstellung von Ray Rubeque, vom 7. Mai bis 4. Juni 2010

Vernissage am Freitag, den 7. Mai 2010 um 20:00 Uhr

True Confessions - Klanglesung / "Live-Hörspiel" - ab 21:00 Uhr
Text + Stimme: George Koehler
Musik: Mitglieder der Frankfurter Gruppe Petra Strohm, und evtl. Gastmusiker

Uschi Wentzell (Tenorsaxophon), Peter Kaiser (e-Bass), Clemens Mühlenhoff (Bariton- u. Sopran-Saxophon, Stimme), Matthias Kuhls (e-Gitarre), Nuri Alamuti (e-Drums) und George Koehler (Stimme) plus ggf. musikalischer Überraschungsgast!

Cafe & Bar Die Brücke
Brückenstrasse 19
Link zu Die Brücke, Café und Bar in Ffm-Sachsenhausen

Wir freuen uns über euer Kommen!

Link to The Glutton Group, Frankfurt

Friday, 3 April 2009

Our Haiga Revolution

by George H.E. Koehler (poems) and Ray Rubeque (pictures)

Haiku as a literary form is something many Westerners are only vaguely familiar with, if at all. I first became aware of the existence of haiku in 1973, when I read Ian Fleming‘s You Only Live Twice, where a haiku is used as the motto and its first line originated the book‘s title. Whether Fleming simply put his words into Bashô‘s mouth to let his thriller appear grounded in Japanese culture, or whether Bashô really did create that poem, I could never clear up. Then, around 1974, I caught my first haiku virus proper in high school, when an English teacher playfully introduced his pupils to this originally Japanese form by challenging us to express ourselves within its restrictions.

Haiku and its related forms senryu and tanka stand for compression and concentration – their formal restraints force the poet to present a maximum of information within a very limited number of syllables. The very compactness and structural clarity of haiku encourages succinctness, yet also leads to a high degree of symbolism in its more successful examples. Accomplished haiku always leave enough room for suggestion.

Although there are several general rules, they are, increasingly, not always followed. Traditional Japanese haiku has 17 syllables (onji) divided into 3 lines counting 5 syllables, 7 syllables, and 5 syllables respectively. This arrangement is often ignored by writers in other languages, however, the basic sequence of 3 short lines, with a middle line slightly longer than the other two, is generally observed, though US haiku writers tend to dismantle even this.

Haiku divides into two parts, with a break coming after the first or second line, so the poem seems to make two separate statements related in some unexpected or indirect way. This break is marked in Japanese by what is called a cutting word (kireji), whereas in English and other languages it is often emphasized by or even created with punctuation. This two-part structure is meant to provoke a sense of discovery, or a sudden insight, as one reads along, important for the blossoming of the poetic effect of haiku.

Haiku is supposed to include a kigo – a word that gives the reader a clue to the season being dealt with. The kigo is also important to the haiku‘s effect, in that it may anchor the experience it describes in a poetic here and now, thereby helping to sharpen the imaginative focus. The poem`s reference to nature need not be a direct statement, it can take the form of an implied allusion, instead.

Haiku must also refer to something concrete, not to an abstraction or generalisation and to something that exists now, not something from the past. Haiku poems present a snapshot of everyday experience, to reveal an unsuspected significance in a detail of nature or human life. The haiku poet finds his subject matter in the world around him, not in ancient legends or exotic fantasies. The aim of haiku is to make the reader feel what the writer has felt. He writes for a popular audience and gives it a new way to look at things they may have overlooked in the past.

Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki (1870 - 1966) emphasized the importance of haiku‘s suggestive nature: When something is too fully expressed, there is no room for suggestion anymore. Suzuki wrote that when the greatest feelings are reached, there is silence because words do not suffice for expression. Looked at in this way, even 17 syllables may be too many words.

Haiku‘s unique verse form has attracted the interest of many outside Japan. It is often difficult to retain the 17-syllable pattern, when writing in English. One reason is the syllable, as a unit, is defined differently in English than in Japanese. Another is that, in Japanese haiku certain words can be used for punctuation, as well, whereas this device is not available in English. Besides that, writers in English can reach no agreement on the use of rhyme or necessity of words and phrases alluding to nature. These and other difficulties suggest it may be impossible to limit English haiku to rules that defining the original Japanese form. Jack Kerouac, for instance, thought Western haiku need not necessarily subscribe to 17 syllables, just concentrate on 3 short lines that say a good deal free of poetic trickery. In Some of the Dharma he reworked the definition of the form, and called his version American haiku pop, presenting it as a 3-line poem of Buddhist connotation, a small meditation that may or may not rhyme, and which leads to enlightenment, with pop being the quick, abrupt noise that grabs your attention.

Alan Watts (1915 - 1973) wrote that haiku seeks to evoke the sense of potentiality – indicating but not explaining. Haiku should evoke the mood of mystery that is yugen. Watts also described other moods that haiku try to bring out in the reader, such as Sabi, the feeling of being peacefully alone, and aware, which describes a sadness akin to nostalgia and a recognition of impermanence. According to Watts, aware is most powerful in poetry that describes this transience.

Senryu is structurally identical to haiku, that is, a 5-7-5 syllable poem, but has a much more flexible content, particularly in discussing human emotions and relationships as opposed to nature themes. It does not require the inclusion of a seasonal word.

Karai Hachiemon (1718 -1790) was a government official in the Asakusa district of Edo (now Tokyo). Under his pen name Senryu, meaning River Willow, he was also a noted poet, who acted as judge at contests of maekuzuke (verse capping). In this traditional form of literary amusement, a given short verse of 14 syllables (7+7) was capped by a longer verse of 17 syllables (5+7+5) to produce a 31-syllable poem similar to the traditional waka form. The many anthologies of these capping portions, known as tsukeku, that Senryu compiled under the title Yanagidaru, led tsukeku to become read and appreciated by themselves, and they sparked off a new genre with the editor‘s pen name now inseparably linked to it.

The main difference between senryu and haiku is one of tone. The meaning and structure of a haiku can be brilliant, but they can often be conventionally serious and sentimental, offering few surprises. One has to be a near genius to write good haiku, whereas almost anyone can write reasonably good senryu – this form seems somehow to have escaped the structural restrictions that bind and, perhaps, limit haiku too much. Whereas haiku often call for analysis, a typical response to senryu is often a laugh or a chuckle or an exclamation like That‘s so true! Expressing everyday truths, in succinct verse – that‘s often the appeal of senryu.

The first ever Japanese poem was probably written during the 6th century. Prior to that, Japanese had not existed as a written language. Developing out of trade relations, Koreans, acting as go-betweens between Chinese and Japanese culture, set a development of Japanese characters out of Chinese characters in motion, leading the Japanese to turn from a purely oral culture to a written culture.

The choka poems from the 6th and 7th Century had between 50 and 100 lines with alternating lines of 5 and 7 syllables and a last line with 7 syllables.

By the 9th Century, the shorter waka had evolved out of the choka and arisen to great popularity as a courtly pastime. Waka were composed of 5 lines with a total of 31 syllables in a 5-7-5-7-7 sequence.

Renga is the poetry contest form of waka, it came into being around the 11th Century. One person would provide the last 2 lines of a poem, then another person had to compose the first 3 lines. Put together, all lines had to make a meaningful 31-syllable poem.

Approximately 500 years ago, haikai, a social phenomenon of the then new urban masses, finally emerged out of this courtly contest form. Haikai, the predecessor of haiku, consisted of the first 3 lines of the 31-syllable renga poems. The first important representative of this form, who remains revered to this day, was Matsuo Bashô (1644 - 1694). It was, however, Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902) who gave haikai the name under which it is now famous – haiku.

The expression tanka is the modern term for waka, applied to those 31-syllable poems written since the early 20th Century. Waka refers to the pre-20th-Century 31-syllable poems, written in an older idiom. Tanka are often composed of 2 parts: the 5-7-5 choku part and the 7-7 tanku part, though this division varies, as opposed to its predecessor, the waka. Unlike haiku, they are not generally restricted to nature or to the use of season words.

