Berlin and the ghosts of history…

 

The other weekend, along with Angela Merkel, I was in Berlin.   Not together of course; she was there to work on forming a new government, I in pursuit of pleasure.  Berlin is a great city both for business and pleasure with its unique culture and complex history; magnetic and absorbing it just keeps pulling me back.

We stayed near Potsdamer Strasse in the old Siemens building; the company’s HQ before it was destroyed by Allied bombs in the 1940s.  It lay derelict until the end of the 1990s, then lovingly restored and fitted out as a hotel.  Original features give a sense of the scale and ingenuity of German industry of the early 20th Century – each floor features a primitive electrical contraption the origins of Siemens’s global brand – and it is this pride in the past and the present that makes Berlin choose a costly restoration rather than a demolition and a cheap rebuild.

This does not apply so much to the ghostly entrance arches, all that remains of the Anhalter Station across from the hotel.  From here in the 1940s over 1,200 Berlin Jews were exported to the concentration camps and it was, for more fortunate Jews, a departure point to freedom; Albert Einstein being the most famous.  Yet it stands, as a monument to that terror; a memory that Berlin must not forget.

At Postdamer Platz the scale of glass and steel structures grown up out of a post-war, post-communist wasteland is truly impressive.  The Christmas markets at their base are in full swing with late evening shoppers enjoying an open-air drink on their way home.

On Saturday morning we visited the Wall.   Little is left in situ of the original wall except a 500 meter section a short walk from our hotel and close to the strangely and awkwardly named Museum of the Topography of Terror. The Wall is badly damaged not by those trying to tear it down on the 9th November 1989 but by recent tourists – the locals call them “woodpeckers” – stealing pieces as keep-sakes.

At a zebra crossing, impatient to cross, a middle-aged Berliner told me firmly that Berliners don’t cross at the red-man, they wait for the green-man so I complied with the red-man rule from that point on.

From the iconic Brandenberger Gate we walked to the Jewish Holocaust Memorial and quickly got disoriented as we descended into, and among, the myriad grey slabs.  It is an eerie experience among these faux gravestones – supposedly close to Hitler’s Bunker (but it’s not on the tourist trail) – and it is a fitting and dignified statement to the horrors of that time; acknowledged, regretted and not forgotten.

We visited the Bode Museum, one of six in the Museum Island famous for its medieval statues and paintings – a shrine to medieval Christian Europe – and then walked to visit the Neue Synagoge the main Jewish religious centre in the city but were disappointed it was closed and had a permanent police presence.  This highly ornate building survived Kristallnacht of 9th November 1938 when a brave watchman convinced the National Socialists mob that attached residential buildings would also be destroyed.  Sadly, and ironically, it was destroyed later by Allied bombs before being reconstructed in the 1960s under the direction of the communist East.

The Neue Synagoge starkly contrasts with the Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church off Kurfustendamm to the West which is very much open.   Here the fractured gothic spire had its naves amputated by Allied bombs leaving ghostly gaping holes; wounds that we are made to look at to reinforce the memory and horrors of war.  Inside the mosaics are breath-taking; medieval scenes of pomp and ceremony, peace and goodwill. Outside a make-shift memorial to the 12 Berliners who died in December 2016 when a young Muslim man drove a van through the same Christmas market that is now under construction.   This memorial has been tidied away, all but hidden at the back of the huts.

Germany is a Federation and Berlin is a city-state in that Federation with significant autonomy, one of three such cities across the country. As a result, German politics is complex yet, and perhaps because, so much happens at a local level.  Germany may have achieved the ideal of subsidiarity allowing democratic decisions to be made as close as possible to those affected.  This is good but has its challenges when it comes to getting a national coalition government agreed.

With one million immigrants, mostly of Muslims, entering the country in the past few years and the failure by Angela Merkel over the weekend to create a coalition, gives too much hope to powerful right-wing parties particularly Alternative Fur Deutschland (AfD), Germany must redouble its efforts to never forget its past and what can happen if they don’t.

  • Georgie Best

    I’m not sure that the Anhalter Bahnhof, of which of the facade remains, should be seen primarily in relation to the holocaust. Every rail facility in Europe played such a role, but the station also played a positive role in Berlin history for 100 years before the war.

  • Jess McAnerney

    “Germany must redouble its efforts to never forget its past and what can happen if they don’t”

    Still, it isn’t Germany that is trying to break up the harmony in Europe over unfounded xenophobia.

