12 July 2007

Kein Zurück

Okay, now I’m musically stuck in the summer of 2003.

During the heatwave that took many lives in Europe that summer, I was meant to be doing the fieldwork for my PhD. Leaving the apartment everyday was an act of courage because it was so hot. Moreover, I was terrified that I’d get the whole ethnography thing wrong and my research project would be a complete failure. As the days ticked away, and my field notebook remained dismally empty, inspiration came from a melancholy song about life from the synthpop duo Wolfsheim.

The song, Kein Zurück (loosely translated as No Return), is a reminder that life has no rewind button; you can’t return to the past, you just have to keep moving forward. It’s also a reminder that what you’re doing can’t ever really be undone: “was getan ist ist getan.” And finally, it is a reminder that life is what is happening now, and not in some magical future when you imagine you'll have all your shit together:

Deine Träume schiebst du endlos vor dir her
Du willst noch leben irgendwann
Doch wenn nicht heute, wann denn dann?
Denn irgendwann ist auch ein Traum zu lange her.

I was also moved by the crazy woman in the video, who seemed to embody all of the frustration I felt that summer. But let's not pretend that the song belongs to my past, I still listen to it at least once a day.