In writing a haiku the aim is, essentially, to achieve the depiction of a firsthand experience of the world around you, by encapsulating the feeling of a scene as accurately as possible, using only a few simple elements. Ideally, from a Zen point of view, a haiku should bring the reader directly to the experience in an intimate sharing of an ordinary moment, presenting the whole of life in that one event. The real experience is conveyed in the present tense, working to promote insight or satori and evoke feelings like awe, surprise, and joy in the reader.

The haiku of the japanese poet Bashô achieve this in a particularly exemplary manner. To this day, he is considered the finest writer of this genre, particularly during its formative years. Bashô (real name Matsuo Munefusa) was born into a samurai family prominent among nobility, but he rejected that world and became a wanderer, instead. Studying Zen, history and classical Chinese poetry, he lived in apparently blissful poverty under a modest patronage and from donations by his many students.The structure of his haiku reflects the simplicity of his meditative life. When he felt the need for solitude, he withdrew to his basho-an, a hut made of plantain leaves (bashô) which his students had originally built for him – hence his pseudonym. He infused a mystical quality into much of his verse and attempted to express universal themes through simple natural images, from the harvest moon to fleas in his cottage.

Bashô brought to haiku the Way of Elegance (fuga-no-michi), deepened its Zen influence, and approached poetry itself as a way of life (kado, the way of poetry) in the belief that poetry could be a source of enlightenment. Achieve enlightenment, then return to this world of ordinary humanity, he advised. His attention to the natural world transformed the haikai verse form from a formerly frivolous social pastime into a major genre of Japanese poetry, creating a door to meditation and contemplation.

Other equally remarkable and worthwhile poets to explore are Yosa Buson, Issa, Kikaku, Masaoka Shiki and Shoichi.

Traditional haiga is a haiku-inspired art, and originally evolved from nanga art which flourished in Japan during the late Edo period, from the 17th to mid-19th century. Just as many Japanese artists and writers of this period were heavily influenced by Chinese culture, so was nanga patterned after a Chinese school of painting, known as the nanzonghua.

In the haiga format, textual and visual elements are presented together in such a way that they share a common document. Traditionally, despite combining them, the aim is to have the haiku text and the accompanying picture executed so that they can function on an equal footing – and thus have two worlds coexist on a common surface. The challenge, here, for the artist was in finding the ideal manner of execution, to express the respective rules and aesthetic embodied in each haiku, but create a content that is independent of the poem.

Usually, calligraphic illustrations of traditional haiga were done by the person who wrote the haiku, though the picture was supposed to remain a self-contained piece of art and not become a too literal illustration of the idea embodied in the haiku.

Towards the end of our work on this book, we realized we had not only amassed a collection of haiku, senryu and tanka, but had in effect, created a collection of interactions very akin to the Japanese haiga, where the content of a text is complemented by a visual language that is supposed not to echo it. At this point, however, we differ from traditional haiga, since textual context in our work is transformed into a visual language, and vice-versa. In addition, the picture titles are designed to contextually bridge the meaning of the picture with the poem.

The pairing of the written word with b&w drawings leads to a further development of a pictorial language of suggestion and stringency that haiku, senryu and tanka automatically embody. Although the pictures were evolved out of the poems, they are not mere illustrations, they exist in their own right, though they touch on ideas, sometimes focusing on aspects of the poems, sometimes commenting on and developing ideas in the poems, often expanding their meanings beyond the original intention, sometimes offering satirical comment on the lyrical tone of a poem. The aim is to invite the reader to embark with us upon this stretching out within the haiga genre. Hopefully, this book will make you smile, reflect upon life, and allow the realization that poetry can be found in anything.

"Seek not the paths of the ancients; seek that which the ancients sought." Readers, heed the poet Bashô‘s challenge: Oppose the pre-ordained roads and preconceptions that elders, and societies set up before you. Don‘t simply imitate others without thinking, in the hope you may become like your idols, no, do your own thing. Search for that which your precursors sought, just as Bashô urged.

George H. E. Koehler
March 2009

PYSBYD worry-stone edition Issue #1 on sale at T3 in Frankfurt !

Issue #1 of the POEMS YOU SEE BEFORE YOU DIE pocket magazine is on sale at T3 TERMINAL ENTERTAINMENT in Frankfurt on Main, for a bargain EUR 2,00.
Grab your worry-stone edition right now!

T3 is a great comics and more shop located at
Große Eschenheimer Str. 41 A
60313 Frankfurt am Main

Phone: (0 69) 28 75 69

LINK TO T3 website

Companion Pictures to the poems from PYSBYD on show at deviantART

A Selection of the companion pictures to the poems from POEMS YOU SEE BEFORE YOU DIE is on show at Rektozhan's online Gallery at deviantART.

Rektozhan's Gallery

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Owning thousands of unread books (Gabriel Zaid)

"Those who aspire to the status of cultured individuals visit bookshops with trepidation, overwhelmed by the immensity of all they have not read. They buy something that they've been told is good, make an unsuccessful attempt to read it, and when they have accumulated half a dozen unread books, feel so bad that they are afraid to buy more. In contrast, the truly cultured are capable of owning thousands of unread books without losing their composure or desire for more."
— from Gabriel Zaid, So Many Books (Los demasiados libros, 2003), 2003, translated by Natasha Wimmer, 2004.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Ohne Titel [Kopflos] (Hermann Hesse)

Man nehm den Deckel nur vom Topfe
Und sieh, wie froh der Dampf entweicht!
Wie lebt nach abgeschnittnem Kopfe
Das schwere Leben sich so leicht!
Kein Schnupfen mehr, kein Nasentropfen,
Kein Zahnweh und kein Augenbrand
Noch Stirnkatarrh noch Schläfenklopfen,
Es ist wie im Schlaraffenland.
Zwar gibt es ohne Kopf kein Denken,
Doch ist es darum nicht so schad,
Man kann mit Wein die Kehle tränken,
Es ist das beste Gurgelbad.
Und ach, wie lebt es sich so stille:
Kein Wort, kein Lärm, kein grelles Licht!
Und nie mehr sucht man seine Brille
Und nie mehr macht man ein Gedicht.

(Februar 1947)

- Hermann Hesse, aus Die Gedichte (Insel Verlag, it 2762,
Hg. Volker Michels, Ausgabe 2001, Seite 781)

Saturday, 31 January 2009

John will never die - John Martyn in Memoriam

John Martyn (born Ian David McGeachy in England on September 11, 1948) has died in Irland on January 29, 2009 at the age of 60 – an indescribable loss to the music world.

An absolutely iconoclastic guitarist, he was also an idiosyncratic singer possessed with a highly original and hauntingly soulful style, which he utilized to great advantage on many of his pieces. He leaves behind a treasure trove of atmospheric and remarkably touching compositions, a body of work highly recommended to dip into time and time again.

A trailblazer with a mind of his own, he often served listeners up a carefree stew of genres that cheerfully exploded musical narrow-mindedness in an era then already known for experimentation, though he was indeed ahead of his time – particularly in the early 70s, which also saw him pioneer the use of echoplex in guitar playing, to great effect.

In the late 1960s and early 70s, the exploratory blending of all that interested him led him to become a forerunner of forms of experimentation which would later bleed into and develop into a part of what I will - in my helplessness - term "world fusion", for want of adequate terminology. At the time I thought it a continuation of what groups like Fairport Convention and Jethro Tull and the many other knights of British electric folk & classical-folk-rock fusions had birthed, though to me it seemed on occasion also to be heading into Brand X and even Soft Machine regions - very adventurous, and open for anything. But that was the fertile cross-pollinated English musical landscape of the 60s and 70s, it was anything goes. Sometimes his singing can even remind me of Phil Minton. Looking back, the cornucopia of what all happened still seems unbelievable.

All musicians and music lovers who've ever had the pleasure of being exposed to his music, pause in stunned dismay as word of his death spreads. For each, the world stands still for a moment, and then, yes, it continues, but ... what a drag. A lovely man, we will miss him terribly in the years to come.

video showcase - some lovely pieces and interviews

John Martyn Bio & Discography - Wikipedia

BBC News Obituary

The Times Obituary

Big Muff, The John Martyn Pages - great fan site from the Netherlands

John Martyn Pages (deutsche version)

John Martyn artist website

John Martyn Bio & Discography - Wikipedia (deutsch)

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Die Wirklichkeit Ist Nicht Real: 80.ter Geburtstag von Philip K. Dick am 16. Dez.

