belt tightening in an age of exorbitance

Having tea at the Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten
(Hotel Four Seasons)

I’ve got bad news for my readers. The funds have run dry. I do a lot of travelling, so this was bound to happen at some point.

My galavanting has led me down a destructive road. It’ll be resolved, but in the short term, I’ll have to be much more careful with money. Which is a shame if you think about it.

What does every vibrant economy need? People who spend. Spenders.

That’s me. When it comes to spending, I’m the 1%. I think about what I want and then I go earn what I need to get enough dosh to then buy that thing. It’s very economical.

If I don’t anymore want the thing I was saving for, I simply find another thing to spend my money on. Quite conveniently, I never have to search for long. There’s always something I suddenly realise I desperately need. Nearly always.

There’s a financial axiom that you should earn more than you spend. This is certainly my financial philosophy. Now it’s time for me to return to the frugal path.

No more tea at the Four Seasons in the near future.

the tea selection and the inviting fireplace

You say, ‘Let him eat cake‘? You mean cake like this?

a chocolate cake, that I made, and a cheesecake from my favourite bakery

No more trips to Nice for a while.

the roofs over the Niçoise

The funny thing is that as much as I’ve loved all of those trips, I have something even better than the little trinkets and t-shirts that most people buy while travelling. Even better than all of the photos I’ve taken.

I’ve got memories that can never be taken away. People often ask how I can afford to travel so much. Well, travelling’s not so expensive. It really isn’t. I’ll be in London and Manchester and Liverpool in a little over a week, and I’ll stay with friends, when I’m not with my mother oop north. It’ll be fine. I’ve got excellent friends.

So? My news.

I’m skint. It’s happened before. I’ll live.

Will it slow down my bon vivantery? I assure you: it will not.

 

Munich: the city of ‘We don’t need all of those newfangled things’

What an inviting message…yes, come to Munich

There was an intriguing article in the local paper last weekend, and I’m only just now getting round to talking about it. Sometimes I need a few days to decide if it’s even worth bothering you with.

Truly.

Not every idea is a gem. Aren’t there things you’ve done that, in retrospect, you probably would’ve reconsidered?

Well, I have an entire rucksack of those, but my suspicion is that you didn’t come here for my reject rucksack. That’ll have to wait for a slow day. These are anything but slow days. Quite the opposite, in fact.

For example, a week from Thursday the first print edition of The Munich Times is coming out. That means no matter how calm and collected I might appear here, I’m running ragged in my daily life. I have the same clients I normally do, and Ella and Louis, my sister and brother pair of Vizslas, need their daily trudge in the park. In addition to that, there’s the organising and cajoling I’m doing.

With whom am I doing all of that? With my colleagues at the paper.

That’s right: We’re starting a newspaper. In print. While everyone else is going digital, we’re betting that there’re still people that want to hold newsprint in their grubby little hands. I’ve heard all the arguments that we’re mad, and I’ve even strongly considered some of them. However, my heart is in this. Fully.

You want a taste of the sort of writing we offer? Well, here you go:

Chimpanzees: having a crack at culture (by Jane Marple)

Europe has to decide: cut or spend (by Michael Owens)

I personally have written on a variety of subjects, but I think the one I enjoyed the most was one of my first pieces for the newspaper:

St John Passion at the Matthäuskirche on Good Friday

And although England is now out of the European Championship, the writing about football is one of the best parts of The Munich Times, so here’s Chip off the old block (by Geoff Poulton)

You went and read every single one of those, right? You better have. You don’t want me to hand deliver the print edition to your doorstep, do you? I will, you know. Because, according to The Adventures of One Fancy World-Traveling Bon Vivant (with a jaunty hat), I’m the sort who just might do it. Show up and shove a copy into your waiting hands.

Can you even remember what I started this with? It was the article I read in the paper. For those of you who read German, here it is:

Hauptstadt der Selbstgefälligkeit: Warum München die Zukunft hinter sich hat

For the rest of you, the thrust of the article is that the citizens of Munich aren’t necessarily interested in progress for the mere sake of it. We’re a city that almost says, ‘We don’t need all of those newfangled things.‘ Not mindlessly, we don’t. Not  at all costs. No thank you.

Can you see where this is going?

What a perfect fit. A newspaper for a city that appreciates the traditional.

I’ve heard a statistic that a quarter of the Bavarian capital is foreign. That can’t be possible, can it? Not so traditional in that respect.

Yet in a way that plays to The Munich Times strengths even more so. It might not be the reader’s first language, but it’s very possible that English is more easily  understood than German. That’s certainly a part of who we’re aiming for.

We shall know soon enough. No need to fear: I’m taking you with me on this one. Something only a Bon Vivant would do. As is my wont.

introducing my London correspondent

that’s Nigel on the right (back when he lived in Munich)

My friend Nigel and I were chatting the other day. He was in London, and I was back home here in Munich. I was telling him about the Summer of Uke, which kicked off the other day at the Corso Leopold when Idleright played Mustard and a Piece of Bread. Then we found ourselves knee-deep in a discussion about idling.

So, we were talking about playing the ukulele and idling, and the logical place this conversation is going is to London. Not just London, but Nigel‘s neighbourhood there. You see, there’s a place for idling. Well, there are many places for idling. Shakespeare and Company in Paris. Or up in Aspen, Colorado there’s Explore Booksellers. Those’re excellent idling locations. As is the Orange Show in Houston, Texas. I could keep listing excellent places to idle, but the point of this is to introduce one place in particular that I’m very excited about. The one in London. Near Nigel.

The Idler

That’s right. It’s a place called The Idler. I’m going to go there. It’s on my list. As a travelling Bon Vivant, I’m sure I’ll be there sooner than any of us expect. But in the meantime, Nigel has offered to be my London correspondent. He’s going to the Idler Academy of Philosophy, Husbandry and Merriment in my name and writing about his encounters. There will be stories of Nigel doing as little as possible. He’ll ask some inappropriate questions while he’s there, and hopefully manage to get his photo taken. It’s all very official.

I think you’ll enjoy Nigel’s work. Especially because it won’t resemble work in any way, shape or form. As is the way of a true idler.