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Germans, Jews, Muslim homosexuals, a former Soviet officer and meat August 16, 2006

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
There’s no denying it. This blogging lark is all a bit of a struggle at the moment. If it’s not bloggers giving up the ghost altogether, or others losing interest for getting PAID to do it elsewhere, it’s the Stasi telling you you’re a loser and that nobody loves you. So it’s all a struggle. But soldier on we must.

All I can think of as blog-meat for today – well, I wouldn’t mind a quick moan about what some translation-demanders are willing to pay. Thieves. But I won’t – is, well, meat. And I’m going to have to get Abrahamic on you. Or monotheistic. Or whatever you want to call our lovely little trio of Mediterranean faiths.

We’ve had guests of late. The former Soviet officer has had a mention before, and he’s going to have to get another, such was the oddness of some of his revelations. He should definitely establish his own cult. Or his own offshoot of Orthodoxy, if that is, indeed, the basis of his fantastically weird world-view.

The Russian and I did get a tiny lecture on homosexuality. Genes are stronger than any theory, the former Soviet officer assured us, and we’d find ourselves going over to the other side any minute now. Which, I must say, is a tiny bit of a rude thing to say to a couple. I had a minor urge to blow a whistle and chant something, but we were in our sleepy French restaurant again on our sleepy street, and I was struggling to stay awake as it was.

The former Soviet officer and his wife and child live in Finland. Reluctant as I am to ever have any conversation stray philosophically more than half a degree off things Eurovisual, I asked if Finland had partied like it’s 1999 at their stunning success in Athens back in May. The wife picked up that I was in a not-entirely-wanting-to-set-the-world-to-rights kind of mood and was about to take up the gauntlet with gusto. But the former Soviet officer saw things much more deeply than either of us did, shallow 30-somethings that we are.

“Was the Finns’ success met with dismay in Germany?” he asked, with considerable gravitas. Dismay? In Germany? At the Eurovision? Could he have really noticed and remembered that Germany’s song deserved to do quite a bit better than it did? The Russian and I, perhaps even his wife, darted numb looks at each other as furtively as we could.

“Erm, dismay?”

“Because of WWII.”

I know voting at the Eurovision is obviously pretty political, but yer average German minding the Finns winning? In 2006? And, anyway, the Finns and Germans were allies, even if only in their anti-Sovietness. We said we thought Finland probably didn’t feature highly on the Germans’ psychic list of enemy nations, and left it at that.

But the best theory was left till the last day. There had been much talk from the former Soviet officer of getting raw mincemeat for breakfast, which he claimed every German has every day. The Russian and I had never had it, and our breakfast table groaned under the weight of far less exotic offerings. But as the Russo-Finnic family trundled into our flat on Monday morning, hot off the train from Paris, the former Soviet officer could hardly slip his shoes off before gushing to tell us they’d found the raw mincemeat at the train-station. The Russian and I explained how happy we were for them. “By the way, there’s a theory about that,” he went on, settling cosily into a soft seat and loosening his clothes, sure sign of a Russian man’s intention to hold forth. “It’s why the Germans are such a belligerent nation. Whatever there is in raw meat – I’m not a doctor, I couldn’t say. But a doctor would tell you. It has a psychological/physiological effect – it makes you more aggressive, more bloodthirsty. And it’s why Jews are so wishy-washy. Jews don’t eat red meat at all, you see.”

It’s amazing the things you learn from your elders.

I’ve got a religious Muslim homosexual guest arriving this weekend. I’ll be dashing off to Wedding to buy halal meat forthwith. I forgot to ask the former Soviet officer what his thoughts on the subject were. For I’m sure he had some. In any case, genes and religious conviction aren’t proving stronger than gayness in the case of this man. He is willing to accept every other precept of his faith, but when it comes to love, he has to draw the line. Compromise and loopholes. I don’t mind if you don’t.

As a non-religious gent, of course I don’t really understand the demands of kosher and halal. I mean, I know they’re hygiene-based rules which have become codified with time. (Incidentally, lest we should think there is never a good word to be said when Jews and Muslims are mentioned in the same week, this same Muslim homosexual has said he would/does happily eat kosher meat, as the rule is so similar.) But hurrah for (partially) unintended consequences. Did folk see the famous abbatoir docu on British TV earlier this year? Turns out the quality of kosher and halal meat is often significantly higher because due care is taken at every stage of the animal-to-meat process. A caterer I know in the middle of nowhere in Sussex buys halal at every opportunity.

Anyway, red-meat-eating homo that I am, I’m off to find myself a wife, whether she’s willing or not. There’s no arguing with those genes.



1. chendaberry - August 16, 2006

Yay! More of the same, please. Dare I ask WHY this Soviet officer geezer is a friend of yours? Doesn’t sound like you share many wavelengths.

