Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Juliet, Naked - Not a Review

It's exactly like I told you. I could not wait until my vacation to read the new Nick Hornby book "Juliet, Naked" and finished it in 2 days.

You expect a
review now? Sorry, can't do that ;).
Why? Well, this book is mostly about a guy, who makes a total fool out of himself writing an over-the-top, hyperenthusiastic - and super stupid - review about the latest record of his favorite artist - a guy he is kind of obsessed with for over two decades.
So the least thing you want to do after reading this book is writing a review about the new release of your favorite writer. He could think you are a stalking weirdo ;)

But of course I owe you some words about the book:

I have to admit more than once I jumped up to check on the sealed box with my diaries to see if they are still there or if that
Hornby guy had stolen them. Let me give you one obvious example:

The musician this is all about is called
Tucker Crowe and his die hard fans are called Crowologists.
Well ... this kinda embarrassing, if the bigger part of your life (in my case 2 decades - just like in the book ... diaries stolen, I told you!) you are loving the music of a band called The Black Crowes and if the fans of this band (including yourself) are called ... Croweheads *blush*.
Anybody wondering that I felt addressed by the book ;)?

To my weak self defence I can say, that I did a lot of the stuff mentioned in the book like having a HUGE bootleg collection and actually listening to it comparing different versions of the songs, travelling a zillion miles through Europe and even the USA to go to their shows, hanging out on the online message boards with other
Croweheads and so on.
BUT I NEVER EVER hang out in front of hotels, private homes or - even worse - like in the book the house of a band member's (ex-)spouse, although I could easily hide in the bunch of paparazzi following Kate Hudson anyway. No stalking activities at all.

But I think there is another much more essential difference between that book character and myself:

Those guys - the
Crowologists - spend a lot of time with analysing the music and lyrics back and forth and try to find out, what Crowe wanted to say and get lost in endless interpretations and speculations.

This is not the way I look at
music or at art in general.
Of course in many cases it makes sense and is very interesting and educational to find out in which context a piece of art was created and to learn about the inspiration of the artist to explore more - potentially awesome - stuff.
BUT the main question is not, what the artists wants to say with his art work. The important question is, what the piece of art has to tell YOU, what it actually means to YOU.

So when people ask me for example, what the
3 Snakes symbol in my tattoo on my right sholder means, I tell them that it is the cover art work for "Three Snakes & One Charm" by The Black Crowes. Of course people then think stuff like: "Wow, you are such a fan. That it is freaky and very obsessive!"
Well - it's not.
It's not, beause this is not about the band or what the guys wanted to express with that album, but this is about me and what it means to me:

That record was the
soundtrack to a very important time in my life, when I met somebody, fell in love, was happy, became unhappy, had to give up on that relationship although the love was still there, had my heart broken - and got over it ... slowly and step by step. I took the learning out of it, that it hurts like hell to got my heart broken, but that I will survive it and have another new chance to find love, to find the right one. Yes, there is always a chance to get hurt again, but when you know that you can handle it, it helps you to take that risk again.

So when you are aware of the fact that the value of an
art work - anyway if it is music, a painting, literature or something elese - lies in the meaning it has for yourself it becomes pointless to put all that obsessive effort into interpretations. And finally the reality - and that lesson Hornby's character has to learn in a quite intense way - might be very different from all your guessings anyway.

There are many more things in that book, which made me wonder, laugh, cry and check on my diaries again. But like I told you in my
Maiden Flight posting, this is no online diary and if you want to know more about me personally, you need to come and meet me. I stretched this rule enough for today and so I will keep the other reasons why this story went straight to my heart for myself.

I just recommend to you:
Go, buy and read Nick Hornby's "Juliet, Naked" and find out what it might mean to you. And even if there is nothing for you in it, I can at least promise you a very entertaining reading and that's rare enough, isn't it?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Partnership with Trogir

I had planned doing this post already two weeks ago, but my back pain hiatus kept me away from the computer at that time. The happier I am now after a sunny Saturday in Vaterstetten to pick it up:

It’s been a little more than a year ago, that a (Croatian) friend and I went the first time to the little town of Vaterstetten just outside Munich. We had heard about a German-Croatian or better Bavarian-Dalmatian festival going on there and of course it caught our interest. When we arrived on a warm summer day in the late afternoon at the main square we stopped dead by surprise:
The place was packed with smiling people in normal clothes as well as in Bavarian and Dalmatian traditional costumes dancing, drinking and hugging. In the middle of the happy chaos we found all kind of Croatian officials like the consul general and the young major of the Bavarian town singing Dalmatian songs. All this was decorated with the smell of garlic and grilled calamari – the smell of a Dalmatian summer night - and the cling of people toasting with cold Karlovačko bottles.
For a second we looked at each other and asked “What the hell is going on here?” but then we smiled at each other and throw ourselves into the festival fun.

