My Finland notes:

1. At Munich airport, birdsong in the steel rafters, sparrows i believe, can’t see them but i’ve spotted the birds in the past; are they deliberately introduced or do they just fly haphazardly in? Do they shit on the floor? Their high chirping is an odd opposition to the occasional tannoy calls and the multicultural vibrancy diversity despair & nowhereness of all airport terminals. How do they get in? Do they breed? What do they live on? (crumbs from the cafes?) Do they prefer it to the outdoors?

2. Airplane to Helsinki, my asthma worsens. Strangely, the recycled air tastes like oxygen mask air, but my lungs rapidly roughen and i am wheezing after 30 minutes. Stewardesses are Finnish, they automatically use English and i automatically reply in German. Many misunderstandings.

3. Helsinki airport. Japanese everywhere, do they use Helsinki as a connecting node or are they visiting the city?

4. Approaching Oulu:

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i meet The Man in Black and take a taxi to his castle. We stay up drinking till midnight, and although i am now familiar with the Midnight Sun, it is still disconcerting to see the sky held in brightness – it stays so till dawn:

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5. The city isn’t such a bad place to live, about the same size as Kassel and Huddersfield, similarly small-town feel, but without the crime and misery of Huddersfield or the incestuous weirdness of Kassel. Like Kiel, Oulu is on the sea and so although the buildings are mostly hideous (the old wooden buildings were mysteriously subject to arson, to make way for a city-sponsored construction deal) it doesn’t feel too monstrous.

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We head to the seaside for protein and womanflesh. Scantily-clad Finnish maidens and seafood and diving seagulls:

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6. Camera dies on the 2nd day, battery drained after about 10 minutes of use. i fulminate. As technology complicates it more easily disintegrates, as does so-called civilisation, Tower of Babel-like. Hence, i prefer typewriters and pen to computers, and hence i would rather use a film camera if it weren’t so expensive to develop.

7. Man in Black & i finish watching Deadwood (we got to the start of Season 2 last year). We are obsessed by Al Swearengen’s blue China teacups, seemingly we are the only so interested as i can’t find a single jpeg online. Al drinks whisky from shot glasses, coffee from steel cups, and tea from blue China. Great line: “those that doubt me suck cock by choice!”

8. MIB has recently watched True Detective. He comments that Cohle follows the initiatory path, being expelled & outcast and only then becoming truly effective; the older, apparently alcoholic Cohle, is in fact playing a greater game, and as i rethink TD, i suspect the grey-haired Cohle isn’t the terminal alcoholic & failure he alleges himself to be, but, as with the 47 ronin, he is acting a part:

true d2

9. More than last year i note the differences between Finns and Germans. i meet the woman who was my eldest sister in my last life – she lives close by – and we walk Oulu. She has a limp and i prepare to shove pedestrians out of her path but in fact the Finns automatically weave a path around us. i remark that in Germany they would knock us both into the gutter, without even noticing it; she is incredulous but it is so – Germans seem oblivious to others and rely on bulk and girth to knock those they meet out of the way; hence, in Germany i am constantly vigilant, looking for a path through the huge muscle-clad oafs; the Finns are more akin to the English – and, i suspect, normal i.e. non-German, human beings – they don’t generally want collision and they can notice other people. There is something strangely uncaring and oblivious about Germans, so it is easy to imagine the average German turning impassively away as the Jews are beaten to death on the streets. i think even today they wouldn’t even really notice it, or if the assailants were uniformed they would accept that everything must be in order, then loot the Jewhouses and probably complain about how the Jews failed to keep their houses in good orderly German fashion.

Finns also don’t stare like Germans. i gaze openly at the scantily-clad Finnish women (it is about 30 degrees and humid) and disconcert them; here, i am an invasive species. Despite being one of the very few obviously non-Finnish people here, the only person to look at me is a bearded homosexual; in Germany, especially in my suburb or in Kassel, Germans stare at me with their typically cold, hostile attention, a kind of “what is this THING?” look. Cyclists even turn their heads to stare at me as they pass. It isn’t just for me, even a white female American colleague, whose family are originally German, says she hates the way Germans stare at her like a piece of meat. It goes strangely with their ability to knock you into the gutter without even noticing. The Germans have a one-way, aggressive attention, cold and uncaring – they look at everything and everyone as either a threat to their Gemütlichkeit or as an opportunity for profit. On the other hand, when they get to know you they are usually pleasant and accommodating – it’s just that if they don’t know you they would prefer you to die so they can have more Lebensraum.

10. Football, now. A strange World Cup as teams like Ghana and Algeria play intermittently world class football.  Germany outlasts them all, by a combination of technical skill (Schweinsteiger), opportunist greed (Müller), and flair (Klose). Final is one of the most tedious matches i’ve ever seen. No more football for 4 years, thank god.

11. i return to Deutschland. On the s-bahn from the airport i wonder who is German, returning home, and who is a Finnish tourist. Easy – the Germans stare coldly and take up as much room as possible, spreading their limbs and bags out to occupy all the available Lebensraum, then look angry and resentful when someone wants to sit down. Luckily i return with weaponry:

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The knife is a Lapp weapon, the dagger is replica German Navy, a strange find in a flea market in Oulu but there were many Germans stationed here in the war. i consider the connections across time and space, joining the Reich to this corner of northern Finland. And now i am back in 21st Century Munich, amidst the bustling oafs and starers, with my weapons.