Heyoka’s Workbench


Flyer anouncing the upcoming reading in Cologne.

This should be of interest for my German-speaking readers (i.e. for seven out of the total of eight, I presume). An old friend has arranged a reading at a small bar in Cologne on 9 August – and one among the posse who’re going to enter the stage will be yours truly. (Well, unless there is no stage.)

Surely, a cartoonist and blogger (and a lazy one at that) is not exactly someone you’d expect to appear on a stage or to even want to appear on a stage. And yet it’s not going to be the first time.

From the mid-nineties until 2008, I ran a little magazine together with some friends. It was a rather off-beat conglomerate of comic strips, cartoons and short texts, oscillating between the nonsensical and the gloomy. A (very favourable) review in a great satirical magazine once likened our little copy-and-paste paper to a playground – and that’s what it was. A self-made place for a bunch of creative nobodies to cavort around and experiment with words and drawings.

It was so exhilarating, that we asked ourselves: why confine our artistic drive to print only? Why not go live? – Our first foray into the world of live performances were appearances in radio shows (nothing fancy, to be sure, just amateur shows on local radio stations, for example on »Eldoradio«, the station run by the Dortmund University). And then, one day, there was the first real live gig in a bar before a visible and audible audience and it was scary and great and totally intoxicating!

All in all, we did about twenty live performances with changing lineups – sometines with music, sometimes together with other zine makers and artists’ groups, sometimes before just a dozen spectators, sometimes with bigger audiences.

And because it was so much fun, four of the old crew and I have decided – after a lull of 17 years! – to try it again. Enter the stage, talk nonsense, read our texts and see what happens.

(Für alle, die zufällig in Köln sein sollten oder Leute dort kennen, die Lust auf textlich Verwegenes haben könnten, hier noch einmal die Daten: wir lesen am 9. August ab 19 Uhr unter dem Titel »Odradeks literarische Butterfahrt« in der Asimmetric Bar.)