Tag Archives: Michael Fassbender

June – the month of Jürgen

The domestic season may have ended in May but there was still plenty of football left, the Champions League final at the beginning of the month, the international week just after it, Sami Khedira’s charity match and of course the U21 European Championship. In a month which was technically meant to be a break from football, it turned to be a month of nothing but football. But I’m not complaining, nor am I despairing over what little time I have for other things. It no longer annoys me that I don’t have much time for films or TV. I’m just happy that whilst I only watched five films, I did get a lot of reading done and none of it was football related, not only that but none of it was even German related. Five books in thirteen days, not bad considering how little I’ve read these past few months.

Not only did I not watch many films but I also found no time to go the cinema, I meant to but it just didn’t work out. That isn’t something I want to make a habit of, it’s good to get outside every once in a while to remind yourself that the outside world is still there, even if that does mean going from one darkened room to another. It still counts because you have to go outside to get there. The other disadvantage to not going out is that you aren’t used to being around other people or having to talk to them. The longer you leave it, the harder it gets. I really should try to get out at least once a month, just so I don’t forget about the outside world. Plus there’s the extra motivation of buying stickers, in case I need any extra incentive.

One of the few films I did find time for was Slow West, one of Michael Fassbender’s latest offerings. It’s a western but it’s a somewhat weird one, it has a very offbeat feeling to it. It’s not to everyone’s taste that’s for sure, I liked it but then I do have a weakness for that kind of thing, I like films that are quirky. This year I’ve seen two westerns, both of them a little odd, the first was The Salvation with Mads Mikkelsen. I hope there are more films in a similar vein to come, of course there is Tarantino’s next film The Hateful Eight which I know will be epic. Now there’s a film I won’t need any motivation to leave the house for.

A whole month has gone by and even though I have a rough idea of how I’ve spent that time, it feels like I have little or no recollection of it. It feels like the summer heat is melting my brain. Which is funny because I just finished reading The Zombie Survival Guide. There’s two things I’m thinking about right now that aren’t football related, zombies and Scandinavian crime thrillers. The latter is perfectly logical, in the summer heat reading books set in the dead of winter, if you can’t physically get away then at least you can escape in your mind. As for the former, I have no idea why I’m thinking about zombies all of a sudden or why I suddenly decided to read that book again. I wish I could watch The Walking Dead but what I’ve seen of the first series I hated it, it’s more about the people than about the zombies, too much relationship and soap opera stuff.

At least the football delivered all the fun it promised to, well all except for one game that is. I’d already decided in advance that June would be named for Jürgen Klinsmann, but he really did earn the honour with his USA side beating Germany 2-1. The Champions League final was great fun, even if hadn’t been I would have been happy, two interviews with Jogi and one with Daniel Brühl, how could I not be. And Sami Khedira’s charity match was not only as much as fun I imagined it would be but more, it was simply awesome. Thanks to Khedira I now posses something which I wanted more than anything, match footage of Joachim Löw. It’s not for Freiburg, obviously which is what I really want but it is still cool. The only way that game could have been even better is if Hansi was there too, and there is still time for that, it’s not impossible, such a thing could happen.

Germany may have lost in the semi-finals of the U21 Euros, but they did at least qualify for the Olympics. Not only that but I got some great videos and have plenty to work with if I want to make videos of ter Stegen. Not forgetting of course the real prize, the Hansi interviews and one of them was live on TV. I was very disappointed with the result of the game but having Hansi on TV, live on a Saturday night, I’d be lying if I said that didn’t make my weekend.

The month did have it’s disappointments, the obvious being the news about Bürki and Mehmedi. On that front it just keeps getting worse, H96 weren’t content with taking Oliver Sorg, now they’ve taken Felix Klaus as well. Not a great start to the month, that was literally the first thing I read in the new month, just after midnight. There is one advantage to the summer brain melt problem, not only am I having trouble remembering the good things but I can’t remember anything that annoyed me, there is a silver lining at least.