What we experienced that night was the official birth of the city partnership between Vaterstetten and Trogir, an UNESCO preserved, beautiful and very old town at the Dalmatian coast near the city of Split – and 20 minutes by car from my Croatian home in Rogoznica.

As you can imagine I was (and am) so blown away by this amazing project run by totally enthusiastic people (officials as well as volunteering citizens of both towns), that I lately happily joined - in addition to DVORI e.V. – also the Partnership with Trogir society in Vaterstetten.

Sad enough I was totally unable to enjoy the first birthday of the partnership due to my severe back pain, but this weekend I had my second chance to join the team at Vaterstetten Street Festival to represent the city partnership.
Most of the work was done by others this time (thank you!!!) but I was happy to help out a bit every here and there. It was great to see people stopping by the nice booth packed with Dalmatian specialties, pictures and information material about Trogir.

I am very positive that this partnership will bring our two countries closer together in the best way possible with people meeting each other, learning about each other’s culture and become FRIENDS.

The next big project it our visiting tour to Trogir in September and I am already looking forward to it a lot!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Inside my latest book order

It's summer. Well ... it's not, because 4°C at night and two weeks of straight rain is not summer, but it is end of June and soon July. And July is VACATION time. And vacation time means ... extra reading time.

Is there a better way to spend a day than having breakfast on a sea view terasse, going for a swim, have fresh grilled fish and home made red wine - and relax with a good book in your hands in the shadow of a tree, the shimmering adriatic sea only an arm length away? The simple answer is NO.

Actually I am busy ordering books to prepare myself for my two adriatic weeks at the end of July and today I present you the content of my latest order. I am not sure if I can stop myself from reading the stuff before I even leave, but no worries ... more books are already on the way ;). I will introduce them to you in a another blog post sometimes soon.

So what do we have today? Although I have at the moment what an artist would call "My American Phase" my latest order was very British:

Nick Hornby: Juliet, Naked

Official product description:

Annie loves Duncan-or thinks she does. Duncan loves Annie, but then, all of a sudden, he doesn't. Duncan really loves Tucker Crowe, a reclusive Dylanish singer-songwriter who stopped making music ten years ago. Annie stops loving Duncan, and starts getting her own life. In doing so, she initiates an e-mail correspondence with Tucker, and a connection is forged between two lonely people who are looking for more out of what they've got.
Tucker's been languishing (and he's unnervingly aware of it), living in Pennsylvania (blog writer note: *waving over the Atlantic to the Pittsburgh folks!*) with what he sees as his one hope for redemption amid a life of emotional and artistic ruin-his young son, Jackson. But then there's also the new material he's about to release to the world: an acoustic, stripped-down version of his greatest album, Juliet-entitled, Juliet, Naked.
What happens when a washed-up musician looks for another chance? And miles away, a restless, childless woman looks for a change?
Juliet, Naked is a powerfully engrossing, humblingly humorous novel about music, love, loneliness, and the struggle to live up to one's promise.

Why I chose this book?

I enjoy reading Nick Hornby's books forever - means since Fever Pitch and the awesome High Fidelity, which taught me that there are more people than just me who organize their music collections biographically (although I have to admit that I changed to the boring artist alphabet a couple of years ago).
I like his style, his stories and his characters a lot. And I cannot wait to read this one, because one of the most important things in my life plays a leading role again - the music!

And speaking about music: Could I ever turn down a book about a musician called CROWE? I guess, not ;)
Oh and before I forget it:
Hornby writes also for "The Believer" - one more reason to support him and buy his books.

And here comes No. 2:

Tom Stoppard - Rock'n'Roll
Official product description:

Rock ’n’ Roll is an electrifying collision of the romantic and the revolutionary. It is 1968 and the world is ablaze with rebellion, accompanied by a sound track of the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. Clutching his prized collection of rock albums, Jan, a Cambridge graduate student, returns to his homeland of Czechoslovakia just as Soviet tanks roll into Prague.
When security forces tighten their grip on artistic expression, Jan is inexorably drawn toward a dangerous act of dissent. Back in England, Jan’s volcanic mentor, Max, faces a war of his own as his free-spirited daughter and his cancer-stricken wife attempt to break through his walls of academic and emotional obstinacy.
Over the next twenty years of love, espionage, chance, and loss, the extraordinary lives of Jan and Max spin and intersect until an unexpected reunion forces them to see what is truly worth the fight.

