Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Beautifying spaces

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Last summer I visited my friend David in the semi-desert of Almería in Southern Spain. We made a nice film about Life in the desert and then David gave me a little gift. Here it is:

One morning we drove to the nearest fresh water spring with a boot full of empty bottles. As we filled them with water, I noticed how dirty the area around the spring was. People come to get free water and in turn leave broken plastic containers, coke cans and half-smoked cigarettes – an utterly depressing sight! When we finished our refill mission, I watched David getting a bag from the car, and then he started collecting rubbish off the ground. For a few moments I just stood there, frozen, before I joined him. Five minutes later we were driving back to his house, with several gallons of fresh water and a bag full of ugly garbage. 'Left it more beautiful than we found it,' David summarized contentedly.

The concept is called 'beautifying spaces', as my sister explained to me recently. It's about the magic that happens when you give love to random places. Nature does it all the time.

“But why should you clean up a public space?”

Well, I am part of the public, aren't I?

“Yes, but it wasn't you who left the rubbish there.”

True. But my choice is this: When I see rubbish lying around, I can either ignore it and go away complaining, feeling at war with the world and its people, or I pick it up and go away smiling, knowing I've left a place more beautiful. Sometimes I do the former, but the latter always feels better.

It's not only about public places. Making anything more beautiful will generate a corresponding feeling inside of you. Beautifying spaces. It could be your home. A room, a kitchen, a garden. Food can be made more beautiful, and friendship too.

And blogs and websites, so here's my freshly painted homepage. You're already on it. Have a look around, maybe choose a nice mixtape to listen to and then beautify something yourself. It's great fun and might even get you extra karma points.

Happy 2021!

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Thank you

Imagine this year's lockdown without music, without books, without films. Many would have died of boredom and almost everyone would have suffered a lot more. Hence the obvious conclusion is that artists are indeed essential workers. We'd be living in an empty hell without them.

With or without a pandemic, I really love being creative. And I think it's the same for most other artists. There doesn't need to be a good reason or a financial motivation for a musician to write a song or a painter to paint a picture. On a few occasions I wondered what I'd do if I knew that I had only one day left to live. As strange as it might sound to some, I'd probably write one last piece for this blog.

You know why so many artists are relatively poor? Because they're so happy doing what they love that they forget about money. Seriously. When you connect to the source of the universe and write, paint, sing or dance, there's simply no space to think about money and marketing. Why would you care about such soulless stuff when you're floating in happiness?

But of course artists aren't always happy. Like everybody else we also go through times of sadness and doubt. This year it's been far worse than other years – not only because many of us couldn't work due to corona restrictions, but because we witnessed how governments gave more importance to airlines than to art. Is that healthy? Does it make sense? Do we, as society, want to continue like that? Do we really want to exchange music festivals for cheap flights?

So here's a big shout out to everyone who has been supporting independant artists this year. Thank you! We need you, and we love you. And on a very deep level, we are you.

I'd also like to thank everyone who has been following this blog for the last 10 years. You're like an invisible crowd for my monthly rants and I hope that most of the time you get something positive out of them. Because despite all complaining and criticising, my intention is always to make things better.

If you feel like ending 2020 with some good music – there are 58 mix tapes I've done, available for free @ If you want some inspiration from the dry hills (LIFE IN THE DESERT) or the woods (THE WISE TREES), help with quitting smoking (BREATHLESS) or a reminder of the impermanence of everything (ANICCA), watch one of my films on Youtube.

If reading is your thing – one of my books is already available for free (A CALL FROM THE UNKNOWN) and next year there will be another one (FRIDAYS FOR FRIDA). All other books, from THE LITTLE BUDDHA to MISS GOD, are available herehere, and here.

And hey, maybe you've just stumbled across this page and acutally hate music, films and books. Fair enough. But you're still welcome to make a donation to my Paypal account:

Happy Christmas 2020!

Sunday, November 8, 2020

I'm right

I say we need to take this pandemic seriously if we don't want to see more unnecessary suffering. We need to wear masks, close bars and theatres and keep a distance wherever we go, whatever we do. Over a million have already died of Covid, the hospitals are filling up again. I've seen it on Facebook, someone mentioned it, a doctor talked about it. There will be dark times ahead unless we do as we're told. I'm right, I know I am.

And you're wrong!

