Last Night At The Alt Berlin (or Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World)

Hey folks,

On the evening of 26th April 2014, Stephanie and I were in Berlin to perform extracts from our novels at The Ramones Museum, Krausnikstraße. We did the five hour train journey from Bremen and all went as smooth as a silk-flavoured smoothie. We arrived in good time at Berlin Central Station, passing through Berlin Spandau on the way that made me almost hum a Spandau Ballet song, if I was feeling reckless, which I wasn’t, so I didn’t. We grabbed some grub, greasy, tasty sweet and sour noodles with spring rolls from the small Japanese food shack out the back of the station, if you must know (you’re a bit nosy, aren’t you?!), then hopped on and off a couple of Straßenbahn trams to get to our destination, The Ramones Museum, just off Oranienstraße. We were early by an hour, so went on a short stroll around the area, spotting a sign that pointed towards the famous playwright Bertolt Brecht’s house a mere 700 metres away. We traipsed jauntily up Oranienstraße, passing some familiar buildings that we remembered we’d seen on a previous visit to Berlin, my first time, including the impressive New Synagogue, then spotting some familiar graffiti about being bugged by the government, ironic with the latest N.S.A. revelations that they’d been listening to Chancellor Merkel, as well as seeing the excellent Tom’s Fritten, which is a hilarious pun that sounds a bit like ‘pommes fritten’, the German term for chips. We wandered past Dada Falafel, then hiked a right, as the street signs advised, carrying on a considerable time without finding or spotting anything, and saw no signs around. Time was short, so we headed back. We thought that it might be worth checking the street signs on the other side of the street that we’d come up on, further away from the direction that we’d been directed in, but still with possible indications of which way to go. We noticed one solitary sign at a crossroads, tucked away from view of the main street, which pointed back across to the street that we had already walked up. Why it wasn’t on the side that we had been on, we didn’t know, but perhaps the Berlin Tourist Board wants people to discover new places by getting lost or backtracking? We just couldn’t say. The side path that we were now pointed down led back virtually in the exact direction that we had started in. We still couldn’t find the house, so made our way back to The Ramones Museum, as it was almost time to check in to sort out the show.

We made ourselves known to the person at the counter. I asked the lady there if she was Flo, the person I had been in contact with about performing. She looked at me strangely, and said, “No, he is not here at the moment, he’s just getting something to eat.” I had forgotten that Flo could be a man’s name in Germany, short for Florian, but I don’t think she was too offended. The place had a really casual feel, a great, buzzing atmosphere, helped by the punk songs blaring out of the speakers, which I liked a lot. The walls were covered in photos of visitors and graffiti from previous bands that had been there, giving it a real rock and roll ambience. The venue owners cared, but like people to relax, which was great. We got a Becks Lemon beer, not too strong so I could stay on top of things (punk rocker, that I am – not!), and waited in the corner. Stephanie’s friend Inka showed up, ever cheerful and pleased to see us, then Flo arrived and suggested how we’d do things – just start in about a quarter of an hour and see how it goes. Chilled and cheerful, just how we like it.

The show began with a friendly introduction and a welcoming crowd. I felt that the reading was a decent rendition. I did mostly Ramones sections, but they featured the Sex Pistols, Clash, Damned and Stranglers too, so was a good spread of groups. More people came in to the museum and stopped by to listen. Stephanie read a snippet from her novel, which was well received, and I finished with the Phil Spector episode, which is a corker. The stories were well-received, with different saying people saying that they took different things from them, always good to hear, as it means that the book connects with newbies and punk stalwarts alike, which was the intention from the start. The next day Legs McNeil would be reading from his book about Danny Fields, the manager of The Ramones, as well as The Doors and many others, so we felt in good company.

Stephanie and Inka’s good friend Kersten turned up, and I read a bit more of the book to the people who were still hanging around, some more of the Sex Pistols and their early antics. We had another couple of beers, said our goodbyes, and then went to eat in a falafel shop in the bursting heart of the city.