With Sorg now gone to H96, I now have to come up with a new name for October, unless I keep it for the other Oliver. I finally came up with one for July anyhow, Jonas. And whilst I can’t use Admir for August either, it’s not a problem because I can just name it after one of Freiburg’s new signings; Amir Abrashi. It’s equally perfect that November was provisionally designated the month of Nils (as in Petersen). When I decided that I had no idea how important he would turn out to be, or that he would indeed be here this season. There is now just 23 days to go until the 2. Bundesliga kicks off, that’s only three weeks away. I can’t believe that I can finally put it on the calender already.

It’s just a question now of counting down the days until I can order my new shirt, only eight days to go. I just pray that nothing goes wrong and that it arrives in time for the first game, DHL are usually reliable so there should be no problem. It’s just the last time I got a shirt from Germany, it ended up taking almost two months but that was from the DFB fan-shop, not from Freiburg. As far as names are concerned, I’ve finally made up my mind. I’m getting Petersen on the home one and Löw on the away one. I’m putting off getting a goalkeeper for the foreseeable future, I don’t envision being able to make up my mind anytime soon and I want to see who the first choice keeper is going to be before deciding. There is of course also the possibility of buying a Dortmund one with Bürki one but given the prices of those, that would have to be something to save for anyhow, so no rush there.

On the subject of how I spend my time, a book I just finished reading provided me with part of answer to my wonderings on the subject. The book in question is “Not Even Wrong.” It’s about a father charting the process of learning his son is autistic and how they deal with that. It’s not just about their son, it’s about the history of autism and the author’s fascination with Peter the wild boy. His random musings on autism and what it all means, for his son, himself and the world at large are really quite fascinating.  As are the tales of the people he discovered, like the two brothers in a mental institution, one of whom was a master carpenter and loved ships. He drew his life story and put it up on the wall, just so he didn’t have to deal with people’s questions anymore. People would ask a question and he’d refer them to the relevant panel, genius. There were lots of other such stories too, far to many to go into. But I do have to mention the society that is dedicated to collecting timetables, the Düsseldorf based “Internationalen Interressengemnischaft der Fahrsplansammler.” That did amuse me greatly.

And none of that is of course relevant to my point which was that it helped me make sense of something. Towards the end of the book the author makes the point that it was only by chance that Newton was the Newton of Newtonian physics, that it was only by chance he dedicated himself to something that other people considered important. There are Newtons of many other subjects, all the weird and wonderful things that autistic people get interested in and obsessed with. My point is that for what purpose am I making myself do things I have little or no interest in right now. It’s my free time, well all of my time is free time technically but that’s another story. There’s no point in making myself do things I have no interest in, surely I’ll just end up hating them that way. If I want to spend all day thinking about stickers and spend hours looking at bundles of them on eBay, then what’s wrong with that. Equally if I want to spend a large part of the day making videos, why not.

In terms of sticker albums at least I’ve given up any pretence that I’m not totally nuts about them right now. I’ve got four of them on the way in the post right now: Road to Euro 2016, Copa America 2015, Champions League 2013/14 and Bayern München 2012/13. Plus I hope to pick up the Minions starter pack tomorrow. I’ve completed two collections this month, this season’s Bundesliga and Champions League album. I’ve technically completed the world cup 2014 one as well, but despite the trade being made this month the last sticker isn’t here yet, so it doesn’t actually count.

On a related note I’ve not gotten many collectibles this month, buying Hansi Flick’s training shirt took care of that. I did however manage to pick up a few small but very special items, some more stickers signed by Hansi, some great tickets for my collection, a VIP band for the champions league final, Jogi & Hansi’s VIP passes for the Pokal final and some signed photos.

Another subject he muses on is whether or not he or indeed anyone should be trying to draw autistic kids out of their own world and into the so called real world. His views change on the subject through out the book. When his son first gets diagnosed he figures that they’ll go through all the processes, speech therapy, occupational therapy, special education classes and whatever else is required and after all of their son will be “fine.” But as time goes on he realises that his thinking is faulty, that he’s not trying to get his son back or make him normal. Because there was no before and there is no after, his son was always who he is and always will be.

