Monday, September 27, 2010

Handschriftensachverständigungsvereinsvorsitzendenversammlungstagungsraum

In hindsight, I probably didn’t give a realistic account of what could be considered the greatest weekend of my life (also known as Oktoberfest). It was truly amazing – the food, the beer, the scummy drunken Aussies. I wish I could

Not knowing much about this ‘Germany’ fellow other than they are the world’s leading exporters of Bavarian beer, efficiency, and Jews, I decided to do a little research. I was pleased with what I found:

World War I

Also known as the Great Music Wars. Franz Ferdinand of Austria and the Kaiser Chiefs of Germany had an ongoing battle for world chart supremacy, decades of violence had gone on between the two rivals, so Franz Ferdinand released a single called “Take me out” which was an offer of peace, asking the Kaiser Chiefs to go out for a nice Bratwurst and a pint of beer with them and talk things over.

Unfortunately the Kaiser Chefs saw this single as a taunt on their military capability and athletic prowess and this ended in the unfortunate assassination of Franz Ferdinand. This resulted in the Great Music Wars of 19141918 and the defeat of the Kaiser Chiefs.

Germany was so taken with grief at the death of their leaders they called for Franz Ferdinand to have to sit in a small isolated room listening to non-stop playback of Kaiser Chief songs. After 3 days and 4 hours later Franz Ferdinand was found dead with his hands over his ears.
(Wikipedia, 2010)

On arriving to Germany, my fellow well-travelled passengers gave me various pieces of advice. One told me not to - under any occasion, even in solitary - do the nazi salute. (“What, this?” I asked inquisitively, lifting my arms up…before very suddenly being tackled to the ground) Another told me not to mention showers or yellow stars and I’d be fine.

Considering Germany a) boarders Turkey b) has towns named ‘Hamburg” and 'Frankfurt' c) is full of fat people, you could make some serious assumptions about the calibre and importance of food in Germany. And oh my cowboy boots, are those assumptions correct. Over the three blissful days of booze-filled fun, I indulged in sauerkraut, pork knuckles, huge pretzels, gingerbread, beigels, sandwiches, paninis, crepes, many a bratwurst (sausage), pimmels (chips), and probably a lot of other stuff that’s really bad for me but I can’t remember because I was distracted*.

The beer was also brewed to an exquisite standard. Of the 6 490 600 litres of beer which is consumed at Oktoberfest, I believe I consumed at least 12L of it. I can’t be too sure, but I reckon I tried Lowenbrau, Hoffbrau, the Bavarian wheat beer with a monk on the front, a Lowenbrau ‘radler’ (which is German for ‘shandy’, which is in turn slang for ‘pissweak’), Paulaner and Augustiner, while visiting about 6 of the 14 tents. Most of them had pretty cool traditional Bavarian decorations and entertainment all day long, and to keep you in form stopped every ten minutes or so to make everyone toast. The Oktoberfest toast is sung and goes “Ein Prosit, ein prosit’, then a long word which I could never pronounce so I just kind of hummed and faked it, and then you took a swig of your 1L stein. Of course, if you were playing drinking games on top of that your stein would empty even quicker, so you can see how it’s a vicious cycle. Yeah the steins are 1L each, they’re such a challenge. Everyone had stein-related bruises on their hands from holding the steins up to their mouths all day. I can hardly imagine what the poor beer wenches go through. But they get 20 000 Euros worth of tips for the two weeks, so it would be worth it. That’s incentive enough to learn German solely for that purpose. I’M KEEN.

So other than that, I haven’t been up to much. As soon as I got back I got into jobsearching (which for the record is quite difficult when you don’t have internet access or a printer) and have about 7 job possibilities so I’m not too worried at the moment. Poor, but not worried. In fact I was at a job interview on Friday, and I found the King’s College orientation day in a series of tunnels nearby. Tunnels. Open day. King’s College. Amazing. Oh yeah so if you find yourself signed up for King’s College Gynaecology Society, I will be in the opposite side of the earth giggling into a cupped hand and admiring my own hilarity.

So I decided to detox after Oktoberfest as I felt royally sheizenhousen after putting my body through that ordeal, however it hasn’t really worked out considering I’ve been out drinking for the past four nights. I’m going to take a break this week though and preserve my liver for next weekend which happens to be my birthday weekend! Oh how lovely! Yet simultaneously depressing, as nobody will know where to send their birthday packages they have for me**. I plan a bit of a bender which may or may not include drinking by the Camden canal, club NME at Koko’s, Barfly, Proud, happy hour at the cocktail bar, dancing on tables somewhere, NRL grand final at 7am Sunday, and the infamous once-in-a-lifetime journey to The Church. Come if you can!