After this, we headed to another bar, the Alt Berlin, a place where Brecht used to drink while he worked at the Berliner Ensemble, and where he had his own bar stool. It was decked out all in dark wood panelling, and a tragedy that the very next day it was going to be ripped down, probably to build luxury flats, a new gym or a chain supermarket or coffee store. We sat on the step outside as the place was so packed, then ventured inside later on when it had quietened down and people had moved on. The atmosphere was vibrant, there were a group from South Korea who we chatted to as Inka had visited for a while and knew the territory. The other side there was a Rastafari guy and his friends, and an assortment of various European and global residents mixing up, just as Brecht would’ve loved it. As it was tightly packed, I tried not to go to the toilet too often, as it was awkward getting through, so had to rely on my bladder holding out against the quantities of alcohol being drunk. Eventually, I had to admit defeat and went for a whizz, negotiating the gabbling crowd, who were very polite, but so crammed in that it was a human labyrinth to navigate around. I made it to the toilet, but the door was tricky to open without hitting anyone who was coming out the other side. I fortunately didn’t slam it into anyone to send them sprawling into a urinal, and entered inside, making my way to the pisser, and micturating as rapidly as possible so as not to cause a log jam of people, which is not what anybody wants, especially in the seated cubicle. The taps were used, and hands dried, then back, avoiding anyone coming in the door on the way back. As I passed the ladies, there was a crash, as the door fell off, a similar problem occurring there it seemed. It didn’t matter too much, as the whole place was coming down in the morning, so that was just an early start.

The bar was a haven of cosmopolitan chic and gorgeous Germanic design. People were laughing and regaling each other with amusing tales, the whole place rocked, so was a terrible shame to think that this was being destroyed the next day. It seemed to be an all too wretched symbol of the state of Europe as it stands, the lost, or at least fading, world of jovial eccentricity being lost to corporate interests, and soulless gentrification. We need more places that enrich the social community, rather than the bland establishments that seem to be sucking its life force away. We would leave Germany a few days later, with a slightly hollow feeling that things were closing, but with many warm, affectionate memories and groovy times.

Be excellent to one another, and party on, dudes,

Tom and Stephanie

 

ADDENDUM

On the train back to Norwich from London, a conversation was overheard that went exactly as follows.

“I love prawns.”

“Me too. They get in your teeth though.”

“I like those jumbo ones.”

“They’re called King Prawns, aren’t they?”

“Oh, I don’t know about those.”

 

I knew that I was home. (Tom)

You can pick up a copy of our books at the following links –

Berlintoxication – A Gaslight Fantasy is available here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/429230

Needles & Pins – A Punk Novel is available here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/438673

Hope you enjoy them!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Literary Tour of London

Hi there,

We’d just like to let all of you wonderful internet people know about our latest enterprise, a little walking tour around London taking in some of the fascinating places that some of Great Britain’s greatest writers used to live, and informing people about their lives as we go. The Literary Tour of London is going to be a regular event, taking in the libidinous and eccentric lives of Shakespeare, Dickens, Woolf, Orwell, Shelley (Percy and Mary), Forster, Marlowe and the illustrious Dr Johnson.

Image

The tour is 2 hours long, usually from 3-5pm on the dates specified, but we’re open to suggestions. Meet at the Virginia Woolf statue in Tavistock Square and look for the man in the splendid hat. The nearest tube station is Russell Square or Euston Square. The tour will finish at The Globe Theatre at around 5pm, from whence you can saunter off and do as you please! Bring a camera and a brolly just in case!

Sneak Preview Tickets only £6 (this is the test run, so may be a little rough around the edges!) or £4.99 for children, students and OAPs: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/263268

Official events tickets only £8 (plus 80p booking fee) or £6 (plus 60p booking fee), get them here:
Wednesday 14th May – http://www.wegottickets.com/event/263887
Wednesday 11th June – http://www.wegottickets.com/event/264747
Friday 18th July – http://www.wegottickets.com/event/266926

More events coming soon once we get rolling!

Best regards,

Tom and Stephanie

Posted in Literary Tour, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Antwerp Antics

Hi All!

We had a wonderful New Year’s Eve in Antwerp, although it’s difficult to compare to the UK. As much as we would’ve liked to have been in an over-priced, over-crowded, over-testosterone-and-crack-crammed hellhole of a nightclub in merrie ol’ England on New Year’s Eve, we instead endured wandering around the charming European city, visiting the home of Rubens, seeing some startling architecture and street art, meeting some jovial and insightful locals, and drinking a few glasses of reasonably priced Belgian beer while watching fireworks over the city park, so we’ll just have to live with it. DSCN4046

We’re not sure why more people don’t do it, but with the myriad delights that England has to offer, we can see why it wants to sever itself from Europe.

DSCN4055

Also, there’s a great underground tunnel at the river at the Sintjans Vliet called the Linkeroever (left bank), it’s a bit of a walk, but there’s an excellent view of Antwerp’s many sights from the other side.

There’s some nice graffiti at Ijzerenwaag off Kammenstraat if you’re into that kind of thing.

DSCN4068

DSCN4034

DSCN4027

DSCN4024

DSCN4020

DSCN4003

DSCN3980

DSCN3953

DSCN3945

Cheers to Jono for recommending seeing the whole station, it was quite a sight to take in!

Tom and Stephanie

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Leafing Around

Hi there,

We’ve recently done a stint on a farm in the small Northern German village of Palingen near to Luebeck, where Thomas Mann wrote the famous novel Buddenbrooks. The Buddenbrooks book is about a family of merchants that falls apart (the family as a whole, not individuals, well, occasionally). For some reason, Mann wasn’t very popular amongst the merchants of the town once the novel was published, who made snidey comments about him and snubbed him. He retaliated by calling them, “silly little marzipan salesmen,” which didn’t endear him to them any more, but was quite cheeky and amusing for the rest of us.

While we were in Luebeck, we saw the house that Mann set his novel, a grandiloquent, old building that epitomised the grandiose happenings within.

Also hailing from Luebeck, or at least living there for a short while, was Gunther Grass, famous for his epic work The Tin Drum, about the dangers of fascism, The Rat, and many more insightful tomes. Grass is an imposing figure, in the literary world and outside it. He was recently condemned for making anti-Semitic comments in a poem that doesn’t have anything anti-Semitic in it, just that the Israeli authorities should be scrutinised more thoroughly for having nuclear weapons without international UN approval, showing that language is a powerful, persuasive and pernicious thing that can be manipulated for good and not so good ends, depending on who is using it and how it is used.

Travelling can be a great chance to catch up on a novel that you’ve been meaning to read for a while. On the trip to Hannover, Tom got a chance to leaf through a collection of John Updike tales, Friends From Philadelphia and Other Stories, which is strongly recommended to all comers. It’s easy-to-relate-to stuff, portraying a world that contains people who are flawed, lonely, damaged, but treated with and treating others with compassion. In this story collection there is a guy who bumps into an old flame, who considers what has passed between them, and reflects on the outcome. It also contains a tale of infidelity, with a wry twist, exposing the different sides to a story, but not all at the same time. One touching episode, Brother Grasshopper, delineates the relationship of two brother-in-laws, one sensible, who tells the piece, and another who lives dangerously and has many crazy hobbies, which eventually catch up with him in different ways, hence the Aesop allusion, but the moral is not a castigating one, just extremely melancholy and haunting. All of these tales are told in crisply written, lively prose, making them a delight to read and illuminate your world.

Another novel that Tom lugged to Germany earlier in the year when he came for Stephanie’s Hen Party (he didn’t attend the Hen Party, he stayed in to watch the cat) was Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut. Vonnegut is a master of storytelling, weaving his stories extremely intricately, describing the most careful and also hilarious details of the small truckstop towns that he and his characters freewheel through on their journey to an ill-fated book festival. The ensuing incidents are off-beat and beautifully absurd, capturing the nonsense and irreverence of modern society about as well as any modern novelist Tom has read. There are a lot of flippant pictures and asides inside, which add charm and pzazz to an already wild yarn. Recommended for those who like the quirkier side of life.

Whilst visiting Germany over Christmas last year, Tom managed to zip through the brilliant Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett, set in territory intended to represent the torn up maps of old Europe. Though not his most outlandish, irreverent work, it held the attention, and was engaging for the conceit of the characters involved. Pratchett managed to conjure the sad, oppressive atmosphere of nebulous European battles around the 17th-19th century, the mud, decimated villages, and pointless territorial battles over border controls and land ownership. The humour is nicely ironic, and the characters all sympathetic in the humanist way that this fantasy Discworld series manages to create more of a sense of reality at times than in reality itself (which is usually rather vague and dull). A satire of not-quite modern warfare, the story gives a great picture of the foolishness of war and its unnecessary results.

