Magazine

The Great Dane Was Their Excuse

The Great Dane Was Their Excuse

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 he 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 people’s 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.

It seemed they 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 life? 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 our cities.

Story © The Great Dane
Illustrations © Sally Wilde
Published in Urbanist Magazine


Advice on Parenthood

Advice on Parenthood

Some people make their imprint on the world by constructing ideological or scientific systems, developing global business empires or making groundbreaking discoveries, while others create extraordinary objects of art, music and literature. The Great Dane, on the other hand, has chosen to follow the course of nature by giving his fertile semen to all women in need. In doing so, he bestows on the world many future generations of Great Danes. But whatever the means, whatever the goal, the difficult part is to follow through on one’s deeds.

It was an early morning like so many other early mornings. The Great Dane woke up with one single cloudy thought in his head, so he drank what there was to drink in the flat, and soon the sun was rising, shining bright and clear. He gave the girl slumbering naked in the corner a quick straight-up-bye-bye, remembered on his way out to wish her good luck and advise her not to eat smoked salami or fish or too many sweets while pregnant. Then he went down to his car and drove with great haste to Teufelberg, the former cold-war listening post at the outskirts of Berlin, to visit his friend the ex-vegan bicycle builder at his workshop. Since the Great Dane’s return to Berlin, there had been so much going on that they not yet had managed to fall into deep conversation about his friend’s forthcoming parenthood. So today was going to be the first day of redemption. The Great Dane already had thousands of happy children dancing, laughing, and singing in the world’s great wilderness, so who else could enlighten his friend about parenthood on behalf of all humanity – or at least all the novice readers – whom we are pleased to inform that the Great Dane plans to write a book about just that topic, sharing his divine wisdom about parenthood and telling fabulous stories about all his magnificent children with their great beauty, strength, health, courage and intellect. Yes true it is, and totally free of charge, he has decided to give the first universal advice concerning parenthood. So read carefully, here it comes:

Raising a strong and healthy child in a rough urban environment is not an easy task. But don’t despair! Even with the limited imagination which most of the world’s average parents possess, the task can be overcome. Follow the guidelines given by the Great Dane, and everything will be just fine.

1. It is expensive to feed a child, so remember to give it less and cheaper food than what you eat.
2. Too many children are weak and whining and have snotty noses. Therefore let your child stay out all day, the whole year in the fresh air. (This advice is not based on the experience of the Great Dane himself. He has only brought it up-to-date. Already in ancient Greece it was common knowledge that plenty of fresh air builds good character, spirit and stamina. And who other than the ancient Greeks would know?!?)
3. Adults may lie to survive, children may not!
4. Your child knows from birth that it’s not a finished product. It has to grow and evolve before it becomes fully human. That’s why every child wants to grow up fast. It can’t just wait and put up with being small, stupid and fragile. It wants to have more all the time. But time is money, and money doesn’t grow on trees like in the good old days of King Solomon. This is the harsh reality of nowadays, and something your child has to learn on its own. So the best thing would be to let it walk barefoot summer, autumn, winter and spring. This will also save you the cost of new shoes.
5. Inform your child of the many possibilities when playing with a wooden stick.
6. And most importantly: Save up to buy The Great Book Of Parenthood. Something that will help the Great Dane feed his many little Great Danes, who one day will inherit the world.

The Great Book Of Parenthood will among other things give advice on: Heavy Drinking and Sleeping Peacefully Through the Night; Various Cures for the Burning Pain of Migraine; There Is Never Such a Thing as No Sex; To Be or Not to Be Wife Battering; One Hundred and Seventy-Five Strategies Concerning Quarrels; The Enjoyment of Being Alone for More than a Second; It’s Like Peeing in Your Pants; Peeing on Command; The Philosophy of Laxatives; What Could There Be in the Little Potty; How Much Can You Squeeze a Pet; The Hot Cooker Effect; The Amusement of Inventing Household Traps; Cunning Places to Hide the Biscuit Tin; Farting for Novices; Farting by Heart; Farting in the Name of the Father; Advanced Notes in Classical Farting; Various Ways of Leaving Your Child; Lying About Lying; Why There Are No Monsters in the Closet; The Use of Rusty Nails in Pillow Fights; The Excitement of Playing Ball Next to a Street; Why Children Should Always Drive Without Bicycle Helmets; How to Avoid Paying Pocket Money; When the Hands are Under the Duvet; In Every Dark Corner of the School Yard; Teaching Teachers to Like Your Child; Why Your Child is Very Special, and the Children of Others Are Not; The True Meaning of the Bees and the Flowers; Hair All over and in Certain Places; What Period?; How to Get Rid of Her New Boyfriend; Drinking for Good Health and Fortune with Your Son; Wine, Weed and Growing Whiskers; Eighteen and Over (the book will unfortunately only contain a superior passage about this topic, commonly known as the Afterlife of Parenthood, due to its doubtful existence. The Great Dane is instead considering writing a book about an almost similar topic: Life Without Children).

(The Great Book of Parenthood can now be pre-ordered through this site. Postage will be added.)

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 our cities.

