Berg 5 Altenberg Songs, Salamati, Udo & Jenny Jürgens. Lily Wood, Chakachas. Belgium, Germany and Austria feel like home to me now, I have been here so many times, and had just about all of the highest nights of my life here. London is just the place I work. Since the closure of Carnival Strip 1997, Astral Cinema 1998, Sunset Cinema 2009, Soho Cinema 2013, and then finally the Flying Scotsman 2015, this is certainly true. Berlin feels less of a home since the closure of Mon Cheri etc. Brussels feels less of a home since the closure of Cine ABC, and California. Vienna feels less of a home since the closure of Pour Platin (2010) and loss of floozies from Fortuna Kino (2015). Munich feels less of a home since private dances went up to a ridiculous 50 euros.
When I travel by DB ICE I feel light, weightless; switch to Austrian Railjet and I feel weighed down and clumpy again. The ICE is really the greatest travelling experience of my life; one of the great glories of Europe is the ICE. Bravo Deutsche Bahn; a good job. My deep respect for Germans which I have had since childhood, teenage years, just grows more with each year that passes. 100 per cent of French women report being sexually harassed on the Paris Metro; such a thing is unimaginable on German/Austrian underground. Of course, it happens one presumes, but in Germany and Austria it is an extraordinary exception rather than the rule. There is an intelligence, an integrity, one finds in Germany and Austria, that I do not feel anywhere else.
Aix la Chapelle. Leaving Aachen/Aix how do we know when we cross from Germany into Belgium? We don’t. The borders are invisible. But suddenly you notice everything is just: smaller. All the houses seem so tiny, the churches, the bridges, the factories. There is I always think something creepy-looking about Belgium; like everyone is engaged in Black Masses.
Just never ending snowy white landscape. Snowy trees. I must admit I have never seen so many trees in all my life. On the few occasions I travel anywhere in England, I am never conscious of any trees; it’s all fields or buildings. Germany and Austria seem like one huge forest, with settlements dotted amongst the trees. Yet another reason to love Germany and Austria. Even on Eurostar all you see out the window in Kent, France or Belgium is endless green fields, hardly a tree to be seen. Is there any connection between the rich forest cover of Germany and Austria and the fact that they are two of the most sexually-liberated (i.e. whore-friendly) countries left in Europe? Nature still runs riot in Germany and Austria, thank god. Lushness. Then again, I remember Norway and Sweden being all trees as well, so that theory does not really stand up.