    Even after welcoming in one million immigrants, mostly of Muslims, some think it is they need to redouble their efforts against the rising right. Perhaps had other nations reciprocated and done likewise to welcome in one million immigrants also, sharing the load?

    It is easy to get sucked into thinking everything is someone else’s fault, but it is not always the case.

    How many German planes bombed the streets killing thousands of innocent people and destroying the lands that caused the mass immigration in the first place? Did France or the UK have a hand in creating the problem and did they do enough to help those people fleeing for their lives?

    Perhaps instead of instilling a sense of shame on a people over the actions of previous generations, we should instead be instilling a sense of shame in the here and now over the bombs and weapons being sold in war torn countries and the devastating consequences of those sales.

    How many hospitals were destroyed at the hands of tools stamped made in the US, the UK, France, Germany, Ireland?

    Looking at the past is fine, but not when we ignore what is happening in the present.

  • Korhomme

    <- This is Ampelmann or Ampelmännchen, though laterally reversed; he should walk to the left, of course.

    He is a particular symbol of the old DDR and East Berlin which has been retained after reunification. He's prized because of his hat.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ampelm%C3%A4nnchen

    There is even an Ampelmann shop in Berlin; they also have the green man as a mirror image.

    http://www.ampelmann.de/en/

  • I Can Confirm This

    Right wing politics lead to gas chambers, must prevent right wing politics.

    A liberal fallacy – subtly pushed in the above post.

    People even Germans are entitled to manage migration sensibly.

    The one million experiment is another example of flawed German thinking in relation to people and people management, last century they killed Europe with cruelty this century it is with kindness. Either way it shows the Germans are not be trusted with people policy and is better left to others.

    I think that’s a better way of looking at it than ‘right wing politics lead to gas chambers’; it is this which has harmed the development of post-war Europe as some of the more rational demands of right wing politics have become de-legitimatised, due to the stigma of ‘right wing politics = gas chambers’.

  • Food First

    Because of History I believe pesonaly that Germany is unfit to be the leader of the free world in Europe as any movement to the right in politics is always equated to previous history & the Nazi period
    Nations that have never been occupied or have not lost a war think differently
    This guilt trip by German Governments lead to flawed disisisisions like the addmisiomn of over 1 million emigrents a large percentage which are really economic migrants the U K government with a more mature policy invested large amounts of aid in neighboring countries to enable refugees to return to there countries of origin on a return to peace
    This is all very sad as the German people are decent people & their contributions to western civilization both before & after the war is huge they just need to grow up a bit & think longer term

  • I Can Confirm This

    The trouble is with Merkel waiving the Dublin convention she put pressure on other European countries to take up the slack once Germany had received its stomach full of cheap labour and new families. It is this that upset the balance in Europe with most eastern European leaders privately saying “f*ck sake Merkel you really ought not to have ripped up the Dublin convention in the first place!.” Germany’s generosity reached its limits, then Merkel demanded that other countries take on migrants equally, migrants or so-called refugees, which had become attracted to central Europe thanks to Germany’s silly solo run.

    The Dublin convention is that refugees upon reaching the first safe country stay in that country and be processed and considered for asylum. Merkel opted Germany out of this and the migrant flows took place across Europe indirectly impacting on other European countries. This caused upset. These countries had no such role in furthering wars in Muslim countries.

  • Salmondnet

    We aren’t trying to break the “harmony” of Europe. We are just seeking to leave the European Union. A decision we have every right to make for ourselves. There is no reason to believe that whatever harmony actually exists in the EU will not continue after our departure. If you think that our wish to leave the EU (a trading arrangement with aspirations to statehood) is in any way comparable to the wartime actions of Germany then your judgement is in serious need of recalibration.
    You are right about one thing though. Germany doesn’t need to be ashamed of its post war history. These days it is mostly Germans who impose shame about the past on other Germans (and use it as a convenient lever for political decisions actually made for economic or ideological reasons). If this were not the case they would perhaps make less disastrous decisions about migration (which they then seek to foist on the rest of the EU).
    As things now stand the demographic destruction of Western European culture through a deliberately fostered scale of diversity which can not possibly be assimilated looks set fair to be Hitler’s revenge.

