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Greifswalder Bodden

Mon Aug 21 20:51 - 54.0536 N 13.5594 E

Eel in Aspic or: who or what is swootstock

Ostvorpommern in the northeast of Germany is generally seen as the poorest part of the country with an official unemployment rate of about 18 - 25%, which is pure theory: Add one Euro workers and other unemployed taking part in courses and other schemes, you get figures around 30%, then add the youth who won't find a job after leaving school this summer you get close to 45% or similar.
These are not my numbers, but I reckon they are more or less accurate, anyway, there just there to give you an idea of what is going on around here.
Working in a filling station in Anklam, H. gives me directions to a small village which has a pub called pub, a cobble stone main road, one Ford Transit van for the firebrigade, a church, some small lakes with ducks, and a lot of trees and space.
The pub of Swootstock (which of course has a different name altogether, but this place could stand for any other and I respect the people and their little quirks, so I won't tell you the village's real name) welcomes the random traveller with a welsh flag and a round of friendly locals.
H. works for the border guards, J. is getting seriously drunk, W. travels to Hamburg for work, W2 is a dry farmer who won't let you get away, M., originally from Berlin, is the publican who made himself a home here, and K. is the head of the village, but everybody mistrusts him and/or takes the absolute piss. Strange but true.
Over the week some other figures regularly buy beer which they take to their homes in baskets, first eight, then five, then another five. J. is so drunk by now, that he starts to annoy thethe girls, then switches to rant mode, going for the alien, the traveller, what the fuck do you want here. I said I want nothing and i'm asking for nothing, so what's the problem?
By now he's so drunk he crashes his take away bottles of beer, and with a little help gets back on his feet just to wander off, swearing, ranting away. Well, M. shouts: I'm not your mother, then says: what can you do?
Lethargy embraces the area, in M's words, like mildew, his prognosis: development schemes will turn to basics in order to keep the infrastructure intact but without further future development. NPD posters are everywhere, home, wife and family, they say, and jobs etc, maybe the NPD will find J. a wife, then he could share his frustration with someone. But M. is from Berlin, and his partner, S. is from Frankfurt in the West, it is, after all possible to find a suitable corner here, and a plot of land to build a small house on.
The land is not only beautiful but also offers space, space that has the potential to recapture a long lost spirit. M. shows the way, Not that it has vanished completely, but how can you be positive when staleness becomes contagious?
Make friends in Swootstock, make friends with Swootstock, just another small village at the side of the road.


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(#) comments



3 comments so far (post your own)

Posted by rdnzl on 2006-08-21 21:46:47 | #28

Wenn deine Koordinaten stimmen dann kann man ja genau sehn wo das ist, Swootstock ;-)

Posted by Heiks on 2006-08-23 22:04:59 | #29

great writing. keep up the good work (no, I'm NOT a spambot!)

Posted by rdnzl on 2006-08-24 00:07:40 | #30


... my mind drifts back...

nice one :)