In Linz the Christmas market is set around the Plague Memorial Pillar in the main square. The monument, which stretches out the golden trinity from a cloud-pillar into the swamp-grey winter skies, was erected in the early 18th century at the site of an ancient pillory (where common criminals had been exposed to the public). The most important reason for the column’s erection was to mark the end of the plague epidemic that had raged in the region until 1713.
Available at this market is everything required to fire Christmas dreams: Glühwein (heated spiced wine) and sweet pastries, a «Chai Shop», aromatic oils, wooden images of lover-couples, gnome-shaped tins, cuddly mufflers, transcendental chocolate made by «Manufaktur Styx» and earthly pepper mills inscribed with tips for a fulfilling sexual life. Of course, also on sale here are crib figures in all sizes, handmade decorations for Christmas trees and, for just 29.5 Euro, you can have as your very own possession Maria and Joseph together with child and animals as «Tableau Clock ‹Silent Night› with Snow».
Small groups of secondary school-children jostle around before a stand selling French fries, liver pate buns, mini smoked sausages, puffs, rösti and potato patties, and an ominous bread called Langos. They are pushed out by a troop of older men from a home who - assisted by their care-givers - greedily attack the sausages and buns. One of them, squinting as if the world is coming to an end on the tip of his nose, holds a «Fanta» bottle to his mouth with both hands and drinks it to the last drop. Another, whose cap will just not sit properly on his head, nibbles greedily on a sausage bun while simultaneously feeding the pigeons at his feet – after a while one of the guardians notices that the man is feeding only the birds with bread and sausage, while for himself he is only stuffing the paper wrapper into his mouth. The old men then have competition in the form of a second group from a home with somewhat younger patients. They are escorted by a lanky giant with a bent posture, who walks jerkily over the cobblestoned pavement. While the old ones scatter in all directions, alarming the guardians, the younger ones stay firmly by each other’s side, as if in this manner they can protect themselves from the dangers of this world. The pack comes to a halt at a candle stall named «Lebenshilfe» – and the salesgirl nervously begins to put her display wares in order.
Recently I read that the dreams of the mentally ill are no different from the dreams of those who do not need to live in an asylum. Whether that is indeed true I do not know, but it sounds logical. Just last night I was first pushed by a laughing pig into a flower shop, later abducted by aliens onto a ship whose smoking zones were little spas in floating ice blocks. The madness of the night has probably no influence over what the reason of the day makes me do – but it influences how I feel while I do it, and the flow of my thoughts.
Since World War II the town of Linz has unceasingly suffered from the fact that Adolf Hitler had wanted to spend his retirement here. The idea that his dreams were no different from those of the mentally ill would have not pleased Hitler at all. It somewhat irritates me also that, on this basis, I as a dreamer cannot differentiate myself from Adolf Hitler.
First Publication: XXXXXXXXX 6-4-2014