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For some reason I had thought Emmerson wrote " most men lead lives of quiet desperation" but It was Thoreau. Not that I know anything much about the poetry of either, it's just that the expression has never seemed to sum up my life, but did seem to sum up a friend of Audrey's.
It happened that their daughter offered to fix up a tour for us in Munich.
Her mum & dad were such nice people, and don't get me wrong, he was not an 'ordinary' person. He was a professor and had been greatly involved with the science of manufacture of bakelites and cellulose, even to a point where the company had installed a lab in his cellar so he could experiment at home.
But the market and the scientific brains moved across to polymers, and cellulose was left to ping pong balls pretty much. To add insult, the chemicals used in its production, have damaging effects on brain tissue, and in the close enviromnment of his lab, he suffered permanently.
He had written a phenominal number of books which were completely over my head and I struggled to read the titles, let alone the content.
They lived in Multdorf I think it was called and they were a delightfully warm and friendly couple.
Their daughter lived in Munich.
One the first day there I went exploring - to the pub.
Going by myself was risky since my German was chronic, but I found a bier garten, sat down, and then noticed that everyone was drinking dunkel masses (dark beer in litres) which was too much for me, so when the waiter turned up I asked him for half a masse - something like 'ein hafen masse bitte'.
He replied "You're English?" (in English)
So I answered like a tourist. "Ja ich bin"
"Why do you want a harbour full of beer?" he asked me.
If you want to spend a wonderful day sitting watching girls, then Munich is the place. Better than California probably. They have the prettiest girls in Europe (In my opinion), and if you can avoid a harbour full of beer, it's worth sitting at a table on the pavements of Munich, sipping Absinthe (ahhh the next morning!) and watching the girls from the uni there.
Munich has a sensuosness seldom seen in Germany, and there is a flowing current of vibrancy much the same as France and Italy mixed together.
The garlic in the sausages turns you into one of Pavlov's dogs, and the smell of the aniseed would make you lick a spill from the table top.
Then there's the sun and tanned legs.
So I would grab a newspaper (Das Tag - whatever - it's an English story) and pretend to read.
The evenings were spent in underground music centres, almost as though they were ashamed or it was illegal, and there were some famous names we sang alongside. For Germany, it was perhaps an emergence from a cocoon, from the suppressive to the free, but the transition was very odd and in the process it seemed that many people became Anglophiles.
One club we played at wasn't tucked away by any means. It was a vast hall with little seating, hundreds of people, plenty of beer and a fabulous Irish band as the one and only supporting act.
Each song or tune would be introduced in that delightfully litling Irish accent by the band leader and had the audience dancing in the aisles. They were great, and I love Irish music.
At the end of the evening I walked over to the band leader and said "Paddy, that was brilliant" to which he replied:
"Was sagen sie?" (what are you saying)
I was convinced he was having me on, and that he was so used to speaking German that he had forgotten to speak English to me.
After a few attempts, I stumbled with broken German to ask him how come he spoke English/Irish so well.
"Oh I learnt it from a Dubliners live LP. Introductions and all." he said in German.
Best Irish night I had had in a long time.
The string theory proves that everything is connected, though it may just be in a different dimension.
I wondered where I was going wrong!
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