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Jaws and pins dropping in Berlin

Written on: Monday October 15th, 2012

A journal entry from: November 2011 until...

Two ways to create total silence:

Method 1:

  • Go to the moon.
  • Build a soundproof room. 
  • Shoot an arrow through your head so you look like you have one of those novelty gag arrows - but be careful that you a) use a real arrow and b) make sure it goes through both of your ears.
  • Try not to make any noise.
Method 2:
  • Go to the Olympic Stadium, Berlin.
  • Fill it with supporters of the national team.
  • Arrange a World Cup qualifying match with Sweden.
  • Arrange for Germany to go 4-0 up and then for Sweden to score 4 goals in reply, equalising with the last kick of the game.
I can't say that I've experienced Method 1, but Method 2 works a treat. At the end of the match I was holding my cheeks, with my mouth agape Macauley Culkin style.

In the first half I decided that I had never seen such a dominant performance by an international team as Germany went 3-0 up. In the second half they extended this to 4-0 before Sweden did the impossible and drew the match. The fear that ran through the German team when Sweden got their second goal was palpable. At least Germany destroyed a few stereotypes about their ruthlessness and stoicism. After the game the Mannschaft were wandering around the pitch looking like zombies that had run out of brains to eat.
Otherwise, returning to Berlin was just fantastic. Walking around the eastern part of town, the city presented a new face at every corner. I can imagine that with the end of the cold war there would have been some interesting discussions about what to do about Treptower Park - the communist war memorial, replete with Stalinesque statue crushing the swastika of Nazism. It seems that the only real change was to scratch out the gold from the letters of Stalin's names on the various quotes attributed to him.
Oh I also played in the German National Diplomacy Convention. Unfortunately my opponents weren't as generous as their footballing compatriots. Good fun though and a very welcoming group.