Everything goes better with music – or: a musical german “first aid kit” for Richard Armitage

I really hope “Berlin Station” writer Olen Steinhauer will include bits of German into the script.
Richard’s Russian in Spooks sounded pretty good to me, but I was a little less convinced from his French in “The Impressionists” and in the Heyer audiobooks. So if he is to say some lines in German, maybe he should follow Mad’s example “… after a couple of beers I speak it pretty good” 😉
 

 
In any event I hope everyone has learned from probably the worst German movie line fail ever: Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber in “Die Hard” when he commands “Schiess’ dem Fenster!”
 

 
To get this straight: you could say “Schiess dem Fenster in’s Glas” (Shoot into the window’s glass – which nobody would say ever), so the only correct alternatives are “Schiess auf das Fenster” or “Zerschiess’ das Fenster” or “Schiess das Fenster kaputt”. While in English noun articles are a/an or the, in German this is more complicated because the correct article depends on if the noun is male, female or neutral. So in German “a man / the man” would be “ein Mann / der Mann”, but “a woman / the woman” is “eine Frau / die Frau” and to finally return to Gruber’s shitty line “a window / the window” would be “ein Fenster / das Fenster”. To make it still more complicated, you’ll also have to decline the articles in German …
So a sentence in which you could use “dem” (dative) – and which makes sense – would go like this “Schiess’ dem Mann ins Bein” (“Shoot the guy’s leg”) and to completely mess with your brains out there, in case it’s a woman’s leg it would be “Schiess der Frau ins Bein”. 😉

An old German saying is: Mit Musik geht alles besser – Everything goes better with music. People who are stuttering when speaking are “cured” when singing and I found that it is easier to pronounce foreign words when trying to “parrot” singers. I’ve just started to re-new my piano skills from 30 years ago – and it was kind of creepy, that I instantly remembered tunes I’ve last played as a kid of 10 years.

So – for anyone who wants to get into a “German mood” here are samples from various German Bands who all sound very different and although actually nobody speaks like Till Lindemann from Rammstein, Jan Delay or Max Raabe in real life I’ve added them for “flavour” 😉
 
2Raumwohnung (meaning: 2roomflat) “36 Grad”
A wonderful “summer in the city” song à la “Buena Vista Social Club” – 36 degrees celsius are 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

Peter Fox “Fieber”
In Peter’s music there are lots of oriental sounds, which are really typical for Berlin Kreuzberg. “Meine Stadt hat Fieber” means “My city has a fever” so this is his take on summer in Berlin 😉

Lisa Bassenge “Nur fort”
Lisa is singing about leaving town together with her love head over heels and drinking tea with crocodiles. Saw her and her great Jazz Combo live 2 years ago – they’re really good.

Annett Louisan “Das Spiel”
This song is from a woman who likes to “put it about” – “ich will doch nur spielen” means “I only want to play” – so in the song she tries to apologize to her latest fling, because she realized too late, that for him their affair was dead serious, while she “only wanted to play”.

Die Ärzte (meaning: The Doctors) “Junge”
Die Ärzte were popular in the 80s and still have a huge following in Germany. This song is from concerned parents giving tips to their boy (“Junge”) how he should lead his live to please them. They are complaining about his friends and the music (referred to as “Lärm” which just means “noise”) he’s listening to and thus reducing him to a “walking dead” in the video 😉

Ideal “Blaue Augen”
A song about someone’s blue eyes “Doch deine blauen Augen machen mich so sentimental, so blaue Augen wenn du mich so anschaust wird mir alles andere egal, total egal.”
“Your blue eyes are making me sentimental, such blue eyes, when you’re looking at me I don’t care for anything else any more.”

Rammstein “Engel”
Rammstein are explaining here that it’s no fun to be an angel “They have to cling to stars to not fall from the skies … god knows I don’t want to be an angel”. Their live shows are famous for excellent pyrotechnics, this one is a really nice example.

