1.There’s a scene at the beginning of Die Hard, where the New Yorker John McLane, walking through a Los Angeles airport, sees a young, pretty girl scream happily and leap into her boyfriend’s arms. McLane observes this with a mixture of disgust and amusement; he says, simply: “LA”, as if he’s wandered into a place of incomprehensible perversion, where people embrace in public and all the girls are blonde and pretty and probably work in porn.

i’ve spent hours tramping around Munich today, likewise disapproving of the Bosche and their filthy ways, very much in the McLane spirit except for his wifebeater shirt. Some of the things that amaze and either irritate or amuse me:

i) Nearly being run over by Mercedes, BMWs, Audis, Porsches, driven by 16-year-olds with designer stubble;

ii) Shops selling seemingly nothing, then you notice half a dozen boringly bad paintings, each costing more than i make in year; this is apparently a viable business model;

iii) Ancient women clad from head to toe in what is evidently top of the line designer gear, expensively rouged & powdered and generally quite frightful; for god’s sake, just grow old & let the damn thing be;

iv) Girls who look about 18, wearing € 10,000 worth of designer clothes & accessories, bronzed in Tuscany, toned in the gym, educated at the Gymnasium, no doubt set on a course to join their daddy’s company in the Marketing Department, their sole responsibilities being to look good and bullshit till the cows come home; or they could just be porn stars, i suppose; i’m being a little unfair, as my ex-student Carla was of this ilk and i liked her a great deal.

v) Small, excitable dogs.

2. One station on my tramping odyssey was The Readery, an English language bookshop where i stuck up an advert for my grisly services. Naturally, i ended up browsing; i thought to confine myself to the Philosophy section but my eye fell on a table of discounted wares, and there i saw, right on the top, Bruce Duffy’s excellent The World As I Found It, a novel centred about Wittgenstein, Russell, and Moore, but mainly about LW. i stood there making strangled noises, then picked it up suspiciously. It’s a strange book, in that while a lot of it is only loosely “based on a true story”, there’s at least one scene which is in a sense true; but it must be a product of Duffy’s imagination, since i can’t imagine there would be any record of the original event. i had the feeling, reading it back in 2008/9, that Duffy’s imagination had in some way gone beyond merely “making things up”, and had connected to what was once real. My copy is in a friend’s garage in England, so i bought this one  (for € 4) to send to my extremely shy pianist friend Minna in Finland, as she has an interest in the Wittgensteins.

3. After leaving the Readery, i passed some postcard stands further down the road, and – behold! – i saw Dostoevsky’s deranged stare. It then began to rain, heavily, so i went indoors, and despite being broke, i bought 3 postcards – an erotic pic (not of Dostoevsky), the staring Dostoevsky one, and this very fine Samuel Beckett portrait:

4. i’ve been offered 25 teaching units with some teenagers next week, and today i learnt one of them is female, hopefully hot jailbait, hopefully perverted, and hopefully talkative. To be honest, since i have to spend nearly 4 hours every weekday in their company, i’d settle for an ugly but talkative girl. i was most amused to find her surname is Fuchs and i mean to greet her with the Meet the Fockers question: “how do you say your surname?” and then insist on calling her “Fuchs” all the way through the class. i related my plan to Juniper and she was most unamused, telling me she will not visit me in prison if i violate 15-year-old girls when i should be teaching them English.

i’ve been given a rather tedious-looking children’s textbook to use but as is my way i will discard it and instead write my own, pornography-oriented lesson plans. i used to think i never wanted to teach children but actually it can be great fun, as long as you look on it as an opportunity to go to prison.

Advertisements