in which Andy attempts to fit an entire year’s worth of blogging into a single post
“But it was impossible to beat anything into the heads of the poor. They went on with the usual impetuosity of their tempers, full of outcries and lamentations when taken, but madly careless of themselves, foolhardy and obstinate, while they were well. Where they could get employment they pushed into any kind of business, the most dangerous and the most liable to infection; and if they were spoken to, their answer would be, ‘I must trust to God for that; if I am taken, then I am provided for, and there is an end of me’, and the like. Or thus, ‘Why, what must I do? I can’t starve. I had as good have the plague as perish for want. I have no work; what could I do? I must do this or beg.”
― Daniel Defoe, A Journal of the Plague Year, written by a citizen who continued all the while in London
Well, that was a fucking year wasn’t it? Like something out of a straight to video post-apocalypse film that spunked its budget on an over the top dramatic catastrophe with fire and flames of biblical proportions but then stumbled from cliché to badly written cliché at a pace so glacial it made Waiting for Godot look like a chipper upbeat Tik Tok video. That’s how it seemed to me anyway. Your boring apocalypse miles may vary.
Being as I’m not a cute and fury antipodean my year actually started pretty pleasantly. Katia and I went for a quiet new year’s evening visiting friends in Chemnitz. We spent New Year’s Eve wandering around the set of soviet era documentary Zardoz with no one realising quite why I was giggling at the name of the state archaeological museum.
Once the hangovers from the “quiet evening with a few friends” had dissipated Katia and I headed to Berlin for a few days which was ace. I’d only visited Berlin once before and hadn’t really done much sight seeing when I was there. I finally got to see the Berlin Wall -a site famous for hosting one of the most important musical events of the 20th Century as well as getting to nerd out on Museum Island at the various museums there. Including the Pergamon Museum, home to both the Ishtar Gate and the Pergamon Altar. The latter of which is renowned as the site where Angela Merkel sacrifices babies to our great lord Lucifer. Unfortunately we missed the blood letting and had to make do with picking up some over priced guff from the gift shop.
Click to embiggen
We also visited the Brandenburg Gate and as we were walking towards it I spotted a building over the road and recognised it from a famous WWII photo.
Which lead me to ask Katia “Hey, isn’t that the old Reichstag? Isn’t the Bundestag around here somewhere?” only to be a given a look and to be asked in return “Are you fucking kidding?” I then turned around and found myself standing directly in front of a huge sign reading “BUNDESTAG”. 😀 😀
Best of all though I got to pop by to visit Joe and Kat Pulver as I hadn’t seen them since I last visited Berlin and Joe had been really poorly in the intervening years. He sadly passed away in April. Jesus, 2020 fucking sucked.
After that it was straight back to work. First documenting probably the most boring archaeological site I’ve ever worked on and then, for most of February and March, molesting corpses in a village just outside Bremen. This job has its upsides I suppose. By molesting I, obviously I hope, mean excavating and recording the skeletons of the not too distantly deceased. It does weird things to one’s head after a while of spending all day every day staring mortality in the face. Especially when some ‘helpful’ local dropped by with a grave plan of the old graveyard we were working on so all of a sudden BF036 became “Frau Suchandsuch” which was super lovely. I really wanted to know precisely who’s skull I was carefully removing roots and mud from. Cheers pal!
Then the apocalypse came and… not very much changed to be honest. Loads of people were sent to work from home, others were furloughed, and I got to have maybe two days off before it became clear that the construction industry wasn’t going to shut down and so my hopes and dreams of getting paid to do sweet Fanny Adams all summer were well and truly quashed. (I just googled the phrase “sweet Fanny Adams” to see where it came from. Don’t do that. Seriously) The weather this summer was absolutely gorgeous and I got to come home every bloody day, covered in dirt from the excavations, to see my pals drinking in a socially distanced manner in the sun right next to my house. It sucked and I was soooo jealous! Bastards. Still, thankfully no one lost their jobs and as Katia is a tour guide I got to see far more of her than I normally would which was aces. Silver linings and all that. 🙂
We did actually get to go away a couple of times this year but only within Germany as, for some weird reason, international travel was something of a no no. We went mountain climbing in the Harz a couple of months ago and, I swear, I nearly died. I am so fucking unfit. It’s weird. It appears that sitting on your arse all day drawing archaeological features isn’t really that healthy… Still it was a cracking view when we got to the Wolfswarte at the top of the Bruchberg and Katia said “Yay, we get to see the sunset from the top of the mountain.” to which I, ever the cynic, pointed out “Yeah, we’ll be at the top of a mountain after the sun has set…” 😀
We also got away for a weekend to Schleswig-Holstein to visit the museum at Heiðabýr near the Danish border. Heiðabýr was a Viking age settlement that grew fat off the trade flowing westwards as the Scandinavians expanded eastwards. They’ve reconstructed a number of the buildings that were excavated here and it’s really popular with Nazis; on account of them being a bunch of historically illiterate dipshits who don’t understand Iron Age northern European culture. Still, despite the occasional wandering Nazi, it’s a pretty cool museum. Unfortunately I can’t find my adapter to take my photos from my camera so you’ll have to make do with this video.