  • I Can Confirm This

    Building a Europe to be the complete opposite of Nazi Germany may not be the best approach to statehood, because as you say a lot of legitimate and rational political controls, such as robust healthy borders, managed migration and so on, have been thrown out with the post-WWII Bath Water, simply because anything right-wingy has been deemed politically undesirable thanks to Nazis.

  • Cadogan West

    A marvellous record store Dussmann near Friedrich Str U-bahn is a must, they have one floor devoted just to opera, if you cannot find an obscure deleted CD it will have it. It also doubles as a ticket outlet, booskstore and concert venue. Radial System V an arts centre by HolzMarktPlatz is where the Akademie fur Alte Musik, Berlin gives concerts, also Annette Dasch has a Tea Salon there. The Sophienkirche, a delightful baroque Lutheran church which survived the war intact in Grosse Hamburger Str has special music at Easter etc. A good place to stay is Hotel Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Ziegel Str, top end of Friedrich Str, near Museum Insel, ideal for concerts, opera, museums, on the East side. It is part of a church Geminde, very clean with breakfast. The Kathe Kollwitz Museum is worth a visit, she was the first woman elected to the Art academy.
    Berlin itself is not exactly pretty, like Wien, a short journey takes you to Potsdam where Sanssouci they have baroque concerts, CPE Bach, Carl Friedrich Graun, Benda, Quantz music from the Court of Friedrich der Grosse, the victory roundels in the monument where shot off by Russian vandals but have since been restored, Suum Quique.

  • Cadogan West

    Right wing in Italy, Spain, Chile, Argentina did not lead to gas chambers, just a point to bear in mind. Don’t forget, the millions who died in USSR Gulags, Pol Pot and PRC.

  • Cadogan West

    Germany in 1945 was like a huge Ant’s nest kicked about, nearly all families have relatives who were refugees. The 1950s saw rapid economic growth from the Marshall Plan and to combat the Cold War.

  • Georgie Best

    Berlin is not pretty, it reminds me of Belfast being an industrisl city with some problems along the war. Well worth a visit though.

  • Zorin001

    But they did lead to Authoritarian States where you could be picked up by State Security and never seen again.

    People do like to flag up Nazi atrocities (and Soviet) due to sheer volume and the industrial nature of the killings, but that’s thick end of the wedge stuff. The thin edge that you would find in Facist Italy, Falagnist Spain and other Rightist states was no picnic either. Not comparable in hard numbers but brutal non the less, look up some of the “White Terror” carried out in inter-war Hungary if you want a shudder; or what’s going on in Myanmar if you want a mOre current example.

  • LordSummerisle

    AfD manifesto reads very much like the Lib Dem one.

  • Abucs

    Gulag Archipelago on youtube as a 30 plus hour audio book.

    The Russian’s outworking of socialism rather than Hitler’s brand of socialism. Basically the same evil.

  • Cadogan West

    I only go for opera and concerts, Potsdam and environs far nicer. I played a Silbermann Fortepiano in Sanssouci once owned by FDG, it had handstops, no pedals, it had a softer sound than one Mozart had later in 1790, the theme of the Art of Fugue, B-A-C-H.

  • Cadogan West

    Wittenberg Platz U-bahn has a sign listing in detail all the Berlin transports at the entrance. I noticed small brass memorial markers in the pavement up near where the Sophienkirche is and surrounding streets, eg Familie Sneebaum (Snowtree)

  • Food First

    When the U K & N I leave the E U it will be the E U that is putting up walls to keep its citizens in Communism did not die in Russia it just moved to Brussels Eire is a prime example it has voted against Brussels dicktats on several, occasions all rejected until their voters came up with the required answer
    & the arrival of the troika after the 2008 crash turned Eire in to another client state of the European Central Bank

  • I Can Confirm This

    not one EU referendum has passed the popular vote. Not one.

  • Georgie Best

    Berlin has had a lot of history, yet you can drive your truck the 100Km to Poland without the type of hassle that the DUP and British government are proposing to impose for people wishing to drive from Belfast to Dublin.

    And no immature comments about this being the EU’s fault, it is the EU that has made these smooth journey’s possible.

  • John

    In the late 1990s we had a car which achieved 70+ miles per gallon from a german diesel engine. Fast forward to now and the same manufacturer is lucky to get 60 mpg with extremely dodgy mission figures based on lies. What bothers me is the mentality and sheer arrogance that fostered this situation. I have no idea how many laws were broken in this process, but I do know no-one is in jail. It seems to me that the power house of the EU is morally bankrupt and when the myth of german industrial excellence is exposed will probably become financially bankrupt as well. Good riddance to that german led corrupt club that is the EU. No wonder the EU is reluctant to let go of sugar daddy UK.

