Do You Read Me?!, 2011

3 friends, 5 comrades, 3 heroes (dead)


1. Moritz von Uslar
100 Fragen an…, KIWI 2004
The famous Kalashnikov-talks, funny and bright. With Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton, or Karl Lagerfeld, “How do you eat asparagus?” I met Moritz once on the street in Munich totally in rage; he was just kicked out of a Woody Allen interview after 77 questions (20 about glasses). “I’ll go back in, I’ll go back in!” he shouted. And he did and Mr. Allen answered another 23 questions (mostly about sex).

2. Georg Diez
Der Tod Meiner Mutter, KIWI 2009
Don’t be afraid. It’s a memoir; it’s about his mother dying from cancer. But it is beautiful, tender and sad. Two generations Germany, Munich, hospitals and a lot about the weather.

3. Brandlhuber 1992-2008
Walter König, Köln 2009
First of all it’s cool and modern and all that, but then it’s full of myth, history, storytelling and imaginary. See his building on Brunnenstraße in Berlin and you want to live in a house by Arno Brandlhuber, in a city or world thought by him.


4. Slavoj Žižek
In Defence of Lost Causes / Auf verlorenem Posten
Verso 2008 / Edition Suhrkamp 2009
The master of fast talk, much deeper then many wish. When we met him for 80*81’s first book, the Lost Causes were just out. In defending the Grand Narratives we forced him to name one model for the future, one idea to plant the virus of the big WE. And  Slavoj cited Franz Kafka’s  Josephine the Mouse Singer and the TV series Heroes. “A confederation of freaks.” How great is that!

5. Don DeLillo
Mao II, Penguin Books, 1992
Still my favorite book on terrorism. On mass mind and writing. “In societies reduced to blur and glut, terror is the only meaningful act. There’s too much everything, more things and messages and meanings than we can use in ten thousand lifetimes. Inertia-hysteria. Is history possible? Is anyone serious? Who do we take seriously? Only the lethal believer, the person who kills and dies for faith. Everything else is absorbed.” See also the great DIAL HISTORY, by Johan Grimonprez with Mao II quotes, from 1997.

6. Enki Bilal/ Pierre Christin
Fins de Siècle, Casterman, 2008 / Deutsch Ehapha, 2008
Their two best comic books Les Phalanges De L’ordre Noir /Der Schlaf der Vernunft, written in the year of General Franco’s death, in 1975, and Partie De Chasse / Treibjagd,  from 1983. Both comic books take the history of Old Europe as a basis and go far beyond the confines of reality.

7. Douglas Coupland
PlayerOne, William Heinemann, 2010
Somehow he is overlooked, like J.G. Ballard or Kurt Vonnegut. Too commercial, too funny? PlayerOne is a real-time-five-hour story set in an airport cocktail lounge during a global disaster. For the appendix alone––”Future Legend”––it’s worth reading it. This also stands for Bret Easton Ellis’ Glamorama, and Atomised by Michel Houellebecq and all the other great books not on the list.

heroes (dead)

8. William S. Burroughs
Cities Of The Red Night, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1980
Burroughs’ magnum opus, his great novel. “The chance was there. The chance was missed.” More than ever Burroughs is the author of the hour. He knew that it’s not about reception but about spreading the virus. It’s about infection. ”Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.” The last words of Hassan i Sabbah, Old Man of the Mountain. “Tamaghis … Ba’dan … Yass-Waddah … Waghdas … Naufana… Ghadis.” It is said that an initiate who wishes to know the answer to any question need only repeat these words as he falls asleep and the answer will come in a dream.“

9.Rolf Dieter Brinkmann
Rom, Blicke, Rowohlt 1979
The first poet of German Pop-Literatur hated the fashionable leftist literature with its platitudes, its sensibility and the lack of present. Brinkmann died in London in April 1975, before he could ever listen to punk rock. He would have loved it. Rom, Blicke was posthumously published and contains mostly letters and postcards. Stands also for Einar Schleef and Rainald Goetz.

10. Dashiell Hammett
The Maltese Falcon, Penguin GB Reprint, 1966
The most beautiful cover I know. The wooden falcon with blood running down the head and beak. Red Harvest might be the better book, or Raymond Chandler altogether but this is the best cover. Stands for all the great thrillers of the tough guys.