My major point of reference is, and has been for a long time now, Munich and it is the news from there that brought a smile to my face. The Bavarian government is trying to assert its independence from Berlin and have a little plebiscite on smoking in public places already, of course, knowing in advance the outcome of the vote. Still, there they were providing us with further evidence of their “mia san mia” or “Berlin can kiss our asses” mentality while simultaneously telling us all “Wir brauchen keine Opposition. Wir sind schon Demokraten” (we don’t need any opposition. We are already democrats). Still, the good news has to be 61% of those who voted are for a total ban on smoking in bars, cafes, beer tents, restaurants etc. Good news from a city with great cafes, excellent restaurants and bars, theatre, cabaret and opera.
For the next ten weeks I will be in Liverpool, a city where the cafes close at 7 pm, where you are either herded into pubs, chased off home or condemned to stuffing a 3,000 calorie Chinese buffet, an indigestible vindaloo curry, a deep-fried pizza or something edible but horribly expensive down your throat. Ooops and I almost forgot, there are the cinemas and you can always go for a walk in the rain. Manchester, of course, is a variation of the theme and they are really wondering why Robinho doesn’t want to come back from Brazil? Still, it is not all bad and Liverpool does have the no smoking in public places. What about a little plebiscite on cafes staying open until 11 pm?