1. After 5 years in Munich, i find i have almost nothing in common with my colleagues. Those i befriended in 2011/2, like Toddball, now seem juvenile and thuggish to me, feckless and criminal and untrustworthy; which makes me wonder if i was also so, in 2011, or if i merely found them amusing then and have now lost my taste for the criminal American element.
i bumped into a young British English teacher by chance as he was explaining cricket in the teacher room to a German teacher; we struck up a conversation and then met for a drink. His name is Gamgee and he teaches Physics at an international school, also does McLingua to supplement his income. He admitted “I just don’t like Americans, there’s always something wrong with them” – an sentiment i have come to share, though it is partly generational, for among my colleagues the older Americans, or the gays, tend to be okay, funny, interesting; but those my age or below are:
i) Female: bland, nondescript, impervious to irony, ambitious, grinning, Left-wing, aggressive;
ii) Male: clad in gangster rap t-shirts, boast of their criminality (drug dealing, theft, assault), shady, duplicitous, sneering, superficial, full of “yo homey, whassup my man?”, uneducated, wilfully ignorant, Left-wing, don’t even try to learn German.
2. i wouldn’t ordinarily have much contact with the Americans, but that when i teach the Arbeitsamt classes we have a designated derelict building in a shithole ghetto, and a teacher room, and since i don’t want to spend my break talking to my students i usually retreat to the so-called teacher room. There, the Americans dominate. California Jesus is one of the main Arbeitsamt teachers, because he can’t do anything else – most company groups stare in amazement at this baseball-hat-wearing “yo whassup homey” surfer dude bro, and then ask for a real teacher, but Arbeitsamt are just happy to be entertained.
Every single altercation i’ve had with colleagues has been in this one teacher room, in the Arbeitsamt ghetto. Typically, i’m talking to a colleague like Toddball or one of the okay Americans (i.e. over 50) and then a Female or California Jesus, eavesdropping, rebukes me, e.g.:
Toddball: El-bow, what you bin doin, nigga?
Elberry: Nothing much. Had this cool student at X, he –
California Jesus: Oh man! What you always be talking sheeit about them companies, man, no one wants to hear that punk ass shit!
Older American: Yeah, man, so like fucking last week I had this fucking hot student, early 30s, it’s a fucking group but only she fucking turned up, and she was fucking talking about her fucking boyfriend, heh heh heh, she was fucking undoing her top fucking button cos it was so fucking hot in those meeting rooms, heh heh heh.
Elberry: Oh yeah? Was the door closed?
California Jesus [sitting on his usual seat on the windowsill]: What the fuck, “was the door closed”, what kind of creepy-ass shit is that, man? Fuck, nigga!
This is a man who has slept with several of his students, i think some post-dating his girlfriend getting pregnant with their first child (second on the way), but an interesting hostility is developing between us, i think because he is a pure ignoramus, proud even of his ignorance, and although i never talk about anything fancy (books, politics, history, etc.) with my colleagues, they sense that i’m not of their kind, and they despise me therefore. i try to say as little as possible – even laughing at jokes has earned me rebukes, weird though it sounds. i gather that if i am to be allowed in the teacher room i must sit silently in the corner and not talk until talked to, and then only with Yessir and Nossir and Sorry sir.
i encountered a similar hostility in office work, where left-school-at-14 types would snarl “think you’re better than us?” if i so much as yawned. i never talked about my background but, alas, my face and voice and speech betray my ancestry and place. In our modern egalitarian days, this will excite hostility; i am reminded of a scene from Alan Furst’s The Polish Officer, where De Milja, a Polish aristocrat and intelligent officer, has to survive in the world of NKVD and Gestapo:
A uniformed NKVD guard looked through his documents, reading with a slow index finger on each word, then handed them back silently. He got out of Rovno on a dawn train to Brzesc, near the east bank of the river that formed the dividing line between German and Russian occupation forces. On this train, two men in overcoats; one of them stared at him, and foolishly, he stared back. Then realised what he’d done and looked away. At the very last instant. He could see from the posture of the man – his age, his build – that he was somebody, likely civilian NKVD, and was about to make a point of it.
De Milja’s heart hammered in his chest, he felt prickly sweat break out under his arms, he did not even dare a glance to see if the man had accepted his ‘surrender’: breaking off eye contact. Could not put a hand on the VIS, just tried to shrink down into the seat without a single sign of bravado. He was strong. And unafraid. And the way he carried himself, people knew that, and it would bury him in a hurry if he didn’t learn some other way to be in public.
