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Archive for the ‘Anglo-German Relations’ Category

Same procedure?

In Anglo-German Relations on December 31, 2016 at 17:00

It is New Years Eve and what better time to show this little gem of a sketch. The Germans are mad about it and it is a staple in every TV schedule on December 31.

In troubled times as these, the question asked by the butler, James, ‘same procedure as last year?’ is met with the reply by his mistress: ‘Same procedure as every year, James.’ To his dismay he then has to empty all the glasses of the imaginary birthday guests and gets incredibly drunk.

Asked oneself ‘Same procedure as last year?’ the answer must be a resounding ‘No!’ Not the same as 2016.

Here’s to 2017.

The Other Germany

In Anglo-German Relations on December 29, 2016 at 11:00

Towards the end of the 1980s a British film team was allowed to travel to East Germany and make a documentary in the GDR. They went to Rostock where they interviewed a group of dockers, male and female. A quarter of a century later, the team returned to speak with the same people and visit the same places. It makes for interesting viewing.

An Unmoral Offer

In Anglo-German Relations on June 24, 2016 at 08:00

Germany’s biggest selling tabloid BILD came up with a superb front page this week about Brexit. The main article is a series of admissions to Britain to convince them to stay in the EU. Should Bremain win, the Germans are said to

– accept that the third goal in the 1966 World Cup final was actually a goal
– they won’t make jokes about Prince Charles’ ears
– won’t use sun cream at the beach out of sheer sympathy
– won’t use a goalkeeper in the next penalty shoot out to make it more even
– they’ll introduce tea time in Mallorca
– they’ll supply the baddie for James Bond movies, voluntarily
– they’ll set the clock back an hour to Greenwich time
– they’ll outlaw froth on top of beer
– they’ll reserve the sun beds at the hotels pools for the British with their own towels
– Jogi Löw will guard the Crown Jewels
– they’ll all visit Britain for the Queen’s 100th birthday


This is quite an offer from the Germans and the British would be foolish not to accept it. It is not without historical precedence, though. Twenty years ago, the Daily Mirror and Bild engaged in a similar discourse during Euro 1996 in England. It all began with a list of 11 questions posed by Bild to the English:

Why do you drive on the wrong side of the road?
Why can’t you pull a decent pint of beer?
Why, as the birth place of modern football, were you never European champions?
Why do you wear bathing trunks in the sauna?
Why do your electric locomitves still carry a fireman?
Why do you eat your pork chops with peppermint sauce?
Why can’t you beat your former colonies at Cricket?
Why do look like freshly-boled lobsters after a sunny day?
Who won the 1990 World Cup semi-final, anyway?
When did an Englishman last win Wimbledon?
Why are you the only people who still think the Wembley goal went in?

It was an attempt to connect humour with steretypes but ended up not being funy at all. The answer by the Daily Mirror was insightful:

‘We drive on the wrong side of the road to make it more difficult for our soldiers to invade other countries. We were never European champions because we are an outward-looking nation that doesn’t think Europe is the centre of the universe; we were quite happy with the World Cup. We are sorry that you do not understand that proper beer is served warm: why don’t you wear proper trouasers? We wear bathing trunks in the sauna, because we’re not a boastful people … At least our former colonies still want to play our national sport with us. Do any of your ex-colonies want to play yours with you? Come to think of it, what is your national sport? We won the 1990 semi-final in spirit. You just scored more penalties, that’s all … As for THAT GOAL, we simply abided by the referee’s decision.’

This can be best described as ‘blokey nationalism’ or ‘the jokey jingoism of the press.’ Thankfully, 20 years later not a lot has changed: football is still seen as a vehicle to portray nationalism of the worst kind as we have in recent days in France. Nonetheless, Bild have come up with a witty reminder of the Anglo-German football rivalry in particular and the Anglo-German relations in general. A lot what this paper contains is utter garbage and not worth reading but they have always been pro-Europe; in fact journalists had to accept a code of conduct before being allowed to work there. One was a pro-Europe paragraph another was German unity and finally the fight against Communism. The last point earned Springer, the publishing house behind Bild, the label ‘idelogical arsonist’ during the 1960s.