Story © The Great Dane
Illustrations © Sally Wilde
Published in Urbanist Magazine


The Great Berlin Citizenship Test

The Great Berlin Citizenship Test

There are readers who have contacted the Urbanist Magazine and questioned the accuracy of the Great Dane’s writings about Berlin. Some have even called it bad fiction and a disgrace to Berlin, suggesting that he should “move his great Danish ass back home to the welfare womb where he was born.” Obviously, the Great Dane doesn’t appreciate such unfriendly attitudes. He wondered whether his critics even know what it means to be a real Berliner. What better way, it occurred to him, to distinguish the real Berliners from the fake Berliners, than to have a citizenship test?

The Great Berlin Citizenship Test
Are you smart enough to be a real Berliner?

(Some questions have more than one answer. But if you are a real Berliner, you already know this!)

What is essential for a real Berliner when going for a walk?
1. A pair of shoes
2. A cheap beer
3. A car

Who said: “Berlin ist arm, aber sexy”?
1. Someone incredibly wealthy
2. David Bowie
3. Berlin’s former mayor David Bowie

Who sets the price for a döner kebab in Berlin?
1. The mother of the brothers running the döner kebab stand
2. Supply and demand
3. It depends who is the current president of Turkey

What does a real Berliner say when leaving a Späti?
1. Ciao
2. Auf Wiedersehen
3. Tschüssi

Where in Berlin is it allowed to drink in public?
1. In your car
2. Everywhere: Drinking in public is a national heritage
3. On public transportation

What is the Berlin Wall?
1. An expression for the low Berlin minimum wage
2. A place to pee when you really have to
3. A wall that divided East and West Berlin from 1961 to 1989

What is the dress code for a real Berliner?
1. Black
2. Nothing too light
3. There is no dress code

What is the average number of dogs per person in Berlin?
1. Two: one large and one small
2. Unlimited
3. Too many

Which of the following is one of the largest sources of income for the city state of Berlin(?)
1. Creative industries
2. Tourism
3. Bavaria

Where does a real Berliner drive his bicycle?
1. On the sidewalk
2. On the bicycle path
3. In the middle of the road

How many bridges are there in Berlin?
1. Around 1.700
2. Around 1.100
3. Fewer than the number of lovers I have crossed

What is a “Kampfradler”?
1. A peace activist
2. An aggressive cyclist
3. A special division within the German transport police

Who was the governing mayor of Berlin in 2015?
1. Angela Merkel
2. Horst Seehofer
3. Michael Müller

What is a real Berliner’s attitude towards contemporary art?
1. A better question would be: What is art?
2. It’s bloody brilliant, that’s what it is
3. I want my money back

What can you find at Kantstrasse 101?
1. The monument of Herta Heuwer – the inventor of currywurst
2. The original copy of Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason
3. Reality

What is a Great Dane?
1. A large German breed of domestic dog
2. Something almost impossible
3. A figure from your dreams

What is the number one Berlin tourist attraction?
1. A club
2. A bar
3. A Späti

What is a real Berliner’s greatest weapon when facing bureaucracy?
1. Patience
2. Anger
3. Black magic

How do you get an appointment at the Bürgeramt?
1. Pure luck
2. On the black market
3. Show up and waste your time

What is a real Berliner’s relationship to German schlager?
1. It’s flirt guarantee!
2. I love Hansi Hinterseer!
3. Have you seen my mommy?

What is Berlin’s greatest contribution to the world’s food culture?
1. The Döner Kebab sandwich
2. The Currywurst
3. The Berliner

Who is the greatest Berliner of all time?
1. Bushido
2. John F. Kennedy
3. Marlene Dietrich

What is the Third Reich?
1. A period of dictatorship in Germany from 1933 to 1945
2. The place where real Berliners go when they die
3. A precursor to the European Union

What is the official slogan for Sternburg Beer?
1. Merke dir – Sternburg Bier
2. Sternburg Bier – Trinke Eins, pisse Vier
3. Sternburg Bier – Gönne Dir

How does a real Berliner get into the club Berghain?
1. By being really drunk
2. By being very quiet
3. Real Berliners don’t go there

What does “Haste mal ne Kippe” mean?
1. Did you get a haircut?
2. Do you have a cigarette?
3. Please pass me the salt!

Where is the best place for a real Berliner?
1. In the stomach
2. In the cemetery
3. In front

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 our cities.

Story © The Great Dane
Illustrations © Sally Wilde
Published in Urbanist Magazine


The Great Crying Monkey

The Great Crying Monkey

What is happening to the world? Is there no way to get rid of all the sad, dreadful things that corrupt our everyday life, turning friends against friends, neighbours against neighbours, lovers against spouses, dog against dog? Will there not come someone one day that is pure and mighty enough to bring about justice for us all – if not for all of God’s wondrous creations, then at least for the innocent and naive followers of the Great Dane? Hear me, dear readers: I say, there will!