You say we need to wake up and realize that this is no accident but a plandemic. We should refuse to wear masks, keep bars and theatres open and hug as much as we can, because there's no place for fear in the presence of love. Millions have died? You say you don't know a single one. Hospitals are filling up because it's winter, they always fill up in winter, and the numbers are made up anyway. You've seen it, on Facebook, someone mentioned it, a doctor talked about it. There will be dark times ahead unless we stop doing as we're told. You're right, you know you are.

And that means I'm wrong!

We could do the same exercise with many other subjects. At some point, however, we have to ask ourselves if we really want to continue arguing and fighting, desperately trying to convince those on the other side that we are right and they are wrong. An endless struggle, causing more division and leading to the same grim place all these stubborn struggles have led to in the past: war.

Perhaps we're both right? And both wrong. In the battle between A and B, is there an option C?

Admittedly, it isn't easy considering we might be wrong, even it's only half wrong. I've just published a new book, a story about an old woman facing the escalating climate crisis. I'm totally convinced that we're headed towards a terrible future if we don‘t change our unsustainable habits as soon as possible. And with 'as soon as possible' I mean within the next 5 to 10 years – massive changes, much bigger than those we were forced to endure during the lockdowns of 2020. I know I'm right. But – and this is stated in the book as well – there is the theoretical chance that I'm wrong. Would it change the message of the book? No. But it would mean I'd have to admit I wasn't completely right.

Now, there are certain things that are excluded from the 'who's right, who's wrong' game. Racism for example. If you're a racist, you're an arsehole, period. There's absolutely no justification for discriminating other human beings just because they look different. Same goes for praying to a different god or loving in a different way.

But what about everything else? Isn't there an option C we can all agree on, some common ground? Here are a few suggestions:

    * we all want functioning hospitals
    * nobody wants to die alone
    * fear – of a virus or of losing freedom – isn't a pleasant emotion

    * we produce far too much pollution

    * sustainable living is totally possible
    * this planet is our home, and we only have one home

    * no president will solve all problems
    * billionaires could solve lots of problems
    * poverty is causing too many problems

    * having no food sucks
    * wasting food sucks
    * toxic food sucks

    * we love trees
    * we love sunsets
    * we love the feeling of helping others

If we agreed on some common ground, the chances of having constructive and respectful discussions rather than destructive and hateful disputes would be much higher. Let's face it: We're in desperate need of peace and health and a little bit of sanity. We need to stop being selfish and start seeing the beauty of life, embrace the chances we are given, become happy as one global community, with all the different flags and lots of love for another.

I know, it probably ain't gonna happen. But it's a good idea, right?

New book: FRIDAYS FOR FRIDA (in German; out in English in spring 2021)

Monday, October 19, 2020

The end of self-centredness

Have you watched the French series THE COLLAPSE? It's an end of the world scenario – panic buying in supermarkets, riots at petrol stations, European refugees, and nuclear power stations without cooling systems. The other day I talked to my daughter about it.

In the series, there are some rich people who've acquired a rare and very expensive space on an island where they escape to once the chaos starts. I told my daughter that this is really happening – people are buying land in New Zealand and even whole Pacific Islands in case things are getting very bad. She wondered, 'what could happen?', to which I replied, 'anything can happen.' Nuclear war. Crash of the economic system. Ecological Armageddon. A lethal virus.

We kept talking and I said it's difficult to imagine that things could go seriously wrong, but just because we haven't experienced any major crisis in the “Western civilization” in the last decades, it doesn't mean it can't happen. 'Who knows', I said, 'maybe at some point Europe will become uninhabitable and we'll need to flee to Africa. And maybe the people there would do the same we are doing now: close borders and look away.' Silence. Then my daughter turned her head to me and said, 'or maybe they will let us in.' Me: 'Why should they do that?' She: 'Because they know what it feels like to not get help.'

It was a beautiful thought my daughter had. Some might criticise it was innocent and naïve, but if we're honest, she actually pointed out one of humanity's biggest problems: our lack of empathy. Because unless we improve our ability to put ourselves in the situation of others, I don't think there's much hope of anything getting better. And so to make things better, we need to train our empathetic muscle. A little bit every day. Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities:

Feel the fear of an old person who's scared of getting Covid.
Feel the fear of a bar owner when new Corona restrictions are announced.
Feel the fear of those who fear losing their freedom.
Feel the fear of Millions having no food to eat.

Feel the worry of climate activists looking at melting ice shields.
Feel the worry of Islanders confronted with rising sea level.
Feel the worry of Indigenous tribes seeing their rivers being polluted.
Feel the worry of a child who might not have a future.