And there’s much too much testosterone in all meat today – even chicken – so you’re probably fighting a losing battle anyway..

2. chendaberry - August 16, 2006

BTW I promise i wasn’t just sitting in front of your blog pressing refresh every 2 minutes. Honest guvner.

*chendaberry whistles unconvincingly*

3. BiB - August 16, 2006

Ask and thou shalt receive.

Well, his wife is the pal. She, by an amazing coincidence, is from the Russian’s (smallish, obscurish) hometown, but I met her in Finland when we were both there studying the world’s most beautiful language in 1998. Then we both ended up in St. Petersburg at the same time. She’s also an utter angel and one of the nicest people on the planet. But what taste in men. Too odd! Although the former Soviet officer is nice and kind and a committed father, but just so living in the Cold War.

4. Anonymous - August 16, 2006

indeed, halal meat tends to cook and taste better, and can be less industrially-processed… though having recently arrived in berlin from multiculti downunder, and missing the delights of lamb and mutton and trawling thru x-berg to find suitable fleisch, it seems many halal butchers here are selling what tastes like hastily thawed (and tasteless) meat. and so the search goes on for decent halal (red) meat…

5. Bowleserised - August 16, 2006

I did see the docu, and surprisingly was still able to eat meat afterwards. The Kosher and Halal slaughterman had a dignity in their profession and a respect for the animals that was… lacking? shall we say? in the secular killers. Extraordinary programme. Mind you, if they’d had the guts (ho ho) to film the whole thing in colour, I would be a vegetarian now.

6. BiB - August 16, 2006

Anon from Downunder, there are a couple of halal butchers next door to each other just down the road from Beusselstr. S-Bahn – not towards Tegel, in the other direction – in Wedding. There’s a brilliant Lebanese bakery there too, selling those delicious and wickedly sweet pastries they do. Perhaps because there are a couple of butchers – well, one’s a supermarket, actually – next to each other, that might keep quality high. We’ve only shopped there once, and no complaints thus far.

B., I didn’t see the docu, but heard a radio programme about it, which was gripping enough. Abattoirs seem to attract, perhaps not surprisingly, people just about suppressing their desire to kill other humans. Which is, I suppose, a good thing.

7. Wyndham - August 16, 2006

Bib, your life is like some marvellously insane sitcom!

8. BiB - August 17, 2006

Wyndypops, it isn’t. Honest. It’s all very quiet. I might as well be living on Mt. Athos, except Prince Charles never pops in on us and there’s no smell of incense. Well, it has been a guest-a-thon this year, but you get that if you live in a fucking popular city conveniently located for anyone to visit. There are even cheapo flights from New York now, hence the visit of the NY-blogger earlier in the summer. It goes without saying, even though you’ve abandoned us all to a Wyndham-free blog-diet – I bet you’ll cave in and come back to us soon enough. You know you want to – you are welcome to join the list of guests at any time. We’ve now had two couples+child and I think we coped admirably well, although we haven’t mastered the art of buying the perfect child-friendly yoghurt yet, but practice will make perfect.

9. GreatSheElephant - August 17, 2006

I think your own little Stasi must be mistaken because we love you.

I’m glad you explained the connection with the former Soviet officer because I was finding it a little confusing.

10. BiB - August 17, 2006

Marriage can throw you together with the strangest types.

What I like to pretend to myself, re. the Stasi, is that folk are reading elsewhere, in ways that the Stasi can’t detect. If I multiply the number the Stasi shows me by, say, about 25, then I’m happy. Ghost-readers, rather than ghost-writers.

11. daggi - August 19, 2006

Surely the war was caused by the Germans drinking too much coffee, not by half a pound of Gehacktes bzw. Hackepeter at the breakfast table.

12. BiB - August 20, 2006

Daggi, is there a coffee/war theory? I’m currently reading, “A Woman in Berlin,” which is very good, but at the end of the war, of course, there’s only coffee substitute. A gripping read, by the way. Have you indulged?

13. Welshy - August 25, 2006

Ah, raw mincemeat. What I particularly liked was that if you said you were vegetarian (which I frequently did, despite not being, because I was scared of the raw mincemeat) was that they would provide cheese on rolls for you, carefully placed underneath the raw mincemeat on rolls, and would merely scrape the mincemeat off the bottom of them for you… Gggggggg…

14. BiB - August 25, 2006

I remember someone asking a friend about my to-them-utterly-mysterious vegetarianism once. They went through various meats, checking that I really didn’t eat any of them. “What, not even a nice bit of bacon?” Luckily, I didn’t ask my Muslim guest if it was really ALL pig products he didn’t eat.

Haven’t tried the raw mince yet. Might give it a go. Ate grasshoppers in Mexico and nothing could be less tasty than that.

Are you now driving around Fairyland like nobody’s business? (I MUST learn to drive.)

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