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Melanie Morris: Dear Angela, here's what WE can do for YOU... starting with all those awful mullets

Dear Angela Merkel, Thanks for an amazing weekend in Germany. I was over in Mannheim at a music festival and was so impressed, both with your country and the amazing way the festival was organised.

Queues were minimal and moved quickly, portaloos were immaculate and there was even a fleet of clean taxis waiting outside at all times to ferry us home to bed without either a wait, or an unsolicited rant from the driver about the dubious parentage of your fellow politicians. If Carlsberg did festivals, this would've been it.

But my festival experience was just an extension of my impression of Germany as a whole. The country, true to its reputation, is so efficient. Everything runs the way it should, when it should. Even directions are precise. In Frankfurt Airport, there was a sign indicating the departure gate was 12 minutes walk away... at average pace', in case anyone might need further clarity.

And on the intercity train, which of course left exactly on time, there was a special, spacious, soundproofed area for parents and children, complete with clean, colourful toys.

Anyhow, all this got me thinking... It's no surprise that you Germans are proud of your country, it's pretty amazing -- very much the 'show house' for First World nations.

Everything is new and works perfectly. However, and forgive me for saying this, especially as I come from a country you aren't best pleased with at the moment, but there are a few things I think we Irish do better.

So I took the liberty to make a little 'snag list'.

And I bring this list to your attention in the hope that maybe we could come to some sort of mutually beneficial arrangement.

We could give you the benefit of our superior skills in the few areas where Germany could improve. In return, you might then look a bit more favourably on our Enda's request for a little financial flexibility?

To start with, and forgive my being forward, but let us help you with your hair. You guys need some good stylists and colourists because from what I noticed, there's still a bit of a Kajagoogoo-influenced '80s mullet thing going on in Germany.

And 'wine' isn't the most flattering of hair shades, in spite of the millions of you who sport it -- just ask Cheryl Cole, she made the same shocking discovery last Christmas.

In Ireland, we have a great chain of hair salons called Peter Mark. They employ more than a thousand really good, well-trained hairdressers whom we could lend to you for a while.

I'm sure that would put lots of smiles on German faces, and that in turn would sort another problem you seem to have -- everyone in Germany is terribly serious, you know.

Even 'jokes' have to be explained at some length, and they're still not funny. Maybe we could lend you Brendan O'Carroll too. Come to think of it, you can keep him.

I think we could also diffuse the rather industrial look of your cities. Yes, your offices, factories, government buildings and hotels do exactly what they're constructed for, but I'm not sure if you're aware, they're a bit soulless and lacking in character.



TIME

We have loads of Irish architects, garden landscapers and interior designers with a little extra time on their hands these days, Angela. Maybe they could help brighten up your very German surroundings a little?

What might also put pep in your step would be some of our home baking. I noticed lots of sandwiches, rolls, bagels and pretzels when I was over, but we Irish could give you guys some of our left-over cupcakes.

Perhaps we could brighten up your bakery shops a little with our surplus?

And just as you've been kind enough to give us Lidl and Aldi to help with grocery shopping, could we offer you AWear and Pennys for fashion?

Don't take this the wrong way, but perhaps you would all dress a little better as a result, without breaking the bank (oops, bad choice of phrase there).

Actually, while we're on the subject, Angela, you might like to look at clothes by Louise Kennedy, John Rocha and Paul Costelloe. I'm sure any of them would be delighted to knock you up a nice, flattering new outfit.

I know we've a bit of making up to do. The past few years haven't been great, and maybe we Irish have been a little flathulach with our eurocheques. But in the absence of actually having any cash to give you back, maybe you'll accept our gratitude in these other ways.

Because, Angela, as my -- and possibly your -- mother always says, it's the small things that make the difference.

Best wishes, and again, thanks for a great weekend.

Melanie Morris is editor of IMAGE magazine


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