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New Europe

Day One Hundred and Seventeen: Dresden to Meissen

Meissen's Duravit factory 
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Looking into it. State of the art lavatory production line at Meissen.
Michael Palin - New EuropeShe concedes that this may be because of strong women, which backs up what I've heard about it being more of a female emancipation issue. Whatever. In polite German society it's now something of an insult to be a Stehpinkler in a world of Sitzpinklers.

And when you think about it, it is less selfish than spraying the surrounding floor. Who knows, this conversation could be something that changes my life in the way visiting Japan stopped me from using pocket handkerchiefs to wipe my nose. And put the filth back in the pocket? Disgusting. (I now always use tissues. Thank you, Japan.)

Nowhere seems very far from anywhere else in Germany, thanks to the fast and ubiquitous autobahns, and we're in Leipzig in time to catch an evening show at the Academixer, one of the many satirical cabaret clubs in this big working city, which at first glance is dowdier than Dresden, but seems a lot more lively.

It was here, in October 1989, that the first unauthorised protests against the GDR took place, which led, with startling rapidity, to what became known as the 'Peaceful Revolution', what they now call 'die Wende', the turning point, and led, within a year, to the reunification of Germany.

Gunter Böhnke is an actor and comedian who was one of those who closely watched Leipzig's transition from GDR to Bundesrepublik, and he's asked me along to his club for 'Seventies Night', a nostalgic look back at what made them laugh in the good old days of the police state.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: New Europe
  • Chapter: Day One Hundred and Seventeen: Dresden to Meissen
  • Country/sea: Germany
  • Place: Meissen
  • Book page no: 271

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