The soundscape of family suburbs 468 483 Nadia Poulou
The soundscape of family suburbs


In the European (and not only) family suburbs, the city noises and usual urban chaos have been pushed away in favor of a quiet living for more or less wealthy middle-class families and some older couples.

Commuters in the morning, playing children in the weekend: this is the soundscape of the quiet, family suburbs, right? read more

Humble 880 513 Nadia Poulou

A good friend of mine showed me a job vacancy of a multinational site for the function of online content creator. There was something remarkable about it. Next to the usual technical and other skills one would expect the ideal candidate to possess, the adjective “humble” was also included. read more

Cancelled 150 150 Nadia Poulou

Home is where you’re actually happy to find out your flight from was cancelled.

Hologram 150 150 Nadia Poulou

“We All Might Be Living in an Infinite Hologram”: the right title to kick-off weekend reads

Oktoberfest 2014
Metro 450 600 Nadia Poulou

At the exit of a metro station #Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest 2014
Fly 880 660 Nadia Poulou

Because all that people want to do is fly #Oktoberfest2014

Home Simpson at the airport security
Ritual 624 342 Nadia Poulou

“Well, you are very organised”, the pleasantly social airport security employee told me after I had obediently unloaded all usual suspects (laptop, cosmetics etc.) from my hand luggage on the security belt.

“I’m doing this route at least twice a month”, I told her, “so it’s inevitable.”

“Well, I’m not sure”, she concluded. “Some people do the same routes several times a week, but never ever seem to get any better in it.”

Tasseography 600 450 Nadia Poulou

Brasserie im Literaturhaus Muenchen

Writer's block - the shrine (part 2)
Writer’s block – the shrine (part II) 800 677 Nadia Poulou
Writer’s block – the shrine (part II)

Neueus Museum, Nuremberg


Always 800 600 Nadia Poulou

Wall poetry, Nuremberg.

Grand Budapest Hotel
Friends 680 478 Nadia Poulou

With a little help from my friends….

(photo from here)

Spring 1024 768 Nadia Poulou
Endless 700 711 Nadia Poulou

“I have only one left” said the kiosk owner when I asked him for two packages of pocket tissues.

He handed me the one on the photo.

“Are  you sure there is only one left?” – I asked.

City Lights Hugo Claus
Finest kind 640 538 Nadia Poulou
Finest kind

Flemish poetry of the finest kind in the legendary City Lights bookstore in San Fransisco.

Coffee & Cigarettes - the movie
Popularity 711 400 Nadia Poulou

Low self-esteem suspicions now scientifically confirmed: “your friends are, on average, more popular than you”.

Reports 150 150 Nadia Poulou

Post-modern engineering: writing reports for projects that don’t even exist yet.

Flying man with umbrella
Reminder 560 400 Nadia Poulou

“Live and let print”

(Reminder to perfectionist translators uneager to leave their manuscript in the hands of editors they do not personally know.)

Package 150 150 Nadia Poulou

I was expecting a package, so when the bell of the downstairs entrance rang, I was quick to open it. I was waiting behind the entrance door of our third-floor Munich flat and it took only a short while before I heard a voice and a loud bang on it. I opened it.

The postman, a young man of around 25 was standing there but instead of handing me over the package he was carrying, he shouted loudly and with visible anger to me.

“You are wasting my time, don’t you understand? When I ring downstairs, you have to wait for me with your door open and not have me looking for and knocking on your door.” He afterwards repeated his message one more time with different words but with the same loud voice.

“I think you lose more time now telling me these things, than if you just give me this package and leave” I told him.

He handed over the package, I signed. But he did not cease shouting:

“Next time, you wait here with the door open when you have a package delivered and not waste people’s time.”

“If it makes you feel better, then we do it like this from now on”, I ensured him and closed the door before he turned to walk away.

Obviously, a German postman never rings twice, as I just found out.

The cast of the Office recreates George Seurat's Sunday in the Park
560 375 Nadia Poulou

The next best thing after working from home is home from working.

