Hello, Genossen. I stumbled across this rather haunting song, Am Fenster, by City, while looking for YouTube videos on the East-West German border. I think the music goes well with the scenes in the video.
This clip from TV Turkmenistan really does show a fine example of mass sycophancy, not seen since the day of Stalin in the USSR or Ceasescu in Romania. Not so much HROSL (Huge Roar of Sycophantic Laughter) as HROSA (Huge Roar of Sycophantic Applause).
Northern Ireland. The Six Counties. The North of Ireland. The Province. Ulster. Take your pick.
That part of the world has changed since His Holiness John Paul II visited Ireland (Eire/Republic of Ireland) nearly forty years ago. There’s now peace a truce in Northern Ireland. It’s not real peace and harmony. It’s the only part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, where there is segregation (in the standard and “Jim Crow” laws senses of the word) of Catholic from Protestant is still part of daily life, although parts of Scotland may have similar issues. (Think of Celtic v Rangers football clubs.)
Now Her Majesty’s Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is in bother for admitting to ignorance about Northern Ireland politics.
It could be argued that most politicians in that part of the world are pretty ignorant, anyway. However, I would just argue: if you’re not confused about Northern Ireland politics, you just don’t understand. So yee don’t, now.
(Why do I sometimes feel like I am reading out Alistair Cooke’s Letter from America? Instead you get Blog from Germany.)
Just over a decade a go I worked as a supply teacher, usually in rough comprehensives on Teesside, including Hartlepool, home of the monkey-hangers. (In a battle against the French, the locals thought a monkey on board a French warship was a Frenchman. They hanged the poor animal when he “refused to talk.”)
Most of the classes were rough rough rough rough rough. The headteacher at one Hartlepool comprehensive give me a useful tip.
If the kids get too rowdy, just ask them about Lawrence, the transvestite Hartlepool football fan.
I did. That worked. I’d get non-stop anecdotes about Lawrence and his:
Season ticket problems
Tendency to re-apply make-up on during the last five minutes of every game
Ever since working at that school, I have got into Hartlepool, following the club and its trials and tribulations. Now, after the club nearly went bankrupt last season, they seem to be on the up. Undefeated so far in the National League, the fifth tier of English football.
Well, actually on this day yesterday… wind back 57 years… the Berlin Wall went up. And the rest is history until the next milestone in 1989.
As a pads brat living in Wolfenbüttel 1975-1978, I never got to see the Wall itself. Our family did make regular weekend trips down to the village of Mattierzoll to see the Inner-Deutsche Grenze (the “Inner-German Border”) and to be photographed by the Grenztruppen border guards… watching us… watching them… watching us.
These visits left their mark on me. On reaching the border, I used to feel nauseous, as if approaching a person that I knew had murdered hundreds of people in cold blood.
This huge hit has not aged one bit since 1976. It’s a real perennial. Yet again, it was always being played on BFBS Germany at a time when BAOR troops were often being sent on six-month tours of duty to Northern Ireland during the Troubles.