Berlin during winter is inspiring in its bleak scenery. Sitting here, breathing there – existing, like a child that was told what to do. There is no way to live it right or wrong – if you’re dressed up well, it’s going to be fine. It’s going to be fine. For myself, coming from the warmer climes, the winter here has been harder to go through than I expected. It’s colder than I can take, but that feeling when the brain freezes – that’s a true wake up! And if it’s too cold and work allows so, I can stay at home and make music in bed, pretending I’m Virginia Wolf, during a downfall. No matter what I ask for, the city can bring me. The city will accept my doings. The city will let me be who I feel like being without judgements and assumptions. The city understands it’s cold during winter, the people understand it’s cold during winter. They don’t expect much, but appreciate it when you do. So privileged we are, here in Berlin.
photo: bronx. / CC
I spent 29 nights under the same roof with a German tap dancer. In the spring of 2014. In the heart of Berlin. In my artistically-starved senses.
It started with a simple Craigslist search. I was looking for an accommodation with a limited budget in a week’s deadline. The reason? I had been offered a tremendous job opportunity at a startup in Berlin.
The money was mouth-watering. Given my absolute lack of ambition, I had already started dreaming of retirement in five years. Ergo I jumped at the opportunity and packed my bags, which were only two at that time. And moved to what I call the Bohemian Silicon Valley of Europe.
I was enthused to work among respectable professionals during the day and schmooze with pretentious artists in the evening. That was my plan. But finding an apartment in Berlin was like finding a steady boyfriend on a dating site. You had to go through a series of bizarre/eccentric/not-so-right ones to be able to meet a half-way mediocre one.
photos: Eylül Aslan
I once read somewhere that Berlin has two seasons: Beautiful and shitty. And shitty season just started. Berlin’s inhabitants once again are frozen of heart, in need of just any sort of physical contact in their Altbau with the “authentic”, drafty windows. “Maybe I should get a therapist? Maybe I should finally get a dog?” I hear you contemplate. But I also know that you’re not yet ready for that sort of a commitment.
So, count yourself lucky, the bone broth of relationships is in season again. Just like its fatty, soupy counterpart, it’s a fleeting craze to raise your vitamin D levels (D as in dick, darling) until Spring. Give me your clammy hand — I’ll be your guide to obtaining a seasonally limited hot-beef-injection.
„The ground was shaking, the ears were booming when I lost my young heart to a fat sound“ – Berlin, also called ‘Dickes B’ by the local group Seeed, has been an inspiration for all kinds of music and subcultures for many years. From one corner in Spandau to the other end in Marzahn, one would think that Berlin has more than enough filthy prefabricated-slab buildings to produce some beats that would put those of Hamburg’s bigwig kids and Frankfurt’s spoiled ones in their shadows. Well indeed – although our at the same time hated and beloved moloch provides a nutrient for authentic gangster rap, Berlin became one of the – no, probably THE – most relevant hub of the German hip hop scene in recent times.
If you want to experience and get to know more about how the separate neighbourhoods sound to the new rap generations and what old (rap) friends made out of it, then take about 16 minutes of your time and go to the bars of these acts.
photos: Finding Berlin
There is a good reason why people from all over the world travel to Berlin just for the nightlife. On pretty much every night of the week, you can find a plethora of clubs to satisfy your dancing fix. The only thing standing in between you and the wildest night of your life is the stone-faced bouncer perched ominously in front of the door (also known as “the gatekeeper of your happiness”.) No matter how much black you’re wearing, how many people are in your group, or how expressionless you manage to hold your face for 45 minutes while standing in line— a pesky fly could zoom by the bouncer’s face at the exact same second you come forward, and then… well… you might then hear them say something like this: “Vergiss es. Nicht heute.” (Forget it, not today)
On one hand I completely understand their discretion. The bouncers (at least I’d like to hope) want to make sure that all who enters their magical wonderland is there to have fun and revel in the splendor that surrounds them, not just take selfies, hit on chicks, or gawk at “freaks.” While this process of elimination does *usually* succeed at keeping these awful kinds of people away, they also end up turning away plenty of fun, happy, freaks who just want to shimmy (like, um, I don’t know…me?)
illustrations: Sophia Halamoda
Show me what you eat and I’ll tell you who you are. Basked in a plethora of choice, Berlin inhabitants’ hardest seems to be where to eat. Trying to arrange Sunday brunch with a vegan, a meat lover and a person that claims to be allergic to almost anything between is more normal than everyone involved would like it to be. With a rough estimate of two hundred guides to hyped food spots being published (in Berlin alone) every day the proof must be in the pudding. So if you’re looking for your very own flavor of love, by all means, dig in:
photo: Harald Hauswald
We all know the stigma: True Berliners are grumpy people. People who directly speak their mind, could not care less about unnecessary chit-chat and definitely have a strong problem with, well, for simplicity reasons, let’s call it hipster culture. Despite stereotypes being generally untrue, it doesn’t really take you long to see that person right in front of you, does it? But is there a reason for all the grouch? Has anyone ever dared to ask when you saw one of these rare True Berliners? It feels like in Berlin there is this ongoing, unspoken, not clearly defined tension pressing under the surface of the city; an unverbalized conflict between these who came and those who were already here. The “Neuberliner“ vs. the “Urberliner“.
In search of an answer for all this bad mood, we, the “Neuberliner“, need to go back in time. As finding the cause for these temper issues is just not that simple. This text is one approach, but of course there could be one hundred other reasons for grumpy Berlin people being grumpy. But let’s try…
photo: Rowena Waack / CC
I’ve written about the digital debris broken relationships leave behind. In this day and age, it seems that something always lingers, even when you do the leaving. Of course, in most cases, ditching people for good ultimately turns out to be the better choice. A recently published study suggests that only narcissists and/or psychopaths (and Berlin has enough of both) like to stay friends with their former partners. That may or may not be true. In my experience one of the dominant reasons we still pine for people that we got rid of is nostalgia, rather than the fact that your ex was such a good friend or even partner.
Rejecting the idea of “the one” seems like the best place to start. Even if you’ve left everyone you’ve ever been with, you’ll have realized that it doesn’t mean the whole thing will be painless. The aim is of course to get through the suffering.
illustrations: Johanna Dumet
It all started one fateful Tuesday morning as I stood in my bathroom. The previous night I’d submitted the manuscript of How to be German 2 to my publisher and I considered my German Integration project finished. I was integrated. Standing in the bathroom, I looked below the mirror to a shelf where I saw the toothpaste tubes Elmex and Aronal. They knew, that I knew, that it is wrong to use the same toothpaste for both morning and night. This is not the German way, for it is obvious that your teeth have different cleaning needs depending on the time of day. Logisch. Right? You wouldn’t use the same shampoo when showering at night, as when showering in the morning, would you? Exactly.
TH!NK? Festival, photo: Arvid Wünsch
For Free: One brown vintage v-neck sweater and one oversized striped H&M tank top!
Why am I giving them away? Well, let me explain…
It all began a few weeks ago when I made the two hour bus ride to Leipzig to attend the TH!NK? festival, an annual one-day techno festival located next to a beautiful lake. When I boarded my bus in my blue marbled stretchy spandex shorts and striped crop top tank, I knew I was going to have an amazing day. I had no idea, however, that life as I know it would be forever changed. Furthermore, I had no idea that as a result, I would return to Berlin a much happier, more romantic version of myself.