One other book that Tom picked up while travelling was the graphic novel Berlin: City of Stones by Jason Lutes. He wanted to read something that wasn’t too wordy, so thought that a graphic novel, or comic as they’re more commonly known, would be the way to go. He didn’t know which would be a good book to pick, so just chose one at random that looked fairly well crafted. He knew that you shouldn’t tell a book by its cover, but you can get a decent idea. It’s as good a start as any, anyway, when there are millions of books to choose from. It was a great choice, as it showed an intricate portrayal of the lives of many people living in late 1920s and early 1930s Berlin. What is a sensitive subject is covered in caring, intimate detail, giving a deep sense of reality that swirls around the characters contained within it. There is humour, loss, and many emotions in between, you feel as if you travel and develop with the protagonists, and share their joys, worries and woes. It is an amazing book, and strongly recommended to anyone. Tom can’t wait to read part two, although will do so with trepidation.

There are other books that we have read on our travels, but we’ll leave those for a future post. That’s all for the moment. Bye for now!

Tom and Stephanie

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bog Standards

Hello to you!

One of our pals from Norfolk, Dave, has a brother who works for a company that has twelve different types of toilet at their headquarters. This is an international company, and they intend to cater for a trans-global business crowd, including when they go for their business. But twelve different kinds? I suppose it would be intriguing to try them all, and it’s interesting to find out what toilets tell us about the places that they come from.

Toilets are universal, but no two are the same. Actually, that’s wrong, many are the same, it’s snowflakes that are all different, isn’t it? Toilets have been quite different in some of the different countries that we’ve been to though, which is why we’re writing this blog post, or, if you will, bog post.

The modern toilet was not invented by Sir Thomas Crapper, much to schoolboys’ dismay, although he did invent the ballcock, which we won’t pass comment on. It was in fact invented by Bobby Ploptank. Toilets have been around since early civilisation, going back to the times of King Minos 2800 years ago, whose toilet was found at the heart of a massive labyrinth, guarded by a minotaur, through the bowels of China during the Han dynasty in 54 BC, who had fully functioning China loos. We haven’t encountered those ones, but have seen a variety on our travels, and heard of many more interesting and intriguing examples, such as the following…

Beginning in England, going for a tiddle can be a great social event. Ladies find it far more sociable than gents, however, by all accounts, with the female toilet experience being one of general chit-chat, serious discussions about the various topics and issues of the day, applying make-up, squatting precariously beside the door while waiting for a friend, or just getting some fresh air, and holding back your bessie mate’s hair while they spew their guts out into the bowl after a good session. Gents, on the other hand, must stare straight ahead at the urinal, if of the heterosexual persuasion, never veering your gaze sideways, unless you are curious to compare weapons or velocity of water expulsion, men being competitive sometimes. In some more open-minded places, such as Manchester’s Canal Street, there are unisex toilets where the facilities are available to all, which is quite a cheery and egalitarian way of doing, er, your doings, if you think about it.

Moving on, the toilet cubicles in some public transport can be a little difficult to negotiate. Stephanie remembers using a toilet in one budget travel coach from London to Perth that had been left full of wee, which threatened to spill over the sides in every curve, not to mention the danger of falling off the seat at the slightest movement. Most bus and train toilets are fairly acceptable, but sometimes you have to be lucky to find one with paper, running water, soap *and* a functioning light, that isn’t out of order.

Some of the more modern trains have even done away with the old twisty tap to give you water. Instead you have to flap your hands around in front of an automatic sensor that may or may not work, depending on which angle you are flapping at, wafting your hands about until a vague trickle dribbles out of the nozzle that you must savour and utilise as best you can. These modern train toilets don’t have the tried and tested manual lock that twists one way for being engaged, and the other vacant. Oh no. The train companies have simplified things by having about four different buttons for opening, closing, locking and unlocking the door, or various combinations of each of those, none of which you are entirely sure have actually locked the door secure enough for somebody not to open it from the outside and reveal you doing your ablutions to a crowded train carriage. Such is progress.

At London Victoria station, and most British mainline stations these days, you have to pay to use the facilities, which is where the term “spending a penny” originates, although these days it’s more like “spending sixty pee”, which is, to coin a phrase, taking the piss.

The toilets at the Eurostar station are extremely flash (and flush), with state of the art cisterns that flush when you walk away from them, automatic taps, and superfast Dyson air-jet hand-driers, all clean and plush for the continental traveller. Loo la la!

