Roland Dürre
Wednesday June 7th, 2017

Just a Few Questions.

Roland on his first day at school

When I was young
I had only a few questions.

And I was often sad.

The questions have become more.

It has become harder to answer them.

The older I am,
the more I appreciate
and enjoy life.

And I no longer look for answers.

Because I understand less and less.

But the questions remain …

  • Why do we hate? After all, we know that the person who hates will suffer from it, while the person who is hated has no problem with being at the receiving end of hatred?
  • Why are we greedy but never content? After all, we know that greed makes us unhappy, while being content makes you happy?
  • Why do so many people exactly what they do not want to do?
    Why can lobbyists and marketing experts manipulate people so easily?
  • Why is it so easy to control us?
  • Why do we act against what our body, our brains and our heart need?
  • Why do we not act following the principle: “Give first, take later”, instead following the principle “An eye for an eye”?
  • Why are we set against enjoying work”?
  • Why do we call for an order that suppresses us?
  • Why do we believe we could indeed act responsible if there were no rules but that it is always the others who, unfortunately, cannot?
  • Why are we ready to sacrifice freedom for a little more security?
  • Why are we not prepared to live in the here and now, instead destroying the here and now because we think of the day after tomorrow?
  • Why do we not enjoy our happiness, instead destroying it by fearing future misery?
  • Why do we plan for events that will not happen anyway?
  • Why are we afraid of things that only happen in our minds?
  • Why do we destroy the bodies of people that could easily be our own?
  • Why do we even make our children look smaller, although we know that we ourselves would not wish to be made to look smaller?
  • Why do we buy plastic yoghurt containers although we know that plastic destroys the world?
  • Why do we drive cars although we know it makes us lazy?
  • Why can we not give up habits that we know are evil?
  • Why do we speak in favour of what is wrong although we know it is wrong?
  • Why do we make war, although we know that wars usually do not solve problems?
  • Why do we wage war in other countries, although war has become unthinkable in our country?
  • Why do we help terrorism to grow, although we detest it?
  • Why do we ruin our planet, although we know we only have this one planet?
  • Why do we not give our body what it needs? How about sufficient sleep and exercise and a healthy diet?
  • Why are we afraid to experience our body with lust?
  • Why do we treat time so sluggishly, although we know that time is a commodity that will never return?
  • Why do we refuse to think, although we have brains?
  • Why do we think we are the crown of creation?
  • Why do we think our certainties and convictions are truths?
  • Why do we turn a world of nature into a world of culture by replacing the natural sound of the ocean with the cultural sound of a noisy mega city?
  • Why do we believe growth is a solution, although we know that “less is more”?
  • Why do we expect help when we are in need, but do not help others when they need us?
  • Why do we keep poisoning the air we want to breathe every day
  • Why do we crave security yet love solitude?
  • What is social interaction?
  • What is love?
  • How can we solve the balancing act between “individually and collectively”?

These are probably far too many questions.

However, if you give me another twenty minutes, I am sure I will find more.

And still, I cannot answer them.

But now I would really like to read your questions. And which of my questions are important for you?

Or do you even know some answers!?

Thanks!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Klaus Hnilica
Thursday May 18th, 2017

Falling Down

I no longer remember who told me this story. Perhaps it was the tourist guide when we drove to the ’Manrique Museum’? Or that female professor of geology from Brandenburg? She has been coming to the ’Lanzarote Park Hotel’ in Playa Blanca in March for eight years now and also reads Spanish Daily Newspapers, not just this stupid island magazine Lanzarote 37°. Or was it maybe Pedro who told me this story a one of his inimitable ’language cocktail’ variations at the pool?

I simply cannot recall exactly …

But it was always about that toothless street musician!

He is a true disgrace on the never-ending boardwalk close to the ocean in the south-west of Lanzarote. With his dirty and unappetizing appearance, he should not be permitted to sit there. This is simply not tolerable! Not on this fantastic EU-financed boardwalk! After all, hundreds of people pilgrimage here until late into the night.

Besides, this ’music-playing pig’ does not restrict his appearance to his rusty folding chair in front of the last stretch of fallow land, where hardly anybody would notice him anyway. Instead, he can now be almost exclusively seen on the stone boardwalk balustrade.

What an exhibition: a ’music-playing rubbish heap’ in front of the eternally sparkling, sunny ocean! With a greasy hat lying on the floor and a cap on his sun-burned head! And two watery eyes that look like puddles …

Mostly, he dribbles into his melodica – which is some kind of key flute – from which the same melody is released at all times. But it is strangely alluring! You have to give him that. Perhaps it is even by Mozart? Even if it is perhaps a little too sad? Unfortunately, I was never able to really find out.

Seven years ago, when the concert building Lava-Bubble in Jameos del Agua was closed due to stones falling down from the ceiling, this disgrace had already been playing on the Playa Blanca boardwalk. In those days, he allegedly had a rather rich musical portfolio.

