Tag Archives: Niki Lauda

Hansi’s a teddy bear

Apparently Hansi is a teddy bear now, before he was “only worth liking (or was interesting) in the context of Jogi.” Now he’s worked his magic, I knew he would, no-one could resist that smile of his. The chipmunk elf-lord look he has that I love so much. The person in question does have a talent for great one liners like that. Though they have no recollection of what they previously said about him. Their line about Roman was not quite of the same quality, still funny though. The battle of the Romans is a Roman-off.

It was a day that did not disappoint, I got to see the Minions film, found the bookstore like I wanted to, got the new Minions sticker album, saw the Niki Lauda documentary and got some social time. In addition the day and indeed the week has been a source of many teachable moments. With the Minions album and the bookstore I learnt a little something about sticking with it, about what to do when something doesn’t go as you expect. I had to go to a second store for the album, they didn’t have it at the usual place. I could have just gotten it online, gone home without one, but I tried another place, thinking outside of the box, and it worked. Similar thing with the bookstore, I’m familiar with that part of the city, I wouldn’t have gone there otherwise but I’ve never been to this place before. I couldn’t find it at first, instead of giving up and coming back another time when I wasn’t by myself I carried on and ended up finding the place. And it was awesome, three floors of used books, the history section was a dream. They have a whole separate section for Ancient Rome alone, I am definitely going back there with a stack of notes and an empty back-pack.

My original plan was to see the Niki Lauda documentary by myself , not by choice exactly, it was just that I didn’t think there would be enough time to make plans with someone else. As things turned out, there was sufficient time and I’m glad it turned out that way. Another lesson there, sometimes things don’t go as you expected them to or even as you wanted, and yet still it turns out fine or in this case, better than fine.

I always say it’s a trade-off when it comes to spending time with other people, that you have to think about what you gain and what you lose or the price you have to pay. That still applies, and of equal importance is the right amount of time you spend with other people. This is my only social time, not just for this month but for last month too. And I’m happy with that, I really am. That’s the important point, I’m happy with it. It doesn’t matter that other people think I should have a little more social time. What’s important is I know my limits, I know what I want and need. I’m starting to think that I’m spending too much time thinking about such things, or that I spend too much time thinking in general. It’s funny how I can write a conversation like that between my two favourite Germans, with one telling the other just that, that there’s no point in thinking obsessively about stuff and yet I don’t take the advice myself.

One final thought on the matter, if I have less social time I seem to enjoy it more. I guess the less of it there is, the less there is to worry about. I just have to be firm and not let myself get talked into social time because it’s what other people think I need. There is precisely three weeks until the season begins and I was deadly serious when I said that I have no intention of going to the beach, or taking any trips or indeed any kind of social event at all. I will venture outside to see Pixels when it’s released in August, that I will have time for.

A lot of good things came out of the conversation before and after the film. Talking about Niki Lauda for one thing, and their opinion that his obsessive focus is very similar in nature to an autistic person’s obsessive focus, add that to his bluntness and his very direct manner and it’s easy to say that he’s closer to the autistic spectrum than anything else. On a related note, the final third of the film was about track safety and the advancements in that and how the cars are made safer these days. With that in mind after the film I mentioned a book I read, written by a track doctor on the subject. Apparently having read such a book makes me a nerd. Well, there are worse things to be. Plus I got them a book about The Wire, which of course led to reminiscing about the show. I haven’t seen it in quite a while, not for a year at least. So now I’m digging out my box-set, ready for round 4.

Obviously the Jogi & Hansi part of the conversation was the best part, and I finally got to show them my match footage of Jogi from Khedira’s charity game. The second best comment, after the teddy bear one was the comment about how the Löw adventures are bringing out a whole different side of me. I can’t argue with that, that stuff really isn’t me, sentimental yes, romantic no, not at all. And yet here, it seems normal rules do not apply. Jogi & Hansi have their own rules it seems.

The Minions was film was fun like I thought it would be. It’s no masterpiece, but it doesn’t need to be. Just a fun afternoon of mindless Minion summer fun, that’s all I wanted and I got that. My favourite scene was the Dracula one, he was one of the masters they attempted to serve and ended up destroying, in his case by throwing him a birthday party and opening the drapes, cue a dead Dracula.

The Lauda documentary was pretty good too, though the final third of the film was a little boring compared to the rest of it. Not because the subject is boring, I found that interesting, it was just that the people talking then weren’t as interesting to listen to compared to the others. It was great getting to see old footage of Niki, not the race stuff, the interview footage, that was really terrific. I didn’t learn much that I didn’t already know about, regardless it was still worth watching and I’m very glad I went to see it.

On the way back I made some new notes for a Löw adventure, one centered around a certain sticker album and a certain German wanting one very much. Except what if they didn’t have one, what if there wasn’t any left. Sometimes you have to deal with things not going how you expect them to be. It occurred to me once I was done making the notes that it was me who needed to hear that, I was writing what I’d been telling myself all day.

