Love and Chaos Part 4(B) Lorelei 1

18th December 2020

Photo by Niall Keohane. Follow Niall on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/flatwoundonfilm/

Part Four. Berlin. Summer 1994

Lorelei rested her head in her hands, elbows on the café table, and slowly shook her head, lightly brushing away some strands of her wavy, brown hair that had fallen over her almond-shaped, chestnut-coloured eyes.

“It’s not working with Robert. I have to leave, I have to leave !”

Silke, without finishing her mouthful of roll, agreed,

“Yes, we’ve been saying this for ages. Why are you still with him ?”

“But it’s such a nice flat,” added Gabi, between delicate spoonfuls of yoghurt and muesli.

“So she moves to the east. We have nice flats here, too.”

Gabi didn’t answer Monika. She may enjoy partying in the east, but there was no way she would ever live there.

“I know a guy who may let me stay with him.”

“Yeah, I bet I can guess the rent,” said Silke, making her meaning clear by using a banana as visual aid. The others laughed, though only Monika found it truly funny. Gabi was worried that other people may see (they did; the level of conversation noticeably dropped).

“No, he’s gay.”

“Oh, yes, listen,” began Silke, “when it comes to that, men don’t care how they get it. Man, woman, appliance “

United chorus of disapproval. Silke stood her ground,

“When I worked at that doctor’s reception, you couldn’t believe how many men came in with bits of vacuum cleaner hanging off their dicks.”

Gabi tried sshhh-ing her, but Monika’s laugh drowned it. Lorelei was wondering how the conversation had taken such a turn, then remembered that Silke was there.

Monika returned the tangent subject back to the main topic.


“I know a secret.”

The girls immediately quietened down, and leant forward. Monika waited, building tension, a little trick she had inadvertently picked up from Chris.

“What do you think of Richard ?”

“Chris’ friend ?” Asked Silke.

“Seemed nice. I couldn’t say much to him. I tried, but I just forgot all my English,” explained Gabi. “He was speaking to Lori, a lot. He was funny, no ?”

“Yeah,” admitted Lorelei, sensing all eyes on her, and feeling herself blush, “he’s nice. Interesting. I couldn’t understand everything. He listened to me, as well”

“Marry him !” demanded Silke.

“I thought you didn’t believe in marriage ?” from Gabi.

“I don’t, not for me,” Silke laughed back, “but when does Robert ever listen to her ? Just, ‘where is my wurst ? Where is my big, fat, juicy wurst … “

“Silke !” Gabi remonstrated, but knowing that she was only encouraging her. Monika tried again.

“Because I think he likes you.”

“He’s nice. Very friendly.”

“Ah, shit, woman, wake up, he wants to fuck you.”

Monika didn’t deny Silke’s assertion, though tried to tone it down,

“I think he is interested in you.”

“But she has a boyfriend,” objected Gabi, genuinely shocked.

“Yes, and ? One that doesn’t screw her. What use is that ? That’s what vibrators are for. Don’t leave stinky socks around, or fart-up the bed, either.”

“You would like a vibrator that makes farting noises ?” asked Monika, making alternate buzzing and farting noises.

Even Silke found that too much, and threw her napkin at Monika, who was too busy laughing to defend herself.


Lorelei was feeling a little uncomfortable and was hoping the conversation would veer off into another direction, but Gabi asked,

“And, Lori … do you like Richard ?”

Silence over the table.

“Yes. I like him … but not like that.”

“Now, Andreas screws me whenever I want it, which is always. He doesn’t do much else.”

“Still no job ?” inquired Monika about Silke’s special friend.

“Ah, man, he has some stupid ideas about selling old records at the Sunday market. Records. Nobody plays records anymore. He makes ten, twenty Marks and thinks he’s a big business man. I’d dump him if he wasn’t such a great fuck.”

“And what is with you and Sebastian ?” asked Monika to Gabi. She responded by shaking her head and making a gesture of hopelessness.

“It’s comfortable. Safe. It’s just not going anywhere.”

“So it’s going down the toilet ! What’s it like with an Englishman, Moni ? What do they say ? A stiff upper dick ?”