And while the volcano rocks were being glued together with special resin above the roof, he also sat there every day. Perhaps even the occasional cent out of all those six million euros this roof cost found its way into his shabby hat. Who could know? Definitely not the ’music-playing rubbish heap’.

And the inauguration concert given when the renovated concert hall in Jameos del Agua  was ceremoniously re-opened will definitely also have been something he was totally unaware of. As must have been the fact that the famous English conductor John Miguel Smith was going to be at the baton and that even representatives of the Spanish Crown had accepted the invitation.

However, he did notice that the rather pompous John Miguel Smith with his much too young female companion had had a stupid accident where he stumbled right in front of the ’music-playing heap of dirt’ on the day before the concert and fell fully on his nose; yes, that was something he had definitely noticed.

And the Spanish cursing of the noble Brit was probably also something he noticed!
Mind you, Betty had even cried out “attention John“, because apparently he had recognized a strangely alluring melody and consequently only had eyes for the shabbily dressed source of the melody. But at that moment, it was already too late! He fell full-length onto the dignified brown cobbles of the boardwalk here in Playa Blanca…

Ranting, he immediately jumped up, was appalled when he inspected his atrociously grazed hands and elbows, moved his badly ailing fingers like a maniac and kept shaking his head while he smoothed the damaged, bloody t-shirt over his stomach.
He only noticed that he had also torn his rough silver Greek Knot Cross from his neck during his fall when Betty tearfully offered it to him. He gripped it like a bird of prey and threw it into the greasy hat of the street musician, who was totally appalled.

He was quick to pull Betty after him in order to get away from this upheaval among the nosy masses of people as fast as possible. Probably his only remaining worry at this time was tomorrow’s inauguration concert at the “lava bubble”! In Jameos del Agua! And his wounded arms, his injured stomach, his bloody hands and his lacerated chin. And he certainly hoped that nobody had recognized him – the famous John Miguel Smith, when he kissed the boardwalk lying on his stomach like a fallen frog …

What mortification!

However, in at least one case, this hope seemed to have been in vain; because when the ’music-playing rubbish heap’ had overcome his shock paralysis and fished out the cross that lay between the few coins in his hat, there was suddenly a strange sparkle to his alcohol-marked face. A sparkle that even continued when he opened his toothless mouth out of which came a questioning “Miguel?”…

And then again “Miguel – Miguel, is it you?“

The street musician got more and more excited and even panicky. He dropped the soiled melodica and started using his left paw, too, for squeezing the silver cross – and again and again, he croaked: “Miguel !…Miguel !!…Miguel…!!

But John Miguel Smith was far beyond hearing and being seen. In fact, he hurried like a wounded animal along the boardwalk accompanied by his totally hysterical companion. All he wanted was crawl into his lair at the Hotel Vulcano as fast as possible!

Since, as everybody knows, the famous conductor Smith strictly forbids all attempts at finding out about his life and mercilessly deplores even the smallest public assumptions, the desperate calls of an old man, too, were lost in the rippling of the ocean that ran along the lava coast near the boardwalk balustrade.

But still, as I said, I heard somewhere that this incident is the reason and the only reason why the street musician, since that time, only plays this one ’endearing melody’ that, to this day, I could not identify. It is because he still hopes that his Miguel – whom he could not have cared less about when he was a child, in fact whom he even gave away for adoption – might one day pass by and invite him, his alleged father, to drink a brandy ’Carlos III’ with him…

Well, I am not sure if it is really the ’Carlos III’ this rubbish-like musician dreams about, but I would like to invite everyone who can tell me something new about John Miguel Smith to have a ’Carlos I’ with me in the pre-warmed glassed of the Café ’Gilbert’ on the Playa Blanca boardwalk. As I see it, the old ’music-playing piece of dirt’ should get some help, so why not through a good brandy?

PS:
Please note that all persons and activities in this story are fiction. But still, I will continue to look for this melody that caused the famous conductor to fall down. I have to find out more about it …
KH
(Translated by EG)

Klaus Hnilica
Thursday February 25th, 2016

The Dvorak Requiem

ZZZimagesShe was happy.

And so was he.
Mz Dvorak was going with him – and he with her – to Margot’s birthday party.
Only two days ago, he had been to listen to ’her’ Requiem with Mz Dvorak.
In his book that was hilarious.
In her book, it wasn’t.
The Dvorak Requiem had been an indescribable experience! With a powerful choir and music that shattered you like the apocalypse.


But they had not yet reached that stage.
Margot had turned seventy and wanted to celebrate. Her husband was long dead, and the old friends became few and far between.
With the Golf-Hotel, she had chosen an exquisite address. Tasty food was guaranteed. Anything else would have been a disappointment. Mz Dvorak was looking forward to it. There was nothing she loved more than eating. Of course, this had consequences! A life-long uphill struggle! Hopeless!

They had agreed on Tuesday, forty-five minutes past five in the afternoon. 
The party was to begin at six.

Two hours before that, he called Mz Dvorak.

Nothing.

Probably still on her way. Or maybe taking a shower.
He waited nowhere near long enough before he tried calling her again.
Nothing!


