2017. április 4., kedd

Gunther Theys

Interview with Gunther Theys 
(Ancient Rites, Lion's Pride, Iron Clad)
Hail Gunther, you are very welcome again to my small blog, Archangel’s Lantern! As I’ve mentioned to your bandmate, Eric Sprooten, for me, your long awaited Album, “Laguz” is one of my favourite releases of 2015. Would you be so kind as to tell us more about your lyrics of the new stuff?
- Thank you for your support and positive words regarding the new work, Georgius. Much appreciated, dear friend . A variety of topics are being handled on “Laguz”. The album will take the interested listener on different travels to forgotten times and worlds but there’s a philosophical undertone for those who like to dig deeper. Take the album title “Laguz” for instance. The title combines different aspects: history, mythology, ancient heathen religion, philosophy. The rune stands for water. Also for initiation, renewal, the beginning of life, the rune is connected with the moon and tides, travelling in mind and body, the occult, mystery, dreams. Its gender is female. Our ancestors regarded it a darker rune predicting the storms and obstacles in life. But although its darker character, the rune also symbolizes reward through perseverance. The band had to take many obstacles before the new album could be realized and also on a personal level I have been fighting serious health conditions and underwent several operations, one of these operations included the removal of a big part of my intestines to avoid a malignant cancer to grow. The treatment continues to this day and I must regularly go to hospital for check-ups and infuses. I always kept a positive spirit,  even learning from the ordeals and seeing beyond the pain. Perseverance and humour are powerful weapons. Cultivate inner strength. When having the right mind set one gains strength during these ordeals and learns to see life in perspective and it speeds up the healing process. I reflected Laguz on my personal situation as well, sometimes when I was facing another operation or was in pain and exhausted I smiled to myself thinking „Laguz is striking but the storm shall be taken and the Rune rewards afterwards“…Although I am not a religious person I related to the ancestral symbolism of the Rune, the “message” as it were. I took a personal liking to the symbol and its symbolism. Apart from that it stands for many things fitting to the universe of ANCIENT RITES.  So I felt the title fitting for several reasons. The album also contains obvious philosophical inspired topics, without preaching, but that could offer inspiration to those who need it. Songs like “Mind Unconquered” or “Umbra Sumus” for instance. Even “Under the Sign of Laguz” if one digs deeper and looks beyond the initial historical/mythological aspect, as I’ve explained just before when talking about the band title. International but also lesser known local history is touched upon. To give a few examples: The Rise and Fall of Ancient Carthago while also reflecting on their dark religion. The tragic story of Emperor Julian who tried to restore Ancient Heathendom in a Christianized Rome. He almost succeeded but died in battle while rumor has it he was killed by one of his own men bribed by the clergy. History named him „The Apostate“ which is a negative label for someone who has deserted his goals and beliefs. But history paints him from a Christian point of view, with the song I try to restore his reputation because it took courage to fight for a lost cause, chasing the ghost of the old Rome and Hellenistic philosophies. The philosophical undertone of the song is that Emperor Julian followed his own path regardless the public opinion or mentality of the era he lived in. That takes strong character. A track like „Mind Unconquered“ talks about the power of the will and mind. It has a positive message based on my personal experiences, to persevere in difficult times and to fight on without self-pity, no matter how hard life can be at times. „Umbra Sumus“ reflects on mortality and how we all join the Danse Macabre in the end. “Von Gott Entfernt (Bij Nacht en Ontij)” refllects on a dark and mysterious, yet lesser known and more regional history: the legend of “De Bokkenrijders” (Bockreiter in German). Hundreds belonged to this Horde and most members eventually got caught, tortured and publicly executed. Many questions remain unanswered. Why was a well-respected military surgeon like Doctor Kirchhoffs leading one of the fractions, how come they used military tactics and ranks? These were times of war and soldiers of different armies roamed the lands or had deserted. Women were a part of it too which was unusual. They were a strange mix of soldiers, artists, butchers etc. The blasphemous rites in chapels at night were an unseen phenomenon back then. Some historians believe it was not about the loot which was often poor but to destabilize society, like forerunners of the Enlightenment. I used Flemish/Dutch and German languages in the song to achieve authenticity, witnesses testified that the Bokkerijders used a mix of Flemish/Dutch, German and sometimes French when communicating between each other, revealing their international character.  