Friday, March 20, 2009

Nottlesby and the Hun

{Insert stirring march here:}  

Hello chaps, Nottlesby here again after yet another staggering (and impolite) lapse in correspondence. Nigh-on a year ago I answered the Call and set off for a tour amongst the Jerries. My plans were carefully laid, and with what I assumed to be a serviceable amount of German under my belt (and between my ears) I packed my kit and boarded the airship for more northern climes. 

Arriving in Berlin, my way of Frankfurt-am-Main, I soon secured lodgings in the eastern districts of the city and commenced my further language studies in earnest. This tested every ounce of studious fibre in my being, for while Berlin is a cheap city (indeed, the cheapest capital city in the world) it abounds with Entertainments to delight and distract the travelling scholar (and inform and edify the amateur sociologist)! And it was my pleasure indeed to sample a fine crop of same on many and varied occasions. 
Classes were small but the students enthusiastic at Doktor von Buglehorn's Akademie für Begeisterte Ausländer

My studies finished in early June, and with the confidence of the half-educated, I indulged in a final weekend of pleasure in the Hauptstadt before boarding an early-morning train for the East. 

It must be said that since the business of reunification was complete (and not before time, too!) getting about the Fatherland has become dashed easy. There's a complex network of railways which service nearly every small town one could possibly want to lend one's presence (and pfennigs) to. I boarded the train in Berlin and with only a couple of changes to smaller conveyances, soon found myself in the heart of Thüringen - the green and friendly heart of Germany. In this noble Federal State one finds not only rolling forests, but also the ghost of Goethe himself haunting the back lanes of Weimar. 

But amidst all this Wanderlusting, the most amazing discovery was of a musical variety. Specifically The Comedian Harmonists, whose songs provide the entertainment for many a night of sherry and banter at my new lodgings. Given the fact that spring has, once more, sprung, I find myself singing a certain song "Veronika, der Lenz ist da" (lit. "Veronica, spring time is here") with (what will soon become) boring repetition. The lyrics are something along the lines of:

Veronika, spring is here, the girls all sing 'tra la la'
There's a spell cast on the world, Veronika, the asparagus has woken (!)
Ach, Veronika, the world is green, let's go and have a look at the woods
Even grandpa says to grandma: Veronika, spring is here!

Girls all laugh, young men ask: Darling, will you, or will you not?
The poet Otto Licht is moved by all this, 
so he writes the poem:

(Then they sing the first verse again and it all gets terribly exciting!)




These are heady days indeed. Why just last weekend it was my pleasure to serenade a young lady of my acquaintance with this very song. She took it in her stride and, with remarkably good grace, complimented me on my selection of such a "charming little song". Quite so.

2 Comments:

Blogger Mild Colonial Boy, Esq. said...

So Sir, you have returned to your old haunts. What a charming little song and colourful translation. I wonder what your thoughts would be about this little tune here.

Thursday, 16 April 2009 22:29:00 GMT+10  
Blogger St John Nottlesby said...

By Jove, you have documentary evidence, sir, of just about every Friday (and Saturday, and Sunday...) night in the Glorious Fatherland. It is a perfect example of German social life, including:

*Being told to dance and doing it;
*Fat fellows incongruously dressed in suits (see around 1'30"); and
*Thin applause and half-bowing after each dance.

Although, that said, I am yet to see a Pekingese (or whatever the deuce that breed was) yawning on a dancefloor. I rather fancy that's because I tend not to frequent establishments (or television broadcasts) with "[anything]...a go-go" in the name. I'm clearly missing the best parties!

Friday, 17 April 2009 15:56:00 GMT+10  

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