Hello and welcome to one of the final installments in what has been my Year Abroad adventure. You may wonder why the posts have been less regular – the reason is I am trying to ween my readers off gently, to ease them into a time without Munich Man when the inevitable withdrawal symptoms creep in.
This post is what I’ve been up to so far in August.
Thursday 1st of August was David’s Abschiedsfeier (Marcus & Markus) Englischer Garten+Jägermeister+Rote Sonne+DJ Jess+Dave’s sister. Great night. Tilmann was on the babe again, as per. He managed to get a girl’s number at a traffic light whilst we were on the way to the club. Typical Techno Tilmann. David had a great leaving party. David is someone I will definitely stay in touch with.
On Friday we headed to P1 which is the most exclusive club in Munich. Back when club meant an actual club and not “place where any old person can get in”. It was founded in 1949 to serve as a club for the American officers stationed here in West Germany. The troops found it difficult to pronounce the clubs address: Prinzregentenstraße 1, so they started referring to it as P-One. On the evening Max and I rolling up with Irina and Susanne, after a couple of rounds of drinks in Schumann’s, Odeonsplatz and greeted the promoter who is a mate of ours. No messing about, we sauntered straight in paying no entry fee and leaving a load of what I refer to as “VIPlebs” in the queue. Awaiting us inside was the gorgeous Amélie and lovely Vanessa who were partying in the VIP section. They are not at all VIPlebs. They are more like Bond girls. Baywatch style they ran over to us as soon as they saw us and we were all ecstatic to see each other hugging kissing and generally jumping around. We celebrated life by drinking and dancing all night long using our cards to fend off nagging bartenders because, quite frankly, being young was somehow reason enough. How lucky I am to have made such great friends over my time here. Every time I say goodbye to one friend, there’s always another one waiting for me round the corner.
On the Saturday after Lerchenauer See with my good friend Andreas. Munich has lakes which you are allowed to swim in just a few kilometres from the ring road. It was so refreshing to dive into the water. Later in the afternoon I met Chris at the stormy Seehaus a Biergarten which is our equivalent of the Winchester in Sean of the Dead: the Mecca of Munich. After this I cycled through the thunder and lightning and arrived soaking wet at another colleague also called Chris was having a house party.
Sunday introduced Chris to the magic of Made in Chelsea, the banker and we had general youtube session where he introduced me to the first viral video of all time: Star Wars kid.
Monday the 5th was time for lunch with Amélie, Vanessa and Techno Tilmann in the FIZ. A civilised affair, apart from Tilmann’s outrageous attempts at trying to make conversation. We’re like naughty and nice, sugar and spice.
Tuesday Chilled out boys night with Tilmann.
Wednesday was Stammtisch with all my favourite BMW interns at Café Blücher.
Thursday a proper early night. Finally. At last.
On Friday the 9th I somehow found myself in a cocktail bar with five girls of five different nationalities. Don’t ask me how. I certainly wasn’t asking any questions. Amélie, Vanessa, Frankie and Sophie as well as Annabelle. We ordered jumbos. Then to Ruby where Max and Sascha were awaiting us both absolutely battered and sitting like “the Babo” with their drinks.
Saturday Tilmann’s big weekend started at the BMW Museum with Kai and Nico. What I thought would already be a good weekend became even better as I was surprised by my good friend Simon Falk – an essential cast member in the play that has been Year Abroad. We organised for ice cold beers to be delivered to the BMW Welt from my dear Kurdish friends at the Getränkemarkt which they brought within minutes. We relaxed in the sun playing frisbee and having a picnic with the whole gang. Tiffany with the help of Craig had managed to organise a great meet up and Lauren was also in Munich at the time.
Sunday Eisbach with Tilmann, Nico, Kai and joined by Si, Tiff and Lauren as well as Julie and Miren later on. A brief Seehaus session with Chris was in order complete with Post-Ibiza debriefing.
Monday brief beer with the Verbindung. For those of yo who don’t know a Verbindung is a secret German fraternity. Good lads overall with a few small exceptions. Some great characters and budding workers.
Tuesday Auntie Sue arrived for a city break in my city.
