Category

Call Me Adam

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Racer Genes

The Tomcat strikes back.

I am officially coming out as a vintage car freak – yes, I have succumbed to my passion for classic vehicles. The feeling when the adrenaline that has accumulated during the day on Tuscany’s winding roads gives way to well-earned fatigue in the evening is priceless. I am quite simply a tomcat with petrol in my veins.
But, if there is one thing that gives me even more pleasure than winding up an alpine pass in a vintage car or cruising to Trieste for an espresso, it is polishing the exquisite fireball beforehand. The way it looks, the way it feels, the smell of leather, petrol and testosterone. Every screw, every eyelet and every leather thong gets its attentive loving care and pampering.
Fortunately the garage of our upper-class villa is amply equipped with well-maintained racing cars, because Adam, my can opener, also harbours a deep passion for classic cars. One fact that restricts our harmonious life together somewhat is that they belong to him and he is only on rare occasions prepared to swap the driver’s seat with me! This is a little unsettling if it is your dream to take part in a classic rally.
I repeatedly resort to tricks to keep him away from the garage. Fictitious appointments and dates are the more harmless traps that I have set for him just to get free passage.
Last Saturday morning the following happened: Adam came into the kitchen whistling and while he was making himself an espresso, explained verbosely that the vintage car rally that had been planned for six months would not be happening for me. After careful consideration he had decided to share this irretrievable experience with his latest love interest, as she been more than keen to go.
After a brief shock-induced paralysis, I shuffled slowly to my cushion at the window, draped myself with my back to him and prepared for a counter attack. In a quiet voice I explained to him that I completely understood his decision, as she had really earned the chance to go out with him and sniff the rally air. I was also completely aware that I would only disturb their time together as a couple. What can I say; he could not believe his luck. He had obviously expected more resistance. He quickly gulped his espresso down and shot off to pack.
While he stowed his luggage, I pinched his mobile and wallet with the identity documents out of the glove compartment, sent an iMessage to his current sweetheart and cancelled the weekend. Immediately after that I used the alarm system with a direct link to the police to trigger a silent alarm. Then I phoned the police emergency number 117, pretended I was a neighbour and reported that in the house opposite a strange man had just driven out of the garage in a wickedly expensive vintage car, although the house owner was away on a trip for the weekend. Just to be on the safe side I gave them the model and number plate of the cheeky thief. Then I removed the battery from Adam‘s mobile, threw it into a flower vase and put the telephone back in its place.
When Adam left a short while later, I waved goodbye to him from the window with a smile. I counted to 100, drank a perfect espresso and got into my favourite convertible with my travel bag.
At the second set of traffic lights there was a large contingent of police and in the middle of them Adam, completely distraught and undergoing a body search. I wondered briefly how he was going to identify himself and who else could identify him, but then I stowed my sentimentality in the glove compartment and drove past the scene without any sense of regret heading for a wonderful weekend and an unfulfilled dream on four wheels!

Copyrights: Manuela Dona

The great prince

PROFESSION: RACING DRIVER.

If you have not heard of Karl Wendlinger, please rest assured that is quite typical. The Austrian Racing Driver began his career over 30 years ago, proving exceptionally talented. And exceptionally silent. He never made a big fuss about himself.  That is really too bad. May we introduce: Karl Wendlinger. A modern driver and gentleman.

Flashback. Amused chuckling from my male colleagues: «You want to interview Karl Wendlinger? Good luck.» What the gentlemen of the press were trying to tell me almost 30 years ago in their own covert way was that trying to interview the promising pilot was like trying to get blood out of a stone. A difficult case. However, I ventured out on my long journey at the time in November 1989 to meet Karl Wendlinger in Macao, where he was taking part in a Formula 3 Championship, a city circuit, of which Niki Lauda, fellow countryman of my interview partner, had once said it was comparable to «navigating a submarine in a bathtub». Karl drove at that time for the RSM Marko Team (backed by Dr. Helmut Marko, who today advises the Red Bull Formula 1 Team and is responsible for driver training) with a Formula 3 racing car sporting an Alfa Romeo engine. Other famous names from the motorsport future were present in the starting field: Mika Häkkinen, Alessandro Zanardi, Gianni Morbidelli, Bertrand Gachot, Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Michael Schumacher. No one, including Karl, managed to complete the race in the narrow streets of the Portuguese enclave. Wendlinger still became German Champion of the Formula 3 that season thanks to his previous excellent results. Wendlinger. Not Frentzen, who was 2nd. And not Schumacher, who came 3rd.