Whatever the outcome of the referendum, Bild made it clear that the EU with Britain is simply funnier.

Divide et Impere

In Anglo-German Relations on June 21, 2016 at 08:00

Divide and Rule has been the motto for the British regarding the European Union. Something they won’t be able to do should they decide to go. Let’s hope this won’t be the case.

Flying With the Germans

In Anglo-German Relations on May 11, 2016 at 09:00

It seems nowadays that it is accepted to poke fun at the English as this ad from Lufthansa shows.

Two guys need to re-arrange their air travel and are booked on a Lufthansa flight which leads one to exclaim

“We’re flying with the Germans?!”

His voice and face tell of his dismay. This is aggravated as he falls asleep during the flight and has a nightmare of an Oompa Band playing, cuckoo watches and sausages and beer served by a lady who isn’t particularly friendly. On top of that there is a little lad in a German football shirt. He mocks the English by pointing to the four stars on the above the crest. It turns out to be a bad dream for the Englishman. Of course, there is a hook to all this. It is naturally the little lad still pointing to the four stars serving as a reminder for the English who is the more successful team.

Previously it was the English making fun of the Germans and possibly they still do. The advert ends with the slogan,

Lufthansa, fly like a world champion

adding more salt to English wounds. It is indeed humourous and surely humour of the sort even the English could laugh at. On top of that, the Germans have learned how to be funny without appearing ridiculous. It hasn’t always been like that. Admittedly, the Germans had a tough stance to react upon what the English threw at them what they considered humour. Think of Three Lions by Baddiel and Skinner. In the video all Germans wore shirts with Kuntz on the back. What can you do about that when you’re the target of such kind of black humour? Nothing. There are more examples from 1996. Remember the Daily Mirror? Gazza and Psycho wearing tin helmets? Nuff said.

The humour of 2016 is tame in comparison with 1996 but has become far more sophisticated. And even the Germans have learned how to be funny.

Anglo-German Football, discussion

In Anglo-German Relations on October 16, 2015 at 09:00

Being able to present my research to an interested and knowledgeable audience was a great experience and i have enjoyed it very much even though i had the feeling i have not answered each question. Read the rest of this entry »

Schweinsteiger: A First at Manchester United

In Anglo-German Relations on August 20, 2015 at 08:30

Bastian Schweinsteiger is about to make history: He is the first German footballer playing for Manchester United. Read the rest of this entry »

German Conspiracies in Literature

In Anglo-German Relations, Literature on August 5, 2015 at 09:00

It required the ingenuity of a Sherlock Holmes to alter the way the Great War unfolded. Read the rest of this entry »

August 4 1918: When the lamps went out

In Anglo-German Relations on August 4, 2014 at 10:00

On August 4, in the early hours, Britain declared a state of war would exist, if the German troops would not withdraw from Belgium. This ultimatum went without reply and thus, war was declared changing the Anglo-German relations in the 20th century beyond recognition. Read the rest of this entry »

Naming It Right

In Anglo-German Relations on January 31, 2014 at 09:45

In a Facebook discussion a while ago, Markus Hesselmann, online editor of Der Tagesspiegel, a newspaper based in Berlin discussed the names of English football clubs in German media. Hesselmann argued that some over-correct people often reminded others that it is not Arsenal London but only Arsenal. While the correctionists do have a point in this case, it is important to remember that there might be people unfortunate enough to not know where this mysteriously called football club ‘Arsenal’ might be located. There are several ways to find out: asking some one around, google it or watching German television. Most often than not, Arsenal becomes Arsenal London. Hesselmann has a point as he later in the discussion thread stated that a journalist’s task is also to educate, without the journalist becoming an educator or teacher. Read the rest of this entry »

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