Gleich am Park

image

I have been ridiculously busy and ludicrously lazy since my last entry. Last trip to Berlin, I stayed in a local guesthouse mini-apartment. Very nice, and gives me some ideas about use of small space, and a good place to recommend to my parents if they come to visit. I had to do this, because my apartment is now devoid of anything working bar power and toilet. No shower.

It can only get more together from now – it can’t get less!

image

Note the toe friendly, back friendly gap under the kitchen cabinets in the guesthouse. I am definitely doing this. Lets you stand right next to the worktop.

Share and enjoy

image

I’ve been slack on the entries, partly from the fact that I’ve taken to leaving my phone behind whenever possible, I  enjoy the freedom – but it means I take less pictures, and it’s the pictures that prompt the memories when I come to write.

Bike is back with me, in the nick of time Cinderella shall go to the airport! For a 6:20am flight, there’s no train. Grumble, grumble, bloody British public transport. For the Xmas/NY trip, I’ve booked a nearby guest house where I can leave the car til I get back – bike in Dec/Jan could be a bit hardcore. Did it, oh yes, in the deep dark cold of early 2013, every day to work, as my car lay in nearly as many pieces as my life – the one being slowly put back together, the other falling further apart…

I’ve cut my coffee consumption, cleaned diet, tried to get some exercise done. Skin’s not good, and coming into winter, with no holiday left, and no prospects of sun, that’s not good. I am unreasonably annoyed/sad about this, since I have actually been eating pretty well, sleeping fine, all the things not perfect, but I have strayed far further, for far longer and not had this happen.

I’m a little tired of being different right now. My self discipline, restraint, knowledge, planning – they get me a slightly nicer life. They’ve let me survive relationship breakups without practical [i.e. financial] issues that so many suffer in those circumstances. They’ve worked with my decent genetics to preserve my health, and keep a more youthful appearance. It’s nothing game changing though.

Ah, wait, though, giving up drinking might very well have been just that…

But still. It’d be nice to just buy sandwiches for lunch, instead of always making a salad. Drink a coffee. To go to the airport and have it be for a proper holiday, relaxed rather than optimally squeezed between work weeks. To fritter a little cash rather than think every time – “that has better uses”. To vegetate and be lazy when I felt like rather than know I have to exercise or my body will quickly find some way to rebel. To be happy with a normal life, grateful to have a job, to be a fully paid up member of the system. Instead of always fighting, somehow, to be free…

Creation is Rebellion

PhotoGrid_1412512571992

[top centre photograph by John McMullan]

After establishing that we weren’t somehow playing the very African wedding next door, and avoiding getting a parking ticket (Brian the bassist was not so lucky) The Merton Manor social club gig went very well. Pro lighting guys and pro film crew, techs running Brian’s Prosonus desk which gave us full audio. My guitar was miked, so for once I could hear myself. Better not get used to it… There will be a video and audio for promo purposes, soon, I hope! Brian is doing the mixing. I’ll listen and wade in if and only if I think I need to.

My friend John came to the gig, and as well as taking the great picture above, he also made the kind of comment it makes a performer happy to hear. I mean there is hope, that some people get it. I can’t quote it verbatim, but it was along the lines of:

“You can tell you didn’t just get up there and do it. That you all have spent lots of time and effort over many years on practice, money on the gear, and effort on getting the connections to get the tech guys here. On eating right and exercising and dressing to look the part.”

Well, that last bit must just be directed at me and Craig the drummer 🙂 But joking aside, it’s good that it shows. One of the “natives”, an ex-biker-gang hanger out, a bit older than myself compared me to both Suzi Quattro and Cher. I’m not turning my nose up at that, not at all…

Now it’s the end of another work day, and I wish I felt like I deserve to sit down and relax. But that would be The System getting me where it wants me. To stop when I have done my bit for the corporate machine, and passively consume some media. Fighting it is an act of rebellion.

Every act of creation is rebellion.

Fighting or Forcing

PhotoGrid_1412512482687

A few of the week’s highlights. More stuff chucked, Friday night sort-of out had (I must be the World’s Weirdest relationship Counsellor, it seems to be the weekend of people having or trying to avoid  Drama with Exes). Car seems to have voted that i spend money and keep it. So, spurred by a puncture, I got 4 new tyres. Round ones! Don’t laugh, several of the existing ones were NOT. Really. Service + cambelt + waterpump booked, I’ll even get the bonnet unbent at the place round the corner from Miklos. Just as well really, after an outburst of unseasonal summer with hot sun, it’s turned cold, then wet. Plus now it’ll get me to Germany when the time comes…

Been thoughtful post-boat. Really reconvinced that work is a waste of time. However, I don’t want to start a business. Glum about setting up to compete globally for freelance development (I am convinced software is going the way of music, photographs and writing. Another thing no-one wants to pay for, making corporate-wage-slavery or commissioned work being the only paying route). Nor do I want to be constantly scrabbling to come up with investment strategies, or worry about how to optimise my opportunities to earn money, to plan … oh I dunno… a renovate-and-rent empire using my existing property as collateral for the financing. It’s all such bollocks (though any actual design/create/build part is FINE) . I want a life, and I want to enjoy it – trouble is I was never trained for that – none of us were.

As Frank Zappa said: “Schools train you to be ignorant with style. They prepare you to be a usable victim of the military-industrial complex that need manpower. As long as you are just smart enough to do a job, but dumb enough to swallow what they feed you, you are going to be alright.”

I’ve spent most of my life either fighting myself or forcing myself. I’m good (but not perfect) at both, but I am tired.

I am still trying to work out how to freelance in Germany and not go broke paying for health insurance (which you have to have, and has so many conditions that hardly any companies do it). And I don’t even get sick!

My basic issue is that I irrationally really just don’t want to pay for it at all. I have never bought private cover in my life. (the odd company I’ve worked for permie has provided it). In the UK, if my co. has an income-free or low income period, I stop payroll and live off my personal savings. So the co. doesn’t go broke. That’s not an option with the German situation. One is either employed (company pays at least half) or one is unemployed (the govt then pays it all…). I’m frequently neither… certainly in my ‘ideal’ lifestyle.

Basically, it feel like I will be forced to work more than I want to just so that I can pay the damned health cover. No doubt I have it all wrong or I have been an immoral NI-dodging scumbag (but one who has, in fairness, also *not* been a dole scrounger…). There are DE ‘Government’ schemes (Krankenkasse) but they are not cheap… and their health system is STILL no better than the UK’s in terms of being funded out of current payments and so likely to go bust / have severe service limits due to an aging population… Ach, no doubt I am just whinging. I have fired an enquiry at a pro expat tax/insurance expert, so we’ll see what he says…

I’m not born or bred to this middle-class manouvering. Don’t like it.