Speaking of Nazis. Those Qanon/AntiMask/ProDisease bellends are something else aren’t they? They tried to have a couple of demos in Bremen in recent weeks. The first one was suuuper well attended.
After the big demo in Leipzig where the police used their water cannons on the counter demonstrators, probably because there were too many of their pals and co-workers on the AntiMask demo, the muppets decided to try and hold another demo in Bremen. They claimed that they would have 20,000 people there and told the city authorities that they wouldn’t comply with anti-C19 measures like mask wearing and social distancing. Unsurprisingly the city told them to get to fuck and so, on the day, only a couple of hundred of them turned up and got told to fuck off by a few thousand of us (wearing masks and not being bellends, naturally). Sweet.
I dunno if folk outside Germany will have seen much about what’s been going on here with the so-called “Querdenken” or “Lateral thinkers” (seriously, “Nichtdenken” describes them better) but they’re basically a weird amalgamation of Nazis and assorted right wingers, conspiracy theorists, hippies, Karens, vegan cookbook authors, and other esoteric weirdos and they are really angry about having the minor discomfort of wearing a mask in the shops. I know that everywhere has these knobs but the weird make up of the group here is something particularly odd I think.
When there was a big demo of these window lickers in Berlin this August a bunch of them tried, pathetically, to storm the Bundestag only to be stopped by, like, three cops. The extra weird thing though, on top of how crap they were at doing anything, was that the person leading the charge was a dreadlocked hippy who was telling everyone that Donald Trump was in Berlin and they had to show him they stood with him. Like, what the fuck? She looked like the sort of person that would normally show up at a lefty demo being mildly annoying but generally on the right side of history. What the hell happened?
OK, I know what happened. Loads of people in various subcultural scenes think of themselves as rebellious but don’t have the critical tools to realise that just because something is “against the MAN” it isn’t necessarily, you know, correct. Hence the rapid growth of right wing, often antisemitic, conspiracy theories amongst people who would, in earlier days, have firmly been on the left and been definitely anti-fascist. Again, fuck 2020.
One of the blessed gifts of the Querdenken demos though has to be Jana aus Kassel. If you missed the wonder that is Jana back in November; she’s a young woman (from Kassel, natch) who speaks at the various Querdenken demos. She was speaking at a demo in Hannover this November and likened her activities, speaking at demos and handing out leaflets against wearing masks, to the activities of Sophie Scholl. Sophie Scholl was a young woman who was beheaded by the Gestapo for her anti-Nazi activities. That’s right, Jana aus Kassel was so ignorant and lacking in self awareness that she compared herself with an actual hero of the anti-fascist movement whilst speaking to a crowd of Nazis. Then when she’s called out on it she throws a wonderful hissy fit and storms off. You can see the full thing below with English subtitles.
The young guy who calls her out is an antifascist who infiltrated the demo as a steward and he deserves to not have to pay for a drink for the whole of 2021. 😀
On a less insane and kinda more positive note, this last year or so I’ve rediscovered table-top roleplaying games. I used to love playing games like Vampire: The Masquerade, Cyberpunk, and Ars Magica when I was a kid and I’ve sunk straight back into the hobby. Looks like my nerd credentials are now completely impeccable. 😀 Unfortunately, thanks to the ‘rona, it’s nigh on impossible to play games face to face and that was always what I enjoyed most about the games -hanging out with pals making up silly stories whilst eating pizza. Instead we play online and that’s kinda ok but not quite the same. Still, it does mean that I now have the potential to play with folk from elsewhere. So, if anyone fancies a game in the new year hit me up. 🙂
Ah, that’s a point. How would one hit me up? I’m assuming that if you’re reading this you’ve probably seen it automatically posted to my Facebook page. Thing is, I haven’t used Facebook in years and won’t see messages or comments as the only time I open that blasted thing is when I accidentally click on a link to some band page or whatever. So, if you do want to get in touch with me my phone number is on my unused FB profile and I’ve got all the usual messaging apps. That or via andy@(this website address). I’ll probably never be coming back to Facebook. I do really miss seeing what my pals everywhere are up to but it is just far too much of a time suck and at times far too enraging. I’ve been trying to figure out this whole Fediverse thing but so far haven’t found anything that suits. Keep an eye out though, I may end up being more social media-y in the future if I can find something I can self host and isn’t too complicated to set up. Fuck Facebook though.
Anyway, I hope that you’re all well and are surviving the boring apocalypse without developing too much of an alcohol problem.