WERNER HERZOG SHOPS AT LIDL

In which our Austrian contributor, Fitzcarraldo director Werner Herzog, discusses his supermarket shopping habits.

If one is to ever fully comprehend the depths of ennui laced with the sharp jags of hyperactive stupidity that characterizes our post-millennial world, one could do a lot worse than go to a supermarket and gaze transfixed by something that would have had Andy Warhol eyes lighting up with avarice as he contemplates another sale of one of his ‘paintings’ and perhaps a fancy new wig as a treat for himself. I once met Andy Warhol and made the mistake of asking him how the soup had tasted – my Austrian sense of humor was perhaps too refined for this famously morose pop artist. He told me it tasted like tomatoes and then did a face which seemed to say ‘what did you expect dummkopf?’ Now what was I talking about? I’ve totally lost my thread. Was it something to do with Prince? I’ve always wondered if Prince was any relation to Queen. He would have been a perfect support act for them. Or for Elvis, for that matter. A vision appears to me of Freddie Mercury and Elvis sitting on thrones in Graceland with Prince, happily playing with his train set at their feet.

Supermarkets! I was thinking about supermarkets, but as often happens when I am in supermarkets I forget completely why I am there and my thoughts trail off. Lidl is by far my favorite European supermarket. To begin with it is very cheap and often you can find strange things you can’t find anywhere else. There are always surprising gadgets like apple corers or electric mosquito rackets. Or those swing ball games with the tennis ball and the string and you hit it and it swings around a pole in a way that can only be described as ghastly. The people who work at Lidl are all without a single exception suffering from the deepest depression. They are strictly forbidden from speaking Welsh if they can speak Welsh, and are forced to try and speak Welsh if they can’t. And ridiculed for their inept efforts. It truly is a miserable place. A little bit like Wales.

In this it is not dissimilar from Walmart.

I believe that Prince worked in a Walmart as a struggling young singer song writer. But of course I might have been misinformed about all of this.

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