I think it’s wrong to make someone be part of a world they have little or no interest in, beyond what’s necessary anyway. I recognise that it has to be done to some degree, that there are things you need to learn in order to take care of yourself and survive in the world. But beyond that it’s none of their business. I don’t want someone telling me or trying to teach me socially appropriate interests for example. I don’t want to learn what people my own age are interested in, nor do I want or need to be able to have a conversation with them. There are things I need to know and things I don’t, and that definitely falls into the latter category.

When thinking about this stuff people have to be careful not to impose their view of how they think things should be on the matter. They have to remember that what’s interesting or boring to them, might not be to someone else. I just realised, it’s ironic because that’s one of the things autistic people including myself get called out for a lot, not seeing something from someone else’s point of view. Yet NTs do it all the time without even realising it. Some people need to remember that not everyone has the need for the same amount of social interaction they do. To be specific, they need to believe me when I tell them that I really am happy with spending an entire afternoon by myself sorting stickers, making lists and hunting down bundles of stickers on eBay. Just because you would be bored or lonely, does not mean I am.

I know I talk about how I wish I had someone to trade stickers with in real life or to play football or FIFA with. But I know that stuff is about as realistic as the rest of my thoughts, that is not at all. Because I have no interest in friendship, I’m not even sure I’m capable of it, I just care about the stickers. I may think those things and I may talk about them sometimes, but I also spend a considerable amount of time thinking and talking about building a super villain lair, owning a death star, cloning and various sticker related complaints. Like why is the assistant coach not in any of the albums, of course I’m not complaining so much now that Hansi’s not there but it still applies for the older ones.

One final book related point, a while back I dug out my old copies of the Harry Potter books with the intention of reading them again. I got as far as the fifth one before quitting. I may just be tempted into going back to it because of something I read online. A few nights ago when I couldn’t sleep I was reading online about fan fiction and Harry Potter. One of the things I learnt about in the process of doing that was the existence of fan fiction that envisions Sirius and Lupin being a couple. I’d never thought of there being anything like that between the two of them, but from what I read online a lot of people seem to think that kind of subtext was there. Of course I’m not great at picking that stuff up, so it’s not exactly a surprise that I would have missed it or not considered that interpretation but I find it intriguing. Intriguing enough to bookmark the fan fiction in question for future reading and to reconsider picking up where I left off with the fifth book anyhow.

The rest of the books would make for some easy summer reads at least, that’s the only type of thing I can think about reading right now. It is way too hot to read anything substantial, I think the Prussians may have to wait for some cooler weather for me to get back to them. I’m also tempted to read Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend again. I know I just finished it a few days ago, but I really want to read it again. Plus I think I’d like to write a post about it and I don’t remember enough about it to do that, so I have an excuse to do so.

Charting obsessions – Daniel Brühl

I don’t consider Daniel to be one of my stand alone special interests, yet he gets a post devoted to him anyway for the simple fact that whilst the others inevitably fade into obscurity, he sticks around. I liked him from the very first time I saw him in Goodbye Lenin and then began to like him even more once I saw Inglourious Basterds. It wasn’t until September 2013 with the release of Rush that I really began to appreciate him. He quickly became my new favourite person and somewhat overtook my Christoph Waltz obsession. He then managed to survive and outlast my fascination with Gedeon Burkhard and the Austrian TV show Inspector Rex and Michael Fassbender that followed. Daniel cannot put a step wrong as far as I am concerned. He has the rare distinction that I have liked every film of his I have seen so far, even The Fifth Estate. There is a recent exception to this, but I don’t even count A Most Wanted Man on my list of Daniel films since I don’t think I’ll be adding that to my collection and him and most of the Germans in the film were just background characters. I don’t think you even get to hear his name in the film. In the interests of balance I have to admit that I haven’t seen Two Days in Paris yet, nor The Countess. I’m not particularly looking forward to seeing either of those, the former especially since I don’t like romantic type films.