“Ach ! It’s going well. It’s good Richard is here, gives me a break. When they are together, I can’t keep up. Just talk, talk, talk. Can’t even tell who’s talking. They sound the same, blah, blah, blah. I’m not sure they ever get to a point. They use the same words and expressions. Just as my English gets good, they start all American slang and bullshit.”

“And the other thing ?” Asked Gabi. Monika finished her coffee and sighed.

“Yes. Still a problem. An issue. He doesn’t understand. Just because he’s not in her flat, it’s her friend’s, and she keeps all her shit there. She’ll have to get them sometime.” For the first time, there was silence. Monika always got upset speaking about Ute and the flat.

Lorelei tried helping,

“But he loves you. That is obvious. You are lucky.”

“Yes, I know, but … ah, I go there and I can feel her. Smell her. I just … don’t like it.”


“So ? Move to Prenzlauer Berg. Let him move in with you.”

“No !,” responded Silke to Gabi’s suggestion, “she’s got to have her freedom, somewhere to go after they fight. Make him move to Kreutzberg.”

“I’m looking out for places. So if you hear of anything … “

“Yeah, sure. And you, Gabi ? Found a love-shack ?”

“Not yet.”

“What about Richard ?”

“Well … don’t know. Won’t be able to speak to him.”

“Believe me, that is a bonus, not a problem. OK, it’s your birthday soon. We’ll buy you a giant dildo,” promised Silke.

“That farts and says, ‘where’s my beer ?’” added Monika

They all laughed and continued their lunch, except Lorelei, who rested her head in her hands and stared at the table, lost in thought.

Love and Chaos Part 3(F) Chris 2

13th December 2020

Image by Harald Ansorge from the music video ‘dwot’. Watch, like and subscribe on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxJBbyKLlp0

Part Three. Berlin. Summer 1994

Monika let out an exclamation of happiness. There was a parking space outside of Chris’ street door. She gathered her bag, and a carefully selected handful of tapes from the car’s floor.

“And this one,” added Chris, “Husker Du,” then began singing ‘Could You Be The One ?’.

They got out, Monika checking the locks on her beloved, yellow Toyota and Chris entered the block, getting out his keys to unlock the Briefkaste. He mimicked her exclamation, pulling out a letter with its distinctive handwriting and British stamps.

Chris’ flat was on the second floor of the back block, or Hinterhof. Ute had organised it for Chris, as it had belonged to a friend of hers who was moving in with her boyfriend. Ute had left some bits of hers there, a source of constant irritation to Monika. It implied that she would be back and when she returned, Chris would go back to her.

Inside, the second ceiling was immediately above the door, an improvised storage space,overflowing with Ute’s belongings and general junk. Monika rarely failed to make at least one allusions to this, per visit.

The small hallway had a door, to the left, which was the bathroom. A toilet with old-style chain, but a normal sized sink and a bath with shower attachment. There was also a small gas heater. A quantum leap from the previous flat.

The main room was larger, as well, and the windows received more light from the small courtyard. There was the Ofen in one corner and the door to the kitchen in the corner diagonally opposite.

The kitchen was smaller, but big enough for a table and could easily sit two and cosily sit three.

Chris played the tape that had Husker Du on one side and Jane’s Addiction on the other. Monika had introduced him to both bands and now he couldn’t hear enough of them. There were the soundtrack to his new life.

Richard’s letter was also full of enthusiasm, and Chris let out a series of whoops and ut-oh’s periodically.

Monika busied herself, allowing him space. She knew he would tell her everything, anyway, in great detail, some of which she may even understand. As soon as Chris had finished the last word, he called Monika over.

“He’s in love, too.”

“Ah, that’s nice.”

“Nein, not nice.”

“It’s not nice your friend is in love ?”

“Yes, I mean, no, it’s not nice, not nice. Nice is a bad word, very weak, it doesn’t mean anything. If you go somewhere and watch someone, I don’t know, act, or play a song and you have to say something, you say,’ it was nice’.”

“So, it is … great ? Great he’s in love ? Super !”

“Yes. Except, no, it’s not.”

“And why ?” A very strong demand from Monika.

“It’s Richard. Nothing ever seems to work out for him in that department. OK, he’s in love with this girl called Käthe. Yes, a German girl.”

