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Reaction to my ongoing memoir, Conversations with Speyer, has been slow, steady and, I’m pleased to say, largely positive.  Less than half of the reviews have sent me into a rage, and one or two of them may even be categorised as pleasant. Here are a few choice excerpts:

‘As good as anything by Casanova, Riecke’s memoirs really are a thrilling ride’ (Transactions of the Royal Society for the Study of Molluscs)

‘Riecke’s memoirs of Johannes Speyer show both men at their best. At least one of them even comes across, at certain junctures, as vaguely likeable’ (Tamworth Courier)

‘Georgy Riecke is publishing his memoir of Johannes Speyer in short segments. So far I have only read one of them – and it is by no means the worst thing I have read this week. If I don’t die young, I may find the time to read another segment’ (Carlos Ramos, author of Fresh Nights and Vulgar Mornings)

‘I reserve the right to fully comment on this memoir until every chapter has appeared. Having read the first two sentences, however, I would like to venture the opinion that this may be the greatest memoir ever written. Whether or not I shall venture this opinion remains to be seen’ (Franz Ludo)

‘Conversations with Speyer makes little sense to anyone who hasn’t heard of either Georgy Riecke or Johannes Speyer: i.e. pretty much everyone. Other than this it has a lot going for it…’ (greatmemoirsavailableonline.com)

More on this later…

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His Thin Legs Dangling

He said this wistfully, with an undertone of profound despond. I tried to imagine him as a slightly younger man, climbing the tree and sitting on one of the thicker branches, his thin legs dangling down. The image didn’t take. I tried to imagine Katz and Grunnerwald doing the same. Katz would have been a natural. He’d have taken to the tree like a squirrel. Grunnerwald I was less sure about. It all depended on whether you could find a tree offering a six month fellowship. Another thought occurred to me…

And so it continues: Chapter Two, Part Four.

Five semi-vigorous knocks…

It took only five semi-vigorous knocks to bring the great man to his door. The figure that stood before me, I thought, was very small and had just been crying and/or sleeping. I was wrong on both accounts. Speyer was in fact much the same size as me, but his front room, for reasons unknown, lay a foot or so below street level. His tired and swollen eyes, meanwhile, were caused by hay-fever. Why a man with hay-fever should chose to spend all his time sitting at the foot of a tree in his garden is a question I have never been able to answer – but there it is.

Like the stubborn mollusc inching towards the distant cabbage patch, so the memoir continues.

Professor Schintz was his name…

As we left, he introduced himself. Professor Schintz was his name. I revealed my name in return. He offered me a skjaper. I declined, out of politeness, before accepting, out of politeness. Already we felt like good friends. I asked him what he did. He had, it turned out, taken early retirement from the University of Berlin, where he’d taught for twenty-five years in the department of physics. I told him I’d had him down as a teacher in the humanities. ‘Ah, the old stereotypes!’ he laughed, ‘they survive, alas, because they’re largely true. But some of us scientists do read novels. Whether we think they’re worthy of further study is another question entirely. But we read, and we look, and we listen. Music, after all, is physics.’

Segment six of my award-winning memoir* is now available. Praise to all ye gods and cherubims!

* Pedants beware: I use phrase ‘award-winning’ loosely. In actuality, I have yet to win a single award for this work. In my dreams, however, I cannot build the trophy cabinets fast enough.

Tentacles Spreading

Cities, like octopi, spread their tentacles far and wide. But Dreiseen knew not this tentacle touch. The electric tremors of the city did not reach this town. The electric tremors of the next town down the line did not even reach this town. It was as if the three lakes around which it stretched sucked up every last elements of vibrancy or excitement, leaving the area in a state of absolute becalmment. Some would call it stagnant, but I beg to differ. Dreiseen deserves better than that…

In what may one day rank as one of the greatest acts of generosity of the twenty-first century (or, indeed, any century) I am continuing to publish my much-anticipated memoir, Conversations with Speyer, for free. Read it here.