Apologies for the short hiatus in updates. Fear not, it wasn’t the result of a ban resulting from an inappropriate phonecall to an octogenarian, rather technical issues that served only to confirm my long-held belief that the human race should have called it a day at the abacus. Any further progress beyond that has been wholely unnecessary.
First up, due to the inexplicable AWOLness of Richard the Web Genius and hence the absence of any discernible clue on here that I’ve a new book out, I’ve put up a separate site dedicated to And Did Those Feet. At the moment it’s little more than the nitty and indeed gritty of the individual journeys themselves in case anyone is foolhardy enough to attempt them, but I’ll probably add some more pictures and stuff. I’ve listed the OS maps you’ll need and, where I can remember them, the places I stayed. I’ll be putting up the final couple of journeys today, and you can find the site here. A big thank you to my friend Kerry for making it look all snazzy and book-like.
In other news, I had a very nice review in the Irish Times last week, written by a proper academic historian. After the first paragraph I continued reading through my fingers from behind the sofa, but it turned out a very nice, very fair-minded review. This Saturday I’m due to have a big piece about the Welsh walk go into the Guardian travel section.
The other night I finally got around to watching The Lives Of Others, about life under and in the Stasi during the mid-eighties. What a fantastic film. The final scene actually had me in tears.
It reminded me of when I was filming for the Holiday programme in Leipzig. We had a local fxer called Tomas, a lovely, great big bear of guy. We went and did some filming in the Stasi Museum there, which is housed in Leipzig’s old Stasi headquarters. We all piled out of the van and the sound and camera guys hurtled up the steps with the director close behind. I noticed Tomas was hanging back a little, and asked if he was all right. He looked frankly terrified.
“This building, it has so many memories,” he said, “I was so scared of what went on behind those doors”. It was nearly twenty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, yet the very sight of a set of concrete steps and austere pair of doors still frightened the bejaysus out of Tomas.
I asked him whether he’d seen his Stasi file, which are now open to the public to examine. “No,” he said, ” and I never will. I don’t want to know which of my friends were informing on me.”
I was a teenager when the wall came down, but it’s still amazing to think that something like that could have happened in my lifetime. And not that far away either.