In Spain we had the unusual experience of not being allowed to put toilet paper down the toilet, but instead into a bin. This was a little unsettling, but we did as we were advised.

Also, many will have seen the ‘shelf toilet’ that is popular across Europe, for the reason, we assume, that Europeans like to inspect their poo for any untoward elements afterwards, or perhaps appreciate as some kind of form of art. And who can blame them?

Image by Sky.

The US has its own Toilet Restaurant, where guests can enjoy tasty cuisine while sitting on the pan, or ‘john’ as they call it (which Tom always thought was a bit insensitive to people named John). Cuts out the middleman, we suppose! Here it is: http://news.sky.com/story/1156807/toilet-restaurant-would-loo-believe-it

In Japan there are highly technical toilets that talk to you and do a number of things depending on which button you press. Flushing being one of them. There are also crazy horror toilets that spring out at you while you’re having a pee, for some unexplained Japanese reason.

At the other end of the technical spectrum, we’ve heard talk of mere holes in the ground used as toilets, from backwoods camping or festival experiences, some parts of Norfolk or trips to France. These are mostly functional, but do the job, so to speak.

The worst toilet that Tom has ever been in was at the Old Monkey pub in Manchester, England. If anyone’s seen the film Trainspotting, you will probably remember the iconic scene where Renton, played by Ewan McGregor, dives into The Worst Toilet In The World to retrieve two suppository pills that he’s dropped in there by accident as it’s all he can afford to get his next hit. This toilet was at least three times as bad as that. As well as a patina of yellow sludge left around the rim, there was also encrusted sick, numerous fluids and liquids, a multitude of flies and other sordid, filth-related bile. It was horrendous, and put him off ever going in there again (the clientele didn’t help much either).

Special mention must also be given to Manchester’s very own toilet-based pub, The Temple of Convenience, an actual pub based in an old underground lavatory, and a more charming establishment you would be hard pressed to find. Why not go and give it a whirl?

One guy has dedicated a massive amount of time to photographing toilets across the world. His website can be found here: http://toilet-guru.com/overview-intl.php

There are many more. So let us give thanks to the Porcelain Gods and perhaps lay a fresh one in tribute. Go on, make a splash! As The Beatles once said, “We can work it out!”

Have a good one, hope you can drop by soon!

Tom and Stephanie

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hannover Cures

A week or so ago were finished our stint at a farm placement in Sehnde, a small townlet on the outskirts of Hanover (or Hannover, as the Germans put it – crazy cultural quirks that we have!), which we found out was the home town of The Scorpions. For a band of their stature, we would’ve thought that there would be more reference to them in the local tourist information, but there wasn’t a statue or even a plaque to be found, sadly. Must have something of a sting in its tail for the band. There were, however, a few quirky places and local customs that we discovered that we thought you might also enjoy discovering yourself.

One such custom was encountered by an associate of ours who was also working on the farm with us at the time named Paul (the associate, not the farm), who returned from the city one day to inform us that he had seen a young man dressed in a chicken costume who was having bottle tops thrown at him while standing on the steps of the town hall. This did not seem like usual practice. Our overseer and genial host Anna told us that this was a tradition for men who reach the age of thirty, but were not yet married; some kind of cheery ritual humiliation for the socially inept, once again, it seems. The same custom exists in Stephanie’s home town, Bremen, apart from the fact that here men have to sweep the steps of the Cathedral, rather than those of the town hall, and women of the same age have to polish its door handles (as if not being married by then is bad enough, hey bachelors and bachelorettes?!). Tom remembers when he turned thirty and wasn’t yet married, which didn’t really annoy him as much as not having released a hit record or been on Have I Got News For You yet. Having to have dressed as a chicken and had bottle tops thrown at him would’ve been a mild perturbance, in retrospect comparison. Still, it was interesting to find out about this quirky, if distressing custom.

