Last year in the shadow of Christmas Tobias and I did not complete a Christmas single. This was not a mistake, maybe not every year will be a Christmas single year. Christmas came for me that year in the form of my Grandmother checking if I wanted a cup of tea. Which I did. She made a proper Christmas dinner and then we proceeded to watch the entirety of the news programming as is my grandparents custom. I went and trimmed the hedges. As this year my parents have come, there will be no back to back BBC to Sky News broadcasts of varying shades of the same news stories. Instead we will be in some grand manor which is how I prefer to think of myself at Christmas.

The same sense of palatial, Jacobean grandeur has been applied to this year's Christmas singles. Listen now at


All through the holiday I corrected things in my apartment. My colleagues were away in Ioannina, or the Amalfi Coast, some went to Ireland or Denmark. Of course you can see everything that everyone is doing all the time, standing by a lake, by the Titanic museum. I , charting a different course, traced the outlines of the apartment and cleaned the floors and then cleaned them again, as apartments are more like vast libraries of dust. I went for walks, but it is cold outside. Not so cold that you can't walk, but your face starts to ache. The trees have an abject quality, and I have started like one of the children in my class to not enjoy taking the Ubahn, rushing around the subterranean chambers of Berlin the weird flashes of lights and jolts, mostly taking this desire for light.  When walking outside the skies have cleared and they are blue, a deep blue when the clouds have disappeared. I read a lot about the Iliad, about representations of heroism and friendship. I went to a bookclub and we talked about the Iliad, but the people were so interesting. Strangers, no connection other than this epic poem. I booked two flights to Paris and one to Sicily with no return. I went through Madeleine and my collection of papers and saved the most important pieces but tried mostly to reduce. We will be when the summer comes, without a home and without anything needing correction.

Coming home from Leipzig and slept with my legs 
curled up, back arched against the window 
the driver avoided the main roads
and so we took a curious route, 
mapped out 
I suppose in advance
the man in front of me was coming in from Bucharest 
when I arrived home I was miles away
Is it comforting to have the concrete bulk of the Bundesfinanzministerium building as a waymark? 
the obscurity of swatiskas chipped off buildings
the place has so many long words with dark shadows
and there were so many shadows by the canal of course
the late bus was impossible
as you can imagine it was better to walk
The untergrund was barred and a grist of homeless people lay against the orange tiled walls
a culture of bacterium
a seige of cranes
a dissimulation from Romania 
a  quiver from Bad Berka
all waiting for the morning
that pale view of no hills
and when I got to Seestraße through the window of a speilhaus
or a shisha lounge, 
one of the markers of difference

two lovers through a window
tucked together
we were the last people left awake

At night
the dissonance hums through the house
the house we bought
with our love and patience
the fretful night with her departure
night ward
and I am closing off
closed off to dominic, to julia,
and sometimes I feel closed off, even to her
and in dawn's canto
I retreat and she returns
enclosed like her cocoon
and I am in such a desultory fashion in the morning
see my Laocoön, all serpented,
and I have become so unappealingly vapid
drill set, makita, hammer hand
and it repeats

In the process of covering the Maungatapu Murders, the lurid account of which spread like lupin blossoms across the fields of Victorian sensation- such a sensational age, the students in my class started to lose focus on the details. I mean naturally they got the specifics right - the five bodies, the dead horse, the stolen gold; but everything else became a blurred mess in the past, something malleable and reformed. I remember teaching them the definition of reformer, and getting them to model moulding clay with their hands making it into a tube, hands in the air. Their little reformation of the past: Sullivan as villain, Burgess as some gentlemen- this confused mess. For a week we had their pictures on the wall, four sepia men on the wall. It didn't really clarify anything for them, what motivates people to violence, their fears and their vast silences.