the big issue // why i love leipzig

The Big Issue – Corina Retzlaff.JPG

I didn’t know this magazine until Malcolm Jack, journalist for the The Big Issue, reached out to me this summer asking if I can tell Why I love Leipzig for a small column about city breaks. After doing some research I learned that The Big Issue is an international street newspaper (“the world’s most widely circulated street newspaper”), written by journalists and sold by homeless people to give them the chance to earn some money and to integrate them into society. I knew about a similar street magazine we have here in Leipzig as well and liked the idea to write for a good cause, so I decided to go for it.

Although I know many places that are worth a visit in LE, it was very hard to name specific ones because there are so many cool places I would love to recommend. But then, one place I knew I had to name for sure. It is the Monument to the Battle of the Nations. I have been there so many times, but every time I come back to this huge and impressive building it takes my breath away. Still. And I do not mean it’s breath-taking after walking up the hundreds and hundreds of stairs. That sure is but I usually don’t do that. I can just stand in front of it and watch it. It’s just awesome.

And, well yeah, since I love being in nature and most of my life is about art, I had to list places for these things as well for a good Leipzig mix. In the end, I also decided to mainly name those three things not only because they are significant, partly alternative and show a bit of history and present time as well. I also went for these attractions because they are affordable and inexpensive or even for free which makes them perhaps interesting for people with little money as well. Maybe…

So, now I would like to know: Why do you love Leipzig (in case you have been here already)?

gnm15yrs // global noise movement – the book

Global Noise Movement GNM15YRS.JPG

I am so so so over the moon to present the book Global Noise Movement (GNM15YRS) Ro and I created to celebrate the past 15 years of the Global Noise Movement! Global Noise Movement (or short GNM) is an artist collective Ro and I founded back in 2001 to give like-minded artists in noise/industrial the opportunity to collaborate. So for this recent anniversary we thought of something special and came up with the idea to create a book full of the good memories we share coming from joint projects and events for the artists themselves and also for our true fans. So this book mainly consists of fun interviews I did with most of the GNMies (aka DJs/DJanes, musicians and VJs from Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Canada, the Netherlands…) asking them questions about how they discovered this certain style of music and a few more.

So if you are interested in the cool background info coming with the interviews, I am happy to announce that you are welcome to purchase your very own copy from now on (via Books on Demand or Amazon). And if you want to learn more about the very beginning of Global Noise Movement, here is an excerpt from the chapter About GNM:

First, there was noise. And then there was the Global Noise Movement. This is the short version on founding this artist’s network. But the long and more entertaining story goes as follows… 

Once upon a time there were a DJ and a DJane with an unlimited passion for any kind of noise music. They enjoyed playing rhythmic noise and industrial while showing manga-like background visuals at a very small and dark and also extremely moisty venue almost every Saturday night in late 2000/early 2001. Their tiny floor was hidden in a cellar-type three dance-floor location, and to get to their floor the audience had to pass pop music clubbers and metal headz. Sometimes they mustn’t walk through, ‘cause there was a band playing on the main stage located right in front of the probably smallest dance floor the universe has ever seen. But the crowd was patient and waited, sometimes for long hours. And it was worth waiting, even though they sometimes came a long way and travelled far just to dance to some eclectic noise music at 3 am in the morning for only half an hour until the floor was closed. So it was nearly unbelievable and somehow magical when this DJ and DJane were discovered by some like-minded artists. Soon after, first meetings were held and collaborations were made. This was in the summer of 2001, and this was when Global Noise Movement was born…

good reads // on social media friends + working at amazon + german politics + how to do yoga right

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Welcome back on my blog! I hope you’ve had a good time this past July and August. I spent those months traveling and exploring (stay tuned for more posts about that) and also reading. So I thought I start with some of the books I’ve read and liked since I haven’t done a similar post for quite a long time.

Oliver Handlos/Matthias Spaetgens: Alle meine Freunde: Über den Umgang mit Facebook und Co. Die Scholz & Friends Social Media Etikette (All of my friends: About the handling of Facebook and Co.) : I actually was convinced to buy this book discovering the really cool black and white illustrations made by Philipp Comarella. But soon I figured that the content is much more interesting than expected. In the end, this book is something everyone using social media should read at least once.

