An Escapologist’s Diary: Part 71. Germany und Switzerland.

Dear Diary, I write to you from continental Europe, where I’m basically on vacation but where I’m also conducting research for the magazine. It feels good to be footloose, blasting through the deep green countryside on Swiss and German trains.

In Freiburg, I visited Jonathan at Analog Sea, a publisher and cultural institute whose work I’ve admired for the past four years.

An early subscriber to New Escapologist, Jonathan is the real deal and his little team do everything the right way. As well as promoting real culture and philosophy, they’re deeply committed to staying offline: they have almost no web presence and Jonathan talked to me about the challenge of resisting Amaz*n who can still apparently devour the data and labour of those who make special efforts to avoid them.

As well as exchanging ideas and information about independently publishing a small press magazine, we recorded an interview for publication in a future New Escapologist. As we talked, my partner, Samara, sat quietly by and drew our portraits. It tickled! But it also felt like the sort of convivial creative moment that might lead to even bigger and lovelier things.

In Weimar, Samara and I visited the original Bauhaus University. We were expecting to join a walking tour but either it wasn’t running or we’d misunderstood the rendezvous point. We were ready to leave, thinking, “well, at least we came to the spot where it all happened,” but then I decided we should just enter the main building anyway.

I worked at Glasgow University for a while and it always amused me that, while the beautiful campus and many of its buildings were open to the public, few people ever ventured into the cloistered space. So, in Weimar, we burst inside uninvited to see frescoes and statues dating back to Bauhaus’s pre-War era and even a bust of founder Gropius himself.

Our covert explorations stopped, however, at the door of the Director’s Office which was, perhaps sensibly, locked. We hung around for awhile in case the scheduled tour group should appear and the guide unlock the door to afford us an undeserved peek, but it never turned up. The only other people we saw were a couple of hurried lecturers retrieving paperwork from their own, presumably less pretty, offices.

Less covertly, we visited the nearby Bauhaus Museum where, among other things, we saw independently-published books, artwork and pamphlets that may yet inform the future look of our magazine. Rest assured, it won’t be too fancy and we’ll keep it cheerfully cheap. In fact, that was a point of inspiration: talent and resourcefulness (and the use of technology unavailable to Gropius and his friends) can make up for modest funding.

In Basel, our EasyJet Hotel room felt ominously like a prison cell, bewilderingly small, with no window and with a toilet in the room. Avoid it, mein kinder! It was considerably worse than any hostel dorm or €9-a-night Turkish flop I have stayed in. It was almost worth the not-particularly-low price to see the spectacle of it. I have asked for a refund, which, if successful, will go into our printing fund for the magazine.


A confession, oh secret diary. There’s a vacancy at a library in Edinburgh. It’s a very dignified and well-paid job and, before our trip, I was tempted to apply for it.

Were I to get through the interview, the job would have salted my mild but persistent money anxieties once and for all and my days would have been filled with fairly pleasant and bookish work. On the other hand, it would have scuppered the New Escapologist comeback and probably also any future books I might write. I would have accepted the offer with a heavy heart.

Fortunately, the trip put paid to this rare temptation to grapple with a job application. My desire to create and to be on the front line of cultural production instead of merely toiling in support of it has been redoubled. I have Jonathan and Elena at Analogue Sea–and Bauhaus’s Kandinsky, Schlemmer and Klee speaking to me through the years–to thank for that. Another narrow escape, perhaps.


If you enjoy this blog and would like to see the return of a real New Escapologist magazine, you can help by buying my book The Good Life for Wage Slaves. Also still available are bundles of New Escapologist in print (1-7 and 8-13) or PDF (1-7 and 8-13). Anything you buy will help me to further this tiny non-profit enterprise.


Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at

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