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My Allen-Carr Mojito epiphany and other ideas July 9, 2007

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
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Darlings, I’m having so many good ideas at the moment, I’m a bit worried I might have to get a second head, or, alternatively, that my foot will fall off. In any case, I’m a public-spirited kind of chap and I think it’s only right that I share the fruits of my one-man brainstorming sessions with you. As ever, inspiration came during a silent but lubricated dinner-for-two. I was in a mega looking-out-the-window mood. Perhaps in search of a sign of summer. Whatever the weather, it did the trick. My perceptive senses would have been the pride of any sniffer-dog.

So, my Allen-Carr-like epiphany means I can now help you all give up booze. Or, rather, wean you of booze. Or, even more precisely, wean you off cocktails with a strong hint of lime in their make-up. I’ll be putting it to the test myself any year now, of course, and will keep you up-to-date with how I’m getting on. So hands up who needs to give up Caipirinhas and Mojitos… Mm-yes. Very good. Mind you, I’m not sure Mojitos do have lime in them after all. Do they, darlings? Something green, other than the mint, is definitely springing to mind as I flash it back to happy times spent downing them and paying with my credit card. Hopeless in this weather, of course. There should at least be a suggestion of warmth to ideally suit Mojito-quaffing. Whereas it is currently so freezing that I have to have the heating on and wonder how the mosquitoes – freshly arrived on the scene – are surviving. (And also wondered if mosquitoes migrate, and these ones have arrived from Scandinavia in search of heat and blood.) (Mind you, at least mosquitoes seem dim and are easy to kill. None of the wiliness of flies. And you think evolution might have taught them that if they want a chance of a bit of a suck without being splatted to death within half a second, it might be an idea not to announce your arrival with a buzz. Twats. They’re slower than flies too, in spite of their more svelte frames. A failure all round, really, mosquitoes. Unless one views malaria as a success.) (I don’t, personally.) Plus, my Allen-Carr Mojito epiphany, which surfaced as I had my nose deep inside a glass of mineral water with a slice of lime in it, made me also flash my mind back, or sideways, or somewhere or other, to this nice noise from Volver – do people know that Lůkáš loathes Almodóvar? Shall we all go over there and make him feel weird? – and I wondered also – non-stop wondering round here these days, let me tell you – if that was Penélope Cruz’s voice. It probably wasn’t. It also made me think of Penélope Cruz’s breasts, which I consider very pretty. I think, as a homo, I’m allowed to say this without being accused of anything. Which, boys, is an awfully good trick. Although I don’t know how much longer I can spin this homo-lie out for. Just as well the Russian did some shot-putting in her youth. Anyway, hands up who else finds Penélope and her boobs pretty…

So, yes, the epiphany. Well, I had such a strong flashback to lime-containing cocktails as I knocked back my glass of mineral water with a slice of lime in it that I was suddenly washed over in brilliance. “This fab idea could help millions,” I internalised as I gazed out the dirty window at the Hinterhaus. I can’t be bothered to write a book and make a fortune from clinics so, philanthropist that I am, I’m going to give you the tip for free. Gratitude may be expressed, along with your thoughts on Penélope’s pretty bristols, in the comments box.

So, how to give up Caipirinhas and Mojitos? First, get absolutely hammered on Caipirinhas or Mojitos. Then, hopefully with the assistance of a friend or member of the waiting staff whom you’ve alerted to your strategy beforehand, when you’re too hammered to notice the difference, start getting the Caipis or Mojitos you order automatically replaced with a glass of water with a massive, fuck-off slice of lime in it. As long as the lime smells strong enough, I’m convinced you’ll be convinced. Once I fine-tune some of the details, I might write a book after all.

