Let’s save this particular now

Dieses Jahr hat in Los Angeles begonnen, nachdem die ersten beiden Monate in einer Art Druckwelle an mir vorbeigezogen waren, nachdem WAF GMBH ihre Existenz rechtsgültig begonnen hatte. Es war eine Rückkehr an einen Ort, den ich während meiner vorigen Besuche nicht verstand, aber mich stets fasziniert zurückließ. Das fundamentale Versagen dieser Stadt, eine Stadt zu sein1, ihre psychotische Dunkelheit, die Geometrie ihrer Schatten im immerzu perfekten Licht – mein Versuch, eine Perspektive auf Los Angeles zu finden hält an und findet inzwischen in einem Are.na-Channel statt: Parsing L.A..

Seit meiner Rückkehr habe habe ich nicht aufgehört, über diese projizierte Stadt und ihre Orte nachzudenken. Ebenso habe ich nicht aufgehört, Boy Harsher zu hören. Die dunkle Campyness des Projekts aus (enttäuschenderweise: Massachusetts) fließt gleichermaßen in den schwarzen Sonnenschein, der so spezifisch für Los Angeles ist. Diese Musik füllt Industriebrachen und flutet die mit 20 Meilen pro Stunde vorbeiziehenden leeren weißen Kuben, die Gebäude sein sollen. Wie so vieles in den Vereinigten Staaten ist sie eine Rekonstruktion europäischer Affekte mit amerikanischen Mitteln. Wie so vieles in Los Angeles speist sich ihre Anziehungskraft aus eben dieser monumentalen Fakeness.

Ich habe die Alben und LPs von Boy Harsher mehr gehört als viele andere Musik in diesem Jahr. Los Angeles blieb und die Stimmung blieb und die Erinnerung an das Licht und die Menschen blieb. Es ist schwer, sich der Sleaziness zu erwehren, dem Eingeständnis einiger Kaputtheit und der Weite und Freiheit, die von dieser Musik ausgeht. Das hat viel mit Jae Matthews‘ Gesang zu tun, geschult an der Attitüde und Anziehungskraft der europäischen Goths (Siouxsie Sioux, Anja Huwe, man muss die richtigen YouTube-Videos kennen).

Motion, Westerners und Morphine (ey, diese Titel) haben mich durch einige Härten halluziniert, als Narrative einer Welt, die es nur ausgedacht gibt, und halt in Los Angeles, wo alles erfunden ist. Es ist großartige Musik, wie L.A. eine großartige Stadt ist, wie es nichts sharperes gibt als eine Truckerjacke aus gewachstem Twill im richtigen Licht.

Boy Harsher wurden zum Kristallisationspunkt meiner Beach Goth-Playlist, vermutlich der reinste Ausdruck meiner Lust an brachial doofer Affirmation, zu der ich in diesem Jahr gefunden habe. Diese Playlist bedeutet mir viel – ebenso wie Los Angeles und meine Perspektiven in der Stadt, denen Boy Harsher Raum und Permanenz in 2019 gegeben haben, auch auf dem kalten Boden der Tatsachen zum Ende der Dekade.

There was a moment among the abstract government buildings. I was very tired, the mournful groove of Boy Harsher oozing from my wireless earpiece, an electric scooter zooming past. I realized where I was, which world, how far I had walked. Let’s save this particular now. (Berlin, September 2019)

  1. Traversing the airspace above L.A. and the valley beyond makes the vastness of this country apparent. It is, fundamentally, still the far west, unclaimed nature, emptied of its original inhabitants, painted with a thin layer of civilisation and semi-permanent architecture. Were the people settling here to leave, it would turn full western-trope ghost town of monumental dimensions. ↩︎

Psychological Bar Reviews (7)

The coordination between hues of orange of about 24 vintage Polyside Chairs arranged around square plastic tables, four oversized umbrellas advertising SION KÖLSCH and the swooping letterforms so tastefully deployed to the menu headers of Café Hallmackenreuther is ever so slightly off, and thus achieves a kind of perfection any Pantone folder would ruin. The palette is positively exciting, reframing the scenery as an episode of quintessential 1973ish West-Germanness.