  • Food First

    German car companies went to jail in the U S & vehicle owners were compensated
    Where is similar action in the E U nothing now only a German fiefdom

  • John

    So it is illegal to lie, cheat and rob and poison consumers in the US but NOT in homeland EU. Sounds like a great club to be a part of doesn’t it.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I have a friend in Antrim who has a small collection of late eighteenth century, early twentieth century forte-pianos. They are the accurate instrument on which they Bunting transcriptions of ancient Irish music should be played, and the sound is much lighter than the brashness of a modern piano or the astringent icy ness of a harpsichord.

    Of course the forte-piano developed out of the earlier keyboard Clavichord which has a very soft sound. In the flood of interest in the revival of early music during the 1960s I used to frequently visit the early music centre. My first wife purchased a clavichord built by a friend and later I began amateur instrument building myself. About a decade ago I helped construct an early Irish wire strung harp, still very much in use.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I think it’s important to recognise that almost any politics can lead to ethnic cleansing. The first employment of the term Concentrstion Camps refers to those of the British in the Boer War.

    Hanna Arendt in “The Origins of Totalitarianism” uses both the USSR and National Socialist Germany in her analysis of the phenomena. Her description of the employment of both active and passive fear, for example, neatly describes one of the most significant strategies of Unionism from its inception. As you point out it is very dangerous to generalise and not to remember that such generalisation may be a tactic to locate the problem away from something one may support.

  • Food First

    Capital flight from the E U to the U S A will turn in to a flood now President Trump has got his tax bill approved further weakening this house of cards

  • Zorin001

    Do we really want an economically weakend Europe (note Europe, not EU) when there is an already an undercurrent of dissatisfaction with society and politics and voters moving to extremes? We have seen where such a toxic brew ends up, on both the Right and the Left.

    I do wonder what people who want the EU to collapse expect to happen after? There are a number of fissures which could widen between member states without a broad framework of co-operation the EU provides. Maybe not in the short term but in the medium to long term, Hungarian Nationalists haven’t given up hope of one day reclaiming Transylvania for instance.

  • Food First

    The E U has to return to a free trade area what we were originally told we were joining ( even De. Gaull stated the U K was better out
    Now the zealots in charge are unable to se the wood from the trees ( pro E U parties are declining in every member state )
    Unless their is change looks like they are prepared to go down with the ship this is all very sad & will only further advance the decline of Europe on the world stage

  • I Can Confirm This

    EU should’ve listened.

    These problems you mention have arisen as a result of our membership of the EU, why, do tell me, is more EU an answer?

    If the UK wanted to have borders controlled for a decade, why was that a problem? The UK is not Poland or Germany its land mass or size is not as sufficient and generous as the likes of Poland. It is an island nation, separated from other countries by sea, as like Ireland, where controlling borders very possible to do, a rational and logical thing.

    It is proof of the drawbacks of a one size fits all bogus hegemony.

    Blair who is out in force today used to be a battler for pragmatism, yet he seems to forget it is the EU that has relentlessly stuck to its principles – one size fits all or bust. Why isn’t that c*nt telling the EU to be more pragmatic like that c*nt was with all sorts of principles the Labour party used to hold dear.

    The EU’s is too rigid an approach for such a diverse and multifaceted Union. Its principles rather than reinforcing the Union have in some cases lead to it becoming more brittle.

    Blair and Cameron went to the EU to ask for change, flexibility and both got NOTHING back.

    Tough f*cking luck, eh? Well we voted to leave as a result.

  • Mimi Balguerie

    Oh, you can lie, cheat, rob and poison consumers in the US as well – it just depends on who you are and who is, uh, interested in you doing well. As GM getting off with a slap on the wrist for literal corporate manslaughter shows, government fines for OEMs in the US are more about crippling foreign competition than upholding the law.
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-09-21/bailout-world-volkswagen-cheating-fine-20-times-higher-gms-killing-174-people

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-09-22/dear-volkswagen-was-your-biggest-mistake

    This is the big, bad free market of protectionist trade blocs the UK is seeking to take in in its lonesome, this time without the Navy and control over international finance it had in its halcyon days. Good luck out there.

