The people we are vs the people we will be

Well why not?

This is a subject I’ve avoided for a while, out of fear of not finding the things I wanted under the surface or out of sheer indifference to the subject, for sometimes it is better to live life rather than reflect on it. If forwards is where we are walking then why look back?

Well… it’s been a difficult week over on the island, the group of friends I was in in school, we are still technically a group of friends but are scattered around the UK and don’t ever really see each other all together, the only times I have seen all of them in one place for the past 7 years has been at funerals, at my mothers, and this week, two of them lost a parent. It is good to see good friends, but never good under those circumstances, and they have both looked to me now to help them through this time…

How do you help a friend weather the storm which they’ll rain down on themselves?… who knows…

To answer a different question, we look back to calculate trajectory, if the person I am is a result of the places I’ve been then the person I will be is a result of the sum of both of those things.

I realised some things when looking back… and that is that I’m not entirely satisfied with the person I’m going to be, so I thought fuck it, let’s change it, and it’s easier than you think.

Put an obstacle in your way and it’ll throw you off course, I was in a direction that was good and upwards for my career, finally directing, finally full time, finally paid for it! no more lifting steel deck for me (woohoo!). That is all good, and what I wanted but the person I would become by chasing it so hotly is simply not the kind of person I would want to have a conversation with let alone inflict on anyone else.

So I booked myself a flight, to a faraway place, several days after my last show (and looking like it’s my best show yet) of this incredible year closes. This gives me no time to squeeze in any extra work, no opportunity to do anything but spend my days now directing and packing, getting all the right injections (and some of the wrong ones apparently), try out the right shoes, the right bags, the right compasses etc, but most importantly it gives me the ability to say no.

To say no when I was offered to direct a musical, to say no when asked to go and assist at the RSC, to say no when asked to develop a new play. The ability to say no is important,  and I needed to put an obstacle in my own way, else I wouldn’t have had the strength to be the obstacle myself.

Like a river all of a sudden blocked on a bend, and bursting it’s banks and spilling over plans, flooding, and draining away I have created purposeful chaos in my own life, and very much intend to embrace every unexpected turn that it takes me.

 

EmbracIng the Chaos

#oslove

I will tell your story if you die. I will tell your story and keep you alive.

Some die old. Some die young. Some die for their beliefs. Some die for their country. All death is meaningless.
Thus it becomes our job, as survivors, to give meaning to death. To look for a purpose or a consequence to this endless void.

One year ago we decided to love each other again, to remember what we built our society on and that we are together in this world. One year ago.
One week ago, I saw poeple wanting to kick foreigners out of our country on the gneral basis that “their kind” are nothing but thiefs and beggars. One week ago, I saw mothers and fathers yelling at each other, one word stronger than the other. One week ago I saw 15 common people suddenly fill their whole with hate. One week ago.
One day ago, I saw the same people remember one year ago.

I hope that tomorrow, they still do.

We survived. We have to tell their stories. We have to give meaning to the pointless. We have to remember what they believed in, and to keep struggling for that belief that we are all here in this world together. If one man can show so much hate, imagine how much love we can show.

We survived. We have to remember and find meaning.
Some die yoUng. Some die old.

they go round and round…

Waking up. Taking a shower. Shaving. (sometimes) Turning on the radio. Getting the newspaper. Eating breakfast. Getting dressed. Kissing S goodbye. Out the door. Walking to work, picking up a coffee on the way. Turning on my computer. Checking e-mails. Reading news. Phones. Meetings. Having lunch. (and some more coffee). More phones. More meetings. (not always) Even more e-mails. Reading news. Turning off my computer. Getting a full tram home. Shopping groceries. Making and having dinner. Kissing S hello. Watching TV. Reading news. Brushing my teeth. Turning of the lights. Good night. Falling asleep.

Waking up. Taking a shower. Shaving. (sometimes) Turning on the radio. Getting the newspaper. Eating breakfast. Getting dressed. Kissing S goodbye. Out the door. Walking to work, picking up a coffee on the way. Turning on my computer. Checking e-mails. Reading news. Phones. Meetings. Having lunch. (and some more coffee). More phones. More meetings. (not always) Even more e-mails. Reading news. Drawing sketches for a client. Turning off my computer. Getting a full tram home. Shopping groceries. Making and having dinner. Kissing S hello. Watching TV. Reading news. Brushing my teeth. Turning of the lights. Good night. Falling asleep.