2. Bundesliga count-down – 21 days to go.

Also the dates for the DFB Pokal have been set, Freiburg’s game is on the 9th August. On the subject of counting down the days, it’s just six days till I get to buy my new Freiburg shirt.

To end with Jogi, in today’s post I got another addition to my collection, a signed postcard, a very nice summer themed one:

Joachim Löw – Tui Postkarte

Collection Happiness

The day has certainly picked up, it did not start too well but the way in which it’s ending is more than making up for that. If the weekend continues in this vein I shall be very happy indeed.

The source of my happiness being another signed photo for my collection, and inexpensive this time as well. As well as managing to win one of Jogi, I also won one of Niki Lauda. I couldn’t resist, it was a really nice photo and he looked so much like Daniel in it, plus I don’t have a recent signature of Lauda’s. I have an old one but it’s very faded, partly because it was signed with a regular ballpoint pen instead of a marker.

I also got the cards I wanted, four of the special DFB gold ones to commemorate the World Cup success. I won Jogi (of course), Hansi, Roman Weidenfeller and Matthias Ginter. I know it’s illogical and that I should be happy (especially considering the stiff competiton for Jogi’s card) but I’m a little unhappy that no-one else bid on Hansi, no competition at all for him, ah well, all the more for me. Those aren’t the only ones I want, these are my doubles, the ones I want to put up on the wall. If everything works out I’m going to buy the complete set in the box from the DFB fan-shop.

I hope I haven’t used up all of my luck by winning those, I still have one more thing to get, one very special thing. Something with which I would trade almost anything for.

An additional source of happiness is my now sixty day unbroken streak on duolingo. Thanks to that I’ve been getting in some German practice, I can feel a little less guilty about my at the moment slow progress through my current German book.

I may not have been able to get any sleep last night but at least the hyperactivity is starting to wear off. And equally important, fragments of the German national anthem have stopped playing over and over again in my head. To improve upon matters even more I can rest easy tonight knowing that tomorrow I will have the house to myself for the whole day. Peace and quiet, wonderful. The perfect conditions to continue work on my latest story “Kleiner Klinsi.”

Something of a tangent, in the early hours of the morning whilst I was trying to sleep I ended up thinking about mountain bikes and that ended up with thinking about how much I wanted to be outside, right at that very moment. Somewhat puzzling until I gave it some deeper thought, I was thinking of the early winter mornings in which I used to ride my bike to my grandparents house before school. I liked that, it was my favourite part of the day, because it was so early I had the place to myself. I was also probably thinking even further back to primary school, back then my solution to every problem was to go out and ride my bike. Bad day at school, disagreement with someone, frustrated over a video game, the answer was always the same. There’s something very relaxing about just picking up your bike and riding away, the illusion of freedom, like you are running away. I don’t have a bike anymore, though I’ve been thinking of getting one lately, seeing as one of my aims this year is to be more active. The problem (other than my general issue with being outside and in the presence of other people) is the lack of cycle paths around here. It’s the road or nothing, and it’s not at all safe for me to ride on the road, I know this for sure.

It’s probably not a coincidence, that I came up with the idea of getting a bike. That symbolic running away from my troubles coupled with a return to the slightly less complicated years of my childhood.

On the subject of collections, the same person who asked me the other day if I ever wanted to leave here also asked if I would ever sell my collection, for say a million pounds or some other such stupid amount. I didn’t answer because the question is stupid, how would such a situation like that ever come about? Besides my collection is not worth that much. If I were to answer the question, then of course the answer would be no, money can’t and doesn’t solve everything. Sure money could be used to obtain property in Germany and to pay living expenses but it doesn’t change the fact that I can’t live by myself right now. And all the money in the world can’t buy you an android, or two in my case, three if you count Roman, at least not yet anyway.

Four favourite films – 2014

My four favourite films that I’ve seen at the cinema in 2014, usually it’s a top five but here its four, in honour of Germany’s fourth star:

1. In Order of Disappearance – I was resigned to waiting for the DVD to see this, so it was a pleasant surprise to find it was at the cinema, albeit only for six days which was a shame, since I would have liked to see it again.  A dark Norwegian revenge thriller with a little something extra beneath the surface and Stellan Skarsgard and Bruno Ganz are in it, plus a few moments of that deliciously dark Scandinivian humour, what more could you want? I don’t want to repeat myself, not when I’m not sure that I can sum it up any better than what I wrote not long after seeing the film: https://kretschmannland.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/in-order-of-disappearance/

2. What We Do in the Shadows – I just saw this yesterday, it’s about a group of vampires who have a film crew following them around in order to make a documentary about them. It was a riot, very funny, lots of good vampire jokes. One of them wanting to go to a party dressed as Blade for example. All kinds of funny situations that you just never would have thought of, like a 3000 year old vampire called Peter having his teeth brushed for him by one of the younger vampires. Or a vampire who refuses to do his share of the dishes and leaves blood encrusted dishes around the place. Of course my favourite moment was the scene in German, and the pedant in me enjoying correcting the slight but important (at least to me) translation error. I liked that the film starts out as if it’s a real documentary and the format is maintained throughout the film, including towards the end when the cameraman is attacked by a werewolf and we see him being torn to shreds through the lens of his own camera. The fact that it feels like a real documentary just adds to the humour. As for why it makes my list, it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen, it’s weird and different and made me laugh a lot, which not a lot of films that are meant to be funny do.