AUSTRIAN CONNECTIONS

The interview was to become one of the most impressive of my entire journalistic career. I met a thoroughly relaxed 21 year-old, who was completely cool about the hype surrounding him. Blood out of a stone? You just had to ask the right questions. The sportsman entitled «Crown Prince Karl» and the «new Lauda» (for the chroniclers: Niki Lauda is an Austrian motorsport racer, three times F1 World Champion, ending his active driving career in 1985. He owns 10 percent of the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team. The soon to be 70 year-old is currently recovering from a lung transplantation, necessary due to the long-term effects of his horrific crash in 1976 on the Nürburgring, in which he almost burned to death in his car and inhaled masses of toxic vapours) talked willingly of his childhood, his life, his worlds, his dreams. Of how his mother, Traudi, knew at the latest from when «the four year old boy crashed against the garage door on his first motorbike and flew through the pane» that he was unstoppable. His parents had a garage at the time, father Karl Senior was a racing driver himself for 20 years; like father like son. At the age of 15 Karl Junior got his first kart, drove in the POP junior class, became the South German Kart Junior Champion in 1984 and in 1986 Austrian vice Champion. A talent that did not go unnoticed to the Austrian Dr. Marko, who had previously taken part in Formula 1 and had a hotel in Graz. In conjunction with Formula 1 pilot Gerhard Berger, also Austrian, who provided his young friend with tips, he helped to accelerate Karl’s career.

SPEED SCHOOL

The development programme included a test contract with the Mercedes L-Team, as it was called at the time; three young talented pilots were teamed up with three old hands in the World Sportscar Championship Group C by the Swiss motor sport specialist, Peter Sauber. Karl‘s colleagues: Fritz Kreuzpointner and Michael Schumacher. The «teacher»: motorsport legend Jochen Mass. From this point on his career progressed rapidly, the experiment in Group C was successful, Wendlinger even won a World Sportscar Championship race in Spa in 1990. The quiet guy attracted attention, the following year he won again and prepared for the Formula 1; by the end of the season in 1991 he had driven in his debut for the Leyton House Team at the Grand Prix in Japan.

LIFE AS A RACING DRIVER

Cut. Late summer 2018. It somehow should not be taken for granted that Karl Wendlinger is standing in front of me in Arosa at the Arosa Classic Car Event. In 1994 he had a serious accident when training for the Formula 1 race in Monaco. On a racing weekend that proved from the outset anything but par for the course. The Friday before at the F1 Racing weekend in Imola, the Brazilian Rubens Barricello had a huge accident from which he miraculously survived with only minor injuries. On the training Saturday during the day Roland Ratzenberger, Karl’s fellow countryman, was killed in an accident and during the race itself Ayrton Senna. Also fatally. The entire Formula 1 Circus was still under shock eleven days later in Monaco and had to witness how Karl Wendlinger smashed into a barrier with his Sauber Formula 1 racing car. The one who always thought «Nothing will happen to me!» survived the accident but was placed under artificial coma due to extensive brain damage. In retrospect he reflects that his return to normal life was slow. Karl himself was the epitome of impatience. In the same way that being propelled through the garage window at his home could not stop him, he only wanted one thing now: To get back in his car as quickly as possible. «To the outside world it was nonsense», Wendlinger recaps today, «in June, only a few weeks after the accident, I was unable to recognize my parents and in September I was sitting back behind the wheel of the racing car.» Expert therapists, notably Professor Willi Dungl († 2002) did a great job; since then Karl has been dutifully performing his fitness programme, he did not used to be fond of sport. His team had kept their restless colleague’s place free in the racing car. «But my concentration was poor in 1995», Karl Wendlinger admits today. And his team colleague in the Sauber Mercedes Formula 1 team, Heinz Harald Frentzen, drove the better lap times. On top of that, the fully grown Wendlinger had a weight disadvantage compared to the smaller Frentzen. His Formula 1 career came to an end and Karl switched to touring cars. «In 1997 I was able to retrieve my full potential », says Karl Wendlinger, that is over 20 years ago now. Years, in which he drove in different motorsport championships on an international scale. Years, in which he also married his long-term girlfriend Sophie and had two children;, his son is 18 years old today, his daughter 21 years old. The younger Wendlinger generation does not have the racing gene, but their father supports them in everything they want to do. «As my parents supported me», it’s that simple. In the son’s case that’s football, Jonas Wendlinger plays for the 1st FC Nuremberg in the German under 19s team.

