March 6th, 2007

Books!

Berlinerbahn

So it's come to this. My German project is due in on Thursday, and I'd been thinking I had a week more until last weekend. I was thus moreorless pushed into ditching the interesting ideas I had for the project, as they would require too much research time: one being the Situation of Stendal, my Great Aunt's hometown, and the other being German Unity (where I'd argue that the difference between North and South is as great as that between East and West, if not greater). No...as far as I'm concerned, those topics need more time, and more words, in the case of the latter. So I am left with what I had decided to be my fallback topic in Berlin: Berlin's transport network, or more specficially, the U-Bahn and S-Bahn. This makes me exceedingly geeky, but it's a fairly factual topic, you'd have to work to get any debate in there. Debate isn't necessary for the Project, however, and the essay style of my previous Project was thus in any case unrequired.

I've spent a fair while going over various sites on the subject. It's a less dull topic than it may seem, thanks to its location in one of the key theatres of 20th Century history. The remnants of the SS blew up the newly-built North-South tunnel under the Landwehr Canal to prevent the Soviets using the tunnels, and in the process, flooded most of Berlin's underground network, drowning thousands who were using it as shelter. Then, of course, came the wall, and the division of the networks. Two interesting things about that, incidentally: some West Berlin trains ran through East Germany territory between their two terminus stations, so the trains did not stop at any of the stations, nicknamed Geisterbahnhof, or 'Ghost Station'. The other tidbit is how a clause in the 1945 agreements meant that the whole Berlin S-Bahn network passed to the Reichsbahn, which then became the East German rail operator. As such, the West Berlin S-Bahn was run from East Berlin, which didn't do much for their popularity.

It's still a fairly dull topic, though, academically. I figure I can garner the necessary amount of words, but it won't be as interesting as a conventional essay. I could shift focus to the Division of Berlin in general...but there are three main reasons why I won't. Firstly, I'm too individualistic to go for an obvious option. Secondly, such a topic would require a huge amount more research to do justice to, and thirdly, I don't have the time anymore. I'll save the GDR for my final year work, methinks.

I'm not going to write anything further on Berlin tonight. I'm too tired, as I seem to have lost the lateness-addiction that kept me up to 2am most nights, not that I get up any earlier. It's a nice night for writing too, with the strong winds and rain outside, and biscuits inside. It's too chilled to let me focus, and I don't have the time to really write something less academic, such as one of the myriad of short story ideas that have been laying siege to my subconscience as of late. I'll leave decisions for the morning, where a sleepy me will no doubt curse the lazy me of the present. Ah well.

Whatever German Language may do to my degree, it's fairly clear by now that German Culture will be what will get me a First, if I do indeed gain it. I recieved a high(ish) First for both my German Culture essays from last term, gleaning an 80% for both my Schimmelreiter essay and my colossal essay (5000 words) on Nazi Cinema. It remains to be seen what mark I shall recieve for the two history essays I did in February. Speaking of which, I'm playing around with 19th Century Europe like crazy: I was due to do a presentation on the Press last week, but was surprised when it wasn't mentioned in the corresponding lecture, and thus struggled to build a proper presentation in time, which I eventually did not. Dr. Schui thus deferred my presentation and I had to choose a new topic. I figured The Arts was a safe bet, but the schedule has been changed, so I'm going to have to do the presentation this Wednesday rather than next week as I had expected. Whee. Thankfully, it should be quite easy to research, and will give me a break from the U-Bahn.

The Lunar Eclipse was lovely. I'll say more about that later, perhaps, because I really ought to get some sleep now so I can wake up in the morning and actually do some work for a change...