TOMMY STEELE, Drunken Guitar, 1961

Yesterday Julia and I  returned from our snowboarding trip to the French Alps. We had a great time but right now I still feel like resting. The bus ride back took 16 hours and although the seats were transformed into beds, I still didn`t get much sleep.  But you`ll see why later…


Our vacation itself was great: the sun was shining every day, the ski lift started right in front of our “Chalet” and the food was excellent because the cook was Sebastian, owner of Berlin`s craziest and best Pizza take-out Ron Telesky.

All these years I`ve  had problems adjusting to the people we spent these ski-trips with and this time was no exception. Julia always tells me to relax and not think about the people but there is a certain way people look at me and that irritates me: I`m not used to being observed any more like I was as a teenage Punker. Nowadays I don`t see myself any different from anybody else but that`s not the way people see me. Maybe it`s the way I slick my hair back or the way I dress or maybe I`m only the image of all the snub-nosed, arrogant hipsters they have ever met before.

To contrast that, I`m always very nice and polite to everyone, whereas Julia makes up her mind about most people quickly and then loves to bitch about them and generally doesn`t avoid conflict at all. The guests on these ski trips are mostly in their mid-30`s to 40`s, a lot of them teachers or social workers, most of them couples, some families and some singles. The weirdest ones are mostly among the 40-plus singles: hardened women who don`t take any shit from anyone any more or Julia`s favorite type: guys who “explain the world” to everyone who listens. This time she was surprised, because there were no  “real assholes” to hate with us, but she had everyone eating out of her hands once she brought her “business” to the table.

A while ago she started knitting little wool caps and once she showed them around, people asked if she could make one for them. In the end the sold a total of 10 caps and the (mostly) girls came together for this group shot. If you still need a cap, they are 15 euros each made from real wool and of course you can choose the colors you like.

How different Julia and I react in a group situation became especially apparent on our bus ride home. After the first stop the seats were transformed into beds and we were told that the couples should take the extra big beds. The group we had spent the week with, shared the bus with another group that travelled back to Germany. Julia found us a bed and before I could get to her a woman from that other group confronted her and demanded that she moved over the bed to her because her husband was way too big to be sleeping in the smaller bed next to us. Julia flat out refused and said that we had a right to be sleeping in a bigger bed because we were a couple too. That got the woman really angry and she put her bags on “our” bed.

“The bigger beds are reserved for the bigger people”, she said with a slight Russian accent.

This was kind of weird, because she was not very tall herself, actually she was quite small. All the while they were arguing her big husband didn`t even stick his head out of the lower bunk bed once, that really did seem kind of  uncomfortable. Maybe he was as embarrassed about the whole thing as I was and I  was already half-way on the way to complying.

“Two small people in this bed is just not right! Look at you two midgets!”, the woman said.

When she repeated “midgets”, Julia snapped: “Not if you talk like that!” and “I can sleep here with your stuff still on the bed! We are staying!”

With this she motioned me to move onto the bed. Some other people had gotten in on the discussion and pretty much stood on our side.

The woman said: “Some people are just so inhuman!”, but then more or less resigned to her fate.

In the end they got two separate beds that were probably more comfortable than our bed. Once I had climbed into the bed Julia whispered to me that she wouldn`t let anybody bully her into leaving and that they could go to hell.  It impressed me how hard she had been but still I felt kind of bad and kept my back turned to the couple until they left the bus a couple of hours later. Naturally, I didn`t get much sleep…




Most of us will probably be drinking a little bit on New Year`s Eve so here are a couple of songs about alcohol. The first one is a great novelty Rock`n`Roll instrumental from 1961 by Tommy Steele.

“Hick!…Give us another offa the bar… `cause I`m a drunken guitar…”

TOMMY STEELE, Drunken Guitar, 1961


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