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December 2005

Oh No They Didn’t...?

... a look back at the bizarre year

There’s nothing like a pantomime to fuel festive spirit. And, as we were all feeling rather Christmassy here at MUNICH FOUND, and not in the mood for the sort of sniping and bloody-minded opinion slinging you may occasionally find on this page, we decided to devote this issue’s “Last Word” to that most fascinating of pantomimes—real life. And what a year it’s been…

Every panto needs a plot and a great dame. And, one story that looked as if it was going to provide both was the murder of Munich’s fashion tsar, Rudolf Moshammer. It had glamour, sex, jewels, toupees, money, a Grünwald villa, a telephone cable—the perfect ingredients, in fact, for a tabloid frenzy. But, just as the press were hyping themselves up for months of speculation and gory revelations, the Polizei stepped in and spoiled their fun by arresting a suspect just days later. Still, the press had to milk this one somehow—so they chose to dwell on the city’s loss, describing Mosi’s death as “A Catastrophe for Munich.” For days, the front pages were dominated by a Yorkshire Terrier as Mosi’s beloved Daisy enjoyed the sort of publicity normally reserved for the likes of Posh ’n’ Becks. And Bild even published an 8-page pullout on the day of the funeral. Meanwhile, the e-bay bidding wars for Mosi memorabilia took off, with one punter paying € 20 for a slice of toast with the guy’s face imprinted in it. Even Nymphenburger Porzellan pro-duced a porcelain version of Daisy. Get that on your Christmas lists!

And speaking of must-have memorabilia, let’s fast forward a few months to the Lions. Regular readers of this publication will know our stance on the creatures that have defiled a perfectly attractive city center. But even those of you who wrote to us showing your support for the beasts surely wouldn’t have considered doing as one e-bay bidder did when he paid € 16,000 for one painted by Paris Hilton, would you?

While we’re on the subject of no-hope projects (and we’re not referring to Ms. Hilton), there was a similar clamor for leftovers from the city’s garden show, BUGA. (Or at least it would have been a garden show, had organizers not forgotten to plant some flowers.) In October, once the event was over, folks went wild to get their hands on items including giant urns, umbrellas or garden seats. It’s just a pity they didn’t show the same enthusiasm for the show, which was declared a “Mega Flop” by the local press.

Meanwhile, we were all waiting with bated breath for the opening of another much-hyped attraction—the Schrannenhalle. We waited, and waited and waited—and then we decided we didn’t really think much of it after all. One construction, which did come in for landing on time was the space-ship-like Allianz Arena. But there was no fun to be had by the press on this one, as the stadium’s media officers put out an immediate notice, warning journalists not to refer to the construction as an airbed or a dinghy. Touchy.

Speaking of bizarre orders, there was almost revolution in Munich when the EU mooted a ruling whereby employers would be responsible for protecting employees from the sun. In Bavarian terms, this translated into an assumption that the bureaucrats in Brussels would soon ban waitresses from wearing low-cut dirndls in beer gardens. What, no boobs? (Strangely enough, there was less of an outcry at the thought that the streets could soon be emptied of builders’ bums.) But the folk needn’t have worried. Munich’s mayor Christian Ude stepped in, reassuring the world that cleavage was safe. Every panto needs its hero.

But where there’s a hero, there’s also a baddie. Yes, the powers that be decided people were simply having too much fun at the Oktoberfest. So they introduced new rulings whereby the bands were prevented from playing music that would excite the crowds in an attempt to make the whole thing less rowdy. The British Daily Mirror chose to sum up this story with a one-liner: “Organizers of the world’s biggest beer festival have asked revellers not to get drunk.” As ever, this year’s festival provided a series of cracking headlines, including “Ouch! Farmer injured by flying Schweinshaxe.”

Pigs might fly? There have been stranger things. Take, for example, the company founded to offer package holidays to Munich for teddy bears. The trip costs just € 99 and teddy owners are required to tell tour guides in advance whether their bear enjoys Weisswurst and at what time they like to go to bed. “Many of our customers are even more mad than we are,” said company founder Christopher Böhm.

But it wasn’t just our cuddly companions who discovered the delights of Munich this year. The city also saw a big increase in visitors from Arabia. To make their new guests feel at home, the city’s Holiday Inn was even reported to have set up tents in their rooms.

And finally, a panto wouldn’t be a panto without a few bangs, flashes and things going up in smoke. Enter the city bartender, who conjured up a cocktail so potent that it exploded in a waitress’s face. Not a pretty sight, but one that didn’t stop other wags from queuing up to order the same. Oh no they didn’t? Oh yes they did. Here’s to a sane 2006.

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