Why wasn’t she calling back? She always did that, didn’t she?

He tried to reach her several more times on her cell phone.

He was going to say: stupid bitch. But he could not call her that, because he could not reach her. 
Eventually, he gave up.
He was jumpy and disappointed, and went by himself …


But then, perhaps she had suddenly been called about her daughter who had cancer. Or perhaps her very ancient father finally wanted to die.

Or maybe she had to drown all this misery in alcohol and had gone to sleep next to her glass of red wine.

In that case, he definitely would not have wished to disturb her.

When he was the first person to arrive at the party – his bad conscience kicked in.
Perhaps he should have waited for Mz Dvorak a little longer, after all? She would certainly have arrived.
Margot was surprised when she saw him alone.

Neither had he brought his wife. But then that was not really a surprise for Margot, was it?
Well, he was sure Mz. Dvorak was going to arrive a little later. Otherwise she would certainly have called it off. After all, her middle name was diligence. 


Nobody had any doubt about that.
Even when – in between the delicious courses of the meal – everything went topsy-turvy and the guests had to do all sorts of kinaesthetic with the animator.

That was something Mz. Dvorak would definitely not have liked.
Maybe she had suspected something like this? 
Well, that might have been it. She hated kinaesthetic like nothing else 
Why did you have to have flexible joints in old age?

Strange: her chair remained empty. Even though the empty seat at the table was quite a nuisance 
They had not yet taken away her place setting, either.

What a strange joke of hers.

To simply not turn up.

Without a single word.

No explanation. But then, with all her reliability, she also had it in her to be stubborn. Everybody who knew Mz. Dvorak knew that about her.

This was a truly perfect party!
Everything was well organized.

Margot was at her best, and so was her charming daughter.
They were both professionals. They knew how to create a party mood.
He was probably the only person who got a little bit of a sour taste in his mouth when, as they finally played the “oldies but goldies” and the performers were actually the same persons as those who had sung the Dvorak Requiem.

Mz.Dvorak would probably have laughed about this involuntary comical number.


Well, she was good at laughing. She definitely was!
And then the evening was over.
And Mz. Dvorak had not turned up at all.

What a pity!
He went home all by himself and smoked a cigarillo.
He also indulged in a glass of red wine.

At long last: she called:
A little late, aren’t you, my dear Mz. Dvorak!
But it wasn’t her at all.

She was already dead.

Her son had found her while they were eating the second course at the party.

He had climbed into the house via the balcony, because the central key had been in the lock from the inside.

Mz. Dvorak had been sitting on the steps.
One shoe was already at her feet.


Then she had leaned against the wall and remained sitting in this position.
For an entire night – and a day.
Heart failure. Dead within seconds.
Her old dog had kept vigilance.
He was deaf.

He would not have been able to hear ’Her Requiem’…

KH
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Thursday July 31st, 2014

“Emma” and “The Little Prince”!

This week, I took some time-out on Wednesday and Thursday. Consequently, I bought a “Bayern-Ticket” on Wednesday and took my bike and my beloved significant other to go to Würzburg.

torturmstartOne of the reasons for travelling was that I wanted to visit the “Torturmtheater Veit Relin” in Sommerhausen in the evening and watch “Emma”. “Emma” is a tender love story and will be played until August, 9th. It was a great performance and moved me profoundly.

Sommerhausen is a very small place on the river Main. On the opposite side of the river, you will find Winterhausen, which also has a railway station with trains stopping at regular intervals. Sommerhausen seems like a village from a fairy tale, not at all from this world. Not much is happening in Sommerhausen: a few hotels and a few restaurants. And a few special shops.

In Sommerhausen, I always stay at the Sonnenhöfle. From there, you will reach the Torturmtheater by walking just a few hundred metres. On my way there, I always pass a kind of open-air antique shop. You can choose to your liking and take something, and you will be asked donate a little money.

Yesterday, they had the “Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Although I have it at home, I bought it to have something to read on the way back. It is the new edition of 1979. Miraculously, the original was edited as early as 1946.

After having watched Emma, I am in the mood to listen to the little prince and so I take a closer look at the book. On the first page, there is a surprising inscription. It says in neat handwriting:

“I always wanted to be like this little boy – a little stupid, not altogether aware of reality, a little dreamer, not from the “here”, more from the “there”. One who likes drawing elephants and could not draw anything else. – Maybe now you understand me a little better? 
Thinking of you – Yours P, August 1979″

The inscription moves me as much as the “Emma” I just watched. In August of 1979, I had just bought a house, but did not yet have any children. The first of our children was to be born in September 1980.

And as the evening progressed, I spent a long time remembering what it was like in those days – and how the small book might have come to end up in the Sommerhausen antique shop.

With tears in the eyes, I send my greetings from Feuchtwangen near Ansbach, approximately 90 kilometres from Sommerhausen today. Tomorrow, we will ride as far as we get towards Munich, probably to Nördlingen or Donauwörth. Let us wait and see.

RMD
(Translated by EG)