Wiglaf Droste is dead: an obituary by Hans Zippert

16-05-2019 17:05

eIt's not that long ago that Wiglaf Droste was on stage in Göttingen, whom he had climbed very painstakingly, holding on to the podium and sang “Knockin 'on Heaven's Door”. A cappella. The men in the hall slightly rolled their eyes, for at least Droste had just received a prize for his services as a tough satirist. But the women in the room were touched because they sensed that he was serious. He says goodbye here at this moment.

And while I thought at the time that this might have been an idea too theatrical, I must of course now admit that the timing was perfect. As in his texts. That was the swan song of Wiglaf Droste: “Mama put my guns in the ground / I can not shoot them anymore / That cold black cloud is comin 'down / Feels like I'm knockin' on heaven's door”.

The cold black cloud descended on the man whose eyes were so far out on the head that he could see past one and through one. For a satirist the perfect anatomical conditions.

We could have met very early in one of the numerous East Westphalian metropolises, but when I first heard something from him, he was already mixing up Berlin, and doing so properly. At some point I was enthusiastically holding a lovingly designed collection titled “Der erste Bielefelder” in which something like “The Best of his early work” was assembled. In the meantime, he is considered Herforder.

Against all rules of correctness

At the time of the “taz” he violated all rules of political and social correctness, so they fired him three times. It was always a cloud of smoke announcing his arrival, and he came a great deal. The sharp cries, the hysteria that his prose aroused, should have been a lot of fun, though he liked to say with an innocent look and with shrugging shoulders, “I do not understand all that”.

His entire work and work sounded to me as a letter of application for “Titanic”, the final satirical magazine. He adorned himself a bit, because actually Berlin was his biotope, which he only left for a short time. He could not do anything with Frankfurt's Bembel-und-Bank bliss, but sometime in the early nineties he still went to work. It began a period of linguistic, alcoholic and social excesses in the editorial office, which I liked very much, because I was eventually allowed to go home and protect family life.

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No one was able to pronounce the word “Glenfiddich” so casually and at the same time reverentially, and Drost patiently taught me how to drink a bottle of this Scottish single malt whiskey one evening for two. However, not how to get back to work the next morning. Not always in this way of working commissioned works were completed on time.

One morning, I found the following message on my desk: “Saturday at midnight, 33 hours after the ultimatum expired, my text was ready. His name is 'German Patriot Rockets' and is very beautiful. I will fax it to you on Monday lunchtime. I will not be available to educate you next week, but you have a son who helps you with the worst withdrawal symptoms. Otherwise, there is still Borowiak or, if all else fails, the pet shop. But on Monday, the 18th, I'll be fully at your disposal again. Are you saving yourself for me, honey? ”

“The dignity of man is a subjunctive”

I followed his recommendations, but he stayed in Berlin and did not return, and the editors are still waiting for the German patriotic missiles. He also stayed away from communal readings, so that one had to fight a little with the displeasure of the spectators, but had a full room for it, because the people had come first and foremost because of him.

The journalist and author Wiglaf Droste at the International Frankfurt Book Fair, recorded on 07.10.2006. Photo: Jan Woitas dpa +++ (c) dpa - Report +++ | Use worldwide

“It was always a cloud of smoke that announced its arrival”: Wiglaf Droste, here at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2006

Source: picture-alliance / dpa

Whether he was the Tucholsky of our time, as the Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote, I can not say that I have never worked with Tucholsky. But I do not believe that Tucholsky was able to give such great songs as “Grönemeyer can not dance” or “Why are all Oliver suddenly called” to the very best.

I've always envied Droste for his book titles, my favorite is: “We cut off our legs and look like Gregor Gysi”, but also “The dignity of man is a subjunctive” or “Does not want a sack of rice in China fall over? “I like a lot.

The jury of the “Göttinger elk” explained the phenomenon Droste as follows: “He combats uncompromising and incorruptible the conformity of the crowd and the followers seduced by the zeitgeist, the presumptuous authority of the virtue guard on the left as well as the ugly German right and the green-black spying in the middle of the Society.”

Anger for everything wrong in the right way

I, too, admired his never-ending fury, his rage at everything wrong in the right thing, which he constantly scourged. He really let nothing and nobody get off scot-free, he could be merciless, unfortunately especially against himself. Over the years, I've been hearing regularly from subjects who have stepped on him, mostly non-existent, neckties, because he continues to masterfully understood how to be misunderstood.

Only three years ago did we meet again in the deepest East Westphalia, in the shadow of the Nieheimer Sackmuseum. He was already heavily drawn. He moved slowly and formulated waitingly, like the foreign correspondents on television, where the question arrives with a time delay. He was still in the presence of the spirit and quick wit, had to smile about himself, if he was looking for a longer text, but could still recite long by heart poems and intone “Knockin on heavens door” error-free.

Since he, too, when it was necessary, and it was always necessary, did not shy away from any Kalauer, I have no choice but to record this ballad and imagine him knocking on the door of heaven or hammering and finding a reason immediately to get worked up. I'm afraid even God will not deal with him, it may be that he throws him out. Then we would have him again.

Satire (t) Zippert-Hans (t) taz (t) Herford (t) Droste (t) Wiglaf (t) Hans Zippert (t) Göttingen (t) Nieheimer Sackmuseum (t) Frankfurt Book Fair (t) Music (t) Wiglaf Droste (t) East Westphalia