A table over, one of the quarter’s apparent doyens is holding court. With white-bearded smiles, patrons, strangers and acquaintances passing the square are waved over – while multiple magazines, tiny glasses of white wine and an eager young labrador keep being miraculously juggled. „Flat white, in a cup“ is the order, which is swiftly downed upon arrival.

Beyond the leafy courtyard, the café itself has opened its glass front, providing ample space to bustle about for a pair of stewards that tends to the crowd reclined in polyethylene. One is green-eyed, lanky and bumbling, a shoddy bowler hat hiding strands of streaky blonde hair and yesterday’s night out. His partner – all sagging thrashed denim and big-haired, nose-pierced, crop-topped street cred – is doing a considerably more professional job, inserting some urban eroticism into an otherwise almost pastoral scene. French, Italian and Kölsch are spoken among maple trees, all softly blending in the most pleasant summer air.

Hallmackenreuther, Belgisches Viertel, Cologne.

Psychological Bar Reviews (6)

The mezzanine level of Sightglass is bustling at this time of the day, making the fact that the lower floor is designed to hold a maximum of ten patrons at full capacity all the more commendable.

Along the bar, a free as in coffee startup consultation is taking place, the vocal fry soothing over whatever deep domain experience, human ressources and management background is relayed to two young trucker-jackeded entrepreneurs. The phrase fermented time is uttered and followed by a pause for added effect.

Despite the amount of business conducted in the former warehouse, the overall mood remains calm and Californian. It’s friday after all. Down below, the barista adjusts the small red comb in his sizeable afro after pulling what is presumeably the four hundred twenty second espresso shot of the day. He wipes a hand on his Queen shirt, skull motif. It has been a long day. Outside, the clouds lay heavy and low on the sightlines to downtown and Telegraph Hill. A single slim figure disappears into the haze. The dogs keep barking and a week proceeds to wind down.

Sightglass Coffee, SoMa, San Francisco.

Psychological Travel Notes, Marseille

The thing is, everybody wears very good sneakers: With tight fitting sweatpants, peaking below striped djellabas and dashikis, combined with dresses, tracksuits and leggings are the chunky, the limited and the collaborative, gleaming white or radiating volt, pink and, sometimes, a multitude of iridescent. Intermediate-level Vapormaxes (Utility, Flyknit, Plus) seem to be stakes to play dans la rue, one-upped by 720s, Kiko Kostadinov’s Gel-Delvas and the bulbous sculptural offerings Han Kjøbenhavn and Puma have been putting out lately. The general selection slants soccer and running, mediterranean street kid and La Haine. Athletic footwear choices speak of discernment and respect for the urban space: look good when stepping outside, you owe the streets of Marseille.

Marseille is an impressive, varied assembly of architecture. Both the elevated and the mundane are housed in thoughtful (or at least, deceisive) structures that weave into a gritty, dense fabric that presents its scars as proudly as its triumphs.

A young man passes, his architecturally sculpted upper body squaring Rue d’Aubagne. Grey technical fabric spans voluminius chest muscles, disproportionally slim legs stick out from boxer’s shorts in shiny leggings, their panelling suggesting a martial future for everybody. His hair is cropped into a precise fade. Above the left ear, a succession of shaven vertical lines combine with a longer horizontal one: a thick barbell, the straightest possible, most elegant commitment to his sport, to be renewed daily, during morning routine.

Marseille: a landscape overrun by infrastructure, flowing, abruptly ending on geologic barriers. Inhabited caves and machines, steep cliffs of built limestone, a sea of lives lived extending into the horizon, up and under bridges, weaving foot traffic through houses and below kitchens and gardens. A drawn city, a pastiche on paper, all colorful dust and complex views. A decidedly non-urban urban space, a grown stone organism, a Moebian landscape, a Cité Obscure.

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