Archive for September, 2007

The Washington Oktoberfest

Friday, September 28th, 2007

Codex Manenssis n Oktoberfest in Washington State? Are you serious?

Yes.

Well, actually… no. That’s wrong.

To be totally honest there is not one Oktoberfest - there are many of them. The exact number of Oktoberfests just around Seattle might be somewhere between two and six. And last weekend, as a way to cope with Unknown codex the sad feeling of not being able to be in Munich this year for the real thing, we visited one of those American copies. And let me tell you: it wasn’t that bad at all.

A very nice surprise about Seattle for the average “American - beer - just - sucks - Give - me - my - Franziscaner” pre-biased European visitor is the high number of micro breweries that exist in the state. They are very small… but some of the beers they produce are as tasty as they can be. These local breweries (a few of which I don’t believe have the resources to bottle their beers) tend to get together in big public events to sell their beers to the attendants. So take one of these micro-brewery summits, add a couple of big tents, a music band, the omnipresent hot-dog and hamburger stands (this is the US, after all), a little German touch with the decoration here and there…and there you go, an Oktoberfest Washington style.

Needless to say, the possibility to try so many different beers in such an easy way is the best thing about the entire event. The idea here is not to drink 5 litters of the same Helles, like in the real Oktoberfest, but to try 100 ml of 30 different beers. That is of course in theory. In practice people tend to get excited with the first samples and by the 10th beer they try they are basically drunk.

Unknown codexSome of the beers are excellent (especially the dark ones), whereas some others I just can’t drink. You also have many different flavored ones: hazelnut, pumpkin, raspberry… Worth mentioning too are the so-called Hoppy Beers, aka beers with a high percentage of hops. They can be very tasty (and believe me, that statement is a real complement as it is coming from a person who does not really like bitter beers), and they assure you a nice grass-like taste for the next 50 burps…

To end with, here you have a few links to pictures for you to note the similarities and differences between the Munich and the Washington versions of the Oktoberfest.

1.- In the WA version there is also a music stand, but it is kind of different from the German ones.

2.- The Bavarian, wooden tables and benches are not so popular here. And the tents are open!.

3.- Helles and Weissbier are very boring names for beers in the WA version. Not to speak of the logos… a fat monk is too ordinary.

4.- Brezn’ gehoeren einfach dazu. But no waitresses with baskets walking arround and selling them to the people.

5.- It does not matter that the tents are open- it is totally forbidden to smoke inside them. If you want to smoke, go to the smoker corner… which literally is a corner.

6.- No big boobed waitresses to order the beer from. Get to the next counter and ask for it yourself.

7.- Of course no matter what kind of Oktoberfest it is, the final result is always the same. Some people being happy…and some others being silly.

PA.

B97.3

Friday, September 14th, 2007

Codex Manenssiso sé quién fue el cafre que decidió cargársela (imagino que un amigo de Polanco cuado la SER compró Antena 3), ni las razones que esgrimió para ello (puedo pensar mal y llegar a la conclusión que simplemente quería borrar cualquier recuerdo de la antigua competencia…pero no lo voy a hacer). Aun así he de decirle desde mi pequeño púlpito público al cafre en cuestión que durante todos estos años me he acordado de su madre cada vez la Naturaleza me arrullaba con su llamada.

Crecí con su música y con su melodía principal. Mi madre la tenía constantemente sintonizada, y gracias a ella aprendí quiénes eran John Lennon, Nino Bravo o Adriano Celentano. Su moto, “La radio musical bien hecha”, era la descripción perfecta de aquella emisora. De ella saqué mis grabaciones, en aquellas cintas que grababa y regrababa una y otra vez, con canciones de Formula V, Linda Ronstadt, Francoise Hardy o the Four Tops. El 89.0 de la Frecuencia Modulada fue durante muchos años una pequeña máquina del tiempo con la que era posible disfrutar otra vez de Little Richard, Cecilia, Simon and Garfunkel, The Monkees, Abba, Albano, The Ramones o Los Brincos. Ininterrumpido, 7 días de la semana, 24 horas al día. Codex ManenssisHasta que a principios de los 90 al cafre de turno de la SER, tras comprar Antena 3, y probablemente después de una gran temporada de estreñimiento, vino a dar con la genial idea de juntar Radio 80 con Radio Minuto y crear el esperpento de M80.

Obviamente se cubrió de mierda.

El trono (y ahora me refiero al real, no al blanco de loza dónde se tenía que haber sentado, o mejor aún, haber metido la cabeza el iluminado de turno antes de venir a parir semejante idea…), el trono, como decía, que dejó Radio80 ha estado vacante durante todos estos años sin que ninguna otra emisora llegara siquiera a imitarla. Perdí totalmente la esperanza que de entre las patéticas fotocopias de las radio-formulas españolas saliera algo que rememorara, aunque fuera de lejos, mi añorada emisora.

