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Then, in Paris

The next issue of the magazine Gonzo Circus will include an interview with me by Theo Ploeg. Such an article comes with pictures. I was asked to send some. Digital memories lead an orphaned existence in my life. That’s why I came across this set just a day too late. Here is the story that comes with it.

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The hand in the picture is mine. You can see blood. You can also see a small part of a walkman that I bought from former topmodel Magnus Schaefer, just before his move to New York. The first appearance of the walkman as My Walkman was in the 4 minute road movie about the Berlin Tape Run which was shown on German, Austrian and Swiss TV.

I looked at the walkman again. It is a different one. The walkman that served as a red thread in the road movie is not in the picture. What to do? Now you know that both my -MY!- walkman and I were on TV I can take advantage of this fact and promote Berlin Tape Run2. I sold two copies of it thanks to its appearance on German, Austrian and Swiss TV. Grab your copy before they sell out. Get it here: staaltape.

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Sometimes after a concert I find myself a salesman. Visitors are mostly more driven by curiosity then by a strong desire to buy a tape. They pick up the cassette. I start my promotional talk, but encounter a look that tries to find a polite balance between contempt and ‘man, I have one hundred thousand free downloads on my hard drive.’ Then the visitor walks up to the bar and buys a beer, or rather exchanges a few coins for a bottle of beer. Those coins must have lost every connection to monetary or existential value… Existential!

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Paris is clearly divided by its surface. There is life going on under it, and on top of it. Zillions of people use or have used the metro. I like it. I like the smell, the sounds, the sudden change of pace. The metro system follows its own logic. Travelling to a destination is not a simple matter of going from A to B. There is detours in the dark, mysterious squeeks and threatening rumbles, there is eroticism, thought, misery, work hidden under the looks and appearances of the travellers, there is seemingly endless and labyrintic movements whenever you have to change trains, there is determination. There is epiphany whenever you get to see the sky and the apartments once you walk the stairs. I am sure Parisian philosophers were inspired by their metro system.

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I am on my way to Anton Mobin for my fourth appearance at his A Maïzing Session. He lives on walking distance from Père-Lachaise. In my agenda is written the metroline, where to get of (Alexandre Dumas), the address, and the secret codes of the front and second door. I have just a backpack with gear, no suitcase (weight 20 kilo), because he lives on the 6th floor and there is no elevator. I always enjoy the short walk up to his apartment. The street I follow is a bit run down, houses and shops lean against each other, seek comfort, some of them moan softly, a bit sentimental, remembering better times. I look inside bars and imagine to have a beer and watch how everything slows down.

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Anton’s series of home produced (web-) radio now run in their fifth season. To me it is an essential part of what netculture is about (it is, actually meet and play together with the person you met through a website or an email). The A Maïzing Sessions offer a welcome and welcoming appointment with homebrewn- and visiting artists. Moreover, when you are back on the streets again after the radio show, you’ll notice that the neighborhood looks just that bit more familiar. It makes you feel, well.. just good:

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The 11th of September was a pleasant late Summer day, a day that makes domestic silence enjoyable, Anton had just come back from a holiday in Barcelona and enthused about the San Miguel beer he had found in his street. He showed the new tap of the bottle, which made opening it far more easy. So we opened our bottles at the same time and cut our fingers at the same point.

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