Why I chose this book?

First of all I love Stoppard, because he wrote one of my favorite books/plays ever: ARCADIAAnd looking at the ingrediences of Rock'n'Roll it definitely looks like something I will love, too: music, historical links, interesting, suprising, emotionally shaking relationships, for sure the very special Stoppard humor and his brilliant language. Additionally I am really curious about this one because Stoppard digs down to his own Czech roots.

So far with the little look in my latest book delivery. I'll let you know how I liked the stuff once I am done reading.

Take care & buy books ;)

PS: Looks like I should upload some Dylan songs to my MP3 player for vacation, too - the man is mentioned in both books descriptions.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Never say never - 10 years in Munich

Just a fews days ago the Financial Times released the 2010 issue of it's annual urban quality of life index. And which is city is the WORLDWIDE No. 1?

WOW - it looks I made a good decision, when I exactly 10 years ago packed my stuff to move south.

I have to admit it was not really love at the first sight. In fact after my first two visits sometimes in the 90ies I was more like "Uhhhh - strange place and weird people. I'll definitely NEVER move there. "
But like my grandma used to say "The words 'always' and 'never' are always lies." Or like another adage says: "Never say never." And ... Here I am - a happy resident of Munich for ten years.

The start was not easy. Apartment hunting was a nightmare and I had the impression that the city was mostly crowded with hyperdressedup snobs and old, grumpy, very unfriendly Bavarians .
But over the years I learned to love my city and here are 10 reasons why:

1) It is big enough to offer enough diversity.
Means: You do not need to hang out neither with the hyperdressedup snobs nor with grumpy old Bavarians. There are enough places (bars, clubs, restaurants, shops) for all kind of people.

2) It has all the cultural diversity in cinema, theater, museum, concert etc. you would expect from a million-citizen-city.

3) Public transportation rules. Of course we complain all the time about packed underground and delayed suburban trains (I do, too!), but everytime I try to use public transportion anywhere else like in Cologne, Hamburg, London, etc. I have to admit: Munich public transportation (mostly) rocks.

4) I feel safe. It is not that nothing happens here, but I feel safer at 1 am on the main station platform of my underground line in Munich than at daytime in many other cities.

5) Munich is laid back. I love being for example in London ... for like three days. When I then come back to Munich it feels like everything and everbody moves in slowmotion. We have Bavarian Gemütlichkeit in our veins.

6) It's clean. I know that is a very fuddy-duddy statement, but I like clean places over dirty ones. Sorry ;)

7) Once you overcome the shock the confrontation with 10.000 drunken people in a tent (and that means only one out of a dozen tents like this) causes, Oktoberfest is FUN and men in leather pants and girls in dirndls look HOT.

8) The Alpes with mountains, lakes and stunning nature are very close and tobbogganing (for the no-ski / no-snowboard people like me) is super FUN!

9) Croatia is CLOSE, the whole mediterranean is close - just a couple of hours drive - and Munich sometimes on nice summer days (means not in 2010 - the year of monsun) has an almost mediterranean atmosphere. And beergardening is the best way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon or afterwork hours on a summer day!

10) Lots people, who have their roots somewhere out of Germany, live in Munich and make at the city a very international and enjoyable place to be.
That includes of course the HUGE Croatian community here ;)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Još mjesec dana ...

I know - this is not really fair. Especially not for the ones who need to stay at home over the summer, but in exactly ONE MONTH this will be again my view!!!!!
Yippieh!!! What you see here is the Marina Frapa of Rogoznica shot from the roof deck terrace of the house where we usually stay.

To say "I can't wait!" is not enough. I am counting down the days! I so need to get out of the wet mousehole Munich became lately.
Quote from tonight's weather report: "In Southern Germany we expect 50 liters of rain per squaremeter tonight and tomorrow!" I mean ... PLEASE - that is so NOT summer!

And this won't be a holiday like so many before! It will be very special, because we are one person more this summer!
It will be the first Croatian holiday for my wonderful little niece Emina - at least the first out of mommy's belly. If we would count "in-belly-vacation" it is already her second time ;).
I am sure it will be FUN. The whole village will be curious to see the new family member and she will for sure take everybody's heart in storm - like she always does.