The Great Dane cried today. Turned his face into that of a crying monkey. Flushed out all the salty water in his mighty body, so that it flowed over the streets of Berlin. Never had the city been so clean and shiny before. Not even after the last economic crisis and the subsequent public thunder and righteous political rain had the sewers of Berlin been flooded so heavily with rubbish, stinky bollocks, itchy bitchy feelings, lice catching dogs with wet ears, nagging women, poor lonely devils, ever changing winds from government bottoms, Swedish furniture, aching feet, morning pimples, phantom backaches, selfish dog owners, reckless cyclists, angry drivers, spoiled children, stale beer, cheap cigarettes, substitutes for fat and sugar, old news, public repression, political scandals, tiresome commercials, thieves, thugs, rapists, bankers, insurance brokers, landlords, real estate developers, professional beggars, wannabe-artists, babbling bloggers, lying Catholics, radical Muslims, narrow–minded Jews, depressive Protestants and their work ethic, and sellers of too small shoes.

And it happened to the stunned surprise of all Berliners. The reliable and holy weathermen had an especially tough day, having blessed the poor but sexy people of Berlin with the promise of punctual German sunny weather and no sight of teasing clouds. Hiding under the same umbrella on the day of the flood, they formed a shrill choir, calling the phenomenon Every Prediction Goes Down The Drain, advising every fertile soul to find a suitable partner and spend this Day of Judgement in bed. Meanwhile the business channels, seeing the possibilities with a calculating eye, advised their viewers to invest in producers of boats, pumps, umbrellas, buckets, rain­wear, diving equipment, life­rafts, life jackets, hair dryers, triple layer toilet paper, cleaning services, rescue services, salvage services, and tour operators specializing in destinations with long dry seasons.

Also, the never ending soap opera, the New Berlin Airport, was eventually flooded. All those behind the stage saw now their chance to soap up for a good old coming-together washing of hands before they crawled to safety in their sink-proof bureaucratic limousine boats. Later, sailing cheerfully in champagne-soaked circles around Brandenburger Tor, they triumphally announced the forthcoming opening of the New Berlin Public Welfare-Bath with special blinking underwater-lighting, stewardess bikini water shows, plenty of tax-free shops, and exclusive diving trips to some forgotten utopia airport ruin – of course with a reasonable reduction in price for all good taxpayers. It rained so much that the hospitals reported instances of the rare Chinese Sponge-Effect – normally only experienced in the Year of the Jellyfish by Chinese men working in the rice-fields – in which testicles exposed to water for long periods of time swelled up to unbearable sizes, causing terrible pain and giving a new meaning to the expression He Got Balls. There were even rumours about an abnormal rise in birthrates of fishes, frogs, lobsters and snails born out of virgin wombs, attracting legions of hungry Catholic tourists in private water planes.

But the headline that made the day, and almost brought forth a smiling sun, was when Chancellor Angela Merkel showed up to her briefing with The World Press in a wonderful new deep-brown bathing suit, declaring: Welch schönes Wetter! and answering all questions concerning the political consequences of the flood with: Nur ruhig! Ich bin eine sehr gute Schwimmerin!

And then there was the question, that everyone tried to find an answer for: Why did the Great Dane cry? Had he been fatally hurt? Was he still boxing with bad love? Was it because of global warming and the insecure future of all beach owners, the threat to the Pacific Ocean atolls, the smell of sweaty Eskimos, the fate of all the innocent baby seals? Or was it something even more terrible and devastating? The truth is that the Great Dane did not know himself. It just felt good to cry, and for him, that was reason enough.

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 our cities.

Story © The Great Dane
Illustrations © Sally Wilde
Published in Urbanist Magazine


Unter den Wunder-Bäumen

Mobility forms our lives and affects our environment. It is a fundamental human need and longing to be on the move and to experience the world. One of the technologies that has made the most distinct impact on our mobility is the car. For better or for worse the car has given us a strong feeling of individual freedom, it has transformed our conception of time and experience of place, our everyday lives, the way we consume and plan our cities. It also comes with a wide range of negative consequences such as pollution, accidents, social and urban segregation, and, more than any other technology, the car has a huge appetite for space. So maybe it’s time to rethink the way we understand mobility and go beyond a society that is primarily organized around the car. But who dares to challenge the individual freedom and change the way we are ‘on the move’?

After the editorial team of the Urbanist Magazine had returned from a conference in Japan arranged by the Asian Spiritual Bicycle Association (ASBA) the magazine’s headquarter in Neukölln was buzzing with ideas of how to make a better world. One of the most interesting aspects was the Holy Grail of Mobility. According to the ASBA’s Scripture of Ultimate Movement the grail possessed powers which could control the stream of mobility worldwide. Since the invention of the wheel the stream of mobility had filled the world with technologies that served the best of humanity – whereas the invention of the internal combustion engine and the car turned out to be a giant step towards total human degradation.

Therefore it was of the utmost importance that the grail was found and its powers were used to get humanity back on the right track. To do so it required a hero who was pure of heart and who possessed the courage and strength to defeat the terrifying road monster which evil forces had put into the world to guard the grail. The question was, where could one find such a great hero? The editorial team of the Urbanist Magazine had no doubt! There were only one who was great enough to fulfil this dangerous task.