"Für mich zählt einzig und allein das Schreiben, die Herstellung eines Romans, denn während ich das tue, in diesem speziellen Moment, bin ich in der Welt, über die ich schreibe. Sie ist für mich wirklich, ganz und gar. Wenn ich dann fertig bin und aufhören muß, mich für immer aus dieser Welt zurückziehen muß – daß zerstört mich. (...)
Ich verspreche mir selbst: nie mehr schreibe ich einen Roman. Nie mehr denke ich mir Menschen aus, von denen ich letztlich doch wieder abgeschnitten sein werde. Ich sage es mir ... und fange heimlich, still und leise ein neues Buch an." – Philip K. Dick (aus: Notes Made Late at Night by a Weary SF Writer, 1968)

Der schreibende Triebtäter Philip K. Dick (1928-1982) erschaffte trotz seines frühen Todes mehr als 40 Romane und über 100 Erzählungen, im Laufe seiner verbissenen Versuche im Science-Fiction Genre seine schriftstellerische Existenz zu bestreiten. Da Bücher und Magazine im Science-Fiction Bereich in den 50ern und 60ern lange als Dutzendware betrachtet ("pulp fiction") und sehr schlecht bezahlt wurden, ungeachtet der Originalität vieler Werke, erhöhte er seine Produktion auf manische Weise. Sein Ehrgeiz brachte ihn zeitweilig dazu 60 Seiten pro Tag zu schreiben, was für längere Strecken nur noch unter Einnahme von Aufputschmitteln wie Amphetaminen zu bewerkstelligen war – Selbstausbeutung pur. Später kamen Halluzinogene wie LSD dazu. Ein Leben als andauernde Erforschung, Selbsterkundung, und – im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes – Über-Forderung. Seine Obsessionen gebaren denn auch ein Katalog aus Problemen, der ihn Zeitlebens begleitete und heimsuchte.

Er schrieb auch Romane die als Gesellschaftsromane bezeichnet werden – wie wohl es auch hier um Identität und Wahrnehmungsfähigkeit ging – in der Hoffnung einen Zugang zum mainstream Markt zu erhalten, aber sein Stil war wohl zu eigenwillig um einen Risikobereiten Verleger mit großem Werbe-Etat anzulocken, die Vorurteile der Branche nagelten ihn auf das Science-Fiction Genre fest. Bücher wie Confessions of a Crap Artist bleiben dennoch lesenswert.

Öffentliche Anerkennung für seine fekunde schriftstellerische Leistung erfuhr er zu seinen Lebzeiten nur spärlich, der Erfolg stellte sich erst kurz vor seinem Tod ein. Seine zahlreichen Scheidungen dürften seinem Konto auch nicht gut getan haben. Ironischerweise zählen viele seiner Bücher mittlerweile zu den sogenannten Klassikern der amerikanischen Moderne. Nach seinem Tode. Dieser Modus kommt Einem bekannt vor, nicht wahr? Rückblickend waren Schlaganfall und Herzversagen wohl eine zu erwartende, heraufbeschworene, wenn auch traurige, Konsequenz des erschöpfenden Auf und Ab dieses unter chronischen Selbstzweifeln, paranoiden Schüben und Alkohol- und Medikamenten-Abusus leidenden, schöpferischen Menschen. Schreiben als Zwang, als Kampf um Existenz, als Ventil, und als Therapie? Ich kann mir nicht vorstellen, dass das Schreiben für Dick eine Tätigkeit der Freude gewesen ist. Aber in seiner Biographie schildert Lawrence Sutin das dem doch so war. Dick war vom Schreiben besessen. Offensichtlich wurde er geboren, um zu Schreiben.

Dick's eigenwillige Romanaesthetik empfinde ich als derart genre-übergreifend, daß man bei ihm nicht von Science Fiction im technoiden Sinne sprechen sollte, sondern viele Bücher eher zu einer Gattung von "inner space"-Abenteuerromanen zählen könnte, so man denn unbedingt eine Schublade haben muss...
Für mich stellen viele seiner Romane und Erzählungen ohnehin Psychodramen im übergreifenden Sinne dar, manche mit einem derart prägnanten Schuß noir oder auch des Grotesken, dass man viele der Geschichten aus seinem Universum auch als psychotische soap operas begreifen kann.

Persönlich, kann ich nur jedem neugierigen Leser Dick's Roman UBIK (geschrieben 1966, Erstveröffentlichung 1969) an's Herz legen. Ein absolutes Lesevergnügen. Grossartig!

Es hat zwar ein wenig gedauert, bis sich die Filmindustrie an Philip Kindred Dicks komplexen Geschichten über Identitätskrisen und Realitätsverlusten herangetraut hat, aber seit Blade Runner im Jahre 1982 (nach dem Roman Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – geschrieben 1966, Erstveröffentlichung 1968) in die Kinos kam, haben seine Erzählungen und Romane mit ihrem "nichts ist wirklich so, wie es erscheint"-Blick auf illusorische Realitäts- und Wahrnehmungserfahrungen, zunehmend entweder die Stoffentwicklung für Drehbüchern befruchtet oder als direkte Vorlage für Filme wie Total Recall (nach We Can Remember It For You Wholesale), Confessions d'un Barjo (nach Confessions of a Crap Artist) und Screamers (nach Second Variety) gedient.
Matrix, eXistenZ und The Truman Show aus 1998 (siehe Dick's Time Out of Joint (1959), dt. Zeit Aus Den Fugen) beruhen ebenso auf seine Arbeiten und Ideen.
In den letzten Jahren hat eine weitere Flut von Verfilmungen eingesetzt: Minority Report (2002), Imposter (2002), Paycheck (2003), A Scanner Darkly (2006), Next (2007, nach The Golden Man) und, in diesem Jahr, Radio Free Albemuth. Für 2009 ist die Verfilmung von The Owl in Daylight, ein Roman den Dick nicht mehr fertigschreiben konnte, geplant.

Es folgt ein Ausschnitt aus der Wikipedia Biographie über P. K. Dick:

"Das Erkennen der Wirklichkeit ist immer wieder zugleich Problem wie auch Spannungsmoment in seinen Romanen, viel mehr als etwa die Entwicklung einer Story zum passiven Konsum. Im Stil des Philip K. Dick wird der Leser szenenweise von der Gedankenwelt des einen Protagonisten in die des nächsten geführt. Auf diese Weise entsteht ein Pluralismus, der eine kategorische Absage an den Ich-Erzähler verkörpert und dennoch die Protagonisten nicht unreflektiert von außen betrachtet, sondern ihre teilweise gegensinnigen Ansichten aber auch Weltvorstellungen nebeneinander stellt. Viele Geschichten enden weder glücklich noch tragisch, sondern lassen den verwirrten Leser am Ende des Buches allein. Er muss sich seine eigene Wirklichkeit aufbauen, nachdem er eine gewisse Zeit mit Dicks Figuren verbracht hat.

Dick ist gelegentlich als Drogen-Autor beschrieben worden. Damit verbunden ist die Loslösung des Realen von der individuellen Wirklichkeit. Denn im gewissen Sinne – so Dick – verdrängt jeder Mensch Teile der Realität. Aber Dick beschäftigt sich immer wieder mit dem Glauben oder Geist als Bindeglied oder Barriere zwischen den Menschen, im Zusammenhang mit einer der Religionen, mit der Philosophie (Existentialismus) oder der Wissenschaft. Drogen, Konsum, Kapitalismus, Gesellschaft, Medien, Machtmissbrauch, Verfolgungswahn, Psychoanalyse, Überwachungsstaat, und immer wieder der 2. Weltkrieg in alternativen Szenarien (Deutschland gewinnt und besetzt Amerika, z.B. in Das Orakel Vom Berge) mischen sich mit den "klassischen" Themen (Raum- und Zeitreisen, Telepathie, genetische Mutationen, Außerirdische, ...) des Science-Fiction.

Das besondere bei Dick ist dabei, dass alle Handlungsstränge einer typischen Dick-Logik folgen, die zur Katastrophe führen, die aber keine Katastrophe ist, sondern nur das Erkennen des ganz normalen Wahnsinns. Die Erkenntnis als Dauerthema in Dicks Werk ist also ein zweischneidiges Schwert."

