Things I’ve learned about Germany blogging.

German cows under a Bavarian (German) sky.
German cows under a Bavarian (German) sky.

I’ve noticed that many people who come to live in Germany tend to write a blog post about the things they have learned about this country and they normally do this after about a week or two of being here. Now, I’ve lived in this magnificent country for twenty years and have never blogged about such things, which is obviously a breach of my mandate as a) an expat and b) a blogger.

So here they are, the things I’ve learned about Germany since I’ve lived here (in no particular order and probably made up).

  1. Every child born in Germany is called Chantal until the parents come up with a name of their own. This tiny, but not unimportant fact is only something you learn when you actually become a parent in Germany. Most of the people who come here only really get to see the night life of Berlin and occasionally the desk at their start-up. By the time their genitals are ready for a serious relationship their start-up has stopped starting-up and they’ve probably moved back home and so have no knowledge of the Chantal rule. Parents of boys really need to aware of this.
  2. You get tax breaks for being mates with Satan (who is a bloke called Dave). As you may or may not know, Germany has the most complicated tax system in the world. 70% of all worldwide tax literature is about the German tax system. A little known fact is that you get tax breaks here if you are mates with Satan. You have to pay additional taxes if you go to church, though. Funny old world.
  3. Frankfurt am Main is the most dangerous city in the universe. I bet you thought Chicago, Ciudad Juarez, Kabul or Nottingham are the most dangerous; well you’d be wrong. It’s Frankfurt am Main, which according to German statistics really is the most dangerous city ever. I used to live in Frankfurt and it really is a terrifying place to be. The waiters can be very stern, the bankers a tiny bit rude and the traffic is an Orwellian nightmare when there’s a trade fair on. Avoid the underground at all costs because you are likely to be confronted with people willing to stand up and offer you their seat. The most dangerous thing about Frankfurt, however, only appears during the Christmas period: The Christmas tree on Römer Platz. Donated by Norwegians, the Christmas tree is really rather upsetting.
  4. Germany has more cooking shows per capita than any other country in the world.
  5. You can pixelate your house in Germany. This is a new trend here and it’s slowly catching on. You can apply to have your house pixelated at the ministry of data protection in order to protect the identity of your house. All you have to do is supply the ministry with your address, credit card details, mobile telephone number and they’ll do the rest for you.
  6. All roads lead straight ahead. If you’re ever lost in Germany don’t panic just ask someone in which direction you need to be going. After years of doing this you’ll soon notice that, however often you do this and regardless of how lost you are, you’ll find a friendly local who will tell you that the place you are looking for is “straight ahead”. Not left, not right but straight ahead. Always.
  7. Bavaria is part of the Federal Republic of Germany. Contrary to popular belief, Bavaria is actually part of the Federal Republic of Germany. I once heard a child ask her Grandmother is she was enjoying Germany, to which the Grandmother replied, “I have no idea, I’ve only ever been to Bavaria”. Most Bavarians find the fact that they are part of the Federal Republic quite confusing too. Munich just confuses the hell out of everyone, which is why I love it and will die here.
  8. Germans don’t understand the concept of cricket but they do understand golf which is just plain silly. 
  9. Radio stations are dreadful in Germany. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule but on the whole the radio here is appalling and one does have the feeling that you’re stuck in a time machine and you’re being forced to listen to BBC Radio 2 circa 1983.
  10. Germans have an excellent sense of humour. Techno, for example is very funny, as is the tax system, party politics (the F.D.P. for example is hilarious) and a show called “Wetten Dass ?” which is so unbelievably poor that viewers of the show have been known to disembowel themselves.

A very happy Monday to you all.

Never launch on a Friday

A general rule of thumb for doing things on the Internet says that you should never, ever, launch on a Friday. Welcome to the new blog, which I am launching on a Friday.

I went out for a drink with a friend who frequently ignores everything I write and he gave me a jolly good telling off for not hosting my own blog. He was really very cross (he’d had a lot to eat). So here it is. Hosted. He was absolutely convinced that following this self-hosted-strategy would lead to double figure visits.

If you are one of the two people who had the old blog on a blogroll then you’ll have to change the link. Sorry about that.

In other news, St. Nicholas, eh?

Good afternoon.

Managing your online personality management.

As I mentioned in my predictions for 2014, “online personality management” will not be a trend in 2014 so I thought it would be a splendid idea to give you 10 top tips for managing your online personality management and not be part of a trending 2014 topic.