The Great Dane was sleeping as calmly as a child when the editorial team dragged him out of bed early in the morning. After a short briefing on the situation, they armed him with a copy of the Scriptures of Ultimate Movement, put him on an old bicycle and send him out on the dangerous quest to hunt down the terrifying road monster and conquer the grail. For about an hour he cycled around the streets of Berlin without having the slightest idea of what to do or what to look for. Then he decided to have a bicycle-beer-break at a Späti and look in the Scriptures of Ultimate Movement. He was at once thrilled by its great knowledge and historical accuracy. It stated:
The precise time and place for the first appearance of the Holy Grail of Mobility is unknown, but through history the grail has appeared and disappeared in relation to man’s growing desire to control his own destiny. Several significant appearances of the grail occurred in the Great Migration Period from 300 to 800 AD – also refereed to as the Völkerwanderung – where its powers was used by Germanic and other barbaric tribes to invade Roman territory and reclaim the Roman Empire’s efficient network of more than 80,000 kilometres of paved highway stretching from Scotland to East Europe to North Africa and present-day Iraq.

He finished another row of beers and then cycled on while thinking about the brave barbaric tribes outmanoeuvring the superior Romans and thereby changing the future of the world. He imagined himself as a fearful warrior holding the grail high in the air, paralysing legion after legion of Roman soldiers so his fellow warriors could liberate the people with ease and give them back their land. Afterwards he was celebrated as a great hero and songs and tales were made about him.

The Individual Solution
He began to feel exhausted, and stopped to rest his legs. While eating enough döner kebab to recover his strength he thought about how the powers of the grail best could be used. There seemed to be as many right solutions as there were people in the world. And no solution would fulfil the need for everybody. Some had to put up with what was best for the common good. The difficult question however, was not who should have the advantage and who should not – the challenge was who should be entrusted the power to make the decision?

One of the brothers who ran the kebab establishment opened the window and greeted loudly a young man and a elderly woman coming out of a car near the pavement where the Great Dane was resting. When the woman passed the Great Dane she first looked at his old bicycle and then at him, saying: Young man, don’t worry so much. Instead, you should do like I told my sons … Get yourself a decent job so you can afford yourself a decent car. It will give you both a good wife and make your mother happy. An old bicycle won’t get you far in life.

Still feeling exhausted and also confused about his quest to find the grail, the Great Dane could only agree. To have one’s own car wasn’t such a bad idea. It not only gave you a clear advantage concerning women and a variety of other purposes such as transportation of goods, protection from bad weather, cruising around with friends, going to the countryside, but it was also great when you was tired or just everyday lazy. On the other hand, cars were expensive. You had to work even more to afford paying of the loan, insurance, fuel, repairs, taxes, parking fees etc. That way the car reduced the individual freedom as it ate up time and money that otherwise could have been used to do other things. For many people it would instead be more efficient to bicycle, use public transportation, or even walk.

The Great Dane felt himself trapped in a great paradox. For how could it then be, that the car had become the most popular means of transportation? In search for an answer, he looked through the Scriptures of Ultimate Movement. It said:
Another important appearance of the grail happened over thousand years later in 1888 at the Black Forest – also known as Schwarzwald, the home of the famous cuckoo clocks – near the town of Pforzheim in south Germany. It was in the exact same area and year where Karl Friedrich Benz made the world’s first long distance automotive journey powered by an internal combustion engine. The true nature of the grail was however overseen and it was put on ordinary display at a local museum until it in 1932 was rediscovered by an amateur archaeologist and automotive enthusiast following the historical route of Karl Friedrich Benz. Later that year, a conspiracy was formed among the world’s major car manufactures and political interests in Europe and the United States to cover up the existences of the grail and abuse its powers to their own advantage. But although many resources were invested in transferring the powers of the grail to mass automotive production, the attempt failed. Instead the grail was remelted and disguised as an ordinary hubcab which was send around the world mounted on a special build car in order to make cars the dominant means of transportation. However, in the chaos of World War II the track of the grail – now referred to as the Holy Hubcap – was lost and since then there has been no official recordings of its whereabouts.

This was indeed not good news for the Great Dane. The so called Holy Hubcap could now be everywhere, it could even be lost. The situation demanded help from somebody who had a higher insight in alternative mobility.

The Political Solution
He found his friend the ex-vegan bicycle builder in a Do-It-Yourself shop where he was busy finding enough building material and tools so he could be ready to receive his coming baby. Beside building cargo bikes the size of small houses his friend considered himself a traffic activist using his cargo bikes as an instrument to discuss traffic, transportation and air pollution in the city. To the Great Dane’s question if he thought that the Holy Hubcap should be used to free the world of all cars, he answered: I’m not into absolute solutions. In the real world there will always be more stuff which needs to come around than even the biggest cargo bike can carry. Cars should be part of the solution, so should a well planned public transport system, and separate car and bicycle traffic. So I believe it is a political question to find the right solution. Only by putting aside individual needs and longings will we be able to make a cleaner and better …

The Great Dane was very excited. He couldn’t wait to help drag the baby out of the womb. He was already on his way out to saddle up his bicycle, when his friend kindly brought to his attention that this was not his task. It was of much greater importance not just for his baby but for all babies in the world that he fulfilled his quest for the Holy Hubcab and got humanity back on the right track. To encourage him, his friend promised that he would tell everything about the birth as soon as they met again – which could even be in the next Great Dane episode. Then they loaded all the tools and building material into a large van and off he went as fast as the engine could go.