Feel the pain of a man losing his home to bombs.
Feel the pain of a woman being raped by soldiers.
Feel the pain of a girl who suffers from sickness on a refugee boat.
Feel the pain of a boy who sees his best friend drown.

Feel the despair of 20,000 people who are ignored in a refugee camp on a Greek Island while many Europeans start panic-buying toilet paper again.
Feel the despair of farmers who lose their land and livelihood because consumers don't want to pay a fair price for their products.
Feel the despair of a mother who can't feed her child when one third of all food in the world is being wasted.
Feel the despair of those dying alone. Of the trees that are cut down and the animals kept in tiny cages.

Feel all of it, the fear, the worry, the pain, the despair. Because only if we feel it, we might change what we think and how we act. Only if we feel the other, our self-centred obsession might end.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

New World Order

On a Monday morning in September, 19 years ago, I received a package from a friend. I opened it and took out a big pile of copied pages. It was a book, but no ordinary one – it was an illegal book, supposedly talking about what's really going on in the world. About the Rothschild family and other elites, freemasons, invented diseases and wars and hidden symbols. Intrigued, I started reading that same afternoon and didn't stop until I finished the last page the following morning. It was a fascinating and also unsettling read, leaving me wondering how much of it might actually be true. At 9am, Tuesday morning, I went to my neighbour‘s for a grounding tea and conversation. His TV was running and as soon as I sat down, the news came on. My eyes widened at once – the second plane was just crashing into the South Tower of the WTC in New York City. It was 9/11 and I had just spent the whole night reading a summary of all the conspiracies in the world. My heart raced – was this really a terrorist attack?

Since then, I've read many more books on conspiracies, I watched films like Zeitgeist and had countless conversations about 9/11, chemtrails, media manipulation and evil Bilderberg meetings. At some point, however, I stopped. I got really tired of all the wild theories, mainly because they don't inspire positive action. But this doesn't mean that I think it's all made up – there are very powerful people out there who get hooked on power and want more and more of it. Human nature I guess. I totally believe they misuse their power to create false stories, seeing the world as a big board game and are willing to do barbaric things just to control most of the game. You don't even need to read illegal books to come to this conclusion, it's enough to look at the work of lobbyists. Why do we still use coal to generate electricity, and petrol cars to move around, when clean and sustainable alternatives have long been available? Makes no sense whatsoever. Hence, I don't feel like a conspiracy theorist when I say that, yes, we are being mislead and fooled.

This year, 2020, conspiracy theories have been taken to another level though. Bill Gates is blamed for a virus and at the same time most who blame him think the virus doesn't even exist; Polititians are blamed for killing children and drinking their blood, and only Trump, Q and very high walls can save us from the worst people of all, the refugees. Climate change is a hoax invented by green parties who want to turn the world into an eco-dictatorship and the images of overcrowded hospitals were all shot in a Hollywood studio – it's a plandemic, of course!

Everyone is free to believe whatever they want. But here's a question: What good has blaming ever done? It seems so easy – if it's THEIR fault, THEY need to be eliminated and then the whole world will be a peaceful paradise. But in reality it's not easy at all.

Over the last months there has been a lot of talk about freedom, that our freedom is threatened. So let's talk about freedom:

  • You are free to you choose whichever bank you want – why do most of you still have your money in banks that invest in wars and pharmaceutical companies? Are you aware that you're actually financing the vaccines you're so scared of?
  • You are free to choose where you do your shopping – why do most of us still buy on Amazon, giving the richest man in the world even more money?
  • You are free to choose what you want to eat – why don't we all buy local and organic food? And no, price is no excuse, because the same people who use this excuse usually have a huge TV at home and spend fortunes on drinks and clothes and stuff from Ikea they never needed in the first place.
  • You are free to be loving and kind – why do you keep calling people stupid sheep?
  • You are free to talk about whatever you want – why do you choose to spread fear of evil elites when you could spread hope and compassion?

It's so easy to blame others – and so difficult to accept responsibilty and change yourself. Yet the latter is the only sane option we have. We need radical political change, no doubt about it, but first we need to acknowledge that each one of us plays an important role in this game. After all, Polititians and the Rich aren't aliens – they are people like you and me. If we keep being selfish and aggressive and corrupt, they will do the same. For THEY are US.

