When it comes to Blixa Bargeld’s Europa kreuzweise I lack all sorts of judgement.
This could have been my pick for the A book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy category; I’ve read it before, I liked it before. Obviously. But since I’ve already selected and read a book for the cateogry, the road trip category will do nicely.
I’d like to think I’m not biased; I don’t like all things Neubauten do. Their latest release for one thing, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. Couldn’t even pull through a total of 5 minutes of a recording of the live show. But that’s more of an exception to the rule I suppose.
It is likely my fan status colors my read of this book.
This is a peculiar little book; like Nick Cave’s Sick Bag Song that I’ve previously mentioned, it doesn’t quite follow the rules.
Essentially, this is Blixa Bargeld describing Einstürzende Neubauten’s 2007 European tour for the Alles Wieder Offen album. This is my fave record of theirs. I saw them on this tour too, in Glasgow, obviously. It was where I lived in 2007. What I’m getting at is; books about events that have somehow been a part of your life are probably more likely to appeal to you. Another reason I might not be seeing things clearly. But since when is seeing things clearly any kind of fun?
While the story, if that’s what you want to call it, is told in chronological order, with the occasional flashback, it’s more like series of observations relating to travel, restaurants, hotels, shows. It feels as if the book is more aimed towards conveying a feeling, as opposed to telling a story.
I’m assuming this is why Bargeld includes the setlist, the same setlist every night (maaaybe…? To be honest I only noted that it was a playlist, I didn’t read each of them through with any kind of care.)
I did mention in another post how I disliked the inclusion of lyrics in this very book. I take it back! This time around, I quite like it. Maybe it’s because I haven’t been listening to Neubauten that regularly lately; it’s nice with a bit of a reminder of one of many reasons I like this band. Also, it is one of my favorite pieces of lyrics. Of all the lyrics, not just Neubauten. (Clearly, I have a whole lot faves…)
Bargeld’s use of words always did appeal to me. Likewise his choice of subject. There’s often a feeling of waiting, emptiness, pointlessness, time standing still, observation and no judgement. Or at least that’s my interpretation. I have no interest in being objective here so there’s no use telling me I’m wrong. Let’s just do one more favorite, a quote:
I also love his dry sense of humour. Like this part where he’s trying to call the front desk of the hotel .
He is one bitter old man and I find it funny.
This book is somewhere between poetry and fiction. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it has more in common with poetry than fiction.
I love this little book, if you ever stumble on it you could well give it a read. It’ll take a couple of hours tops; even if your German is shaky.