Monday, May 15, 2006

Kim Hill, Being German, and National Radio, New Zealand ...

When I left New Zealand I gave up many things ... National Radio was one of those things. Last year a wistful online search offered up New Zealand National Radio on line. Not only that, they had archives.

Kim Hill has been New Zealand's queen of interviews for some years and I discovered that they store her Saturday morning show online for a month.

This morning I read an email from an old friend and he mentioned one of Kim's more recent interviews ... Was listening to your beloved Kim the other day on National Radio - she was interviewing an ex-pat kiwi (Joanne Moar) who has lived in Germany for the past 11 years. She's been trying to gain permanent residency all that time and still hasn't managed it despite jumping through all their hoops. (Sounds like German bureaucracy is even more impressive than the Belgian equivalent)

One thing she has found annoying is that she doesn't blend in to her adopted country (even though she speaks flawless German) because she doesn't have a German childhood - when she's with her German mates and they're all laughing about a book they had to read at school, comparing where they went for their summer holidays, singing their favourite childhood songs, or swapping tales about the experiences their grandparents had in the war etc etc.

She feels on the outside despite feeling totally German in pretty much all other respects. So she's developed a website where you can download a German childhood complete with all those memories you'd expect.

At Becoming German you can either donate your own memories if you grew up in Germany or download one if you're an import. You just enter your details age, gender, interests, etc and the database selects an appropriate "genuine" childhood for you so you can feel part of things when all your mates are reminiscing about their early years etc.

Although you don't quite get that impression from the website, she said in the interview that it was largely a tongue-in-cheek swipe at the German bureaucracy as an outlet to her frustrations re getting permanent residency.

Thought you might be interested.

I was, site duly noted ... and although that particular interview hasn't been archived I was delighted to find a 40 minute interview with one of my favourite New Zealand writers.

Jack Lasenby writes superb books for children, ones that the adult reader can enjoy whenever it's their turn to do the bedtime story stint in the evenings.

As a short story writer, Lasenby is unfailingly entertaining: Uncle Trev’s hilarious yarns about travelling asparagus beds, fast grass, and giant kauris with a view of the South Pole, from Uncle Trev (1991), Uncle Trev and the Great South Island Plan (1991) and Uncle Trev and the Treaty of Waitangi.

He's delicious.

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