Darlings, while I’m on, though I realise I could string this out to another post, but who knows when I’ll have had enough red wine to be bothered to write again, I must tell you the upshot of a conversation with a pal further to the events at Glasgow Airport whenever that was and you must all tell me if it’s worth writing a book on or getting on to a think-tank about. Well, my friend and I could only conclude that folk who want to kill lots of people (and themselves into the bargain) are morally reprehensible. Loathsome, even. Horrid. Despicable. And mean. Personally, I think it’s a poor idea to kill (yourself and others) for your cause. I was already livid enough that someone or other had tried to shoot down the President of Ivory Coast’s plane. What about the other folk on board? Are they collateral damage? Fair game? And then folk driving themselves into airport buildings but doomed to a smeatonly failure! Anyway. I’m all for freedom of choice. And while I would discourage hot-headed youths, and even grown-ups, if that is the case, from killing themselves and others because not everyone thinks as they do, I don’t want to restrict their right to death. So my friend and I wondered if they might not just see fit to kill themselves in future. All sorts of interests are catered for in this day and age. Shopping centres and other public spots have baby-changing facilities (where you can go and change your baby for one you like more). Airports and other communal buildings have quiet spaces or prayer rooms where folk of whatever persuasion takes them can go and do their thang. I’ve even heard that Dutch or Danish town-planners factor in concentrations of foliage so gay men can go cruising. So I think we need to cater to the suicide-bomber. My friend and I thought that perhaps landfill sites could be made suicide-friendly. There, misguided types could be allowed to blow themselves to kingdom come while making sure that all health and safety requirements were met. And then they could biodegrade nicely.

I don’t know why I have to blog everything today, but as I’m on, this story (with a video bit too, to bring home the sheer wickedness of it all) simultaneously made me cry and turn into my mother/Melanie Phillips (not that I mean Melanie Phillips is my mother, because she isn’t), shaking my head in disbelief and asking (myself) what the world had come to. Contrary to the Russian’s assertions, it all proves that I am, at the very worst, only the fourth wickedest person on the planet.

PS. Thank you to Sylvia for pointing out my case of egregious mistaken identity.



1. Lukeski - July 9, 2007

You need to edit this dear – WordPress now (rather annoyingly) defaults to the visual, rather than the code entry box… So your links aren’t links, but just text. If that makes sense.

2. pleite - July 9, 2007

It does, it does. I’m onto it. And, darling, you’ve posted from your old blog. Is this a sign? Or should I edit in the newer address? I could, you know.

3. Karl-Marx-Strasse - July 10, 2007

With all that methane in landfill sites, those would-be suicide-bombers won’t even need to bother buying a few bottles of calor gas to take along, just some matches. Presumably then the council will charge an entrance fee, or perhaps, as part of a long-term strategy, they could build a Brookside Close-(or Beckton, in the London Borough of Newham) style housing estate on top of the rubbish tips, so that the houses will explode at an unknown time in the future, into which these people will have to move? In the meantime, Louis Theroux could make a semi-amusing mockmentary about the inhabitants. (God, I’ve been watching British television. Richard Littlejohn doing programmes on antisemitism. Freeview has a lot to answer for. Channel 4 these days is bad enough, but More 4? And More 4+1? And E4? And E4+1 (E5?). Adverts every few minutes. Countdown with Des O’ Bloody’Connor. Kids on CBeebies being taught to guern like rockstars. There’s a storm going on outside, I don’t have a coat, and it’s my telly fix for the year, and it’s enough to prevent a relapse occuring in Germany, as everyone knows, BBC World has gone, to be replaced by bid-up-tv or something like it, which is all far much worse. Normally I would try and wean myself off the media before I go back via few hours of Quiz Call (i.e. 9live), but due to the “oh no, it’s all faked-shocker” it’s gone and been replaced by some encrypted 1980s porn. Or Dad’s Army reruns. So it’s cold tv turkey for me when I get back into the city with something to do.)

