Tag Archives: revisiting old things

Tante Irmgard Story

As you might have heard, boxing great Max Schmeling died.

There is a fantastic Tante Irmgard story about Schmeling and I’ll be damned if I can find it in my notebooks. I got out the whole collection this morning, even crap I didn’t even know I still had. (You know that dreadful juvenile crap that should be burned but for some reason you save, just in case you run out of reasons to feel humiliated?) I have 39 pages of notes from that trip but nothing on that story.

I think the event occured in the 80’s and something about Irmgard talking to him on the phone and I think he was a cranky old man. If he died at 99 then he was old twenty years ago which jives with the vague recollection of the story I think I heard. Since I don’t have an actual satisfying narrative for you, I’m going to substitute a different Tante Irmgard story that I found while searching for Max Boxer.

Tante Irmgard Rolls

In 1951 Irmgard got a license to drive a motorcycle. According to her, she was the first woman to get a license to drive a big motorbike in Hamburg (Germany). I see no reason not to believe her. According to my notes it was a 500 HP BMW with a sidecar with a dog in it and if that isn’t a true description of a motorbike, keep it to yourself. You get the idea.

When she went for her test, the Prüfer (tester guy) took one look at her and said, “I have a wife and 2 children.” He had to ride in the sidecar with his leg hanging out.

In 1954 Germany was in the World Cup which was going on in Switzerland. Irmgard rode her motorcycle all over Germany and was pulled over 5 times and and asked to show her license. She was with a group in Switzerland watching the final match between Germany and Hungary. (I’d love to give you more informative links but sometimes search engines suck big cheese.) I have an additional note about how Irmgard had a big crush on the German goalie (“ah, looks so good”) which my notes cryptically name as “Tony Toureck” and I can’t find reference to this dude anywhere so if you know his actual name and want to sent it to me, cool.

I guess Irmgard was watching the game with some Turks and Tony dreamboat made a save and Irmgard had her sunglasses in a plastic case and hit one of the guys with her case. They were rooting for Hungary. German won: a major upset.

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I loved CREEM and subscribed up until the bitter end which I think was late ’80. To give you an idea: I STILL have my back issues and I don’t save things. The end was long and drawn out and bitter. A late issue here. A skipped issue there. An extended hiatus only to reappear, swearing stability and coaxing another check out of me for another year, (sucka!) before finally disappearing seemingly for good. Later I remember it being remade into something resembling Interview and a neon fuzzed-up photo of Billy Idol on the cover. I ran screaming from the newsstand but still felt the burning sense of rip off as the magazine owed me numerous issues.

I don’t understand why the whole world didn’t love this magazine. It was endlessly scathing and hilarious. They published two of my letters to the editor and between this fine publishing coup and the reviews (described below) I thought I was well on my way to fulfilling my dreams as a rock n’roll writer. I could have been Almost Famous.

I subscribed to CREEM Metal (remember this was the ’80’s, Poison was on top) which no doubt would have been Alterna-Creem in the 90’s and CREEM Word Up today. Metal must have been a last ditch attempt to get a cash infusion because they folded shortly thereafter. Folded owing me many, many magazines which I mention again, even though of course I’m totally over it.

There were other signs that they were cutting corners. They started something called the Reader Review. They encouraged readers to send in reviews for possible publication and $25. They published 2 of mine which apparently I don’t have in electronic format so I’ll have to show them to you later. It goes without saying that they still owe me $50. I say cutting corners, they might have argued that this was the ultimate in reader interactivity — but I don’t think so.

More later. The family is here for Thanksgiving and we’re off to do some museum-y type things.

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