All posts filed under: Essays

The Jamboree Bag

Hello 2016. Hello New Year’s resolutions. What do I take on this time?, I asked myself when I toasted the old year goodbye. Well, I don’t know if I’m honest. Of course, there’s these things I always put on my mental list for the last odd years: Work out more. Keep friendships nice and healthy. Phone this old friend of mine. Start a short course at uni. Get more magazine coverage. Learn another language. Safe up some money and visit Japan with the girl. Learn to make the perfect flat white. Shoot more film. Go surfing in the Hebrides. Nothing too hard to achieve and all entirely within my reach. But let’s face it. Come February and half of the good intentions, plans and ideas go out the window somehow. And that shouldn’t be that of a big deal, really. As much as I love setting new goals and future achievements, life all too often has something else planned for us. There’s enough of the moments you pretty much can’t predict. It’s the things that come to you or …

The Show Must Go On

Like so many, I was extremely moved by the emotional interview with the Eagles of Death Metal that surfaced yesterday. So here’s the short comment I wrote for TMRW over here.   While we’re all still shocked about what happened in Paris two weeks ago and with some emotional wounds only healing slowly, we don’t fail to be amazed by stories of human kindness and positivity in times of pain and tragedy once more. Think of the generous people opening their doors to strangers in need, cities showing solidarity by cladding their famous monuments with the French tricolore or the blindfolded Parisian Muslim man asking for people’s trust with a heartfelt embrace. Yeah, in times like these, it’s no wonder that we’re desperately looking for the good in others and assuring ourselves why it’s worth it to fight for a free society. Another one of these paradigms to not shy away from the terror and stand our ground is the heartbreaking VICE interview with the Eagles of Death Metal, the band that played the Bataclan club until …

The Good Deed of Listening

Sometimes it’s worth taking the time to listen. Especially to those voices that are rarely noticed. Stories that want to be heard and harbour a surprise or two. And there’s so many of them roaming around our streets. A few days ago I found one of them. Motionless, almost dreamy he stares into the distance. The other side of the road. Shivering from the cold, he draws the blanket tight. I see him almost every single day on my way past the local shop. As a was on my way to grab a few essentials for a hearty dinner, I walked past like so many times before. The usual bad feeling hit instantly. Not today, I thought and turned on my heel.‘What can I get you, buddy?’ He gave me a sad smile, but a shine in his eyes. ‘Oh that’s lovely. How about a caramel latte with a splash of sugar?’ Slightly puzzled, I only gave him a nod. ‘Well, he knows what he wants’, I thought. Once I was back with my groceries, …

Hunting for Solitude

I always wondered how people can be so burned-out they need a break. There’s always time to switch off, isn’t it? Well, sometimes you’re bombarded with things that make it difficult to say ‘No, it’s enough’. And society pretty much teaches us to always be on our toes, to immerse ourselves in tons of projects, to be always attainable on all channels, to stick out and make a name for ourselves at any price. Onwards and upwards. And yeah, the last couple of weeks and months have been a bit manic, with a workload soaring up bit by bit and freelance & volunteering commitments going literally ballistic. And there’s no end in sight, really. Not that I dread the time, I like to be busy and it’s been pretty amazing! But my batteries were kinda drained and I was running low on creative input lately. So I decided to take a break from work stuff and the busy city life as much as possible, pack my bags & head up North to the beautiful wilderness of Skye …

Age 33: The End of Music Discovery?

This might sound strange, but are you tired of browsing new music yet? No? Well maybe you’re still young enough to keep the ball rolling. As this new study suggests, people around 33 kinda lose interest and stop listening to new music. And even though the survey’s based on a rather tight framework – only featuring US-Spotify users in 2014 – it’s still interesting to apply that assumption to your own habits. First off: I’m not 33. But I can’t really see why I shouldn’t go on trying to find new music to keep things fresh and interesting. Sometimes I’m so so fed up with my digital playlists and the small but mighty bunch of records, my ears are simply itching for new stuff to float in. And to be honest, with streaming services popping up here and there, it has never been easier to get your hands on yet undiscovered tunes, given the algorithms deliver it straight to the doormats of us lazy people out there. So what’s the reason for people to stop listening …

Picture Tales: A Bird without Feathers or The Spy that never lived

A hollow drone convulses his eardrum. The smell of kerosene reaches his nostrils, matted with dried blood. Slowly and cautiously he opens his sore eyes. It feels as if centuries vanished since the last time he did. His eyelids begin to flutter as the radiant white burns onto his retina. The shattered turbine is still ablaze. He doesn’t know how long it’s been since he passed out. Not that it matters anything to him. His whole life has gone back to zero in this very moment. Like a wound up pocket watch that has just started to tick again. Absorbed in a drifting thought, Nikita ensconces himself in his favourite armchair, facing the living room window. On every early afternoon with a clear sight southward, holding watch, the way the man describes it, is an essential part of his strict daily routine for the past few decades. For his family though, his blank stares are nothing more than a mournful chasing of ghosts, a life that’s irretrievably vanished. In the distant, a forlorn steel carcass …

© Mathias Benninghoven

Intro: Picture Tales

New Year. New Projects! One of my resolutions for 2015 has been to engage in a bit more creative writing alongside my usual blogging about all things arts and culture. So here’s to a new endeavour that combines a love for photography, a love for putting words on paper as well as the curiosity to unearth the mysterious, unnoticed and unvoiced. It goes by the name of ‘Picture Tales’. To me, the underlying beauty of photography is that it lets me travel places, dive into a different world, explore foreign cultures or lifestyles and – without knowing – imagine which narrative might be concealed below the surface, placidly waiting to be exposed. So let’s be daring for once, choose an image that captures our creativity and weave a unique story, fuse the visuals with some inspiring writing. Call it mini photo-essay, feature article, flash fiction, short story or poem. There’s no boundaries. And yeah, why not develop that idea even further? Wouldn’t it be nice to get a few other people on board for a …