Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Customer-friendly? I wouldn't bet on it!

©Brigitta Huegel
Dear You,
yes - of course I have a more precise photo for this blog-post, but the proprietor of this shop for framing pictures might complain - he is very good at that.
Never in my life have I met a shopkeeper who repels his customer more than he does.
Three times I have been in his shop - and each time I came out without service or a frame, but half-deaf ears and lost time.
While he was grinning in a way that I can only describe as "satisfied, triumphant".
First time: "No, we could not repair that frame. It would cost you too much."
(Honestly: he only had to paint a bit of black shelack on it - I could have done that myself - and might, come to think of it: a few drops of black nail-varnish might solve the problem).
He did not even name a sum and then ask me, if I would be willing or able to pay it!
Second time: "No, we do not mount (is that the word?) cinema-posters anymore - it is so much work!" (Honestly: in my youth I have learned to do it myself - it is a bit of work, but not that much - and: this is a handyman's shop for framing! He owns a press!)
And the third time he said to a little photo-framing-job: "But you have to come till tomorrow - after that we are away for holidays, hahaha!"
AND THEN he started to complain: that the Internet is ruining his shop.
And that people and times are no longer what they once were...
And that all the young people would learn in a horrible way how their internet-fixation will ruin the world, their life, and then they will see and regret - "too late, haha!"!
(At that time I had reached the door and slipped out of this dear olde shoppe).

I might have mentioned before that one of my favourite quotes is:
"Turdus ipse sibi malum cacate" -
"The thrush shits her misfortune herself", loosely translated -
and yes: it sounds more elegant in Latin   :-)
The quote means, that birds eat the sticky white berries of the mistletoe - and then men make birdlime of this shit and catch them.

He does the same, yet blames the shitty Internet!










Tuesday, 15 August 2017

I Feel Over-Protected!


Dear You, 
in these political hot times it might sound VERY strange to complain "I feel overprotected!" - but I do, in Germany more and more. The "Jugendwahn" now leads to infantilism - and people are treated like half-wits... 

Look at this: 



Speechless... (I just see: it is difficult to read - though: in three languages...). It is a detailed manual how to put on your tights/ pantyhose). 

I am inclined to write a sarcastic Thank-You-letter.  

"Dear Sir, 
thank you oh so much for your help to put on this enigmatic garment! 
Without your instructions I would still be standing in my master's bedroom, vulnerable, freezing, all up in tears! 
"How", I would ask myself, "how will I ever be able to manage this?" 
A thousand thanks! 
A deeply contented customer. 

PS: Might I ask your permission to offer seminars and tutorials on this delicate subject? 

On Facebook I found this (sorry, do not know who did it or where it came from):   





Thursday, 10 August 2017

The Quest for Beauty

©Brigitta Huegel
Dear You,

when I took this photograph in the Botanical Garden in Berlin, I was a bit agitated because a guard of the museum had behaved very, very strange. 

Now Beauty is a wonderful device for me to calm down. 
I loved the clear white of the waterlilies. 
Took a few more pictures of them - and only now, at home, I saw, that Beauty was not alone. 

©Brigitta Huegel

Not everybody is endowed with beauty - (though, as we all know, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, and maybe the frog here is King of the Pond, and every female frog crazy about him and the deep croaking sound of his ballooned cheeks ) - so the ugly does persue beauty intensely, and tries everything to possess it - look at the waterlily above, up in the left corner! 

©Brigitta Huegel

Well, I walked on, searching for perfection. 

I was not alone: 

©Brigitta Huegel




Sunday, 6 August 2017

You Have to Accept a Low Blow in Order to Survive

... And Stand Up Again. 

Dear You, 

in the exhibition "Third Landscape" by Volker Kreidler they show betwitching photos of the vegetation around Chernobyl.

"Reports of vegetation in the exclusion zone around Chernobyl have been increasing over the last few years. While flora and fauna are apparently returning, paradoxes in the natural gene pool have been observed. Despite the radiation, a self-generating ecosystem with high viability is forming in the area. New, healthy trees are growing and replacing dead forests. Lynx and other rare animal species are settling again."

(See the full quote on this photo):



At home I stirred pensively the girolles/chanterelles in my pan - they were coming from a country where - so they had told us - after Chernobyl the decay period would last for a time with so many zeroes following the 1 that I could neither imagine nor pronounce it...

The human mind and the human heart easily forgets, I mused.
That may be necessary to survive. Sometimes you have to be able to forget (at least: not think about it every day) - otherwise you will go mad.
Of course one can wish and pray that mankind gets more reasonable (though at the moment the world does not look like this - yet: has it ever?).
"The lynx, the wolves, the Przewalski horses, the bison, the moose, the wild boars roam through the area again." 

