Tuesday, 7 July 2009


Yesterday's post with its description of expansive Turkish family barbecues, along with Worm's comment, reminded me of a dispute that was ongoing in Berlin a few years ago when I used to visit regularly (T. was based there for a while).

This harmless Turkish pastime clashed with the Germans' similarly innocent penchant for unembarrassed and public naturism. Berlin's extensive parks, much used in the sweltering summer months, provided the cockpit for this contemporary Kulturkampf: games of volleyball played out against a back-drop of head-scarfed grannies slicing aubergines.

I imagine some accommodation was reached, perhaps a system of zoning. However, the story has proven memorable perhaps because it provoked simultaneously images of kebab skewers and pink German genitalia. Two things that should never be brought into conjunction.

Perhaps I've revealed a deep cultural anxiety, ripe for deconstruction. On the other hand, I'm not proud to admit that my sympathies rest, on balance, with the skewers rather than the sausages. The Turks have no monopoly on prudery.


worm said...

/shudder/ that gives me flashbacks of my time in germany - luckily in Bavaria they're not quite as allergic to clothes as those in Northern and Eastern Germany, but I have still seen my fair share of open-air wurst.

Its good that in Germany, two such clashing cultures seem to exist relatively peacefully (these days) I dont think people here would just get on with it in the way that they do

by the way - something that rankles many a patriotic english bingedrinker is that the kebabs in germany are much much better. The british have no monopoly on a full doner

Gaw said...

I'm not sure how peaceful the dispute was, or even if it was ever resolved. As to how such a dispute would play out over here I think that if some men got their kit off in a park they'd probably be stoned to death before things could proceed any further. By the natives, that is.

I never tried a German doner as I stopped eating doners about twenty years ago, for the usual reasons. The wurstl stands though are brilliant. I think they're one of the relatively few high points of German popular culture.

Brit said...

Beer and sausages, got to hand it to them, the Krauts have 'em nailed.

The nudity obsession, however, is insupportable.

Gadjo Dilo said...

When I was in Denmark nudism was very popular; rather than be prudish, the Turkish men (at least they looked Turkish) wandered around absent-mindedly looking this way and that - including, of course, large eyefuls of Scandic pulchritude.

worm said...

...and lets not forget, if you go to a proper turkish bath, the nudity is enforced and prolonged

Brit said...

Prolonged, worm? Dear me.