Dirty hands, 80 cents and David Bowie

21 01 2009

Like bad sex all I ever get from visiting DIY shops are dirty hands and a headache – DIY shops, and anywhere that sells flat-packed furniture. Nevertheless, on my last visit to Ikea I did completely indulge myself in what I can only describe as a GIANT CREAM HAT. I’ve had one of these before in Stockholm and I think they’re a January/February delicacy. Just a giant puff of cream served with red berries; then you need a gallon of coffee to wash it all down and prevent your throat momentarily closing due to the build up of  lactose-phlegm.  Anyway, that was yesterday. Today takes us to postmodernism and illusions, hallucinogenic for some, illuminated with halogen for others. 


I’m declaring myself the postmodern Christiane F of 2009. Much like the Bowie-loving, drug addicted teen protagonist of the 1981 film, I too love to hang out at train stations! But for all the GOOD reasons. I’m smitten with Berlin’s Hauptbahnhof to a degree which is is more than necessary for a train station, but I need to quickly explain the difference between ‘Hbf‘ and any English train stations. When I traveled on a train out of Berlin back in the hot summer, the cheeriest train conducter I’ve met waltzed into my carriage (all glass and cushioned head rests and halogen-spotlighted vanity mirrors!) and sang ‘Kaffeeeeeeeeee? Capucccinoooooooo? ‘ I actually declined because I was so stumped, and half expected him to put out his hand for a 5 euro bill afterwards. 


England – trains late

Berlin – trains on time!

England – cup of weak tea/coffe/chocolate with floating rawhide

Berlin – proper cafes!

England – stale Cornish Pasty (if you’re lucky)

Berlin – Italian ice cream parlour!

England – yesterday’s copy of the ‘Daily Diana’

Berlin – Virgin media store!

England – small shop selling polo mints

Berlin – chemist, CLOTHES SHOPS, food court, supermarket

England – curling egg sandwiches, costing £5

Berlin – sushi, miso soup and noodles!

England – shambling psychotic strangers intent on starting conversations with you

Berlin – super-glossy businessmen connecting to WiFi and calling Geneva on their iPhones!


I actually go to the Hbf just to go to the Hbf! Maybe buy some new clothes (ok, before the pound started on its slippery slope), get some sushi, have an ice cream, marvel at all that shiny, shiny glass, hear Bowie singing ‘Fame, it’s not your brain, it’s just the flame‘ in my head. Everything I need is in that Hauptbahnhof and I’ve really got no excuse to leave it. I could just shunt back and forth on one of the S-bahns for a bit of a scenery change, but that’s all. Apparently you can also get all the way to Kazakhstan, but then I don’t believe everything I read on Wikipedia. I’m not that much 2009. Nevertheless, that would be one hell of a train journey!


A Taiwanese friend of mine told me it’s quite normal for her to meet her friends in the main train station when she goes back to visit, but things have always been super-swishy over in the Far East. I also like the local Hauptbahnhof here  because when you come out of the main entrance, it’s really, really eerie. Exiting at dusk reveals a big concrete, open plaza and then laid out in front of you is the government area, the Reichstag, and to the left you see the “Death Star” TV tower way out in the distance. Behind looms the megalithic glass construction of the station. Our images reflected back, and back again. Truth, standards and ideals lost in a labyrinth of mirrors; the reason and order of the Reichstag, symbolised in the the Brandenburg Tor, glinting back in the glossy windows. It’s a sharp shock returning to the heavy damp air of Berlin after being swaddled in the constant flurry of advertising, the shooting in and out of travel, consumerism, people, 80 cents to spend a penny. Train stations no longer about serving trains. Wir kinder vom Hauptbahnhof – I wish you a very happy 2009. choo choo. choo choo.


I am so behind times…

30 09 2008

Is this a well known word??

Why won’t Jackson explain why I can’t look this word up on Wikipedia or google? Spokaki?? We were looking at the Gingerbread houses on sale in IKEA – for Christmas, it’s only SEPTEMBER – and marvelling at how even they are flatpacked. Kinderspiel, oder??? So easy to build, just take five minutes, no problem, follow the shapeless men figures and call if it doesn’t make sense.  Lose a part? Just come back to IKEA and lose a day of your life looking for that one tiny screw the dog ate.


And then we look at the picture, talk about how quaint it is, how we have to unpack it and then rebuild it, and then Jackson says ‘But if I made it, it would look like Spokaki’ (the icing sugar mess, get it*???). Why am I so innocent, why does this word mean NOTHING to me and yet I can laugh hysterically when I hear it? Like when we suddenly remember the Plate Hoker late at night, or when Jackson mysteriously speaks out from the darkness of the room ‘Do you remember that band Gemini?’ ME: Not really, why?  Jackson: They were twin brothers and they did a photo shoot together in the bath.


*I do know Spokaki is not how the word is said or spelt, but in my mishearing, I find Spokaki much funnier.

New post – about bras!

30 09 2008

A bit of a hiatus from here, don’t  you think? But thanks to all of you who are writing hokers instead of Hookers into your search engines, it sends me traffic. Although soon I will write about the ‘Plate Hoker’ Jackson and I encountered the other week! The name kind of says it all. 


So I’m writing, even though I should be working because Dita von Teese’s new ad for Wunderbra just made me a bit slack jawed. Ker-ching!!! Seriously though, I know some people who work in labs and if they get up to that all day, every day I am changing me my profession! KER-CHING! Sadly though, the only stories I’ve head are from the ones who work next door to the ‘bits downstairs’ lab and how the toilets for this lab were next to my friend’s breakroom or something, so yup – they would often get handed warm sample bottles by embarrassed patients, scuttling off in haste. 


In other news, we no longer have Hillbilly plastic curtains in the bedroom! So no more neighbours sneaking a peek in (as if)- privacy at last! IKEA has endowed us with not only snazzy curtains but also the grim revelation that that ice-cream stuff they sell is actually a GIANT can of what can only be CONDENSED MILK poured into the top of the vat and then speed frozen before being sold off for one Euro a squirt. There is way too  much overlap between that and the ‘bits downstairs’ lab. ha ha, ha ha ha HA HA HA, I’ve put you off IKEA ice cream for ever!