Once again the Great Dane was on his own, and he didn’t seem to have come any closer finding the Holy Hubcab or what its powers should be used for. He cycled on through the city feeling discouraged and just wanted to go home. When he passed Brandenburger Tor he looked up at the goddess Victoria sitting all mighty and powerful in her four horse-drawn chariot on top of the gate.

What would she have done? For her it was not a matter of who had the right solution, it was about who had the courage and strength to be victorious. No one should be entrusted the power beforehand and have the exclusive privilege to choose what was right and what what wrong. In her perspective everybody was equal until they had proven otherwise.

The Great Dane stopped his bicycle and bowed with respect for her wisdom. He felt somehow connected to her through a long life of hard struggles to show the world how great and righteous he truly was as a person. She seemed to approve of this, for he felt that she looked back at him, and just as she had inspired the heroes in ancient times she filled the Great Dane with hope and insight into all the marvellous things there would happen if he succeeded in his hunt for the Holy Hubcab. With her blessing he once again opened the Scripture of Ultimate Movement, and read:

Following the global financial downturn in 2007-2008 and the automotive industry crisis in 2008–2010 a significant change in the balance of mobility came to its wakening on a world wide scale. Since, there had been reported an increasing numbers of cases in which hypersensitive cyclists around Europe had become spiritualized by some kind of unknown force. Extensive field studies conducted by high ranking members of ASBA suggest that these encounters most likely happened due to the nearby presence of the Holy Hubcap. Furthermore, when the different encounters were laid out correctly out on the Spiritual Map of Mobility it revealed that the Holy Hubcap for some years had been on its way up through Europe towards Germany, and that it probably soon would reach Berlin.

It seemed that the Great Dane after all was closing in on the grail so his long journey soon would become fruitful. To celebrate his forthcoming triumph he began cycling back and forth through the Brandenburger Tor while he for each round joyfully greeted the goddess Victoria who was still watching him closely from the top of the gate.

The Wheels Keep on Turning
When he took an extra large turn outside the gate a fashionable looking car drove straight in front of him so he fell off his bicycle. There was a slight buzz and the back window of the car rolled down. A middle-aged man in a dark suite stared at him sternly and presented himself as the rightful owner of the great capital of Germany, truly elected by all its common people. He continued: “I can now see it is good that we did not make the mistake of a bicycle-friendly city after the failure of the car-friendly city.”

The Great Dane was still in shock so he didn’t know what to answer. The politician raised his voice and said a little more moderately, but the Great Dane thought that the message remained the same in essence: “My dear fellow citizen, as you know it is important that we stick together. And we can only achieve that if we get going.”

With a wildly ecstatic smile he made a sign to his chauffeur and the car roared as if it wanted to swallow the Great Dane alive. An ominous rumbling went through the Great Danes chest. Could this be the road monster that guarded the grail? And did he really have the strength and courage to defeat it?

The car made a threatening move towards him, then it backed away quickly and send out a cloud of evil-smelling smoke while it drove off. In that same moment he felt the presence of a powerful spiritual force. With great speed he began to cycle down Unter den Linden knowing that the Holy Hubcap at last was within his grasp. The air around him was filled with the dreadful smoke and noise from the road monster accompanied by legions of other cars on the road. It made his lungs hurt, his eye began to water and he felt as the whole world was yelling into his ears. But nothing could distract him. Second by second he closed in on the road monster. He felt like a great hunter going straight for his prey, having only one thing on his mind: To hunt down the road monster and get the Holy Hubcap so he could change the destiny of the world.

He heard an explosion and his bicycle stopped with a flat tire. In the distance he saw the road monster disappearing, and with it, also the spiritual force that shortly had filled him with clarity. Now only the smell and noise from all the other cars filled his head. With his last strength he dragged his damaged bicycle over to the side of the road and sat down under one of the elm trees.

For a while he starred disillusioned at the cars that tirelessly sped past him in a world that kept on turning as usual. Then one of the cars stopped in front of him. It was the Intellectual Street Fighter Girl and the Mysterious Jew Boy. They had heard a used car dealer make a sales speak about the Great Dane’s grief and had now come to take him home.

It was quiet inside the car and a sweet smell came from the Wunder-Baum hanging in the wind shield. It made him feel safe and calm as it kept the chaotic world on a safe distance. He leaned back and began to dream of a future where people would use their individual freedom to choose the best solution for everybody to be on the move and experience the world. But even so, it was tough for him to admit that he failed in his hunt for the grail and getting humanity back on the right track. Too late had he learned that there is a fine line between the hunter and the hunted.

Nevertheless, this should not withhold the more sensible readers to saddle up their bicycles and continue the hunt for the terrifying road monster – one might even be successful in finding the Holy Hubcap of Mobility.

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 our cities.

Story © The Great Dane
Illustrations © Sally Wilde
Published in Urbanist Magazine


New Year Special – For All People in Need

For All People in Need

This year the sun will shine just a little more and the birds will sing as they have never sung before for the Great Dane is in his generous mood.

