Month: April 2017

XIV. 23/04-29/04/17; grooves

A policeman with hipster beard drinks red bull standing by the door. He gazes out of the window. The view is blocked by sound barriers. What is he looking at? A woman arrives and sits down next to me. She begins reading CVs. She has a cup of cheap coffee with her bought from Yorma, a chain of train-station convenience stores. She eventually settles into reading her company’s strategy paper. She works for easyCredit, TeamBank AG. The strategy centres around platitudes about customer focus and team-work. There is a section on leveraging new networks born out of the technological, digitised revolution. The positive economic conditions have led to an increase in consumer credit, it says. She underlines a section of text about how customers transfer expectations from other industries to the banking industry. The traditional inn has a comforting, analogue goodness. You have to let the needle of your attention move through the polished grooves of character. The shy friendliness of a waiter, the decor, the pairings of food and beer have all evolved and …

XIII. 16/04-21/04/17; hewn wood

I place myself at the front of the train. I was last on among seven people congregated in anticipation of a particular pair of doors. A bulky man wearing a blue and white horizontally striped shirt and a blue and pink diagonally striped tie moves his feet to the side towards the aisle so that I can pass and sit down. There is plenty of space. He is wearing an old Barbour jacket over his shirt and tie. He holds his phone out in front of him within his folded hands. The man opposite me has a shiny forehead and a pink tie with five diagonal white and black stripes. His getup looks expensive and new. But above his waist the shirt isn’t tucked in and the shirt folds outwards between the buttons making it all look wrinkled and diminishing the appearance. He has a cup of AMT coffee waiting for him on the table and for a while he had the receipt for it on his lap and it looked like he was entering the …

XII. 10/04-13/04/17; faces to spheres

The 6:59 is delayed by ten minutes. A train on the other side of the line will leave first. An announcement is made. A number of people cross over the bridge to the other platform to take the other train. The reaction of those who are left varies. Some have ignored the opportunity to change trains, while others are on edge: to change or not to change? Over the next few minutes two or three suddenly make a decision and rush over, running and breathing audibly as they pass. The delay was caused by problems with level crossings between Cambridge and Royston says the driver on the intercom. But now we are back to “line speed” and only a few moments behind schedule. For a few moments this holds true, then the train brakes to a crawl before accelerating again. The fields on the way to London are as green as the fields on the way to Vienna. Again the train brakes. Why can’t the load on the network be balanced more efficiently? A young …

XI. 03/04-07/04/17; reintermediation

En-route to Vienna and the Austrian stewardesses are dressed in red. Austrian airlines is behind the times: the service is professional and friendly, the uniforms are worn well, drinks are offered twice. The choice of snack is well-stated: “Sweet or salty?” It would be interesting to expand the palette: “sweet, sour, salty, bitter or umami?” We pass a large OMV refinery (Raffinerie Schwechat).  For a moment it looks like a futuristic city; tall structures dotted with lights. I put my glasses back on. Trees and open space and another impressive factory structure with red, white, red coloured chimneys. The relationship between cloud and sky is inverted. The clouds dominate and present a negative, grey-bluish space. Within this space there are small white-blue shapes. At first glance it appears as if these shapes are clouds set in a grey-blue sky, but in fact they are glimpses of the sky through the clouds. The taxi will be more expensive than expected. It’s a huge van, much to big for my suitcase. The taxi-rank manager shouted at passengers …

X. 27/03-01/04/17; spring thumps

A misty morning in early spring smells of freshly cut grass. The train horn honks around where I heard it yesterday when I stood at the top of the heath. Paying attention for the first time, the reason is apparent: there’s a level crossing here. (Under rules set by the Rail Safety and Standards Board, train drivers have to sound their horns when they approach level crossings, tunnels, or trackside workers.) The landscape is concealed by grey fog. The grass looks wet and dull. The boundary between the ground and the sky, with its ground-hugging clouds, is soft and imprecise. The lady next to me is listening to music on a small, thin music player. Its brand name is Lenco. A blue scarf with white dots is tied around her neck. The cord to the earphones is red. She has a small, brown leather satchel bag. A larger satchel hangs by its strap from the fold-out table. Gloves are placed neatly on top of a grey hat, which is perched on a tartan patterned scarf. …