Tags: göttingen


And Again...

Well, I'm definitely not dead, just doing a lot of sighing.

Excitingly, it's the big annual NPD march in Göttingen today (we also get one in May...). This means that the city centre is absolutely filled with police of all stripes, kitted out in helmets, flak jackets etc. On the Marktplatz there were a load of policemen handing out information about conflict management and explaining why quite so many hoards of rozzers were being employed. Bearing in mind last year's events, I could well see why hundreds of police were required or deemed to be required.

Of course, as I trundled through town, I noted that already, on the afternoon before the big off, there were congeries of policemen at every street turning and forming bulkheads at approx. every third shop. Enormous police vans were parked everywhere. It looked as if there were a compulsory dresscode in Gö, which was alarming as the large numbers I saw were only the vanguard.

There was a small counter-demo yesterday evening and there will be an enormous one later today. Which means that town is a no-go area at least until the evening. And, as we overlook the fire station, I guess I'll be seeing and hearing a great many fire engines and ambulances screaming up and down (and there have been a few extra this evening).

I wonder what chaos shall ensue this year?

Dr. Mitch is Getting On...

It was Mitchie's birthday yesterday. In among his welter of presents (pyjamas, dressing gown, longjohns,sandwich toaster, RPG books... say no more), we went out and ate enormous quantities of sushi, plotted the purchase of printers and history books, drank pints and then came home and watched some more of Rome (we'll likely do something more sociable in a bit).

As if all of this wasn't enough, I opened my e-mail Inbox and found a message from Bernd Hoffmann, who has been hanging around the Maths Institute with a view to writing up the architectural history of the building. the message contained Collapse )

Doesn't he look so sweet and unshaven? And, I may now hereby deny 95% of the responsibility for the state of the flat (as a hint, he says that the yellow mug in the photo '...just turned up...' in his office)! Hurrah! It's like it was my birthday too!

Thank you, Bernd. I have another picture of my honey and in his natural habitat, too...

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Bizarrely enough, I appear to be in rather a good mood today. It might be because the sun is shining (finally), it could be that I have just eaten a 54% cocoa choccie bar (complete with crispy coffee bean bits), it could be that I have bits of work, that I slept well, that I am about to be run over by a 10 tonne truck or that I have finally snapped. Nothing has really changed for me, but I can sort of cope. This is not normal for me, which is somewhat unsettling, which I can again cope with... I have a fractal approach to my good mood.

Today's mad musings concern Germans, or rather Göttingers (the people, not the beer), or, fairer to say, those impatient individuals who go around possibly not realising that they are pretty much the kind of people who give Germans a bad name.

I, personally, am about as patient as a mayfly's life is long (it takes one to know one), but in comparison with an awful lot of Göttingers, I am as patient as famed Griselda. Mitch and I, should we be feeling perverse enough, have been known to play a little game with miscreants. Basically, say one is in a supermarket, looking at a bus timetable etc there may well indeed come a time when somebody wishes to get past us. Now, if this person attempts to do so via telepathy, standing and huffing and tutting instead of just asking, we can potentially have whole minutes of fun before we turn around and say, "Verzeihung! Sie hätten lieber nur etwas sagen sollen!". Occasionally, people will elbow their way through, but you get to elbow them back. Very few people will simply ask...

I could go on for hours, but shall instead focus upon the buses here (as opposed to frothing about lack of supermarket etiquette, the girl who nearly pushed me down a flight of stairs trying to get to the loo when I was holding the door open at the top of said flight of stairs, the bitch). The truly snotty might observe that I should expect to meet grotty individuals on the bus, but to them I say that I have witnessed some spectacularly bad drivers hereabouts, as well as the town possessing more than its fair share of kamikaze cyclists, rabid taxi drivers and ebullient pedestrians. My favourite impatient bastard on the bus tale is actually, heavens be praised, atypical and involved an old geezer literally climbing over me instead of just asking me to stand up so he could leave the seat. The first hint I received was when his scraggly old arse (thankfully betrousered) hit me in the face and I had to lie down so he could get the rest of him by. Senile old fart. But no-one here gets up and offers their seat to older people or those with small children or infirmities, or at least very rarely. Moreover, some people have a tendency to sit on the aisle and leave the window seat vacant, which is great fun when the bus is crowded and one gets to experience the special look of pure vinegar reserved for mild social deviants when one must ask if it is okay to sit down (simper, simper). I have also been known to enjoy the experience whereby one vacates one's own seat to leave the bus and some bugger blocks you by trying to get into the seat (works equally as well in restaurants). See also standard British moan concerning lack of conceptual and practical grasp of queueing. However, one of my pet Göttingen Bus Peeves may well shortly be allayed...

Basically, There has been a campiagn called "Vorne ist Fair", which snappily means that you have to get on the front of the bus now, whereas before you could also get on the back. This could be a menace, inasmuch as the impatient people would decide that they absolutely, in contravention of Archimede's Principle, had to get on the bus before those getting off had a chance to leave. It is especially pleasant to miss your stop because you are fenced in by lots of folk who stormed the bus ahead of you or to hear someone curse and tut because, say, a woman with small children just isn't getting off quickly enough. So, naturally, I was very excited by the prospect of this new rule. Until I read the accompanying leaflet. Basically, it is a move to stop fare-dodgers who, it is claimed, like to get on the back of the bus and drive up the fares paid by the rest of us. If I were Norman Cohn, I could spend a happy half hour or so exploring the attempted demonisation of the back-endians via the semantic and psychological exploitation of the famed German horror of abnormal, antisocial and nonconformist behaviour patterns, but I only got a 2:1 for my Modern History (BA, Oxon.), so I sha'n't. This being Germany, there is a handy cut-out-and-keep guide as to how one correctly enters a bus, purchases or validates a ticket and then leaves. To give you a hint as to how well this has been working, as well as ticket inspectors, the bus company is now employing bus bouncer, who stand at each major bus stop and repel those back-endians who seek to penetrate the mighty nether portals. Oh, and the drivers have a cunning habit of opening the back doors to let people off for as much as 3 seconds before slamming them shut in case someone tries to alight in a non-prescribed manner. And I mean slamming them onto people, dogs, prams, wheelchairs...

So there you are - come to Göttingen, International City of Patient People!

Unlucky For Some

Well, today seems to have been largely banal so far, although I have paused to touch wood as I type this damning sentence. Perhaps just being me is punishment enough! Even my dreams feel banal these days. In between my usual dribbles of taking alien A-levels in my dream life, this week I have had a dream excursion to buy a pencil case and another oddly clear one where I was deciding which pair of shorts to put on for an outing. 'Kubla Khan' it ain't and Paganini's 'Witches' Dance' doesn't even come close, I'm telling you...

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