Des Weiteren sei jedem neugierigen Dick Erforschenden die Biographie von Lawrence Sutin ans Herz gelegt – "Philip K. Dick, Göttliche Überfälle" (Frankfurter Verlagsanstalt, 1994, bzw. Haffmans Verlag, Zürich, 1994) – sehr empfehlenswert!

Die amerikanische Originalausgabe erschien 1989 unter dem Titel "Divine Invasion: A Life of Philip K. Dick" bei Harmony Books, New York.

Zuletzt noch einen selbstironischen Auszug aus einem von Dicks Selbstdarstellungen:

"Philip K. Dick (...) lebt jetzt in San Rafael und steht auf Halluzinogene und das Schnupfen. (...) Er ist verheiratet, hat zwei Töchter und eine junge, hübsche, nervöse Frau namens Nancy, die sich vor Telefonen fürchtet. (...) Die meiste Zeit verbringt er damit, erst Scarlatti, dann Jefferson Airplane und anschließend in einem Versuch alles unter einem Hut zu bringen, die Götterdämmerung zu hören. Er hat zahlreiche Phobien und geht selten aus, läßt sich in seiner netten , kleinen Bleibe am Wassser aber gern besuchen . Er schuldet seine Gläubigern ein Bermögen, das er nicht hat. Warnung: Leiht ihm kein Geld. Außerdem klaut er einem die Tabletten."
– Philip K. Dick (aus:Biographical Material, verfaßt 1968, wahrscheinlich auf Wunsch eines Verlags)

P.K. Dick Bio & Bibliographie - Wikipedia (Deutsch)
P.K. Dick Bio & Bibliography - Wikipedia (English)
P.K. Dick official site (English)

"An extension of my work as a novelist" (Paul Auster)

This is an excerpt from a 2006 interview, re. Auster's new film The Inner Life of Martin Frost:

Céline Curiol: You wore two hats on this movie: writer and director. What are the advantages of doing both? What are the disadvantages?

Paul Auster: To tell the truth, I can't think of a single disadvantage. I'm not a full-time filmmaker, after all, and I tend to to think of my occasional forays into the world of movies as an extension of my work as a novelist, as a storyteller. Not all stories should be novels. Some should be plays. Some should be films. Some should be narrative poems. In the case of Martin Frost, it was conceived as a film from the start – just as Smoke and Lulu on the Bridge were. By directing my own screenplay, I profit from the fact that I know the text better than anyone else. I know the rhythm of the words, the rhythm of the images, and I can communicate these things directly to the actors and the crew.

– Taken from The Inner Life of Martin Frost by Paul Auster, published by Picador/Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2007, page 10. The excerpt is from an interview conducted on August 22, 2006, which precedes the screenplay in this edition.

Paul Auster Bio & Bibliography - Wikipedia

Monday, 1 December 2008

The artist's world (Paul Strand)

"The artist's world is limitless. It can be found everywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away."
– Paul Strand (1890 - 1976)

Profile Paul Strand from "A World History of Photography"
Paul Strand - Wikipedia Bio (English)
Some images from "A World History of Photography"
"A World History of Photography" by Naomi Rosenblum - at Amazon

Gegenseitig Zuhören – Zwei Geschichtenerzähler (Köhlmeier & Ratzer)

Im Covertext von Das Märchen und der Blues (1999, Blue Danube Records) einer gemeinsamen CD mit dem Gitarristen Karl Ratzer, vermerkt Michael Köhlmeier zu der Entstehung dieser Aufnahmen folgendes:

"Bevor wir zum ersten Mal ins Studio gingen, machten Karl und ich einen langen Spaziergang am Bach entlang. Damals kannten wir uns noch nicht sehr gut.
Wir wußten nicht, wie wir arbeiten, Wir kannten nur die Ergebnisse, wußten aber nicht, wie sie zustande kamen. Ich hatte Angst, daß ich schlecht vorbereitet bin. Das heißt, ich befürchtete, Karl versteht unter Vorbereitung etwas anderes als ich; daß er sich denkt, ich habe die Geschichten, die ich erzählen will, haarklein aufgeschrieben und lese sie vor dem Mikrophon vom Papier.
Er fragte, ob ich ihm ungefähr sagen könnte, wovon die Geschichten handeln. Das hat mich dann etwas beruhigt. Ich dachte: Wenn er wirklich die befürchteten harten Erwartungen an mich hatte, dann würde er nicht so konjunktivisch formulieren.
Ich sagte: "Nein, ich weiß es nicht."
"Gut," sagte er.
"Ich bin überhaupt nicht vorbereitet," sagte ich.
"Sehr gut," sagte er.
"Ich weiß zwar nicht, was ich erzählen werde," sagte ich, "aber ich habe eine Ahnung davon, ich rieche das Aroma der Geschichten."
"Ich weiß, was du meinst," sagte er. Und dann sagte er, er habe befürchtet, ich sei haarklein vorbereitet, mit Papier und so. "Die Vorbereitung," sagte er, "das ist das, was wir bereits gemacht haben."
"Was meinst du mit bisher?" fragte ich ihn.
"In unserem bisherigen Leben," sagte er.
Und dann gingen wir ins Studio und haben uns gegenseitig zugehört."

– Michael Köhlmeier (Das Märchen und der Blues, 1999, CD Covertext)

Ein anekdotischer Begleittext der mir sehr gut gefällt. Ebenso die Aufnahmen, welche eine sehr angenehme Wärme und Nähe ausstrahlen. Ein gänzlich unprätenziöses und verschmitztes kleines Schmuckstück. Köhlmeier besitzt eine Stimme, der man gerne zuhört. Ratzer ergänzt und improvisiert absolut kongenial. Nichts ist überflüssig, alles sitzt genau am richtigen Fleck. Herrlich!
Die CD ist eine sehr geglücktes Beispiel für die Verbindung von gesprochenem Wort und Musik, von Spontaneität und Einfühlungsvermögen. Zwei Geschichtenerzähler, grossartige Erzählkunst.

SO wird Kunst gemacht.
In dem man aufmerksam ist.

Michael Köhlmeier, Bio & Bibliographie - Wikipedia
Von Köhlmeier erhältlich (Auswahl)
Karl Ratzer Bio & Auswahl-Discographie - Wikipedia

Saturday, 29 November 2008

The oscillation between humour and drama (Paul Auster)

"Life is both tragic and funny, both absurd and profoundly meaningful. More or less unconsciously, I've tried to embrace this double aspect of experience in the stories I've written – both novels and screenplays. I feel it's the most honest, most truthful way of looking at the world, and when I think of some of the writers I like best – Shakespeare, Cervantes, Dickens, Kafka, Beckett – they all turn out to be masters of combining the light with the dark, the strange with the familiar. The Inner Life of Martin Frost is a very curious story. A story about a man who writes a story about a man who writes a story – and the story inside the story, the film we watch from the moment Martin wakes up to find Claire sleeping beside him to the moment Martin stops typing and looks out the window, is so wild and implausible, so crazy and unpredictable, that without some doses of humour, it would have been unbearably heavy. At the same time, I think the funny bits underscore the pathos of Martin's situation. The tire scene, for example. The viewer knows that Claire has just left the car and run off into the woods, and here comes Martin pushing a tire down the road, unaware that the woman he loves has just disappeared – and suddenly the tire gets away from him. It's classic silent comedy: man versus object. He runs after the tire – only to have it bounce off a stone and knock him to the ground. Funny, but also pathetic. The same goes for Fortunato, with all his weird comments, bad jokes, and ridiculous short stories. He shows up when Martin is at his most abject, suffering over the loss of Claire, and amusing as I find this character to be, his presence underscores the powerful loneliness that has enveloped Martin."

– Paul Auster, in an interview which Céline Curiol conducted with him on August 22, 2006, to be found in The Inner Life of Martin Frost by Paul Auster (Picador/Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2007, page 16).

Paul Auster Bio & Bibliography - Wikipedia

Friday, 28 November 2008

"Tu was du liebst, und liebe was du tust": Ray Bradbury im Gespräch

Photo by Alan Light 1975

"Ich wache jeden Tag auf und sage, heute ist schon wieder Weinachten: ich bin am Leben, und kann schreiben." (Ray Bradbury)

Ray Bradbury, am 22. August 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois (USA) geboren, nähert sich bald seinem 90.ten Geburtstag. Als Denis Scheck ihn nach seinem Rezept für ein erfülltes Leben fragte, entgegnete Bradbury, u. a., mit folgendem Rat: "Tust du was du liebst? (...) Wenn nicht, dann ändere das, sofort."

