Deutsche Bahn Hate Stories
Slam poet, comedian and presenter Julius Fischer has written a book about what makes human beings so detestable. It all begins with a carrot – in a train compartment of Deutsche Bahn.
By Holger Moos
For anyone who has difficulty putting up with other people, train travel is hell. The background noise in a Deutsche Bahn train carriage alone can take many forms, offering ample potential for agitation. In Julius Fischer’s case, it isn’t loud business people on their phones or pensioners who are in everyone’s way or even screaming children who drive him crazy, but a traveller in his compartment who is noisily nibbling on a carrot. This experience leads to the realisation that provided the title for the book: Ich hasse Menschen [I hate people].
In line with the well-known principle “The path is the goal”, the book also lives up to its subtitle Eine Abschweifung [A digression]. For, while his train journey does take our traveller to a specific destination, on a more fundamental level it takes him everywhere, for example into his past: “Growing up in Dresden wasn’t easy. There were basically only three options: You either became a Nazi or a drug addict, or you moved away.”
Pegida, Ultras, MuslimsJulius Fischer moved to Dresden regardless. But neither Deutsche Bahn nor the past are letting go of him that easily. He remembers an acquaintance from his school days, Dynamo Dresden football ultra Enrico. Even though he would nicely fit the profile of the “concerned” citizens surrounding the Pegida Movement, Enrico thinks Pegida supporters are idiots who generally skedaddle when things get dicey. Nor does he have an issue with Muslims: “I don’t even belong to a church. And in principle, we ultras don’t have a problem with face coverings either.”
From Pegida and the ultras, it’s not far to age-appropriate eating habits: As twenty-year-olds, we can still eat cheeseburgers without thinking twice, at 25 we start going to brunches, whereas finger food with champagne “is one of those over-30s things.” Fischer’s misanthropy excludes almost nobody, he hates joggers, “the Porsche drivers amongst pedestrians”, students, pensioners, parents, children (since he doesn’t yet have any of his own) and many more.
In the final with Peggy from DresdenFischer ponders his early poetry slam years, when things were completely different from today, “where you can make millions with perfectly performed pop poetry.” Back in the day, he reached the final of a competition that he then – unfathomably, as far as he is concerned – lost against a certain Peggy from Dresden, who was presenting flower poems. However, her friends applauded as if Peggy had invented a cure for cancer, whereas his friends must have been doing coke in the toilets during voting.
Now Fischer is on his way to Cologne, which he detests just as much as he does his fellow human beings: “Everything about Cologne bothers me. The beer. The language. The cheerfulness. I’d rather get ripped off by a Berlin cab driver than go to a pub in Cologne.” In Cologne, he has a meeting with a literary agent who wants to market him as the funny fat guy – yet another fact that is unlikely to lower his hate level.
Seeing the funny side of misanthropyThe core of the book is made up of pieces from Fischer’s live readings, which he has been presenting for a few years now, exposing the shortcomings of his fellow human beings as well as his own. As Fischer mentions in his acknowledgements, it was his friend Marc-Uwe Kling who suggested connecting these separate pieces. But even Fischer’s thanks come with a healthy portion of misanthropic ingratitude: “It could have been so easy, thirty stories tossed together to make up the book […]. It would have been one day of work. Most likely with a similar result. But no, you came up with this idea, and bam, I was busy for six months. Dickhead!”
At any rate, Fischer’s digressions, linked by Deutsche Bahn, work well and prove that misanthropy is best taken with a grain of humour.
Julius Fischer: Ich hasse Menschen.Eine Abschweifung
Dresden: Voland & Quist, 2018. 160 S.
Hörbuch erschienen beim Audio Verlag (ISBN: 978-3-7424-0661-3)
You can find this title in our Onleihe.