  • John

    What has that got to do with Mr VW and company, sounds a bit like the typical “themuns”

  • Mimi Balguerie

    Because you said “is illegal to lie, cheat and rob and poison consumers in the US but NOT in homeland EU”.

    This ain’t true. Companies get away with lying, cheating, stealing and damaging the environment and public health in the US all the time. If you want to get away with it, it helps to be an American company – preferably one either supported by the government or with lots of healthily fed lobbyists. The EU is actually less protectionist and more likely to pursue one of its own than America – but this is the way modern trade and industry works. There’s no land of milk, honey and free trade out there for you.

  • Gopher

    Berlin is certainly an atmospheric city though it is interesting one has a different perspective than that of the opening poster having visited the same sites. Siemens just says slave labour to me so the buildings loss is more reassuring to me than its subsquent rebuild. Berlin is littered with that reassurance in the form of blue signage stating what used to there before Bomber Command and the 8th came to town Though I think that it is more an attempt at blame deflection.

    You see that is the thing about Germany they have airbrushed history whether banning Swastika’s in computer games and model kits out of embarrasment rather than fear of a few right wing crackpots or the blaming everything on Adolf. The Berlin wall at the topography of terror held little interest to me and pretty much failed with any deflection. I went there to see the most feared address in Europe, outside of course High Wycombe, “Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse” headquarters of the RSHA, Sicherheitspolizei, SD , Einsatzgruppen and Gestapo. In effect evil central, this had more interest to me than a Wall that the Germans brought to Berlin themselves. Nope me and the opening poster looking at the same thing seen things differently.

    There is nothing to see at Hitler’s Bunker, In reality the Allies should have kept this site to show future generations how the rats lived. I never really thought about Hitler at the Bunker he got to live his life to the end, I was alone with my thoughts of Magda Goebbel’s six children. “Cast a cold eye. On life, on death. Horseman, pass by.” Speaking of Geobbels, I think Joseph would have loved the internet he had to hand out 80 million radio sets to get his message across this would have saved him so much time and effort.

    After the Bunker, T34’s on various memorial plinths round the city reassure you with a tangible history one that cant be rewritten, as do the many shell strikes still visible in the streets around Museum Island. Medieval statues and paintings had no interest here for me, I’m sure pre Renaissance christian art is wonderful,honestly, but when your at Museum Island the only place to go is the Pergammon Museum to see what beauty godless pagans could create. Babylons Istar Gate and the Pergammon Altar I’ll take “Classical” over pre Renaissance everytime.

    Germany was not so much allowed to forget its past as rewrite it, that it was only evil Nazis that implemented all Hitlers will. The Cold War ensured the West was culpable in that. Thankfully todays historians are able to dipense with such niceties and in just about a year it wont be the UK’s problem what Germany wants to do with Europe. Honestly dont know what your worried about Tommy what could possibly go wrong?

  • Brian O’Neill

    Well part of the reason is cars are getting bigger and heavier. For example the latest golf is twice the weight of the original golf.

    And the trend for SUV is cancelling out efficiency savings.

  • John

    Afraid not Brian. Same make, same model. Allegedly more power, certainly more useless tech, for example an electronic rear view mirror. Isn’t technology brilliant.

  • John

    I do not really care that the American system is built on lying, cheating, stealing etc,etc. I, however would prefer not to be ruled by an EU that you seem to suggest is the very same. (“themuns”) syndrome perhaps?

  • Mimi Balguerie

    I’ve no idea what “themuns” syndrome is. But my employment is based on the economic situation on the strategic development of both the European and American automotive markets, so when the UK decides to cut itself off from the bloc offering it free trade, open supply chains and protection to go it alone in a hostile environment, it very much concerns me. The UK is going to have to follow EU standards and rules regardless of Brexit, the idea that their automotive industry can survive otherwise is simply a fantasy. You might not like the way the industry works, but that’s the way it is. The Bombardier C-Series tariff is possibly an early shot across the bow to show what post-Brexit trade is going to look like.

  • Zorin001

    I agree with some of that, I always thought the EU was expanding too quickly into Eastern Europe in the 90s and 00s and without proper foresight of what it would mean for the EU as a whole and also its relationship with Russia. The latter has turned out to be a major strategic mistake if it’s led to Putin undermine Western society (which seems almost certain).

