Saturday, December 29, 2012

According to something I read today, “Germany has an almost obsessive fascination with the bard, exemplified perhaps by the Ferdinand Freiligrath poem of 1844 that opens with the line: Deutschland ist Hamlet. There are now more productions of Shakespeare's plays in Germany every year than in England.” But that's not the only obsession with something English the Germans have; every year for 49 years now, New Year's Eve has seen the TV screening of the British film “Dinner for One”. This is an “18 minute single-take, B&W TV recording”, unknown in the UK but celebrated in Germany (and elsewhere) for its (perceived) hilariousness. It takes all sorts, I guess. Anyway, you can watch it here. Complete with German intro. I guess familiarity breeds appreciation. As with, say, Morecambe and Wise.

Still with Germany . . . A new exhibition in Berlin explores the Hitler personality cult and seeks to answer the question of how he was able to wield such an influence over the German people. Called, naturally enough, "Hitler and the Germans," it also explores how he managed to not only win power but also keep it even as "total defeat" loomed. Dubiously perhaps, the exhibition features Nazi artefacts such as propaganda posters, busts of Hitler, a card game aimed at teaching the names of top Nazis, SS cufflinks and a red swastika lampshade. Sounds like a must.

No sooner have I got over the disappointment of not seeing Tracy Emin's name cited in the article on fake culture I mentioned recently, than I see she's now been given something in the New Year's Honours. Life can be a real bitch.

I've been visiting local bookshops recently. Needless to say, there aren't as many of these as when I first came here. The one I visited today is the biggest in town but only a fraction of the size of, say, Waterstones in Leeds. Nonetheless, it's big enough to be confusing, essentially because there isn't a single indication of which books are where. I guess it helps to keep the assistants in employment. Or the customers to pass/waste more time.

What I did learn today is that there's still no consistency in Spain as to which way round the titles are written on the spines of book. Such a simple thing. And its lack can make it a headache to cover the shelves. Literally.

Finally . . . This is the most ridiculous goal scored this year. Though it's got nothing to do with Germany.

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