Piano Activism


Arne Schmitt travels the world to make music. He might not be the first musician to play the downtown pedestrian zones of many famous cities but he surely doesn’t have that much competition in the piano department.

When the city of Frankfurt denied him a street musician’s license (which it grants to hundreds of other performers every year) because of his instrument, he had to improvise… and took advantage of Germany’s liberal demonstration laws, turning his music into a protest against instrumental discrimination.


That’s a pretty inspired approach. On the other hand I found this picture in my archives:

IMG_20140322_133804 (1)

… so maybe this isn’t “instrument discrimination” as much as the usual ass-draggy Frankfurt bureaucratic nightmare apparatus.


“Serious Journalists Only”

“Serious Journalists Only”

This was, no shit, a true conversation today. The original is in German, the magazine in question is a pretty well known German mag:

They: “Thank you for applying for a position with us”
Me: “Thanks for getting back to me. To clarify, this is not a full time position application but a submitted piece for your consideration to publish.”
M: “Ah, OK, yes, that’s what we have here. We just have to vet our writers just as well, free or full time, so you understand, right? We need quality articles.”
M: “Yes, have you read what I sent you? Do you like it?”
M: “No, we usually do this interview before reading submissions”
M: “Uh, ok?”
M: “Yes, so you are a journalist by trade?”
M: “Depends on your definition. I write.”
M: “Ok, cool. Can you send us your KSK [that’s a German social insurance provider for artists] paperwork?”
M: “No, I am not with KSK, I write predominantly for US publications.”
M: “And you studied Journalism in English or German?”
M: “I didn’t study journalism. I never said I did.”
M: “That might be an issue, we only hire journalists”
M: “I am not looking to get hired, I sent you a piece for your consideration to publish. It’s what freelancers do.”
M: “Oh, OK. Hmmmm…. can you fax us some of your writing?”
M: “I can do you one better, I can email you the links. Shouldn’t you read what I sent you, though?”
M: “Oh, so they’re online?”
M: “Yes, they are. All there for you to peruse. About that thing I sent you…”
M: “I am so sorry, we can’t accept online journalism for consideration, we only publish serious journalism”
M: “You guys are a WEB BASED magazine, this was a submission for the web.”
M: “Yes, but we need serious journalists.”
M: “So, let me get this straight? What I sent you doesn’t matter. What I wrote doesn’t matter? Because you only publish print journalists on your web based magazine?”
M: “Yes, you understand, we’re a serious publication, we only hire serious journalists”

… that’s when I hung up.

Alpine Nights


A warm easterly wind blew music and laughter my way, the sound of the water splashing against the boats was hypnotic, and the lights of the cable car in the distance flickered as the wind swayed the gondolas. The great thing about vacations is that they have an end. Not that I wanted to leave, but knowing this would be my last night at the lake made it so much more important to stay in the moment, take it all in, enjoy as much and as well as I could.

Walking back from sitting at the shore for a while I was intercepted by my hotel’s receptionist who invited me to join her and her friends for one last beer. It would be much, much, later before I finally fell into my bed, secure in the knowledge that I had taken in everything I could.