The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

Aug 27, 2012


There's something particularly disturbing about many totalitarian states wanting to keep assiduous records of every inanity that occurred on their turf. An example of such mind-numbing ennui is provided in the exhibition titled Aus anderer Sicht: Die frühe Berliner Mauer, which was held in Berlin last year. From the copious records of activity along the Berlin wall, Eliot Weinberger extracted several lines to create a poem 'The Wall'. Here are some of those records:

At 3.30 p.m. at Forsthausallee, three women and a man called out to the sentry: ‘Can you shoot that crow? It’s getting on our nerves.’

At 10.00 p.m. at Heidekampgraben, a policeman asked: ‘Hi boys, are the mosquitoes bad over there too?’

At 8.40 a.m. at the Kölnische Heide sentry post, a girl about sixteen years old on the second storey of the house at Wegastraße 36 removed her pullover and displayed her breasts. At 9.20 a.m. she put her pullover back on.

At 3.40 p.m. at Lohmühlenstraße, a woman about twenty years old called out four times: ‘Come on over, you can have me.’

At 7.05 p.m. at Kiefholzstraße, two girls, about fifteen years old, called to the sentry: ‘We love you! Come on over, we need something.’

At 12.20 a.m. at Nordgraben, two men shouted to the sentry post: ‘Say something!’

Border guard XXXXXXXXX was commended for his correct actions.
Border guard XXXXXXXXX was commended for his class-appropriate manner when faced with enemy provocation at the border.

Border guard XXXXXXXXX was censured for lackadaisically performing his early morning gymnastics and not bothering to touch his toes.

Border guard XXXXXXXXX was censured for owning a toy Mercedes automobile with an integrated measuring tape.


Parmanu said...

From the records you listed, only place names give a semblance of context. The rest is generic and, for this reason, useless. Mind-numbing ennui indeed.

What a pity. Imagine a poet sitting on the wall, translating what she saw into images.

Feanor said...

You might take a look at the full poem on the LRB site: there is a kind of continuity there which is inane, sad and a description of such gloom. I only excerpted a few lines because of what they say about the East German regime...

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