Fußball, Mainz, songs, songwriting

Carnival Junkies

Back in 2004, my home team Mainz 05 was finally promoted to the first division of the German Bundesliga after having been beaten on the last day twice in a row. First by asingle point, then by a single goal. It was a tragedy not many teams would have been able to digest, let alone beat the odds and be promoted the third time around.

But Mainz 05 is a special club in more ways than one. It’s a club that, above all, celebrates playing the game. But, then again, maybe that’s not too surprising for a football team based in a town with even more carnival tradition than Rio (sorry Roberta ; – I agree that the Cariocas have come up with something unique – but we’re just a little older over here).

So when Mrs. T., one of my fellow authors at www.fistfulofeuros.net, and native to Ireland, decided to honor the lads‘ promotion with an English poem in 2004, I came up with the idea to write an English song based on the poetry –

„Climb wither though couldst not before
Now freed at last from gravity’s restraints
To the Empyrean on eagle’s wings
O thou heroic FSV Mainz“

However, even disregarding the „eagle“ thing (Eintracht Frankfurt, a regional competitor uses the bird as logo), I just could not come up with a decent hook using these words, and eventually, I put the idea to rest for a while.

So it wasn’t until I read in the supporter’s web forum „„www.kigges.de“ that fans were trying to translate some German songs and looking for suitable English material a bit more specific than the classic from „Caroussel“ now that Mainz have been chosen to play in the UEFA cup qualifiers based on fair-play criteria that I decided to give the idea another go. I eventually decided against using Mrs T.’s poem, rewrote the lyrics, and suddenly everything fell into the right place – or so I think.

Now the song is called „Carnival Junkies“, a title that is not just a summary of much of what I think the team and their supporters are about, but also an hommage to the Californian singer/songwriter Cindy Alexander, who has written a song called „Carnival Junky“ back in 2001 (I think).

For the time being, it’s a VST based, home-produced, demo and available as mp3 (128kbit, enclosed). Words, music and vocals by Tobias Schwarz, 2004-2005. Note that I have not been able to stand to sing due to a leg injury… Please contact me about ideas for commodification, should you have any. Enjoy!

Lyrics –

05 05 05 05 (x4)

(Verse 1)
Feels like we’re at home
In red in white we
Face the floodlight
You’ll never walk alone
In bust or boom,
Glory or gloom.

Don’t know why we
Feel that way
It’s been like that
Since our first day.

We’re Carnival junkies
who know how to play ball
We’ll never falter
We will stand tall (05)
Not for the money or for the fame
We just want to
play the game (05)
We’re Carnival junkies
Always up for a fight
You’ll feel the fire we will ignite (05)
For all the money and all the fame
We’ll stay the same
And win the game (05)

05 05 05 05

(Verse 2)
We held our heads high
When we were down cause
We knew all the time
They may laugh in our face
We’d try again
We’d win the race.

Don’t know why we
Feel that way
It’s been like that
Since our first day.


(Primary Bridge)
We’ll be singing when we’re winning
When the cups are coming home
When you ask what really matters
We’ll tell you it’s in our soul
We tasted our share of sand
We’ve been down there before
However tough, we will get up
You’ll know it when we score!

(Chorus x2)

oddly enough, Sport

Cap & Capper, part XXIV…

Oh my, they finally did it – again.

The British Parliament yesterday night voted in favour of an outright ban of foxhunting, or hunting with dogs. For those of you, my gentle readers, who don’t really have any idea what this is about, remember the Disney film „Cap & Capper“: In a nutshell, people who favour a ban on foxhunting want Cap & Capper to stay friends, those against hold that their friendship is an aberration of nature, the work of a screenplay writer on drugs, or both.

Of course, in real life, things are a bit more tricky than that, but – while I don’t fancy any kind of hunting – I never really understood the British obsession with foxhunting. Nonetheless, while working in Westminster, I was able to find out that there is hardly any other issue that divides the UK’s population as sharply as hunting with dogs.

Sure, one can rationalise this – it’s a problem that has something to do with the urban-rural cleavage, which translates into a conservative-progressive cleavage, which also somewhat translates into a Conservative-Labour cleavage. It has to do with the slightly anachronistic British obsession with „class“ as a political category, and of course, it has to do with the abilities of professional single issue campaigners to dominate the political discourse – these people certainly know how to stage a postcard campaign.

I guess this kind of obsession for Gap & Capper is hard to understand for anyone not British – a bit like no one from the outside can really get the emotional way so many Americans talk about personal use of fireams, or how foreigners will have a hard time to understand seemingly rational Germans bizarre behavior when it comes to discussing general speed limits on the autobahn…

There have been a handful of votes on this issue in recent Parliamentary history – the Guardian has a nice timeline – but so far opposition by the House of Lords and government mediated compromises have prevented an outright ban of this, well, activity. But this time, it looks as though the Parliament Act will be invoked to sign the Commons bill into law even if the proposed ban is voted down in the Lords.

So now that Foxhunting could – really – be banned by 2005, the real question of the day is – what will become the next British national obsession?