AMBASSADOR AND GENTLEMAN

Karl Wendlinger is talkative here in Arosa, no comparison to the restrained junior he was almost 30 years ago. He tells about his parents’ business, that he has now taken over the garage in Kufstein and still lives there. He travels as brand ambassador for IWC, pilots a Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gullwing for the IWC Racing Team, however he is not a team member, not yet, he is practically on loan, and he has a contract with AMG Mercedes. This type of event includes taxi journeys, a select few get the chance to drive off with Karl Wendlinger in the unique Gullwing along 
7 kilometre long mountain racing circuits. The weather is poor, it is switching between snow and rain, although it is the end of the summer, «Karli» as his fans like to call him, doesn’t care. Motorsport is his vocation; he never wanted to do anything else. Do you not start to have doubts after such a horrific crash? «Everybody has their own path and it is set in stone», Karl Wendlinger attempts to explain and folds his 1.85 metres elegantly into the silvery Mercedes-Benz vintage car. «But you can shape a positive future.» Which he has, without a doubt, achieved.

FOLLOW KARL WENDLINGER ON INSTAGRAM: @KARLWENDLINGER

Photos Copyrights: © Dörte Welti, Pauli Mathieu Bonnevie, Dörte Welti, Pauli

Specification for the SL Mercedes-Benz 300 SL «Gullwing»

Year of construction: 1955
Engine output: 215 PS
Four speed manual gearbox
The car (and its sister model) is elaborately prepared by HK-Engineering in Polling (D) for the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center.

Side Notes

There are only two square national flags in the world: 

The flags of Switzerland and the Vatican.

Helvetica, one of the most popular fonts in the world, was developed in 1957 by the graphic designer Max Miedinger in conjunction with Eduard Hoffmann, the managing director of the Haas Type Foundry in Münchenstein near Basel.

Helvetica, one of the most popular fonts in the world, was developed in 1957 in Münchenstein near Basel.

The highest peak in Switzerland, the Dufourspitze, lies 4634 metres above sea level. The lowest point in Switzerland is on Lago Maggiore, only 195 metres above sea level and only 70 kilometres from the Dufourspitze.

The 1000 franc bank note has the highest monetary note value in the world!

Swiss cannabis consumption is one of the highest in the world: 

It is estimated that approximately 60,000 potheads smoke around 100 tonnes of hashish and marijuana annually.  

Roughly 70%  of Switzerland consists of mountains. 208 of these are over 3000 metres high,  24  over 4000 metres.

Albert Einstein was working at the patent office in Bern, when he published his theory of relativity.

In 2012, 18 Swiss chocolate manufacturers produced 172,376 tonnes of chocolate. Apparently the average Swiss person makes their way through roughly ten kilos of chocolate per year; double that of the average American with 5.3 kilos.

The Dalai Lama owns the smallest vineyard in the world –La Vigne à Farinet in Wallis –, which is 1.67 square metres in size and has three vines.

Photos Copyrights: Manuela Dona, Shutterstock/billdayone

It’s about Zeitz!

Fortunately the number of high-ranking managers and ceos that are actively involved in looking after our planet, the only one we have, and not simply talking about what has to be done is on the increase. However the versatility and consistency of Jochen Zeitz’ commitment is rather unique. Four years ago our author Dörte Welti interviewed him for the first time on his intentions, now she followed up on his progress.

Jochen Zeitz, four years ago we spoke about the fact that in the future companies should in general present an ecological assessment. Here is your statement again on how we should envisage it:

Jochen Zeitz: Up to the point when a product comes onto the market and is ultimately bought and used by the consumer, the manufacturer requires water, uses land, air and produces waste and pollutants such as carbon dioxide (Co2). These elements have to be set at a measurable ratio and transparently measured with a monetary value. Taken together these values give us an ecological assessment, with the same basis for everyone and which can be accounted for at the end of the year, similar to the financial figures. The Environmental Profit & Loss account (EP&L account) in Euros and cents, as it were.

In our conversation four years ago you expressed that it may be possible to introduce a standard that should be legally consolidated as far as possible. What has become of that wish?

There has been progress within the scope of what is possible, but also setbacks, standardization has to take place through political means and at the moment there is little movement in this direction. We also notice in our work that people are incredibly focused on themselves. In general we primarily think of what changes in behaviour or radical measures mean for us, before we think about the rest of the world.

