Heidelberg: philosophy compulsory

My favourite moment of the Baden-Baden Grayson Perry incident happens without him, back at the Capuchin-Radisson reception desk. An elderly German couple were, they explain, sitting behind me in the Travel Pussy cafe. They want to know, pretty simply – what the hell was all that about?

Neither my German or their English are up to the post-modernish complexities of Grayson Perry’s life, art work, persona; the project itself; or Philippa Perry – yes, I keep saying, Grayson’s wife. This is a stumbling block.

We use the receptionist, Russian, to translate – even then we are in Scarlett/Bill Murray land, lost in translation.

The photographs of the meeting with the BBC crew, the artist and his wife, are all on Facebook, so sign up if you need to see these, plus a ton of rapturous landscapes. One of the foibles of the IPAD is that it doesn’t look as if I can post pix to my blog site, though Facebook is a simple email exercise. Well done Mr. Zuckermann. Sorry about the movie.

For those that haven’t seen the pictures the point about Grayson Perry’s persona, is that he is dressed in an exotic costume, a woman’s dress that’s a sort of space-cadet take on Tootsie, and it’s all to do with someone called “Clare.” There’s a lot of iconography going on, but that’s for real Freeze art critics, I’ve got enough on my plate with the catholics and protestants.

Heidelberg looks a bit grim @ the Banhof, then blossoms in a gorgeous triangulation of river, hills, ruins, and old town. It’s raining and who cares?

It really has all happened here: Martin Luther, Goethe, Hannah Arendt and the American army (still based in a camp just outside town) have lived in Heidelberg. There’s a pedestrianised old main street, with glossy stores and a Foreign-Student Pleasing Starbucks, almost empty. A fine bricked marketplatz and cathedral, a dominating, high on the hill.semi-ruined castle out of the imagination of every gothic novel, and then some. Only it is far older.

As Johann Holderlin wrote, in Heidelberg:

But heavy, hulking into the valley hung
The Fate-Acquainted castle, the vast, all Torn
And battered down to its foundations:
Neverthesless even there the sun now…

Coryat like the place too:

Moreover there are fome that affirmed it i called Heidelberg quasi Adelberg, that is, a noble City, in regard of the nobility, the elegancy, and fweetneffe of the fituation thereof…

I march up to the castle without funicular, the views are stunning, everything triangulates, seems whole. Even the hundreds of camera-friendly umbrella holders, Japanese often. At the arch to the old bridge, fifty metres from my hotel there appears to a continuous Japanese wedding taking place. I think for a moment of Barney and Bjork and their Japanese Whale Ship.

I miss lunch.

It’s hard not to feel philosophical here.. Compulsory really. I walk back down windy curved streets and take in the university where Luther defended his revolutionary thesis, and kick-started the Protestant Revolution. And where 400 years later Max Weber invented the Protestant Work Ethic. Then a second hand book store, old boxed set DVDs of Fasbinder, Douglas Sirk, Catherine Deneuve.

I immediately imagine a Jacques Demy movie set here, The Philosophers of Heidelberg. Francois Dorleac as Hannah Arendt, Maybe Delon as Karl Jaspers…People next, I guess.

About robhunt510

Writer, artist
This entry was posted in Arendt, Goethe, Grayson Perry, Heidelberg, Holderlin, Martin Luther, Thomas Coryat. Bookmark the permalink.

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