Friday, August 8, 2008

The Deep-Storage Archives

Recently I came across some little texts I wrote while living in Berlin during the academic year 2001-2002—far before I'd ever heard of a blog or blogging. But these little texts clearly are proto-blogs, and so I've decided to import them, post-dating them to January 2002, the approximate date of their composition. Thus you can find them at the bottom of this blog. I'm pleased to be expanding this body of texts in both directions at once. Let boys & girls with these old songs have holiday / If they feel like it (sez John Berryman, speaking of his own youthful sonnets).
As you will no doubt recall as if it were yesterday, January 1, 2002 is the date when the DM (Deutschmark, German Mark) went out of circulation and the Euro came in. This moment is duly recorded in these old texts.
I wrote these little essays while living in a furnished sublet on Kulmerstraße in Schöneberg, just two blocks west of the Yorck-Straße S-Bahn station. Kulmerstraße in those days (and probably still now) was a modest little street with a Turkish men's club at either end. This meant that at any hour of the day or night you would find little groups of men standing around outside smoking cigarettes, which kept the street quite safe. Directly across the street from the apartment was Café Savarin, believed by many Berliners to have the best cake in town. After watching enormous stacks of cake boxes being carted out of the place each morning for delivery to various restaurants, I'm inclined to believe it. In any case, their cakes really were delicious: I pretty much ate my way through their entire confectionary repertoire in the course of the year. Now, I hear, the café has become a haven for the smokers now excluded from most cafés and restaurants in Germany. I wonder whether the cake tastes smoky. If anyone passes by that way, check it out and let me know.

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