Dear Germany,

We have never really been mates, have we?

Me and France have had a long, richly positive relationship, going back to my childhood. Sure, like long term loves, it’s had its ups and downs. Which relationship hasn’t?

Italy and I had a whirlwind romance in my 20s. Breaking up was hard, It took a while, but I’m over her now. At one point she was always on my mind. Not anymore. Just faded memories.

Spain was an occasional mate, but really not much that got my pulse racing. Like a friend you don’t see very often but you get right back to it when you meet up I suppose.

But you, Germany, we just never got it on. And it troubles me.

If we were both on the same dating website, I reckon we would be pretty compatible. The clever algorithms might even suggest we meet up, go on a date, get to know each other.

We both love culture and the arts. We both love fast cars! And of course we both love sausages.

But when you draw a list of the qualities you want in a partner, it’s the intangibles that don’t get written down that are so important. And I’m worried about them.

Is it true that you can be utterly inflexible with rules? That if the pedestrian symbol is red, but there are no cars for miles in each direction, I still shouldn’t cross the road? We really might argue about that.

And why close everything on a Sunday? My body doesn’t stop craving chocolate just because its a Sunday. And going to the airport for a bar of Ritter Sport Marzipan is right out of the question.

And honestly I don’t mean to be rude. But Schlager Music? I saw some on German TV once, a group of elderly people holding hands and singing whilst walking up a hill. Wearing hats. Look, Ill try it, but Im not sure that will grow on me.

Hold on a sec. This is all starting to sound a little negative. I think we might work – I mean I love the way you refused to treat Scientology like a religion. Your sports teams are truly terrific. And despite the vicious rumours, I think you have a great sense of humour.

So how about it? Shall we give it a go? See how we get along?

I know this great sausage place..

Best wishes

Andrew Shoben

London, August 9th, 2015

About the author: Andrew Shoben, born in 1971, in London is an English artist, academic and broadcaster. He is Professor of Public Art and Computation at Goldsmiths, University of London as well as a Fellow of the Royal British Society of Sculptors and a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts. He worked first as a composer, but became disillusioned with elite audiences and in 1993 formed the art group Greyworld, which has permanent urban installations in 12 countries.

Photo: Andrew Shoben