Sitting in the living room in Tating, getting ready for the day, going through the papers (ironically the Hamburger Abendblatt’s headline is about overcrowded emergency departments in the city’s hospitals – though it’s all relative if you read the details:), and listening to my favourite radio station, Deutschlandfunk.
It’s Ulrich Wickert (73), Mr “Tagesthemen” (one of Germany’s most watched news programmes).
Here is someone who went to school in France just after the war, studied in the USA and took part in the freedom riders in the early 60, before exposing the ex-Nazis being in charge (again) of a good part of post-war Germany while studying in Bonn.
I’m sitting here, I stopped reading the papers with tears in my eyes. And I can’t stop. Ok, I’m quite a bit (!) younger than Wickert, but what he is recounting, the music he is playing, is my pretty close to my life.
For reasons I’ve tried to understand but always failed to, I’d never find my past in Ireland although I’ve spent most of my time here.
Rock around the Clock (Bill Hailey), Beethoven piano concerto no. 5, We shall overcome (Joan Baez), Spiel nicht mit den Schmuddelkindern (Franz Josef Degenhardt), Mercedes-Benz (Janis Joplin), Perfect Lives/The Park (Robert Ashley), Country Roads (John Denver), Le temps des crises (Charles Tenet) – for always connected to the popular uprising of the Commune de Paris 1870/71. (My favourite de Tenet is La Mer. If your French is like mine, you can check out the lyrics here🙂
I love this, it’s memories, kind of a happy past – but there’s less and less people to share them with.
Here’s Pádraig’s sister coming in while Janis is singing and asks me to change that awful music. “Come on”, I’m saying. This is an absolute classic!. “It’s awful!”. – Shouldn’t have been a surprise to me. Have you ever tried to share your memories of more than a couple of decades ago with someone young? It just gives away your age.
What is that thing about the past that makes me cry?
It’s just 11am and we agree to go out at noon: to Husum, have a look at shops, go for a swim (it’s a brilliant 50m pool with a large, heated outside area), have something to eat, watch a movie in a small but really nice cinema with arm chairs and tables. “This is real luxury”, I said. “The way Saturdays should be”, she said. How can they be?
10 hours later and I am finishing today’s blog. We took it even easier than planned in the morning. No swim. No cinema. But a really nice dinner on a boat in Husum Harbour and two films back in the house who couldn’t be more different: One of the all time classics, The Graduate, and the modern, outrageous Special Correspondents.
In between phone calls home to see how things are going. I had woken up last night in a panic thinking that I needed to get up to turn Pádraig. There isn’t really any ‘getting away from it all’ and the thing is, I don’t really want to. I’m not even sure if I want to to reminisce about the ‘good’ old times. If you’re young you don’t do that, I never did, I couldn’t wait, ever, for the next exciting turn of life.
So the next exciting turn will be An Saol getting of the ground to get a life for those with a severe acquired brain injury so that they won’t have to be ‘maintained’ in nursing home but are integrated in life the way everyone else is. And we will be all back here in Tating to enjoy the summer, the wind and the sea.
The best ever ever ever recorded concert was The Last Waltz. And the best song of the best concert was I shall be released. Watch it1 Listen! And shout it out: Any day now!