We all meet up in Dublin and check into Gresham Hotel. That night Andreas and I stay up until three in the morning. Earlier, our guide, an attractive blonde, Clare Finnegan shows up and Andreas and I promptly develop incredible crush on her. That night sitting in the bar named Night Train, I hear a pretty and pretty drunk lady calling out: Hey handsome devil! Could have been for Andreas because he is certainly better looking, tall and handsome. The next day, it’s onto Shannon and Fitzpatrick’s Hotel. Late night again.

The morning after, Clare leads us to Galway and soon after we check into Ardilaun Hotel and  to the Oyster Festival. The day is cold and windy. The only way to stay warm is bar hopping. What I remember vividly is that I urged you all to follow me into the pub “King’s Head” the history of which had thrilled me the year before. Myth has it that the tavern was given by Oliver Cromwell’s people, to one Richard Gunning as a reward for beheading King Charles I in 1649.

When that’s not enough to keep us warm, Andreas and I pop into a clothing store and buy ourselves identical plaid flannel shirts – forming what I have come to call Plaid Brothers. We watch the Oyster Festival parade and admire the Oyster Queen Maeve. There is a gala banquet at Great Southern Hotel, which is where it all began back in 1954. Held there is the ceremony and crowning of the Queen. We have a Playboy table up onto the balcony. When everyone is properly fed and drunk, Maeve floats from table to table spilling her sweet smiles, hugging some of us. As she grazes my neck with hers, I hear her say: I would like to take you home with me. Wow! I am 53, and she is, what? Eighteen. I guess they grow them differently in Ireland!

It’s raining that night and it’s as late as the previous nights. Clare has plans to get us up earlier in the morning and take us to show another Irish landmark. We’re all dreading it. But she is duty bound and insistent. She offers sweetly to even be our wake up call. Still, we strike a compromise. It’s a no go if it’s still raining. We all go to bed praying for rain like the drought ridden farmers in India. The phone rings at seven. It’s Clare crooning softly: I’m singin’ in the rain.

Two days later, I am sitting in the restaurant Casserole in Munich with Andreas and his deputy Bernd Prievert. Andreas and I are still savoring our weekend in Galway and begin to talk about how we can do something similar the next year, but on a bigger scale to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Playboy in Germany.

Within three weeks Andreas is fired. Our partners Bauer Verlag replaces him with Wolfgang Maier. Sad, but that’s how the corporate roller coaster turns. I miss soft spoken and suave Andreas, who had also become a good friend. Now I am subjected to deal with loud and arrogant Wolfgang. Which is a bit difficult. Because he is pure and simple defiant.

He has a vision to turn back the tide of the declining circulation and the advertising revenues. Whatever his claim to fame, I haven’t seen one ray of hope in his ability to do that. His resume looks like hop, skip and jump. He has his own image of Playboy, which has almost no relationship to the magazine Hugh M. Hefner created forty years earlier. My job it is to make sure that each foreign edition, even in it’s diversity retains certain salient features of the mother edition.

Not that I haven’t butted heads with the others, but at the end of the day, we would have always managed to come to a mutually acceptable and satisfying compromise before moving forward with our combined ideas. Not so with Herr Maier.

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