Sportfreunde Stiller “Ein Kompliment”
This song is just a wonderful declaration of love: Ich wollte Dir nur mal eben sagen, dass Du das Grösste für mich bist. “I just wanted to tell you that you are the greatest for me.”

Die fantastischen Vier “MfG”
“Fanta 4” are a very successful german “fun” hip hop act. This is a song about the many abbreviations used in Germany “MfG” is used at the end of a letter meaning something like “Best regards”.

Jan Delay “Sie kann nicht tanzen”
Hilarious vid full of famous dance scenes. Jan is praising his new love’s looks but then there’s one problem: she can’t dance 😉

Rosenstolz (meaning Roses’pride) “Lass’ es Liebe sein”
“Leave everything behind, start from the beginning, because love is everything” … trivia: the couples making love in the video to this wonderful song are real, therefore it is banned in some countries, so you might have to agree that you are aware of “probably offensive content” before watching.

Max Raabe “Für Frauen ist das kein Problem”
In which Max admires women’s multitasking abilities 😉

• play it again Sam • RAw musings BLAME IT ON THE MUSE SIGHT SOUND & TASTE

Berlin … Remembrance of Things Past

When I saw Olen Steinhauer’s tweet with a pic from a Berlin café a couple of days ago, something in me snapped.

It’s been about 15 years now, since I’ve last visited “the capital” but there were times in the 30 years before, when I was there almost every month. As much as I love my “gingerbread” hometown of Nuremberg, in my heart “Ich bin ein Berliner”. So this blog today will be a little walk on “Memory Lane” and contain some memorable films and music related to Berlin …

transitstrecke
Passing this iconic tower meant that you had only about one more hour to drive before reaching Berlin. My most memorable adventure on the “Transitstrecke” was, when the old car we were driving, broke with burning motor, while we were stuck in a traffic jam, still on the eastern side. A truck driver rushed to our aid with an extinguisher, but then we were stranded. This was in the 80s, so no cell-phones and wandering around on eastern territory was out of the question, if you wanted to stay alive and not be mistaken for a fugitive. But it seemed that all in all it was our lucky day, because after a while a diplomat’s car stopped and towed us across the border at Drewitz *phew*. This was the smoothest crossing ever 😉

For those not so familiar with Berlin’s situation back then, some historical information. West Berlin really was an island in the German Democratic Republic (= the soviet zone). You could fly there, drive there by car straight on the “Transitstrecke” or go by train. You got stamps in your passport when entering (and leaving) the GDR and you could only stop at assignated points, because you weren’t to contact locals while transiting. The trains would stop for hours in the middle of the night, at a non-public station near the border and then they were thoroughly searched inside and outside (with dogs) to prevent East Germans from fleeing.


David Bowie’s very emotional trip on “Memory Lane” through Berlin with lots of old footage.

I’ve travelled really a lot of times between Nuremberg and Berlin – and my passport was full to the brim with those ridiculous stamps:

passport-stamps

So, my father is from Berlin and also my mother’s father. As a kid I went there regularly to visit my grandparents in West Berlin and delighted in driving around in the yellow double-deck busses. When I got older, I read the biography of “Christiane F.” a young heroin addict who had to prostitute herself. That made me see “Bahnhof Zoo” in a slightly different light …

schweineimweltall
These are my Berlin grandparents and my great-grandmother (the kid is one of my uncles) in the mid 50s, roughly 5 years before the wall was built. Now everyone would guess, that they gathered proudly around their “Volkswagen” to have that pic taken. LOL … very wrong! This is the so called Berlin humour: they actually never had a car, but I’ve inherited my granddad’s grin 😉

My mother’s sister (my godaunt) moved to Berlin in the beginning of the 80s and when we visited her in Berlin-Kreuzberg for a week in 1984 I really fell consciously in love with the city. When I got 16, I was allowed to visit my aunt together with my best friend(s) and we spent some interesting rather “nocturnal” weeks – as Berlin had no “closing time” like the rest of Germany. I particularly liked the “Bhagwan” disco “FarOut” on Kurfürstendamm next to “Schaubühne” – unlike other discos I knew, this one was not dark, sticky and labyrinth-ish, but just one really big room with a high ceiling, warm lighting and bars in every corner and they played great music too 😉


