Not immortal, after all

My father died on the 17th June, 2017. He probably would have quite liked that, a palindromic date. He died in Berlin, on the commemoration day of a riot against communist rule in 1953. It's the sort of date people like to choose for weddings. He will be buried on the 7th July, which also... Continue Reading →

Knowledge in England

In common with many arts graduates, I delight in accumulating mostly useless knowledge. Since I'm not the brightest person I know, I tend to assume that this is knowledge also accumulated by everyone else. Interacting with a variety of different people suggests that this is not the case, and so I end up feeling bad... Continue Reading →

The Germans – almost always the baddies

Another night in the giant multiplex at Westfield, watching Sherlock Holmes. In the first few frames of the movie, I see that familiar gothic typeface, known in Germany as Frakturschrift, and my heart sinks. The scene is Strasbourg in 1891, and the German inscription says something like "1. Jubiläum Elsaß-Lothringen" - which means "first anniversary... Continue Reading →

One hand clapping at the theatre

The other day, I went  to see the best play I've seen in many years at The Royal Court, called Clybourne Park. The reviewers kept saying it was a very funny satire about race and property, and I certainly couldn't help laughing at the accurate portrayal of the ugly sides of human nature, although I... Continue Reading →

Accessing the past with music

I am watching a documentary about a very old lady in a red jumper. “What is it like when you believe you will die in the next second?”, the interviewer asks. She is asked this a lot, she replies; and the answer is that you do not perceive any emotion – just blackness descending on... Continue Reading →

1991: A surreal six months

These are short extracts from my diaries as a 13-year-old for 1991.  It was the year that we left Australia to live in Germany permanently. Reading them paints a strange picture of a very pressurised and unsettled life, and some unintended hilarious observations. March 4th 1991 Today was our school free day. At 12.00 we... Continue Reading →

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