Tuesday, 17th July 2001

Fawlty Towers in Eltham
www.alexandrino.com

Hi All,

One of my favourite programs ever is the old, old series "Fawlty Towers", about a hotel somewhere in England ( Devon? ), owned by a complete crazy John Cleese ( "Basil Fawlty" ) and including a Spanish porter/waiter who doesn't speak one single word of English ( "Quee?" Basil:" You must forgive him, he's from Barcelona").

The best show to me is the 6th one, "The Germans", where in front of German guests Basil keeps on warning everybody not to mention the war, but after a hit on his head, Basil goes bananas, and one of the famous dialogues in the restaurant of the hotel with the Germans goes like this:

Basil: 'So that's two eggs mayonnaise, a prawn Goebbels, a Hermann Goering and four Colditz salads... no, wait a moment, I got a bit confused there, sorry...I got a bit confused because everyone keeps mentioning the War, so could you...'
German: 'Will you stop talking about the war!'
Basil: 'Me? You started it!'
German: 'We did not start it.'
Basil: 'Yes you did, you invaded Poland...'
For more about Fawlty Towers check out http://blake.sunderland.ac.uk/~ba6mjo/fawlty.htm

Well we had our little Fawlty Towers at home last Saturday evening. We had invited a German couple and their daughters, who are staying at neighbours' on holiday. Arrived unexpectedly another neighbour, a 62 year old English Captain Igloo impersonation ( white beard, pipe, everything...), one of the nicest neighbours we have here. He sat with us for a glass of wine. Unfortunately he didn't speak one word of German, and the German couple didn't speak one word of English. So I kept on translating.

My eyes froze, my colours vanished, my throat dried out, when our English guest started apologising for not speaking German, "...in my times, nobody here would learn German at school, my father was killed in1942, but we have to forget, blablabla..." Nooooo, Basil Fawlty again. Thank God, conversation switched quickly to another subject, so we did not stick with the war. Never ever our neighbour wanted to be nasty or agressive towards our German guests, but his sub conscience somehow needed to remind everybody of the atrocities lived 60 years ago. And I fully understand now how that famous episode of "Fawlty Towers" was created. It just copied the sentiment and the reactions still seen today, when "Britain meets Germany" ( at least with our older generations ).

Have a nice day

Alex

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