This is still my (inofficial) hymn to Berlin – from early 80s new german wave band “Ideal”. When this – their first – record came out, my father listened to it literally non-stop during a full 14-day-family-holiday in Bavaria – you’d think, we’d freaked, but I still love every song 😉

Other unforgettable experiences included driving through Berlin in the early morning hours, with someone we just met and who turned out to be a) obviously pretty wasted because he was b) ignoring EVERY red light he came by while going at c) about 70 km/h … yeah well … when you’re 17 it’s really all a bit YOLO 😉

Also when you’re 17 and in Berlin, sleep is clearly overrated … so once we went on a daytrip (trip as in TRIP … as this was still more surreal as just driving on the “Transitstrecke” and not only because we had a hangover!) to East Berlin. We crossed the border at Friedrichstraße and had to walk over a mirrored floor there – so if we had skirts on they could have checked, if we were smuggling whatever under them … please?!. Then we each had to change 50 german Mark (about 25 Euro now) in (ahem, worthless) GDR cash. We’d set up a date with east German relatives of my friend, who met us outside. They had a full sightseeing schedule prepared: visiting the Brandenburg Gate to finally see the Quadriga’s horses heads and not only their butts like from the western side, walked “Unter den Linden” past the Berlin Dome to “Palast der Republik” and then they invited us for lunch at the restaurant on top of the East Berlin TV tower. When we entered we were seated (although almost no seats were taken) and were told that we had one hour to order and eat. This would be the time that the restaurant (who was slowly spinning) would take to make a full turn, so you could watch over the roofs of Berlin in every direction. Yeah well, almost every … because when you were able to look in the direction of the western part of the city, the hour was almost up and exactly THEN your meal arrived. I realised that our “seating” hadn’t been random, but calculated – you really had to watch your plate, eat up and then leave during that last quarter hour – no looks at the “fiends in the West” allowed. In review, this was the most ridiculous experience I’ve had in my whole life so far.

When they walked us back, they motioned us to follow them behind the pillars of “Neue Wache” and gave us german Mark in exchange for the east cash we’d been forced to change earlier (wherever they’ve got the west cash, as this was obviously forbidden!). They were a bit panic-ish and constantly looking over their shoulders (but telling us not to). You really felt like in some sort of bad spy-movie…


“The lives of others” won an Oscar and is really worth seeing – it shows exactly why my friend’s relatives felt uneasy in their own country – just everyone could be an informant and working for the “Stasi” (state security, well more to secure that everyone was staying WITHIN this state).


This is an excerpt from Billy Wilder’s hilarious movie “One Two Three” shot in Berlin in 1961 just before the wall was built. The film was a total flop when it came out, because after the wall was built, obviously no one found it funny anymore. But it really is and you can see (as well as in Wilder’s “A foreign Affair’ with Marlene Dietrich) a lot of Berlin and how much was still destroyed and in ruins.

After the fall of the wall in 1989 I was mainly in Berlin for business reasons (setting up software-systems and training staff at arthouse-cinemas and indie-distributors) or to attend the Berlinale filmfestival. Northern parts of Germany are really not famous for their food, but Berlin was an exception: apart from “Currywurst” and the first “Döner Kebap” who was invented in 1972 not in Turkey, but in Berlin (in a small snackbar between “Zoo station” and famous cinema “Zoopalast”), you could get pretty amazing Falafel, all sorts of really good asian food and my favorite restaurant always was “Cafe Einstein” in Kurfürstenstraße – I’m sure that they still serve the best “Wiener Schnitzel” outside of Vienna.

So finally a last movie-tip:


“Lola rennt” (Run Lola Run) one of the first movies – and also a pretty amazing one – from a re-united “new” Berlin.

• moving pictures • play it again Sam BLAME IT ON THE MUSE SIGHT SOUND & TASTE THINGS FROM DINGS

Dinner For One … or: If I had Richard Armitage for Dinner

Three days ago I happened upon a tweet – you know the sort – what if I could invite “4 famous people for dinner”?

