Imagine

Imagine by John Lennon

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

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Himmel über Berlin

I just saw the movie Himmel über Berlin -Heaven over Berlin- which was recorded in Berlin in 1987, two years before the collapse of the wall, before the end of the cold war. It gives a beautiful insight of Berlin in that time, and is a story of angels watching over the poor, lonely and sad people in the city. One of the angels, Damien, falls in love with Marion, a human trapeze artist.

Following poem from Peter Handke is part of the film. I like this! beneath the English version is the original version in German.

Kind Regards,

Ben

ps. for all of you all the best wishes for 2015!!

           English version:
Lied vom Kindsein (song of childhood)

When the child was a child
It walked with its arms swinging.
It wanted the stream to be a river
the river a torrent
and this puddle to be the sea.

When the child was a child
It didn’t know it was a child.
Everything was full of life,
and all life was one.

When the child was a child
It had no opinions about anything.
It had no habits.
It sat cross-legged,
took off running,
had a cowlick in its hair
and didn’t make a face when photographed.

When the child was a child
it was the time of these questions:
Why am I me, and why not you?
Why am I here, and why not there?
When did time begin, and where does space end?
Isn’t life under the sun just a dream?
Isn’t what I see, hear and smell
only the illusion of a world before the world?
Does evil actually exist,
and are there people who are really evil?
How can it be that I, who am I,
didn’t exist before I came to be
and that someday
the one who I am
will no longer be the one I am?

When the child was a child
it choked on spinach, peas, rice pudding
and on steamed cauliflower.
Now it eats all of those
and not just because it has to.

When the child was a child
it once woke up in a strange bed
and now it does so time and time again.
Many people seemed beautiful then
and now only a few, if it’s lucky.
It had a precise picture of paradise
and now it can only guess at it.
It could not conceive of nothingness
and today it shudders at the idea.

When the child was a child
it played with enthusiasm
and now
it gets equally excited
but only when it concerns
its work.

When the child was a child
berries fell into its hand as only berries do
and they still do now.
Fresh walnuts made its tongue raw
and they still do now.
On every mountaintop it had a longing
for yet a higher mountain.
And in each city it had a longing
for yet a bigger city.
And it is still that way.
It reached for the cherries in the treetop
with the elation it still feels today.
It was shy with all strangers
           German version:
Lied vom Kindsein

Als das Kind Kind war,
ging es mit hängenden Armen,
wollte der Bach sei ein Fluß,
der Fluß sei ein Strom,
und diese Pfütze das Meer.

Als das Kind Kind war,
wußte es nicht, daß es Kind war,
alles war ihm beseelt,
und alle Seelen waren eins.

Als das Kind Kind war,
hatte es von nichts eine Meinung,
hatte keine Gewohnheit,
saß oft im Schneidersitz,
lief aus dem Stand,
hatte einen Wirbel im Haar
und machte kein Gesicht beim fotografieren.

Als das Kind Kind war,
war es die Zeit der folgenden Fragen:
Warum bin ich ich und warum nicht du?
Warum bin ich hier und warum nicht dort?
Wann begann die Zeit und wo endet der Raum?
Ist das Leben unter der Sonne nicht bloß ein Traum?
Ist was ich sehe und höre und rieche
nicht bloß der Schein einer Welt vor der Welt?
Gibt es tatsächlich das Böse und Leute,
die wirklich die Bösen sind?
Wie kann es sein, daß ich, der ich bin,
bevor ich wurde, nicht war,
und daß einmal ich, der ich bin,
nicht mehr der ich bin, sein werde?

Als das Kind Kind war,
würgte es am Spinat, an den Erbsen, am Milchreis,
und am gedünsteten Blumenkohl.
und ißt jetzt das alles und nicht nur zur Not.

Als das Kind Kind war,
erwachte es einmal in einem fremden Bett
und jetzt immer wieder,
erschienen ihm viele Menschen schön
und jetzt nur noch im Glücksfall,
stellte es sich klar ein Paradies vor
und kann es jetzt höchstens ahnen,
konnte es sich Nichts nicht denken
und schaudert heute davor.

Als das Kind Kind war,
spielte es mit Begeisterung
und jetzt, so ganz bei der Sache wie damals, nur noch,
wenn diese Sache seine Arbeit ist.

Als das Kind Kind war,
genügten ihm als Nahrung Apfel, Brot,
und so ist es immer noch.

Als das Kind Kind war,
fielen ihm die Beeren wie nur Beeren in die Hand
und jetzt immer noch,
machten ihm die frischen Walnüsse eine rauhe Zunge
und jetzt immer noch,
hatte es auf jedem Berg
die Sehnsucht nach dem immer höheren Berg,
und in jeder Stadt
die Sehnsucht nach der noch größeren Stadt,
und das ist immer noch so,
griff im Wipfel eines Baums nach dem Kirschen in einemHochgefühl
wie auch heute noch,

eine Scheu vor jedem Fremden
und hat sie immer noch,
wartete es auf den ersten Schnee,
und wartet so immer noch.

Als das Kind Kind war,
warf es einen Stock als Lanze gegen den Baum,
und sie zittert da heute noch.

Wharfs of Utrecht (Netherlands)

The story of the wharfs in Utrecht starts with the digging of the canals, around the year 1100 AD. The ground excavated was used to raise the sides of the canal, to reduce the chance of flooding. When the city’s system of locks was finished in 1275 the water level was constant, enabling the creation of permanently dry cellars and new quays at water level, hence the typical wharfs (Dutch: werven) below street level. The quays were (and are still) at the same level as the cellars of the canal houses. Merchands who stored their belongings on the quays or wharfs started digging a tunnel from the wharf to their houses underneath the roads. The wharfcellars so grew as an initiative of inhabitants of the city to create storage for their goods. Slowly but surely all these cellars were locked with a fence or with a wall and door, how we get to the wharfs we see today. This process of building was finished around the year 1500 when al wharfs in the city Utrecht, along the ca 4 km long canal system, had their own cellars on both sides of the canals. Since this was an initiative of local owners, every cellar is unique, not one the same.

     wharfs end 19th century
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At the end of the 19th century, when transport over land became overhand more important, the wharfs felt in disuse, lost their function. With this they got into decline. Right after WWII society urged for refurbishment of the quays. This was very difficult because lots of owners were involved with different interests. The local authority decided to buy all wharfs and quay walls, not the cellars behind it. In 1949 project was started to refurbish the wharfs and quay walls. This project was finished in 1979 with the removal of all kinds of fences that had separated the different sections of different owners.

The image of the city changed dramatically with that intervention. For the first time in all those centuries a public street along the canal at water level was created. This meant that people could enter the wharfs and use them as public space. With the refurbishment of the wharfs and quay walls the job was not finished. Also the wharf cellars needed refurbishment. to resolve this problem, the local authority made an alliance with the owners in 1993. A start was made to the refurbishment and making the cellars waterproof. In the following nine years almost all of the about 700 cellars were refurbished!

  wharf cellar inside
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At this very moment the cellars serve as space for restaurants, musea, brewers, and other kinds of public spaces (in the picture a flex office).