Auf Deutsch liegt sein Werk im Verlag Diogenes vor.

"Ich glaube nicht an Lehrer, ich glaube an Bibliotheken." (Ray Bradbury)

Die vollständige Deutschlandfunk (DLF) Sendung vom 27.11.2008, aus deren "Büchermarkt" Reihe (Sendezeit 16:10 - 16:30 Uhr, täglich!), kann man unter www.dradio als PODCAST anhören:
Podcast - Ray Bradbury im Gespräch mit Denis Scheck

"Ich habe mehr Freunde durch Automobilunglücke verloren, als durch Kriege." (Ray Bradbury)

Official Ray Bradbury author site
Ray in conversation in his L.A. home (videos)
Wikipedia entry (English)
Wikipedia Eintrag (Deutsch) mit Auswahl-Bibliographie
Ray Bradbury bei Diogenes Verlag
Ingrid Mylo über ihre Begenung mit Ray Bradbury

Writing can certainly be dangerous (Paul Auster)

Céline Curiol: (...) Do you think writing is a dangerous weapon. Can it kill?

Paul Auster: Writing can certainly be dangerous. Dangerous for the reader – if something is powerful enough to change his view of the world – and dangerous for the writer. Think of how many writers were murdered by Stalin: Osip Mandelstam, Isac Babel, untold others. Think of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie. Think of all the imprisoned writers in the world today. But can writing kill? No, not literally. A book isn't a machine gun or an electric chair. And yet, strange things sometimes happen that make you stop and wonder. The case of the French writer Louis-René des Fôrets, for instance. I first heard about it when I was living in Paris in the early seventies, and it haunted me so much that I wound up incorporating it into one of my novels years later, Oracle Night. Des Fôrets was a promising young writer in the fifties who had published one novel and one collection of stories. Then he wrote a narrative poem in which a child drowns in the sea. Not long after the book was published, his own child drowned. There might not have been any rational link between the imaginary death and the real death, but des Fôrets was so shattered by the experience that he stopped writing for decades. A terrible story. It's not hard to understand how he felt.

– Paul Auster, interviewed by Céline Curiol in 2006, excerpt taken from the interview that precedes the screenplay in The Inner Life of Martin Frost by Paul Auster (Picador/Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2007, page 18).

Paul Auster Bio & Bibliography - Wikipedia

Monday, 17 November 2008

Pebbles in Ice (George Mackay Brown / Gunnie Moberg)

© Gunnie Moberg, Stromness, Orkney (from Orkney: Pictures and Poems, 1996)

Pebbles in Ice

A glacier dragged us
All the way from the north.

Did he dump us like a dustman?

No, he dropped us
Here, from his hand, like a

© George Mackay Brown (from Orkney: Pictures and Poems, 1996)

Little could Gunnie Moberg know, that Orkney: Pictures and Poems would become the swan song of the poet with whom she'd already collaborated on several book projects in the 1980s, when she asked him, in the mid-nineties, if he would write short captions for those photographs that were to be gathered together for a new book accompaning a retrospective exhibition at Piers Arts Centre in Stromness.

His reply, that he thought he could find something to say about them, turned out to be quite an understatement...

Over a period of about half a year, both looked at a display of the pictures set up in his sitting room together. All this time, she had no idea that he was not writing captions, but remarkable poems instead.

The 48 poems, that Brown surprised her with, interact marvelously with Moberg's photographic aptitude at capturing patterns and textures in the natural world. The project turned into a beautiful combination of the word and the visual.

He died before the book was published, but the collaboration was complete, and has been published as Orkney: Pictures and Poems (1996, hardcover and paperback) by Colin Baxter Photography Ltd, Scotland.

GMB was not only a gifted storyteller, but a very perceptive poet as well. The remarkable interaction documented in this book is a moving closure to his life as "the singer of the islands".
He left behind a nourishing and astonishing body of work, a gift that remains well-worth exploring, and that the generations that follow should continue to treasure.

Website Colin Baxter Photography Ltd (Publisher of Orkney: Pictures and Poems)

GMB official author site (very good, has an exhaustive bibliography!)

The Independent - Obituary Gunnie Moberg

Shetland News - Obituary Gunnie Moberg

The Times Obituary - Gunnie Moberg

Shags: Mother and Chick (George Mackay Brown / Gunnie Moberg)

© Gunnie Moberg (from Orkney: Pictures and Poems, 1996)

Shags: Mother and Chick

Young one,
You are to thank the artificer of birds always

You have not swan's beauty
Nor kestrel's cruel plummet and strike

Nor lark's broken
Scattering necklace of notes
Along the red west

Nor duck's clown procession
From barn to farmyard

Nor gull's blizzarding
After ploughs and fishing boats.

To be a cormorant
Is to sit on a sea rock
A lean dark tide-watcher;
Of passing interest
To photographer and poet only.

© George Mackay Brown (from Orkney: Pictures and Poems, 1996)

Gun Margoth ("Gunnie") Moberg and George Mackay Brown published several collaborations in the eighties, among them The Loom of Light in 1986, prior to the publication of Orkney: Pictures and Poems, in 1996.

Moberg, artist and photographer, was born in Göteborg, Sweden on 8 May 1941. She moved to Orkney with her husband Tam MacPhail in 1976. Her substantial body of work included photographs of the people of the islands, as well as landscape and wildlife photography. She died in Stromness, Orkney on 31 October 2007.
"Her pictures reflected the stark beauty of their wind-stripped landscapes and wave-scoured stones. In images of a ruined neolithic village outlined by driven snow, of white geese teetering across an expanse of grey ice, of a green field cut geometrically by the pencil-black shadow of a lighthouse and by a line of pale sheep glowing in the setting sun, she achieved an almost Japanese spareness of pattern and colour. (...) what marked her out was the way she caught the patterns made by treeless hillsides and jagged coastlines, and used the low, rapidly changing, northern light — a nightmare for most photographers — as confidently as a studio lamp." (Excerpts from The Times, November 9, 2007 obituary)

Brown was born on 17 October 1921 in Stromness, where he died on 13 April 1996. As poet, author and dramatist, he spent most of his life in his native islands and from them drew most of his inspiration. He was deeply interested in history and archaeology and immersed himself in the traditions and myths of the islands. He also drew upon the Icelandic Orkneyinga Saga, especially in novels and short stories. His collections of essays include reflections of life in the Orkneys and on the history of the islands.
Several books also collect those observations from the weekly column that he wrote in The Orcadian for several decades, thus he has become a chronicler of life of these Scottish islands in more than one way, in his battle against loss of traditions and memory. Even several official tourist guides to Stromness and the Orkney Islands boast texts of his. He left behind a wealth of work, more than 80 rewarding books, waiting to be explored and cherished.

GMB official author site (very good, has an exhaustive bibliography!)

The Independent - Obituary Gunnie Moberg

Shetland News - Obituary Gunnie Moberg

The Times Obituary - Gunnie Moberg

Instruction Pieces No. 7


The multitude of images continuously projected of God, must turn us all
into television receivers perpetually on the blink,
like so many bullets in a discarded brain.

Are we really all eyes in the same head,
like so many stars perceived as belonging to one firmament?

Or are we, each of us, on loan
from one plane of existence to another reality?

© George H.E. Koehler, 2002

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Openness to all forms of being, and to all manner of perception (Henry David Thoreau)

Tolerance accepts plurality:

"Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises. If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." – Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

Various books by Thoreau available online - at Project Gutenberg

The Maine Woods by H. D. Thoreau - available online

Thoreau Biography (Wikipedia)

Instruction Pieces No. 6


Peddling a broken heart is an indescribable waste
of life energy and time.
Learn to become a mountain;
a mountain always seems to be at peace,
even in the most tormenting environment.

Try to nourish, without striving, like water does.

Securities are imaginings – to hold onto
wishes for a secured life
is living within a dream of life,
and not a real life.

Expect thunder from a quiet sky.

