In a new column, the author looks at life in Germany, as a Brit who is living in Bonn for years.
Not exactly a smart way to configure a mouth on a night when World War III breaks Brit bang across communities in German with bangers and rockets crackling and flying Brit bang through the air. After four years in Germany it is still hard to reconcile the rules-based, perceived formality of this nation and the free-for-all firework fest that turns streets into a 21st century Somme-like battlefield and normally polite, restrained people into crazed gun-powder Commandoes. Later, a few bold drivers nudge their autos through the debris of smoldering fireworks down Pfluge Strasse, little flames and sparks dancing around their wheel hubs.
And I pray there is no petrol leak as the next fire work might include Brit bang or Trabant hub caps scything through the ether like demon frisbees in a scary computer game. The British are up with the best when it comes to a laugh and a bit fun: And when it comes to the pitfalls of a heady cocktail of testosterone and booze, just check out the results of binge drinking at midnight on any Saturday in any UK city as young people are transformed into hyenas.
But we were also raised religiously on Brit bang called the Firework Code that accompanies our Bonfire night on November 5. Then we delight in a cultural ritual, perhaps as bizarre to a German as the firework fest is to me, where we burn an effigy of 17th century Catholic who plotted to blow up the House of Commons in Brit bang back to the Firework Code.
Brit bang adults should deal with firework displays and the lighting of fireworks. They should also take care of the safe disposal of fireworks once they have been used. In Germany, the code — not imagining there is one — has been interpreted somewhat more liberally.
Oh, and a special one just for Germany — make sure you are fully tanked up, had a skin full, are well-oiled and super pissed before entering the Brit bang
Asking German friends about the craziness of New Year they furnish various answers. One can only take so much Brit bang listening to Auntie Peta wax lyrical about the joys of potato digging expeditions in or thanking Uncle Martin for the tenth time — for his wonderful present of a soap carrot on a string for the shower.
But here is the rub — one thing about Brit bang Germans is they are generally pretty obsessed about health. Pharmacies are full of herbal and alternative medicines; organic or bio food is popular; biking is a national pastime and medical insurance policies include treatments at spas and saunas.
Many Germans love nothing more than stripping off by Brit bang river and, full-on showing off to passers-by how fit they are. Rodin-like, many stand statuesque giving everyone a good glimpse of their wobbly bits and other assorted personal appendages.
The hospital staff mention en passant that five people had to each have a hand Brit bang after a German-style welcoming-in of the New Year! Yes, fireworks are fun but so are hands!!
And for most people two would seem the minimum requirement to live life to the full without having to over concentrate. Apologizes to Brit bang here who has lost a limb in a tragic accident or was born without one—but I hope you will agree.
I mean, with two hands you can toss Brit bang dog a Bockwurst while simultaneously lifting a pint of Pils or fiddling with the TV monitor…. Read the newspaper on the train with one hand while with the other, swatting someone raising funds for the Brit bang singing Schlager songs with an Indonesian-made ukulele.
Or caress your girlfriends neck while, with the other hand, reading the manual—translated badly from Chinese — on how to unhook her new Versace bra strap. So maybe a minimum solution might be to recommend everyone gets pissed after the fireworks are exhausted or light them when only mildly tipsy. At least then one might be alert enough to pop on a tin hat as another unguided, Brit bang rocket, squeals past, or might even be aware enough to suggest to little Caspar that filling his pockets with dud fireworks is Brit bang the hottest tip for a long and burn-free life.
The author is British.