February drags on, reminding me once again why it's such a hard month here. Currently, we're caught up in what seems to be an endless snow-slush-freeze-rain-snow cycle. The Eskimos' having 47 words for snow may be a canard, but it's rather surprising, given the immense variety of the crap that pours from the heavens here, that the Germans don't have a bunch of them.
Thing is, it can make walking very difficult because the sidewalks don't get cleared a lot of places, and you never know when the fresh layer of powder conceals a slippery re-frozen bunch of slush underneath it. Of course, a lot of places strew cinders to assure traction, which is nice, but you wind up bringing them back into the house on your shoes and the rug gets gritty overnight.
And, as if to prove that the photo-period thing is a myth, it's still slightly light at 6pm these days. Two weeks, and I'll be in Texas. Not that I'm, you know, counting.
One of my readers has pointed me to a very nice piece she's written in Salon, an interview with Hitler's last living bodyguard. If you want the famous "banality of evil," you need go no further. He's living in Rudow, which is the end-station of one of the subway lines here. I always wondered what was in Rudow, and now I know one thing that is. Read it: it's pretty fascinating.
A comment posted here that Podewil may be starting up again in April was very welcome news. Whether the organization will be based again in the building on Klosterstr. I don't know: it's in the middle of a bunch of court buildings, and I know the courts system has been trying to grab the Podewil building to stick its functionaries in ever since the government moved here from Bonn. They also tried to get the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, which seems to have beaten them back for the moment, but we'll see what happens. Meanwhile, I've signed back up for their newsletter, so if anything interesting happens, I'll let you know.
Yesterday, Lucian Truscott IV had a rather dull little tribute to Hunter S. Thompson in the New York Times, in which he commented that his correspondence with HST back in the late '60s seemed completely concerned with money. This hardly surprises me. The nature of a freelance writer's life is that you're always worried about money. People never pay on time, often have to be cajoled out of just a few bucks, and the bills always seem to come faster than the checks. In fact, I just got another letter from my kind landlord reminding me that I'm now nine months behind in the rent, something I'd hoped to avoid with some of the work I've been doing, but of course I'm still sitting here waiting to get paid. There's some potentially good news on the horizon, though, which could not only pay all of this off but make a significant contribution towards getting me out of here. Nothing definite, nothing signed, no date as of yet, but enough that I didn't feel the dull stab of panic when the letter arrived. I still have to pay the electric and phone companies before I leave, and I'm not quite sure how I'm going to do that, but who knows? Stranger things have happened.
Seeing Wally, the guy who runs White Trash Fast Food, the club/restaurant on the corner by my house, while I was in the supermarket just now, reminded me of a story I'd wanted to post here. I've given them a hard time for their relentlessly ironic beating to death of what they call "white trash" culture, and what I call working-class American culture, and their inability to discriminate between poor people and "white trash," whatever that is, but Wally scored some points a month or two back when he was buzzing around the club and someone tapped him on the shoulder. "Are you Wally?" said a familiar voice, and there stood Mick Jagger. "I hear this is the coolest club in town," he said. "Oh yeah?" said Wally. "So how'd you get in?"
Good question, and a fine illustration of the futility and stupidity of being cool.