© George H.E. Koehler, 2001

Friday, 14 November 2008

HÖRTIPP: Aufgepaßt, Philip K. Dick Fans! Hörspiele im Dezember

Portrait Philip K. Dicks von Pete Welsch

Den 80.ten Geburtstag des – am 02. März 1982 bereits mit 54 Jahren verstorbenen – eklektischen Schriftstellers, nimmt der Deutschlandfunk zum Anlaß einige radiophonische Zuckungen aus dem conspiracy theory-Universum des PHILIP KINDRED DICK (geboren 16. Dezember 1928) zu wiederholen.

Mit diesen 3 Hörspielen beschert das Dezemberprogramm des DLF seinen Zuhörern einen Jahresausklang mit typisch mißtrauischem Dick'schen Blick auf die Wirklichkeiten, die der Mensch im Stande ist wahr zu nehmen...

Mit der Mitternachtskrimi Sendereihe begleitet der DLF seine Zuhörer bereits seit ca. 4 Jahrzehnten in den Frühmorgen vom Freitag zum Samstag, und dies mit sehr unterschiedlichen Kriminalhörspielen, Psychodramen, Sozialstudien, und Kriminalgrotesken. Dabei beglückt uns der Kölner Sender nicht nur mit neueren Produktionen, sondern auch mit Wiederholungen diverser Klassiker und skurrilen Fundstücken aus den Archiven.

Zum Jahresende 2008 machen - wie im letzten Jahr - die Krimis den Sendeplatz für einen Science-Fiction Schwerpunkt frei. In diesem Jahr können wir einige akustische Splitter von Dicks phantasievollen paranoiden Welten erlauschen, dessen erfindungsreicher Weltenschöpfer wohl einer der originellsten, wenn nicht der wesentliche Entwickler von Verschwörungstheorie-Romanen schlechthin betrachtet werden kann.

Die Sendetermine (mit Sendebeginn stets um 00:05 Uhr) sind wie folgt:

06.12.2008 Die Kolonie
13.12.2008 Zeit aus den Fugen
20.12.2008 Träumen Androiden?

Genießen! Und am besten die Finger über eure Aufnahmetasten bereit halten!

Nähere Angaben zu den Hörspielen:

06.12.2008 • 00:05 Uhr
Die Kolonie

Science-Fiction-Hörspiel nach Philip K. Dick

Regie: Andreas Weber-Schäfer
Produktion: SDR, 1986
Dauer: 51'40"
Erstsendung: 02.06.1986

Lawrence Hall - Klaus Herm
David Friendly - Peter Rühring
Stella Morrison - Eva Garg
Major Wood - Claus Boysen
Gail Thomas - Hedi Kriegeskotte
Robert Hendricks - Siegfried Gressl

Die Kurzgeschichte "Colony" erschien 1953.


13.12.2008 • 00:05 Uhr
Zeit aus den Fugen

Science-Fiction-Hörspiel nach Philip K. Dick
Aus dem Amerikanischen übersetzt von Gerd Burger und Barbara Krohn

Komposition: Thomas Bogenberger
Bearbeitung und Regie: Marina Dietz
Produktion: BR 2001
Dauer: 53'35
Erstsendung: 29.04.2001

Ragle Gumm - Martin Umbach
Victor Nielson - Michael Tregor
Margo Nielson - Christiane Rossbach
Junie Black - Tanja Schleiff
Bill Black - Thomas Meinhardt
Kay Kesselmann - Elisabeth Endriss

Die Romanvorlage "Time out of Joint" erschien 1959. Sie diente dem Film "The Truman Show" (1998) ebenfalls als Vorlage, auch wenn Dicks Name nicht in im Nachspann erwähnt wird.


20.12.2008 • 00:05 Uhr
Träumen Androiden?

Science-Fiction-Hörspiel nach Philip K. Dick
Aus dem Amerikanischen übersetzt von Norbert Wölfl

Bearbeitung und Regie: Marina Dietz
Komposition: Thomas Bogenberger
Produktion: BR 1999
Erstsendung: 25.10.1999

Rick Deckard - Udo Wachtveitel
Ireen - Annette Wunsch
Isodore - Arne Elsholz
Bryant - Michael Mendl
Rachael - Sophie von Kessel
Phil - Max Tidorf

Die Romanvorlage "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" erschien 1968. Der Roman wurde 1982 unter dem Titel "Blade Runner", mit Harrison Ford in der Hauptrolle, von Ridley Scott verfilmt.

Deutschlandfunk - Programm Vor- und Rückschau

Instruction Pieces No. 5


Do not confuse a perfect scenario with the truth.

One man’s agony may be another
man’s technicolour dream.

One man’s speculation may become another’s judgement.

Provide a context and the rest will follow.

© George H.E. Koehler, 2001

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Instruction Pieces No. 4


Remember your purpose.

You do not need anyone else, to lose your way, don’t forget
it is your own hate that will always suffice to lead you astray.

Staying in places others disdain is being close
to the real way of life.

Disdain causes withdrawal, leading you away from reality.

Reality loss is the birth of obsession.

© George H.E. Koehler, 2001

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Instruction Pieces No. 3


Repetition is - allegedly - the mother of wisdom.

Are you busy being born? No?
Then you are busy dying.
To be born again and again,
Step forward from where you stand.

Sometimes only ruthlessness reaches truth,
You insufferable dreamers.

Always go too far - truth is always beyond:
Beyond words, beyond gestures.

Never be afraid to go too far, in order
To transgress human nature and its myriad duplicities.

The damaged receive.

(Well, all candour can eventually make us sorry.)

© George H.E. Koehler, 2001

Blast From The Past


I'm waiting at the train station ...
Lofty windows lurch into perspective,
High ceilings collect spaces still reeling
In my stomach, the mirror of my squealing mind:
The waiting hall's an echo of past times,
And memories won't coax my soul
To celestial heights any more –
Our parting is still rippling through my mind

I want to sit in an empty room
With just a candle burning,
And strum some strings and sing a simple song -
I'm waiting, waiting for my train ...

© George H.E. Koehler, 1985 & 1986 (taken from the Travelogues poem cycle, from Haunted Lives)

Friday, 7 November 2008

Instruction Pieces No. 2


Survive without smothering your feelings, or those of others.

Whenever you force a set of values down a person’s throat, you are taking part in the extinguishing of a whole culture,
whether you realise it or not.

Piss on the flames of fear: though fear is a good advisor, it should never become your constant instructor.
Survival is all about managing fear.

Allow plurality to flourish, but, remember to weed,
before the unintelligibility of over-proliferation gets the better of you.

Don’t lose yourself within diversification: remember, in time, to organise sufficiently.
There is always time to structuralise.

Where conditioning exists, there is no freedom. In other words, no one is free.
In your dealings with your fellow men, kindly take this into account.

Preconceptions will dull your perception.

Be in love with your life all the time.

© George H.E. Koehler, 2001 – 2002

Thursday, 6 November 2008

"Die Musik ist kein Botschafter..." (Gilad Atzmon)

Hier einige Aussagen zum Thema Musik und Musizieren, von Gilad Atzmon:

"Die Musik ist kein Botschafter, sondern die Botschaft selbst."

"Musik kommt ins Spiel, wenn Gedanken dahinsterben, Bewusstsein zerfällt und Ideologien implodieren."

"Frieden ist nirgendwo. Jeden zweiten Tag entsteht irgendwo ein neuer Konflikt. Die Welt wird immer feindlicher, die Musik ist unsere Zuflucht geworden." (Aus den Anmerkungen zur aktueller CD "Refuge")

"Obwohl ein gelernter Bopper, weigere ich mich, Jazz als technisches Abenteuer zu sehen. Es geht nicht umm die Geschwindigkeit, mit der ich meine Finger bewege, oder die Komplexität meiner Rhythmusfiguren. Ich bestehe darauf, dass Jazz kein Wissensstoff ist, sondern eine Geisteshaltung. Jazz ist eine innovative Form des Widerstands." (Aus dem Essay "Jazz ist Freiheit")

Alle oben aufgeführten Bemerkungen entstammen dem Programmheft zum 39. Deutschen Jazzfestival Frankfurt 2008, Seite 20-21, herausgegeben von hr2-kultur.

Porträt - (dt.)

