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Talking Germany

Blog with Peter Craven

Britta Steffen’s two problems

Brittle no more 

She seems very jolly. Straight out of the pool, into the car, and off to the Talking Germany studio. I’m not sure, but I think she’s just done four kilometers of butterfly. Problem is: her hair is still wet and it’s somewhere around minus five degrees outside. At least she does have it wrapped in one of those towel-turbans. Big cause for concern, though, because this is Britta Steffen, Germany’s top medal hope for the upcoming London Olympics – at least among the swimmers. And this can’t be good for her health. Will they blame me if my latest guest on Talking Germany comes down with a cold? Hope not.

Date

March 4, 2012

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The very thoughtful Peter Maffay

From Stalin City to cuddle-rock 

Why do so many people in what used to be East Germany like Peter Maffay so much? Easy answer: because he understands them. After all, he spent the first 14 years of his life in communist Romania. In the Transylvania town of Brașov to be precise, which for the first decade of his life had another name: Orașul Stalin. That’s right – Stalin City! He hated it! “It was totally un-free,” he tells me: “Totally! We were cut off from the rest of the world.” Peter Maffay, singer-songwriter: my latest guest on Talking Germany.

Date

February 6, 2012

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Talking integration and movies with Yasemin Şamdereli

Could it happen here?

Many people here in Germany were quite shaken by the riots that engulfed London and other English cities this past August. They were, of course, also reminded of similar scenes in the banlieues – the volatile peripheries – of many French cities in recent years. As a British citizen living in Germany, I was often asked whether the same kind of outburst of anger and violence could happen here. My reply was a very cautious probably not. And my guess is that my latest guest on Talking Germany – the film-maker Yasemin Şamdereli– would agree, although it was the one question I didn’t actually get around to asking her during what was a very stimulating encounter. 

Date

October 27, 2011

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Avi Primor’s friendship with an outstanding German

Learning to overcome hate

My latest guest on Talking Germany arrived very early for the recording. And, for technical reasons, we started somewhat later than planned. Which meant that Avi Primor – the “doesn’t-mince-his-words” former Israeli ambassador to Germany – and myself had a lot of time to chat. So, I looked him in the eye, and asked him for permission to ask some leading questions. Like: “How did you feel when you were appointed to the post of ambassador to Germany – the country which had, after all, murdered many members of your wife’s family?” 

Date

October 24, 2010

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The extraordinarily ordinary Anna Loos

No airs, no graces

My latest guest on Talking Germany enjoys successful acting and singing careers and there are times when, it seems, you can hardly pick up a newspaper or magazine without Anna Loos and/or her ‘famous husband’ leaping out at you. Photos typically show “The Couple of the Year 2010” striding confidently to some special invitation event or up another red carpet. So when I heard that she would not be taking advantage of the exquisite Talking Germany make-up facilities, but arriving ‘ready to go’ … well, I was worried that we might be in for some airs and graces.

Date

September 26, 2010

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