Thursday, February 3, 2011

Decadent Sardines

One of the things my father’s MI6 office in Hamburg contained was a stash of Nazi era films – some were feature films with anti-semitic overtones, and others were directed by Leni Riefenstahl such as the Nuremburg Rally. In addition to these were a number of short propaganda documentaries highlighting the depravity and decadence of the USA. All were banned and forbidden to be shown to the German public.

The monthly film evening for this secret fraternity took place at a special cinema in the centre of the city at the Gansemarkt, opposite the old UFA (Universum Film Co) studios. The program would start with a few Nazi shorts, and then lead on to the main film. It was the shorts that I liked best as they showed everything from Harlem jazz clubs to naked women wrestling in rings filled with sardines. As they groped at one another and slipped and fell, the women swiftly became covered in tiny fish scales so that soon they were just a shimmering blur of silver as they writhed in front of the frenzied crowd.


  1. this is an amazing image!
    and I think this new project sounds exciting and promising... good luck! :)

  2. Wow...I can tell already that this project of yours is going to be mind-blowing!
    SO excited!!!
    Brilliant work(as always)

  3. It will be like ''Big Fish'' film :) beautifull works ! good luck :)

  4. What a beautiful illustration. Thank you for sharing this with the rest of the world.

  5. Tell us/show us more! Tell us everything. Strange, though... that's the extent of your dad's memories of his dad's spying in post-WWII Hamburg, an image of scaly women wrestling in a tub full of sardines? He missed The Beatles, the whole thing?

    [also posted in]

  6. Hi no means the extent of my father's memories of post war Hamburg...I'm taking snippets at a time from a vast bolt of material!
    Thanks everyone for your comments.
    x Sophie

  7. oh this promises to be extraordinary!
    i didn't know WHAT to make of the illustration before reading the story. it reminded me of the first and only time i went to a sideshow at the circus. there was a woman with scaly skin and she said it happened after she went through puberty. i was TERRIFIED that it could happen to me for years afterward.

  8. I crossed the Gänsemarkt today, the old UFA movie theater is gone since about 5 years but I can´t locate the secret nazi cinema.

    So happy to found (and purchased) some of your “missed connections“. Looking forward to your fathers stories and your illustrations for them.

  9. This is going to be such an amazing collaboration between you and your dad. I'm quite excited for you both. My dad died when I was 21 so I didn't really have a chance (I was 21 and more interested in my own life) to really get to know him, especially the person he was before he became my dad. Your father has certainly lead an interesting life.

    And yes, as Magpie said, your dad was a fox! (grin)