Also I used authentic Bokkerijder oaths in the song. I have been investigating old documents of the era, read publications concerning the trials, executions and court reports. Old books with eye witness accounts. You see, I can trace back my family roots to medieval times. Interesting is that some of my direct ancestors belonged to this infamous Bokkenrijders cultus. They were like a Black Guild. In military fashion they robbed churches and the aristocracy, they swore loyalty towards each other and the Devil, practiced anti-christian rituals to mock the clergy. One forefather of mine called Johan Theys was suspected of belonging to the first generation of the Horde, he got caught after a church robbery but he escaped from the prison tower. His name appeared in the old files, also in the diary of a local priest who wrote about his escape and who suspects him to have formed a new Horde in another town. Interesting dark family history. Another ancestor was caught and got hanged on the local gallows’ field. Local legend tells he still haunts the fields. What historians writing about the matter don’t know and what the 18th century authorities didn’t know and are questioning in their documents I can shed a light on. They spoke of the Theys family as members of the Horde and a new family appearing on the suspect lists named Boon not knowing where they came from. Fact is that in those villages our Theys Clan was nicknamed Boon. It was the same family using different names. Over there we are still called this way. It was the ultimate proof to me they were talking about my direct ancestors apart from the locations were our family always have been living. I was introduced to this phenomenon at the age of five. I was wondering why the captain of the Horde described and pictured in a novel my family were reading to me was called Theys. Now I understand why. „Leg V Alaudae“ tells about the Rise and Fall of the sole official Roman legion consisting of…Gauls. Their path was a dramatic one with no survivors. The entire legion was wiped out while facing alone a massive enemy force. After first having built up a strong reputation starting with Caesar’s campaigns, they vanished into oblivion never to be re-formed again when they all went down in Dacia. History seldom tells their peculiar story, I felt it was time to share their interesting and tragic tale. They were trapped between two worlds because of their position, as it were. You see, Gallic tribes who had made alliances or peace pacts with Rome before, during or after the wars were obliged to deliver recruits. Some went on a voluntary basis, others did what was expected. They were offered Roman citizenship but remained also Gauls because of their roots. Consider barbarians by most Romans and considered too Romanized by many other Gauls, they were between a rock and a hard place. Which often resulted in strange situations. Whilst visiting Rome they were in constant fights with Roman citizens who looked down on them while they had fought wars for Rome and their own tribes’ pact. It was written that they were not pleased when Caesar had shown no mercy to other Gauls after battle whereas he usually pardoned defeated Romans. So one day they attacked politicians and friends of Caesar who came to watch a battle and offered no mercy to anyone but their own legion, it was said to make a statement against the double measures that Romans sometimes used depending on the origins of the defeated enemy. Their history is less known that is why I felt like writing a song about the Larks Legion (Alaudae comes from the old Celtic word for “Lark”. The Lark wings were a typical ornament for Gallic helmets. They were the only non-Romans equipped in full Roman legion military gear. The wings on their helmet referred to the Gallic roots. I like to offer different layers and meanings when writing lyrics and to reflect on less known histories.
How was your cruise with Ancient Hordes on board the 70 000 Tons of Metal, 2016? Any interesting or funny stories of the Caribbean?
- It was a very nice experience. Meeting old friends and bands we toured together with in the past, also meeting new friends of course. The atmosphere was very relaxed on board and there were constantly bands playing somewhere on board, one could even follow the shows on TV live from the room. Personally I also enjoyed our day on the shore, it was an interesting opportunity to visit a village inside Jamaica, we left the touristic port. Afterwards some of the crew on board said it was quite dangerous what we did because in the past tourists came running back or got into trouble. We (The band, our sound engineer and one of the guitar techs of Ozzy Osbourne) explored the non-touristic inland anyway. One could tell the population there was less used to tourism, a kid shouted “Look! white people!” Haha. A hilarious moment was when we were walking on a sandy road and from behind a wall a guy jumped forward, pointing at our long bearded guitarist shouting “Finally! Moses arrived!” :) We didn’t have problems anywhere, first of all we don’t look like typical tourists, we aren’t or don’t look rich and didn’t behave like tourists either. Nice rum there by the way!   
