Mario Barth. Photo by Udo Grimberg (Wikimedia Commons)
German artists are so precious. Jacinta Nandi thinks they should all be forced to work 70 hours a week in McDonald's for a year. Then they'd stop whingeing about Lena and Mario Barth not having enough talent.
I mean, normal Germans are pretty precious as it is. Like, when you ask a German girl if she can come to your birthday party and she looks you in the eye, and, cool as a cucumber, bold as sodding brass, gives you all that inhalieren shit:
"No, sorry. I won't be able to make it. I have to inhalieren. It's very important."
"Oh, right. You're ill, are you?"
She looks at you with all this dignity in her eyes, she's like Marie Antoinette when they accused her of having kiddie-fiddled her eldest son up, and she says:
"No, I am not ill. Not yet. But I feel like I might get ill at some point in the future. This is why I have to inhalieren. It's a prophylactic."
Like for fuck's sake. A word of advice for any Germans reading this blog: don't mention inhalieren when explaining why you can't come to somebody's birthday party. That's what lying was invented for. This is what you should say:
"Oh, no. Oh, no. Oh, fuck. What a shame. I just realized I won't be able to make it – it's this Saturday, right? Oh, fuck. It's just my cousin – she's been really sick lately – she's been real ill – she's been coughing up blood actually – and I've got to help her move house. I mean, she's been a really good relative to me, you know? She once lied for me in court. So I don't really have much choice. I'll have to help her schlep her 1,000,000 boxes down 17 flights of stairs. What a nightmare. I'd much rather come to your birthday party. How old are you gonna be? No? Serious? I'd never have said a day over 27. Max."
So, yeah, Germans can be kind of precious. About their health. About being called Deutsche Kartoffels. About people being slightly too loud on trains. They're precious, the Germans. They're a precious Volk. They're a bit precious. But nothing will ever, ever, ever, EVER prepare you for the preciousness levels of a German Artist.
Oh. My. Fucking. God.
The other day, after a gig, I was chatting with an opera singer. We started talking about this and about that and then, for some reason, we started talking about Lena.
"Oh, come on," I said. "The only people Germans hate more than foreigners are successful Germans. They're petrified of them. What is there to say, really, about Lena? She's not that talented. That's all there is to say."
"She really is very untalented, as a singer, at least," replied the opera singer.
"Yeah, but that's not what the hate is about," I said. "There are millions of talentless people in the world. There's no need to hate them. Especially when they're a kid and they're just singing a silly song in a stupid talent contest. I saw this one comment on YouTube, yeah. This person said: 'Lena is such a cunt, I'd like to insert a gun into her vagina and then shoot her to death through her pussy.' That is, like, a direct quote."
"Well, obviously that's a very extreme reaction," conceded the opera singer. "But the trouble is it is actually a profession. To be a singer, you need professional qualifications. You need formal training. And then somebody comes along, and says – oh, no, you don't need training after all; you just need a nice smile and a bit of charm. That makes people angry. Because, because it's an insult, actually."
I just looked at her and I thought: for fuck's SAKE. Actually, no, I thought: for FUCK'S sake. Actually, I thought: FOR FUCKING FUCK'S SAKE, NOBODY WHO EVER WON OR TOOK PART IN EUROVISION EVER HAD ANY FUCKING QUALIFICATIONS, NOT EVEN AN O-LEVEL IN TYPING OR WOODWORK, for fuck's sake. Don't be so fucking precious. She's just a kid. It's just Eurovision. Don't be so precious.
Even worse is how all the poetry slammers and spoken word performers in Berlin have it in for Mario Barth. After a gig the other night, everyone was sitting around, laying into him like he'd personally invented AIDS.
"I can't stand him. He's just not funny," somebody said.
"And he's so sexist!" somebody-else said. Here I really wanted to butt in, the only trouble was, I didn't know the German for 'I think this is a case of a bunch of loser pots sitting around and calling a very successful kettle black!'" Unfortunately.
"In a world, where 80,000 people pay to go and see Mario Barth perform, you might as well just forget about democracy," somebody-else said.
"Yeah, I know what you mean. He's just not trying to see the world in a new way. He doesn't want to change anybody's ideas about anything. He's really meaningless."
"Oh, come on," I said. "It is funny when he does that impression of how his dad used to hit him."
"Oh, I haven't seen anything he's done since 2002, actually. I just hate what he stands for. Meaningless entertainment."
"Yeah," I said. "But I've been to enough poetry slams and listened to enough meaningless stories to know that it's not the meaninglessness which pisses you off so much as the stadiums full of people. If Mario Barth were a poetry slammer, or a Kleinkünstler, you'd all be defending his artistic right to be slightly sexist. You only dislike him because he's successful."
An older guy came and sat down on the sofa next to us.
"I think Jacinta's hit the nail on the head, actually," he said. "Part of the reason we dislike Mario Barth so much is because of the size of what he's doing. But I find that reaction fully justified, actually. Because these people who spend €80, €90 on a Mario Barth ticket, they only go out to watch a comedy show once every six months, maybe once a year. For the cost of that they could go to watch a smaller show – maybe with more artists – at least once or twice a week. That is frustrating. That is totally frustrating. It's a frustrating situation to be in."
I threw up a tiny bit in my mouth when he said that. AS IF, people. AS IF.
As if anybody in the history of the entire world ever, has ever said: 'Oh, I won't go to that €4 poetry slam or €5 reading because I spent €90 on Mario Barth last month and now I don't have any money left for cultural-based activities.' As if the people who go to Mario Barth shows are exactly the same people who go to poetry slams or readings.
And AS IF most German people don't already spend more than 45 percent of their free time at some tiny theatre in a cellar, listening to some guy in a hat read a story where he was on a train and somebody got on the train and sat in the same carriage as him and they were a bit too loud and it was annoying ANYWAY.
And as if Mario Barth cares what you think of him.
I just don't understand why they have it in for him so much. It's not like I think he's funny. I really don't. But there are lots of unfunny German comedians out there and he's funnier than Stefan Raab, who always was, I thought, before he started blatantly dicking Lena, a bit of a cunt. Oliver Pocher, too.
Still, I learnt something last week. They do let funny Germans on the telly sometimes. Every now and again. Don't get too despondent, you precious, precious, precious, Mariah Carey-esque, self-important, self-pitying, German artists. There's still some hope for you. Keep your chins up. And stop whingeing.