The two men got off the train one station before Brzesc. From the platform, his enemy squinted at him through the window. De Milja stared at his shoes, a proud man subdued. The Russian didn’t buy it; with a certain casual violence he turned to get back on the train and, de Milja was sure, haul him off. But his partner stopped him and grabbed the shoulder of his coat, pulling him, with a joke and a laugh, along the platform – they had more important things to do. From the corner of his eye, de Milja could see the Russian as he glanced back one last time. He was red in the face. The man, de Milja knew beyond a doubt, had intended to kill him.
i have once or twice snapped back at the Americans but there’s no point – nothing to gain, they would only the more viciously despise me, and since i am now in the Arbeitsamt centre twice a week, it’s better to just keep my mouth shut and at best voice platitudes about the weather. Out of curiosity, i mentally logged the topics California Jesus deems acceptable, and they are as follows:
iii) Going to beer gardens
iv) Going to the Isar
vii) Things he’s stolen
viii) Bitches he’s fucked
ix) Horror and action films
This assertive mediocrity is typical of modernity – an anti-egalitarian, anti-intellectual impulse, the resentment of the slime and sludge as the first amphibians crawl onto land and taste the air.
3. Last week i taught an editor of some big-ass German newspaper, was surprised to find him (i think) younger than me, but then i’m now 40 and so most successful people are young enough to be my children, and regard me with pity. He was nice and intelligent, though oddly (given his section) ignorant of the Alt-Right, so i educated him on Hillary’s denunciation. An amusing moment:
Elberry: i’m from a shithole called Huddersfield, about 30 miles from Manchester.
Journalist: Do you know Bradford?
Elberry: Unfortunately, yes, i went to school there for 8 years. [i then named the school].
Journalist: I taught German there!
Turns out he was in Bradford, doing some kind of course at the so-called university, and worked as a teaching assistant at my school, 15 or so years ago. We even know some of the same teachers, which is kind of bizarre.
4. i was brooding on the parallels between my Elberry life and the early 20th C life to which i am closest (there are apparently two others, more or less overlapping, which i don’t remember and feel little for, even as i can see the similarities). He was, and became increasingly, a traditionalist. As Elberry, i perceive that my Elberry life was designed to insulate me as much as possible from modernity, and allow an umbilical cord to Western tradition – i remained inert until i was 20, bored rigid by school, and largely ignored/despised by my family; thus, when i began to read age 20, i was almost a tabula rasa, and then i awoke.
My school was an old grammar, from the 16th C i think, a huge stone building full of deranged paedophiles and sadists (the teachers); and Hitler Youth rugger buggers, Muslims, rapists, and sadists (the boys). i was always stupid and bottom of my class, a reaction to the boredom and structure and also my own physical exhaustion & malnutrition, as i had to spend about 4 – 5 hours a day getting there & back by public transport, and usually subsisted on a chocolate bar for lunch, no breakfast, because my mother told me we were too poor to afford lunch tickets (at the same time, my father had 6 cars); i guess i was eating about 600-800 calories a day for most of my teenage years. i quite enjoyed some of the classes till we got to age 13 and they began on the GCSE curriculum – at that point, every class became tedious, the teachers uninterested, each lesson geared towards the exams. i was also bottom of my class at A-Level, my brain only waking up a few months before the final exams – fortuitously, since it meant i suddenly went from getting Cs and Ds, to straight As, and even that “awakening” was just a faint stirring, enough to master the trivia of school.
Although, in the 80s, corporal punishment was illegal, many of the magnificent old chaps still ruled by violent means, and brooked no insubordination. i was pushed around and got a clipped ear once or twice, nothing serious, and the best thing was the atmosphere – in many ways, it was the school of To Serve Them All My Days. There was a subterranean lineage and tradition, so even if i learnt virtually nothing, i was at least not contaminated by modernity.
After escaping, i first studied a science degree at a grim Northern shithole, but dropped out and pursued my real interest – English Lit, at Durham. It’s only now that i appreciate how protected Durham was against the barbarism of the Left, of Feminism and egalitarianism, for actually no one took Literary Theory seriously, even those who taught it. i lived for 2 years in a 18th C building just under the millenia-old Cathedral, had (some) tutors who read virtually nothing later than TS Eliot, and could read and speak Latin as they would English. i really had no idea how degenerate and debased the modern world had become, and when i left i was essentially a late 19th Century man; and hence, unemployable.
5. Naturally, i have continued in this vein. In the eyes of the world, a rampant failure; in the eyes of my colleagues, a freak and book-reading, like, fucking punk-ass Brit, man. All well and good. There is however a secret lineage, surviving across lives because it has no earthly descent and reckoning: it is without fruit, but nonetheless propagates, and flourishes. Those in this descent will most likely not attend school, or learn nothing there – Varg Vikernes says it best: