Film Museum Duesseldorf. Avoid

A postcard. Of a Cinema. Yes, it is that exciting.

Last Weekend the best girlfriend ever and myself made one of those unavoidable journeys to Germany that tend to ruin the weekend as there is the inevitable early morning dash to the airport, the never-ending desire to throw something at Germans who just can’t queue and far too much Weissbier. To alleviate this conundrum we extracted ourselves from our family duties and ventured to Duesseldorf (also known as Ork-City), to visit the city’s Film Museum, combining lore and light entertainment. Placed in an attractive street of this otherwise drab town, the entrance of the Film Museum bristles with toned down efficiency, and a friendly attendant takes your money and sends you up the stairs. There you enter the ‘panthenon of directors’, a circular collection of pillars with a picture, quotes and some trivia on famous and rather obscure directors. I have no problem with the fact that the curators find Andrzej Wajda as good as Howard Hawks and Hitchcock (but omitting Kazan and Houston) but please, at least tell us which films they were responsible for. Movies past 1980 don’t seem to be included, so no Fincher, Spielberg or Polanski.


The rest of the museum is an uninspired, haphazard collection of old projection and recording material thrown together with some postcards of cinemas worldwide, some programmes from the forties and thirties and a ludicrous motley accumulation of figurines (and a Harry Potter cup). The shelves are dusty and the whole place looks like someone has taken some cinematic collections and randomly placed them around the limited space. There is no programmatic thread and no cohesion.

Heartily uninspiring and disappointing. Avoid.

Unpacking the Ratinger Hof Book

Ah, the Ratinger Hof. The cauldron in which the Ur-punk soup was brewed, and in which new English (and German) music was showcased. Wire, The Krupps, DAF, Propaganda, and loads more either played there or were conceived within the naked walls, soaked with Altbier and smoked with unmentionable substances. For a few years, this ugly little pub in Duesseldorf was the centre of the West – German culture/counterculture interface in which the established scene observed what was bubbling under.

Ralf Zeigermann, himself a veteran of the club (I believe he even played there), contacted loads of his old buddies and with their help produced a gorgeous documentation of these wild days, astounding pictures and all. While the text is German, the acquisition is worth its while for the stunning pictures alone.


Have a look at the unboxing process:

Note 'Wire' themed Beermat





Get it.

Thinking about moving to London? Really?

Over at Deutsche in London, an expatriate forum for -you guessed it- German expatriates in London, the forums are being inundated by requests from bright eyed and bushy tailed Germans (and, surprisingly, Austrians) who want to flee this mortal coil (or whatever you call life in Germany these days) and move to London, of all places. The requests are of refreshingly naive (‘hello, I am jobless here in Berlin, can I come to London and get a flat and be put on benefits?’ or ‘How long do my 500 pounds last on the housing market’) and wary locals often have to dampen the enthusiasm of the wannabe immgrants by introducing them the realities of inner city London life:

  • If you earn less than 2000 pounds per month and you want to live in the city, re-acquaint yourself with the lovely life of a flat sharer. Live with housemates who pinch your food, make love at 4 am in the morning before your important meeting and insist on drinking 40+ units on a Friday and Saturday night and vomit loudly on their way back to bed.
  • Forget about owning a car: you won’t be able to affort congestion charge and the insurance
  • Embrace public transport: sweat like the rest of your 3 million commuters in the Tube and get coughed on in the bus
  • Enjoy the lively drug dealer in your local park who will eye suspiciously for some time and get assualted by one of their clients.

And don’t forget: these were the good times: oodles of public money pushed into the economy, a banking sector that was spending like heck, quangos and NGOs in the thousands, companies actually hiring. That’s already changing. Councils are preparing themselves for 30% less funds to play with, the NHS is starting to reduce costs and the rest of the public sector is bracing itself for George Osborne’s cuts.  Beneficiaries will be hit hard, and the dole queues are likely to achieve the length of the seventies. The mollycuddled continental Europeans moving to London won’t know what hit them.

So,  if you’re sitting pretty (but bored stiff) in Duesseldorf and you’re thinking about coming over:

Don’t. Enjoy your clean streets and your drug dealer free parks. Coming over here might not be the best thing for your quality of life.