Things I learnt at Frankfurt 2016

screen-shot-2016-10-22-at-10-04-141. Adults cannot be trusted. With chewing gum. They won’t sell it anywhere at the Book Fair. The conclusion of the shop assistant at the front entrance: “It’s very sad that adults won’t put their used gum in the proper receptacles after they spit it out. That’s why we can’t sell it. It’s not allowed.”

2. The acoustics in the Schirn gallery are very bad even if the location is swanky. When you’ve shouted for 2 hours over the din of people shouting at each other, you end up hoarse in the morning.

3. When you tell a group of translators that you fell asleep on the ICE, woke up in a panic and left your laptop on the train, you will elicit more sympathy than if you told them a member of your family had died. As an antidote, quickly tell them that a nice man in Stuttgart at the Lost and Found has located it and is sending it back. And that he even asked how long you would be at the Book Fair, and whether he should wait until you’re back in Berlin. Tell them that that’s service. They will all revise their opinion of Deutsche Bahn, at least for an evening.

4. The chime for the doors closing on the Frankfurt underground is the same as the opening chords to Radiohead’s “Kid A”.

5. Check that your neighbour isn’t the head of publications of an important Berlin foundation before you go. It will save you both hailing each other on the smoker’s balcony with cries of “What are you doing here?” Don’t mention that his kids wake you up at an unearthly hour every morning during the week, and most weekends. Do tell him you will pop your business card in the letterbox.

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