That sounds somewhat disenchanted…

No, not at all, I look to the future and not the past, major cultural changes always take time. Four years ago I said that I hope our generation still experiences companies accepting the responsibility for their actions before the world runs out of air. It is important that we do not wait until something happens, we have to act quickly. Time does not stand still, we have to really live the term “live consciously”, and the environment is changing more and more rapidly. I am still convinced of what I do and how I am doing it. I think that is how something can be achieved, when you act with complete conviction and positive drive, always looking to the future and seeing what is possible.

NATURE IS OUR CAPITAL, WE JUST HAVE TO MEASURE IT EXACTLY AS WE DO WITH OTHER VALUES IN COMPANIES.

Do you have to revise your wishes and plans from four years ago?

In part. We have not yet managed to define a uniform standard for the EP&L, which was my hope for 2020. But at least a number of companies submit their own environmental assessment today. There are organisations such as WBCDS* or SDG**, which view and integrate business today as an integral component for the solution of the major problems on planet earth. The climate treaty is also being implemented internationally and even Donald Trump will not be able to change that, as a number of states within the USA continue to consistently follow the right path.

But the ecological assessment is not only a subject for larger companies; it should also be viable for every SME and smaller businesses. Can you explain to us how that can work exactly?

By introducing measurable values both in quality and quantity for the elements, which we all use, regardless of whether we produce shoes, cars or sweets. It’s a good thing that we are thinking of ecological balance at all and that everybody initially acts as they think. In the course of time we can then find out what is important and what is not that important. What could also happen is that a company discovers that production does not work with a new supply chain under 
ecological conditions. If, for example, I am a manufacturer, who uses too much water at one point, then I have to take this as a starting point to change something. Smaller companies can take the initiative from the experience of larger companies, it’s not necessary to reinvent the wheel each time. If it is not measured, in numbers and values, it cannot be managed or may be amended at the wrong point. Then ecological balance remains an abstract term. Nature is our asset, we have to measure it exactly the same as we do other values in the company. It is not enough to love nature, that does not solve the problems we have created.

Why did you stop being an active board member of Kering? It is exactly the kind of luxury brand that can act as a role model and have a pull effect on others and primarily on customers to herald a rethink?

One of the Kering board premises is to have 50:50 parity. If women join, men leave the ship so to speak, the time was up for me and two other colleagues. I hope that others follow in the footsteps of Kering as a forerunner.

And now, with a family – will your scope of activities change?

I will continue to consciously spend every day possible with my family and live as consciously as possible. Processes are accelerating at an incredible pace due to constantly changing technology. And there are more people in the world, who of course bring their own problems into the equation. The cultural shift has not advanced as fast as the technological, there’s still a lot of work to be done. In practical terms that means for me, Segera, the Zeitz MOCAA, The Long Run, the B Team and my diverse board activities in the company and other Not for Profits.
“Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something”, to quote a friend of mine (Johann Ernst Nilson).
I endorse that sentiment. I do as much as possible with the aim of creating a positive contribution in the long term. 

There are countless ways to support the institutions and organisations that concern Jochen Zeitz, or at least to follow them. Here is a short selection of the websites that are worth a look:

www.zeitzfoundation.org
www.segera.com
https://zeitzmocaa.museum
www.thelongrun.org
www.bteam.org

*WBCDS is a global, CEO-led organization of over 200 leading businesses working together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world.

**SDG stands for Sustainable Development Goals.▪

Vision: Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce are the four Cs and cornerstones of the Segera that opened in 2012. Jochen Zeitz is convinced that sustainability is guaranteed when all four Cs are in unison.

JOCHEN ZEITZ – BIOGRAPHY

It is impossible to condense such a fully packed life into a short list. So here are simply some of the publically known, most important stations.
Jochen Zeitz was born in Germany. He studied International Marketing and Finance in Germany, France and the USA, completed his Bachelor in 1986 at the European Business School. At the age of 30 he took over the Puma company as chairman and CEO, the youngest CEO in Germany at the time, and led the sports article company into continued success for 18 years. Subsequently Jochen Zeitz held a position as board member of Kering (parent company of diverse luxury brands such as e.g. Gucci), managed the Sustainability Programme and developed the EP & L, the Environmental Profit & Loss Account. He founded the Zeitz Foundation and the Long Run-Initiative, in 2012 he opened the Segera Retreat in Kenya. In 2013 Jochen Zeitz founded The B Team together with Sir Richard Branson and a number of top-business people from all over the world. He is currently a Board Member of Cranemere and Harley Davidson, the latter has just extended their product range with electrically powered motorbikes. In 2013 the construction of Zeitz MOCAA began, the world’s largest and first museum for contemporary African art in Cape town in South Africa, the opening was at the end of 2017 (Patrons include Robert Redford, Morgan Freeman, and the recently deceased Kofi Annan). The list of organisations, which he supports is extremely long, he has written books and won diverse awards. Jochen Zeitz travels a lot, lives with his wife Kate Garwood and kids in Kenya, England and the USA. ▪

Co-Author: Jochen Zeitz wrote this successful book in 2014 with B Team Advisor John Elkington. Publisher: Wiley.