Leakers 150 150 Nadia Poulou

“I’ll publish it. I’m done. I’ll move on to the next thing. I’ve got 10 more where that came from.”

I could not help but feel jealous while reading these lines, part of Tarantino’s reaction on the leaking of his latest script. Jealousy at these lines is inevitable for anyone in a constant fight with the unpublished fiction writer’s chronic block.

Wanted: manuscript leakers, preferably active in the publishing industry. I admit it: I’ll publish it. I’m done. I’ve got 10 more where I came from.

Jerry Seinfeld and George Constanza
Productivity secret 500 372 Nadia Poulou
Productivity secret

Great Seinfeld interview at the Guardian. Funny how the “least neurotic Jew on earth” debunks another myth and verifies that productivity hacks work on belief and not on effect. There may be many people out there convinced that it was the Seinfeld Productivity Secret which fixed their procrastination problem, but Seinfeld himself will be the last one to claim credit for this.

“Really? There are people who think, ‘I’ll just sit around and do absolutely nothing, and somehow the work will get done’?” he wonders.

Well, it’s not a lie if you believe it, as George Costanza would say.



Europe - the band
Europe 530 400 Nadia Poulou

For 2014 as well, chances of the Eurozone dissolving are significantly higher than these of Europe (the band) breaking up.

Coffee spoons
426 400 Nadia Poulou

If Sunday afternoon’s cup of coffee is what kept one awake until late, the promise of Monday morning coffee is what makes one jump out of bed early.

Arnon Grunberg – Tirza (bookfaced by Mijntje, Maastricht 2013)
Meeting Grunberg 300 224 Nadia Poulou
Meeting Grunberg

It was not the first time I had seen Arnon Grunberg in Athens. The previous time, though, it was not actually the writer himself, but someone that looked a lot like him and was sitting opposite me in a half-empty subway train.

Few book lovers will openly admit this, but shortly crossing paths with your favorite writers -even the ones deceased long ago, is one of  the side effects you have to get used to if reading books is your favorite passtime.

For such a meeting with a favorite writer to occur, it is not necessary to have seen his picture first, as everyone claiming to have once seen Pynchon will assure you.

Grunberg’s case, however, is different: extensively photographed,  with continuous presence in literature events, television shows etc., he keeps on transmitting his coordinates via his frequent reports and columns in Dutch -but not only- newspapers as well as his blog, which is updated on a daily basis, from wherever in the world he happens to be.

This year, our paths have crossed each other’s many times. I am not only referring to that time when I saw him in the Athens metro (or saw his lookalike if you prefer, even though this is a detail not so important at this point). At the year of my life during which I have traveled more than any other, it was as if Grunberg was following my path – or I his.

The scenery: Munich, Thessaloniki, Amsterdam. But, as if in a good roman, it was not so easy to actually meet each other. The moment, i.e., that I was landing in an airport, Grunberg was posting the adventures of his departure from there. One night that I was sure I would bump into him in the streets of a town he was staying that month, he was meeting his readers in a suburb which I had never heard before.

The night of the 10th of December 2013, however, the time has come for the first actual encounter which, as in a good roman, was meant to take place in Athens. You see, all the years that I had been living in the Netherlands, Grunberg was not my favorite author yet.

When I reached the Ilisia theater, where the official premiere of the play Tirza would take place (based on his book with the same name), quite some people had already gathered in the small foyer and the entrance. I first saw  the Dutch ambassador arriving, which was not so difficult given his height. It took me a while, though, to spot Grunberg standing next to him. He was shorter than I expected and the fact that he was standing next to the tall ambassador, intesified the initial impression.

Grunberg was chatting with this company, hands in the pocket of a suit which would fit more an unofficial soirée at a mansion garden than the first really cold evening of this year’s winter. If you had never seen a picture of him, if you did not know who he was, you would never guess that this man was the honorable guest of the evening.

I like artists that enter through the front entrance  along with their audience, I thought, while focusing on the writer, his movements and the movements of the people around him. My thoughts were interrupted by a book that suddenly appeared in front of my eyes.