Tell us more about your 2 graphic novels in your “Van Roy and Sid” series, please!
Originally the first book was released as a limited edition in 1988 in Black & White (sold out), the graphic novel is now re-released in English and in colour. The book contains two pages of background information on the story. The storyline: More than 200 years ago, A Gallic Druid, one of the leaders of a rebellion against the mighty Roman Empire, is burnt alive at the stake. With his last breath he curses the Roman Legion responsible for his death. Doom descends upon the legionnaires. They hold the curse and the sacred charm they have stolen from the Druid’s body responsible for their demise. Two Millennia later, Van Roy, is an idealistic, ambitious Police Inspector who wants to solve a series of mysterious, yet old and classified cases.  Gradually, Van Roy becomes obsessed with the secrets he encounters during his investigations.  While excavating a horrific past, he soon finds himself isolated from his colleagues and superiors. Unsolved matters, Satanism, disappearances, an ancient cursed artefact, the Devil’s Wood, a doomed Rock band, an abandoned grave midst a medieval ruin, a Heathen Cult devoted to Taranis, a ghostly appearance, murder squads. What do all these elements have in common? Nothing at first sight. Still...While Van Roy is trying to unravel the mysteries, witnesses die under strange circumstances. Slowly the pieces of the puzzle start to fit together but simultaneously danger is closing in. A certain Sidney, nicknamed “Crazy Sid” crosses his path. A road that seems to lead to Hell. Van Roy and Sid have little in common. Actually, they are opposites. Still they become allies in their quest, despite their different motives. Van Roy wants justice and the dark mysteries to be solved. Sid couldn’t care less. He’s a treasure hunter, hardly interested in the world surrounding him. He loves Daisy, his old bike. And his historical vintage collection of hats, helmets and weapons. Against all odds, they come in handy at times. The album also offers an insight of the Punk and Metal scenes of the 80’s because the investigation also leads to the scene back then. Strange detail is that I made this graphic novel just before I founded Ancient Rites and that many of the things happening to the band in the book actually really happened to Ancient Rites in the future: suicide, band members dying, boycotts etc The drummer in the book is a dark haired guy called Walter. Back then I didn’t know any Walter but years later a drummer joined Ancient Rites named Walter, a guy with long dark hair. People who read the book back in the 80’s sometimes joke and ask if I had made a novel about my own future. Anyway, the 2nd book in the series is ready for print and is called “The Unforgiving Land” and is set in the Orient. It is a mixture of war, adventure and “realistic” horror/terror and mystery. Gradually the story becomes darker and darker when members of a paramilitary group that Sid and Van Roy have joined in search for a missing person, disappear while entering jungles and mountains of what natives call the Unforgiving Land, a forbidden region where ancient cults still reign and were shamanism and a mysterious ancient humanoid creature still is worshipped. I based this on real testimonies and local legends. A part of the story reflects on another real event: the disappearance of the Dyatlov expedition in Russia in the 1950’s. Their mutilated corpses were found in the wild but the mystery was never solved, I reflected upon the different theories surrounding their fate. Good news is that the 300 copies (out of a 1000) I had for sale sold out and that the album now is distributed in specialized graphic novel/comic stores in Belgium and The Netherlands. I do have a scenario for my third album ready but first I would like to see the 2nd book released. Meanwhile some of my other works are printed in compilation graphic novel books in Belgium and The Netherlands.    
Share with the readers some thoughts about an interview with You in a big Belgian (Flemish) newspaper “Het Laatste Nieuws”, in the end of April, 2016.