4. Karl-Marx-Strasse - July 10, 2007

And don’t get me started on the game shows which are very successful even though nothing seems to happen in them. I know understand the secret behind the popularity of Endemol’s/Edmonds’ Deal Or No Deal, having managed to stay awake for the 9 hours each episode lasts (ok, it was about 23 minutes, but it seemed like much, much longer), or the ITV version, with Jasper Carott of all people, called Golden Balls. It’s the same as QVC or all the other auction crap, or News 24. Minimal techno in the background the whole time, mad or crap (or both) camerawork, and nothing happens. You (i.e. I) keep watching to see if anything new will come about. But no, again and again and again the same rubbish, the same music, the same shouting voice as if they’re all Anne Robinson telling the viewers off (or Chris Morris doing Paxman), and only an atomic power station exploding undangerously yet again in the Hamburg area causing the electric cupboard and fusebox contained within to short circuit (and the small matter of the associated nuclear fallout, certain death of thousands of people and many apparently-coincidental cancer cluster areas) would save humankind from certain televisual misery, while leading to certain, slow, painful death. So much like continuing to watch without having to replace the fuse wire, then.

5. pleite - July 10, 2007

Karl, I have just had a peek at Johann Hari’s site and he has something precisely on Richard Littlejohn presenting programmes on anti-Semitism. Again I shake my head in a mum/Melanie-Phillips-like fashion. Although, truth be told, I don’t know Littlejohn really, but if Hari’s quote of his re. the Rwanda genocide is accurate, then he sounds like quite a cunt.

And do you mean there are exploding houses in the UK, even without terrorists? If so, an early-explosion system could be dreamed up, à la the tsunami early-warning system, then memos could go out to all budding suicide-bombers to tell them where to go once the residents had been evacuated. Mind you, it would mean having to have a terrorist-register, like for paedophiles, and I don’t suppose many would voluntarily sign up.

Jasper Carrott! Des O’Connor! These people still exist? Marvellous. Perhaps I am still young. I have seen more than my usual dollop of German TV of late because of Wimbledon and zapping through ads. I’m not sure I’d previously noticed quite how many of the quiz channels require that the female presenters get their knockers out, which seems like a cheap stunt. When I comment on Ms. Cruz’s knockers, it really, really is to do with beauty. Honest guv.

(Anyway, you back here this Wednesday? Booze. Krüger.)

6. annie - July 10, 2007

Sorry no time to read the comments, excuse me if I repeat anything – it is not Pe (as they call her in Spain) singing, it is Estrella Morente. Yes she does have pretty boobs. It is not her real bum in Volver though. (Fact.)

Tim Footman did a Comment is Free article on the suicide bombers being better off just offing themselves – here tis –


that is a terrible story, BiB – I didn’t see it before, what with suicide bombers taking up all the news.

PS: what is this I hear about the weather? I hope you are sorting out some sunshine for us…

7. MountPenguin - July 10, 2007

Surely someone enterprising could come up with a Web 2.0 style social networking site where aspiring bombers, would-be putting-an-end-to-it-all-ers and possibly ambitious town planners / property developers could get together and organise a mutually beneficial “do”?

8. vineeth - July 10, 2007

Estrella Morente sang Volver

9. bowleserised - July 10, 2007

I have never noticed Penelope’s bosoms because I am always distracted by her hair and eyes, both of which are lush.

10. A Blogger - July 10, 2007

I have, on the other hand, frequently noticed her boobies.

Such fine, fine boobies…

I like being a non-homo man. More of a hobo, really…

11. MountPenguin - July 10, 2007

Losing track here… is Penelope the lady with the boobies on 9live or whatever funny channel it is at the upper end of the DVB spectrum?

12. pleite - July 10, 2007

Penguin, I don’t know that channel, but it can’t be, as Penélope Cruz is surely by now far too famous for TV. I’m in quite an I-love-Penélope-Cruz mood today (as opposed to a looking-out-the-window one) but the Russian has reminded me that she was romantically embroiled with Tom Cruise (no relation), though Tom, in spite of the heels and Scientology, might easily be a diamond geezer for all I know. Scientology probably has a cure for would-be blower-uppers, by the way.

AB, she’s a fine specimen, there’s no denying it. I hope she’s nice. She looks nice. A bit of googling reveals she’s from Madrid, from an ordinary background, so I’m hoping for niceness. Not that I suppose I’d lose too much sleep if it were to turn out she was actually a cow. Homohood has its moments. Anyway, by my age, all men have quite similar breasts to Penélope so everyone’s happy.

