Thursday, 27 March 2014

Berlin, Potsdam, Magdeburg and Erfurt

I have the following reading events in April:

8 April                     Erfurt
19:00                       Europ√§isches 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. 

Putin's Closet

We had Putin the diver, Putin the hunter, Putin the judo champion and now it is Putin the children’s savior.

According to press reports, Putin warned homosexuals to stay away from children. That is if they do not want to be subjected to harassment at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Russia is in safe hands: sweet uncle Putin is protecting its children. And yet, it is probably a good idea to keep one’s children away from Putin. Who knows what his next fad will be. 

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Thank God

Kalashnikov, the man who invented the AK -47, has died at the ripe old age of 94. At the age of 91 he found god and got himself baptised. Just in time, as he wondered and wrote to Kirill I of Moscow, the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church:  “I keep having the same unsolved question: if my rifle claimed people's lives, then can it be that I... a Christian and an Orthodox believer, was to blame for their deaths?"

Fortunately, the Church came to his rescue with the following response: “The Church has a very definite position: when weapons serve to protect the Fatherland, the Church supports both its creators and the soldiers who use it."

Like his colleagues, be they priests, rabbis or imams, Kirill knows his role in society, which includes lending his support to the use of weapons.

The small problem is that everyone has a different fatherland and thus more than 100 million Kalashnikovs have been sold by Russia worldwide. 

Sunday, 12 January 2014


Israel’s President, 90 year-old Shimon Peres, takes pleasure in pathos and speaks to the dead Sharon: “On your forehead, there were victories of steel and golden hope.” 

Let him be poetic if he so wishes. But why, when an 85 year-old man dies after lying in coma for 8 years, why does he speak of “Arik Sharon, today lost an heroic battle for his life. … We all loved him.” What exactly was heroic in his death? And by the way, Mr. Peres, we did not all love him.   

It is not hypocrisy, the man is in love with his own words and most likely, believes them. 

And one more thing: Arik Sharon was not a religious man. Shimon Peres is not a religious man and does not normally wear a skullcap. The area in front of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, is not a synagogue. So why is the man wearing a skullcap? Sucking up to the religious? It is sadly a creeping process that has enveloped Israel. 

Saturday, 11 January 2014


Am I the only person who is uncomfortable at the sight of this shop window in a small town in Germany?

This dealer in military antiquities (1800-1945) and precious metals offers cash for dental gold also… with teeth.

Trust the expert, the sign says.