Friday, October 05, 2007


Have you seen The Lives Of Others about the Stasi watching a playwright in East German in 1984? It's great, isn't it? Mrs F-C and I were particularly taken by Georg Dreyman's flat. It was a really solid, a good size, great decor, nice wood, quite stark and brutal and, considering it was 1984, it looked like 1974, which of course we thought was great.

I believe there's quite a wave of nostalgia in Germany for the old GDR. If I could find the link again I'd direct you to a new hotel in East Berlin furnished in Communist-era fashion. That is, very Seventies, spartan and basic. I've never been to Berlin, but i'm a northern Europe fan, so I do plan to visit at some stage. Mrs F-C went in the old Cold War days, and did the whole looking over the Berlin Wall thing, etc. I'm very envious, finding the whole thing totally fascinating.

That aside, the film is a great drama, with some brilliant actors. The Stasi agent who monitors Dreyman is particularly good. I heard he recently died, which is shame.

On another note, Princess Anne is not aging at all well, is she? More like Princess Man. For about five minutes between 1969 and 1972 she was a bit of a fox. When I say this to people they rubbish the idea. Her purple patch was so brief as to have been wiped from the collective memory, though we all remember getting the day off school for her wedding.

There are some pictures, of which this one is not the best example, where you would have. Perhaps meeting Mark Phillips and surviving a kidnap attempt made her dispense with vanity and frivolity and resolve to become the hard-faced, wreath-haired old moo cow she is today.


Clair said...

No, Anne was a fox. I think she's an old bag now, but I tip my hat to her for the moment when she took a gift of bath cubes for the Queen Mother from a well-wisher and said 'How stupid' under her breath.

Planet Mondo said...

I think her daughter got the glam gene. But there are the 'over attentive then early retirement' police bodyguard stories.
Another crown conspiracy

TimT said...

This must be the oddest pairing of two stories in a single blog post I've ever read!

I agree with you re The Lives Of Others - a great film which really brings to life how grim it must have been living in the GDR. The scene in the canteen where the young agent tells a joke about Erich Honecker, not realising the man sitting opposite him is a senior official, is particularly memorable.

The Germans call that nostalgia 'Ostalgie', which is the best pun I've ever seen in German. (Not a lot of competition, mind.) It's hard to understand, though. Like Mrs F-C, I travelled to Berlin in the 80s and spent a day in the East, where the buildings were still pockmarked with holes made by Russian shells in 1945 and the shops didn't stock anything you were remotely tempted to buy.

I've been back a couple of times since, and the transformation each time has been remarkable. An utterly fascinating place where the history is really close to the surface. I'd put it second on my list of 'most interesting cities in Europe', beaten only by London.

Bright Ambassador said...

Anne still has a fantastic pair of legs. All that horse riding must keep your thighs nice and firm.

I'm a vintage Anne fan too. She was at her best on that Blue Peter Special Assignment.

Ishouldbeworking said...

When you do go to Berlin, F-C, try and find a bar called the Rum Trader. It holds about fifteen people, serves only rum-based cocktails, and you'll believe you are back in Weimar days. Try and strike up conversation with Herr Schott, who owns the place. He might tell you his story about 'Zer Qveen Muzzer'.

You are guaranteed a strange and interesting time there.

office pest said...

I think this must be the hotel you mean;

I can't make it link so you'll have to cut and paste it, 80's style.
If you go, make sure you get yourself an old camera as well, a Fed, Zorki or Lubitel. Or ebay before you go. Black and white film, Homberg, giant overcoat - I can see it now, Mr Palmer.

Roman Empress said...

I want to see the film of which you speak. I love all New German Cinema, I especially love Wings of Desire, for the pre-wall going down envy we obviously share.