We English have Robin Hood, King Arthur, and some fairly paranoid fantasies about cats and/or swans. But what are the top five German myths? Let's have a quick look.
1. Eating the black bit on a grilled sausage will basically kill you.
All German people believe this. ALL of them. Even drug addicts, prostitutes, rappers. There they are, at the Grill-Party, passing round a carving knife, desperately shaving off the black bit on a sausage, in a futile attempt to protect themselves from death in general and cancer in particular.
"It must be a myth, about how eating burnt food gives you cancer,” my Australian friend Betty told her flatmate Lara once.
“You think?” Lara asked.
“Well, yeah. Coz in Australia, the Aborigines use charcoal to brush their teeth every day. So I think it must just be an urban myth.”
“Yeah,” I supplied helpfully. “And plus, what about the last setting on your toaster? Are you trying to tell me the toaster manufacturers are trying to kill us all, slowly but surely?"
2. Neukölln is a ghetto.
Hmmmmmn. Have you heard this one yet? German people actually think Neukölln is some kind of ghetto. Like, they actually think it's dangerous or something, the Berlin equivalent of the Bronx or Hackney or something.
“Where are you living now?” Asks someone you've not seen in a few years.
“I've moved to Neukölln,” you say, perfectly pleasantly.
“Oh, you poor thing,” they say, full of Mitleid and stuff. “In the ghetto? What are you gonna do about schools?”Huh. Wake up, Germany. Neukölln isn't a ghetto. Hate to be the one to break it to ya. All it is, is a few kids live there, and they kind of slouch. They slouch a bit. Some of them have caps on. Slouching. OOOooooooOOOOOh! Snot a ghetto. Paul Salamone does this stand-up about how he once sneezed and a supposed ghetto Neukölln street-kid said “Gesundheit!” Well, I can top that. The other day, a supposed ghetto Neukölln street-kid told me my shoelaces were undone. IT IS NOT A GHETTO, PEOPLE.
3) Heidi Klum is a top model.
My arse, she is. She is a catalogue model who does McDonald's ads – correction, who used to do McDonald's ads.
4) Germans are politically correct.
Hmmmmmn. Germans are forever banging on about how politically correct they are.
"Oh, Jacinta, you are so politically incorrect, but you get away with it, coz you're British, unfortunately we Germans are gezwungen through our complicated and rather traumatic history to be totally, absolutely and completely 100 percent politically correct at all times.”Cue: SNORT! Yeah, right. Let's meet at McGeiz, anyone? Let's black up for the opera? Let's do jokes about Vietnamese people where we actually – with our actual fingers – make our eyes go all slitty? Huh. German people are about as politically correct as Prince Philip let loose at a disabled transsexual dwarf's sixtieth birthday party.
5) East/West Germans are far friendlier than West/East Germans.
Oooh, it's madness. They could debate this one for hours. Actually, make that years. Twenty long bloody years. But no fear. Jacinta is at hand, to solve this twenty year conundrum. YOU ARE BOTH TOTALLY FUCKING UNFRIENDLY. Now chill out and eat a bit of this slightly burnt sausage.
So that's the top five. Any I've missed out? Answers on a postcard, please.