  1. Get some friends you tiresome individual. This will be your first step of your very long journey towards managing your online personality management. Stand up, move away from computer (and for heaven’s sake leave your mobile phone and Google glasses at home) and walk into the nearest bar or pub and try and make some friends. Real friends. You’ll soon notice that you can’t do this. You’ll soon notice that you can’t make friends because you have no personality at all (pro-tip!) and that you’ll want the world to stop spinning and for Satan to appear and burn your genitals to a cinder with his massive Satan Zippo lighter.
  2. Get to know Satan. Knowing Satan is crucial for working on your online personality management. Satan is a guy called Dave who used to live in Prenslauer Berg in Berlin. I’m not sure where he is now but if you close your eyes and say to yourself “please don’t send me text messages at two in the morning” ten times, he’ll appear wearing a hat and a pair of gold coloured speedos. Massive personality points are gained if you summon him whilst shopping in a discount Supermarket.
  3. Get a hobby and never ever talk about it online. Ever. (pro-tip). For the love of God, start knitting, cooking, learn an instrument or get interested in niche subjects like Morris Dancing. Have something to talk about with the new friends that you have met in the bar or pub (see tip 1). It will help you have something called “a conversation”, which you may have heard about but never quite fully understood.  Never, under any circumstances, talk about your hobby online. Ever (pro-tip!).
  4. Smoke cigarettes and drink at least one bottle of wine a day. I know this is painfully obvious, but smoking cigarettes and drinking large amounts of alcohol will not only help you make the paradigm shift from “online reputation management” to “online personality management” but it also gives you something to moan about. For example: “oh, I have a terrible hangover” or “oh, my left lung has just collapsed” or “oh, my liver has fallen off”.
  5. Choose what kind of personality you want to have. I know that there are agencies out there that will, for a small fee, sell you a personality but seriously people: step the fuck up and do it yourself.  I’ve gone for the grumpy, angry old man which seems to work for me but, you know, sort yourself out and just fucking choose one and stick to it. Continuity people! Continuity (pro-tip).
  6. Think before you post! If you think it might have a positive on your Klout score or be appreciated by your boss then stop right there. Be strong, make the paradigm shift; step away from reputation and take long strides in the direction of personality. Alternatively you could just punch yourself in the face or disembowel yourself with a butter knife, neither of which will help you manage your online personality management but the fact you have done one of them will fill me with an unimaginable sense of joy.
  7. Use a semi-colon every so often (pro-tip!).
  8. Instagram your tea (next level Instagram shit). The very corner stone of “online reputation management” was Instagraming your coffee. Fuck that. Let’s Instagram tea. Tea is boss. Tea is the refreshment for individuals with a personality.
  9. Don’t play golf. Ever. (massive pro tip). Actually don’t actively take part in any sports but golf is to be avoided because it isn’t even a sport. It’s walking around for a long time looking for a tiny ball that has been hit with a stick; “oh I hit the tiny ball 50 times with my metal sticks and it was awesome”. No it wasn’t, it was deeply tiresome. Sport can, however be watched. Watching cricket, I have been informed, is quite exceptional (because it involves at least one of point number 4). The people who informed me of this fact have huge personalities. Quid pro Quo etc.
  10. Ignore motivational texts and never ever post them because they are shit and really very annoying. Post motivational texts and watch the motivation level of your friends sink as low as your personality status. It’s depressing and nobody wants to see you go to that desperate place; that dark corner where Gerald Scarfe animations poke you with pointy fingers and your soul is sucked out of your ears by a cheap Chinese knock off of a Dyson vacuum cleaner whilst a Cold Play cover band sings a song by Cold Play and a breakfast television host informs you about which star has been sleeping with a prostitute and then segues into the weather section and you discover that it will rain heavily and eternally on your sorry existence. Is that really a place you want to be? No. So don’t bloody well post motivational texts and get a fucking personality.

Good evening.

Fashion Blogging.

IMG_0193

 

I am wearing socks. They have dots on them. Sometimes I wear socks with stripes on them. They are socks made by Boden and they’re really nice socks; they come in a box and I really like them. My socks are a tiny bit concerned about German politics and the coalition contract. They’ve been moaning about it all bloody day. The sock on my left foot thinks that the party on the left didn’t get enough and the sock on my right foot thinks that the party on the left got too much. My pants  (colourful boxer shorts from H&M) couldn’t give a toss about it at all. That’s a desk beer.

Good evening.

Prediction Blogging

Oh, hi, there. I realised earlier today that we are whizzing our way towards the prediction season, alternatively known as the  “my prediction is bigger than your prediction” season. My predictions are, quite obviously, massive so I’ve decided to get in there quick before all those tiny predictions start to roll in and muddy the water.

Prediction 1.
2014 will be the year of the predictions. We will predict our way through 2014 as if every single day was December. Sad but true.

Prediction 2.
Things will finally die. For the last couple of years we have been predicting that things will die. We said that advertising would die and that books and newspapers would die. We said Facebook would die and that Google would die. We said MySpace would die and we even said that the annoying next-door neighbour with his annoying hipster gramophone would die. None of them, however, ever did us the curtesy of exodus. That’s going to change next year. They are all going to die (promise). All of them. Except, of course for the annoying hipster next-door neighbour and his bloody gramophone.

Prediction 3.
Robbie Williams will release another album with the word “swing” in the title.

Prediction 4.
Everyone will realise that: “online reputation management” is being sold by people who confuse having an “online reputation” with having a personality.

Prediction 5.
“Online personality management” won’t be a trend in 2014

Prediction 6.
People will stop buying things because of confusing customer journeys. Transactional search? Informational search? For heaven’s sake I just want to buy something… oder eben nicht. Etc. This will of course lead to a complete financial meltdown, that won’t be very nice and we all need to buy seeds and learn how to grow vegetables, which will lead to a download peak in gardening apps. Until, that is, all of the electricity runs out.

Prediction 7.
Someone will base their Social Media model on Dante’s Inferno. The further your go down the circles of Social Media Hell the closer you get to Sascha Lobo.

Prediction 8.
Sascha will shave off his red Mohawk and grew his hair into two pretty little red horns, which will cost him an extra 2 minutes 27 seconds in the bathroom every morning. Which he will Snapchat.

Prediction 9.
2014 will be the year of the mobile. AGAIN. Really though, it will. Promise. Mind you, there’s always 2015.

Prediction 10.
Huffington Post Germany will stop messing about and finally ask me to write for them, an offer that I will obviously decline because I am a MASSIVE DIVA.

Good evening.