Let me tell you a secret.

The summer was amazing: June, July and August, the sun beating on the Rhine valley like god’s anvil, temperatures hardly ever dropping beneath the thirties in daytime. No rain, the cistern ran out of water and we had to install more wine casks as raincollectors to water our tomatoes and fruits.

The local swimming pool was crowded every single day, the nights too hot to allow restful sleep and the farmers complained that the absence of rain was going to ruin the harvest.

This brought back childhood memories. Let me tell you a secret, that may proof valuable for you.

Many, many years ago, when I was a young boy, my father arrived home one night accompanied by two men carrying a big box. The box was put on the table and unpacked. It contained the very first television set that my parents had bought with their meager  income. Mind, this was the time when most people still spent the evenings listening to the wireless.

The men installed the television on a small table and left. My father switched it on. My mother, my sister, my brother and I looked eagerly at the screen.

Only atmospheric disturbance was visible: a gray soup of signal accompanied by a fizzy hissing sound. My father played with the two antennas, moving them from left to right and back again. Suddenly a voice appeared from the ether, and after some more fiddling, a human face emerged out of the signal swamp.

My father lowered himself next to us on the couch. The five of us stared at the man; the first person we had ever seen on a television.

The man wore a dirty blue cap. He was standing in the middle of a field, and obviously was a farmer. Another man, outside of view (we could only see his arm and hand) held a microphone under his mouth.

“What will happen…,” said the invisible man, “If it doesn’t rain within a few days?”

The farmer looked at the sky, at the ground and started a long explanation in an exotic dialect that we could not understand. But his facial expression and voice made clear that the end of the world, if not of all times, was closing in on us.

We watched his narrative for five minutes.

Finally, my mother said: “What’s on the other channel?”

My books: www.clemenssuter.com/books

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Celebrating the 2010 release of my novel Two Journeys with a limited edition coffee mug.

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This special commemorative coffee mug can be filled with 350ml of hot coffee, even steaming hot: it is fully temperature resistant. All types are supported: latte, cappuccino, koffie verkeerd or macchiato; its smooth surface even protects against the oxidative effects of Devil’s Brew.

FAQ

How does it work? The mug comes with two holes: one hole (at the top) is used to both add and extract the coffee. The hole on the side is used to insert two fingers so that the mug can be lifted. (Confusing the two may lead to damage and/or injury.)

Can the mug be used for tea? Yes.

How about the artwork? Find the cover of Two Journeys on the front, and a mysterious QR code on the back! Where does it lead, you will wonder? Which miraculous domain of the internet?

Learn more here: http://clemenssuter.com/books

 

The Secret Art of Whistling

“Stop whistling, Clemens. Only laborers whistle,” my great friend and teacher C used to say. C was Austrian, and like many citizens from that cutlet-shaped country,  leaned towards eccentricity. Highly sympathetic, but thank you for the advice. Meanwhile I am glad I listened to most of C‘s suggestions, but ignored this particular one.

Many years later I had an eye opening experience with music. As a birthday present, my wife gave me a weekend-long harmonica training. A crash course with a professional harmonica teacher, Dale King. At the end of which I walked from the experience with the rewarding conclusion that I would never be able to play ANY musical instrument. Except for a CD player or smartphone, my limbs, fingers and lungs are unable to extract any melodious or rhythmic sound from any instrument. Problem solved.

There is some truth in the statement that everybody can and should sing, but being modest for once, I admit that my singing capabilities are limited.

But I can whistle. The tunes that Yehudi Menuhin squeezed from his Stradivari after long years of tortuous practice, effortlessly leave my two lips with no practice at all.

Whistling – it truly seems to be a secret art. I couldn’t find any article or reference  about the effect of whistling on well-being, physical health, war and peace, the economy or whatsoever. There are no lists of famous Hollywood actors, historical figures or politicians that indulged in this activity.  Did George Washington, Caligula, Margaret Tatcher or Jennifer Anniston ever whistle? The history books remain stumm.

But I LOVE it. In fact, I will now render Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. Beats my vocal version by a length.

Read more here: http://clemenssuter.com/books

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