I dread to think what will happen when we are faced with a more serious problem than a little virus. When the climate goes crazy – iceage or heatwaves, take your pick – and there will be millions, not thousands, of people trying to survive by heading North. Are we going to let them drown and starve (as we do already), or perhaps shoot them right away?

Possibly the favourite three letters of the conspiracy community are NWO – New World Order. It's said that there's a big globalist agenda going on with the aim of establishing a totalitarian world government. Personally I actually think we need some kind of global authority, given that individual states aren't capable of tackling challenges such as the climate crisis and the ethics around artificial intelligence. But before we get lost in an endless discussion, here's a simple suggestion for a new world order: change the way you look at the map! Because as long as we continue to regard US at the top and THEM at the bottom, global peace and happiness ain't gonna happen. For this is the real elite terrorist attack, our perspective!

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Life in the desert

At the beginning of August I went to the desert. I met up with a friend who lives there, he took me walking in the wildness he calls home. We talked about change, lack of water, love and survival. I made a little film of it. Here it is.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Missing the silence

The road was empty. No cars, no tourists, no noise. Just me and the silent concrete.

I had just arrived at Málaga airport. I had been stranded in Germany for four months, far from my daughter, my girlfriend and the sea. It was June 21st, the beginning of summer, and I had come on one of the first flights after the Corona lockdown. I was greeted by a poster of a crucified Jesus with a colourful phrase asking me whether I was ready to have fun, then my temperature was taken and finally I exited the airport where I was interviewed by a local newspaper. Then a 10-minute walk to my car. On normal days, you can hardly cross the road, it's so busy – and always! That day, however, I walked right in the middle of the three lanes. It felt like I had landed in a post-apocalyptic world, the last survivor on planet Earth. All alone. The end.

Humankind has gone through far worse times than 2020. If you were to tell the people who lived through the black plague of the Middle Ages about Covid-19 they'd laugh at you! But considering that most of Europe has enjoyed several decades of peace and prosperity, the Corona crisis has been the biggest crisis most of us have experienced so far. Many voices were heard saying that nothing will be the same anymore. 'Life is now changed. Forever. What was is not coming back.' (Chris Martenson). A potential glimpse of hope for a world that has been getting sicker and sicker over the years. But is there really any reason to be hopeful?

Since I first came to the South of Spain, back in 2002, the whole area has become more and more dependent on tourism. When I returned after four months of lockdown, just a couple of weeks ago, I was met with two extremes: The airport was literally deserted, and the beaches were more packed than ever. No tourists from abroad meant there was no work and so most hotel and restaurant staff seized the opportunity and got comfortable in the sun. A deserved rest from the pandemic, why not. But you'd think people in charge would realize that it's not a good idea to remain so dependent on only one industry, in this case tourism. Having only one leg to stand on doesn't provide much resilience. And yet, since I got back, I’ve read about plans to convert more natural land into artificial resorts, to build more holiday homes for rich foreigners and to attract even more tourists than before Corona. Life is now changed? Doesn't look like it.

And then there are the masks. And gloves. And individual portions of olive oil in plastic packaging. And plastic cups and forks and knifes and plates and a zillion empty bottles of disinfectant. Forget 5G and Bill Gates, it seems the new Coronavirus was created by Mr and Mrs Plastic!

I'm not against masks. I think some people are going slightly over the top, like that guy my daughter told me about who was swimming with a mask on, fearing he might catch Covid-19 in the sea. But in general, wearing a mask in situations where you can't maintain a distance, like in shops, to me that makes sense. However, why can't we all get reusable masks? And possibly the most important question of all: why do so many people throw their single-use masks and gloves onto the street, onto the beach and into the woods? It makes me wonder whether we, as a human species, are actually still worthy of salvation. Most bacteria seem to have more consciousness and ethics than us lot.

I could continue by mentioning the woman I met the other day, who said she's a great Trump lover and thinks it's a crime that statues of cruel racist colonialists are being torn down. If I erected a three-metre monument of Adolf H. on my terrace in 2020, would I receive angry screams or applause?

So many reasons to get depressed. So many reasons to hide in a hole and forget about salvation.

There's a line in a song by STAY HOMAS, a group that was born during the recent confinement in Barcelona, that really stuck in my head. 'What will happen with the silence once the bells of freedom ring?' Whether you are Pro-Covid or Contra-Covid, perhaps the world would be a better place if we all stayed in lockdown.

I miss the silence.