THE GREAT DANE SAYS
– TAKE WHAT YOU NEED

Myself
My youth
My money back
My dignity
Your forgiveness
That you come back
Help to survive
Bollocks
The world
More bass
Perfect breasts
An extra inch
Longer joints
Reality
Imagination
Time travel
Grown up kids
Laxative
Psychoanalysis
The Great Dane
A hundred and ten percent
A lover
A friend
A new partner
Better sex
A real orgasm
A lobster
A life
A job
A toilet, now!!!
A less complex world
A kick in the ass
A large drink

There is more to take at:
www.thegreatdane.nu

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 our cities.

Story © The Great Dane
Illustrations © Sally Wilde


The Birth of a Real Berliner

The Birth of a Real Berlinner

Life is a miracle. From the beginning of time life have had all odds against it. Birth in itself is a bare struggle between our specie’s ability to survive, each of its individuals’ will to be, their lust for life and the endless coincidences of the universe which are beyond our control. We as human beings are small and fragile. We often feel helpless, lost and alone, why it is in our nature to seek out companionship whereby we can find comfort and meaning in our lives, and perhaps even get a chance to create new life that will enrich the world. But then, everything considered, it is not always enough to feel appreciated and loved, to be part of something greater than yourself, sometimes you need to know when to let go and find the path in life that is just the right for you.

It was a day of great temptation in the great city of Berlin. The Great Dane was on a series of dates trying to overcome his failed quest for the Holy Hubcap of Mobility. In the middle of the main course: A pair of smooth legs, some damn hot breasts and a tight ass his phone began to ring like an ecstatic church bell. He knew a once that it was his friend the former church boy and now ex-vegan bicycle builder – so the penetrating sound from the phone could only mean one thing: The baby had at last been delivered to them from the fancy looking Virgin Mary’s womb.
Without hesitation he pushed aside the damn hot breasts, climbed on top of the tight ass, and slid down the pair of smooth legs to grab his phone beside the bed.
He heared the excited voice of his good friend accompanied by the loud sound of a human siren in the background announcing a new epoch in life: Parenthood.
Then the crying stopped. His friend whispered anxiously: You must come at once … and then hung up.

The Virgin Mary’s Sweet Milk
The Great Dane entered his friend’s place in a haste – ready to help, ready to assist, ready to fulfil the newborn’s every wish. He found, however, the newborn sleeping calmly and satisfied next to the fancy looking Virgin Mary. They both seemed so blissful, so relieved of all life’s burdens. Everything around them was a mess. The entire flat resembled a human disaster. Randomly spread all over the place was dirty clothes, smelly diapers, stinky dishes, old tainted food, piles of empty beer bottles and pizza trays, mounds of chocolate and bonbon wrappers, heaps of unread mail and newspapers, stacks of torn up cardboard boxes and half-used building material, a countless number of misplaced tools, and a layer of sawdust covered every surface.
His friend sat in the middle of the chaos, hanging onto an armchair while sipping to a beer. When he saw the Great Dane he smiled, exhausted. Since the birth he had been very busy building up their new home, and at the same time trying to satisfy the endless needs of the newborn and its mother. So he was really glad to see the Great Dane for there were such important things for them to do. As a start, he wanted the Great Dane to help clean up the place before his Virgin Mary woke up and invoked her wrath on him.
A feeling of bottomless despair seized the Great Dane and tried to turn his attention toward a quick exit through the front door. The only reason he had returned to Berlin in the first place was to help his friend find the difficult way through parenthood. But cleaning was the last thing he had imagined – although somewhere in his great clouded mind he sensed some similar situations with all the women he had lived with just before he left them, or was thrown out.
His friend saw the disappointment in his face, and said, to cheer him up that if he was a good boy and helped, perhaps the Virgin Mary might be so grateful that she would let him taste some of her sweet milk.
That indeed seemed to be a great deal for the Great Dane. He knew from a long life of experience with young pregnant women that the milk following a virgin birth could raise your courage, strength and sexual potency considerably, and in rare cases it even turned your skin as soft as a baby’s bottom. So with the Great Dane’s newly found enthusiasm the cleaning went more swiftly than a holy miracle.

Just as they had finished the Virgin Mary woke up from her beauty sleep and came into the living room. They both stared expectantly at her, the Great Dane on her swelling breasts and his friend at her tired face waiting for her immediate reaction. She looked suspiciously back and forth between them, and said: What are you two boys up to? Hopefully you’re not up to any trouble. It is enough with one baby that sucks everything out of me.
Her husband kissed her quickly, and assured her that everything was as it should be. If she wanted he could even give her a nice foot massage and perhaps the Great Dane could tell them about his latest great adventure – as long as she was happy, he was happy.
The Great Dane thought that this was an excellent idea while waiting for the Virgin Mary to get filled up again so he could have some of her sweet milk.
But before he managed to begin his story, the doorbell rang.