Did I said before that "I CAN'T WAIT"? I did? Sorry for repeating myself NOT ;)
PS: Little bummer - when you redeem your miles Lufthansa is NOT offering direct flights from Munich to Split on the dates I need them. I will have to change in Zagreb / Vienna and that makes it quite a trip again. *SIGH*

About soccer, light and Dalmatia

WARNING: This posting is boring for all my friends and family. You all know the story. But since I am asked quite often, what this Croatia thing is about, I write it down here and can from nowaday on just tell people "READ MY BLOG" ;)

The timing could not be better for a general Croatia posting: my country and me we are just celebrating our 8th anniversary around this time (June 26 is the day to be exact). How I know so exactly? Well ... I remember that the day I fell in love was the day of the semi final Brazil : Turkey at the soccer world cup 2002. And since we have soccer world cup again - it's anniversary time :)

So what happened? I'll try to make it short: A lot of it is my sister's fault ;)!

She was the one who travelled back in 1998 the very first time to Sarajevo to visit a Bosnian friend, who had spent during the war a couple of years in our boring German hometown. She fell in love with the place and finally lived there for five months back in 2000 and worked for the Goethe Institute.

My sister had for years tried to convince me to go with her at least for a vacation, but I said "No, thanks - not before they put vowels into their words." I had tried to help her learning vocabulary before, but gave up when I found out that these guys think that vrt, trg and Krk are actually complete words.
But finally in 2002 my sis graduated from university and my present was a vacation in Sarajevo .... and (drum roll) CROATIA - mostly because we wanted to have some beach days at the coast in addition to our city trip.

Before I tell you what happened to me in Dubrovnik I have to say that I loved Sarajevo. It is a beautiful, exciting, energy packed, crazy and totally lovely place. So if you ever have a chance to visit the city I can only recommend to DO IT!

About Dubrovnik in general you can read a lot everywhere and I won't make it long here. Just take it like that: all the nicknames like "The Adriatic Pearl" or "City of Stone and Light" fit pretty well. It is an amazing place.

Finally - during the Dubrovnik part of our vacation - on the morning of June 26th 2002 I decided I needed some quality time for myself and that I would go to visit Fort Lovrijenac (Fort St. Lawrence) right in front of the city gates of Dubrovnik all alone. I wanted to see the place where during the Dubrovnik Summer Festival "Hamlet" is traditionally performed every year. So I went there and I was really lucky: due to the soccer world cup semi final I was THE ONLY ONE visiting the place.

I climbed up to the roof deck and nearly forgot breathing because I found myself surrounded by all this beauty. It was like the adriatic sea was illuminated and the sun and the light would come from everywhere around me, from the sky, the sea and the stones. CRAZY!

It just hit my heart and from one moment to the next I felt that in a strange way I was belonging there. Not exactly to Dubrovnik or this fortress, but to this country and landscape of stone and water. That was MINE.I know this is not something you can explain rationally and I do not even try it. It was and still is a mystery even for me. But since then it's "Dalmacijo, dušo moja!"

The rest is "history":
A few weeks later a friend I had just met (I do not believe in coincidences btw) took me with her to her godparents to a small Dalmatian village called Rogoznica, which is located between Šibenik and Trogir. This place became the homebase for me and also for my sister and her family and our beloved summer residence.

Back in Munich right after my first trips to Croatia I started meeting more and more people with Croatian roots and a lot of them I am proud to call my friends now (you know who you are and you are THE BEST!).

I decided that vowels are overrated and learned the language (kind of ... life long process I am afraid) and started with my folks DVORI e.V. - our little but strong association, which is made to improve the friend- and partnership between Germany and Croatia on a cultural, ecological and economic level.

And here we are ... all Croatia / Dalmatia related stuff you will read here in the future is based on this story.

Oh right ... if you need travel recommendations and insider tips for your vacation in Croatia: Drop me a line - I am always happy to help!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Backpain Hiatus :(

I am very dissapointed. I have started my blog only few days ago and had planned a couple of updates and articles for today, but instead I have to announce the first - hopefully short - hiatus.

Yesterday just before I got ready to go the Vaterstetten-Trogir party I was looking forward to for weeks, I did a bad move / turn and hurt my back.

