|A chance encounter in the European Parliament shocked the author|
A short while ago, I was trying to recover from attending the Legal Affairs Committee, drying away the tears by spraying Deep Heat onto my face while reciting the names of the saints; Spinelli, Monnet and Schuman.
But I took a wrong turn somewhere on my way back to the press room. I noticed a corridor that looked slightly out of place, being more like the plush offices on the top floors, rather than the more functional below ground areas. I wandered down, playing the vaguely inquisitive journalist until I saw a door marked ‘Europarl TV Executive Director’.
Just as I was taking a sneaky photo of the sign, the door blasted open and slammed into me, knocking me to the ground. I picked myself up to see an elderly gentleman looking down at me. “Why are you here?” He barked at me in a German accent, “Why? Tell me, I demand to know.”
I stuttered an explanation that I was looking for the press room. This made him even angrier, “No! I asked, why are you here?” Feeling disorientated, I suggested “because of a great cosmic joke?” This seemed to delight him tremendously. He picked me up, embraced me like a long lost brother and said, “This is completely correct, I can see that you are my fellow conquistador, together we will discover great truths.”
This is how I started working for Werner Herzog at Europarl TV.
He explained that he had been brought in to Europarl TV, “I am not interested in politicians, I will only show the reactions of the audience, this is much more revealing. The soundtrack will be not words but a solo oboe. I have a real affection for the oboe, I was befriended by one as a child in Bavaria.”
We went to the Mickey Mouse bar, but Herzog stopped at the closed Hemicycle where he harangued a passing official with a monologue on the utter futility of all existence, a conclusion he drew from noticing the plenary chamber was closed for repairs.
It took some time before he fully appreciated that the poor official’s explanation, that the roof had collapsed, was not a metaphor but real.
Things didn’t improve when he bumped into Nigel Farage and insisted that he explain the meaning of ‘independence’ in “a complex, nightmarish universe where our fate can be in the hands of a random gamma ray burst that will extinguish all life,” or when we wandered into a meeting where he terrified the translators with his demand that “there are too many words” and the solution was to translate everything into Sumerian “and leave it at that.”
The only area where the Director was willing to show flexibility was press conferences, “I insist, most seriously, that those giving such ‘performances’ must be hypnotized, for this is how we can find the underlying truth.”
It’s best not to mention his assault on Joseph Daul because he had, in Herzog’s opinion “Kinski’s eyebrows,” nor his attempts to burn the Gym down on the grounds that “running machines are a pitiless, inhuman crime against the nature and the essential, unwinnable struggle that is the overwhelming sadness of human existence.”
He was last seen trying to enter the Parliamentarium with a dirigible.