The Guests Brought Presents
It was the intellectual and sexy Street Fighter Girl and the Mysterious Jew Boy. They had heard a crazy preacher speak about the birth of a new real Berliner, and would now like to sneak a peek and give the child their blessings. As a recognition they brought presents.
The Street Fighter Girl had with her a packet of very salty crackers which she had won in a till-death-do-us-part-street-fighter-match. The last words from her opponent before he lifelessly hit the pavement was: They are extra salty. So promise me to share them wisely.
Also the Mysterious Jew Boy brought a present. He handed over a long brown packet with a nice red ribbon. It contained his favourite shovel, with which he made his first attempt to dig up the greater meaning of life.
And did you ever find it? said the Street Fighter Girl with a gloating face.
Not yet. The meaning of life seems to be hidden under tons of rubbish, and layer by layer of deception and illusions.
Not to forget your own delusions, added the Street Fighter Girl.
That’s why I need the newborn’s help. It has just come out of Virgin Mary’s sacred womb and has not yet been contaminated by the world’s filth, decay and betrayal. It is as pure as the water taken straight from the fountain of life. Together we will one glorious day dig up the great meaning of …
The Street Fighter Girl jerked hard in his big Jewish nose and told him to stop talking rubbish.
The newborn should not be degraded to a simple hole digger. It should be trained in the martial arts and specialize in the most lethal weapons, so it, together with her, could clean out the streets of Berlin of all its injustice, corruption and dirty bollocks.
They began to argue loudly, but were interrupted by the newborn’s parents who thanked them for the presents and said that they had to wait to see the baby, as it still slept.
The Great Dane now saw his chance to tell them about his latest great adventure, which he hoped would please the Virgin Mary so much that she would let him taste some of her sweet milk.
But just as he got their attention, the doorbell rang.

It was the three editors of the Urbanist Magazine. They had heard an anonymous source speak about the birth of a new real Berliner, and would now like to meet the sensation and spread the news. As a recognition they brought presents.
The guy called Schabe had collected various kinds of used baby accessories such as well chewed pacifiers, a broken rattle with dark red stains, a heavily filled diaper, the crooked wheel from a baby carriage, the one eyed head of a toy rabbit, a baby shoe filled with mud, the faded photography of a baby and its proud mother, and the crown of the collection: A device with a real crying baby inside.
He proudly handed it to Virgin Mary and asked her if she could try to comfort the unhappy baby. She pushed a button on the device and the baby immediately stopped crying. Schabe was impressed.
Windy, which always had an eye on every detail, had filled out one of her black notebooks with observations of babies such as their often random body movements, their shape and resting positions, their smell and the consistency of their droppings, which clothes they wore, the colour, fabric, brands, and a long detailed list of various baby expressions and their parents’ counter-reactions, which she one day hoped could form the foundation for a baby-parents dictionary.
And the last member of the editorial team, Pinky, the always jolly and half-full-glass-type of guy, had brought a pack of beer, which they of course all should share, since the newborn was not ready to enjoy the more fun side of life yet.
The newborn’s parents thanked them for the presents and said they had to wait to see the baby, as it still slept.
Once again the Great Dane saw his chance to relate his latest great adventure, so he hopefully soon could get a mouthful of the Virgin Mary’s sweet and delicious milk.
But just as he got started the others wanted to hear about the newborn’s birth.
That is a great idea, said the newborn’s parents, and they began to tell at once.

The Birth of a Real Berliner
It was a beautiful morning with a feeling of life and happiness floating in the air. The ex-vegan bicycle builder was relaxing in bed with another round of coffee and his favourite chocolate croissant while watching his beloved Virgin Mary making her pregnancy yoga exercises on the floor.
Next door their old-guy neighbour threw one of his wild 24-hours-life-affirming-still-being-young-flashback-marathon-drinking-parties for the usual crowd of come-a-long-drunken-friends, where he often in the early morning hours had gotten so much booze through his system that he either fell asleep on the floor or his diaper leaked and filled his apartment with an acrid smell, so his guests left in a hurry taking all his booze with them.
But such was life: You were born to wear a diaper and ended up dying wearing one. In between you only had a few precious moments to have the best going in and the best going out of yourself. This had become clear to their neighbour on his old days and it would also become clear to the ex-vegan bicycle builder and his Virgin Mary this extraordinary lovely day.
For as the Virgin Mary slowly slid into the so called yoga-turtle position, the labour pain began, causing her to shout loudly at her husband. He thought that his wife was dissatisfied with him as usual, and jumped out of bed, grabbed his drilling machine and proceeded with his rebuilding of the apartment, so it soon could serve as their new decent and proper home.
The Virgin Mary, however, seemed not to be satisfied at all, but yelled at him again – this time much louder. So he threw his tools away and tried to calm her often unpredictable mood by lighting a couple of candles, play a piece of romantic music and start cooking one of her favourite dishes. But for some unknown reason this only made her dissatisfaction worse. With great difficulty she got on her feet, and groaning like an insane woman she came into the kitchen, where she took a hard hold of her husband’s arm and shouted that he should call the hospital at once: For the baby was kicking really hard to get out.
If it had been me, the Street Fighter Girl interrupted, I’d have kicked back so the little troublemaker had come straight out of the Virgin Mary’s butt.
Nobody wanted to comment on that, so the parents continued their story.