Photos Copyrights: Wianelle Briers, Crookes and Jackson, MOCAA

Fashion from the heart

It is actually ten years ago: on June 1, 2008, fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent died. His creations are sheer esteem for the woman, admiration that has become fabricated, and the expression of deep insights into secret fantasies. An Overture.

He is a bit of an artist, Yves Mathieu-Saint-Laurent is quoted as having said of himself, but when he gives it some more thought, not only a bit. These little anecdote* is perhaps the most honest statement we can nd about the designer born in Oran, Algeria. Yves grew up amongst women, with two sisters, mother and grandmother; the lanky youth discovered en passant the sen- sual world of fashion magazines, fragrances, rustling materials and opulent colours at an early age. his father was an insurance clerk, both parents’ descendants of ancestors from Alsace- Lorraine who had ed to Algeria. One can only imagine how the boy grew up in a mixture of conventions and the anticipation of a dazzling world. he was gifted in art, adored christian Dior, loved to draw and remarkably, he was allowed to move to Paris at the age of 17 to train as a fashion and stage illustrator in the chambre Syndicale, the heart of the French couture scene.

This «move», as one would refer to it in today’s business world, took on consequences at a breath-taking speed. In the first year, the student submitted fashion illustrations to the only international competition at the time that the industry had on offer, the fashion prize for International wool secretariat**. He received respectable recognition; in the following year, Yves Mathieu-Saint-Laurent won the first and third prize, in second place another genius, who continues to fascinate the fashion world until the present day: the German Karl Otto Lagerfeld. A dream comes true for the young French man: he can work for Christian Dior; the fashion star in the prime of his life takes the young man under his swing as his assistant. Yves is 21 years old when the Grand Monsieur dies at the age of only 52 and he is appointed successor and consequently creative Director of the fashion house.

The strange foreigner from Oran gets started. With caution, he becomes a master of subtle sensations. Initially he follows the famous Dior line, proving his respect and loyalty to his mentor, by dutifully designing the new collections in his style. however, he quickly breaks new ground with his own ideas; the first designs reated are far from the Dior models to date and Dior refrains from further collaboration. No big deal for the handsome man, who has formed a partnership with Pierre Bergé, with whom he initially experiences an intimate private relationship and then for the rest of his life the perfect symbiosis between intellectual and professional life. In 1961, the duo founded Yves Saint Laurent, the fashion label, which still exists today. YSL could just as easily have become MSL, in early designs Yves Mathieu-Saint-Laurent liked to explicitly emphasise the initial letters of his noble surname. Yves Saint Laurent played with gender roles; his first dinner jacket for women in 1966 was legendary.

At the same time, he elevated women to the status of goddess creations in his artistic promenade and photo stagings, worked simultaneously on theatre productions and as such created the perfect mix between stage, drama, dream and real fashion. YSL was revolutionary, provocative, without being obscene, even scantily clad women always remained inconceivably elegant. The most stunning stars wore the label, women, who were so unapproachable and still vulnerable resembled the maestro himself. Bianca Jagger, the cool Catherine Deneuve, Marisa Berenson become his muses, in more recent times it was icons such as Carla Bruni and Kate Moss, who stood for rebellious elegance. Unforgettable the Rive Gauche line, which astounded the established scene from the middle of the 60s, because the revolutionary had the courage to launch ready to wear fashion next to Haute Couture. he wanted to give women selfconfidence and to support them, not only adorn them, as Saint-Laurent said himself. Mission accomplished.