Waking up. Taking a shower. Shaving. (sometimes) Turning on the radio. Getting the newspaper. Eating breakfast. Getting dressed. Kissing S goodbye. Out the door. Walking to work, picking up a coffee on the way. Turning on my computer. Checking e-mails. Reading news. Phones. Meetings. Having lunch. (and some more coffee). More phones. More meetings. (not always) Even more e-mails. Reading news. Drawing sketches for a client. Making design suggestions for a job. Turning off my computer. Getting a full tram home. Shopping groceries. Making and having dinner. Kissing S hello. Watching TV. Reading news. Brushing my teeth. Turning of the lights. Good night. Falling asleep.

Waking up. Taking a shower. Shaving. (sometimes) Turning on the radio. Getting the newspaper. Eating breakfast. Getting dressed. Kissing S goodbye. Out the door. Walking to work, picking up a coffee on the way. Turning on my computer. Checking e-mails. Reading news. Phones. Meetings. Having lunch. (and some more coffee). More phones. More meetings. (not always) Even more e-mails. Reading news. Drawing sketches for a client. Making design suggestions for a job. Taking a photograph. Turning off my computer. Getting a full tram home. Shopping groceries. Making and having dinner. Kissing S hello. Watching TV. Reading news. Brushing my teeth. Turning of the lights. Good night. Falling asleep.

Waking up. Taking a shower. Shaving. (sometimes) Turning on the radio. Getting the newspaper. Eating breakfast. Getting dressed. Kissing S goodbye. Out the door. Walking to work, picking up a coffee on the way. Turning on my computer. Checking e-mails. Reading news. Phones. Meetings. Having lunch. (and some more coffee). More phones. More meetings. (not always) Even more e-mails. Reading news. Drawing sketches for a client. Making design suggestions for a job. Taking a photograph. Evoking someones emotions. Turning off my computer. Getting a full tram home. Shopping groceries. Making and having dinner. Kissing S hello. Watching TV. Reading news. Brushing my teeth. Turning of the lights. Good night. Falling asleep.

Waking up. Taking a shower. Shaving. (sometimes) Turning on the radio. Getting the newspaper. Eating breakfast. Getting dressed. Kissing S goodbye. Out the door. Walking to work, picking up a coffee on the way. Turning on my computer. Checking e-mails. Reading news. Phones. Meetings. Having lunch. (and some more coffee). More phones. More meetings. (not always) Even more e-mails. Reading news. Drawing sketches for a client. Making design suggestions for a job. Taking a photograph. Evoking someones emotions. Making art. Turning off my computer. Getting a full tram home. Shopping groceries. Making and having dinner. Kissing S hello. Watching TV. Reading news. Brushing my teeth. Turning of the lights. Good night. Falling asleep.

through and througH, a Poet

Men

Eyal’s post has once again left me deeply impressed. This final speech of Charlie Chaplin in “The great dictator” has always been something extraordinary in filmmaking ever. When I first watched the film, I could not believe it had its premiere in 1940, right in the middle of the biggest and most devastating crisis of mankind ever. The wisdom that is in this speech is impressive. It is ever so sad that it didn’t help to end what happened during the years to follow.

As Eyal said it, we as people can reach great things if we stand together as one. We can make progress beyond the imaginable. We can free the world and we can make the world a better place for everyone. How much talent and cleverness, how much humanity and peace is buried and killed every day in slavery and inhuman working conditions somewhere in the world? How many people suffer for our wealth? It is Christmas time and the marketing campaigns do a great job of showing us how horribly wrong the balance on earth between all people really is. We get asked for money and this is the time when most people are more willing to give something for charity.

But the day after Christmas, the old treadmill is starting again. We cannot completely escape our own barriers and borders in life. Our life gives us our problems to solve. But besides us, we have elected other people to fulfill our will. And it must be our will to help everyone on earth to reach a life in peace. Without hunger, thirst, disease, fear and war. We are all men, no matter what colour of skin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.

I have created a new category for this post: “us”. Because only together, we will be able to change something. Europe, United States… whatever. These are man-made borders. But mankind should not know any borders.

Yes… but

You see, actually I wanted to write about something completely different today. Something that I have been thinking about lately – especially since the time we all were together in Norway for Hans and Signhild’s wedding. But I shall write about it next time. It simply isn’t the right answer for what Eyal wrote.

The past days of riots in London and also Liverpool started quite a few discussions amongst colleagues and friends about why this is happening in England. People that know me will know, that I might not always paint the brightest picture of the country. That is simply what happens when you live somewhere foreign for a longer period of time than just for holidays: You make your own picture of the place. You gain an insight into how the system works. And that ultimately leads to a decision about whether you like the place or not. So my opinion is that there is a lot of positive things, especially when it comes to people, in England. But the system in general failed long ago and it seems that nobody ever realized the days of the Empire are over.

But now: the generation of people that get left behind. This is our generation ladies and gentlemen. And everyone following up on us! When did that happen? And why?