*distracted being synonymous with ‘very drunk’

** Flat 56 Crowndale Court Camden NW1 1TY would be an option.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

das land der bier und nudists

So last Thursday, with a mind as open as limitless as the tangent of fx= 3x²y, I climbed aboard the Busabout prison van to serve my sentence at the Oktoberfest concentration Camp. From this moment onwards, I suffered pain and infirmity at the hands of a selected few ‘guides’ (as they called themselves). Oktoberfest is definitely a memorable experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life, as now that I know what pain feels like it makes the painlessness of normal life simply blissful. Eighteen long, uncomfortable hours were spent on the bus, and the most disturbing part of it was being subjected to the torture technique of ‘Austin Powers’. While the Guides planned the future torture to come, we feeble prisoners whispered amongst ourselves of the crimes we had committed to be there – enjoying our youths, having an open mind, being free agents – and the dreaded agony which loomed before us, which rumoured to include the infamous Camp Thalkerchin shower chambers.

Arriving at the living quarters, we were stripped of our identities and branded with an orange wristband, then changed into our debasing uniforms. The men were subjected to uncomfortable leather overalls (‘ladenhosen’), childishly long socks and simply humiliating shoes. The women were burdened with ‘durndls’, consisting of off-white low-cut blouses, hefty and unsightly-patterned dresses, and stockings and shoes. And how the Guides laughed at us! The humiliation was nearly too much to bear; some broke down and cried, while others tried to foster revolutionary fervour and remind the enemy of our common faults: our nationality. The ‘Aussie Aussie Aussie’ chant was quickly quelled by the Guides who reprimanded the rebels for their actions.

We then were piled back onto the prison van and transferred to a camp called Munich, a mean trick as all the signs were in a foreign tongue which none of us spoke. We were shepherded into the first torture tent called The Hoffbrauhouse where we were given our first dose of the Yellow Poison. This deathly liquid is the most common form of torture at the Oktoberfest Camp and is administered in huge 1litre doses. The first night they tested the waters, giving us a mere 1-2L each, while on average prisoners are generally given 6-15L per day. The adverse side affects we suffered from the initial dose gave us a preview of what was to come for the next few days: dizziness, headaches, loss of ability to speak, loss of decision making abilities, loss of balance, vision impairment, and acting completely out of character. Those prisoners lucky enough to retain some of their abilities were able to get on the Busabout prison van back to Thalkirchen, but a couple including the pitiable yours truly were completely bowled over by the Yellow Poison and the foreign surroundings, and was forced to negotiate the Autobahn or the train lines which previous prisoners had slaved away building for us. On arriving back at the Camp, the scene was dire: the majority of the 70 000 prisoners were stumbling and swarming about, completely inebriated by the Yellow Poison, not knowing what they were doing, yelling out infanities, stewing in their filth, speaking in tongues, dancing, kissing, hugging, crying, fighting…it was a sad day in the history of humanity.

Conditions didn’t improve in our living quarters. Our tents consisted of a thin and worn material stretched over the cold, dewy, Deustch (Deustch, as a matter of interest, is a German word for "fat nudist") grass as we struggled to find warmth in whatever scraps of materials we were permitted. But that torture didn’t last long, as a Greater Torture was soon forced upon us: a 5:45am rising time. Our breakfast rations included pieces of bread with plastic cheese in between, a meal that some would consider fit only for animals, but ney was fed to us. At ridiculous o’clock, dressed in our ridiculous uniforms, we returned to ridiculous Munich and were herded through to the Oktoberfest Camp where our patience was tested in a queue, a unique form of torment which is unheard of in most of Europe, especially in London. After the horrid queue, we waited in some kind of a chamber with long tables and chairs, were fed rations of salty and doughy pretzels until suddenly the clock struck midday and it was once again time for the Yellow Poisen. Female prisoners dressed like us (no doubt who had committed the severest of crimes to earn such grim penalties) administered these doses, and my, they were high. Some people were given 6L in only a few short hours. Some were lucky and only escaped with half doses. I think (though I can’t remember properly, I was quite affected by the Poisen) that I suffered about 6 or 7 litres of Poisen that day. Before I was completely knocked out by the Juice, I do remember consuming tainted chicken, pork knuckles, sauerkraut, and pretzels, as well as conferring with Japanese spies, standing on tables, and yelling out the Prisoner’s Cry of hope, ‘Ein Prosit!’.