I went to Vaterstetten but the pain got worse over the day and today I can barely move. Only a very few positions are pain free. Easy things like going to the bathroom became time consuming and painful adventures. I look like shit, my apartment looks like shit (cleaning and tyding up was No. 1 of today's to do list), life feels like shit :(

I am going to see the doctor tomorrow morning and although I hate injections I so hope for some really effectful pain killer (all I have at home - pills and ointments - is not doing anything good).

As soon as I can think of anything else than AUTSCH! I'll be back.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Yippieh Yay Hey - THE BELIEVER arrived!

For those of you, who never heard about "The Believer" here is the basic information from their website:

"The Believer is a monthly magazine where length is no object.There are book reviews that are not necessarily timely,and that are very often very long. There are interviews that are also very long.We will focus on writers and books we like. We will give people and books the benefit of the doubt. The working title of this magazine was The Optimist."

I ran into this jewel of a magazine, when I was searching the web for something about the fantastic author Aleksandar Hemon. I found this wonderful article from - you guess it already - The Believer:
"Aleksandar Hemon in conversation with Colum McCann"

That made me doing some research about the magazine and I fell in love with the philosophy behind it and the cool illustrations. Additionally I really need some good source of information about contemporary English (speaking) literature anyway. I was already almost convinced when I found out that - like the icing on the cream cake - The Believer's home is my beloved SAN FRANCISCO. The guys work from an office at The Mission. How cool is that?

The small rest of resistance melt away when I emailed the super quick and friendly customer service to find out the costs for international shipping (affordable) and talked to a really nice guy, who was super excited about the fact that now an issue of the mag would travel over the Atlantic month by month.

And here I am - an official subsciber of The Believer, who had the first issue in the post today. LOVE IT!

Check it out: The Believer from San Francisco

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The "In-my-head-radio-station"

Lately something really strange happened to me:

I woke up at 3 am in the morning because the "In-my-head-radio-station" was playing SO LOUD!

Means: I am ready to get treatement because I hear voices in my head ;)

In fact I woke up because a song was playing inside my brain.
Those of you who know me for a while, know that I have a huge jukebox in my head anyway. Over 20 years of being a music buff, selling music in record shops (off- and online) and hanging out at a lot of (mostly rock) concerts left their footsteps for sure. And of course it happens quite often that a song comes to my mind for diverse reasons. But even for me waking up due a song playing in my head is a rare experience.

The strange thing is that I of course knew the song, but it never meant anything special to me before. It's been this one:

Well - of course this is exactly my piece of cake ... classic, blues rock. The music I love most, but I've never been a big fan of Tom Petty (nothing against him, just did not pay really attention ...) and never closely listened to this tune.

But I am a good girl and started the day after this weird nightly event with downloading a 48 songs live anthology of Tom Petty's most popular songs to my MP3 player / cellphone - and I have to say: I LOVE IT!

So thank you "In-my-head-radio-station" for the nice recommendation.

BTW ... I still have no idea where it was coming from and why. I have a guess, but that I will keep private until I can proof myself right, which will - maybe - never happen ;)

Have fun enjoying the song!

The Maiden Flight

Wow .... this is exciting ... even more exciting than I thought it would be. The birth of my new baby - my blog "Sloping in the Sky".

Why a blog?
Because I am a jealous chick ;)! Sloping through the infinite data-universe of the world wide web I met a couple of wonderful people having really, really cool blogs and after a while I wanted one myself more and more every day - and here we are :)

Who is my inspiration?
Check my link list and my blogroll and you'll know it :)

What this will be NOT about?
This is no virtual diary. If you want to know more about me as a private person come around and meet me for real, send me an email or a nice old fashioned paper letter (love it!), but I won't post and discuss real private stuff.

What this will be all about?
All and nothing, I am afraid. I will use this place to write about all kind of things like people, places, music, art, literature, cinema, theater, travels, thoughts, ideas, inspiration and all kind of adventures in my life.

Very special cudos go to:

Marica Bodrožić (and Gregor Hens) for letting the German language sound beautiful and powerful, always finding a way to touch my soul and being a HUGE inspiration at their blog "Gretel und Hänsel".

Virginia Montanez for being super funny, smart, vivacious and outspoken at her amazing blog "That's Church".

Diana Baur for posting the most beautiful pictures, thoughtful stories and yummy recipes at "A Certain Simplicity". She makes you feel welcome not only at her stunning B&B in Italy but also on her blog.

All right - I'll let you go now and check out the sites of those blogging professionals - ENJOY!