It was very late a few years ago even, when I did my apprenticeship in Munich. I came home after one of those usual jobs. Very late, very tired but couldn’t sleep right away (as always after work late at night). I switched on the TV and there was a documentary on about unemployed young people. All the kids there quit school. No degree, not even finished school. My parents – as Eyal mentioned – would not have allowed for that to happen. (We think – coming back to that point). So there is this guy who get’s a chance to get work at a local place that does removals and furniture transportation. Obviously this is physically heavy work and you don’t have to be very bright to do it. Therefore the pay is not great – but it is payed work. This guy gets offered to work there and if he doesn’t do too bad, may become a full time position. But for now, he only has to come with them for half a day, 6 hours in total.
When he comes back, he says this work would be absolutely stupid, everyone could do it, it would be too hard and would not pay enough. And that he would not go there again. Asked what he would expect from a job, he says that is has to pay well. He wishes to have a house, garden, car, pool and so on. He would need about 3000 Euros a month to even feel he has a quality life.
So I sat there, after 16 hours of work, that payed me around 500 Euros a month and thought – what the fuck?
(I had to check again, but that really was the salary… 😉 )

Another story: In the gymnastics class I used to coach, there was a really talented you boy. When he came to our club, it became quite clear after no time, that we were not the right place for him. He was too talented not to make something out of that talent. We wanted to send him to the Olympics team that trains in Augsburg. And they wanted to work with him – but he didn’t want to. He wanted to stay. So he did. He was about 9 years or so (cannot remember) and his parents used to bring him to training as they lived several towns away. They cared for him, where always there, went with us to competitions and events and so further. I watched him grow up and he was a nice guy and remained the best one of the group.
During my time in Liverpool I was home for the summer and on a train from Augsburg back home. A guy that somehow looks familiar comes in the train and passes me. He was a punk, with all the usual accessories, like the spiky collar, run down clothes, coloured hair – the whole enchilada. Somewhere in my head, this little man was saying: You know this guy. But I could not work out where from.
A few days later I meet a friend from my time at the gymnastics club. She is a social worker now and told me the story that this guy I once knew has basically abandoned his family. No contact what so every. Lives on the street and became a punk. So what happened with this guy? He was the one on the train. At some point in our lives, our paths crossed and there was a chance to possibly change his life. To divert it into a different direction. His parents did everything they thought was good for him. They cared and they were strict. And now?

You see, the thing with the blaming is really difficult. I agree with Eyal, completely. The parents are to blame. But, it isn’t that easy. A lot of the kids of the lost generation have really young parents. Especially in England there is a trend to become a Mom at a very young age. To gain some perspective in life again. As everything else is useless. No job, no money, no perspective. Why not have a baby. Thinking does not always go much further as the next few weeks. And the fact that having a child means lifetime commitment is not the first thought that comes to mind.
So now, kids having kids is a problem. Kids with no perspective in life, no money, no job, no education having kids themselves… who do you blame now? When does the chain start? Where in the line is the one person that we could blame? The one that had a proper job, was clever, raised a family and made it through? There must be someone to blame..?

I know this is a very provocative line of argumentation. But it is what I spotted a while ago. And since then, I keep wondering all the time how to solve that riddle.

To be fair, you know how my thinking is. I might be too idealistic and have a very pragmatic view on things. But I do honestly ask the question: How do we want to go on as a society? We cut down jobs in constant strive for more money, the better paid job. We cut down the money for anything that is not related to economy and its constant growth. Did anybody ever think about, that constant growth is something unnatural? And that within our physical restrains infinite growth will never happen – no matter what we are looking at. But we built our society on the basis of constant economic growth… That is odd.
So, what do we do with all the kids that have no perspective in their lives? Do we go to them and tell them: Learn something, you will find a job and be happy? Well, there won’t be any job. We all know how hard it can be to find A job. But everyone strives for THE job, the one that makes you happy, pays well and has short working hours…

I honestly am furious about rioters like the one we have seen in England lately. There is no excuse for this.
But there is the unsolved question of whom to blame. I don’t know. But I feel it is time that people – young people in particular start to become more present in the minds of the people that do leave them behind. We have the right to speak freely what we think. We can demonstrate for the good cause. So, why not organise some useful things with a Blackberry and march for a good thing. To really change something…?

It is only us, human beings, that are able to change the way our world goes. At the moment, we are heading for the ice-berg, straight ahead and with full speed.

Maybe we should go and slow down a bit.

