To take my mind off the distressing scenes on TV, and the banal trip to New Zealand of Prince William, I turned to 'Paul Merton in Europe'. Paul is a sort of comedian with pyscho problems and depression, but this programme is hilarious.
He starts in Berlin and attends a rally for the Apple Juice party. They dress in Nazi like red,white and black attire with those armbands, flags etc, but instead of a swastika their logo is an apple with bite size missing. Their leader is from Leipzig, where the revolution against the DDR started, and they chant sarcasm outside the HQ of a large right wing party. I used to do the same at Speakers Corner in Hyde Park on Sundays, shouting down Maoist, Commies and other freaks and morans, and taking over their soap boxes and then talking in riddles.
Anyway, this guy says his followers like to dress up, march and chant. " There is a little bit of Adolf in all of us," he says.
Paul then takes us to Checkpoint Charlie where the museum of escape methods is still open and you can have a photo opportunity with a Soviet and US soldier. We are then off to a guy's apartment where he makes orgami-style framed pictures of micro ships, tiny pieces of coloured paper folded and bent into ship designs, which sell for lots of Euros. Next to another Berliner who keeps giant rabbits in his back garden, about 3 size the weight of normal ones. They were very popular in East Germany. We watch them 'making woopie' as rabbits tend to do, and then the males stomp their feet in glee after a successful 'coupling'. The guy is in a diplomatic row with the regime of North Korea. He sent 3 breeding pairs to Dear Leader Kim Jong-il to help them breed and feed the masses, but Dear Leader ate them all. Even he is hungry, and its a welcome change from dog!
In Kaiserslautern, that famous beer, wurst and football town, he stays in a converted prison, Hotel Alcatraz www.alcatraz-hotel.com. now a stark sandstone multi-storey hotel, which once housed the infamous Baader Meinhof gang. Its owner and head guard is an American who originally came to Germany to play pro soccer. Residents wear black and white hooped prison overalls and hats, and are locked in the cells behind steel doors with those feeding traps for breakfast. Guests like to be ordered around by the 'guards' and share communal showers. What fun!.
Over to Bavaria and a nude bowling alley run by an Englishman, where we are treated to full frontal (and rear) nude bowlers of both sexes. The owner claims it is much better to be active than sun bathing in a fenced in nudist colony. Across the Salzach river from Berghausen Castle in Bavaria, and just inside Austria, is the Landhotel Moorhof in Franking. www.moorhof.com, where as part of the 'wellness' programme, Paul strips off when he visits the hot tub room. There are wooden beer barrels made into hot tubs. Either singles or couples relax in hot tubs of bubbling beer extract, yeast and hops. The attendant gives you a cold stein of bier. You chat with your neighbours and refress your stein with a beer tap above your tub.
After getting out and drying each other with large white towels the attendant leads everyone up to the bedroom and a giant bed of straw where you can relax, sleep or romp in the bed with the other guests.
It's being repeated on Monday night. Don't miss it!! Who says Germans don't know how to have fun?