Many things going on these days…
Yesterday night I was over at Jan-Philipp’s and besides having a nice dinner (consisting of pork fillet with a chanterelle – according to some online dictionary that’s what ‘Pfifferlinge’ are called in English – cream sauce on pasta and some left-over green asparagus from my cooking of another quick Jamie Oliver recipe last weekend – with fried salmon, zucchini, tomatoes and couscous; not too bad – and rhubarb with a bit of marzipan, wrapped and baked in yufka sheets) we finally tried out his new stereo. He built the amplifier himself using classical tubes which is rather cool. While this is something like the fifth revision of the project, it had been sitting disassembled on his workbench for more than the last year, so I had never actually heard it.
The whole thing is now nicely arranged in self-made wooden cases with brass plates on them – open at the top so you can see the tubes – and weighing what feels like a ton despite being quite small. While not being excessively powerful, it was powerful enough to fill the room. And, unlike many other amplifiers it was better at the higher volumes. We used the opportunity to try out two sets of speakers – his massive self-built ones which have definitely too much or too groovy (whatever that means) bass for my taste – which is much more apparent for the music I like but not too bad when listening to Jazz and even some of the Classical stuff. The other one was some set of standard speakers which sounded really bad, in an uncomfortable way, in comparison.
Once we were at it, we also gave various input devices from a CD player, to an iBook and iPod to Aiport Express a run on the machine. Sadly no record player, which would be the appropriate match in style, yet, as the pre-amplifier isn’t finished at this stage. Fun.
Before going there, we had talked about the Haldern festival at home. I’ve been there two times already, in 2002 and 2004 and both times were great. For this time Björn and Dan had already confirmed that they want to go and to be on the safe side I had ordered tickets few weeks ago as the line-up started looking quite spectacular rather early this year – including Mando Diao, Franz Ferdinand, Tocotronic, The Robocop Kraus, The Polyphonic Spree, The Coral, British Sea Power and quite a few more.
However there were still a few people left who wanted to go but wouldn’t or couldn’t commit to buying tickets yet, including my flatmate Daniel and Steffen who was at the festival last year as well. As I had heard that tickets may be selling out soon, we discussed going there together again and they decided to order the missing tickets. But our internet was in its favourite state of non-working unreliability once more and ordering was postponed until this morning… when the tickets were sold out.
Bummer! After years of lobbying people, we finally manage to gather a nice and big crowd to go there and then we can’t get any tickets. It followed some anxious hours in the afternoon, with a quick and depressing glance over at eBay where people already started selling their tickets with prices seeming to quickly rise past the original price. And also with some random and fruitless phone calls to record stores which might have had the tickets for sale. At the end of the day we learned that one of Björn’s friends has some spare tickets and we may be able to get them. It’s not a done deal yet but it looks like our big festival excursion may happen after all. Cool.
With the temperature having been above 20° again today – for the first time in the past weeks (eek! that’s what they call summer), I hope that the weather will be reasonably good when the festival comes as we must have used up all the bad weather already at this stage. Other things happening were chancellor Schröder coming to town to receive an honorary PhD, so students wanted to use the media attention as well for some protests against university fees, which the chancellor who had studied here apparently found amusing – seeing that he is against university fees as well but it’s not his decision to make. In the context of this there was quite a bit of police in town around lunch time to harass the protestors or so. But it didn’t look like more police than they have for other protests. Somehow the police
menpeople looked less brutal and more friendly than usual. Perhaps because of the weather or them knowing that there was no real danger coming from the friendly students or because there were loads of TV cameras nearby.
Today after dinner we watched Abre los Ojos – which strangely has the English title Open Your Eyes even in its German version. Shockingly we watched this on DVD… some magazines which sell for a few Euros include film DVDs now. No ‘big’ films and many bad ones, but a few of them are quite good and definitely worth getting… like Abre Los Ojos. It’s fantastic Spanish film which I had seen a few years ago and which has been remade and -named as Vanilla Sky since, so the poor American audiences won’t have to suffer from actors that are better than Tom Cruise. It’s a fantastically twisted film about identity, dreaming and vanity. Even though all it may teach you ultimately is that it won’t hurt to fill your dreams with Penelope Cruz. Which I might go and do right now…