The dog’s obedience to the master

dogt raining (pexels, cc0)

In the crime novel Käferplage (to be published in English as ‘Campbell’s Fab Store’ at a later point in time), which I am currently writing and publishing as a serial story, the characters are confronted with the question of truth and reality, and how to distinguish them from lies and illusion. Here is an excerpt from the eleventh chapter.

German-speakers may already start to read the story online at

He didn’t know what annoyed him more: that he had allowed himself to be ridiculed, or that this incredibly self-convinced person had not even considered looking at the circumstantial evidence, but instead just put it in a box labelled ” silly stuff”, along with all the other things that “everyone knows” can’t be true. The majority of people went through the world blindly, believing what they saw was self-explanatory. Yet what they saw was shown and explained to them – by media that served quite different purposes than reporting the truth. As if it were so outlandish that those who were rich and powerful would like to remain so. “If I had made billions in fraud, deceit and murder, I would likewise do whatever was necessary to ensure that people heard my innocuous explanations, not the squawking of those affected or the reports of the investigators,” Zach grumbled into his three-day beard.

Because most people could not distinguish reality from the media-produced theatrical backdrop, Tony Blair had succeeded in rushing Britain into a war against Iraq. Young soldiers had thrown their lives away helping to search for weapons of mass destruction that had been made up… to cite just one provable recent example of established media willfully painting a false reality in its entirety. Not an exception, but the rule. There were major crimes – even of breathtaking dimensions – happening right here and now in front of everyone’s eyes, but one was not allowed to mention the bare facts, either matter-of-factly or in jest, if one wanted to keep one’s income, home, friendships, freedom and health. As a private investigator, he knew only too well how that went. The worst injustices happened with the knowledge and approval, often even with the participation of the authorities, covered up by ‘journalists’ who knew when to look the other way and who to denounce. That is why he was not at all surprised that at least one of the two groups of people – the confirmers and the deniers of the authenticity of the Mal Evans Archive – had allowed themselves to be used to convey a certain impression. Resourcefulness was punished while the dog’s obedience to the master paid off. And the master wanted the unanimous display of professional or administrative authority. When everyone said, “Listen to the experts; there’s nothing to be seen here!”, only a few dared to risk a second look. Peer pressure was an effective way to bring free-grazing sheep back into the fold.

Zachary Ziegler owed his success as a detective to the fact that he did not give in to such pressure when it came to the truth. No one was immune from deception, but one had to retain the freedom to consciously perceive and admit one’s mistakes. Those who remained glued to the theatre chair – be it a chair in the stalls, be it a box seat – out of comfort, fear of standing out from the crowd or for the sake of feeling good would never know who these people on stage really were or what they were doing behind the scenes. They lived in an elaborately constructed world of make-believe. After a while, they forgot that it was artificial; it became the world as such, no matter how absurd it might get. That’s why people like Commissar Wickens disgusted Zach. They acted as doorkeepers, dictating to others the spaces in which they could mentally move, what they could or could not do, think or ignore, under penalty of social ostracism.

For someone like Zach, the taboos postulated by people like Wickens raised questions. The detective had feared he had revealed more than he had learned until the commissar had sort of poked his nose at something: the motive for the two violent deaths related to the Evans memoir – and for the disappearance of the manuscript – might have been the looming exposure of an impostor in the ranks of the world’s most successful rock band. If second-tier acts like the Monkees or Milli Vanilli were already punished with commercial annihilation for merely pretending to be musicians, the same accusation would cause an earthquake in the Beatles‘ case. It would overshadow the cherished memories of untold millions of music listeners, undermine the credibility of internationally important personalities and ruin the image of a country and an industry. Not least, billions of British pounds were at stake. Compared to that, what was a paltry million for the yellowed manuscript or the lives of two small characters who had made their living from the waste of this Beatles machinery?

Zach wanted to see if the trail Wickens had tried to throw him off of might lead him further.

Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey

beatles for sale by uptowngirl587 (deviantart CC BY-SA 3)

It might get a bit less busy on this blog (as though I’m overburdening regular readers with too much content, ha!). The reason is, I finally decided that I did enough of getting off my ass, and it was time to be bearing down on it, writing a novel. As opposed to working translations (eleven books so far) or writing pamphlets (twice) creating fiction keeps my mind busy with the characters, places and story almost constantly. No bandwidth left for anything else. It feels like when I immerse myself into a great movie or book, only more interactive. Well, at least I prefer to think so. Two weeks into the actual writing it sometimes seems as though the story develops a life of its own. So I’m not fully sure how it will turn out but I’ve seen glimpses of it.

The main characters of Campbell’s Fab Store – that’s the working title of the piece – are trying to unveil the secrets of some obscure Liverpool gang calling themselves The Beatles, whose creative relation to truth causes confusion even five decades after the Beatles’ disbanding. Nothing’s what it seems with them, even when disregarding rumours, fan fiction, speculations and conspiracy theories. Each time I tried to distil “the official narrative” I ended up with the question, “Which one of the official narratives exactly?”

And so the hero of my mystery novel who just wanted to take possession of his late step brother’s estate gets lost in a growing swamp of ambiguities, half-truths, lies, fantasies and missing links. A missing (now actually lost) manuscript, an industrious (previously living breathing) shop keeper and a club of aging (yet forever immature) rarities collectors keep his mind on edge til he cries for Dr Robert, who probably doesn’t play games – or does he?

Those of you interested in reading the novel will not have to abandon all philosophical pondering altogether. Its overarching motif is the discernment of perception and reality. Okay, that would not exactly make it a unique work in its genre if it weren’t painting a vastly bigger picture in which the entertainment business stands as symptomatic for what is going on in society at large. In the end the main characters will need to figure out how to live in a world that has fundamentally changed to them, and only to them.

When will the book become available? I plan on releasing the original (German) version until mid or late 2023. The English version depends on your help with finding a translator who is willing to work for the heck of it, just like I do. Give me a comment if you are that person or if you know someone who might be.

[image: ‘Beatles For Sale’ remake by DeviantArt user uptowngirl587 (CC BY-SA 3.0)]

PS, the German version comes out in a weekly fashion, chapterwise,. Go have a look.

And yet, I love it so

After hours of nightly contemplating the immense depth and amount of corruption, incompetence and insincerity I have the doubtful honour of being allowed to witness and which affects my life on a daily basis I felt like I needed a shot of Heavy Metal to keep my mind from further spiralling into negativity again. Metal has always been my drug of choice which helped me kill the pain of living in this age, and I am aware of it for quite some time. As a consequence, I stopped listening to music almost completely for a few years.
There is yet another quality to Metal that I was not aware of, which I was constantly seeking to apply, though: to have someone scream at the evil in man and to have them shout with rage, and spit in the faces of the gods that failed. 

Seeing things a bit different today, my return to screeching guitars, galloping basses, thundering drums and voices like air-raid sirens became sort of an amusing bed-in which presented me with the question who these people were shouting at. The greed, the ignorance, the imposture, the make-believe, the displays of incompetence in compensating for incompetence*, they are all rather laughable than enraging. We are players in a charade called Auroville, and if we didn’t have it all backwards it could be such an enjoyable experience, like a child’s birthday. And you out there who would smirk or snort at my utterings, you are completely right, though probably for the wrong reasons. For you are like us, because we are like you.

(* German = Inkompetenzkompensationsinkompetenz. I accidently found this in a dictionary and just couldn’t resist. Yays for compound words!)