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Hamburg, 12 October 2006

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While I am walking down the beautiful river Elbe, aiming to reach the lighthouse, barely visible through the fog, I learn that I am in the Vic which opens at 8.30pm. Only CAROLE, who is strong, is here. This is the first time that I meet someone who is strong. I am caught by am irresistible curiosity. Why is CAROLE strong? What has she done? Did she eat something that I could also eat? Or has she only just joined the game? I ask, of course, but hear nothing back, and so, typically of my game, I move on. I feel that perhaps I am too impatient. Maybe tomorrow I should stay put. As I move towards my next destination, I see a lady with a headscarf being pressed to the wall by a soldier. I wonder what this is about.

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I decide to try The Battle of Trafalgar Square. There are filthy ashtrays and strongbows. MARYLYN and ASTOR are here. This is interesting, I think. Am I meeting new players? Who are CAROLE, MARYLYN and ASTOR? Why have I not met them before? And where is everyone else? Then, unexpectedly, I get my second mission. A ‘rat faced man in a waistcoat’ rushes up. The drummer was arrested. I have to find a drum kit and get myself to the Locarno by 11pm. There are some soldiers here. I still wish to find BARNEY and HASSAN. I also wouldn’t mind coming across LYSYSTRATA and SUPERGIRL, just for fun and old times’ sake. I have not seen STAN, or JOHN MORGAN again, and never met ANGEL and BLUE who, according to BERLIN, were other ‘interesting players’. I have completely lost QUEENIE and SCOOBY. And then there is MARTIN, whose game I watched in BERLIN but whom I have not met since. I look at the familiar landscapes of the Blankeneser riverside. I am still on my own. I am also still unable to figure out where the majority of other players are. I feel torn. If I look for and find a drum kit, I have to drop the defibrillator. But I have been carrying the defibrillator around me for ages now, and I am not sure that I want to drop it without knowing what it would do to me. I decide to use it. This is probably the most stupid thing I have so far done in the game. 700 volts shoot through my body and, to put it shortly, I don’t feel too good.

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I spend the afternoon at my aunt’s sorting documents, throwing away old newspapers, bills, magazines, irrelevant post. We have a flurry of visits – removal companies, second hand shops, nurses who tell us the precise details of her death. I keep on playing, to distract myself from what I must do. I find an old Bible from 1685, with all the family geneaology until my grandmother. I discover that we originated from an island called Sylt and that most of my ancestors were seamen. Maybe that's where I get my love for water from. Maybe that's why, I wonder, my aunt invested in a boat. I am now carrying a drum kit. I am too early to attend to my mission. I need to recover from the defibrillator accident. I go and eat some scampi, which always seems to do me good, and I don’t even think about the wristbands which, rumours have it, will not help. I put down the drum kit, eat the scampi, pickup the drum kit again. Some of this is beginning to feel mechanical. I feel that I act rather than interact.

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On the way to the internet café from which I carry out my work while here in Hamburg, I arrive at the Vic. MARTIN is here but is not responding. I decide to go to the Locarno, but realise it’s still shut. In the meantime I arrive at the café, open my mail – Steve Kurtz has sent a lovely note, as has Lynn Hershman, and I get to hear from Nick Kaye that everything is fine in Barcelona and our RA in Barcelona can start working on our new project over there which, I think now, will probably take up most of my time in future months. I realise that I have entered a new phase of the game. This may have to do with recent changes in the quality of light, the lower temperature, the presence of soldiers, the fact I can’t find anyone willing to have a chat. At the beginning I tried everything out. I met many players, and, playing from Berlin, I had a sense of an overview. In the middle phase of the game I felt rather lost. I was no longer able to chat with players. I knew the game enough to be able to survive, help others even, but not quite enough to know where the interesting places to hang out where. In this latter part, I feel, my game is more mechanical. I still wish for company, but I know that I need to be in a certain place at a certain time, and then the game will end. This sense of the game coming towards a conclusion is interesting. I am reminded of Frank Kermode’s The Sense of an Ending where the author uses the metaphor of the ticking clock to explain humanity’s incapacity to understand duration other than in an organized way. This means that we can reproduce the intervals within the sound structure but not the interval between the rhythmic groups, or, in other words, we can reproduce the tic-toc, but not the toc-tic, because ‘the first interval is organized and limited, the second not’ (1968: 45). Like Bohr’s, Kramers’s and Slater’s probability wave, it stands ‘in the middle between the idea of an event and the actual event, a strange kind of physical reality just in the middle between possibility and reality’ (Heisenberg, 1990: 29). I think this is crucial for me, also in relation to Eisenman's essential absences and his moving arrows and feel that I need to work on this in the article I hope to develop with Steve Benford on Day of the Figurines.

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I decide to go back to the Vic to have a drink. I now notice that MARTIN is carrying a defibrillator. I drink a Crossbow. I suggest that MARTIN and I have a drink together but don’t hear back. I decide to head for the Locarno again. Here, I see PAUL, carrying a drum kit, TITA and PASTAMECK. Maybe PAUL, I wonder, and I have the same mission. Maybe we all now have the same mission. I am feeling peaky. Then, the vocalists shout ‘from now on you juergen’. I feel good. While I approach the restaurant that my mother and I aim to have dinner in, a big boat passes me in the dark. I remember my aunt and wonder where the boat might be going to.

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For my play tomorrow go to Day of the Figurines 13/10/2006

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