The next day followed much the same. Some selected few were taken away to a faraway castle for more torture – undoubtedly these prisoners were suspected spies and were keeping information from the Guides. I and a few other prisoners were tossed into the Hoffbrau torture tent that day, where we cleverly avoided the infamous and highly dangerous pig pen. The aim of the pig pen is to cause the sufferer as much pain and humiliation as possible by ripping of whatever underwear they are wearing and tossing it atop some sort of statue. Drowsy from starting the Poisen far too early, I retired to Camp Thalkirchen early to toss and turn in the utter coldness and lonliness of confinement.

Finally the last day. You’d think they’d go easy on us, inflict us with lesser punishments or even let us off the hook completely. Ney, my friend. These people have no consciences, no morals, not even a scent of decency in their structures. They are the most malicious collection of cells you will ever meet. We were taken to not one, not two, but up to six tents for injections that day. Then while still feeling the adverse affects of the drug, piled unto the Busabout Prison van to suffer the same eighteen hour ride home, - home to Freedom. Many of us awakened to notice our cash had mysteriously disappeared, our clothes were in a terrible state, our bodies were weak and sickly, our skin oily, our statures 5kg the heavier, and our morale had reached new lows. One last torture called ‘It’s complicated’ (also known as ‘death by rom-com’) and we were nearly free. At last we stumbled out of the prison van, having served our once-in-a-lifetime sentence at the Oktoberfest Camp, back to London. Perfect, sunny, happy, simple, London. London full of people more than happy to help you. London full of people that speak perfect English. London where jobs are readily available and stable. London where living costs are so low. London where it is not acceptable to wear ridiculous durndls and ladenhousen. London where it is warm. London where it is sober.

So that is it. Friends, family, future employers, cyber stalkers, computer software programs, and small children banging away on a keyboard who ended up on this page...let it be known.

I SURVIVED OKTOBERFEST CONCENTRATION CAMP 2010.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Das ist life, jah!

What do the words ‘unemployed’, ‘noninterventionist’, ‘abroad’ and ‘slightly magnetic’ have in common?

Other than a shitload of syllables, ME.

Once again, I’m unemployed and off to another country to indulge in the 200th celebration of the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig and some sheila via the four Greatest Gifts to Mankind: Malt, Hops, Yeast, and Water. I’m lugging myself into a coach (also known to the layman as a ‘bus’) to some small country town called Munich to freeze my plaits off, wear drindls, eat sausages and giant pretzels, and down one litre steins of Lowenbrau and my arch enemy Bavaria beer. With my extensive knowledge of the German language, wars, cuisine, and culture, I believe I will fare quite well, and there is definitely NO NEED* to check up on me this weekend. Repeat, NO NEED**.

And to disappoint all you sceptics who are brimming with impatience to shriek in my face with a big sneering grin ‘I TOLD YOU SO! I KNEW YOU’D FAIL!’, I didn’t get fired as such. In fact, I’ve never been fired as such. I’ve been alerted via text message to hand in my uniform, I’ve been informed that my role is no longer available, my fictitious three month trial period has been discontinued – and this time, there is simply no job for me when I return. So, as I learnt in my third ‘dismissal’, ‘London’s tough’ (a phrase containing the words “no” and “shit” comes to mind).

No use crying over spilt milk. Nod is as good as a wink to a blind man. It’s not worth a brass razoo, a cracker, a pinch of goat’s shit, a rat’s arse, a row of beans – tuppeneny or a two bob to get as toey as a Roman’s sandal, to crack the shits, to get as mad as a cut snake, a hornet, a maggot, a meat-axe! I’m onto bigger and better things. To get bleary-eyed, pickled, sauced, screwed, soused, sozzled, three sheets to the wind, under the affluence of incohol, pissed as a fart, a cricket, a newt, a parrot – as full as a bull’s bum, a fairy’s phonebox, a seaside shithouse on a bank holiday, a pommy complaint box…I’M GOING TO GET SHITFACED.

And what, you may be wondering, am I doing to ‘maintain homeostatis’ as I so gently phrase handling the mature responsibilities of paying rent and feeding myself? Well I have two interviews next week and have pestered many a pub and caf√© on Camden High Street on my way home. I’m also writing for a music website (I’ll post it later) and looking into part time work and shit like that that Other People (who aren’t Me) do. What else have I been doing? Drinking! I had sweet shifts last week (work has been great, really) and managed many-a sneaky pint in with my various Londoner (well mostly Australian) friends who I’d love to name them all here but I’m momentarily distracted by the name “Smith”. Oh and my beloved Justine came down for a night! I won’t go into what mischief we got up to, not because it was one of those nights where I talk shit and would rather forget it, but because I simply can’t remember. Ah, the spirit and vigour of youth.

