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Talking Germany

Blog with Peter Craven

In her sixties, with Maren Kroymann

Entertainer, activist, thinker
She’s multitalented. A singer and an actor: TV, radio, cabaret. But there’s one side to my latest guest that only really comes out when you get talking to her. She’s very well read, very sharp, and very interested in ideas. The very definition, in fact, of an intellectual. And, she admits, that hasn’t always made things easy: “When I was a young woman, there was only one thing worse that being a lesbian, and that was being an intellectual woman!” It’s a great line. Sounds at first like a joke. But I’m sure it was the source of some pain. She is Maren Kroymann: entertainer and activist, and my latest guest on Talking Germany.

Of course, to prepare for the show I’d spent days listening to one of my all-time favourite LPs: Dusty Springfield’s classic album Dusty in Memphis. Songs from that collection, as well as other Dusty hits, form the cornerstone of Maren Kroymann’s latest show and the accompanying CD – both called In My Sixties. Clearly, she adores the music – and her versions of Dusty’s classics are really outstanding. But part of the message is: “Forget it! The Sixties weren’t swinging. It was in many ways a really oppressive time.” And I imagine the young Maren identifying with the title of the tortured Dusty ballad: I just don’t know what do with myself. After all, Dusty often didn’t either.
These days, Maren Kroymann seems to have little doubt about what to do with herself. Her show isn’t just a joyous but critical meditation on the Sixties – it’s also a celebration of a woman who’s very much enjoying being herself, and being in her sixties.
Despite the fact that she lives just a short drive away, she turns up at the Talking Germany studio with a little suitcase on wheels: three outfits!! “I like to choose spontaneously,” she explains, picking out (“intuitively”) our delightful floor manager Sascha (another big Dusty fan) as fashion consultant. Outfit number one is promptly rejected: “Too tent-like!” I hear them agreeing. “It’s too reminiscent of …” (A certain feministic icon here in Germany.) Outfit two: shorter, clearly. Because: “You can see my legs! Fat legs.” You have looovely legs, says Sascha. Outfit number three: street look, with big tough Chelsea boots. Just right for a tough female thinker. And a great entertainer.


August 22, 2014