Monday, 27 April 2009

Travel by Numbers 11 - Berlin - Oslo

Yes! I'm on the road again.
Being in one place for over two weeks has made me a bit jittery, so on a sunny Sunday, I drove to Kiel to find my boat.

If you click on the following picture, it will open up a bigger version of it and you'll be able to see the tiny little boats watching the massive big boat.

Driving distance: six hundred and sixty four kilometres
Driving time: eight hours
Sailing time: fourteen hours
Idiot drivers: one

The guys at the ferry on both sides (Germany and Sweden) found it very confusing that I was Belgian driving a Norwegian van from Germany to Sweden. They urgently need to develop a more European or even cosmopolitan mentality.
I passed the breathaliser test without difficulty and drove off.

In Oslo I visited the new NIE office in the centre of the city. It's very nice. I wouldn't mind living there, apart from the fact that I wouldn't want to live in an office. But if all the offices would move out, it would make a perfect home for me...
(centre of the city, garden, fire place, high ceilings, lots of light,...)
I had coffee with Iva and waited for Honza to get back from playing the Song in a school in Mysen (they're on tour as well).

Once Honza arrived, we both drove to the storage space to change the contents of my car for most of the content of the storage space. It was a race against the clock, because his Caravelle was being checked out at the garage which was closing at 6pm, and the storage place was also closing at 6pm and we had our weird collection of set all over the place.
We just made it and drove into the garage at 5.58pm.

At the garage they told us his car had the wrong tyres.
But the garage was closing, so all we could do was drive back to base (Moberg house). Once there, after many phone calls back and forth with the Viking in Stuttgart, it was decided that Honza would get the tyres that were supposed to go on my Caravelle (everyone should have his own Caravelle), and I would get new tyres in Germany.
So Honza set about changing tyres.

And as old tyres came off one Caravelle, they were fitted into the other Caravelle in order to be driven to Germany where they will be turned into the right tyres. (I don't fancy going into details about right and wrong tyres now. If you're desperate to know, write me an email and I'll see if I'm willing to elaborate then).

Eventually, all was fixed. So now both Honza and I are completely equipped to deal with our respective next bit of touring.

This last image is one I found posted on a wall in one of the Berlin metro stations. The tragedy of it struck me so strongly I had to post it here.
It just might help.
(Again, you may have to click on it to be able to read it. You may also need to know German to be able to understand it.)

Sunday, 26 April 2009

B61 at the Tivoli

Dear Reader/s

As mentioned in the previous blog entry we did in fact go to the Stuttgart Frülingsfest. David took some photos.

Sarah, Tom, and Liz ready for action.

Alpina Bahn was the first ride we all went on, a roller coaster. David said he was scared and felt a little sick after (the 2nd photo) so he didn't go on any more of the rides this evening. Some people find rides really fun but David doesn't seem to. There is a element of joy in watching as well, and in that element David is staying. We walked around and talked about all the different fairgrounds we had been to as children. Elisabet was a disappointed because they didn't have the spinning tea cup ride. She said that this was her favorite.

Tom, Sarah and Liz went on another shaky ride. David enjoyed watching but had to look away because it was making him feel sick again.

Walking around the enormous fairground we found it only natural to venture inside the GrosseBierZelt. We didn't stay long but here are some pictures, we will let them speak for themselves....

This ride took us 55 meters up in the air, Elisabet felt it was almost like being on a boat. Except for you were up in the air and you couldn't really see water anywhere. Our most exciting ride was the u-bahn back to town. At least the one that David appreciated the most...

Wednesday we were allowed some precious time in the main space at the theatre. We could actually work with our Trabant on stage. Everyone were really excited about having the real thing on stage as we have only worked with a mock-up in our rehearsal space. Tom foundly calls it the Bismarck. Aude really put some hard work into pushing the car. Brilliant work, Aude!

