Back Home

Yes, I’m back ! To be precise, I am back since Tuesday evening. I spent some days in Suebia, climbing on hills mountains, waiting, having an interview, and finally travelling back by train. In the evening I collected my car from the colleague who thankfully had stepped in for me on Monday & Tuesday, and Wednesday morning saw me driving again.
Sadly I had to hand my vehicle in on Wednesday morning because it is needed at another station, and on an interim basis I was given a German product – a real bad deal !
The thing is cramped, and quickly was nicknamed “Blechdose” / tin can by the boys. Some things are simply done without second thought (e.g. the hand brake lever is nearly unreachable when someone sits next to me !), while other stuff is over-engineered : It took me nearly twenty minutes to get my head around the basic settings of the ultra modern, fully electronic air con that was slowly freezing my head off. In the Ford you have three knobs to turn, and that’s it.
A real letdown is the absolutely insufficient adaptability of the interior. There is only one single seat, and I can put it in one place or remove it – cool. It is not possible to install this heavy thing somewhere else. Two-seater-banks can be put in, in three positions only – this is simply not enough, lacks necessary flexibility.
Thankfully this unprofessional tool is a) only rented, and b) only temporarily in use – I am promised my vehicle back next Tuesday.

After this short update about the actual Stand der Dinge here, I must ask you, venerated readers, for help.
As you may have learned over the years – if you had thankfully the patience to read this drivel for so long – I am interested in deceptions, impostors etc. For years I try to remember the name of someone about whom I read when I was still in school – maybe in the late seventies or early eighties. The man whose name I forgot is an impostor who tricked British journalists into paying him money for stories. He must have had his heyday in the sixties and seventies, his scam only worked in the days of the Cold War.
If I remember it correctly he would typically phone some journalist from a Swiss phone booth that stands next to the Soviet embassy, tell a shocking story, and set the trap up. He would creat an air of conspiracy, have the journalist travel, meetings would fail,  finally he’d cash in.
He did this not for “fun” or to transport some whatever political / artsy / trallala message, he did this for the benefit of his portemonnaie only, and it worked.
He formed a certain reputation over the years, and older British journalists had an expression for this, or for him, but I do not know the expression, and I forgot his name. As I remember he looked absolutely unremarkable, bowler hat, moustache, colours from I-don’t-know.
Does this ring a bell ? Can one of my venerated readers help me with this ?

14 thoughts on “Back Home

  1. No, Mr Mags, no bells are ringing, but I am intrigued as to who this imposter is. When was he active?
    Meanwhile, INTERVIEW!!!! When will you hear? I will cross my fingers for you, and possibly do a lucky silly walk ritual whilst chanting your name, it never fails.

  2. Dearest MsScarlet – “a lucky silly walk ritual” can never fail ! Thank you for this, what an image …
    As for “our man” – no, as I recall he is no “agent”, what would imply that he works for an agency. So his actions would be pointed towards a however vague political aim. He was an impostor, his aim was to fill his pockets. And he did so by successfully manipulating clever journalists into doing silly things and handing over cash for nothing.
    The bad thing is that I can not remember where I read about him (journal ? newspaper ?) so I have no idea how to (re-)locate the source of my memory. It is even possible that I saw a little feature on tv about him. The only ting I am pretty sure about is that I collected this little piece of information between 1978 and 1982 in German media.
    I read through wikipedia, scanned the articles about “impostors”, about disinformation etc. There is an artsy movement, but this guy was not “artsy”.
    Basically the whole train of thought(s) was started when I read that Mr Abel has died. But Alan Abel was a “professional” hoaxer, not a professional impostor.

    And there is always the Blechbüchsenarmee LẌ : Rolle roll roll !

  3. Welcome Back! I hope you get your regular car soon and have a good week. The mystery man you described sounds fascinating.

    Have a wonderful week and may you have great weather!

  4. Thank you Eroswings. As for the weather : All forecasts tell us that this midday the still lingering late summer will be blown out, fierce winds are expected, and then the temperature will drop dramatically, rain & thunder very likely. This seems to be a weekend that is best spent inside, on sofa & at the desk.

    Very good ! Seems very close Tim – btw I have never heared about this man before. Memory is tricky, of course – but do you know a similar person, just “a generation” earlier – ?
    Ryyan fits in, but if I understood it correctly, he started telling stories “seriously” in the late seventies, after his accident when he worked as stunt man. And he did not use this “clandestine” “air” I remember (and hopefully not just imagine).

    “Intruiging” is right, dearest MsScarlet

  5. I think David will understand, STECKDOSE LẌ !
    Today I was talking with the father of one of my boys, who (as it happens) is an automotive engineer (working for a company that is developing “artificial intelligence” for cars ; he once gave me the url of their homepage, and I found him there, but I can not explain what they are doing ; he’s something “senior” whatever, but a really nice and friendly man a little younger than me).
    He told me that this air con “frontend” (don’t know if this word is correct in this connection, or iof it should be called an “interface”) was developed by some leading tech enterprise here in Franconia, he was even vaguely involved. He seemed interested in what I had to say about this thing.
    I counted the (very small) switches, I think there are fifteen (!) of them, or even more ; one can regulate the air flow for the driver’s side, the co-driver’s side, and the back independently – and there is another, slightly simpler unit back in the roof. Frankly, it is overkill – as demonstraded today when my co-driver, who was sitting in the back, complained about the hot and stagnant air, while the whole apparatus was working in the front departement, but nothing arrived in the back with the low roof and the massive bench installed in front. All these switches in the roof she used, only blew cold air into the necks of the boy next to me and me, but nothing happened at her seat. And of course one can not open a window pane back there.
    I think this is a classic example for something absolutely over-engineered. In the end most people will let this whole apparatus do what it wants by leaving it in “auto mode”. I prefer the simpler approach in the Ford – you get in, get going and the pictograms on the (few !) dials explain themselves. This VAG-thing may be interesting, but I got this vehicle, and had to leave the yard fast because things were very busy : Working through the manual of 470 pages (in the usual softcover format !) was no real option.
    And do not ask about the thing earlier known as “radio” that today is called “media centre” ….

  6. You don’t get your car back until Tuesday? (sorry)

    I cannot help wth this imposter either but, like Ms Scarlet, I will cross my fingers for your interview results. I shan’t do the silly walk/dance as that usually only summons rain, and weve had quite enough of that.

  7. There’s nothing wrong with Tuesday in my humble opinion : Who needs some torpedoes anyway ? They’ll be delivered in time, no worries IDV !
    I think you already did your walk / dance routine, because in the course of this evening the temperature droped from high twenties to middle tens Celsius (circa 27° to 15°), and we have a nice rain here, one of those that “go through” – this does not “wet” your clothes, it soakes them, cold water all about ! Great ! I love it. You ever thought about Fernwirkung, dearest IDV ?
    And btw, thank you for the post about the “clips”STECKDOSE LẌ already published a nice & funny list – what a nice esxcitation, I’ll follow soon.

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