Wednesday ate with Auntie Sue. must be BMW Stammtisch day. It was a fairly average event and I was considering heading home for an early night when my mate Auri rang and somehow managed to persuade me to go to Jack Rabbit with him and a couple of girls. The night is a hard one. Partly because of the clientele being a mixture of drug-dealers, body builders and and the sketchy location. This was not #madeinmunich.
Even though according to ThoughtCatalog, “Catholicism is an S&M cult masquerading as a religion” they do understand the importance of holidays when Mary is going up down like a holy yo-yo suspiciously often in summer. Thanks to Mary, Thursday was a Feiertag. A visit to Dachau was planned with Auntie Sue. Two days after Angela Merkel became the first Chancellor to visit the camp. There’s obviously a lot to take in when visiting a former concentration camp – it’s just so difficult to come to terms with. Particularly disturbing for me were the circulation of the Völkischer Beobachter – the Nazi newspaper. In very simplistic terms; a lot of people must have known roughly what was going on yet few people attempted to do anything about it. Dachau was the first camp of its kind and was to be the template upon which all future camps were to be built. The first prisoners were political enemies of the state; the chairs of various communist or socialist organisations, brave journalists etc. Also incarcerated were genuine criminals, the disabled and then once the propaganda wheel was rolling, Sinti, Roma and Jews were also rounded up as well as homosexuals and others who would have at the time been termed as “undesirables”. It was hell on Earth. The torture and punishment of the prisoners was simply daily routine.
The prisoners would have arrived on trains and then been marched to the camp, stripped of their worldly possessions and photographed like criminals.
Emotional and desperate letters from the prisoners’ loved ones who had escaped to America were futile and rejected on the grounds that their release would endanger the reputation of the Third Reich. Some of these letters can be read in the main building. Of course, particularly striking was to see the iconic wrought iron gates with the cruel twisted words: “Arbeit Macht Frei”.
The 63rd Infantry Division liberated the camp in 1945 and there is a beautiful film in the Dachau Cinema of those first moments when the American liberators clothe and feed prisoners and tend to the injured restoring their humanity. The smiling children in their striped pyjamas throwing their hats into the air, knowing somehow that they were free. Many of these children still live – they just look a bit older now. Another horror is that this atrocity (Dachau representing all concentration camps and death camps throughout Europe) happened in my grandparents’ generation. That means, the perpetrators of these crimes were the grandparents of many of my German friends. Two (sometimes three) generations on they of course feel disconnected and even if they know the history of their family they are quick to say: “Yes, Opa may have been in the SS, but he wasn’t a proper Nazi”. It is difficult to imagine being related to a Nazi. But they were no more monsters than the prisoners were undesirables. The hopeless thing is they were all just people like me and you. This dark corner of history is important to remember in the hope that nothing like that could ever happen again. People are capable of anything – and that can be a good thing as well as a very very bad thing. 68 years on from the end of the Holocaust, let’s hope America can go back to being a positive role model after their recent governmental misbehaviour regarding PRISM.
In the evening, Auntie Sue and I said our goodbyes and I am pleased to report she made it safely back to London. I showed the Seehaus to Jenny & Ricardo with colleagues Chris & Mat. It was nice to relax after a psychologically demanding day.
Friday: pool session and TUM Dachterasse with Chris & Kenny. Followed by Lardy’s & Shamrock.
Saturday: We headed to the pool with Anita and also met up with Laura + sister. Seehaus with Chris, Nicole & Anita. Followed by Schumann’s & Call Me Drella where I bumped into Promoter David again.
Sunday: Chilling out in the AWA listening to Babo and a hilarious rap analysis about his song Haftbefehl. In the evening we did the Lerchenauer Biathlon with Kai, Matthias, et al which involves running to a lake, swimming across the lake, swimming back across the lake and running back home before showering once we realised we stank of fish.
Monday: Madness ensued as Tilmann returned for one night and one night only. Stefan had his Abschiedsfeier which was shut down by the police.
Tuesday was a relaxing evening with ConnectedKai.
Wednesday I had a great lunch with Amélie and in the evening was Stammtisch @ Schall & Rauch.
Thursday was P1 again with Chris. The madness continues.
Friday 23rd of August – today will be the Seehaus with people.
As you can see – it’s been pretty hectic…
Don’t stop the Munich!