Friday, 18 April 2014

I bet it doesn’t happen to David…Grossman

The young woman receives me with a friendly smile and tells me “we will be a small group tonight.” She adds “you know Bayern München are playing Manchester United tonight.” There are indeed very few in the hall in which I am to read from Die Schatten der Vergangenheit sind noch lang. Turns out that I am after all not Champions League material. The woman confesses that she is quite nervous, explaining, “authors are sometimes difficult.” I try to reassure her, promise that I will not be difficult, and hold back from pointing out that the football game is due to start later in the evening, only after my event is due to end.

It goes well and the questions show interest. The organisers say goodnight and do not offer to take me out for dinner. I don’t know anyone in this town and go back to my hotel. The restaurant is closed and I can only get snack food at a bar full of loud Bayern supporters. 

Overheard in an Elevator

On the way down from the 15th floor in the lift in a hotel in a small town in Germany:

A-    What brings you here?
B-     I am here for a conference on addiction
A-   Ah… interesting… Are you an addict?
B-    I was an addict 30 years ago, but I am clean now. 
A-     Well, …have a good day then.

 Emm, not quite overheard. 

Lufthansa II

Almost three weeks have passed since Lufthansa cancelled my flight from Tel Aviv and I have still not heard from them with their arrangements of reimbursement. Instead I get almost daily marketing emails from them. The latest one suggested that I should “Join the Muppets. Mit Lufthansa.“ Are they crazy?

Some idiot in the PR department of Lufthansa must think that sending invitations to a Muppet lottery game is the way to wipe away the memory of thousands of cancelled flights.

Lufthansa neither emailed nor smsed me to inform me of the cancelled flight. By the time I received a general “we are sorry about the strike and please get in touch with our call centre” email from them, I had already bought a ticket with another airline. Has anyone on the LH board ever tried to get in touch with their call centre?  I don’t mean through their dedicated VIP line. 

Lufthansa I

Fat high earners who strike to get even more money should GO TO HELL. 
That is what I wish the Lufthansa pilots. 

I have much sympathy for those on meagre incomes who strike, even when it inconveniences me, but those self-satisfied cigar smoking Lufthansa pilots (that is how their representatives appeared on German TV) should not get any of their demands. 

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Berlin, Potsdam, Magdeburg and Erfurt

I have the following reading events in April:

8 April                     Erfurt
19:00                       Europäisches Informationszentrum
                                Regierungsstr. 73 

9 April                     Potsdam
18:00                       Heinrich–Mann-Allee 107, Haus 17

10 April                   Magdeburg
19:30                       Stadtbibliothek
                                Breiter Weg 109

14 April                   Berlin
19:00                       Akademie der Konrad Adenauer Stiftung
                                Tiergartenstr. 35

I will be reading from Die Schatten der Vergangenheit sind noch lang.

Come in droves and bring your friends!

Friday, 21 February 2014

North Korea

The UN has published a damning report about North Korea that compares atrocities committed by the Kim Jong Un regime to those perpetrated by the Nazis.

Is it really wrong to militarily interfere and free the North Koreans from this evil regime?  We normally fail in such attempts but is simply giving up morally acceptable? 

British Airways

They came around with beverages on the short flight to Frankfurt. I asked for tomato juice and took a small bag of crisps from the stewardess’s plate. I then asked whether they had cookies and was given a cellophane wrapper with two small chocolate cookies. The stewardess looked at the unopened mini bag of crisps on my tray – I did not know they made them that small – and wordlessly took it back. 

I don’t want to kiss the waiter/waitress

There is something nice about a restaurant you know well, perhaps a neighbourhood restaurant, not too expensive, where you are greeted with a smile that even seems genuine. A restaurant where the waiters know what your preferred drink is, where you get the feeling that you are a sort of a VIP. You get an extra portion of the dessert you like, a salad even if you haven’t ordered one.

BUT, why, why do the waiters think that part of the “spiel” is to greet you with a kiss or even to shake your hand, just after you have washed them and are about to eat?  

Emperor Rattle

Today’s post included a brochure of the Easter music festival in Baden Baden, an event that is purely Berliner Philharmoniker. It is evidently not selling well if they have to to a mailing of their expensive brochures less than two months before the events.

Eight concerts/opera performances are conducted by Berliner Philharmoniker’s chief conductor, Simon Rattle, who - the brochure informs us – is somewhat of an “uncrowned emperor in a profession that is full of kings”.  Conductors of the world move aside to receive Emperor Rattle! 

Magdalena Kozena, the empress, will be singing in six of the eight performances conducted by her husband. Any inside information on whether Rattle’s contract stipulates that his wife must be part of the deal? 

Friday, 17 January 2014

David Cameron's Platitudes

Zara Phillips, Princess Anne’s daughter, one of the Queen’s eight grandchildren, has today given birth to a daughter. This is, I am sure, wonderful news to the family, but totally irrelevant to Britain. That is, unless you get excited by the 16th in line to the throne.

Why does the British Prime Minister think it necessary to come out with a statement, and a banal one on top?

"It's wonderful news and I'm absolutely delighted for the couple. I know them a little and I know they'll be absolutely devoted and delighted parents, so happy news all round."

So Cameron knows them “a little” and judges that - unlike other parents - they will be “absolutely devoted and delighted parents”. Must be that blue – rather diluted by now – blood.