FifthDelays, train cancellations, involuntary conversations: In the audiobook Still Moving, eight authors tell quirky stories about Deutsche Bahn that are mostly funny when you don’t experience them yourself. Horst Evers, for example, has recently had a herniated disc and thus relies on assistance when getting on and off the train, especially with suitcases. Interpersonal interaction is inevitable, but it can be calculated. Think: How big is the risk of getting caught up in an unpredictable conversation?
Evers’ experiences with his social pressures against his will can be well understood. Anyway, the real challenge when traveling by train is not getting there, but getting in touch with other people. With Helen Buckhurst, the problems begin before the trip, when buying the ticket. Who would have thought that, especially if you have a Bahncard 100 like it. But that doesn’t seem to guarantee riding for a long time. The writer and comedian, in her “boundless naivete,” wanted to use her book bonus points, but it’s not that easy. Even ordering coffee from her can be a challenge at times.
And who doesn’t know their seemingly endless train journeys? Storm-related disturbances may have caused mild symptoms of impatience in every passenger on the train. This is also the case with the writer and traveler Leah Streisand, who, after many travels, realized: “Deutsche Bahn has four main enemies: spring, summer, autumn and winter.”
Something goes wrong with most of the short stories performed. Satirical priest Dietmar Wechmeier of the “heute-show” describes database infrastructure as a fundamental principle of failure: “If something doesn’t work, build more of it.” But it’s not all bad. There are also dramatic moments when, say, a stripper ends up in the middle of a forestry set instead of a bachelor party because of a “variable car demand.”
Entertaining stories with well-known teases are mixed with amusing travel reports like those by writer Dennis Justman, who on his adventurous trip through Uzbekistan discovered why horse sausage is as successful as Viagra. Indeed, the audiobook deals with the field of humor, which has already been requested several times in this context, sometimes more, sometimes less successfully: in any case, there is always a new creative paraphrase to be found for the unreliability of Deutsche Bahn .
Johann König takes the game to an extreme in his story “Indeed, train travel is purely a lottery action” when he complains about “a non-binding departure recommendation with a platform proposal” or describes the Nina railway principle: “Somehow, somewhere, sometime “. Horst Evers, who delights in unexpected gifts with bitter irony, attests that Deutsche Bahn is much better than its reputation: “Often, you get much more free time from them than you are actually entitled to.”
The accessible railway stories, each no more than fifteen minutes long, are read aloud by the authors themselves, with one exception. The lack of a professional narrator’s voice is sometimes noted during the nearly two and a half hours of listening time. Above all, one thing becomes clear: that the eight railroad stories contain experiences of which the vast majority of frequent travelers should be familiar.
“Yet It Moves! Railroad Stories”. Argon Verlag, Berlin 2023. 1 MP3 disc, 165 minutes, €15.
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