La situación se tornó crítica cuando me fui a Alemania. Iluso de mí, llegue incluso a pensar que a lo mejor entre las emisoras bávaras había algo que mereciera la pena, una radio de oldies a lo USA… Craso error. Como diría aquel: from lost to the river. Algún día hablaré de la cultura musical alemana. Por ahora baste decir que la noción más cercana al termino “oldie” que la radio alemana ofrece es esto.

15 años más tarde de aquel fatídico antenicidio, hoy vuelvo a disfrutar de veras con la radio. Tuve que venir a los USA para que el botón de la radio sea una vez más esa puerta al pasado que una vez fue. Mi pequeña máquina del tiempo se llama “The new B97.3”, y es sencillamente maravillosa. Tan buena, que teniendo como tengo todos mis CD´s en algún lugar del Atlántico ahora mismo, no los echo de menos ni lo más mínimo. Desde por la mañana hasta por la tarde, siempre que puedo, dejo que Elvis, TRex, The Beattles, The Trogs, The Animals o Rod Stewart abran un claro entre las sempiternas nubes del Northwest. Le falta un poco de toque europeo, sobre todo canciones francesas, españolas e italianas…pero bueno, de vez en cuando dejan asomarse a Edith Piaf, Silvi Vartan, los Bravos o Celentano para matar el gusanillo europeo.

Y es que, mis queridos internautas, como diria Bob Seger: “There´s only one sure way to get me to go…start playing ol´ time Rock&Roll

PA.

Last Night in Munich

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

Codex Manenssis ‘ve felt a little bit weird the last couple of days, like in a permanent state of uneasiness, totally alert, restless and agitated but not necessarily excited like when you are looking forward to something. Nobody said that moving somewhere else was easy, and we definitely knew that when we decided to move from Germany to the US, but there have been a couple of small details that have made our move especially stressful –you know, I wouldn’t necessarily call it a relaxing situation when two days before stepping in the plane you haven’t signed your working contract yet.

So I just thought that the stress of those insignificant details of the delegation was kicking hard on me. But tonight, as we walked through the streets of Munich heading for a beer at the Hofbrauhaus, enjoying the possibility to say goodbye to the old city, I just knew that it wasn’t stress what I was feeling. At least, not entirely.

I’ve actually felt this way before, and it was the city lights around Marienplatz and along the Kaufingerstrasse that made me remember it. It was almost 8 years ago, also walking through the streets of a city at night. But at that time it was the city lights of Madrid the ones lighting my way, enjoying the wonderful walk from the Royal Palace to Callao, all along Princesa, Plaza de España and Gran Via. I was alone then, dealing with this weird feeling I haven’t been able to describe yet, lost in my deep thoughts about the plane I had to catch the next morning to go to Munich, and what that would lead my life to.

I was 23 years old then, and after spending all my life in Madrid and six tough years at the university, a six months internship at BMW in Munich sounded to me like the biggest adventure ever. Boy was I excited! I was heading for central Europe, but I might as well have been heading for a safari in the wild, far Africa. It did not matter that I spoke no German, that my English was patchy, that I was going all alone and knew nobody there, or that all the contact I had had with my future boss was a couple of lines in a few sketchy emails. I was determined to go and make it work. Eight years later, and regardless of all the things I had to leave behind in Madrid, I still think that it was of one the best decisions I could have made in my life.

But on top of all the excitement I felt there was this weird thing in my chest, this strange feeling made of curiosity and expectation, anxiety and fear, tension and enthusiasm, enjoyment and sadness, optimism and reluctance, self determination and cautioness… extremely motivating, almost addictive.

The six months turned into eight years. And of course I am no more that young man who got off in Reutkreuzplatz with three suitcases asking for direction to the nearest youth hostel. I mean… I just can’t be. Too many things have happed all through these years: the wild Erasmus parties at Studentenstadt in those first months, my German lessons, the great skiing weekends, the seven Oktoberfests, the hikes in the Alps, my two jobs, the trips all over Europe, the five different apartments where I’ve lived, the camping days in Italy, the two times Real Madrid beat Bayern Muenchen, the mus and pocha games in the old Spanish bar in the Turkenstrasse, the live World Cup (who cares about the score, right?), the Biergartens, the open water scuba diving lessons in Munich in February, Codex Manenssis the computer and roll games on those Sunday evenings, the tennis matches at Olympiazentrum, the five Blade Nights… And above all, the night in March when I met that cute, red-haired girl named Amanda… with the two weddings that came along afterwards. So, again, I am not the same guy that came to Munich eight years ago, but tonight I happen to find myself feeling pretty much the same way as on that night in Madrid, when all this was about to start and I couldn’t even imagine it.

I only wish this thing in my heart wasn’t a feeling, but the premonition that the next eight years are going to be as wonderful and exciting as the previous eight ones.

PA.