While they waited for the ambulance to arrive, the ex-vegan bicycle builder ensured that they had all the necessary things for the hospital and tried the best he could to make his wife comfortable.
Then the party music at their old-guy neighbour stopped, and the doorbell rang.
It was one of the drunken party guests asking if they could keep an eye on the old fellow. His diaper had leaked onto the floor while he was dancing, and unfortunately he slipped in the pee, hit his head and passed out. The party now moved on to another place since nobody wanted to dance with pee on the floor, but they should thank him for the booze when he woke up, or maybe, the drunken guest suggested they should take him to the hospital, because he hit his head really bad.
Then he left with the rest of the party, and when the ambulance arrived a few minutes later after the Virgin Mary, she decided to step aside so their old neighbour could come to the hospital.

The Ballad of the Fire Brigade
Another ambulance was at once called for. And in the meantime, the ex-vegan bicycle builder helped his Virgin Mary do some relaxing and pain reducing yoga exercises.
In the middle of the difficult transition from the crocodile position to bunny position, heavy boots came stomping up the stairs, and before they could answer the doorbell the fire brigade had broken down their door and crashed into their living room.
They had been called by someone who said that an old fellow lay helplessly on the floor in a puddle of pee. It was as they could understand, the chief of the fire brigade explained, a very critical situation that demanded their fully cooperativeness. So, if they could immediately show them the way to the person in question.
The ex-vegan bicycle builder explained that the person in the puddle of pee was their old neighbour, but they were too late, he had already been taken to the hospital by an ambulance. The firefighters had however no such notification in their system, only that an ambulance had taken a pregnant women to the hospital from this address. And since an old fellow’s life was at stake, there were no time to discuss the details of circumstances.
In order to avoid harming the old helpless fellow when breaking down his door, they needed right away to have unreserved access to their balcony, so they could use it to climb over to the person in question’s balcony and enter his apartment safely from here.
Without waiting for permission, the whole fire brigade stomped out on the balcony. Within minutes they had all climbed from one balcony onto the other and entered the old fellow’s place, which they to their great surprise found empty: The old fellow was, as they had been told, gone.
It made the firefighters quite annoyed, and they broke out through the old neighbour’s front door, surrounded the ex-vegan bicycle builder, and warned him not to waste public servants’ valuable time, when there was a whole world out there that desperately needed their assistance.
So when the new ambulance arrived to take the Virgin Mary to the hospital, the firefighters simply ignored all objections and send the ambulance away since the old man was not at home and they had been notified that the pregnant women already was on her way to the hospital.
And furthermore, to teach the ex-vegan bicycle builder that they meant it seriously, he was ordered to clean up the old man’s apartment, saying they would come back later to see if it was done properly. Then they left, leaving the neighbour’s door open and broken, so the whole staircase stank like someone’s sour bottom.
If it had been me, the Street Fighter Girl interrupted, I’d have kicked the whole fire brigade down the stairs and then taken their fire truck.
The others agreed on that, and the parents continued.

The Virgin Mary now really needed to get going. Her labour pain was increasing strongly, and the baby did not care about old-guy neighbours, firefighters, ambulances or hospitals: It just wanted to get out and seize life.
However, when they called for a third ambulance their request was refused, since there already had been sent two ambulances and a fire truck to the address. It was also not possible to get a taxi in time, so what should they do?
Eventually, the Virgin Mary crawled up on one of her husband’s large cargo bikes and he then himself drove her to the hospital. Later that day she delivered a healthy new real Berliner which all the doctors and nurses said looked like the most lovely little angel they had ever seen.
The story was over, the Virgin Mary kissed her husband, and he took her hand and kissed her back.
She was very proud of all the courage and strength he had shown that day, saving her and the baby.
All the guests felt their love and warmth, and smiled happily.
If it had been me, said the Street Fighter Girl, I’d have done exactly the same.

In the Bottom
After the parent’s story they had some refreshments in the living room and at last the Great Dane got everyone’s attention. So while they enjoyed some beers and salty crackers he told them about his latest great adventure, until a harsh smell began to spread from the new real Berliner’s bottom.
Everyone hurried over to see what was wrong, and were relieved when the parents showed them that the smell came from the content of the diaper. The guests looked with great interest while the parents washed the new real Berliner so its baby-bottom got its natural colour and fragrance back.
Soon they all forgot the presence of the Great Dane and he realised it was time for his exit. The new real Berliner had changed the balance of the world and for years to come it would attract all the attention – something that it was impossible for the Great Dane to compete against.
He left the living room in silence and put on his shoes and coat. Maybe one of his dates still had time for him. It would be nice having someone to lean on, to share life with, like his friend and his Virgin Mary, like a family. He suddenly felt fragile like a lonely child. Maybe he should stay? Maybe they still needed his help, maybe he could even live together with them?
He turned around in the hallway, sneaked back and looked into the living room: They were all naked as mother nature once had created them. Happily dancing around they handed the baby from arm to arm between them while there was a beautiful sound of bouncing bottoms.
The Great Dane nodded his head in recognition. The new real Berliner was in good hands.

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 our cities.

Story © The Great Dane
Illustrations © Sally Wilde
Published in Urbanist Magazine