Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin



Each of us has one: a person, living or not so much, we would like to be for a while. Some of us see themselves as Alexander The Great (which is fine as long as you fancy running around the Middle East in a mini skirt and with a weapon), others prefer Maria Sklodowska-Curie (quite all right if you don´t mind a bit of radiation) and there are even those who´d rather have the tragic childhood and the hard life of a pretty unknown British 1950s playwright for he might turn into Tom Stoppard in the end.

I for once would go for Dottie. On the downside, being Dorothy Parker would require ruining my liver with cheap (as prohibited!) alcohol and an occasional suicide attempt but when I think of the advantages, I simply must succumb: writing for the Vanity Fair, working for the New Yorker, being among the cleverest and most witty theatre and book critics while producing poetry that´s at the same time simple and complex, funny and sad, refined and “for every man” (which it in fact was:-)

If you add to this a free ticket to a daily lunch with the cleverest and most amusing people in New York of the 1920s whose very presence and company would turn anyone into a combination of Alfred Einstein and Grouch Marx (with a sprinkling of Oscar Wilde and Betty Davis), the perspective of an odd self-inflicted injury would put me off no more.

Dorothy Parker is no Shakespeare – which, I am sure, she noticed herself and so did every man who ever lay eyes on her – and it would be pointless to compare her to other literary heavyweights. But she had something that most of those giants of prose and poetry never had: she really knew what she was writing about it. And it was a hell of fun learning all of that.

Dorothy Parker, a journalist, a writer, a poet and a playwright, and one of the unforgettable members of the unforgettable Algonquin Hotel Round Table clique, was born on August 22nd, 1893. Hard to believe it was 120 years ago.

Happy birthday, Mrs Parker!

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