- Around that same period we also were interviewed by GVA (Gazet van Antwerpen) which is another big newspaper in this country. I was quite surprised as the mainstream media and especially our national tv always put my bands in a bad daylight, twisting facts, placing matters out of context or adding comments to create a negative picture. They took it as far on a program called “Terzake” as photo shopping our album covers with forbidden symbols and dubbing my voice, replacing it by another voice of someone who was shouting stuff like “die motherfuckers!” to make us look like dangerous morons etc. A deliberate display of unprofessional gutter journalism using all tricks in the book to present us as negative as possible to the public. It never was my goal to please the masses but I prefer to be judged by what I really do or say, not by such a foul strategy of manipulation and low journalism. Result is that many promoters didn’t dare or wanted to book us in this country, afraid of negative press or simply because they fell for the lies and clichés. And that is what the goal was of these journalists: cheap sensation and lies to silence musicians that do not fit their agenda. They were against us because I spoke out against religious fundamentalism and Islamic terrorism already years ago and write about ancient history, worldwide history BUT including our own as well. It is considered politically incorrect in their book, so they exaggerated matters and created a wrong image to reach many viewers and to install boycotts. So the positive non manipulated interviews of these journalists came as a big surprise. Most people who are not confronted with media tricks on a direct basis like we were, often have no clue how manipulative and downright incorrect a lot of the news that is served on a daily basis to the masses actually is. What I say is not based on conspiracy theories, but based on personal experience. By adding comments, out of context pictures, dubbed voices, stressing certain factors but not mentioning others etc certain views can be prepared to push the public opinion into a certain direction. That is how Propaganda works and it is not only a tool used by totalitarian regimes. If one keeps one’s eyes open one can see it on a daily basis on several fronts from politics to business, from fashion to the music industry, in all commercial sectors. That is how “the machine” works.    
If there are any tracks available from your previous bands and if you are willing to release a compilation with his bands (Addix, Necrophilia, Nuclear Domination) (Sorin, Romania)
- You are very well informed about my musical past, Sorin mate :) Out of the early 80’s bands I played in like Addix, Subversion, Capital Scum, Necrophilia, Maniac and Nuclear Domination, only Capital Scum made it to the studio. When I was in the band one could compare the work to early GBH etc. I do have old rehearsal tapes of Addix, Subversion and Nuclear Domination but I’m not sure if the sound quality is good enough for a release. The Subversion one is very raw and brutal but I think only die hard underground fans who don’t mind bad sound quality would be into it, musically the style could be a bit compared to old Discharge and Varukers but I added misanthropic lyrics to it instead of the typical themes usual for the genre. Addix was founded in the late 70’s, style was ’77 type Punkrock and later on Doom elements were added but again with a different lyrical approach, which made us outsiders in the scene. I broke up the band when the other members felt like going into a more commercial direction. Necrophilia was raw B.M. and since we started in the early 80’s the style was in that vein.   Nuclear Domination I joined in the early 80’s and I thought the name sucked haha but the guys played well. I intended to propose a name change. Style was extreme Thrash Metal. Not completely my thing, though. The band consisted of Philip (guitars), Johan (guitars) and Burt (drums, later on he joined grindcore band Agathocles). When the band split up, one of the guitarists (Philip) founded Ancient Rites together with me when we found a guitarist (also named Johan) and drummer (Stefan). Unfortunately the drummer committed suicide and our guitarist Philip died together with the former Nuclear Domination guitarist Johan in a car accident. This happened shortly after the release of the Ancient Rites debut, the “Dark Ritual” demo. So chronologically the bands I was in are in this order:  Addix, Subversion, Capital Scum, Maniac later re-named as Necrophilia, Nuclear Domination, Ancient Rites. While being in Ancient Rites I formed bands on the side such as Danse Macabre, Iron Clad and Lion’s Pride. And I played session with other bands too. 
