A funny thing happened this Christmas - the first time in all the Christmasses Judith and I have spent together : we gave each other the same present. It was a DVD of The Seventh Cross (1944) starring Spencer Tracy. It’s a bit difficult to get a copy of it in the UK, and I’d always wanted to see it again having caught it only once on the TV as a boy in Wales. It’s set in pre World War Two Germany, with the Nazis in power, where an atmosphere of fear exists. It’s easy to understand why we thought to give each other this film, as we did a Christmas market trip in mid-December to Dortmund in Germany, where we visited a former Gestapo prison, now a museum which bears testimony to those who opposed the Nazis and their despicable ideology. The film tells this story too, and is perhaps an unusual example of a wartime propaganda movie because many of the Germans are portrayed sympathetically and not simply as stereotypical bad guys. For my money, Spencer Tracy is always worth watching. The museum in Dortmund was excellent and my wife Judith has written a very interesting piece about it on her own blog, take a look Winterreise to Dortmund .
So, here we are, the Christmas/New Year shenanigans are behind us once again and most of us have, I expect, settled back into daily life. I’m back writing, working on the last chapters (second draft) of the follow-on book to Niedermayer & Hart. One nice thing about writing a second draft, in contrast to a first, is the certainty that you actually do have a book.