There were already some answers: “Jesus of Nazareth, Martin Freeman, Moses and Richard Armitage” and “Henry VIII, Chrissie Evert, Nelson Mandela and Richard Armitage” … normally I just skip such nonsense, but the mentioning of “the Muse” got me thinking … and so I wrote: “I would invite: the Canterville ghost, the Invisible Man, my friend Harvey and Richard Armitage 😉 and Richard could just simply do ALL their voices – this might be interesting.” … yeah well and then I thought:

“Hey, why not simply throw a virtual dinner party?”

dinnerforone

Virtual or not – I swear this is what happened when I called Richard to confirm the date 😉 :

Phone ringing.
RA: Hm?
me: Hi, this is the annoying stargazer from Germany. What about dinner at my place, Saturday eve?
RA: What? Who gave you that number?
me: Your publicist.
RA: W O T ??!!
me: Relax, there’ll be three other, er, actors, attending.
RA: What in the world was she thinking? I don’t do “dinner-parties”! I’m an anti-socialite!
me: Yeah, that’s why she thought this might be the perfect setting …
RA: … ?
me: because the other guests will be the Invisible Man, the Canterville Ghost and my friend Harvey.
RA: … but they don’t even exist!
me: I see that you’re beginning to get my point …
RA: The only thing I see, is that you are even madder than I thought!
me: In fact this is a top-secret test-recording for a new talk-show project.
RA: But I hate talk-shows!
me: Yeah I know, so this is one, where you’ll have all the questions & and all the answers.
RA: Pardon?
me: Because you will impersonate the other guests. You know, like in that old Freddie Frinton sketch “Dinner for One”.
RA: But I can’t do voices! This is one thing that haunts m…
me: *SNORTS* Yeah right, she and I had a good laugh about that one …
RA: *unintelligible*
me: Didn’t you just mentioned recently, that you’d like to play the Invisible Man?
RA: yeah, but …
me: 5 courses …
RA: … no, listen …
me: Italian …
RA: … really I …
me: 100% homemade, good wine, Grappa …
RA: *sigh* … ok this sounds like an offer one can’t refuse, but …
me: Well, that’s settled, Mr Moody. See you around 8 then – it’s an informal kitchen-dinner, so just come as you are! *click*
RA: *stares at his phone in disbelief*

As the 72nd mostra d’arte cinematografica in Venice just started, when I read the initial tweet – here’s my “dinner all’italiano” – starting with my most beloved venetian dish:
sardeinsaor
insalata
risotto
milanese
pannacotta
All prepared by yours truly – recipes on request 😉

• eating out & getting drunk • RAw musings BLAME IT ON THE MUSE SIGHT SOUND & TASTE

Moonstruck … part 2: a full moon, PMS & crazy theories about Richard Armitage

In about 5 hours the moon will be full. Since I woke up this morning I’ve been trying hard not to follow her example:

So only coffee but no breakfast before walking the dogs!
Ha!
The breakfast after walking the dogs however included two big slices of toast, soaked in maple sirup, with custard and blueberries.
Shit.
OK. I need a distraction. Pronto, because the fridge is full.
And. I. Still. Feel. Hungry.

So I played the viola until the fingertips of my right hand felt liked I’ve touched an electric fence and my bow arm threatened to fall off.

A vivid image of cheese pops up in my head…
Shut up brain, this is not going to happen.

So I sat down and played the piano for about half an hour – found out that in the first of my old sheet music books, which my dad gave back to me last weekend, there’s a note from my grandma: I’ve successfully finished that first part in January 1980 … awwww … sweet 🙂 … surely it’s time to have some bread and cheese now?

OK. There is only a small rest of a franconian “Obatzder” left … if you define small as in “an inch high on your toast” …
Bugger.

I need a distraction that involves more exercise. It’s too hot to take the dogs for another walk, but … hot … yeah ok I have some watering to do out in the garden, so shlepping the big watering pot around might qualify. A bit of digging in the dirt won’t hurt either.

