Date: May 11 2012
WHEN I think of a man on a stage with a microphone, I think of the giants of oratory. I think of Nelson Mandela. Winston Churchill. Diego Maradona.
Actually, no, I don't think of Diego Maradona. The Argentinian shortie is coming to Sydney this month but not to play football. Or handball, even. It's to sit on a stage and talk. ''His life story in his own words,'' the blurb says. ''Interviewed by Les Murray.''
At first, this struck me as madder than a sack full of talkback radio hosts. Why would anyone pay $599* to listen to a man who is famous for kicking? That would be like paying top dollar to watch Nelson Mandela play striker with Sydney FC.
My first response was: C'mon, Diego, put down the microphone and leave the stage to the professionals! Leave it to people such as Paco Erhard, the Teutonic comic who enjoyed a whirlwind trip through Sydney this week. On Monday night, Erhard performed his Five-Step Guide To Being German at the Goethe-Institut in Woollahra.
He poked fun at Bavarians and Prussians, Swabians and Mecklenburgers. And boy, did he have those Germans laughing. You might think that the Goethe-Institut, which promotes the exchange of culture between Germany and Australia, is sombre and serious. Well, on Monday night it was a place of unrestrained mirth.
Erhard is a stereotype-shattering surprise package. And maybe Maradona will be, too.
And that's when I remembered: Maradona is famous for oratory. ''Pele should go back to the museum,'' he once said about some bloke named Pele. ''We all know what the French are like and Platini as a Frenchman thinks he knows it all,'' he once said about some bloke named Platini.
His bons mots extend beyond football. ''My legitimate kids are Dalma and Giannina,'' he has said.
''The rest are a product of my money and mistakes.''
And isn't that the verbal equivalent of a sweetly struck shot that curls into the back of the net, straight off the forearm?
* That's for the Hand of God VIP package (seriously, that's what it's called). The Meet and Greet Package is $1699.
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