Being half German and Spanish I wonder who he supports in terms of national football? I know he’s a big football fan, I don’t know if he has any interest in the Bundesliga, I think he’s a Barcelona fan. He has been in a German film about football, Der Große Traum which I haven’t seen yet, I really should bump that up my list, could there be a more perfect time to watch it? It would make a great double bill with Deutschland: Ein Sommermärchen.

As I said above its Rush that made me really like him, he was just perfect as Niki Lauda, more perfect than I ever could have imagined. He looked and sounded exactly like him. It’s rare for an actor to achieve such perfection when playing a real person. I love the fact that he looks so much like Niki that you can confuse people with pictures as to which is Daniel and which is the real Niki. I remember showing someone a picture of Niki from his book and they thought it was Daniel.  Some of my favourite pictures from Rush:

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vlcsnap-2013-10-25-21h59m24s69Rush brought out an old interest in Formula One, with Christoph Waltz it was Nazis and European history and the Cold War (he was meant to play Gorbachev in a film about the Reykjavik summit but it never got made) however with Daniel it was the history of Formula One and the intrigue and politics that went on behind the scenes with the rivalry between Ferrari and McLaren. I quickly lost interest in modern-day Formula one though, it’s not the same as it used to be. There’s no real characters amongst the drivers. To be fair, I don’t think anyone could be as interesting as Niki Lauda, James Hunt, Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and any others you care to name from previous years.

It’s curious to think, he has a connection with several of my special interests from the past few years. Football connects him to Joachim Löw and the fact that he was one of the prominent people in a magazine feature where they were asking Joachim Löw questions about the upcoming World Cup, he’s been in a film with TK, In Tranzit. He was in Inglourious Basterds, as are Christoph Waltz, Michael Fassbender, Gedeon Burkhard and Richard Sammel. He has a more tenuous connection to Sebastian Koch, they have both been in films about the DDR, Daniel being in Goodbye Lenin and Sebastian in Das Leben der Anderen and Der Tunnel.

One of things I like about him best is that it’s impossible to pick a favourite film of his, he’s been in so many good things. Unlike with CW, SK and TK, liking Daniel doesn’t involve sitting through a pile of truly terrible films just to see him for a few scenes.  I have several favourites amongst his films: Rush, Goodbye Lenin, Love in Thoughts, The Edukators, Inglourious Basterds, The Coming Days, The White Noise and No Regrets.

He’s also got some great stuff coming out, The Face of An Angel, Woman in Gold, Ich und Kaminski (which reunites him with Goodbye Lenin director Wolfgang Becker) and Colonia Dignidad.

Even though he wasn’t my predominant special interest at the time (technically CW was) not long after Rush came out, I began assembling the beginnings of a collection. The difference was that it was centered around one film, Rush whereas with CW I collected pretty much anything I could find. The highlights of my Daniel/Niki Lauda collection are without a doubt the banner for the film I got from Germany (not as big as the one I got of Hans Landa or Dr. King Schultz but still pretty cool) and the signed postcard of Niki Lauda. A great find was also two of Niki Lauda’s books, I think that’s the most I’ve ever spent on a book, but it was worth it.

The other difference is that I haven’t put any of that stuff away, once I stopped liking CW so much I started taking down all of my pictures and posters. Not because I needed the space but because I just didn’t want them around anymore. To contrast with Daniel, I only took down the Rush poster when I needed the space for a banner of Jogi und die Mannschaft. And I still have two of his posters up, Inglourious Basterds and Merry Christmas.

I think the reason for Daniel outlasting most of the other Germans is that because he wasn’t a main special interest, I couldn’t really get bored with him in the same way as the others. Because I wasn’t so fixated on him, the usual process could be avoided. I wouldn’t go through the usual steps of really liking him, making everything about him and then turning against him when I got sick of him. In that sense he’s probably the healthiest of all my recent special interests.