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Talking Germany

Blog with Peter Craven

The bearable lightness of being Nike Wagner

Hovering
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She arrives just a little bit later than expected. But then she has been meeting with none other than Zubin Mehta! Our initial encounter is very warm. She offers me a hand and, while I’m thinking that I like this lady, I’m also registering just how small her hand is, how thin her bones, and how frail and delicate she seems. It’s certainly a light frame, I reflect, to shoulder the heavyweight history of her family and the role it has for the better part of two centuries played here in Germany. She is Nike Wagner, the great granddaughter of Richard Wagner, who was of course one of the greatest and most controversial composers of all time. And: she is my latest guest on Talking Germany.

Date

August 15, 2014

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Nike Wagner’s Movie Pick

“Gone with the Wind!” Says Nike Wagner – no hesitation. But then: “Or Pasolini – anything by Pasolini. Especially, of course, Teorema!” Then: “No! Inglourious Basterds.” Quentin Tarantino’s alternate take on WWII. She makes a noise like grrrrhhh. It’s quite vicious. “Unbelievable, incredible film. That’s how to rewrite history!”


Date

August 15, 2014

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Chet Baker, John Cale, Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, Sven Regener

charismatic star on best behaviour

DSC00006It was a long time ago. A very long time ago. Before the Wall came down – quite some time before that in fact. I can remember seeing a really good band. A friend who had done the graphics for one of their early albums had given me a ticket. The front man was clearly an interesting character. Charismatic. A useful songwriter, too. And throwing in occasional Chet Baker-style solos on his trumpet. The band was Element of Crime. The singer: Sven Regener – my latest guest on Talking Germany.

Date

August 1, 2014

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Sven Regener’s Movie Pick

Sven Regener is, you sense, someone who very much prides himself on being a pretty kooky guy. So, of course, he’s going to choose a pretty kooky movie. Like La Soupe aux Choux, or Cabbage Soup – starring French comedian Louis de Funès. A summary: 2 buddy farmers are visited by aliens who like their cabbage soup!! Now, that’s kooky.

Date

August 1, 2014

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Alexandra Kalle, super-nez

Or: scents and stinksDSC01821

I must confess, it’s something I had never really thought very much about: perfume. Even the origin of the word wasn’t entirely clear to me. Per= through. Fumare = to smoke. So: fumes from a burning substance = perfume. And someone who creates or designs perfumes is a perfumer – accent on the second syllable. It’s not clear how many perfumers there are worldwide (perhaps 500?) or in Germany (two dozen?). An elite member of this exclusive clique is Alexandra Kalle – my latest guest on Talking Germany.

Date

July 25, 2014

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