15 July 2008

Bring den Vorschlaghammer mit...



Just after my arrival in Glasgow (after having spent almost a month out in the highlands) I sit down in the pedestrian zone to smoke a cigarette. Buchanan metro station is just ahead and people seem to be very busy with life. The place is bustling with energy and people are running all over the place.
What a speed of life! I am overwhelmed and wonder if something could be wrong with me or my psyche...
I stay for almost an hour just sitting there looking at the world passing by myself. I see shoppingbags over shoppingbags. Like ants some people are loaded to the utmost capacity of what they can possibly carry with two hands and i realize that all shopping windows are decorated with "SALE" or "Save up to 50%" posters.

I immediately get this feeling of rising opportunity to get something I always wanted - and FOR CHEAP! "Use this opportunity!" cries my heart looking at Diesel T-shirts, Oakley specs and the newest North Face outdoor gear.
But blessed with the fact that my bicycle offers limited transport capacity and knowing that I have to pedal everything up everywhere I am able to resist. Still, I know just as well that if I wasn't on this trip I would probably find myself amongst this Glasgow ant tribe around me; carrying home what I can carry.

Thinking about it for another while I realize how I don't need ANY of this! I have what I need to get by and lookign at the passing pedestrians, I am very sure they do too. Now they add another designer fruit bowl to their overflowing shelves, another Gucci watch to their silly collection, another pair of high heels to the 56 other pairs (not counting the winter boots and snowboard gear) or the new fragrance of Dior to all those other dust catchers in the bathroom.
MADNESS.

It strikes me as funny that in Norway everybody keeps asking me the question: "Why are you doing this?" while here in Britain the most frequent question is: "How do you afford this trip?"
I mean, think about it - if you suddenly had a million dollars, would YOU grab a bike and CYCLE around the world?
And if you would, why don't you save up your cash bit by bit instead of spending it on all this utter nonsense like those ants here?!

A wide, almost insane grin creeps up my cheeks and I am thoroughly happy about the state I am in - not possibly needing anything but food and drink. For me, buying ANYHTING means discarding of something else. A new shirt and one of my other ones must go; a new watch - why, I have one that works fine; and carry glas bottle of perfume up the alps?
I stay for another 30 minutes and another cigarette and remember a song from the German band "Element of Crime":

Bring den Vorschlaghammer mit
bring the sledgehammer when you come

Siehst du diesen Teller
do you see this plate
den hab ich aus Florenz
I got in Florence
Und der alte Benz
and the old mercedes
faehrt immer noch wie neu
still runs as if it was new
wie ich mich da freu

that makes me real happy
Und der Plattenspieler
and this record player
der wird heute nicht mehr gebaut
isn't produced anymore nowadays
der war mir lange Jahre treu
it did work so well for many years

Refrain:
Bring den Vorschlaghammer mit
bring the slegehammer
wenn du heute Abend kommst
when you come tonight
dann hauen wir alles kurz und klein
then we smash all this to pieces
Der ganze alte Schrott muss raus
all the old trash must go out
und neuer Schrott muss rein
and new trash must come in
bis Morgen muss der ganze Rotz verschwunden sein
until tomorrow all this crap here has to diappear

Der Aschenbecher da
the ashtray over there
den hab ich mal geklaut

I did once steal
ich glaub das war
I think it was
in einem griechischen Lokal
in a Greek restaurant
Und das Plattenregal
and the shelves for the records
hab ich selbst gebaut
I built myself
das war normal
that was what everybody used to do
Der Herd war gekauft
the stove was a purchase though
und die andern Moebel auch
and the other furniture too

Refrain:
Bring den Vorschlaghammer mit
bring the slegehammer
wenn du heute Abend kommst
when you come tonight
dann hauen wir alles kurz und klein
then we smash all this to pieces
Der ganze alte Schrott muss raus
all the old trash must go out
und neuer Schrott muss rein
and new trash must come in
bis Morgen muss der ganze Rotz verschwunden sein
until tomorrow all this crap here has to diappear

Der Computer ist

the computer is
auf dem allerneuesten Stand
state of the art
Da ist noch Pfand auf den Flaschen
and there is still some deposit on those bottles
die in der Kueche stehn
in the kitchen
da will ich bald mal Scherben sehn
oh, there I want to see broken glass soon!
Und der Buecherwand
and the bell tolls soon
fuer die ein halber Wald eimal starb
for that wall of bookshelves
schlaegt die letzte Stunde bald
that once must have killed a whole forest

Refrain:
Bring den Vorschlaghammer mit
bring the slegehammer
wenn du heute Abend kommst
when you come tonight
dann hauen wir alles kurz und klein
then we smash all this to pieces
Der ganze alte Schrott muss raus
all the old trash must go out
und neuer Schrott muss rein
and new trash must come in
bis Morgen muss der ganze Rotz verschwunden sein
until tomorrow all this crap here has to diappear

(Element of Crime)

2 comments:

  1. Just take one more cigarette before you go on swaying the sledgehammer: Imagine all the ants would all of a sudden drop their Gucci shopping bags and leave their well-equipped houses to get on their brand new bike from summer-sale for traveling the world like you do – imagine how crowded it was in the lovely lonely highlands, how trampled down the grass would be like on a festival camp site. And how boring the abandoned cities you´re passing – except for the tons of manifold shopping bags…
    The world would be different, truly.

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  2. Anonymous20 July, 2008

    Hi Tim,

    I think when ordinary folks ask you how you can afford your trip they do the wrong calculations about the true costs.


    They might think about a mortgage back at home and insurance and taxes, etc. and probably overrate the expenses. What happens they think about needs and expenses they are used to in their every day life and apply that knowledge to a unique situation of a traveler. That's how they come to the wrong conclusion.

    Can I ask you what you answer to the "Why?" question?

    Cheers,
    Maria/Hungary

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