B., we both should have put her down when we played that game thirty years ago about who we fancied of the wrong sex. I can’t remember who we both put, but I don’t think Penélope was in there. Maybe she was. I do remember I put down Benazir Bhutto, though not in the sense you’d put down a sick animal.

Vineeth, hello and thank you. Here’s a lovelier link. Gosh, Estrella Morente is only 26. How CAN she already be so clever and have such gravitas? And her husband is a real matador. I feel very unglamorous. I blame being English. I can only aspire to singing like Sammy Fox and having a husband like… erm… Wayne Rooney. Spain 1 England 0.

Annie, Tim is too brilliant and of course he says things I couldn’t even hope of thinking and 100 times more prettily too. I’m scared of Comment is Free, but he’s got some very good debates going on there (but it’s annoying when it descends into rudeness by comment two). Anyway, not that I want to encourage types to set themselves on fire for their cause, but, yes, that young Palach boy and the famous Buddhist self-immolating monk can be considered with awe, mystery and incomprehension. (By me, at least.) But a shit who thinks he’s so important that he has to kill to be heard? Off to the landfill with him… And the weather is tolerable today. It will be glorious by the time you arrive, I promise.

13. Ed Ward - July 10, 2007

Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Or, as Bo Diddley, the great American philosopher, once said, don’t let your mouth write a check your ass can’t cash.

I don’t think I’d know Penelope Cruz if she walked into my apartment (or Angelina Jolie, who, being a neighbor, might, if she were confused enough), so I can’t offer an opinion on her ta-tas, but I do know something about mosquitoes, mentioned waaaaay up in your rant.

Only female mosquitoes bite, because they need the protein in blood to form eggs. (Same with fleas). They also are the only ones who make that annoying whiney buzz, because that’s the love-song to the male mosquito, who hears “I’m filled with blood and ready to do the dirty with you,” and hastens to her side. Or whatever. So her announcement of horniness is also her doom, if you’re quick enough with your hand or other squash-inflictor.

14. bowleserised - July 10, 2007

Well, I’m pretty sure Penelope is a lesbinan (hence Tom Cruise business) so she doesn’t have to make the sexy whiney noise to attract males.

15. pleite - July 10, 2007

B., you don’t MEAN it! Penélope? A lesbitarian? Does that mean I’d be in with a chance, or is that not how things work? I can never remember the rules quite. If there’s ever a rumour that she and Pedro are stepping out, I’ll nod super-knowingly in your direction.

Ed, letting my mouth write a check my ass can’t cash is the story of my life. I like it. (The expression. Not the philosophy.) All my mouth ever does is write checks, much to my sorry ass’s chagrin. Anyway, it may soon be time for YET ANOTHER in the season of not-being-paid rants – I still think the last one is too recent – but the thoughts are fulminating away inside of me. When it comes to work, do I not like working for those whose mouths write checks their asses can’t cash… The mosquito-buzz being an announcement of having the horn has almost endeared me to them, but unless these mosquito ladies can endear themselves to me in some other way – either by remaining silent or developing magnificent plumage, say – I’m afraid their moment of ecstasy is still going to have to coincide with death by plastic.

16. narrowback - July 10, 2007

I first heard the expression ” mouth write a check/ass can’t cash” from a 6″5″ african american drill sergeant cica 1972…as it was directed at me in the most intiomidating manner it has stuck with me ever since. didn’t know it was originally coined by Mr. Diddley.

I always thought they preferred to be known as “lesbianese”

17. Blonde at Heart - July 10, 2007

I once drank a mojito in the dead of Winter (well, it was in Tel Aviv and there is no real “dead of Winter” there. Just a bit of rain and lower degrees).

I do not like Penelope Cruz (or her tits, for that matter). I think she is annoying.

18. Sylvia - July 10, 2007

Alan Carr? Isn’t he the one who presents Friday Night Project with Justin Lee Collins??
What’s he ever given up?

19. Karl-Marx-Strasse - July 11, 2007

Jasper Carrott! Des O’Connor! These people still exist? Marvellous.

They exist I suppose in as far as presenting daytime quiz shows can be described as an existence (which I suppose it is, of sorts).