“Ah-ha! And where did he meet her ? In Berlin ?”

“No, at work, in London. She and her boyfriend work at the same place. Seems Richard got offered a permanent position, so it means more money. Still shit, but better. Let’s see … “

“But … boyfriend ?”

“That’s all you need to know about Richard. Always falls in love with girls who are in committed relationships. Never mind, we’ll find him a girl here. You got any single friends ?”

“What about Ully at Biberkopf ?”

“What about her ?”

“She’s single, no ?”

“Yeah, I’m sure of it. Are you surprised ? She’s got … the thing.”


“She’s got a lovely smile.”

“And the … thing. No, we can do better than that.”

Monika looked out of the window.

“Ah, it looks a nice day, no, a great day. I don’t want to go to work.”

“What would you like to do instead ?”

Later that afternoon, Chris re-read the letter. In it, Richard had mentioned his routine; seeing films on Mondays, when there are cheaper, maybe drinking with Melanie, then getting home and heating up a pizza slice and watching some American shows, something called ‘NYPD Blue’, or ‘Northern Exposure’. Richard also exalted a book called ‘Generation X’ that everybody was reading and told him to look out for a film about slackers which had Winona Ryder dancing in a convenience store. They all sounded fantastic.

Chris had been in Berlin for over a year. He had two jobs, his own flat, a great new girlfriend and enough money to live comfortable on.

However, he realized from the letter how out of touch he was. He hadn’t read an English newspaper or a new book since being here. He could just about fumble through a German paper, but it was either too complex or too boring. The new bands he was listening to had all been around for a while, but had it not been for Monika, he wouldn’t have had any way of knowing about them.

Chris needed Richard to be here as much as Richard needed to be out of London. He felt that he had a lot of catching up to do.

Love and Chaos Part 3(C) Kurt C 1

6th December 2020

Nirvana remembers Kurt Cobain on 25th anniversary of his death | Fox News
Kurt Cobain (Google Images)

Part Three

On 8th April, 1994, the body of Kirk Cobain, singer and guitarist of the band Nirvana, was found at his Seattle home. He died from a gunshot wound to the head.

The pop-culture space-race that had been going on between Britain and The States since the Fifties was now firmly in the American orbit, as the amount of small bands who spent limited money on equipment, not designer clothes, seemed to reach stratospheric heights.

Britain’s alternative scene has seen Indie Pop branch out into the tiny Grebo movement, a kind of home-grown pre-Grunge which combined music and humour in equal doses, before people smartened up and went dancing with the aid of little smiley tabs.

There was a definite vacuum that needed filling, and the music, attitudes and fashions of Grunge, of Slacker, of Generation X seemed tailor-made, and all that tailor need provide were flashy baseball caps, checked shirts and jeans with a rip or two.

It was the three chords of punk, with the freedom to add a fourth or fifth and, hey, guitar solos can be cool, providing they’re shit hot. The lyrics were personal and poetic. And a reaction, the reaction that a lot of people felt, shaking their heads and wondering,’ What the fuck happened in the Eighties ?’ a realization that no catchy slogans were going to change society, and anyway, no point picking on individual countries, they were merging into bland, soulless, multinational corporations, whose twin gods were uniformity and profit. And the ones blackballed from the club were in the black hole of poverty and disease.

There were new causes, arguments that seemed irrefutable; the need to protect our water, our land, our air, yet the corporations found ways to argue and stall and ignore and undermine.

It was the last decade of the most remarkably innovative century in the history of this planet, and a fitting time for reflection and criticism. A century when civilized nations embarked on unspeakable, unimaginable, incomprehensible barbarity, and all that came out of that was the slogan, ‘Never Again’, but by the early 90’s it already had, and as the decade wore on, it happened elsewhere, it happened again, and then later, it happened again and then, elsewhere … it happened again.

In his suicide note, Kurt Cobain referred to himself as a ‘experienced simpleton’. He hadn’t found what he needed in the music business and didn’t want to go on pretending, but other people, on the outside, across the nation, across the ocean, were happy to keep looking.

It may have been the end of Grunge Rock, but the Slacker movement and lifestyle just got bigger and bigger.