Proposals welcome.

almost a diary, compulsory reading, Fußball, photoblogging, Sport

Sometimes Football Is More.

On Sunday, the definition of „tragedy“ was rewritten. Mainz 05, the local football team lost the race for the third promotion spot to Germany’s premier league, Bundesliga, by a single goal, and a single second, to local rival Eintracht Frankfurt. Both teams had scored 59 points in 33 games. Befor the last, and decisive, game, they were separated only by goal difference: Eintracht Frankfurt’s was one goal better.

The race was too close to call. At half-time, Frankfurt led 3:1 and Mainz led 2:0 against their respective opponents. Nothing had changed. But then Mainz scored twice while Frankfurt got two goals. Frankfurt would have to score four goals now – or three, should Mainz get one. A rather improbable scenario 80 minutes into the games.

Nonetheless, this is what happened. After Mainz got the 4:1 Frankfurt scored three goals in seven minutes, the 6:3 literally in the last second of the game’s extension leaving Mainz‘ players and supporters (like myself) in a numbed state somewhere between disbelief and denial.

 It was heart-breaking to see so many people burst into tears – again. Pretty much the same thing happened about a year ago in Berlin. It just was not fair.

But life often isn’t – despite our Hollywood inspired tendency to believe in happy ends. In life, we have to fight the obstacles without guaranteed success. But if we’re lucky, we have someone who fights with us. And I suppose the team of Mainz 05 is lucky.

They will never walk alone.

almost a diary, Sport

Still Alive.

Thanks for all your nice wishes! Well, so I did run. And I am still alive – well, I never actually questioned that ;-). Although some people did drop out and had to get treated by paramedics, which is not the most pleasant thing to see while running.

However, things did not go as smoothly as I had hoped for, which is why I had to call it a day after a half-marathon – and therefore did not get anywhere near a runner’s-high today… actually, it was more like a runner’s-low for two major reasons:

Firstly, after about two kilometers into the course, I suddenly felt sick for no apparent reason and had to force myself to empty my stomach in a movable loo. I already thought about giving up, but strangely enough, my stomach apparently had second thoughts and behaved like a good boy afterwards.

Secondly, when I was in Paris at the end of March, I apparently enjoyed running au bord de la Seine a little too much, for as a result I developed a
bone-skin infection in my left shin in recent weeks. This, in turn, significantly reduced the amount of training I had envisaged. But I thought it would be best to be really careful, given a previous knee-injury and the fact that I had been running a lot all throughout the winter and was thus not too concerned about my overall condition, even though I was sure to be slower than I had hoped I could be. So the big question was, would the shin hurt too much to go all the way?

Unfortunately, it did. So hopefully, I’ll be able to answer the runner’s high question after the Frankfurt Marathon in October…

almost a diary, oddly enough, Sport, USA

Gutenberg-Marathon Me.

In a few hours, I’ll be on the run.

Gutenberg Marathon

If I’m still alive afterwards, I’ll let you know ;-)

By the way, reader AL had an interesting comment regarding the unintended consequences of the Wal*Mart-Taleban story below:

„Part of this has to do with when Wal-Mart got big enough to move into a rural area and put all of the local small businesses out. In some western states, local businesses went with all nude female sales staffs to stay in business. Wal-Mart was blamed for destroying the local economy and the morals of the areas they opened up in.“


Important news.

Following Steven Wolfram’s „A new kind of science„, another algorythm solving one of the oldest mathematical problems, the determination of prime numbers (those which can only be divided by one and themselves), has been discovered by Indian researchers.

Mainz 05, up-and-coming football club in Germany’s second division, yesterday beat Union Berlin on their home ground. (Link).

For all those not too familiar with the second division of the German football league, Mainz05 is my home-town club and almost ascended to the premier league last season. Now they need all the suppport they can get to make it this time around. So please stand up for the (coming) champions, for the champions stand up…


I really hope she has not taken anything.

About an hour ago I watched the sports news. „Franzi is dead, long live Franziska“ was today’s leitmotif. „Franzi“, or Franziska van Almsick, is a German heroine – hailing from east Berlin, she became the first common wunderkind after Germany’s reunification when she, then just fourteen years old, won four medals in the 1992 Olympic swimming competition.

She rose to the stars too quickly, far too early. And so she fell fast and deeply a few years later when she tried to cash in her early fame. Those were the days when she was seen on magazine covers and at fancy parties more often than in the swimming pool. Sydney 2000 therefor became the opposite of Barcelona ’92.

Most people thought her career was over. Another wunderkind who wasn’t able to keep up with the pressures of early success. But the humiliations of losing, ridicule and the subsequent media massacre apparently awakened the Phoenix in herself. And so she spread her wings, jumped back into the poola and began to swim. And now, after two years and a few million lanes she is back where she was once before – today she beat her own world record from 8 years ago.

But with the wisdom of years she had to pay for so dearly today’s success must have been much sweeter. And judging from the pictures of her tears after the race she must have felt the same way.

I really hope she hasn’t taken anything. If she has, her downfall will be faster and deeper than the first – and it will be permanent. If not, she will become a national icon for good. Let’s hope she’s our Lance.