Orginally published in Issue 46 of The Rake, Nick Scott writes that Germany has a reputation for orderliness, industrial efficiency and a gaping vacuum where its collective sense of humour might be. However, a string of Deutsch-descended bon vivants, past and present including Gunter Sachs, suggests this is a vastly more playful nation than we give it credit for.
Brigitte Bardot and Gunter Sachs in Bavaria, 1967. (Photo by Jean-Claude Sauer/Paris Match via Getty Images)

In his groundbreaking 1938 book Homo Ludens, the Dutch cultural historian Johan Huizinga posited that the innate human capacity for play is an essential counterweight to the humdrum requisites of everyday life, such as discipline, ambition and common sense. It’s a wonderfully humane contribution to the philosophical canon, and had it never been written (a close thing, given that Huizinga died seven years after its publication, having spent his final three years incarcerated as a Nazi hostage), one of history’s most acute personifications of the term ‘playboy’, Gunter Sachs, may well have lead a slightly — O.K., fractionally — more ascetic existence.


    July 2020


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