Infection from Japanese singer introduced to the West, soil involved in hospital deaths and bavaria’s ‘Call a Kondom’ service in Giesing


STOP PRESS!! Have you tried the YouTube Playlist featuring all of my compositions for the TRANSFORMATES? Here it is:


This week I think most of the Alpine journalists have gone on holiday (well we do have 26C this weekend) so exciting local press articles are a bit thin on the ground. The only thing that caught my eye was an article entitled ‘Call a Kondom’ in the Süddeutsche Zeitung (for our German readers it is here). For the non-german speakers this has nothing to do with finding condominiums in Munich. It describes a ‘Alternative Delivery Service’.

Call a Kondom is the description given to a service offered by the managing director of a Bavaria Petrol service station in Giesing, near Munich. The boss of this establishment, Thomas Piduch, found that he was regularly getting visits from taxi drivers who had been asked to pick-up supplies of urgently needed articles for local residents and hotel guests. He decided to cut out the middle man and now offers his ‘Alternative Lieferdienst’ (= alternative delivery service) directly to consumers. You can order any of the articles normally stocked in the service station including toilet paper, disposable underwear, other ‘personal’ items and various alcoholic beverages, ranging from Dr Pepper to Champagne. These are then promptly and discretely delivered to your door (I think this means ‘Call a Kondom’ is not written on the carrier bag). Service times are from 10:00-20:00 Monday to Friday (well this is Germany!). Apparently he already has had a number of very satisfied clients.

Now let me introduce this week’s cultural item. I would like to share with you something  that I picked up from a japanese singer when I lived in Taipei; I like to refer to this as my unforgettable asian infection. ‘Infection’ is a very moving song which is typical of the quality and emotional offerings of this beautiful Japanese singer/songwriter. Sadly, here in the west we know too little about some of the excellent artistic products coming out of Asia. Having lived and worked in a number of asian countries I hope I can help to rectify this by introducing some of my personal ‘discoveries’ to western audiences.Therefore I have added a fan page for Onitsuka Chihiro the Japanese lady who wrote and sang the song Infection. I have also managed to find some videos of her work to wet your appetite. Most of the lyrics are in Japanese but this does not detract from the power of the music and her lively performances. The fan page can be found here.

The final subject for this weeks blog has a medical flavour (sorry but I spent a very formative part of my youth in the Bacteriology and Virology Department of the Manchester University Medical School). One of the big themes in modern medicine is multiple antibiotic resistance which is rapidly spreading among the killer bugs found in our hospitals. Recent work indicates that this resistance is transferred between the killer bugs in hospitals and the harmless bacteria found in soil. If you would like to read more about this revelation please refer to my article which is here (but be warned the article mentions the potential role of bacterial sex in this process).

Well that’s it for this week. Regular readers probably thought that last week’s blog featuring my collection of assorted tree fungi photos was the pinnacle of web-based excitement and intellectual stimulation. I hope that my Japanese infection, soil bacteria (and their intimate exchanges) and the ‘Call a Condom’ service also live up to your high expectations. By the way if you missed out on the tree fungi they can be found here.

It is time now to watch the Bavarian sun go down and pack my bags for the weekly trek to blighty. Enjoy the week (and watch out for those nasty bugs – especially the Hantaviruses – more info on them here)

Chris Duggleby

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