Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Welcome home!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Reading matters

The question is, how many of the downloaded Kindle editions of the book will actually be read? And will anyone find it worth telling friends about and suggest that they buy a copy? Oh well...

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

In just a week's time Jessi will be coming back to us in Munich for a few weeks. The first semester of her Masters studies at King's College London has flown past. Now is the time for long, stressful days concentrating on the demanding end-of-term essays with sleep a brief luxury. How well I recall such pressures, even if it was a very long time ago. Although I envy her the pleasant ambiance of her cosy corner in her Bethnal Green flat.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Weekend video 1

Brasserie Schwabing

The new Brasserie Schwabing opened on Thursday and yesterday I had the opportunity to find out for myself what the replacement of my favourite café was like. 

The good news is that the look of the place is not bad at all. Lots of dark wood wainscotting contrasting with pale wood flooring, very modern lighting but compatible with styling which is pleasingly retro with Art Deco flourishes. The enlarged windows are a definite asset. And, yes, there is comfortably upholstered seating. 

The layout has been well planned. Turn left inside and the space is given over to a cosy bar which is likely to be very popular. Trun right and the first section will welcome café guests and then there are two steps up to where the tables are set for fine dining.

Which brings me to the matter or the menu. There is now hardly any main dish costing less than EUR 20 and the wine list has a fine claret for EUR 330. The spend for my customary espresso and half-litre glass of beer will now be EUR 6.50, only fifty cents more than before.

I'll miss the team of pretty waitresses who made the old Café Schwabing so friendly. The dozen big television screens showing Sky Sports programming are also gone. Most of the servers are now young men who, yesterday evening, seemed to be struggling to settle in- The website is 'under construction'. This applies to the coordination between the kitchen and the front-of-house, but the service confusion and delay which annoyed slightly yesterday can surely be written off as teething problems.

A petty complaint to maintain my reputation as a snobbish curmudgeon. There are a good number of artworks hung on the walls in the café and dining area, doubtless intended to add a cosmopolitan or even bohemian touch. But a reproduction of one of Toulouse-Lautrec's posters for Aristide Bruand? Pardonable on the wall of a freshman student anxious to be seen as a sophisticate. But in the context of an ambitious new restaurant I find the choice odd, lacking in self-confidence and slightly sad.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Holiday offer!

Yes, free!

Finally I have uploaded Chance of Reign to Amazon where it should appear latest at the weekend as a Kindle edition. In the fond hope that the story will find readers there will be a promotion running for five days from Nikolaustag! So it can be seen as a Christmas season gift, I suppose, in the 'something I made myself' category.

Below once again the blurb which will, I hope, intrigue at least a handful of readers:

"1936 was two years before Neville Chamberlain promised ‘peace for our time’ when he returned from his meeting with Adolf Hitler in Munich. It was the year of grandiose Olympic Games in Berlin, where visitors from all over the world were invited to experience for themselves a bold new Germany, not yet to be seen by most for what it would become. And it was the year when England had a new, slightly puzzling King, not yet crowned. The ambivalence and confusion of 1936 is symbolized by a monument which to this day stands on the flanks of a mountain in the Black Forest, in south-west Germany. It commemorates five English schoolboys who perished when an accident of the weather turned an Easter school trip into a storm-lashed icy hell. The memorial was erected by the Hitler Youth organization and is known as the Engländer Denkmal. Chance of Reign takes this real-life incident as the starting point of a story, imagining a fiction with its beginning at Easter 1936 and ending on the opening day of the Berlin Olympics, the 1st of August of that unusual year. On that day the weather was unsettled. There was the chance of rain."

Now I understand!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Jollity of a sort

I had a quick peek inside and I think they are doing 'dry runs' with the newly recruited staff. The presence of a tall Christmas Tree next to the entrance I take as a positive sign! And that put me in the mood to add the Chet Baker version of Silent Night! Don't worry, though, I shall not be going overboard with seasonal cheer but will remain thoroughly grumpy about such imposed jollity.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Warning words

JeffJarvis in Die Zeit:

"I worry about Germany and technology. I fear that protectionism from institutions that have been threatened by the internet — mainly media giants and government — and the perception of a rising tide of technopanic in the culture will lead to bad law, unnecessary regulation, dangerous precedents, and a hostile environment that will make technologists, investors, and partners wary of investing and working in Germany.

I worry, too, about Europe and technology. Germany’s antiprogress movement is spreading to the EU — see its court’s decision creating a so-called right to be forgotten — as well as to members of the EU — see Spain’s link tax.

I worry mostly about damage to the internet, its freedoms and its future, limiting the opportunities an open net presents to anyone anywhere. Three forces are at work endangering the net: control, protectionism, and technopanic."