3. Frank – Frank is another weird one. A bit too strange for some people I think, definitely not something that appeals to everyone’s tastes. I’m not a big fan of Michael Fassbender, I think he’s a little overrated, but he was brilliant in this. My favourite scene was him and Dom talking when he comes up with the idea of saying his facial expressions out loud, that was genius. I can’t really explain how or why it worked, I’ve seen the film three times (twice at the cinema) and each time it has defied any real explanation. There’s just something about the band and how their for lack of better word “craziness” feeds off of each other. I enjoyed seeing Dom put in his place at the end, after his earlier musings about why he couldn’t have anything dark in his past, when he asked Frank’s parents about what caused his illness. It’s good for something to dispel the myth that mental illness equals genius, or to be more precise that they are related in some way, that such an illness always comes with such a talent or a gift. Besides isn’t it kind of offensive, like implying that their talent is because of their illness, not something that they are good at and worked at?

Random tangent, one of the things that amused me greatly at the time (because of what I called the Kretschmann Connection) was that when Dom is getting tweets about where Frank might be, he gets one from a call girl agency located on the Volga. This amused me because the Volga is a river in eastern Russia which flows into Stalingrad, the Kretschmann Connection needing no further explanation there.

4. I couldn’t decide about my fourth favourite, at first I put The Rover here, then I changed it to Rush. I know it’s cheating a little since Rush was not released in 2014, but I did see at the cinema this year as part of the Bafta tour. I still think The Rover is an excellent film (as is Animal Kingdom) it’s just that Rush is special, even if I am still disappointed in Daniel Brühl. Rush is  just perfection, it doesn’t get anything wrong. It’s top class in every aspect. The acting is first rate, Daniel is just as perfect as anyone could ever be in any film ever. Chris Hemsworth is equally as terrific as James Hunt. Also great is Pierfrancesco Favino as Clay Regazzoni, he manages to hold your attention which is quite something given that most of his scenes are with Daniel. One of the first things I thought after the film was, why have I never heard of this guy. I just looked him up and it turns out I had seen him in two films, World War Z and Angels and Demons. In the first he was  W.H.O doctor, there quite a few of those, so impossible to remember him. I don’t even remember seeing Peter Capaldi. Though funnily enough I remember the German one, Moritz Bleibtreu. As for Angels and Demons, I will never submit myself to that borefest again. I only did the first time because Stellan Skarsgard, Nikolj Lie-Kaas and Thure Lindhart were in it.

Anyway, back to Rush, the film itself is a bit like Niki Lauda, to the point with not a wasted word. There were some areas that could have been covered a little better, their marriages for example, neither Marlene nor Suzy were well used and their characters were a little underdeveloped. But personally I don’t mind that so much, the film was about Lauda and Hunt’s rivalry and racing, and a film can’t always cover everything that happens. Anyway to cover all of the intrigues that surrounded the two of them, would take a whole mini-series.  I will concede that it’s a shame that Alexandra Maria Lara didn’t get more to do.

Forget about Daniel winning the Oscar for best supporting actor (which he should have done) the people responsible for the makeup should have won one for their work. Before the accident, their work was great, afterwards it was incredible.

I think the best thing about Rush is that in all the excitement and drama of the track there is room for the little moments, Niki and Marlene’s exchanged glances as he gets out of the car and decides to stop to name one. There are plenty more but I haven’t seen it in a while, that moments there sticks in my mind, I really liked that and think about it often. And little details, like James Hunt going around with no shoes on. The film somehow manages to find a way to please diehard F1 fans and people who have no clue or interest in the sport at the same time. On that count it did it’s job a little too well, with some people pointing out that it makes F1 look more exciting and action packed than it actually is.

Other than being a truly terrific film, the reason Rush is on my list is that I really liked Niki Lauda. I knew who he was before the film but I knew nothing of what a character he was back then and how interesting he is. I loved his blunt “I don’t care what you think” style. I loved him in the car with Regazzoni and the scene where Marlene and him break down and he ends up driving an Italian’s car way too fast. My absolute favourite is when he drives a Ferrari for the first time, that scene is just genius.

If the list had been five and not four, either The Rover or The Unbeatables would have been fifth.

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:

Rush signed02Rush signed 01]















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.