Why are all these keys in the wrong place? And unfortnately I’ll still be here until the weekend, so no Krueger (there’s a key that’s *missing*, not just in the wrong place) for me this week.

20. MountPenguin - July 11, 2007

Penélope Cruz? Rings a bell. My mental filing card says “American, actress and / or possibly singer. Probably has had highly public relationship breakdown with someone like Brad Pitt. Source: ‘Vermischtes’ page in the newspaper.”. I can now add “Has large ones, possible lesbianist, is not known to have appeared naked on German late-night quiz TV”.

21. pleite - July 11, 2007

Penguin, but she’s from Spain. Volver proves she can’t sing as well as Estrella Morente. Replace Brad Pitt with Tom Cruise. Replace large ones with pretty ones. You might be absolutely spot on on the lesbianist and German TV fronts.

Karl, hope England is tolerable. I find any trip ‘home’ more and more disconcerting the longer I’m away from there. I’ve stopped being able to think of England/London as a normal place. I either detest or adore everything. If I’m in a good mood, London is the absolute dog’s bollocks and heaven on earth and just unimprovable. If I’m in a bad mood, the whole country is just women with straightened hair with jaggedy ends that ought to require a weapons licence and expensive and freezing and vulgar and shit.

Sylvia, oh buggery fuck, you’re absolutely right. Well, I don’t know the Alan Carr I’m referring too, but of course I meant the one who’s Allen, not Alan. Bugger. If I change it, will it make my whole blog get BSE? And all the comments disappear? I can’t bear to leave such a visible spelling mistake up. I’ll try to change it. And thank you for pointing it out.

BaH, talk me through the Israeli winter. How cold does it get? If the climate suits, I might convert and make Aliyah (although I don’t suppose any Rabbi would approve my rationale). But is there a cut-off point at which I wouldn’t have to serve in the army? I do think winterlessness would almost be worth moving for. Damn, if only I’d liked Thailand quite a lot more than I actually did (which was not very much, unfortunately)…

Narrowback, hmm, maybe I shouldn’t move to Israel after all as I’d be so rubbish at being a soldier. All that shouting! (Even if it was a good expression in this case.) Mind you, I’ve met a good few gents who’ve not bothered to try to work out some ruse to get out of military service in Germany/Finland/France. They all said it was perfectly tolerable. Even enjoyable, goddammit.

22. MountPenguin - July 11, 2007

From Spain? OK, I will go and crawl back under my rock.

Haven’t been to the UK since late 2005. Am I missing anything?

23. narrowback - July 11, 2007

ha, next time i’m in berlin i’ll entrtain you with my tale(s) of my unsuccessful attempts at being a draft dodger… while i would not willingly go through the experience again there were more than a few benefits – picking up more than a few “colorful expressions” among them. however, i would never ever classify the experience as “enjoyable”…

some years ago I met an israeli-american gentleman in nyc. his tale of emmigrating at 18 from south africa to israel to escape military service and the from israel to the u.s. for the same reasons was quite interesting.

24. Blonde at Heart - July 11, 2007

In Israel there are two seasons: Winter, which in Tel Aviv is app. 16 degrees and showering and in Jerusalem if you are lucky you will have one day of snow every three years. The Summer is like 3 degrees and bearable in Jerusalem but humid and unlivalbe in Tel Aviv, although the beach compensates for that. Do make Alliya and then you will receive money from the government. (Double bribe: unEuropean weather and they pay you to live here).

25. Karl-Marx-Strasse - July 12, 2007

It is perfectly reasonable to describe Littlejohn, who spent most of the early 90s ranting about foreigners, “benefit cheats”, “queers” (when it was an insult), “illegal” asylum seekers and single parents, all joining together to rape and pillage most of the UK, in his columns in the Sun and the Daily Mail, as a “cunt”, if that’s a word that can be used, it can be used for him.

