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Saturday, February 18, 2017

10 Pfennig BILD Zeitung


The German   Bild Zeitung    was like television in print: plenty of pictures (BILD means 'image') and mindless commentary. Sold for 10 Pfennig, or the eqivalent of a box of matches, everyone could afford it and, with just four pages, read it all in one sitting - literally!

Because, being just four pages, it could easily be folded - lengthwise to be slipped down one's trouser leg, or twice across to fit into one's back pocket - and taken to the office loo which in those days was the only place where one was allowed to take some time off from work.

Speed reading hadn't been invented yet and so, in an office with over twenty people and just one windowless loo, slow readers could be a bit on the nose, made worse on a Monday morning when the reporting of the weekend's footie results in the "Kicker Fussball-Illustrierte" slowed down some football-mad readers' bowel movements even further.

Such were the working conditions in my office when I was an articled clerk back in Germany in the early 60s, so is it any wonder I emigrated to Australia? But it wouldn't have happened without the   Bild Zeitung   which at the time carried advertisements by the Australian Embassy showing a smiley face in the shape of the Australian continent with rays of sunshine around the edges under the header "Come to sunny Australia!" - in German, of course, or I wouldn't have understood it.

No, I didn't write to the embassy while sitting there in that windowless loo, but I did so shortly afterwards, which is how I finished up in sunny Australia, the land of wide open spaces - and plenty of loos - and the freedom to read a newspaper even at work.

As for the 10 Pfennig   Bild Zeitung  , it's still around today, albeit a lot dearer. And I am still in Australia, too, a lot older but still grateful for having read that ad in one of my "quieter" moments.