One hour later … walking over to the fridge. Opening it. Taking a good look around. Closing it. Standing in front of it, looking hard at the closed door.

That won’t do. Grabbing the fags and heading to the terrace … normally I don’t smoke before sundown, but at least this will add no weight. An image of a stupid old anti-smoking-ad drifts through my head: Smoking makes you thin! (Illustrated by a skeleton.)
Yeah. Right. Whatever.

Sitting in the sun and dragging on the second Gauloise, I start wondering about the Armitage obviously channeling his inner hermit [sic!] since his birthday. What if …? What if I really am right about him playing John the Baptist in Yael’s Salomé in Washington from mid-october to mid-november (heading straight to south africa afterwards)? So he might be preparing for rehearsals right now. But because they haven’t published anything about the cast yet, he obviously can’t tweet about it? Losing his head would be a nice twist in his ongoing role-deaths.

After Yael tweeted on february 5, about her new production – I googled if she had cast someone already. On Backstage.com I found casting calls. I never saw “Salomé” on stage, but that strange Ken Russell movie, somewhere back in the 80s. As I was familiar with the story it struck me immediately, that they were searching for every leading role but “John the Baptist”. So I assumed, that she had found her baptist already 😉
 
salome_farber_feb10_2015

This was her latest tweet: an article about two new adaptions of an ancient [sic!] legend and here is a link to the play itself.

Well, we’ll know soon enough.
And I can’t believe that this post took me only an hour and I’m hungry again.

This is going to be a looong day.

• RAw musings BLAME IT ON THE MUSE

Richard’s chemistry with … my source material & a little glossary

For those wondering, what exactly it is that I’m looking at, while trying to create a “mind-map” and a short description of someone’s chemistry with Richard.

The first 12 pics are so called bi-wheels or synastry charts: each is a combination of Richard’s planets (on the outer circle) with one of the nine bloggers (inner circle) that participated so far in part 1 and part 2 plus me & the other two “Witches of Erebor“.

bloggers_charts

The second 12 pics are midpoint or composite charts: this looks like a normal natal chart, but is a combination of two charts where the points between the two Suns and all other planets are calculated and thus form a new completely new chart.

bloggers_composites

All charts in random order – for the really curious one’s: I’m bottom right in each 😉

Key to aspect colors:
Orange is the color for a conjunction, i.e. planets are about 0°-7° apart
Red aspects can be energizing or stressful (opposition 180° / square 90°)
Blue aspects are harmonious (sextile 60° / trine 120°)
Cyan aspects are inspiring (quintile 72°)
Green aspects are “searching” contacts (half-sextile 30° / quincunx 150°)
Yellow aspects can be a little obsessive (quindecile 165°)

astrosymbols

So – everyone who participated should now be able – with the help of my description and the glossary – to find at least his bi-wheel picture. 😉

• RAw musings BLAME IT ON THE MUSE STARGAZING

Richard’s chemistry with … Bloggers & how they support his life’s goal … part 2

After a special birthday gift for the man himself about “Richard’s chemistry with … Richard III” now the second part of the “Richard’s chemistry with … Bloggers” series. My “act of kindness” towards people who honor Richard’s work in their own special ways 🙂

Appearance again in alphabetical order, with a “special guest” as the first participant:

Richard Armitage & Ali from richardarmitagenet.com
Ali has a communicative, airy Gemini Sun opposite her energetic and curious Sagittarius Moon, while her Ascendant is in earthy, structured Virgo.
As Virgo and Gemini are ruled by Mercury, the planet of communcation, we can see a really strong emphasis on this theme. The house where our Sun is, is the area where we want to “shine” and Ali’s is in her 10th house of vocation, public status, career – together with three other important planets: Mercury (let’s talk about something), Venus (let’s make it beautiful) and Saturn (let’s make it perfekt). So, it’s no wonder that she is maintaining a really informative, successful and up-to-date fanwebsite for Richard (for 7 years now, plus @RAnetdotcom on twitter for 6,5 years). I think it’s quite significant that she first “encountered” Richard through a newspaper article herself! Richard’s Mercury [sic!] is exactly on her Virgo Ascendant. So the words in which he described himself in that article hit her in the one spot in her chart, that signifies, how we start new things. Though the most important aspect might be that her natal Sun and Moon opposition aligns with Richard’s Vertex axis – this is a thunderbolt that strucks body & soul – and could easily result in endless inspiration 🙂

