Marginalia, or, How I Learnt to Hear Myself Think

I apologise if my entries on Germany have been absurdly lengthy compared to my usual mess of fun links (if you want one, here's a recent BoingBoing bit on how monkeys learned to treat a robot arm as an extra appendage)

It's just that nothing has reminded me of my travel writer days so much as this trip, and I've been inspired by that (somewhat bittersweet) bit of nostalgia for a former life to write long parts of what we used to call "marginalia" - descriptions of the impressions of the places we visited for our editors to judge the tone of the actual text submitted.

I don't know if there's ever been a time I've felt so at one with who I was and what I was doing as I did back when I wrote: everyday, it was just me and whoever I met that day in whatever city I happened to be in. Transient, itinerant, peripatetic. Never anchored, really, but always expectant. Every day was twisting on the cusp of discovery. Never being boring.

If you want it, come and get it, for crying out loud.

I know the usual dig on Bonn is that it's on the dull side - a German guy I know said the best thing about the city is "Gleis 1" i.e. Track 1 at the train station, from which the trains go to Cologne. But sometimes the silence lets you reflect on a lot of things. So: the fundamental questions that travel tends to bring upon me: who are you really? Who are you when you're put aside from your usual surroundings and the family and friends and society that you've adapted to? What makes you happy? Is it being drowned out?


My quick and dirty melancholic playlist, nothing too unusual; audio comfort food:

Moby "Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?"
Blondie "The Tide is High"
Crowded House "Don't Dream It's Over"
Ryan Adams "New York, New York"
Garbage "Milk"
Natalie Merchant "Carnival"
The Pet Shop Boys "Being Boring"
David Gray "Babylon"


Badaunt said…
Yay! A Kiwi bloke makes it on your list (but he wasn't ALWAYS melancholic). Crowded House! (I still prefer Split Enz, though, when Tim and Neil were together...)
Anonymous said…
okay the robotic arm is just scary.
Daryl said…
Yeah, the arm is scary stuff. I wonder what it all means? Will we one day have extra arms like Doctor Octopus?

And badunt: I love Crowded House. Would the Finns be the best musical export from New Zealand?

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