Photo by Marshall Astor (Flickr CC)
Such is the nature of the 24-hour bananaramanewsarama that you may well end up missing the apocalypse altogether. Fr'instance, this week I reported on: the German government presenting its new "Africa Concept" (30 pages about how Germany is really going to try, really honestly really, to help Africa a bit more at some point. No honestly, once we've washed the car, it's the next thing on the list), 10 years of Mayor Klaus Wowereit and a survey that said Germans are becoming less interested in political parties but more interested in issues – particularly related to train stations. In Stuttgart.
This was all very interesting, in a sort of "Oh, I see," or a "well I never" or even a "Well, bugger me" kind of way. The "Africa Concept" was interesting because Germany's way of helping Africa is founded on the principle of fucking over China. "What can we sell the Africans that the Chinese haven't thought of yet?" is the chosen method for alleviating world poverty. Not sure what Bob Geldof would say, but you know, better than nothing, I suppose.
The 10 years of Wowereit was interesting because I never realized that normal Berliners – you know, the ones who live in Wilmersdorf who you never meet – actually still like him after all these years. If anything, his paunch, which has expanded in eerie parallel to mine over the past decade, has made him softer and more sympathetic for the average Berliner. Much like my big belly, in fact. The other thing I said above was not as interesting as I initially thought it was.
Anyway, at the end of that dramatic news-filled week, I looked in a large, proper newspaper and what's happening? This: "Germany was forced to agree to bail out Greece for the second time in a year under strong pressure from the International Monetary Fund following the resignation last month of its head, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the Guardian has learned." And this: "Although international markets enjoyed a calmer day on Thursday, Juncker believes that imposing losses on investors could trigger a European version of the Lehman Brothers bank collapse – a so-called "credit event". Juncker said: "It's a really ugly situation. The [German] idea is dangerous. It could provoke the gravest risk, that all three rating agencies declare a credit event and then there are big contagion risks for other countries."
A "credit event." Have you ever heard a more ominous phrase? It's a quiet, unassuming set of words, but somehow their conjunction suggests pure malice. When they find the bodies, the neighbours of the "credit event" will all say he was such a nice, polite man. We're all gonna die, or at least, we're all going to have to stop eating so much pizza for a while. Or at least I am.
Anyway, I didn't read the rest of the article, because it got a bit technical, and I was about to beat Ivan Lendl on clay in Stick Tennis.