André Alexander's Homepage
This space is dedicated to (from left) my great-grandfather, Captain Willy; my grandfather, Boxer Fredi; and my father, Chimney Sweep Dieter.
Old Path, White Clouds, by Thich Nhat Hanh
"In this world, few people look with the eyes of compassion, and so we are cruel and merciless toward each other. The weak are always suppressed by the strong. Love and understanding can ease the suffering of all beings."
The Way of the White Clouds, by Lama Anagarika Govinda
"It tells of terrible journeys, of men masked against the sun (riding through ethereal regions with their feet frozen), of welcoming fog-girt monasteries lit by butter lamps at the journey's end."
The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde
"We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely. All art is quite useless."
La Cour Secrete des Arcanes / Corto Maltese in Siberia, by Hugo Pratt
"Corto, Corto! Du träumst von endlosen Meeren...Aber auf ihnen werden sich deine Hoffnungen als Lügen erweisen. Du jagst einem Märchen nach!""Sind Träume lügen, wenn sie nicht wahr werden?"
Heroes, by John Pilger
"'Year Zero: The Silent Death of Cambodia' had a memorable public response. 'A solidarity and compassion surged across our nation,' said Oxfam's director, Brian Walker. ...£1 million was reached quickly and, once again, most of it came from those who could ill afford to give. 'This is for Cambodia', wrote an anonymous Bristol bus driver, enclosing his week's wage. An elderly lady sent her pension for two months, endorsed to 'the children of Cambodia'. There were many pensioners. A young mother phoned with her flock kicking up in the background. 'I've only got £50,' she yelled. 'I've been saving it for three years. Where do I send it?...Listen, I'm not starving, am I?'..."
Sein Leben in Tibet, by Peter Aufschnaiter
Peter Aufschnaiter was Harrer's companion in Tibet. He stayed a year longer than Harrer, and proved to be a more sensitive writer and chronicler of what he saw, but his writing were published only after his death. "Plötzlich erinnerte ich mich an ein Ereignis im Jahre 1931. Damals, auf dem Rückweg vom Kangchendzönga, fuhren wir im Auto durch die Dörfer im Tista-Tal unterhalb von Gangtok. Es war Abend, in den Hütten loderte das Feuer, und die Bewohner nahmen zusammen das Abendessen ein. Ich fragte mich bei diesem Anblick, weshalb ich nicht einfach ausstieg und mich zu den Leuten setzte. Alle meine Probleme würden dort nicht existieren, das Leben wäre einfach. Durch ein unerwartetes Geschick war es mir später vergönnt, so zu leben, wie ich es damals in einem kurzen Augenblick erhofft hatte. Ich hatte unter diesen Menschen gelebt, in ihren Hütten und Zelten, mit ihnen gegessen, neben ihnen geschlafen, irgendwo ausgestreckt auf dem staubigen, gestampften Erdboden. Ich hatte manchmal einfacher gelebt als manche einfache Leute, ich kannte ihre Freuden und ihre Sorgen - kleine Sorgen, die ihnen jedoch grosse Sorgen waren -, hatte mit ihnen gearbeitet, auf dem Feld und auf den Baustellen, und ich kannte auch die Reichen, die von der Arbeit anderer Nutzen schöpften."
Klingsor's letzter Sommer, by Hermann Hesse
"Ein leidenschaftlicher und raschlebiger Sommer war angebrochen. Die heissen Tage, so lang sie waren, loderten weg wie brennende Fahnen, den kurzen schwülen Mondnächten folgten kurze schwüle Regennächte, wie Träume schnell und mit Bildern überfüllt fieberten die glänzenden Wochen dahin....Klingsor stand auf dem Balkon...Ja, es war wieder nacht, spät, und man hätte nun schlafen sollen, unbedingt und um jeden Preis. Vielleicht, wenn man eine Reihe von Nächten wirklich schlafen würde, sechs oder acht Stunden richtig schlafen, so würde man sich erholen können...Aber dann war dieser Sommer vorüber, dieser tolle flackernde Sommertraum, und mit ihm tausend ungetrunkener Becher verschüttet, tausend ungesehene Liebesblicke gebrochen, tausend unwiederbringliche Bilder ungesehen verloschen."
Wisdom in unexpected places:
"Everything dies, baby, that's a fact. But maybe everything that dies someday comes back..."
