Monthly Archives: August 2012

seeing out the angel

so that was the summer. From east to west, Zamosc to Connemara, plucking and gorging on the fruits of the present while all the while, shadows on the backcloth, the ghost-wrestling goes on: a violent smackdown, the poison of what … Continue reading

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From Galway we drove west towards the opposite end of the European Union from Zamosc. At Leenane, the kids learned to card wool and we sat in an old pub at lunchtime with a pint of Guinness, a completely comfortable … Continue reading

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Yeats day

driving south out of Galway, the rain was splashing on the road and slowing the traffic to a crawl. By the time I reached Coole Park, it was easing, but the woodland paths certainly weren’t dry: The house is gone, … Continue reading

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singing fascination

In a disused church in Aachen, an exhibition by a local artist, Lion Ebergard. He has taken Picasso’s trick with eyes and put it at the centre of his work: it is surprising how much eyes pointing in different directions, … Continue reading

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the man who invented Europe

On Sunday afternoon, Aachen is a quietly typical German bourgeois town, with a brass band playing in the Cathedral square and teenagers wearing t-shirts emblazoned with legends like NEW YORK FUCKING CITY. It has hot springs, which, along with its … Continue reading

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this could be a place of historical importance

On the way from Berlin to Aachen, I had an 18-minute stopover in Cologne, whose name derives from the colony (colonia) that the Romans established here on the banks of the Rhine, their broad German frontier. As the train pulled … Continue reading

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Deutsche Bahn

The German train system is perhaps (the French would argue otherwise) Europe’s finest. It works well. And yet… The train from Poznań to Berlin was 20 minutes late at the border. In Frankfurt an der Oder, the first town on … Continue reading

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The Pianist

This autobiographical tale by Władysław Szpilman is another staggering account of the holocaust, this one by a Polish Jew. A nationally known concert pianist living in a Jewish area of Warsaw with his parents, brother and two sisters, after the Germans … Continue reading

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Berlin (the start thereof)

As a big city, Berlin feels odd: long vistas, plenty of space, and little of the rush and bustle that characterizes Paris, say, or London, or Tokyo. Unter Den Linden seems rather boring, featureless and staid in comparison to Ginza … Continue reading

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Poznań is where they say Poland began, back in 966 when the first king converted to Christianity here. A cathedral marks the spot, built, strangely, of red brick (doesn’t that mean industry?) – yet perhaps not so strange when you … Continue reading

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