Richard Armitage & Amazing Grace from RAndom thoughts
Grace has a fiery Leo Sun and a psychic, intuitive Pisces Moon. As her birthtime is not known, the sign of her Ascendant can not be determined. In her chart I can also see a strong, yet a little different emphasis on the communication-theme: her Mercury in cautious water-sign Cancer is forming a learning-aspect-pattern with her Venus (harmony) and Mars (action) – both of which are – again – to be found in signs ruled by Mercury: Virgo & Gemini. Her Mars is aspected from Richard’s Sun & Venus by a Quintile – an inspiring creative aspect, that – together with his Mars in a harmonious aspect to hers – really sets her into action. An interesting double-whammy aspect between their respective Moon & Saturn points to a quite serious, longterm, committed relationship. His Saturn is also in a 15° aspect to her South Node, so in a way, he seems to appear like a teacher from the past to her. Two strong square aspects create an additional magnetic pull: her Pluto square his Sun, and her Mars square his Moon. But as her Venus is conjunct his Moon (inspiring the communicative aspect of the relationship) and her Sun is conjunct his Ascendant there is a strong will to “light up his life” in a positive way. 🙂

Richard Armitage & Obscura from Ancient Armitage
Obscura has a Virgo Sun that is forming a rarely found aspect to her Mercury in Libra (in her house of work) and her Neptune in Scorpio (the house of relationships to others), a very small green and blue triangle, which is called the “eye”. With this eye-Aspect comes an ability to “see” things more clearly. As all planets involved are further emphasized by her Moon in Cancer, Pluto (next to her Sun) and asteroid Pallas (next to Mercury) – which points to an investigative mind and an enhanced ability to recognize “patterns” – I can really see, what attracts her to classical archaeology and art history. Richard’s Uranus conjuncts her South Node – this indicates a past life contact with a revolutionary person, that has influenced her back then and now makes a re-appearance to finish this karmic task. Her natal Sun & Pluto conjunction (which could be described as the human equivalent to a nuclear power plant 😉 ) is conjunct Richard’s Pluto. The Sun-person gets drawn to the Pluto-person like a moth to the flame. And as her Sun features strongly in her natal “eye” aspect, this gets a massive boost through this Pluto aspect. So on her blog she combines her love for all things “ancient” with her fascination for Richard. 🙂

Richard Armitage & Tree from richardtreehouse
Like Obscura, Tree has a Virgo Sun (also conjunct Pluto) and possibly an airy Aquarius Moon (as her time of birth is not known and in mid-afternoon on her birthday the Moon changes into Pisces). Although they are born in very different years, there is an “eye” aspect involving Mercury in Tree’s chart, too. But as it is not Mercury, but Venus & Uranus on the apex of this triangle forming also a square aspect to Neptune & Saturn, the whole thing is flavored a little differently. By comparing both of their charts I can see that Richard’s optimistic Jupiter makes a harmonious aspect to Tree’s Venus – so this is a very nice enhancement of her “eye”. (The latest blogposts contained quite detailed studies of his forearms 😉 ). This seems also to be a karmic connection: Tree’s natal Mercury & Mars are on Richard’s South Node. So it might be that, in this life, she is trying to pay back in word (Mercury) & the act (Mars), kindnesses received from him in the past. But the most striking aspect is (still depending a bit on the position of her Moon) a likely Sun-Moon double-whammy. As described in Richard’s chemistry with Martin Freeman, this is a really lovely “caring for each other” aspect. 🙂

• RAw musings BLAME IT ON THE MUSE STARGAZING