Have you ever regretted selling a car?
"You have to deal a little with yourself and not with Ibiza videos"
In the minds of many people, Roland Düringer was the petrol brother who suddenly braided his beard and renounced luxury. In an exclusive interview, he explains why the cabaret artist, who is currently on stage with his new program “Africa Twinis”, really lived in a caravan and why less and less is more and more for him.
Mr. Düringer, in order to finance a handicapped accessible vehicle, you parted with most of your cars in 2009 - which ones do you still have?
There is only one mini left that I gave to my daughter.
Have you ever regretted that?
No, I'm not attached to things. One of my big pluses is being able to let go.
Has it always been like this?
No, I've trained myself to do that. Because it doesn't make sense to be attached to things, people or places, that's irrational.
One of the greatest challenges of not being attached to things or people ...
Right. This is due to our basic attitude towards life, namely a material worldview. And you have to do something to train yourself to let go.
So they used to be more materialistic too.
I grew up like that and brought up this way, yes.
What was the reason for rethinking?
That probably has to do with my job. The reason I went on stage is because I found the people a little weird. I thought to myself: Why do people do such strange things? Driving in traffic jams to take a three-day Whitsun vacation, people die every year, even at Easter, the dead are also counted - and people drive anyway. I denounced this behavior of the people on stage. The first piece that I wrote together with Fredi Dorfer was "Atompilz von links". It emerged from my 8 months in the army, which I did not understand, if I had learned there how to be trained to be a warrior, had been perfect in all branches of arms, had matured physically and mentally and had been able to survive in the jungle - then it would have Made sense. But if you instead clean a vehicle that you don't drive in, that's pointless.
In the beginning I only looked at the areas in which I am myself, for example the crazy people with their cars at the "petrol brothers". And then I started to think it all bigger, more global. The basic principle for me is still the completely strange behavior of people. I see how they are suffering, there is only hysteria and stress all around, everyone is overwhelmed, but nobody sits down and says: Wait a minute, why?
Keyword petrol brothers: In many minds it is still arrested: You, the former petrol brother, are now the dropout ...
I always have to grin when I hear what's in people's minds. I'd best tell the whole story. I grew up with a collection of Matchbox cars. The reward for good behavior was a Matchbox car.
At some point the cars were no longer enough for me, I wanted to build some myself. I built it out of Lego, Airfix, Tamiya and whatever there was for boys my age. I am satisfied with the craftsmanship, which I still do every winter. Convert something materially from a design idea. I have an affinity for technology because I started riding motorcycles when I was 12 and because I learned mechanical engineering, so I can do it, I understand that, I understand that. That's how it was with cars, too me with the American muscle cars. They weren't just bought, I built one or two every year. Together with a friend. This is how a collection came about.
However, I've never had a Porsche, Lamborghini or Audi with 400 hp in my life. I would be embarrassed, this is not my world. My cars were really nice, funny old Americans, some of them from the 50s. Lowered, with powerful Corvette engines in it, so completely abnormal. I had built a hall especially for it.
And then at some point I got bored with them. Because if you have something like that and are known, there are photos of you and the cars, and then all the people who also have such cars come and want to have contact with you. I don't care, so it was time for me to give up the cars. I did that and then thought to myself: now I need something new that nobody has, where I don't belong somewhere.
And I remembered my childhood when I grew up next to the Tarbuk company (importer for Simca and Sunbeam). One day a car that I had never seen in my life was unloaded there: a Datsun 240Z, a Japanese sports car - and I bought parts of it at a trade fair and thus started collecting Japanese cars from the 1970s . Because nobody collects them, because there is little and it is incredibly difficult to get parts. There were a lot of funny and bizarre ones among them, and then I auctioned THIS collection.
Don't you have a car now?
But. After a long time, I've even bought a new one, even if it's ecologically the stupidest thing a person can do, but after several used items from 600 to 1,700 euros it was too tedious for me because they kept getting stuck and I repair something or had to invest. So I invested in a new Dacia Logan for 8,200 euros, without air conditioning and without window lifters. 3 year guarantee. Super. I don't drive much, I've been doing all public transport tours since 2012.
Keyword 2012. That's where you ended conventional living ...
Not quite. In 2012, when I felt overwhelmed, I said: I'm going to leave out everything that makes me so tired and see how I'm doing. I notice that this is a social virus, this excessive demand from cell phones, e-mails, all this information, driving a car, cashless payments ... when I was in a supermarket or shopping center, I became so tired in no time because my brain with all these Irritating was apparently overwhelmed.
I documented this omission in the form of a video diary and blog. Living in a caravan came about because my wife and I wanted a wooden house in the Waldviertel and while looking for it we came across an old circus wagon and put it in our garden. I lived there with my wife for a long time. On 28 square meters. You have to leave out a lot of things. I had to learn that and that was good for me.
The book in which this self-experiment was published has shown that I was right to make this public. With “Goodbye land of milk and honey” we were number 3 in online trading in the first week!
Was it always easy or were you tempted to go back to your old life?