Hanover is also home to a(n) (apparently) world famous cheese museum, the European Cheese Center. It has all kinds of cheese, from ancient to modern, which you can both look at, and eat! It has only managed a mere 1.5 out of 5 stars on Tripadvisor, but since we didn’t go there, wouldn’t like to venture an opinion. Sounds a bit pricey though, 39 euros to sample different cheeses around a small, crowded table. If you wish to pay them a visit (and expensive entrance fee), find out more at their website: http://www.cheesecenter.de/

 

There is also the (apparently) world famous (according to the website) Hanover Straßenbahn Museum. We attempted to find the place, walking to the vicinity of where it was in the district of Bolzum, in a converted municipal weapons factory, but couldn’t find the place. Even if we had, it wouldn’t have been opened, as this was a week day, and it only opens Sundays, but here’s what we could have witnessed: http://www.tram-museum.de/

We found that the second biggest beer festival next to Oktoberfest in Munich was happening here in Hanover too, in September. We considered attending, to get a flavour of the proceedings, but didn’t feel the urge to don lederhosen and dirndl, brave the crowds to get to the bars, or face the oompah music. Instead, we went to see the three ‘Nanas’, large colourful female figures by French artist Niki de Saint Phalle, who were a delightfully offbeat sight to cheer up the city streets, and passers by, which they did. There were some good cafes, although the prices in Cafe Kroepcke were a bit steep, we can recommend the rhubard tart in Cafe Konrad.

Also in Hanover is ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and the world’s largest marksmen festival, although we’re not sure if the two are connected, and wouldn’t want to speculate.

See you about!

Tom and Stephanie

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dreams of Unifornication

Hello and guten Tag to you!

Today is Unification Day for Germany, a tribute to the day on which in 1989 the Berlin Wall came down (not every wall in Berlin, just the big one running right through the middle with the squiggly graffiti on it) and the Eastern Bloc was tempted from its Communist grip to the sinister delights of Western Capitalism, even though the wall didn’t actually fall on this particular day. If we’re being pernickety, the Berlin Wall didn’t exactly come down; bits of it were removed by large cutting machines and people with pickaxes. Crikey! One such person who made all of this happen was Mr Bubbleperm himself, David Hasselhoff (some say with the help of his talking car, Kitt, although Kitt was unavailable for comment at the time). Through his song ‘Looking For Freedom’, which topped the charts in 1989, the people of East Germany caved in, as did the very Wall itself, perhaps out of sheer exasperation or despair, who can really say?

It wasn’t just The Hoff alone that brought down the Wall using the power of pop. Also responsible for the changes that blew through Europe at the time were the band The Scorpions, who used their soft rock power ballads to affect social causes and concerns. Through the tremulous chords of ‘Winds of Change’ turned the tide, or wind, whatever, of history for the future of mankind. As well as the band Europe, who did a final countdown to when the Wall toppled. Maybe their riffs were like some kind of Horn of Jericho of the modern age? We can only wonder.

Tom remembers seeing the Berlin Wall coming down on the television (happening on the television screen that is, not actually falling onto his television, that would be extreme reality TV) and not really understanding why it was there in the first place, but that people had died trying to cross it, and that people seemed happy that it was coming down. He remembers that there were lots of people in long coats and furry hats cheering and drinking. Stephanie doesn’t remember anything about it coming down, but has more of an insight into the full meaning of Unification Day.

Unification can be seen in many ways: some people regard it in a frightening patriotic and nationalistic way; some are simply relieved that a repressive system was overcome; some feel that the history of the German Democratic Republic of the former East is ignored and forced to accept the rules and expectations of the West, rather than both countries treating each other as equal partners; some think that the former West has to pay too much to support the East up to today. Some people would like to treat the fall of the Eastern Bloc as proof that Socialism must fail, that Capitalism, no matter how repressive and unjust, is the only system that works and there is no point in attempting anything else, others that Gorbacheov sold out Russia and his Commie pals to the Yanks and the oligarchs to make a quick buck and left the people to rot. It’s not clear-cut, to say the least. Most, it must be said, were glad to see the back of the Stasi regime of the former East Germany, whose prying eyes into every aspect of people’s lives had a nefarious and sometimes deadly impact. Some still hold on to the socialist ideals that were introduced by the Soviet Union in the 1950s when the Wall was erected, but only with a weak, nostalgic tear in their collective eye. Perhaps those days will come again, but it will be at a price.

The reason that the day isn’t celebrated on November 9th, the date that the Wall actually came down, is because that is the same day as the atrocities of Kristallnacht, later referred to as Pogromnacht, which should not be given any sort of nationalistic attachments. Instead, Unification Day is celebrated on the day of formal unification. The fall of The Wall was a symbolic act that achieved some unity to a divided land, and will hopefully allow for more freedom to spread, if not materialism, and David Hasselhoff records.

Bye for now,

Tom and Stephanie

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment