“Hör auf zu meckern!”

Hello, everybody.

For those who don’t speak German, the title translates loosely into colloquial English as:

Stop your bl00dy moaning!

In the past month I’ve been doing pastoral work for the local church.  Anyone can wear the label.  Anyone can talk the talk.  Can they walk the walk?  For sure it’s rewarding, helping people to sort their problems, whether that be depression, loneliness, falling out with friends, etc.

But…………

Fast-forward to the last 24 hours.

Last night I went to the local ELCN (English Language Comedy Night) in DUS Altstadt.  It was excellent as ever, including seeing the world’s shortest comedian.  (But some other time, please.)

I get home just after 01:30, pretty much still on a high after enjoying two hours’ live stand-up comedy including the world’s shortest comedian bantering with a bald man who was a hair brush salesman.  (But some other time, please.)

A quick check on my emails and Facebook.  I’m still a bit “hyper” from the ELCN.

G, my old classmate from pads brat days nearly 40 years ago, is online.  Night owl.

Then comes the bombshell.

G, a policeman, tells me matter-of-factly,  his wife had just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, which had spread to the lungs.  (British understatement: Not very good news at all.)

I immediately submit a prayer to York Minster Prayer Box.  I say kind words to G… which probably all his friends had told him earlier on in the day.

It’s now 02:00.  Bedtime and BBC Radio Five.

Fast forward about 10 hours.  I’m at church, using one of the meeting rooms as a study to read one of my IT text books.

A member of congregation happens to walk in.

MoC:

Hello German Ginge.  How are you?  Bleat bleat bleat moan moan moan grumble grumble grumble…  The local kiosk had run out of bread rolls, or some similar catastrophe.

G in G:

MoC, let me tell you something.  I really enjoyed the comedy evening last night.  But something spoilt it, I’m afraid.  You see, in the wee small hours this morning, I found out that a friend of mine has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Now, do you still want to tell me about what a morning you have just had?

MoC – exit stage left.  Bis später.

Have a grateful day, won’t you!

 

 

Advertisements

P45-Gate

Poor old Theresa May.  Here’s one assessment of her speech today, from Reaction, which is right-of-centre.   Worth sharing this article.

Reaction

Oh dear. That went well. After three months of painstakingly trying to shake off the “weak and wobbly” label, poor Theresa May had an absolute nightmare of a conference speech today. More or less everything that could go wrong did – coughing, protest, the set falling apart, aides walking onto the stage with glasses of water, the Chancellor popping up with a throat lozenge, a voice giving way – it was all there. What was intended to be a personal, powerful speech proving that she has what it takes to be Prime Minister became an excruciating display of fragility. 

Interestingly though, the public reception has so far been mixed. Although many will think that this will be the straw that broke the camel’s back, others may feel that she showed humanity, grit and determination in difficult circumstances. The jury is out, but Tory MPs and ministers are already talking about how she might be replaced rapidly. There seems to be a full-blown leadership crisis underway. For more on this, read Iain Martin’s article below. 

The row somewhat rescued Boris, who was having his own very Boris-esque crisis. At a fringe event yesterday, the gaffe-prone foreign secretary said that the Libyan city Sirte could be the new Dubai, adding, “all they have to do is clear the dead bodies away”.  

The comments sparked anger, with Labour (ironic, considering Corbyn’s IRA sympathies) calling them “crass, callous and cruel” and Conservative MPs Anna Soubry and Heidi Allen saying he should be sacked. Mr Johnson claimed his critics had “no knowledge or understanding of Libya” and accused them of playing politics. That’ll go down well with Soubry. 

In Trump-land, Rex Tillerson, United States Secretary of State, has quashed rumours that he is planning to resign. In a North Korea style press conference today, Tillerson said that he “has no plans to resign” and will stay in his position “as long as the president thinks I can be useful to achieving his objectives”. The row kicked off last weekend when the President publicly humiliated the Secretary of State on Twitter, saying that he was “wasting time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man”. When asked today whether Tillerson had called Trump a “moron” for his comments (as reported by NBC) the Secretary of State declined to answer, saying that he wouldn’t “get drawn in to that sort of pettiness”.

So that’s a yes then. 

Olivia Utley
News Editor
Reaction

 

Ex-Pat Life

As a pad’s brat, I’ve been around the world, and also as an adult.  My first ever “proper” graduate job brought me to Bangkok, Thailand, for three months training back in 1995.

