Being in a temporarily interstitial state as regards employment spaces, I am not obliged to attend the Frankfurt Book Fair this year. This absolution brings mixed feelings. Being of the opinion that the inclination to travel is a deeply suspect human trait and that wanderlust is something for which there ought to be medication, I am pleased to be released from the obligation to leave hearth and home. I will miss, however, the sheer bulk and dazzling variety of the book world displayed across several aircraft hangars, and the opportunity to purchase surprisingly delicious layers of cheese and bread while being impressed at the linguistic facility of the German catering staff (which far outstrips that on display at our domestic equivalent, the London International Book Fair).
The last time I attended this jamboree, I was particularly struck by a brace of German linguistic curiosities. Led by my highly-developed sense of misdirection, I was attempting to escape from the Buchmesse when I happened upon a large and frenetically busy taxi rank. This being Germany, the area was being marshalled by a number of officials, whose mien was stern and whose fluorescent jackets bore the wonderful word 'taxiberater'. Obviously the Germans have realised how anarchic taxis may grow if they are not regularly berated. I was also delighted to notice for the first time that the office which we could call 'Lost Property' was, to the Teutonic perspective, for 'Found Property'. This, I thought, put a much more positive gloss on the whole business by shifting the emphasis from the tragedy of loss to the comedy of finding, and was a useful counterblast to the stereotypical depiction of the German mind as a gloomy thing which brooded darkly on the universe in general.
If the Frankfurt pangs become too intense, I will recreate the essence of the event in the comfort of my own lounge space by making appointments with myself and then failing to turn up.