It was a collection of Emily Dickinson’s poems. It was put clumsily in front of my face by a restless young man with scared eyes. “I sell books for a living” he kept on repeating. Before I managed to react, he went on to the next potential buyer.

It happened to be the ambassador. For a second, Dickinson’s book was in the air, between him and Grunberg, but before any of them realized it, another man made sure the book seller went away.

I remembered that one of the reasons Grunberg was in Athens, is a reportage on the country and its crisis which he is preparing, similar to the one he had carried out in Thessaloniki for the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant.

How clear a picture of the crisis in Greece will Grunberg form if we protect him from those who are forced to sell books to theater queues in order to survive?

The time was there for the public to enter the theater, Grunberg coming along with mister ambassador  (or mister ambassador coming along with Grunberg, as the protocol most probably prescribes). I could write a lot about the discussion and the play that followed, but these are not my current points of attention.

My subject is that of a reader meeting her favorite writer,  a meeting which on the one hand is never meant to be and on the other to repeat itself continuously, since no serious reader has one and only one favorite writer.

Last Tuesday, however, my favorite writer was Grunberg. My seat on the very left of the second row, had the disadvantage of not having the best view of the stage, a result of me neither booking early enough nor having an invitation. That night, the majority of the public was invited for the premiere. My seat, however, had the advantage of a perfect view of Grunberg himself.

The hypertextuality and self-referrring element of the evening was exactly what I was in search for. The writer speaks about his work; the writer watches his work in a language he does not understand; the reader watches the work which she has already read in two languages, at the  same time tracing the routes of past and future readings of the novel; the Dutch ones among the audience seeing something else than the Greeks, the person sitting next to me seeing something else than me and altogether realizing once more that the biggest enemy of our deeper loneliness, is staying in the proximity of pieces of art.

When the play was over, Grunberg remained sitting in his seat while people were slowly leaving the theater hall.

“It would never actually be the perfect moment for something like this, this is why I dare do it now”, I say using my best Dutch, bending next to him.

He politely signs the two books which were touring around Attica the whole day, waiting patiently for this moment. In the past,  they had also been waiting in not few airports and train stations of more than three countries.

I thank him and leave. When I reach home, I look at the signings on the books with the perverse pride which only a bookworm would understand. Soon afterwards, though, a doubt creeps in. I know it’s irrational, but I cannot stop it.

Is it possible that the person I saw back then in the metro was the real Grunberg and the person I saw tonight is simply one of his clones that travel around the world,  one that knows exactly which jokes to say during a reading and who forges perfectly the writer’s signature? How can it be possible that this tiny man under the name of Grunberg is always everywhere while at the same time never ceases writing?

It could actually be the twist of a more or less good roman – depending who would write it.

Besides -and this is not to my vivid imagination, Grunberg is the writer who has made an art of being the lookalike and sometimes the stuntman of himself. He lets his books go their own way in translations, theater or cinema adaptations while he restlessly ensures that his own life keeps on writing its own self-referring roman. But even this one, he writes well, in his unique grunbergian way.

Shortly before the day is over, I read with delay a message on internet:

It’s the 10th of December, the date Emily Dickinson was born.

This article was first published in Greek on taal.gr

Drawing Hands - Escher
Feverishly 620 521 Nadia Poulou

By now, there are more blogs giving away the secrets of how to create the perfect blog than perfect blogs themselves. Of course, the former ones feverishly pretend they’re the latter, but what’s perfect for one is not perfect for the other – search engines and web stats excluded, of course.

Obviously, more and more Internet readers want to succesfully (whatever this means, as well) express themselves via their own, perfect blog.

Fame, recognition and some promise of money, however distant and vague: aren’t these the things every aspiring writer dreams of?

Dark Glasses
Eye exam 473 323 Nadia Poulou
Eye exam

I study nuclear science

I love my glasses

I got a crazy teacher, he wears dark classes…

(or something ♪♫ like this, anyway)

[photo: still from the timbuk 3 video]