Well now my NI number has finally come through (meaning I get a whole 2 pounds off tax when I get paid) I am visiting my local GP until he (or she, I understand how this whole ‘feminism’ and ‘gender equality’ thing works) either finds something wrong with me or praises me for taking good care of myself. Either way, I’ll make a drinking game out of it. So, until I return from das land der bier und mein kampf with a head full of lead, 10kg heavier, and a great contempt for public toilets, auf weiderstein!

*As a sidenote, my number is 07583301557

**The dialling code from Australia may or may not begin with 00 and end with 11


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Moving in the right direction

Bonjourno senor

Since my last post, I have been inundated with many questions from my scores of adoring fans…Kate do you realise what haggis actually contains? Can you tell me where job centre is? Excuse me miss, can you please get down from the marquee? But that’s not an accurate cross section, so here are the more frequently asked ones, answered for my little darlings peace of mind…

Why haven’t you posted lately?

Because I’ve been busy doing other things, like setting the world record for Most Sausage Rolls Consumed in a 24 Hour Period (10 if you were wondering) and maintaining homeostasis.

Have you got any tattoes in Camden yet?

No. But I’ve met a very nice young DIY tattooist who has a home studio and is willing to cut me some sick rates on a Southern Cross on my back, maybe Carpe Diem around my neck, and a Julia Gillard caricature on my arms.

How are you?

Swell!

What are you eating?

Eggs, mainly. Because there are so many ways to cook them (runny, on toast, in toast, scrambled, boiled, raw, the one where I put stuff in with it and mix it around the pan, etc). Obviously sausage rolls as well, and also I have indulged in green tea, a quite poorly crafted sub (slow service and untesselated cheese as well – definitely not returning), and any rotten fruit or vege I can negotiate from Yousef (“rotten” is quite an abstract, concept word here).

Have you done much sight seeing lately?

Though the prospect of immersing myself in busy places of interest (interest here is a strong word) with mind-atrophying brainless tourists and overpriced food outlets is very appealing, I’m momentarily distracting by twiddling my thumbs.

How is work?

GREAT. This is the first job where I can swear and yell at the customers. Are these the toilets? What else would they be dipshit? Can I have your number? Fuck off twat. I want two JD and coke. WAS THAT TWO JD AND COKES PLEASE? Though I’m paid at minimum (or below) wage, 5.75/hr, and tips are pretty bad, it’s lots of fun, and I feel myself getting more ‘cultured’ with every Polish gothic metal song my ears are greeted with.

When are you coming back?

I don’t know.

Can you please lend me a pound?

Funny that, I was going to ask you the same question mate.

Have you made many friends?

Yes.

Many plans to travel Europe?

Yes, actually next week I’m heading to Oktoberfest in Munich (which happens to be a part of a small relatively unknown country called GERMANY). I also have unplanned plans to scope out Brighton, and maybe Dublin and Belfast after my birthday sometime. Hey it’s my birthday in two weeks!

Are you homesick at all?

For Brisbane? Yeah right.

Did you get my letter?

No, I didn’t, you’ll have to send it again.

Flat 56, Crowndale Royal Court, Crowndale Road, CAMDEN NW1 1TY.

Your credit card is declined, did you want to pay with cash?

Ummmmmmmmm…I have some money outside…my friend out there – in the urine-stained poncho – he’s got my coins….i’ll be back in a tick………….

I’m looking for Her Majesty Kate Fitzpatrick?

Yes, that’s me. What are you looking at? Get back to work my royal subjects and make my kingdom as clean as possible.

Who put the bop in the bop-she-bop-she-bop?

I did. It’s there for a reason.

I hope that keeps all of you eager beavers settled for awhile. This week I’m busy working, sleeping, a little bit of studying (up to week two yee haw) and consuming bulk pints most nights. Staff drinks after work are keeping me in form on the weekends and through the weekdays I have accumulated a network of various drinking partners for different nights, ranging from a famous convicted graffiti artist to a German cupcake vendor. Sadly two more of my friends are heading back to their countries having served their sentences in London, however one more has come over, and my good chum Justine is coming down from the mid and/or highlands on Friday. Now having mastered the modern ‘convenience’ of the gas stove, I must focus my efforts on conquering the ‘broom’ contraption, while simultaneously putting my nasty hangover to the back of my mind. Ah, multitasking, a women’s worst nightmare.