Saturday, February 18, 2012

Weekend video 2

The music is in compete contrast to M.I.A... the unaccompanied voices of five girls who call themselves Medlz. The explanation for the name is... hmm... well, 'girls' can be in English transcribed for effect as 'gurlz'. And the correct and familiar German word 'Mädels' can be equally well given the phonetic treatment.

But did I find the clip posted by following my well-known predilection for a capella singing? No... in a roundabout way it was the result of having just finished an excellent book by Philip Kerr, the Scottish writer whose Bernie Gunther stories feature a Berlin cop in 1930's Berlin. Prague Fatale would have merited a citation in my series 'Reading Matters' but having read so much crap in recent months I have stopped noting the two-books-per-week which I still consume.

After finishing Kerr's latest I asked myself whether my own next writing endeavour should, perhaps, be a story rooted in Germany. Since I doubt whether I'll leave Munich any time soon it seems daft to continue telling tales set in Lebanon, Scotland or the south of France.

A bit of very unstructured research took me to a true story with attributes that even Philip Kerr might have found interesting.

This is a memorial which stands in the Black Forest, where five boys on a school trip died in a snowstorm in 1936. They were pupils at the Strand School, a boys' grammar school in the Tulse Hill area of South London. The monument erected in their memory was built as an initiative of the Hitler Youth. 1936 was the year when Nazi Germany cleaned up its act for the Olympics in Berlin and the motto set forth for the Hitlerjugend for 1938 was 'The Year Of Understanding'. In that year the memorial was to be inaugurated with solemn ceremonial in the spirit on international fraternity...

Didn't happen.

Anyway, while mulling over the suitability of the Engl√§nderdenkmal as the departure point for a story I could think about writing I recalled another tale which had first fascinated me back in the nineties. This was about a seventeen-year-old Scots girl improbably name Idilia Dubb who in the 1850s perished mysteriously in the ruins of the castle at Lahneck on the Rhine. 

I wanted to re-visit that story and googling turned up the video posted here, a video which plays on the plight of the Edinburgh girl who supposedly maintained a diary while trapped in the tower at Burg Lahneck. 

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