Gilad Atzmon - Wikipedia Biographie (Deutsch)

Gilad Atzmon - Wikipedia Biography (English)


Saturday, 1 November 2008

"to eradicate the line..." (Robert Lax)




















- Robert Lax (from A Thing That Is, 1997)

Thursday, 30 October 2008

FILM PREMIERE: Is the new Bond a beautiful corpse?

The 22nd Bond film to hit the streets is only the 2nd vehicle for Daniel Craig, the most recent screen incarnation of Bond. Quantum of Solace premiered in London yesterday, on October 29th, with both English crown princes, William and Harry, in attendance. Well, that's one way of assuring a good public turn-out in England. And who reaped the most screams from the little girl tree? Critics are already harping that Bond is dead, and Daniel Craig is a beautiful corpse. More action, less humour, darker, too hard-hitting, so their moans and groans.

Haven't we been through all this before, with the Timothy Dalton phase? In retrospect, the manner in which Dalton embodied Bond was actually quite good, and the films well made, they just weren't serving up the Roger Moore formula that people had gotten used to. Dalton should have been given another chance. But there you have it, with box office returns not on a par with expectations, he was dropped, and fed to the harpies. Then Pierce Brosnan finally became available, and the Bond films segued into a brilliantly written series of ironic, well-made and exuberantly sarcastic films, until Brosnan – the best Bond ever to grace this series – was torpedoed, and this high-flying phase ground to an abrupt halt, allegedly because of Brosnan's age. What a load of rot, Brosnan could have played Bond at any age.

Quite apart from that, an ageing Bond supervising and sending younger agents out into the field, perhaps even having to step into the shoes of M during an unforseen crisis – against his own will, of course – might very well have made for some fascinating psychological conflicts and scenarios.

To have Bond "grow up" need not necessarily mean forfeiting the escapism that used to be the most important ingredient of the series, and mixing both, plus a dose of dark humour, might very well work. It would of course be the end of Bond as the virile killing machine and escapist product placing lifestyle icon we have come to know him as, but it would also give screenwriters everywhere the chance to re-develop a cultural icon.

Has the wheel now come full circle again? Or will the public continue to want seeing Daniel Craig, no matter how unoriginal the action mush he must wade through, that Bond plots seem to have degenerated into? Is the Bond series surging into an unequivocal replay mode? That would be a waste of a good actor, now that the Daniel Craig syndrome seems poised to give the World of Bond a further lease of commercial life.

some LINKS of many:
007 website

video trailers, etc.

Review by Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Roscoe Mitchell and Exploding Star Orchestra in Frankfurt on Nov. 1st, 2008

Roscoe jumps in! Sensational! Mitchell announced as featured soloist of Exploding Star Orchestra, for concert in Frankfurt on Main!

Hold your horses, whooaaah! This year's grand finale of the German Jazz Festival in Frankfurt on Main, organised and hosted once again by the Hessian Broadcasting Service, will be a concert with the Exploding Star Orchestra from Chicago, together with Roscoe Mitchell at the centre of its musical storm, on November 1, 2008, the Festival's third and final day.

The trumpet legend Bill Dixon was supposed to be the featured star guest, but is now unavailable, due to sickness. Let's hope for the best. Hang on in there, Bill, please, your time ain't up yet, there's still much more music waiting to be made... Although his absence is a big disappointment, especially as this would probably have been the last opportunity for European devotees to experience a living legend live in Frankfurt – Dixon is 83 years old – an exiting substitute has, nonetheless, been found.

Roscoe Mitchell's jumping in to fill the gap will undoubtedly be as big a treat for fans of improvised music, sound landscapes, free jazz adventures, or Great Black Music in general, as Dixon's appearance would have been. Mitchell, of Art Ensemble of Chicago fame, is more than just an ersatz, of course, the performance in Frankfurt will probably be a sensation, all the more so for being so unexpected and at such short notice. The concert has already been advertised by Hessian Radio, on their hr2-kultur website, as due to be "an incredible sound cosmos: communicative, catastrophic, kaleidoscopic, with affinities to the intergalactic cacophany of the Sun Ra Arkestra as well as Miles Davis' masterwork Bitches Brew with its mysterious streams of sound."

All concerts of the 39th German Jazz Festival will be broadcast live and can also be heard on the internet. Keep your fingers hovering over the recording buttons on November 1st, radio listeners everywhere!

Concert & broadcast date: Saturday, Nov. 1, 2008, 19:05 to circa 24:00 hours
Venue: 39th German Jazz Festival, in the concert hall of the Hessian Broadcasting Servide, in Frankurt on Main, Germany.
Radio frequencies: FM 96.7 MHz

Web radio: HYPERLINK webradio hr2
Also in Dolby Digital 5.1

The Exploding Star Orchestra, is the third and last band on this evening's billing. Their concert will probably begin around 22:30 hrs.

The opening concert of this evening will be Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble, followed by the Bigband of the Hessian Broadcasting Service feat. Uri Caine, conducted by Örjan Fahlström, with the Exploding Star Orchestra bringing the festival to a close.

Roscoe Mitchell - Wikipedia Biography (engl.)

hr2 announcement re replacement for Dixon

Roscoe Mitchell - Wikipediea Biography (Dt.)

Art Ensemble of Chicago website

Bill Dixon website

Das 39. Deutsche Jazzfestival (30.10.2008 bis 01.11.2008)

39. Deutsches Jazzfestival Frankfurt 2008

Am Donnerstag, den 30.10.2008 ist es wieder soweit: Der Hessische Rundfunk veranstaltet erneut das Jazzfestival Frankfurt und überträgt alle Konzerte, aus dem Sendesaal des Hessischen Rundfunks in der Bertramstrasse, in vollständigen Live Sendungen auf HR2 (96.7 MHz, UKW). Die Konzerte sind als Internet Radio ebenfalls zugänglich unter
HYPERLINK "" \o "Dolby Digital 5.1" \t "_self" Auch in Dolby Digital 5.1

Donnerstag, 30.10.2008, 19:05 - 24:00 Uhr

(1) John Surman - Howard Moody Duo: "Rain On The Window" (Saxofon bzw. Bassklarinette und Orgel)
(2) Christof Lauer - Patrice Héral Duo (Tenor- bzw. Sopransaxophon und Schlagzeug)
(3) "Mingus, Monk & Me" – hr-Bigband feat. Bill Frisell, conducted by Michael Gibbs

In den Umbaupausen Interviews und Features
Am Mikrofon: Daniella Baumeister

Freitag, 31.10.2008, 19:05 - 24:00 Uhr

THE WYATT VARIATIONS – An evening curated by Robert Wyatt: Ein Musik Abend von Robert Wyatt selbst zusammengestellt

(1) Max Nagl "Market Rasen"
(2) Dondestan! – The Wyatt Project feat. Michael Mantler
(3) Annie Whitehead's "Soupsongs" feat. Gilad Atzmon

In den Umbaupausen Interviews und Features
Am Mikrofon: Claus Gnichwitz

Samstag, 01.11.2008, 19:05 - 24:00 Uhr

(1) Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble
(2)"Citizen Caine" – hr-Bigband feat. Uri Caine, conducted by Örjan Fahlström

In den Umbaupausen Interviews und Features
Am Mikrofon: Daniella Baumeister
39. Deutsches Jazzfestival 2008 - Infos zu Konzerten und Musikern

39. Dt. Jazzfestival Frankfurt 2008 - Programminformationen

A Hold on the Soul


Cold is the master of us all
It falls apon the large and small
Its servants wind, water and dark
Possess earth once it's passed the mark
Where Autumn, plunged in Winter's white,
Loses its fire - colour fades
Crisp flakes drape landscapes, coat the night
Serene, soft hills cover grassblades

Cold's minions creep up on the living,
Their lust for life, all they are giving
Is taken from them - they clutch air
Dampness extinguishes their flair
Upon their weary way to work
They shudder, hearing winter's call,
Cold grips their souls with an icy smirk –
It is the master of us all.

© George H.E. Koehler, 1985 (taken from the Travelogues poem cycle, from Haunted Lives)

Four Limericks


"I need a heroic love that fits,"
She said, "though I love you to bits,
You're not fashioned for this
Hard and tangible bliss!"
Thus disgusted, she zipped up her Schlitz.

