Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Get Out and Schadenfreude

In recent conversations with Germans, I get the feeling that Brexit brings about what seems to be some Schadenfreude, this wonderful German term for which there is no English equivalent. According to the Oxford dictionary, Schadenfreude is the malicious enjoyment of another’s misfortune.  

Under no circumstances would it be right – I was told – for the British government or parliament to seek ways of staying in the EU. No, it does not matter that the referendum was only a consultative instrument, it does not matter that the majority of the pro voters was so slim, it does not matter that the majority of MPs seems to be against Brexit.  

Therefore the new prime minister of Britain who claimed to have been against Brexit should now do what she considers to be bad for her country.

Would those Germans, who believe that the British government must “respect the will of the people”, have said the same had the British referendum decided to wage war against Germany?  

Cameras at the Opera

Most performing arts venues do not permit video, audio or photo recording during performances. Having to hold back through the performance, very often, as soon as a performance ends, smartphones are up in the air recording the curtain calls. Why? It’s just a bloody curtain call. What do they do with these pictures?

In Salzburg, last week, after a wonderful performance of Jules Massenet’s Thaïs, hundreds of these smartphones were doing their thing. Just in front of me, there was a gay couple, each had their instrument and both were recording. Why? Will they be comparing shots in the bedroom?

I should clarify that it is probably not a gay thing: I remember sitting next to a Japanese couple on a plane, a few years ago. I had the window seat and as we were flying over the snow covered peaks of the Alps, first the husband and then the wife gave me their cameras and asked me to take pictures of the mountains. In answer to my question, why they needed the photos in both cameras, they explained that they each “have their own memory of the trip.”