Yves Saint Laurent was, by the way, one of the leading couturiers, who to a large extent trusted exquisite Swiss fabric for his collections. The Zurich silk company Abraham, and in particular the head designer Gustav Zumsteg, had a very close bond with Yves Saint-Laurent as both a friend and designer. Zumsteg, who also designed for Dior, met the newcomer on the occasion of Christian Dior’s funeral. The cooperation between Zumsteg and Saint Laurent became intense, the fabric designer and couturier inspired and admired each other. Zumsteg and Saint-Laurent shared their love of art; the fashion designer liked to stage his models in a splendid art ambiance and included references to famous artists in his fashion. The fabrics were designed by the enthusiastic art collector Zumsteg, who was also inspired by milestones in art.***

A cloud of tragedy hung over the life of the couturier Saint-Laurent, despite all the success and the love expressed by beautiful people for him and his works, he somehow appeared lost. In 2002 he staged his departure from the catwalk with a gigantic promenade in the centre Pompidou in Paris, 2000 guests paid their respects to the obviously exhausted man; the A-List of the top models presented the milestones of the trends he had created: Dinner jacket, jumpsuit, safari-look, Russian style, china look, the transparent blouse and lots more.

In the same year the Foundation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent was founded, with the aim of preserving and promoting the life’s work of the master. Even today, ten years after his death, 60 years after his first collection in 1958, you change when you put on a YSL suit, dress or even just a pencil skirt. Somehow you stretch to your
full height, become more proud, get a sublime feeling. You can be certain that you are well dressed, an awareness that is really only inherent in very few creations these days. And maybe there is a very simple explanation, a quote from Monsieur Laurent himself: «The most beautiful pieces of clothing for a woman are the arms of the man she loves. For those, who do not have this pleasure, I am there.»

Love in the stitches. Those who own fashion designed by the exceptional talent from his active period can count themselves lucky; sometimes you can come across a well-kept piece in a luxury vintage shop. A piece of self confidence to wear. Try it out.

P.S.: A visit to the Yves Saint Laurent museums in Paris and Marrakech is a must. Pierre Bergé, who survived his great love by 9 1⁄2 years, managed to perfectly stage the life’s work of Yves Mathieu-Saint-Laurent. Unfair that he did not get to experience the opening in Morocco himself, he died three weeks before. The tragedy never ceased.

www.museeyslparis.com

*Source: All about Yves from Catherine Örmen, a beautiful, ela- borately designed book, edited by the foundation Pierre Bergé Yves Saint Laurent. Publisher www.laurenceking.com

** The International wool secretariat IWS was founded in 1937 and is based in London, to give the worldwide-distributed wool producers the chance to market and certify their products together. Today the association is called The Woolmark Company, belongs to the Australian Wool Innovation, supports local offices throughout the world and still tenders a coveted fashion and innovation prize, the International Woolmark Prize.

*** outstanding examples: The YSL foulards. The Swiss Tex- tile Collection STC is currently dedicating an exhibition in their Schaulager in Murg to the designs by an employee from the Abraham company, who worked for Gustav Zumsteg and designed over 1000 foulards. 250 wonderful exhibits, framed by the fashion of the master from the archived Haute Couture collection of the STC. Runs until the end of March 2018. www.swisstextilecollection.ch

Geobald asks

No, he really wasn’t a handsome man. But he still managed, mainly because of his hair, to win the hearts of the young girls. Indeed, so overwhelmingly that the film studio, in which he briefly danced as an extra with Yvonne de Carlo, who is best known to the European public as the mother in the TV series „The Munsters“, received several thousand fan letters „to the handsome boy, who danced with Yvonne de Carlo“.
But back to the man, who not only became famous as a painter, but also as an author and most importantly as a film and TV actor.
He was Jewish and his real name was Bernhard Schwartz. Let’s just call him Bernie – the name he chose for himself in his first years in film. It sounds German, but was Hungarian. His parents, Emanuel Schwartz and Helen Klein came from a small Hungarian town called Mateszalka.

His father was a tailor there and in the twenties of the last century he emigrated to the USA, where he first had a tailor’s shop in Manhattan, then in the Bronx. Bernhard grew up there with his two brothers, with the family sometimes living in the working area in the tailor’s shop. He only spoke Yiddish and Hungarian until his sixth year of life. He wasn’t a diligent pupil, being more interested in cinema and Broadway, to the extent that he was almost expelled from school due to his constant truancy.
Following his school time and military service with the marines he returned disabled from the second world and received a disability pension. He simultaneously began to take acting and elocution lessons.
Ultimately he got the aforementioned extra role, which was to completely shape his future life, because shortly afterwards he was signed up by Universal Studios in Hollywood. From this moment on his acting career took off.
He was also famous for his coiffure, a sleek quiff treated with a large portion of pomade, which was to set the style for a whole generation. It was also to be copied by a ten year younger man from the town of Tupelo in the state of Mississippi, who went on to become one of the most famous rock singers in the country.