Since you draw a lot, why don’t you design your own picture disc for Ancient Rites? (Anita vH, The Netherlands/Sweden)
- Hi Anita my old buddy. I actually already did that years ago when our “Dark Ritual” demo was released on picture disc via Painkiller Records. I drew an 18th century scene of Bokkerijders/Goat Riders on a nightly raid.  I have explained the Bokkerijders/Goat Riders phenomenon earlier in this interview but I’m sure you were already familiar with them, Anita, you being from The Netherlands and me being from Flanders. It’s a history we share. The mixture of historical facts, folklore and superstition resulted in a mass witch hunt and executions by the authorities. It is a complex, dark history I’ve always been fascinated by. One of our songs on the demo (“Obscurity Reigns/Fields of Flanders”) was dealing with the phenomenon, so I found it a fitting illustration for the picture disc. Recently I returned to the topic on our latest album “Laguz” with the lyrics of “Von Gott Entfernt (Bij Nacht en Ontij)”… I did draw a few illustrations for the latest Ancient Rites album too, the Frankish warrior and the Viking Ship/Odin scene…
When are you coming to Northern to play? (Anita vH)
- We toured Finland and the Baltic States several times and it always was a great experience to play up North. It would be nice to play other countries there as well, it solely depends on local promoters if they invite us to come over. 

What is your favourite album release so far this year? (Anita vH)
- I have no clue. Allow me to explain. I realize I always have been a bit strange in this. Honesty demands me to say I still prefer old school stuff, rarely I am moved by new releases but that’s ok, every now and then I am pleasantly surprised but not as often as back in the old days. I think a lot of the originality is gone. Perhaps nostalgia is playing tricks with my mind but I don’t think so. It’s also just a matter of taste I presume. Subconsciously there are several “conditions” to music before I can “feel” and “get” the vibe, the ingredients can be all there while I still am not moved by the “whole”. For instance this whole alternative or Nu Metal thing I could never relate to, the music is loud, guitar orientated and with shouting vocals but still it doesn’t work for me as a “whole” and I don’t relate to the sound or vocals. When I discover an old band or old release I have missed back then, I still can get caught as if I was a 16 year old, but mostly this happens when I discover old releases. I’m not saying when it’s old it’s always good. Far from it. But it seems that sometimes when discovering old stuff, there’s something to it I find extra appealing to my personal taste. A certain feel, sound, production. Difficult to explain. But I am not stating there are no interesting new bands out there. The thing with me is: sometimes I throw myself completely into the music and start to discover interesting stuff. Then there’s a period I completely focus on books and literature and spend my money there. Then it’s a period of films. The last years and until now, I’ve been spending all my energy and extra money on graphic novels. There seems to be a “cycle” to it all. I never lose my interests in my other passions and they interact but I seem to focus on one of my interests at a time. It is never planned, as with everything I do it is a natural, cyclic thing. I simply follow my personal flow “locked up in my own world” as it were. I know I’m a bit strange. I did like some tracks sent to me by new underground BM bands, I was enthusiastic about underground 70’s Punkrock releases that were so obscure these rare singles were never distributed properly back in the day and discovered some great Neo Folk stuff but all of those were individual tracks I found on the net, no complete albums. The latest records I bought the last 2 years were albums of Rome, DI9 and Triarii.    
Is Ancient Rites planning a North American tour in the future? (Paul, USA)
- Hi Paul mate! We did play the USA in the past and the crowd was very supportive, I’d love to return, Paul. The fact that our latest album “Laguz” was also released by the North American office of Massacre records and received well in the States, directly lead to our invitation to play on the “70 000 Tons of Metal” Cruise. As we speak, our booking agency is setting up a South American tour, we have been invited by local promoters over there. We always had a large following in South America since the beginning. Of course we would be very happy if North American tour dates would pop up as well. All depends on if North American promoters book us to play the States. Fingers crossed.   
Given your Artistic talent, you ever given any thought into designing a mascot for Ancient Rites? (Paul)
- Thanks for the nice compliment, Paul my friend. I did design the very first Ancient Rites shirts. You can see the artwork on my FB page under the album “Personal creations”. It was a skull with a traditional ancient Germanic/Celtic hairstyle and contained elements of ancient Celtic symbolism mixed with Occult aspects. I also created the traditional logo which was based on traditional pentagram/goat designs.   
