Dear Friends of German Humour,
I hope you’ve had a good start to 2024.
Just days after sending out the previous Infrequent Monthly Bulletin in which I painted a bleak picture of Germany’s rail infrastructure there’s been another reminder that the Fatherland’s glory years have come to an end.
In December, Germany’s constitutional court ordered a partial repeat of the 2021 general election in several districts of Berlin. This follows an election day beset by problems, such as shortages of ballot papers in some polling stations and others where the cast ballots never got counted. And then it took another two-and-a-bit years to get the court judgement. Dear oh dear.
When people ask what I miss about Germany my standard answer used to be: the concept of apprenticeships and proportional representation.
Ironically, now, at the very time PR is winning a bit of traction in Britain, I’m starting to think Germany itself should maybe admit defeat and introduce the far easier to administer first-past-the-post system.
Much easier because it doesn’t matter who anyone votes for in any of the 90% of constituencies that are safe seats. And in the handful of marginal constituencies there’s no need to count up overly diligently either. Vague approximations will do. Basically, whoever walks in with the biggest stash of polling cards wins the seat.
God knows why it still takes 10 hours to declare. Are the civil servants who oversee the count on double bubble!? The noble exception used to be Sunderland South where the winner traditionally got announced when the polling stations were still open. And we all know how this ended: in 2010 the constituency got abolished, for being run too efficiently and making the other constituencies look bad.
Speaking of Sunderland, let me use this opportunity to reassure all who got in touch and wondered about a lack of performances oop North, in Scotland and in Wales. The reason I don’t gig much north of Watford Gap in the early preview days of the tour is simple: I am too eager to please.
There’s no point travelling up to Thurso with a ropey show. This means by the time I eventually do leave the South Coast Acid Wehn will be slick as anything.
Plenty more tour dates will be added and, rest assured, in Autumn 2024 and for all of 2025 and the early part of 2026 I’ll be spending loads of time in my favourite haunt: the M6 Toll service station. The Eton College of the British road catering network. I shall be listening to Richard Clayderman tickling the ivories in the foyer while rubbing shoulders with our betters. Can’t wait!
Have a great 2024
PS: There’s currently another six-day train strike in Germany. Not that it matters much as, watching the news, it appears tractors have become the most popular mode of transport back home.
Please find below the list of upcoming gigs. As I say, more are being added all the time.