Allaround Rockstars

May. A whole bunch of great rock-stars around me have their birthday this month, and of course I am included. But then in April a few of the rock-stars in my life were in for throwing a party, playing the guitar or just being their normal fun-loving creatures… That said, I thought I would write up a bit as to what I have been up to in the past months, looked at my calendar and my censor said loud and clear that that is a no-go.

The Bernese city parliament is now a bee hive of rock-stars and other performers, and my good friend (1) Claude Longchamp lets those of us who read German taste a bit of his wit about the metropolis. Erik Mozsa is going to Amsterdam for fun and games – they call it school – and Manuel Widmer is going to take his place in the city parliament. However Jimy Hofer has already been warming up his seat since January and it could be that the best show in town is to be had at the Rathaus on thursday evenings when the Stadrat has a session.

There are the newspapers that I do not subscribe to, and read when drinking a coffee, preferably at the Parterre, and that I am obliged to scan on a regular basis, and then there are the other newspapers that I read during the breaks at the WTI library. One columnists for the IHT and NYT that I regularly like to read is Nicholas Kristof (3) as he usually writes the kind of stuff that I like reading, and my guess may be that… oh no, I am not going down that road.

I did want to tell you that I will be returning to the Bernese city parliament after five months of absence and strangely enough per se not missing it. I will however miss my colleague Anastasia Falkner (2) who I am succeeding, and whose shoes I can’t possibly fill. I still think that local politics are important; I still do not have any ambition for a higher political office; I still hang around the world of international negotiation; I am still fascinated by the political process; I am still writing but not always here.

Being a rock-star is just in, even the scientists are joining the bandwagon. Being cool is totally out, it is so last year… this year… I don’t have a clue!


(1) A friend is someone with whom I drink beer at least once a year. A good friend is somebody with whom I occasionally have a good argument.

(2) For the benefit of those relations who do not read German, Anastasia is a Swiss investigating judge or district attorney with a great liberal mind.

(3) You can follow Nicholas Kristof on Twitter, and if you don’t know what that is, that is fine too, buy the newspaper.

Theatre: Knock oder Der Triumph der Medizin


It would be on the order of the day to drop a few names now, but somehow I am not in the mood. I am not even in the mood to answer email, or to write emails. I went to see a play this evening, and really, it was a blast. It is quite a comedy, and it is about medicine. The production is put together by the “Sociéte des Médecins du Canton de Berne” however the play itself is spoken in dialect (swiss german). Had a good laugh…

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It is the last day of this Autumn’s Bernese school vacation, and of the city parliament’s recess. On November 30th there are city wide elections, and it could be that I am re-elected or it could be that I am not re-elected. I am not the campaign animal, and life is more than usual busy around here.

Last night I told Ivo at the Dojo that today I was not showing up today for the usual Friday night training which he leads, and that I was elsewhere. Given that the conversation took place in German, the word that I used was “fremdgehen” to express that I was breaking the routine. Am I being unfaithful tonight? Hardly. Am I cheating on my partner? Cheating, no! Not working out with one of my most regular Aikido partners, yes! I have been training with Ivo on a regular basis for many years.

Yesterday in a private rant over email to a friend I asked myself what was it that I am doing in this town given that my closest and dear friends are all elsewhere from Zurich and Zug through Tokyo, Paris, Rome and the family is scattered through Oman, Los Angeles and a few other corners of this world. In the moment of recalling how far my friends are, I forgot that one of my strongest ties to Berne is the Dojo. Come to think of it, my relationship to the Dojo intensified when a few years ago I made some plans about leaving it. The reasoning then was that if I was going to leave, then I wanted to take with me as much Aikido as possible. What I did not take into account then was how very slow my body is in learning this thing called Aikido. No regrets here, but… I just did not have a clue.

The word priority has been on my mind for a while now. Once, long ago, I was accused of not knowing how to set priorities right. After years of resistance to that idea, I must confess that that is true indeed. Given who accused me of such crime, this one makes for a whole story in itself. Suffice to say that that person actually stood under official protection of the government and drove around in a bullet proof car. Needless to say that I avoided riding in that car. Those are the glamour points of that personality, then there is all the other stuff about being human and extremely vulnerable beyond what a bullet proof car can protect against, and that is what makes for a great story. It is a story that I may never write.

The whole bit of being unfaithful, in which ever context you may choose, just does not compute with me. I think that it is impossible to go against one’s nature, priorities here or there. When it comes to people there are no priorities, and when it comes to work and activity, there is something called choice. Priority? Is that not just another word for choice. Choice is a bit more binary, and frankly I can not deal with anything beyond binary. Confession: I have been spending way too much time with the work of a man named John Baez, and I am starting to feel like a bit of an idiot since I tend to get lost in the beauty of his fiction. But I always get lost in the beauty of fiction, be it the one from Christoph Geiser, be it the one from John Baez!

I have also been spending a fair amount of time in research libraries and databases. I have been writing and writing, and for the most part I do not recognise myself. Something about this year being about death is coming through in my life. Some part of me has died, and that is not a bad thing. Recently somebody told me that having suddenly lost the life’s partner was like walking around with a part of the self missing. I was stunned by the words. I know that feeling. I have walked around like that for over forty years, and it is that part of me that I have let go, the missing part. The missing part is dead.

Fremdgehen. Yes! I am walking around unburdened by what was missing. I love change, truly do. And to think that the adventure just begun is truly intoxicating!