Thursday playlist: Loose associations

Last time grandpa fawcett posted here, it was a bunch of gripes. This time it's a jumble of thoughts and enthusiasms, the ramblings of early dementia:

1.) This song “A Real Hero” by College (feat. Electric Youth) is from the movie Drive. I could not stop playing this song every day, ten times a day, for a week straight. Especially after experiencing the movie. Go ahead, see the movie and see if you do not play this song obsessively. And if you go, which I strongly recommend, know this: it has some serious violence. I felt a bit traumatized when the movie ended. But also, I felt like I had just watched something amazing. One of my favorite movies of the year. Anyone else feel the same?


2.) Berlin. While visiting that city a couple weeks ago we were struck by a few things. First, it's a really really fun place to visit right now (ok, for a few years now, but we're late to the party). It's cheap. It's energized. There is a DIY artistic entrepreneurial-ness everywhere. Except for the food–which is terrible (Such a weird defect in a world-class city. But, communism, I imagine, was not a nurturing patron of inventive cuisines. Also, as a guide book pointed out, Germany's short-lived stint as a World Empire meant that its colonies never got a gastro-foot-hold in Berlin, unlike say, Britain's Indian cuisine, France's Moroccan, Dutch' Indonesian, etc.) Another thing, a lot of people walk their dogs off-leash. And people don't seem to care. And people walk their dogs right onto the subway. It's a very permissive city. You can buy beer, wine, liquor at just about any corner store. And throughout the night. And you can carry it on the street. Or onto the subway. Berlin's treatment of alcohol is fascinating. I've never seen people on a subway car at 10:30 in the morning enjoying a large green bottle of beer. People who look like they're on their way to work. Perhaps other countries in the world are just as permissive, I've just never seen it displayed like this before. The other thing about Berlin is how it makes you confront some heavy heavy shit. You don't get that gut-kick visiting Barcelona or Beijing. The War, the holocaust, the Wall. There are some really moving memorials and museums completed in the last few years, in particular, the holocaust memorial and the Jewish History Museum (by Daniel Libeskind). I won't describe them here, but by themselves they would make the trip to Berlin worth the trouble.

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3.) Amsterdam. Has anyone else been there recently? Is it just me, or is it just a little bit boring? For all the ground-breaking permissiveness of this city (red-lights, coffee houses, legalized outdoor sex in their public park, etc.), it felt really sleepy. Central Amsterdam–outside of the red-light district–is a gorgeous and dreamy world of canals, bridges, and 17th Century houses and is clearly inhabited by very wealthy people. It's like visiting those tiny brownstone streets in the West Village, except with much greater acreage and more beauty, and everyone rides bikes instead of cabs, but it still feels unwelcoming, like you don't belong there. And for a city known for its nightlife, it closes down really early. We had a hard time finding a place for dinner after ten. And it was hard to get find a decent place to have a drink after eleven. It felt at times like a movie-set that gets abandoned by night–except for that occasional bike whisking by. Maybe Summer is a lot different than October. And with a pack of friends in the know, it's probably a lot more fun. Did we miss something? Is there a good reason to visit again soon?

4.) Occupy Wall Street. A couple days ago I came across this link to Adbusters that proposed OWS finally take up a unifying cause: The Robin Hood Tax. Why hadn't I heard of this until now? The Robin Hood Tax video (feat. Bill Nighy) below is from February. Of 2010. I should really check my facebook more often. Regardless, the video's pretty clever. Could this idea really work? Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have signed on. And a lot of smart economists too. Could this be the unifying rallying cry that OWS could finally manifest? Maybe. Is this the time? Adbusters proposes October 29th. The Robin Hood Global March. Torches and pitchforks. And our TGW masks. If this is for real, my fellow travelers, let's make ourselves heard! Anyone in?



11 responses to “Thursday playlist: Loose associations”

  1. LP says:

    1: Hadn’t heard this song, and it is lovely. I was scared off from the movie Drive, though, by the violence you reference. I’d read about the movie’s one particularly violent scene and decided it would be too upsetting to watch. Now I can listen to this song without having that in my head! Thanks!

    4: Hadn’t heard about this either, but it sounds like a great idea. The fact that it’s supported by a whole roster of “establishment” folks is encouraging, too. I”m in for the global march. Who’s designing the TGW masks?

  2. Tim says:

    I’ve heard such good things about Drive that I really want to see it, but my tolerance for violence in movies has dropped drastically in the last few years. If it were done with a cast of puppies and kittens, and the violence were only hinted at, I’d be there in a flash.

    As to food in Berlin, when J-Man and I were there a couple years ago, our German friend took us strictly to Asian restaurants — a great Korean place run by Christians and a tasty Vietnamese spot. Next time, go Asian!

    I love the Robin Hood tax! Let’s do this!

  3. swells says:

    Robin Hood tax! YES! I must be understanding it in an oversimplified way, somehow, because it seems too obvious.

    I feel guilty in saying that I share your feelings about Amsterdam, after many visits. It’s nice; it’s NICE. But . . . it’s just nice. Since I inundated you with my Berlinophilia before you left, I will spare everyone the raving ravings, but it is way more than nice.

    T: I haven’t seen Drive for the same reason, but puppies and kittens might make it even more unwatchable, dontchathink?

  4. Rachel says:

    I can’t tell the difference between Ryan Gosling and Ryan Reynolds. Is one of them a puppy or a kitten? That might help.

  5. F. P. Smearcase says:

    I had a conversation yesterday with a friend about where I would go if I could convince myself that airplanes are just dandy and I guess Berlin is on the list, though I so strongly associate it with an emotionally disastrous hipster I used to know who used to spend tons of time there that I have to remember it is not a town full of him. I’m glad to know I don’t need to put Amsterdam on the list. It becomes burdensome, a list of places you’d like to go but probably won’t.

    Didn’t I just read that OWS is doing a big national assembly in Philadelphia in the Spring? The problem with the decentralized nature of OWS is you never know if what you’re reading is just from two guys sitting around at Occupy Tuscaloosa with a laptop.

  6. Tim says:

    Maybe I haven’t read enough about the plot of Drive. I thought he just drives around, you know? He’s “The Driver”, right? I love kittens and puppies and drives around town. Please don’t tell me what the movie is really about, okay?

  7. swells says:

    “Toonces: The Movie.”

  8. jeremy says:

    The best thing about Drive, besides the soundtrack and the weird 80s hot-pink font used in the opening credits, is that Albert Brooks plays the bad guy. Albert Brooks!

    I gotta get to Berlin.

  9. farrell fawcett says:

    National assembly in Philly? Cool. I hadn’t heard. Truth is I really don’t know that much about the ins-n-outs of the OWS. But I’m very sympathetic and excited about its spreading. I wish Winter wasn’t coming so soon. I’m worried about that.

    I totally understand people not wanting to see Drive for the violence. If I had known more about those graphic scenes, I might not have seen it. I really don’t understand why the movie had to be like that. Cause it was really so good otherwise. And it made me finally like Ryan Gosling. And yeah, Albert Brooks?!

    Asian food–yes Tim, so true. Our best meal was probably sushi. ha! And Steph, you should write a guide book. All your advice was so spot-on–especially the heads-up about the way WWII will be constantly on your mind. Nice to be prepped like that.

    Man I miss Toonces.

  10. lane says:

    berlin, robin hood tax vid…

    so nice.

  11. Eric Jones says:

    Thanks, Farrell Fawcett. You just made my weekend with this post. And made me really miss you, once again.