The world we live in…

Not always and not for everyone, the world we live in is a beautiful place to be. There have been a series of suicides of teenagers in America a few months ago. According to what there was to read in the news, they were bullied heavily in school for the fact that they were gay. We tend to not see these kind of things, as we all live in such a peaceful world. And yes, compared to other countries, we do have rights (especially the one to live) and don’t have to fear suppression by the authorities. On the other hand, I am not entirely sure if the next generation of kids does grow up with the same peaceful mind that the current generations have. When you look around, you can see that the world is changing for a more radical and less open minded view. Foreigners are more and more looked at with suspicion, the right wing parties are growing and becoming more votes at elections. Whole countries saw a drastic swing to the political right at last elections.
With all this in mind, I am not entirely sure if we are living in such a wonderful world as we tend to think. So where are we going with this?
There is a project that I have been following over the past months since I learnt about these suicides in the US. It is called the “It get’s better project”. It all started as a small video campaign for tolerance and freedom for everyone and as a direct reaction on the suicides. Some really well known faces joined the campaign and recently Google also had it’s part in it. I usually would not advertise for their Chrome browser, but the video is worth showing. So here it is:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7skPnJOZYdA

And by the way, here is a collection of countries that do have a law against homosexuality. The punishment reaches from minor fines, to several years or a lifetime in prison as well as the death penalty:
Algeria, Angola, Ethiopia, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Gambia, Ghana, Cameroon, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Marocco, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Niger, Sambia, Senegal, Seychelles, Simbabwe, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Birma, Brunei, Georgia (the law is no longer executed but exists), Irak, Iran, Yemen, Katar, Kuwait, Laos, Libanon, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, United Arab Emirates, Cook Islands, Fiji Islands, West Samoa, Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Chile, Guyana.

There are some countries that don’t officially have a law against homosexuality any more, but they use given law that they bend in order to still punish homosexuals (e.g. Turkey). I think we are quite privileged that we as a society have come so far. I fear that in some regions where religion has a very strong position against homosexuality, it might never be possible for the people to be really free. Let’s just see that we don’t go backwards but forward, so it get’s better.
www.itgetsbetter.org

Dancing in the light

There’s this guy I know. Bearded, good tempered fella’ with a hunch for how people are really doing and a great sense of humour. He sings songs when he thinks that no one listens and likes really big chunks of cheese on his crackers. He goes all over the world, making friends and comming up with new ideas and plans as he moves along. He makes ridiculously complicated romantic schemes to woe his girlfriend and he always manage to pull them off. Well, mostly. On the stage, he stays off it, in the back, on the top or in the audience. He merely guides and tempts, he never tells. In and out of the light he dances, my director.

There’s this girl I know. Drinking, singing, swinging and hanging in there ’til the end. She loves pirates but not the sea. Her love for chocolate and things sweet is only matched by her compassion for her friends. She’s been almost around the world, dancing now. She’s the craziest person I know, she’s the honest and truest I know too. She’s good fun and a great laugh. She teases me as I tease her, she patronizes me as I patronize her. And my respect for her is as her respect for me. I know. In and out of the light she dances, not mine, but still, my dancer.

There’s this guy I know. Ze German. Old dude with this perfect nonchalant attitude towards his personal style and outfit. Just perfect. Takes his time with everything, but again, manages just perfect every time. Likes his rum 7 years old to the bottle, and is the most spontaneus person I know, although, I’m not sure he knows that. He too, likes the smell and taste, the touch and feel of the world. He cares for the little things, the once that really matters. Keeps a mug of really strange looking utensils on his desk, and some more in his drawer too. Like me, he is of the light, in and out of the light he dances, my designer.

There’s this guy I know, another German actually, if you recognise Bayern as such. Best man I ever met, honest, true and completely straight up – he doesn’t bullshit and doesn’t want anyone else to do either. His panache for mischief is incredible, and I’m sure if it wasn’t for consequences he’d have a lot more fun making fools out of other people – in the completely right way though. His cooking skills is as good as they come, and for his skills with his medium of choice, light, out of this world. If he quits then I see no reason why the rest of us should keep doing it. Truly, in and out of the light he dances, again, my designer.

There’s this girl I know. Mostly she’s smiling, laughing and playing around. She walks in the grass bare footed, she sings songs to the sky and eats strawberries from the field. She holds my hand and comes with me to the strangest of places, my camera likes her hair and I too, like her eyes. She listens to music with all of her body and moves to the slightes sound, in and out of the light she dances, my dancer. Her body moves with such grace and skill between legs and ramps, her eyes follow her movement as it was her hair, and her mind flows out to those who care enough to look for it. In and out of the light she dances, my dancer.

There’s these people I know. In and out of the light they dance, my friends.

There’s this guy I know, Hans they call him. Not sure what he’s up to or where he’s going, but he’s dancing along the way. In and out of the light.

for yesterday and all tomorrows, we dance the best we know

in and out of the ligHt People, in and out of the light…