Monday, 3 March 2008

Recycled: Pauschal ins Paradies

Nothing much to report today, so here's a recycled piece about a hedonistic reading last May. Please note that I went to my first smoke-free gig on the weekend. It smelt really bad.

We both went out without our glasses, which I think must be significant. It was a reading to launch the book Pauschal ins Paradies put together by my old hobnobbing buddy Andreas Gläser. About a million people read stories about "what I did on my holidays": Konrad Endler, Uli Hannemann,Yanneq, Jochen Schmidt, Friederike von Koenigswald and Frank Willmann. Click your way through that lot.

It was in the Goldener Hahn. You'll be pleased to hear they have nothing as new-fangled as a website. The modernest thing in there is the stainless-steel kitchen-roll holders in the ladies, holding Aldi's finest for hand-drying purposes. The beer was incredibly, incredibly cheap. The air was incredibly, incredibly smoky. And the readers (with the odd exception) were incredibly, incredibly funny. I spent much of the evening blushing, first when the drunk woman sharing our table told us how much she fancied me (after spilling beer over me and in the exact spot where I kept resting my elbow all evening). Then Mr Yaneq picked on me from the "stage" because I was unwilling to join in the German singalong rap he wanted to perform and it showed on my face. At which point Andreas shouted, "kjd, don't be a spoilsport", my lovely young man at the bar shouted, "kjd, shall I get you a schnapps?", and Mr Yaneq continued on the subject, also using my name liberally. I agreed to do that Queen "We will rock you" foot-stomping thang instead of the doo-be-doos. Strangely, no one was interested in my fascinating tales of earlier "We will rock you" foot-stomping when I regaled them drunkenly later in the evening. And I remember blushing again later on, but I can't quite remember what caused the problem.

We met lots of old friends and made a few new acquaintances, including a large rugby-player sporting advertising for an insurance company. We referred to him as the "insurance rep" for the rest of the evening. Towards the end we got embroiled in a political discussion but I can't quite remember what it was about. Not insurance anyway. We chatted in a drunken way with all sorts of literary types - mostly about non-literary matters like who got signed off sick the longest (18 months) by a dodgy doctor, just for being from East Germany and moving to West Berlin in the 80s. Apparently, the doctor was struck off the medical register after the insurance bods caught on to his game. I got all het up when my lovely young man spent too long at the bar chatting to Ms von Koenigswald. And for good measure I shouted at Konrad Endler before provoking fisticuffs on the way home. We can't quite remember what the fight was about though.

Oh yes, the book. It's a compendium of holiday stories by Berlin's prose slammers, punk musicians and football fans. We bought our lovely fresh copy (with CD) at the party and the main man Mr Andreas Gläser got it autographed by various contributors. Strangely, one of them's signature looks just like my sister's. I'm not aware of any blood relationship there though.

Anyway, the nitty-gritty is that it's a really good book. Buy it. You won't regret it. Stories of socialist holiday camps, Balearic embarrassments, delayed flights, drunken cruises, pissing off the locals, pissing off the tourists, near-death experiences with 3-year-old land lubbers, drunken Baltic saunas, etc. etc., all narrated in truly amusing mode. None of these writers adhere to the common German literary motto of "if anything happens in a story it must be rubbish". Perfect for the airport lounge.

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