Racket Boy – An autobiography by Philip George

Omens & The Road To Frankfurt

My mother used to call it a ‘good omen’ whenever a light shower greeted us as we embarked on an important mission. Walking through the drizzle towards Phil’s road-ready red beast at five in the morning Mum was in my thoughts. She never got to see my books published.

It was a chilly Sunday morning, felt more like winter than autumn. Car packed with travel essentials (maps on the ready!) and fresh copies of our newly arrived books from England, we set out towards Frankfurt for Racket Boy’s launch.

As Phil deftly manoeuvred the first bend on our descent from the mountains, we caught an unexpected sight: two deer, huddled on the road’s shoulder, their eyes glistening like orbs as they met our car’s headlights. They appeared just as bewildered as we were, unaccustomed to the intrusion of artificial light at such an early hour, on a road devoid of streetlamps. Another omen!

Phil’s trusty red Golf, road-ready and dependable, glided on under San Romano’s expansive, star-dotted sky. Our journey took us through the alluring landscapes of Italy, passing through pristine, landlocked Austria, producer of giants of history from Hitler to Mozart.

Phil had decided on a night’s stopover in Ulm, Germany, from where it’s a three-hour drive to Frankfurt – a stroll compared to the ten getting to Ulm. His reasons for Ulm ranged from “it’s Einstein’s birthplace” to wanting to show me the next Winter Olympics’ location along the way “where I almost bought a property” before San Romano swept him off his feet. I’m glad San Romano won – bit scruffy compared to the polished beauty of the ski slopes of the Dolomites (where he almost bought) and certainly the mechanical beauty of Austria or Switzerland but San Romano’s charm is just unbeatable!

It was another quintessential Racket Boy style travel – delving into history, politics and sports of course, especially with the ongoing rugby World Cup – as well as the unexpected conflict stirring things up at the Frankfurt Book Fair with its President deciding to throw his support behind Israel, causing team Indonesia to pull out and Malaysia mulling! Oh well, this project had already travelled with the Covid lockdowns and the Ukraine war … so 🤞

From munching sandwiches while Racket Boy soft peddled to the blast of the Latin American rock band Mana providing the soundtrack to our adventure, there were no ordinary intermissions until we arrived at the land of the man who theorized everything to relativity – a humbling reminder of our mortality and impermanence.

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