© George H.E. Koehler, 1988

Scrapyard Lullabye (Limerick)

Acres of old cars piled up ten high
In rusting tiers, clouds wafting by,
With newspaper pages
And their unread ages,
Like diaphanous dreams in the sky

© George H.E. Koehler, 1988

One For Willie The Shake (Limerick)

Once William was forced to wed Annie:
He had helped herself to her sweet honey –
When her yeoman service
Served up unforseen "bliss",
'Twas the price for exploring her fanny

© George H.E. Koehler, 1988


Spraddle-legged and now wet from the dew,
The poised love-breeding zones surge anew;
Hopeless boys, full of spunk,
Nuzzling couples, dead drunk
With music to fondle and purr to...

© George H.E. Koehler, 1988

"There was a young man from Sigh" (Limerick)

Well, here's a real oldie, rescued from oblivion in my dusty archives. Hope you like it.


There was a young man from Sigh
Whose heart never could say good-bye:
From midmorning to noon
He was placed in a swoon
By the custom of saying goodbye...

© George H.E. Koehler, 1980

Instruction Pieces No. 1


Fear forces you to concentrate.
I have but this to say in favour of it,
for fear breeds too much haste as well.

Speaking in riddles allows you to say truths
without upsetting those as yet unprepared for them,
and to simultaneously direct truth
towards those who seek direction.

One is constantly doing things one has no explanation for.
The more consciously one begins to live and
perceive this, the better one can begin to notice
the borders of one’s own perception.

Waiting does not move a barrier – you must push
through nervousness, and even risk meeting
what you actually didn’t want
to discover…

Life is not one direction, not one way – to think
this is the case, is like putting
a dying man on a diet.

© George H.E. Koehler, 2002

Dying Embers

Here's an older poem discovered in my dusty archives, that I decided to rescue and share with you.


The clock moves on – a metronome
Of this quiet hour in the gloam
The firewood crackles suddenly
The flames twist on their feeding spree

The fire leaps a haunting dance
My mind bristles – another chance
To dive into a paradise
Of childhood feelings, throw the dice –

Feelings flare up, course throw my veins
Dead memories relive their pains:
I had forgotten, now they burst
And mingle with my newer thirst...

© George H.E. Koehler, 1986 (taken from the collection Haunted Lives)

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

"if someone where really the last man" (Robert Lax)

if someone
were really
the last man
alive on

not be
a hermit

he'd be
a sur-

& would
feel called

to father
forth a
new race
of men

or, at
of beings

he might
(but maybe
he would

he might
for one thing,
not believe
he was the

or he might
be content
just to
watch the
days go

on what the
silence would
be like

when even
he had

- Robert Lax (taken from A Thing That Is, 1997)

Die Literatur greift immer dem Leben vor (Oscar Wilde)

„Die Literatur greift immer dem Leben vor. Sie ahmt das Leben nicht nach, sondern formt es nach ihrer Absicht.”

- Oscar Wilde

Der Vorzug höherer Naturen (Friedrich Hebbel)

"Es ist der Vorzug höherer Naturen, daß sie die Welt mit allen ihren Einzelheiten immer symbolisch sehen."

- (Christian) Friedrich Hebbel (18.03.1813 - 13.12.1863), Dramatiker und Lyriker.

Wikipedia Biographie

Hebbel Schriften - bei Gutenberg

"There is no poem, no painting that will hold..." (Robert Lax)

There is no poem, no painting
that will hold on paper or canvas
the look of the three trees
standing in the valley
with their young green leaves.

They are three girls
pouring speech like water
poised and waiting
for their dancing lesson.

They are three girls on tiptoe
with arms uplifted
dancing in the valley's early light.

- Robert Lax, written in the 1940's (from A Thing That Is, 1997)

Saturday, 27 September 2008

The look of a poem (Robert Lax)

Here's an excerpt from a letter Robert Lax wrote to Susan Howe in 1975:

"the look of the poem: i've always
liked the
idea of a poem or a word as a single
(arp-like image)
alone on a page

(an object of contemplation)

i like white space &
i like to see a vertical
column centered
sometimes verticality helps in
another way
image follows image
as frame follows frame
on a film

verticality helps the
poet withhold his
image until
(through earlier
images) the
mind is prepared
for it.

(quoted by Paul J. Spaeth - Curator of the Lax Archives at St. Bonaventure University - in his introduction to A Thing That Is by Robert Lax, 1997. A stimulating and beautifully contemplative collection, I find.)

Diamanda Galás version of Gloomy Sunday

Here's one of my all-time favourite songs, in an interpretation that finally does justice to it: Diamanda Galás as she performs "Gloomy Sunday":
Diamanda Galás - Gloomy Sunday - YouTube

Though the audio quality of this recording is debatable, Galás interpretation puts this version skyhigh above all the rest of the (sometimes REALLY pathetic) versions that are currently posted on YouTube (more than 500 offerings, at the moment, most of them negligible). Those other contributions to the "Gloomy Sunday" canon on YouTube, now THEY make ME gloomy.

Malediction and Prayer, released 1998

The Singer, released 1992

Now, go check out Diamanda Galás' CD's "The Singer" and "Malediction and Prayer" for versions of manifestly superior artistic (and sound) quality.

More about Diamanda Galás under
Diamanda Galás - artist site

Stockhausen : Excerpt from "Himmelfahrt"

Here's an excerpt from the beginning of Stockhausen's "Himmelfahrt":

More audio excerpts are available on the official Stockhausen site:
Stockhausen - official site - Multimedia section

Ausgeh-Tipp: Konzert mit Werken von Karlheinz Stockhausen am 28.09.2008

Concert of the Internationl Ensemble Modern Academy: Final concert of the IEMA students 2007/08 /
Konzert der Internationalen Ensemble Modern Akademie: Abschlusskonzert der IEMA-Stipendiaten 07/08

Date / Datum: 28. September 2008, 19:30
Location / Ort: School for Music and the Performing Arts, Frankfurt on Main / Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Frankfurt am Main

Compositions by / Werke von Karlheinz Stockhausen

Program / Programm:
DER KLEINE HARLEKIN for clarinet (1975) für Klarinette
MANTRA for 2 pianos and electronics (1970) für 2 Klaviere und Elektronik
ORCHESTER-FINALISTEN Excerpts (1995/96) Auszüge
SPIRAL for solo performer with optional instrument and short wave receiver (1968) für Solist mit beliebigem Instrument und Kurzwellenempfänger

Conductor / Dirigent: Clemens Heil
Sound / Klangregie: Sebastian Schottke

Ensemble Modern website (English)

Ensemble Modern website (Deutsch)

Aspekte des Seriellen bei Stockhausen. Essay von Karl-Heinz Essl (erschienen 1989 im "Almanach Wien Modern '89") This essay explores aspects of Gottfried Michael Koenig's, John Cage's and Stockhausen's contributions to serialism and aleatoric music.

Stockhausen in memoriam "My life is extremely one-sided: what counts are the works as scores, recordings, films and books. That is my spirit formed into music and a sonic universe of moments of my soul." - K. Stockhausen (Sept. 25th, 2007.)

"Mein Leben ist extrem einseitig: die Werke als Partituren, Schallplatten, Filme, Bücher zählen. Das ist mein in Musik geformter Geist und ein Universum von Momenten meiner Seele in Klang." - K. Stockhausen (25.09.2007.)

Wiki Biographie (Deutsch)

Wiki biography (English)

Stockhausen Website

concert review : Gruppen für drei Orchester at Berlin's Tempelhof Airport, on Sept. 21, 2008

Deutsche Nationalbibliothek - Literatur von und über Stockausen

Friday, 26 September 2008

Solitude (Bukowski)

"I was a man who thrived on solitude: Without it I was like another man without food or water. Each day without solitude weakened me. I took no pride in my solitude: but I was dependent on it. The darkness of the room was like sunlight to me."

- Charles Bukowski (Factotum, 1975)

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

The Beginning of Music and the End of It (John Cage)

"Many people in our society now go around the streets and in the buses and so forth playing radios with earphones on and they don't hear the world around them. They hear only what they have chosen to hear.

I can't understand why they cut themselves off from that rich experience which is free. I think this is the beginning of music, and I think that the end of music may very well be in those record collections."

- John Cage, in conversation with E. Grimes (1984), from: Richard Kostelanetz (1988, page 235).