Thursday it was Sarahs birthday. We celebrated by cooking a lunch all together in the JES kitchen. Great pasta, some lovely salad, excellent german rustic bread and some nice cheese. Being a multicultured crowd we sang birthday songs in all languages, Norwegian, German, French, Chech and English. Sarah nearly cried after Kjell and Elisabet without preparation also had choreography to their song. Bless her young heart.

After the highs of her birthday, Sarah experienced the lows of rehearsals today when Elisabet threw a bucket of water over her. Aude was to throw another bucket, but missed. Bless her.

Kjell's leg is recovering like a one would expect from a sturdy Norwegian, fast.

The weekend is now upon us, some have gone home and some are staying. Next week our uber-blog-meisterin, Elke Laleman, will join us along with other NIE suspects to perform Everything falls Apart as part of the JES 5 year Anniversary.

(posted by Elisabet and David)

Sunday, 19 April 2009

blog entry 2

Dear Reader/s

Before we begin this blog entry Elisabet and I would like to formally apologize for any spelling mistakes and other grammatical errors in the last blog entry of ours. Sara is called Sarah although it sounds the same it is a whole 20% of her written name that we forgot. We apologize. Gerd is correct. Alexander is a man and not a woman. We apologize to Alex and to the confusion this may have caused our readers. Elisabet is spelt like this. So now, clean sheets and we begin.

Kjell and the Leg (see picture below)

Christian is holding the shuttlecock. This is a game we found in China which has been mentioned before by the Über-Blog-Meisterin Elke. Kjell leaped forward to save one of his three from five remaining lives. On returning back from a successful lunge his face contorted and went quickly white. He said something was wrong. It was his hamstring. Off he popped to the hospital where a Swedish doctor took care of him. He will be on three legs for about a week. The purple crutches have red reflectors on front and back to save him from any more accidents. We think this is wise. Get well, Kjell!

Although the previous blog entry pictures may not seem that way, rehearsals have really been in earnest. Lots of ideas, scenes and singing. Also lots of nice opportunities to eat together. Food is important, isn't it? Kjell made that lunch. Get well, Kjell!

Stuttgart has been very nice to us weather wise. Even when it rained it was a blessing. We have been exploring the city and found some nice watering holes. Here at present is the Frülingsfest that we now are about to explore. Kjell will not be coming. Sorry, Kjell! Get well.

Please watch this space for more exiting Stuttgart-trivia.

This blog entry is now ended. Now.

(posted by David and Elisabet)

Monday, 13 April 2009

Still Rehearsing in Earnest

Sunday, 12 April 2009

DDR bananas

Elisabet is visiting Berlin to suck up some more DDR experience. We've had a culture-packed two days, went to the Schaubühne (twice), searched for interesting DDR books in the bookshop, wandered from east to west and back again, and went to what I think is one of the best kept secrets of the Berlin art world: the bunker.

The bunker is just off Friedrichstrasse and houses the Boros collection. It's a private collection of contemporary art, a bit like the Saatchi collection. Only this is not an easy museum to get into. You have to book an appointment for a 90 minute guided tour on their website. And they only open in the weekend and only let 12 people in every half an hour.

So we booked for a slot on Saturday afternoon.
The bunker is 5 floors high (not underground), and from the moment you walk in through the vaulted doors that have a camera intercom system, it feels quite special. It still looks like a bunker.
The tour starts with a short history of the building: it was built as an air raid shelter in 1942, initially for 1500 people, then they expanded the capacity to 5000.
After the war it was used as a DDR prison.
When the DDR decided to house their prisoners elsewhere, they used the building as a fruit storage place, mainly for bananas. The building was ideal for fruit, as the massive concrete walls guaranteed a pretty stable temperature of 10°-15°.

After the wall came down the building was turned into a nightclub which used all the main spaces as dancefloors and the small rooms as darkrooms. The club was closed down by the authorities in '95 and was consequently used for temporary events and exhibitions. Herr Boros bought the building in 2003, starting building works in 2004. In 2007 his gallery opened.
What they did to the architecture feels very minimal, and walking up and down various staircases still makes you feel like you're inside a bunker or a prison.
Boros commissioned some artists to enter a dialogue with some specific rooms, the ones where the black paint of the former darkrooms was still visible.