I know you are a great book lover and your knowledge reflects in Ancient Rites lyrics, so  list us the 5 best books you have read, the worst one and the last one. (Juliano, Brazil)
- That is a great but very difficult question, Juliano, my friend. My favourite books are often historical works. I enjoy the ancient writings of Herodotes, Julianus the Apostate, Seneca, Plato, Marcus Aurelius, Tacitus to name but a few. But I do appreciate historically correct “fiction” every now and then (that sounds like a contradiction, I know. What I mean is that I appreciate novels with a historically correct and detailed background of the era.  I am not into sword yielding superheroes set in fake Hollywood histories. Anyway on the field of historical novels, I enjoyed books like “Gates of Fire” (Steven Pressfield), “The Dream of Scipio” (Iain Pears), “Catalina’s Riddle” (Steven Saylor), “The Name of the Rose” (Umberto Eco). On a completely different field I like the works of Lovecraft, Guy de Maupassant or Poe. In literature I enjoy reading the works of Lord Byron or Baudelaire. But also close to home a writer like Ernest Claes who described the people, culture and folklore of my region like no other with a sense of nostalgia about the fading past, a past he had witnessed vanishing in the previous century. A book I enjoyed was “Legions of Rome”, no fiction but a detailed history of the Roman legions as the title clearly indicates written by Stephen Dando-Collins. Great joy I also found in reading diaries written by Flemish cavalry men who were forced to join the Napoleonic army. What I find marvellous is that this is history written by those who lived it and not from the perspective of privileged leaders of the era either, but simple men who did not have an overall view on things but who lived the events they were a part of while being on the front seat, with their own lives on the line. That is always fantastic. I haven’t read bad books, because I stop the moment I sense they are too shitty (for my taste) to handle haha! I did read bad comics/graphic novels and saw horrid films but they take less time, I don’t like wasting my days on bad (in my opinion) literature. The last book I read was “Stanley: The Impossible Life of Africa's Greatest Explorer” an autobiography by Tim Jeal and now I’m reading a guide pointing out places that played an important part in the Goat Rider/Bokkerijders history… 
Hello Gunther, what is your favourite season of the year (if you have one) and why? ( Barbara, Northern Ireland)
- I think every season has its beauty and necessity, Barbara. I’m sure you agree.  If you would force me with your broomstick to pick one season, my dear friend ;-) I think I would say spring. Why? Because the season represents a new beginning and I do like the fact that the days are growing “longer”. As a child I embraced the season because it meant my parents allowed me to stay up a bit longer :D Also Spring contained the “promise” of summer holidays, something to look forward to. Of course in reality I am a night person, who doesn’t mind the dark and stay up late anyway. But with daytime and light itself lasting “longer”, I have a tendency to go out a lot more and a feeling as if I can achieve more in a day. Also I like the spring climate, summers can be uncomfortably hot at times, especially when I’m in the South, so I prefer a milder sun. Having said that, I love the nature colours of Autumn and I love the winter fires and darkness, storms and snow. I like the milder Summer days and nights too. You see, I find it difficult to choose…I wonder what Brian and Diablo have to say about this. I know Brian the Goat is not too fond of heavy winds and rains; probably because it messes up his beard ;-)
It was a very big loss for metalheads the passing of Lemmy…… do you have any memories about him you can share with us? What are your favourite tracks/albums of Motörhead? With Lion’s Pride you recorded an excellent cover, called Iron Fist several years ago. Would you be so kind as to share some thoughts about this one for us?