It’s hard to choose one favorite quote, but this one is for a start. In chapter one they say, “Verwechseln Sie nicht Zerstreuung mit echter Aktivität. Versuchen Sie sich an einen Tag im Internet zu erinnern. Alles bekommt ein bisschen Aufmerksamkeit, aber nichts genug, um als Ereignis haften zu bleiben.” which means, “Don’t mistake sharing with real activity. Try to remember one single day on the internet. Everything gets a bit of attention, but nothing enough to be remembered as an event.” 

Heike Geißler: Saisonarbeit (Seasonal work): Again, I liked the artwork on the cover that is a monochrome-drawn shopping cart on a black background. Then I took a few moments to read the contents and soon I figured this book was written just for me (doing seasonal work for a big company as well many years ago I could relate to so many things the author shared). Well, this book is all about the working experience someone can have during seasonal work at Amazon with all of its rare ups and almost unbelievable downs. The book really is well-written, I totally love her writing style and cannot wait to read more from this Leipzig-based writer.

There are tons of great quotes I could list here, but the one that convinced me to read this book was a funny one I found in the contents already. It says as some sort of summary for chapter 7, “Sie sind krank und besorgt, die Krankheit könne über Nacht verschwunden sein.” which means, “You are sick and worry that your illness might be disappeared over night.”

Helmut Schmidt/Giovanni di Lorenzo: Verstehen Sie das, Herr Schmidt? (Do you understand this, Mr Schmidt?): I am really not into politics. And living in East-Germany and being a little kid by then, I also can’t remember Helmut Schmidt being the Chancellor of West-Germany in the late 1970s/early 1980s. But since the first time watching him on TV giving an interview, I somehow was impressed by his presence and the things he said. So this book was on my must-read-list for a long time already. It’s a quite interesting one since it is a collection of interviews Helmut Schmidt and Giovanni di Lorenzo did together. It includes lots of facts I didn’t know about and creates an impressive picture of this late politician.

My favorite quote is one Helmut Schmidt gave to the question if he uses to pray. He answered, that he doesn’t pray but likes the prayer Reinhold Niebuhr once told. It says, “Gott, gib mir die Gelassenheit, Dinge hinzunehmen, die ich nicht ändern kann, / den Mut, Dinge zu ändern, die ich ändern kann, / und die Weisheit, das eine vom anderen zu unterscheiden.” which means, “God, give me the serenity to accept the things I can not change / the courage to change the things I can change, / and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.” 

Desikachar: The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice: Well, I think I started reading this book in 2013. So it took me almost three years to finish. What doesn’t mean that it is not good. It is really good, but for me the specific English and Sanskrit vocabulary was kind of hard to understand. So I only read a few pages each time I hold it in my hands. But now, after completing the book, I can say it is a really good introduction to yoga and breathing techniques as well. And it is filled with amazing pictures of Krishnamacharya demonstrating challenging yoga poses at advanced age and holds little drawings of how to do all things yoga right.

This book is filled with so much wisdom and many helpful tips, so naming just a single quote is almost impossible. However, I really liked this one in part III The Yoga Sûtra of Patañjali saying, “When an individual has achieved complete understanding of his true self, he will no longer be disturbed by the distracting influences within and around him.”

So have you read some of those books? Did you like them? I would love to know! :-)

pigeons & co. // first class citizens

pigeon.JPGI’ve recently learned that there is no existing word for animal in Lakota language. The reason is that it would mean second class citizen. And there is no such thing in Lakota people’s philosophy. So instead of saying animal, they call every group of a living thing a nation.

I like that.

So in the picture above there are my friends of the pigeon nation. During winter time until these days, I feed them every day, despite the fact that I grew up being told that feeding pigeons is a bad idea ’cause they transmit diseases. In the end, that means to let them starve.

I can’t do that.

I think, everything exists for a reason and has their purpose on Earth and in life. Pigeons make me happy, I like to observe their social behavior and with their greyish, white, purple and green plumage they’re in my opinion as beautiful as any other creature.

And in the end, I guess, they transmit as much or less diseases as any other living thing does–except maybe the (oh so guiltless) humans…

So my dear winged friends, have a lovely summer and I look forward seeing you again.