Visiting the Boros collection is a double experience: the collection is incredible (we even crawled through one of the art objects) and the building itself shows a history in its layers of peeled-off paint and bare concrete.

Go there. Make an appointment. It's not that big an effort.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Rehearsals start in earnest

Posted by David Pagan

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Travel by numbers 10: Linz - Berlin

Distance: seven hundred and thirty nine kilometres
Duration: seven hours and five minutes
Idiot drivers: none

I crossed the Danube several times on the way home. And somehow I felt some ownership of this mighty river...

Yesterday we played our last show on the boat. According to people who've seen more than one show, it was our best one.
Afterwards we put the boat back to the way it was before we adjusted it to our needs. We needed some help from Mr. Hoffmann, as we couldn't remember which tables went where.

After that we said goodbye to our favourite hangout in Linz: die Alte Welt.

Things I will miss:
- the boat
- Bob's German
- the Saturday siren of Linz

So now I can stretch my legs while the others work hard in Stuttgart. In the meanwhile I will plan a holiday and do some experimenting with silicon and lightbulbs.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

News From Stuttgart


We all met on Monday evening. Some had arrived the day before and very long trip in the JES van from Stuttgart. This didn't dampen anyone's spirit for the beginning of our new project Berlin 1961. This was large group, Christian, Christian, Alexandra, Sara und Gerd von Stuttgart and Kjell, David, Elizabet, Aude and Tomas from NIE. After a lovely Italian meal (thanks to Conrad) we stumbled upon (and eventually out) of a typische Deutsche Kneipe. This really helped to break the ice.

The next day we met in Wall Memorial Site in Bernauer Strasse where we started our research for the project. Here the city was split in half and made us all think of how unbelievable it is to imagine having one's own city split in half. The wall went straight through the street and divided neighbours from each other. Here we also met with a tunnelmaker who helped people escape the east. As we walked along the street it was funny to think that 7 meters under the ground, he an 48 others spend 6 months building a tunnel that was 85cm high and 85cm wide. He was a very good storyteller. David, Gert and Alex saw the Rock on their way to the history of Berlin Museum that delayed them so much they were not allowed in - serves them right being so superficially excited by celebrity.

The next day we met a man who lived in Bernauer Strasse when the wall was built. He was also great. His account made the history very alive for us. Later that day we met his sister who was 6 when the wall was built. (Kjell has a picture of the meeting with Cakes). Being able to ask question to those who have experienced such events was very inspiring. Thanks to Christian's hard work giving us the opportunity to meet these people.


Spring!!! Thank you Stuttgart. It is great. Liz and Kjell leave Norway with a new layer of snow. David had thought nowhere could be greyer than London but Hamburg had managed. Spring had sprung. People where excited and this was a very good starting point for rehearsals. We played games, sang songs and talked about the stories we had heard.

We all hope to be fluent in German by the end of this experience. Können wir das alle machen? Vielleicht - warum nicht?

Stuttgart ist eine sehr schöne Stadt. Hier gibt's ganz viele BMWs und Mercedes. Tolle Autos! Elisabet and David are now sitting in the big city park here in Stuttgart, thanks to the spring and writing this blog because Our superb blogger is going to be stretching her legs in Berlin. That's just a phrase not an operation.

posted by Elisabet and David

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Spring has sprung

Bob made it off the ship after being stuck there for two hours.
And we finally got some sunshine in Linz.

So Colombo and I went on the Linz City Express, the little yellow train that does a 30 minute tour of historical Linz. We took the English-guide-carriage (well, American-guide), and found out that Friedrich III died from eating too much watermelon.

I don't know if it's true, but I thought it was a nice anecdote.

We're down to our last three show now, and it's gone incredibly fast. After that I will have three weeks off, while some of the others are rehearsing in Stuttgart and Denmark.

And could someone please explain to me what I'm supposed to do here?