If it had been for the song “Ace of Spades” I probably wouldn’t have started playing Metal. I did listen and enjoyed Hardrock in the 70’s and still do but I preferred a more straight forward style of music to play myself in order to let out my aggression and energy, that is why I formed Punk bands in the 70’s. The classic 70’s Hardrock was fantastic to listen to but made by virtuosos and guitar heroes. I wanted something more raw and direct. Motörhead combined the technical skills of Hardrock with the energy  of Punk and also I related to the straight forward type of voice. I did appreciate the classic and technical Hardrock vocals but I didn’t feel like doing anything that high pitched myself. Motörhead offered the best of both worlds to do on a stage according to my personal taste of what I wanted to play. I’ve met Lemmy when we played support to them on a big festival. I watched the band from the side of the stage together with my father who always liked Motörhead too, he also thought of them as originals. My father likes bands such as old Stiff Little Fingers, Wire, AC/DC, Motörhead, Sex Pistols…It was a nice moment we shared. Afterwards there was a BBQ and Lemmy walked up to the BBQ to grill some meat while I was already there grilling my portion. He smiled and said “Hi” and I greeted him back. Very relaxed and down to earth. I never told him what an influence he has been because he must’ve heard it a million times before and I didn’t want to come across like a pushy fanboy either. So I waited for his reaction first to see how he would behave because it would have been a disappointment if he had turned out to be an arrogant asshole superstar. I knew it wouldn’t have made any difference regarding the importance of his work but I wanted to avoid human disappointment. But all was good, he was kind and smiling. So we simply grilled our food together enjoying a beer :) Normally I’m not into doing covers but we did a few with Lion’s Pride to honour bands I grew up with as a kid and I felt Motörhead had to be on the list. 
Could you create please for the readers, a fake history or two?
- Ok ;-) 
They are not written down in history books but this is what really happened:
Story 1: World War II was a complete accident. There were these German officers in charge of a Tank Division stationed near the Polish border. They had been drinking all night and because they didn’t want to get caught they decided to sleep off their hangover in their tank which was parked first in line. Now, commander Hans Von Witzen fell asleep in the driving chair and didn’t realise he had his head on the wheel and his foot on the gas pedal. Slowly the tank rolled into Poland and was shot at because it was considered an invasion. Hans was sleeping all this time but his Division believed their commander was displaying a kind of extraordinary bravery and thought it was his signal to attack, so they rushed to their tanks to follow him. By doing so they conquered the country and Hans only woke up completely dizzy, with a headache from here to Tokyo, halfway in Russia. He climbed out of his tank not knowing where he was and said “My head is spinning like a Blitz!” His division misunderstood him and they wired to Berlin, our commander did a Blitzkrieg! He got decorated and thought it was because of him breaking the record of Vodka drinking. Meanwhile the war had started for real and no one knew why or could admit it was all an alcohol accident ;-)    
Story 2:
When Napoleon was fighting the battle at Waterloo, he was at winning hand but he needed some extra reinforcements to secure victory. His elite troops of the Imperial Guard were waiting to march towards the battle when they crossed a small village where my great great great great grandfather was living. He happened to be walking his dog who listened to the short name of Leonardo diBradPittio Von Mingselhauzen de Paris the Second (II). He was a pink poodle from a high society poodle breeder. My ancestor did not have the money to buy such a fancy animal but the dog was given to him because the former dog owner wanted to get rid of Leonardo diBradPittio Von Mingselhauzen de Paris the Second (II). You see, the poodle always did bite him in the ankle because he didn’t like his perfume. So my great great etc grandfather inherited the dog and since he wore no perfume the dog didn’t bite him.  Because my ancestor was lazy and too bored to call his dog by his full name he called him Paris.  As the French Imperial Guard were marching on the road to Waterloo they pointed at the horizon where the dog was peeing against a tree. “Waterloo?” they asked my ancestor. “No no Paris!” my forefather answered, thinking they were asking the name of his dog. The Guards thought they were walking the wrong way to Paris and turned around. They didn’t know now they were actually marching back home to Paris away from Waterloo. So they never got to the battlefield and Napoleon lost the war. At Waterloo there now is a big poodle statue of  Leonardo diBradPittio Von Mingselhauzen de Paris the Second (II) ;-)   
Dank je wel, Gunther for your answers and send your message in the end of this conversation.
-Thank you all for this interesting conversation and thanks for the support and appreciation of our work. Wishing you all the very best and we’ll meet again on the road or virtually on Facebook. Either way, I raise my glass to you all but I won’t fall asleep in a tank ;-)
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(Interview with Gunther is done by Georgius, Anita vH (The Netherlands/Sweden), Barbara (Northern Ireland), Paul (USA), Juliano (Brazil) and  Sorin (Romania)