Bruce Springsteen, Atlantic City
Some facts of dubious value:
In 2007 I celebrated my 20th anniversary in the Tibetan Himalayas.
I also dedicate this page to the prophets of HIM Haile Selassie Jah Rastafari, the great Reggae artists of the 1970s.
My favourite listenings:
Hail I Hymn
by I Jah Man
This album is proof (as if needed) that Buddhism is not the only religion where meditation plays an important role. This is not a common album of pop songs, rather, it is a Reggae symphony with hauntingly beautiful melodies and lyrics.
"It is better for a man to conquer himself than as a king to conquer and capture many cities" (Zion Hut).
Dadawah - Peace & Love
by Ras Michael & the Sons of Negus
The first album of this iconic Jamaican band, famous for its blend of Nyabinghi drumming and Rastafarian gospel songs, produced in the early 1970s in a style that sounds both timeless and oddly contemporary today.
by Bob Marley & the Wailer
Contains many of my favourites such as Positive Vibration, Johnny Was, Crazy Baldhead and War, the last being a speech by HIM Haile Selassie put to song:
"Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned..."(War).
by Bunny Wailer
Bunny Wailer was one of the founding members of the Wailers and today sadly the only surviving original member of this remarkable group. This is his first and in my opinion best album, very different from his later output. 10 songs with long and thoughtful lyrics, beautiful melodies and restrained, folk-reminiscent production. "As skillful as I am, the jailer-man is bound to find me. I pray the day will come when I shall be free from Battering down the sentence, fighting against convictions..."(Battering Down the Sentence)
by Sons of Jah
The debut (and best) album of this little-known band. To my knowledge, there is no CD version yet (please let me know if there is: ).
Excellent songs with superb instrumentalization by the Wailers band, and the voice of Trevor Bow in "angry young man" fashion. The songs all deal with social injustice. Two of the original trio later left, and songwriter-singer Trevor Bow continued alone as Son of Jah until he was tragically assassinated in Jamaica recently. Once I met one of the original group members, running a record shop in Brixton. He kindly sent me some difficult-to-find recordings of the group. "What kind of world are we living in if we can afford half a billion on the moon and cannot spare half a dollar to keep someone alive" (John Brown).
Hear Me Now
by Barbara Paige
Next to Jody Mowatt's "Black Woman", this is my favourite female Reggae artist. Hear Me Now has sharp social and political-oriented songs, as well as romantic love songs. The Wailers band plays on this album. Thanks to Roger Steffens who introduced me to this wonderful artist, and thanks to Greg Solano who sent me this picture of the cover.
Not Reggae, but still good:
by Bob Dylan
One of Dylan's best later works, produced in 1989 by Daniel Lanois. Excellent new songs with Dylan's trademark innovative poetic lyrics and a hauntingly dark and rich sound by producer Lanois. Not without reason does Dylan's autobiography describe the making of this record in great detail, the songs and production reach a quality and completeness sadly absent from much of Dylan's work in the 80s and 90s. Unfortunately, Dylan left a few great songs cut at the time off the record, such as Series of Dreams and the original version of Born in Time.
"Broken bottles, broken plates, Broken switches, broken gates,
Broken dishes, broken parts, Streets are filled with broken hearts.
Broken words never meant to be spoken, Everything is broken...."(Everything is broken)
Buddha and the Chocolate Box
by Cat Stevens
My favourite is the cartoon story of Buddha and the Chocolate Box on the sleeve. The songs are good, I especially like King of Trees with its environmental theme. OK you can call me a hippy...
"Life is like a maze of doors and they all open from the side you're on. Just keep on pushing hard boy, try as you may, You're going to wind up where you started from, You're going to wind up where you started from"
Cat Stevens made a recent new record as Yusuf Islam, An Other Cup.
Very nice songs and very fresh production, my favourites include Avoid City After Dark, Heaven/Where True Love Goes (a reworking of Foreigner Suite) and Maybe There's A World.
Some more pictures
Pictures from Japan
Pictures from performance in Neues Museum Berlin
Pictures from Bhutan
"Lord my body has been a good friend, but i won't need it when I reach the end"
"Never forget who you are and where you stand in this struggle"
"As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters."
Song of Solomon 2:2