Munich, Thursday 7 July 83
The BBC has booked rooms for us in the Hotel Bundesbahn, which is virtually part of the main railway station. You don’t hear the trains, and it’s quite comfortable, but in this city there must be places with more character. I’ve arranged to see Fassbinder’s composer, Peer Raben, when he gets back to Munich on Wednesday, but that’s the only appointment, and after lunch we sit down with a local telephone directory and a list of names culled from cast lists. At first we make a lot of mistakes. The Gunther Kaufmann who sounds so willing to record an interview about Fassbinder turns out to be an insurance clerk who never met him; the Armin Meier who asks: What made you pick me? is not the Armin Meier who worked with Fassbinder. That one committed suicide in 1978. I speak to Fassbinder’s mother, who works during the week but agrees to meet us on Sunday. Meanwhile, she says, it’s important we should see some of his real friends, such as Thomas Schühly, and not just the people who have been creating scandals. Presumably she means Kurt Raab and Harry Baer.
Even in an exhausting heatwave, Piers (Plowright) and I feel oddly at home in this beautiful city, with its fine variety of characteristically Bavarian baroque buildings. There are traffic-less shopping precincts, an old food market, pleasant cafés and plenty of places where you can drink Weissbier in the open air.