Being a Legal Alien

fish and chips 1 croppedOr A German In London
*Warning: clichés and stereotypes  abound

I first came to Britain on a class trip in 1992 and nothing prepared me for the melting pot that was and is London. Walking down the street, I couldn’t believe the sheer diversity of faces, nationalities, religions and cultures. This was G. E. Lessing’s dream of (religious) tolerance put into practice in everyday Britain in the late 20th century. Coming from a country where there was hardly any non-German soul living/working/studying/on benefits – this was extraordinary. Continue reading

Confessions of Felix Krull

the shell game, already popular in Ancient Greece
The shell game, dating back to Ancient Greece

I’ve borrowed the title from an unfinished novel by Thomas Mann, who in turn was inspired by the 19th century Romanian con artist Georges Manolescu. The novel is about a charming man unhampered by moral precepts and so skilled in the art of subterfuge that he manages to gain access to the highest reaches of European society. Continue reading

Which Muppet Are You?

Austro-Hungarian émigrés Statler & Waldorf always felt more like Animal inside
Austro-Hungarian émigrés Statler & Waldorf always felt more like Animal inside

Ha! I’ve just used click bait. In order to lure you onto this page I cunningly posed a question you are dying to find the answer to. Now I got you here but in order to find out which Muppet you are, you will have to read the whole post. No claim, no pain, no gain.

I could have also used a statement which gets you witlessly worried, such as: You Won’t Believe the Effect the Internet’s Having On Your Brain. Actually, that’s quite a scary subject matter and I will deal with this in another post.

But back to the essential bits of life. The other week a friend complained about not being able to go online for 2! hours, sending her into a spiral of Weltschmerz and meaninglessness. Not a stranger to smug replies, I suggested, try reading a book, wink wink.

That’s when karma got me by the derriere. Only when it happened to me, it wasn’t just 2 hours but a whole week of being sans internet. And no, I couldn’t use my phone because my data-allowance lasts a whole day these days because:
1. I didn’t listen to my friend Rubi when I got my contract.
2. Instagram used to be something other people did who didn’t have a life.

No. Internet. For. One. Week.

I wish I could say my sense of smell returned, or that I perceived colours more colourfully, or that suddenly there was a spring in my step and the sun shone brighter. But nay. I felt bereft. Somewhere I knew that there was still purpose to my life, I just had to find it. Quickly.

In order to maintain an air of dignified calm I kept telling myself, I don’t really need internet. Even people who think they really really need internet, don’t really need internet. They think they do, which is different. I think I do, which is not. To make sure, I looked up Maslow’s pyramid of life’s necessities, starting with the basic ones and going up to more unbasic ones. My fears were confirmed, the Internet was nowhere on it.

pyramid

Internet isn’t food. It isn’t housing. It isn’t friends. It isn’t air to breathe. It isn’t a life-partner, even though for some of us it might seem that way. To find out just how important the Internet is for you, answer this simple question (no, it’s not the Muppet one):    Would you die without Internet?

If your answer is a firm YES than there is nothing else to do but get unlimited data allowance, grab your recharger, stay close to a plug, smile at your phone lovingly, inhale deeply and hug it very very tightly.

If your answer is NO, then really I don’t know what to say. You obviously have a life. You must have found meaning elsewhere. Maybe even in the real world. Maybe in paper-bound books. Maybe in mixed tapes you rewind by turning your finger inside the serrated hole. Maybe you found it by wiping printer’s ink off your face. Maybe you are talking to real people in the real world. You might even be hugging trees instead of looking at a picture of one.

On a whole, you are wholly superior to the rest of us phone huggers. But remember, we are in a parallel universe, so don’t get bothered by us needing to be constantly online, because, after all, we are only trying to find out which Muppet we truly are.

Does Anybody Need Any Help?

Hausfrau is here to help
Hausfrau is here to help

This Blog Will Sort Out Your Life. Promise.

As the wintery August chill is continuing into autumn I’ve decided to prepone Christmas this year. And in order to get us fresh and early into the spirit of the coming season, I’ll be playing Tinkerbell fulfilling wishes  for one month until 30th September.

So…. If there’s anything you’ve been wanting to do but for whatever reason lack the strength or willpower or support or courage or focus, this is your chance to get your request in.

My only condition is that I can do it from/in London and that it’s feasible. As a starting point, here is a list of possible deeds my limited imagination drew up:

  • Be agony aunt
  • Play cupid/matchmaker
  • Feed your budgie
  • Help you find/get back in touch with a long lost friend/lover/relative/classmate
  • Teach you a Russian song
  • Give relationship advice
  • Visit you in hospital and read to you
  • Play a round of back gammon and let you win
  • Teach you how to stand on your head and see the world upside down
  • Be your personal shopper
  • Have a chat about anything
  • Teach you how to cycle
  • Accompany you somewhere
  • Help you write a letter/application
  • Disentangle Her Majesty The Queen’s German lineage for you

Anything at all. If it’s in my power, I’ll do it.

Please send your requests to dagmarbaumunk@hotmail.com. I’m very much looking forward to hearing from you.

*This is a serious offer, so please only serious requests 🙂