BKK is notorious for many things.  The bars.  Their “live entertainment” is somewhat more interesting than bingo, karoake and stand-up comics.  Watch Spalding Grey’s monologue, Swimming to Cambodia if you want to enjoy an analysis of Thailand, filled with dry, dark humour.

I spent my first Saturday in BKK with Brij, a new Indian colleague.  We were down one of the go-go bars of Soi Cowboy (“Soi” being Thai for “alley”).  Brij was by now getting rather “friendly” with one of the staff.

Ginge in Germany:

Er, Brij, I think that’s a lady boy.  They have a rather large Adam’s apple.

Brij, hand over “barmaid’s” chest:

No, don’t be silly.  She’s got a great pair here.

Ginge in Germany:

Yeah, but I think he’s also got a great pair down below…

Brij, hand sliding down somewhat lower:

Rubbish… she’s definitely a… ermmmm… er…

Now, to Brij I dedicate this fine Bee Gees hit.

Have a ladylike day, won’t you!

F-RAN-KK SIDEBOTTOM

Question: Frank Sidebottom: who was he?

Answer: a uniquely British character, in particular, a Northern character.

A man with:

  • a large head papier-mache fibre-glass head
  • a nasal voice
  • a Mancunian (Manchester accent)
  • a love of Altrincham FC football club (whose shirt he is wearing in this pic)
  • a love of singing about “Alty”

He also loved the words “fantastic” and “blimey.”

Here’s a clip from a typical evening’s entertainment with Frankie.

Recognise him now?

I’ve been a fan of his for over thirty years.  Yes, me with my postgraduate education, laughing at daft things like that.  Blimey!

Here are the fantastic lyrics to his Alty fan song, which I think is as good as You’ll Never Walk Alone…

“On Saturday at five to three
There’s only one place to be –
Down at the Moss Lane football ground
The team come out, the crowd all roar
We come, win, lose, or draw
The only team for me is Altrincham FC
Oh the Robins aren’t Bobbins, says me
The Alty!”

So, why the title, F-RAN-KK?  Well, it was a quiet Sunday afternoon today.  I was chatting to my old classmate, “The Roz,” about my recent visit to the naturist section at Unterbacher See.  The Roz is also a Frank Sidebottom fan, being from up the road from Frank’s home town.

Blimey, Ginge!  Well done, but I couldn’t bl00dy well do that.

Then we got talking about what would happen if Frank Sidebottom had come with me to  the naturist section, the FKK-Bereich.  The comedic elements just write themselves…

Imagine the scene…

Frank arrives in his Altrincham FC kit.  To quote the late, great man himself:

The shorts are black,

The shirts are red,

An ace combination, as I’ve said…

Our Frank strips out of his Alty strip.

He exclaims:

Blimey!  They’re all in the nip!

An overzealous parks official comes and tells Frankie S to remove his papier-mache fibre-glass head in order to be fully stripped off.

FranKK explains:

But this is my head.  It is part of me.

Little Frank joins in with protesting.

The official walks off.

Blöder Ausländer…

Frank turns to camera and says:

Oh no!  They’d better not tell me mum!

Frank decides a bit of music is needed to lighten the mood and entertain the hundreds of Germans in their birthday suits.  He gets his organ out.  (Phoar!)  That is, his Hammond electronic organ.  He starts to sing:

“On a Monday at five to three
There is only one place to be –
Down at the Unterbacher See
The clothes come off, we’re in the raw
We come here, and it isn’t a chore
The only place for me is Unterbacher See!
Oh, the Germans aren’t Bobbins, says me…
Altbier!”

Thank you!

Then cut away to Frank Sidebottom interviewing some very confused Germans in English.

Is it nice lying in the sun oh natural?  Back home in Timperley we never have enough sun to go sunbathing.

sidebottom

Have a frank day, won’t you!

I love live entertainment!

Live entertainment.  Nothing much can beat it.  I love watching live stand-up comedy.  But last night I tried something different: live choral music, sung by the choir of Hatfield College, Durham University, England.

What an evening!  Short but sweet: only forty-five minutes, but very enjoyable.  A mix of choral music from the centuries, as well as a couple of novelty songs, eg The Teddy Bear’s Picnic.  Afterwards there was the chance to come and chat with the members of the choir and thank them for their amazing, professional singing.

One regret: they did not have any CD’s to sell, but they are planning to go busking in the Altstadt, before heading off to Krakow in Poland for more performances.  Very entrepreneurial!

Many thanks to the British Women’s Club for organising!

Further reading: Hatfield College Choir

Have a musical evening, won’t you!