Hari’s very brief (presumably typed off in a rush shortly before the deadline when he realised he had another 300 words to type, and I managed not to even mention ‘coke’ in that sentence, well done Karl) criticism of Littlejohn is reasonable – but what is even more sad is that the programme was largely correct -even if it was tabloid TV of the kind I couldn’t imagine in Germany on such a subject (unless Pro 7 decided to run a ‘serious political programme’, maybe with the topless woman from 9 live (that I remain ignorant of, and I still can’t really believe she truly exists) presenting it), and some of the people interviewed were strangely presented as a rebuttal of certain nasty/misjudged/malicious opinions, even though they hold exactly the same positions themselves (which wasn’t mentioned, as this wouldn’t fit the argument L’john was trying to make at that point in the broadcast, and might have led into one about ‘self-hating Jews’ and it would have got too complicated as then he would have had to go on about Israeli foreign policy, Zionism, the similarities between antisemitism and antizionism – and the differences of opinion in Israel and between political parties there – and 45 minutes plus adverts wouldn’t be enough time for that – and primetime television presumably not the right slot either).

But does the fact that this man can front a programme on such a subject – and a perfectly reasonable one at that – say more about Littlejohn or British public opinion, or the opinion of what he described as the ‘liberal left and ‘Guardianistas” ? I couldn’t imagine L’john doing a programme on other forms of racism, on sexism, on homophobia. That would be far too postmodern, even for Channel 4 and their assorted ‘digital only’ channels. And all those ‘Guardianistas’ couldn’t present or write such a programme, as they’re part of the problem. They’d get a member of Hizb-ut-Tahrir to present or produce it (I suspect Seamas Milne will be on the phone right now suggesting that very idea, if he’s reading this/hasn’t done it already).

But perhaps Richard Littlejohn is now just one of the New Tories, who like to show their disabled children in party political broadcasts instead of shoving them off to an orphanage/full-time au-pair/’nanny’ immediately after birth (or having them aborted beforehand), and who have discovered their love of the environment (and therefore also for nuclear power), wind farms, very expensive hybrid cars, and trees.

Which is cack. Unless the trees are near where their voters live, and the nuclear power and wind farms elsewhere.

Karl, hope England is tolerable. I find any trip ‘home’ more and more disconcerting the longer I’m away from there. I’ve stopped being able to think of England/London as a normal place. I either detest or adore everything.

I know exactly what you mean. This time I think I detest most of it. If one other person mentions house prices and buying flats in Berlin I’ll…. well, I know what I’d rhetorically like to say, but I won’t type it due to various kinds of legislation enforced by people who probably don’t understand ‘turns of phrases’. What will I do when I won’t be able to afford to live in Berlin? It’s the time to start learning Romanian, I think.

26. pleite - July 19, 2007

Karl, I think Bulgaria is the country-of-choice now for British people wanting to buy property abroad. I know a couple of Bulgarians here and they say it is slightly odd to see small towns where the majority of the population are either British pensioners or Japanese. Dunno what the locals think.

I am as knee-jerk in my reactions to Littlejohn as the man himself is to all his pet hates. Yes, presumably him presenting a show on anti-Semitism wasn’t any more about him ruing that hatred as much as it was about him reinforcing some others. Have I mentioned I worked with someone from Hizb-ut-Tahrir? Not a nice chap even in his pre-HuT days. I saw him on Newsnight once. I don’t think he’d have enough energy to sustain a full programme-length rant of vitriol. You don’t happen to know the most isolated yet civilised part of the planet, do you?

BaH, but wouldn’t the Israelis want me to prove, somehow, that I was Jewish? Now I’d love to be Jewish, in a way, and have even once or twice drunkenly pretended to be, but it would be awfully hypocritical of me to convert for the sake of a subsidised flat in Haifa. How would I ever justify it to the rabbi? But maybe I’ll have my spiritual awakening when I finally make it on holiday to Jerusalem.

Narrowback, I look forward to hearing them over beer and cigarettes. Gosh, South Africa to Israel to the US. That’s quite a journey. I think if military service had still existed in the UK when my time came around, I’d have cried constantly from day one and been discharged for mental debility.