I might join them - I am a part of nature.

Interesting though:
when I looked closely at a leaf from a "healthy tree" from that area, I saw:
1) it was THERE, the leaf, the tree - and its existence I call a wonder.
2) Yet to believe that it survived without a wound - that would be naive.
You have to accept change   -   you have to change, you have to muster all your strength, you have to get up again, though you are tired - only then you have a chance to survive.
Admittedly: it hurts.





Thursday, 3 August 2017

Man, machines, robots, scammers...



Dear You,
actually I only wanted to buy a book on Dutch, but when I walked along the Friedrichstra├če I saw that there was an exhibition "Ars Electronica" in the DRIVE Volkswagen house.
You might know that one of my Moomin Valley mottos is:
"But then, noone can have more fun as he creates himself" (my translation from German, which is in my modest opinion more to the point - in English they translate: "But then, everyone has to make what he can out of life." which of course is true too)  
and I went in, Tot straks! (as the Dutch say, and here you might guess what I am learning now :-)
I stayed over one and a half hour inside that exhibition - so fascinating!
Very diverse topics - all about the idea "What if there would be no clear distinction between man and machine?" 
Here you see the penguins which moved according to your movements in front of them - only the young visitors (and Yours Truly) jumped up and down, and one of my results you see below (that silhouette seems to indicate that I must have added a few pounds in Amsterdam...)


©Brigitta Huegel

Wich I did not! 

©Brigitta Huegel


Tomorrow more from your half-robot (no, I am not sin soleng!) 
Britta 


A PS especially for Joanne: See?!?    :-)





Monday, 31 July 2017

The Silent Traveller

©Britta Huegel


Hi, Dear You, 
it's me.
(Thanks to Rosemary's comment - wich you can read below - I changed now the beginning of my text, because I evidently quoted a scammer).
I have now visited  Paris and Amsterdam - both oh so lovely! - but did not feel like writing about it (same phenomenon with Venice this year, you rember?)
And so I stopped writing at all. 
I had to do a lot to work on my professional project (the world is small: while doing research I unexpectedly unearthed a blogpost of John Gray - about Hinterland!)
But now I think: I'll just skip Paris and Amsterdam (I am old enough to do as I please).
I'll remain a "Silent Traveller" (which is by the way a phantastic series of older books, written by Chiang Yee) - but will "Rise and Shine" again - on these pages of "Dear You".
See you (hopefully again).
Britta

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Beware of the Great Preachers of Nothing!

Dear You,

These three little amber flowers above were the answer to a sympton that I watch Argus-eyed when it occurs: Caution! when books with titles like this attract me:


(There are hundreds of them in bookshops - instead of being minimalistically thrown away they slouch on a bench or table - and as Tom Stephenson in one of his recent blogs ranted: They are utterly daft!)
Why are they - at certain times - singing like Loreley from the height of the bookshelves to me?
Whispering: "Throw everything away - life will be simple then - just do it!"
Maybe because at such a weak moment my life is overflowing with THINGS, like here:


How come? Me - having written a groundbreaking book on good housekeeping?
(Well - a signpost does not have to run himself, as dear Monsieur J.J. Rousseau said, when he put his five children one after another through a baby flap of an orphanage, then writing the worthy pedagogical  book "├ëmile ou De l'Education")
No: normally my flat is full of harmony and beauty.
But I had subscribed for the "Berliner Tagesspiegel" - a newspaper which arrives daily, even on Sunday - and I still have to find a way to turn that flow from toil to joy.
What vexes me in books on minimalism: the writer takes photos of all his objects that he discards - letters, things, whatsoever.
Mmm, mmm, mmm - here I protest: he ignores all the sensual, haptic feelings! To look at a flowers on Instagram: haha, poor sod! To look through that silly Card-Board Brille 3D Google Virtual Reality - instead of touching or loving a woman - Geez!
He imprisons all poor things - and senses! - into his posh Macbook!
Not for me, Great Preacher of Nothing, I mumble - and walk to the Bernsteinzimmer, a little shop right beside the KaDeWe. Normally it is crowded with Chinese tourists - they buy amber - as the shopowner tells me - because they believe that amber is good for their health.
Defiantly I buy three (3!!!) little amber flowers - carved out of amber, nothing to be utilised, only beautiful -- something that the GPoN would throw out immediately with a derisive laugh.
I cherish them.
And throw out the heap of old Berliner Tagesspiegel instead - singing a song of the Rolling Stones, that - luckily! - I have kept in my CD-rack: "Who wants yesterdays papers?"
Then I have room again for "Sitting on my Sofa" - a song of the Kinks on a CD I luckily kept in my overflowing CD-rack...
And leaf through a new book, with the alluring title:

 ,