As his acting contracts were drafted in such a way that he received a proportional share of the box office sales and his films were extremely successful, he quickly became a rich man.
In 1959 he made the film, which would become his most well-known, with a young, blond, world famous actress, perhaps better known at that time as one of the greatest sex symbols in the country, and which is still regarded today as one of the best comedies in film history. The director of this film was an Austrian Jew, who had fled from the Nazis and, not only because of the numerous Oscars he received, is considered to be the most prominent Austrian
Hollywood director, maybe even one of the most famous in general.
Despite his success our actor was never to receive an Oscar. He was nominated once but went home empty handed.
However he does rank as one of the bridge builders between cinematic film and television, because in 1970 – when
his days in the sun as a film actor had begun to set – he accepted a role in a TV series, in which he, as a rich American playboy, solved criminal cases together with an extravagant English Lord. His partner in the series became mainly famous in other films in the role of a British secret agent, who repeatedly saves the world from super villains.
Our actor, Bernie, was known for all sorts of escapades – alcohol, drugs, divorce problems, custody battles, even a dubious child abduction – nothing could tarnish his reputation, on the contrary, it made him even more popular. For example, when Marihuana as well as other substances were found in his luggage on his arrival at Heathrow airport in London his media popularity increased immensely. His fine didn’t seem to affect him much: he was summonsed to pay 50 pounds sterling.

His popularity meant that he was financially secure for life, could afford to play in third-class productions and even in advertising films. He promoted tourism in his parents country of origin, Hungary, but also donated generously to the maintenance and rebuilding of Jewish graveyards and synagogues, to Holocaust memorials, as well as to orphanages or animal sanctuaries for abandoned or mistreated horses or mules.
When he was older he focused completely on painting and was successful again: his pictures, featured at numerous exhibitions, are traded today at prices of up to 100,000 dollars.
He was married several times and had four daughters and two sons.

Bernie died in 2010. He is buried at the Palm Memorial Park graveyard in Las Vegas.
After his death his name made the headlines again in the tabloids, as he had named his last wife as the sole heiress of his gigantic fortune estimated at 60 million dollars, a decision which his children (his first son, Nicolas, had died at the age of war 22 from drug abuse) fought vehemently but without success.

1. Under which stage name is our painter and actor known?
2. What is title of his presumably most famous film?
3. And who is the blond actress?
4. Who was the Austrian–American director?
5. Who was his series partner in 1970?
6. To which master spy are we referring?
7. And who was the rock singer, who copied his hairstyle?

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANSWERS : 1. Tony Curtis, 2. Some like it hot, 3. Marylin Monroe, 4. Billy Wilder, 5. Roger Moore, 6. James Bond, 7. Elvis Presley

Black or White

BEYOND THE SILENCE. A SELF-EXPERIMENT.

I have no idea why I share my beautiful home with such an egotistic being, who can’t muster up even an iota of understanding for my situation and makes my life intolerable with his arrogance“, my can opener hurled these words at me with a flush of anger in his face. In your eyes things are either good or bad, valuable or worthless, beautiful or ugly, black or white. You think someone either has an athletic body or looks like a pudding, there is no second or third place, only first and last. I only hear the terms mediocrity or average from you when you are referring to someone else, because the world revolves around extremes in your opinion, without grey zones or colours.”
I simply don’t understand! Weeks before he had been so secretive and spoke in riddles. His secrecy was so obvious that it practically stank of a catastrophe. His behaviour set alarm bells ringing in my head, warning me in the shrillest tones of the approaching disaster. What was all this about? What was he up to? And then the moment of disclosure had obviously arrived. „So tell me, what do you think? He stuttered like an excited toddler. I really put a lot of thought into finding the best way to optimise our work-life balance! What do you think of our holiday destination this year? Only silence, spirituality and new stimuli. No responsibility and no stressful sightseeing-programme. I was speechless. He wanted to lock us up behind monastery walls, maybe even with an inclusive fasting, self-discovery and yoga course. I flashed my claws for a moment on a wild impulse, but, with our silk wallpaper in mind, just about managed to get them under control again. I struggled to keep my composure but gave nothing away. I slowly turned my back to him and walked out of the room in slow motion with my shoulders stooped and dragging my feet. On the threshold I said with a sepulchral voice: „You don’t seriously think that I’m going to spend my well-deserved holiday in a silent monastery just so you can work on your failed self-discovery fantasy!“ I definitely won’t spend the night in a barren cell and listen to you gnawing on a biscuit that you managed to smuggle in. After all I have certain standards. Besides, you won’t stay the course anyway. I’m going to book a holiday now that suits my status and my social standing on this planet. I’ll write you a postcard if you give me the address of your bunk!“ I then closed the door quietly from the other side and revelled in the astonished silence. But not for long. The screaming that followed, along the lines of the start of this text, could be heard three streets away and could only be quelled by an emergency visit from the doctor, a sedative injection and the subsequent administering of a double whiskey. „For goodness sake, man, pull yourself together, you’re stressing me out so much that I’d voluntarily go into a monastery to get away from your screaming! Life is one big pilgrimage“, I continued to convince him, while he cried in a whimpering voice and I rocked him in my arms like a baby, who simply does not want to understand. Real life is not black and white, it’s as colourful as we are!“