(smiles) I've now built a shepherd's wagon that is 8 square meters. Another dimension again. But I've already tried the most radical: nothing. A three-day survival training at 1,700 m, 5 degrees, rain. With nothing but a knife. No tent, no sleeping bag. Just a knife. On the first day we weren't allowed to light a fire either - tonight I won't forget my life! So compared to that, eight square meters and photovoltaics on it are pure luxury. It always depends on where you come from.
So is this an issue that concerns us all?
Yes. Everything is taken for granted. Everything is always available. Nevertheless, people feel: it doesn't make us happy. After World War II everything got better, more comfortable in Europe ... and now a few are realizing that this is an illusion and only works because we sold the future. We have passed the responsibility on to the next generations. We have been overexploiting nature. One could still understand it if we were to live in the happiest of all worlds and everyone walked around with a beaming smile ... but if everyone still lets the corners of their mouths hang down to their heels, then there is something wrong with this system. We have double the damage: we are not doing well and the next ones will have to pay the bill. And many will look stupid there.
In what way?
When, like in a science fiction series, you build a time hole into which you can reach out if necessary and bring values from the future into the present and have the hope that the future will develop in such a way that this added value will arise in the future is that everything will work out and that is not the case, then this system will be over at some point. The bottom line is no negative development, because an illusion will dissolve again and there will be more reference to real reality for people, but not without pain.
What is the real reality?
Quite simply: nothing comes from nothing. It's a law of nature, that's physics, that's energy. If you do not have a certain energy for something, this energy will not be able to transform itself into something else. That's what we do, what the planet does. The only source of energy is the sun. Plants have a great ability to convert sunlight into matter. People just have to eat so that they have the energy. So if I want to be warm in the hut, I have to chop wood. Unless there are things that can be used to calculate this detour, that is, if I have district heating, I don't have to chop wood, but earn money so that I can pay for the district heating. That creates dependencies. Because this energy, which nourishes and warms us, is - even if we still call it money - points on a computer. These determine what options you have as a person. That's why we chase after all of these points in a system that is dependent on electricity. But what if that's gone? And the points are gone? What do we do then?
That doesn't happen all at once, of course ... but everyone who thinks about it: "What if? How could I live?" - I think they do something good.
What about you
Nothing would change in my life. When all this external care breaks down, I switch from plan A to plan B. Those who have many options, for example skills, will survive. For example, it makes a difference if I break down a mountain bike and have to go, whether I always have shoes with me that I can walk 30 km in and can do, or whether I get blisters after half an hour. This is how I shape my life, but I don't carry it outward. You have to deal a little with yourself and not with Ibiza videos. Everything is so terribly important, except yourself.
Even a sober exchange about world views is almost no longer possible, there is a political discourse, but speaking rationally and soberly about a topic is almost no longer possible. Everything is ideologically and hysterically charged. I got a question from a newspaper whether the Ibiza scandal surprised me and I replied: It's not a scandal for me, the real scandal is the zero interest rate policy since 2008 because it will affect everyone. The video doesn't. A few days later there was a panel discussion with young people, topic no. 1: Ibiza. And "that we now have a government crisis". I was invited and said: I came here today on the U2, it is still running, the coffee house is open, people are moving around, so I can't discover a crisis. I didn't need more ... Then the video, which can also be viewed online, was discussed for an hour instead of talking to the young people about relevant topics.
Let's now take a look at the new Africa Twinis program - how did it come about?
The first approach was that I wanted to write a piece again and not go on stage as a Düringer and explain the world to people. I'm 56 now, this is a phase in which a lot becomes more pleasant because you know very well that you can no longer do certain things, that no longer work. ´That's basically the story: two men my age, childhood friends, who are at home in the Waldviertel in 1986 and have the idea to start with 2 motorcycles parallel to the Dakar Rally in Engelbrechts, always heading south and at some point come across this entourage.
They came from Engelbrechts to the Horner Wald, that's not far, then the first Puch got stuck. After that, they lost sight of each other, lived completely different lives, but once a year - on New Year's Eve - they spoke on the phone. The running gag was always: Heast wos is, fohr ma? And the answer always: well this year is bad, but let's get together next year. And then suddenly one of them says yes, we're going. Then the preparations start and the audience realizes: If they really get into the desert, they'll kill each other. That will not do. These figures can be developed nicely while playing. Presentation one and the last one in a year and a half will be completely different.
How much of you is in there?
I've done a lot with motorcycles, but the idea of going into the desert with them would never have occurred to me. But the fact that I think "ok, what else do I want to do in my life" is already in there.
What else would you like to do?
Nothing big. I would like to get along better and better with less and less. And I have another goal, even if it sounds absurd: I would like to die in the forest. So if possible no hospital and the family around me, but I would like to be the last to see the forest. You can work towards that.
Finally, a question about your cell phone, which you, like all of us, have next to you. Is that still a prepaid cell phone?
No, I have a contract. I too am totally dependent on systems. Only if they write that we cannot extend their contract, I say aha. Then nothing will change in my life. Demonizing things makes no sense. I just have to recognize: Am I the boss or is that (pointing to the cell phone) the boss? And as long as I'm the boss, I don't care.
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