Dear Friends of German Comedy,
Does anybody understand why the British all want to be owned by a house ….errr…sorry, want to own a house? I have been busy house-hunting in London for the best part of three months and the last thing I want is own any of the ramshackle dwellings I viewed. All you get is a few thousand rotten bricks that are held together by mould and wallpaper and cost an absolute fortune. Thank God most German towns have been flattened during World War II and properly rebuild since. Otherwise, we might live in similarly appalling conditions.
Ultimately, I have myself to blame, though, as I only look at places I can actually afford. I probably should do it the British way and live far beyond my means. Once the interest payments on my credit cards exceed my actual income I can apply for another credit card, which will be interest-free for the first six months and therefore give me enough breathing space to go on a luxurious holiday. After a few years, when nobody will issue me a new credit card, I can declare bankruptcy. Simple.
Just don’t tell my parents. I remember being taught the sensible maxim: ‘You must not spend more than you earn’. I therefore hesitate to buy into the one and only British rule of economy ‘You must not worry’.
In my continuous attempt to sample the delights of British culture I recently went to Alton Towers, a so called ‘fun park’. What is fun about risking your life for the sake of it? Take it from me: that place is only for people that have got nothing to lose. My first, and last, ride of the day was on ‘Spinball Whizzer’. The clue is in the name. It spins and it whizzes. It wasn’t the constant change of direction at high speed that made me sick. It was the (admittedly irrational) worry that the rollercoaster had been built to German quality standards except for my seat, which had been made in Britain or China.
Bolts would come loose, I told myself, and I would be catapulted out of the carriage at the next sharp turn – of which there were far too many. I decided that from then on I would only go on ‘attractions’ I felt comfortable with. As a result I spent most of the time sitting on various benches. I don’t need to travel halfway through the country to be terrified. I can walk the streets of East London at night on my own for the same effect. Admittedly that can cost considerably more than the £20 Alton Towers charge.
It’s hard to believe that it’s already almost a year since World Cup 2006. It still feels as if it was yesterday. Judging by the increasing amount of gigs that I am asked to do at Anglo-German wedding and engagement parties relations have improved beyond recognition since Germany had the chance to present itself as what it is; a beautiful country full of pleasant people. Unfortunately, still not all Anglo-German romances work out as the break-up between Prince William and Berkshire-born Kate Middleton has shown.
I wish you all a great summer in a peaceful area where you can enjoy BBQs in your garden without having to fend off marauding hoodies. But don’t forget this doesn’t mean you’re not getting mugged. It is just done via direct debit, by your mortgage lender or landlord.
Posted by Henning Wehn
on Saturday, May 5th, 2007.