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What is reality and what is imagination? What is the so called real world and what is our individual perception of it? Some feel trapped in their lives, others feel they don’t have a life at all, while still others have difficulties navigating between their own imagination and the reality that surrounds them. The Great Dane doesn’t worry so much about what is what, he just acts on what comes to him, hoping it might somehow enrich himself or somebody else. You could say that the Great Dane is the flesh of the world, that he just tries to learn what’s going on, or fails to do so, and then tries to do it better the next time. What is most important is that he is alive and in an ongoing becoming with the world.
Back in Berlin, the harsh reality soon caught up with the Great Dane. Most people he knew didn’t have time to entertain him because they were busy with their own everyday doings in the world: working, studying, shopping, sleeping, eating, cleaning, washing clothes, cutting toe nails, coloring eyebrows, working out, dieting, having babies, selecting new curtains, fighting bedbugs, watering flowers, watching TV-series, flashing their lives on social media, feeling sorry for themselves, searching for themselves, getting lost in themselves, blowing their noses in public. The Great Dane’s friend, the ex-vegan bicycle builder, whom he had come to help, especially disappointed him. He spent all his time worrying about life, shopping for things for the coming baby, or working hard to earn extra money at the sperm bank, where he was responsible for updating a porn database. Returning to the city that the Great Dane had fled only a few days ago had perhaps not been such a good idea after all. Fortunately, he was a Great Dane, born in the north with superior talents for surviving in all kinds of rough human environments. His great intuition told him that he should put on his perfect party face, activate his superb drinking skills and go hunting for good company at the city’s clubs, bars and joints until something extraordinary illuminated his life.
And so it happened. On an adventurous trip through the hedonistic Disneyland of Berlin’s nightlife he found his way to the Great Church of Clubbing, where he stumbled upon a nicely dressed young woman and two geeky looking guys, sitting doped and alone in the corner of a dark room. They presented themselves as Windy, Pinky and Schabe. Obviously names they had made up to cover their true identity. But although their names were meant to be funny, they themselves weren’t up to any kind of fun at all. The guy called Schabe was the serious type, constantly searching around in the dark for stuff he could examine closely: bottles, glasses, straws, shoes, pieces of clothes, used condoms, crumpled toilet paper. When he found something that seemed interesting, he would put it in a little brown shoulder bag as a souvenir. Windy, a woman for details, carefully listened to the sounds of peoples’ lust, watching their bodies, their movements, and how they kissed, touched, sweated and had sex while she made notes in a black notebook for professional and personal use. Meanwhile, the last one, Pinky, was the beer drinking type of guy with a big mouth full of too many words. He would sneak around in the room and interrupt people to ask them questions concerning their body, sexual preferences and experiences, how they felt when having sex and how bad you should be to get slapped in the ass.
They seemed to have had come to the dark room looking for something special. However, when the Great Dane asked them what they were doing, they at once started to sob all over him, complaining about some boring magazine of theirs and a life without meaning, a superficial self image which the magazine had created around them. It seemed as if they always ended up publishing the same tiresome stories written by the same self-righteous people for the same politically correct readers. And now they couldn’t distinguish between what the readers expected of them and what they wanted for themselves. This made them feel entrapped in a painful imaginary life, where the only possible escape was to hide in the dark rooms in Berlin’s clubs. Their greatest desire was to change the image of the magazine radically, to shake up their readers with exciting stories from the real world. But as always with ordinary people, editors as well as readers, they lacked the will to go the whole way. In fact they needed a good excuse to choose another path. They needed somebody who dared to show them the way forward.
The Great Dane felt pity for them, which made him feel especially good about himself, because it meant that he had a chance to help somebody in need, thereby showing the world how great a person he truly was. Not only was he born with superior courage, intellect and imagination, but he had been running around in the great wilderness of nature his entire childhood, and was therefore immune to all the pitfalls of urban culture. Who other than himself could lead them towards a new and more meaningful path? He could already hear the wind of change blowing through the streets of Berlin. Yes, he would be honoured to be their excuse. Telling their readers about his great person and adventurous life. Showing them how the world actually should be. And hopefully getting them to follow the inscrutable ways of the Great Dane.
Just Another Alter Ego is a series of articles about a bumpy road trip into an urban utopia: not one still to come, not one that someday may be, but one that already is the hard, thrilling and colourful hyperreality of life in Berlin.
Illustrations © Sally Wilde