JAMES VARNEY – NORTH WEST
Die Ergötzung des Sommers
Aecht Schlenkerla Wheat is the unusual sibling of the classic Maerzen Smokebeer. Only the barley malt portion is smoked over beech wood logs while the wheat malt remains completely unsmoked. The light smokiness is coupled with complex notes of banana and clove created by the use of Bavarian style wheat beer yeast. It is unfiltered (cloudy), unpasteurized and bottle-conditioned.
I found a bottle of the stuff, Nick. I found a bottle of bacon beer, Speckbeer – in Lancaster, of all fucking places. The most unexpected thing, but I was damn ecstatic, four quid well spent. I say four quid, I think I paid three to keep the glass as well. Consider it a Pfand well spent. And you stole that Krug from the Wilde Rose Biergarten. There’s a certain joy in losing one’s deposit.
It doesn’t smell so good now, Nick. I didn’t rinse out the bottle and now there’s mould at the bottom. I pressed my nose against the mouth and inhaled deep before I realised. Perhaps now my nose is full of spores. Not as full as you. You’d be well acquainted with mould now, wouldn’t you, Nick? I’d treat the subject more sensitively but it’s you. And there’s a lot of fun to be had in how to describe that state. I’m sure you’d appreciate that.
They heard me singing and they told me to stop, quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock.
Well acquainted. That really was always you. And so often fleeting – ultimately, very fleeting – but well acquainted. And probably because you’d talk, and probably because you’d follow your whims. Well acquainted with people, with the country and its thinkers, well acquainted with idioms. You’d always seem closer to having eaten a dog about things than other people. Despite the drinking and the talking, you paid attention to the world.
One of the best I’ve ever taken, you know? I’m glad you at least got to see it – that I developed that first film while we were still there. And it is. And that was a good weekend, and we got a good host of Fastlucas out of it. A good host of memories. A good few gallons of German wine. Some snapshots.
Sometimes I wonder, if the world’s so small, then we can never get away from the sprawl.
We’re tearing out of Frankfurt towards the festival, which I’m still dubious about. I think there’s still that sense hanging in the air that we’re filling space in someone else’s plans. You’re reading Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea, Alessio and the sun are on your right, Anton’s stood behind you and I can’t remember if Igor or a stranger is next to me, but the late afternoon early evening light feels (and was) perfect and I take it. And you’ve got that smile that’s not smug, but so content. And I’ll never forget what I said to you, that seems truer the more words I write, “I’ve made you immortal”.
And it feels funny, that I’ve still not developed that second film with you on. But I will. We’ll see whether it happens any time soon and I’m certainly not in any rush so you can see them. But there’s that moment – and I think this is what I’m getting at – there’s that moment, isn’t there? Where the film’s developed and that tiny click snap of a moment is put into context and you see it solidified in front of you. Though the moment’s gone and disintegrated, there’s a part of it that’s only real, only precious once you’ve a record of the thing that’s died. And before you can see it, the thing has to die.
And yes, I’m listening to Arcade Fire writing this. Thank you for that gift. I wonder if I’ll ever stop immortalising you. Maybe I’ll always come back to you – if nothing else, a milestone.
And there’s no end in sight. I need the darkness, someone please cut the lights.