    We know that Blair favoured deeper intergration (he wanted to join the Euro, Brown said no), I think he wanted that to be his legacy; even more so than NI. The UK could have done for more to deal with immigration, I’m critical of those who pretend it wasn’t a serious issue. Perception is as powerful as reality and if people believe immigration to be a problem there’s no point telling them their wrong and awful people for being frightened. It doesn’t excuse going down the rabbit hole of chauvinism and Xenophobia however.

    I voted Remain but I wasn’t blind to the fact that the EU needed reform. I judged it was better to be in the tent than out however, I’m don’t believe in the age of globalisation and powerful Multinationals that national sovereignty actually exists. We may get rid of the European elites but we have our own national elites perfectly prepared to sell us down the river to the nearest lobbyist.

  • I Can Confirm This

    Sad thing is the EU will probably reform itself once the UK leaves – handing back more powers on non-single market stuff, political powers, than economic, as the Germans will not want their economy messed with.

  • Zorin001

    Possibily, I can see there being some sort of tactical retreat on immigration from outside the EU in the short term, like it or not that’s a topic issue.

    Economic issues need addressed worldwide, neo-Liberalist economics is about to hit increased automation head on; that has the potential to get very ugly. There needs to be new ideas on how to deal with unemployment and the future of work, that is going to have to b addressed by all the worlds major powers.

  • Cadogan West

    A good instrument maker is Ferguson Hoey based in Oxford, he made a copy of a Graebner double manual Harpsichord, c 1739 which is in Schloss Pillnitz, near Dresden. It is quite large more so than usual 18th Century instruments, and has a wonderful bell like sound, ideal for Bach, especially Friedemann Bach sonatas. Timothy Roberts has another copy of it which he recorded some JSB on. The Silbermann Fortepiano certainly is better for the musical offering, a recording of it is on the Hanssler label. I once played JSB’s concerto for 3 cembali fantastic. This was based on a violin concerto. For my own instruments I quill them using real bird quill instead of nylon, it is a bit harder as they wear out faster, but the sound is miles better than plastic.

  • Cadogan West

    Belfast is a really dreadful place compared to Berlin and Dublin, its like a Northern city in England like Manchester. That awful carbuncle stuck onto Frank Matcham’s GOH is dire. Berlin is a real Horlicks of architecture styles, DDR, some 19th, 18th century, post modern, even some of Speer’s are still standing! Berlin was always a building site since the mid 18th century onwards. I am glad at last the Staatsoper is finally opened at horrendous cost, lucky Germany has a massive trade surplus from all those VW, Audi, Porsche, MB sales.

  • Cadogan West

    I have an 1952 XK120 drop head Coupe, it has the famed Lucas “Prince of Darkness” electrics. It has no electronics at all and I love tinkering with its parts whenever I can, even more so than the wife! Modern cars are way too electronic and techy, they have no soul at all.

  • Georgie Best

    Lucky there is anything left from pre 1945

    https://youtu.be/wP_PRwiRkmw?t=8

  • Cadogan West

    It was mostly the centre, amazingly the Sophienkirche a baroque 18th century church survived, also the French Huguenot Church, the Staastoper building is from 1749.

  • John

    Speaking as a car buyer you may well have a problem. European and American car makers appear determined to self destruct giving Chinese and far eastern car makers a free run. We have been running an electric van for 3 years now covering 55,000 miles in that time. Our experience is such that we intend to replace our remaining internal combustion engine vehicle with another fully electric 300+mile car. Our only option at this point in time is probably going to be a far-eastern vehicle.
    VW (arguably the largest car maker in the world) and most other European and American car makers choose to lie and cheat for the last decade. The result of this dishonest arrogant mentality has been to hand the EV initiative to our far eastern brethren. There is a big world out there that believe it or not extends beyond the northern hemisphere.

  • John

    In my mind we have gone tech-mad with useless and interfering technology. However with 3 years experience with a fully electric vehicle, I have no intention of buying another ICE vehicle. From 2018 there is a raft of 300+ mile EVs coming along. We can legally make our own electric to run EVs, no more petrol or derv for us.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I have a little network of early music friends and instrument builders over the water and in the United States which started building in the late 1960s. I have been around the scene so long that I was amused to find Anthony Rooley try and place me in his head when we were together in a queue for mss in the British Library once. I reminded him I’d been ten foot away from him and Emma Kirkby at a private concert at Ham House a month before.

    My own principal interest is 16/17th century French harpsichord, although I have quite broad and catholic tastes in music generally.