 

 

 

Copyrights © Manuela Dona

SEVEN

SOUL SINGER SEVEN (38), WHO HAS BEEN FIRMLY ESTABISHED IN THE SWISS MUSIC SCENE FOR YEARS, MADE HIS BREAKTHROUGH IN GERMANY IN 2016 IN «SING MEINEN SONG – DAS TAUSCHKONZERT» AND ON TOUR WITH THE FANTASTISCHE VIER. THE NEW ALBUM «4COLORS» SURPASSES EVEN THE HIGHEST EXPECTATIONS.

It was evident from an early stage of his now 15 year-long recording career, that Jan Dettwyler alias Seven, from Aargau, attached more importance to content and style both in his albums and his concerts than most of his musical competitors. He does not focus on short term success but on quality and self-fulfilment. Like his inspiration, Prince, he is less concerned with a hit single and more with the convincing piece of art. In an era, in which legal and illegal downloads of individual songs supercede the classic albums, he presents in «4Colors» an ambitious concept album instead of a mainstream CD, which would have been a safer option to keep the captured television audience on board.

Concert dates:
26.10. Zürich Volkshaus
03.11. Bern Bierhübeli
04.11. Baden Nordportal
www.sevenmusic.ch

«The crux of the matter was that I wanted to make four albums because I had four stacks of different new songs on my table, but I knew that the scale of that workload proved impossible and would be completely daft», Seven remembers. He suddenly realised: «Hey, there are actually four music styles, four moods, four colours. So I‘ll make an LP from four EPs – as we used to call the small albums.» The solution to his problem gave him both the concept and the title. He composed a film music intro to each piece, which he recorded with the Arts Symphonic Orchestra in London.

«Blue is melancholia, cold, electronica, Iceland, maybe a tad of Björk», the musician begins to tell what the colours represent and demonstrates with an image overload. «Yellow is for Soul, community, late summer evenings at half five, the sun shines transversely into the city, then a bit of Neo-Soul, Badu and D’Angelo. Red is repetitive, the aphrodisiac of the 90s-R&B. It is quite clearly late at night, with a dancefloor and smoking is permitted! (laughs) The last four songs are purple and reflect Funk. A homage to Prince, although that sounds a bit megalomaniacal. I only though of that – honestly! – at a later stage.»

Seven has been working with ex-Prince keyboarder RAD in his band for three years, a musician who would have used her power of veto if she hadn’t thought that the genius up on his cloud, who died too early, would have approved of numbers like «Partytown» or «1978». The opportunity to get RAD on board arose when the American musician and her German husband moved to Constance, when her child began school. Seven called RAD and invited her to a session in a rehearsal room in Zürich. «We played a few songs that we were both familiar with. After «I Can’t Make You Love Me» from Bonnie Raitt we just looked at each other and have been inseparable on the stage ever since. It was musical love at first sight!»

Seven‘s love of his wife Zahra and his seven-year-old son has not suffered due to his success in Germany. «I perform three times more than I used to and usually don’t come home after concerts, but I devote three days completely to my family if I have been away for five», says the singer, who broaches subjects such as transcendence («Zeit», feat. Thomas D), military tanks («Die Menschen sind wir», feat. Kool Savas) and pain («Thank You Pain») on his new album. «Today we are always in mode: We look good, are happy, healthy, sporty, in love, successful and ultra-busy», explains Seven. «I feel we should just once say thank you to pain, because it forces us to change something in our lives, to progress.»

 

 

 

Photos Copyrights: Sven Germann