Penguin, perhaps Karl and I are being cynical old things, but you might get the odd unpleasant surprise, though only if you turn on the TV. The trash-factor has risen exponentially. But the country is probably much the same. Or perhaps Broon will start a social revolution and it’ll be unrecognisable next time you go. But don’t hold your breath.

27. Karl-Marx-Straße - July 19, 2007

Which one of The Broons is to start a social revolution? Judging by this picture http://www.thatsbraw.co.uk/The%20Broons/Broons-Family.htm , I’d go for Hen or Horace (Hen being Stalin, so he’d want it stopped pretty quickly, and Hen, the bookish one, being Trotsky).

28. pleite - July 19, 2007

I suppose Gordon’s most like his distant cousin Horace Trotsky-Broon then. More like Trotsky than Stalin, at least. Where was I reading about Gordon being our first real intellectual Prime Minister in ages? (*scurries off to look at Prospect*) Yes, Prospect. Slightly can’t be bothered to read the article(s) though. I certainly won’t be making any lists of intellectual bloggers, though thankfully Lukeski keeps me in clever books.

29. Karl-Marx-Straße - July 20, 2007

Prospect. Blimey. And I thought I went in for obscure left (ok, in the case of Prospect, somewhere around the centre, vaguely looking out of its eyes towards the left hand side) publications….

30. pleite - July 20, 2007

Yes, I think it’s rather New Left. The editor – as long as the editor hasn’t changed in the last couple of years – is married to what’s-‘er-face Kellaway (except I slightly mix that couple up with Christina Odone and Edward Lucas of The Economist, who’s linked to above), who is all about business, and I couldn’t imagine being any further left than New Left. Melanie Phillips recently wrote an I-told-you-so piece aimed at him (Goodhart) after he wrote an open letter to Tariq Ramadan in Prospect telling him to get a life (sort of). Can’t remember how I stumbled across Prospect. Perhaps my ex used to subscribe to it. It normally has some fairly good stuff and the tone is polite without being prim.

31. Karl-Marx-Straße - July 20, 2007

I generally go in for a good old hardcore polemic.

32. pleite - July 20, 2007

From the likes of whom?

33. leon - July 23, 2007

[KMS] Why not join one of the dwindling community of ‘Transylvanian Saxons’ in Sibiu (Schassburg?) or Brasov or wherever and then you can carry on speaking German *and* live in Romania; one if its most picturesque bits, too. Probably cheaper than Berlin, anyway.

34. pleite - July 24, 2007

Good tip, Leon. I saw a TV docu here not long ago about Slovenia’s last Germans. Yep, even a couple of 200-year-old German-speakers there. Romania probably wins the most-exotic-bit-of-Europe-where-there-are-still-Germans-of-a-sort competition though. Unless you want to get to the Germans in the old SU. Kazakhstan still has its pockets.

35. Karl-Marx-Straße - July 24, 2007

Welcome back, Leon. I was wondering where you’d got to.

One of the ex-SU German-language weekly papers is available in the Stadtbibliothek. It’s basically a very boring local paper, typeset very badly, with nothing of interest whatsoever contained within it, written in the kind of German people in Berlin might have used in the year 1840. And one publication, very similar, from Romania, too.

36. leon - July 24, 2007

Schassburg (actually Sighisoara, not Sibiu) looks very pleasant indeed in pictures (even if these beautifully preserved central European towns inevitably have a hinterland of derelict factories you don’t see in the pictures). Probably even fewer jobs than Berlin, mind you, so little opportunity to actually use your 1840-era German, in a business sense. From what I hear Transylvania’s full of Americans slumming it, nowadays, much like the picturesque bits of the Czech Republic.

I can’t imagine that rural Kazakhstan has enough newsworthy events to fill a weekly paper.

37. pleite - July 28, 2007

Karl, I was once interviewed – ten seconds with (not my) children running around the place screaming – for the German-language newspaper in St. Petersburg, which, though I never saw it, was, I imagine, very much like the ones you describe.

Leon, rural Kazakhstan’s only news must be that everyone non-Kazakh has left the building. Well, and that another space shuttle has been launched or landed, if Baikonur can be called rural. Oh, and that a new capital city’s gone and been built.

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