    About the same time as I was starting to approach early music in my teens I was invited with family to a concert given at the Provosts house at Trinity where Sean O’Riada first played early Irish music on a harpsichord, something he developed later in a series of ensemble concerts at the GaityTheatre in Dublin. In Ireland people tend to see O’Riada as some stand alone, but he was very much a product of the same sudden expansion of interest which had produced David Munrow in England.

  • Mimi Balguerie

    I’d agree with that. German engineering is heavily overrated, it’s been surviving on its reputation for the last twenty years. Well, it depends on the manufacturer, and VW and GM are probably the most notorious. I usually buy Japanese myself, the quality and sensible engineering is a joy to behold even if they are more conservative in their performance targets nowadays. As for China I used to work quite a bit with the Chinese OEMs when I worked for an American engine supplier, but when I moved to the passenger car sector they didn’t seem to care. There’s an arrogance towards the Chinese market which only a sharp shock is going to cure – I’ve seen Chinese suppliers but their British and European counterparts out of business on quality and service alone. But it’s very difficult to get the European automotive companies (notoriously conservative in their outlook) to turn the boat around and point towards the East.

    Well done on going electric, by the way. We need more people like you. 🤗

  • John

    As things stand today EVs are simply not on the radar for the car buying public in Northern Ireland. Petrol and derv are obviously not yet too expensive.
    However I am betting that the future is electric, already electric powered loaders are available for agricultural use, major tractor makers are also nearing market ready equipment. Actually self generating a significant portion of a farm’s energy requirement (from renewables) can potentially reduce the cost of producing a litre of milk by 25% to 30%.
    The point is that most large economies in the Northern Hemisphere are at best mature with very little real growth, whilst there are many examples of real growth in potentially very large economies in the Southern Hemisphere. Why is it so desirable to be a part of a moribund group of countries in Europe

  • John

    Reform in the EU will only happen when the cotton tops currently in positions of power shuffle off to spend their gold-plated public sector pensions. The world moved on, unfortunately these poor people didn’t notice and continued to follow a dream that had become redundant. Before you throw your hands up in horror I am a bus pass carrying cotton top myself.

  • Cadogan West

    Garech de Brun owns a Weber upright harpsichord, 1762 in Luggala, quite rare, the mechanism is a nightmare to tune vertically, O Riada played it and recorded some O Carolan tunes on it on the Claddagh label. I played some CPE Bach on it and Couperin. For the latter I used a meantone tuning not equal temperament. I also managed to play Handel’s Harmonius blacksmith on it. Luggala is up for sale with the proviso that Garech can stay for several months in the year between his London and Singapore pads.

  • Gerry Lynch

    In der DDR war nicht alles so schlimm, wie die sagen. Wir dürften ja bei rot rechts biegen..

  • Korhomme

    Ach, Ostalgie…!

  • Korhomme

    Coincidentally, she died on 5 December 1975.

    “The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists.”

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Temporary suspension of discussion as right arm broken. What Bad luck at this most interesting time!

  • Korhomme

    Poor you! Sorry to hear that. How very tiresome at any time, but specially now.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Indeed, I am trying out the dictation software on my iPhone but of course it inhibits what I can post ! 0h Do year!

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I am having to close this most interesting discussion having broken my arm and accordingly cannot type! Trying out the dictation software On my iPhone for this!

  • Cadogan West

    Sorry to hear about your arm, was it scanned? In Innsbruck they have a wonderful bone clinic all those skiers etc, I hope it mends, as for an iphone, I use an old Nokia, the cost of running an iphone is more than my XK120!

  • Cadogan West

    Electric cars on no, would not want to be stranded out in the bog at all, I will keep my XK120 going, its parts are all hand polished and its going ok, even better with lead petrol high octane.

  • Cadogan West

    Those silly stop start things they have in cars only fiddle the emissions, but your battery is worn out in a year. I will never buy one.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    It was X rayed. A most painful experience with some necessary contortions before the fracture was proved to the satisfaction of accident and emergency. I’ll have to stick to Ravel’s D Major Concerto for Paul Wittgenstein for a few months I think.

    But then the whole countries just been crippled, hopefully only for the short term too!

  • John

    Fair enough.

  • John

    Please be assured, we in the bog would most definitely not want you stranded with us in the bog. Far better you keep your polluting beast in the concrete jungle over the pond.