Since my earliest childhood days I was in love with books. The combination of paper, ink and colour was for me the diving board into my own fantasy world. Until the day I learned reading myself, I was forcing all kinds of people to read stories for me. My father worked for the university and we always had young students at home for dinner or even for parties all night long. I remember wandering around the crowded rooms as a little boy and picking up the prettiest girls to read a story for me. The most talented storytellers of the night would then get the honour to read from my dearest pop-up book. Like a small Houdini I was eager to impress the student crowd with the secret magic tricks and illusions my books were capable off.
Growing up I kept them and additionally started collecting more and more pop-up books. Nowadays, I have them on display behind glass in my living room. Some of these books are beautifully illustrated, some have funny gimmicks or even glow in the dark. Not all of them have an artistic or a monetary value. But all of them are impregnated with all kinds of memories from my childhood, when my imagination used to be way more vivid and was able to take me away from real life. Therefore, it let me venture deep into a fierce dark jungle with little monkeys to play, snakes to enchant and wild tigers to tame.
photo: Gene Glover
Our new guest author Anabel will share her Berlin discoveries with you every once in a while. Follow her stroll through the concrete jungle.
Around Christmas time this city is known to be almost void of people: most Berliners-by-choice are drawn out of the urban scapes. The few souls remaining can, for once, feel like Will Smith in “I Am Legend.” Without the zombies, of course – but with tons of golden lametta.
“Suddenly the city feels like a small, cozy village,” remarked a friend the other day; she’s a Berliner born and raised. “That’s when, after a year of silence, you call each other and say: Hey, want to get out?” Well, and then? “And then you hop outside and walk through the deserted streets together.”
What a wonderful idea. I’ll do that, too! Berlin – just for myself. But – as usual – I’ll need a mission: With peace of mind I’ll casually stroll along Schöneberg’s secret chocolate mile! Three chocolate stores and me – all by myself. Could there be a nicer Christmas gift to myself? I want to wallow in a thousand tiny colourful chocolate bits!
photo: Lena van Ginkel
Sadly, this is the last Strange Magic story we have left for you. We would like to thank again the Sophiensaele for being such an amazing partner once again. It was pleasure to discover so many different Berlin realities through this small contest and for us it was somehow like discovering our city through a different set of eyes. On the one corner we could invest in new sexuel experiences we had never thought of like in the story Happy Kater. On the other corner there were strangers crying their eyes out like in the phone-booth. Finally in this last story we follow the protagonist while encountering a mysterious laugh. So enjoy our last story by Lena van Ginkel in the German version of this article.
photo: Eylül Aslan
Our second to last Strange Magic story is the protocol of a sleepless night in Berlin by author Jannis Klasing. About wandering around in our flats in Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain, Mitte or wherever we live, unable to find rest, tormented by all kinds of thoughts . Read about this nerve-wrecking night in the German version of this article.
photo: Harald Hauswald
The next story of our Strange Magic series is about the wonderful and surreal magical island that is Berlin. This contribution comes from talented young author David Bramhoff. David lives in Berlin since ten years and writes stories since roughly five years. Some dreamy, some dark, some funny, some brutal. Before that he studied at the University of the Arts and pretends that he learned a few things there. With what he learned, he works as a communication conceptioner next to his writing. Beyond that, David likes to travel to Southeast Asia, likes espresso that’s slightly too strong and music that’s slightly too loud. Enjoy his story in the German section.
photo: Eylül Aslan
Berlin is Babylon. From all around the world, people come to visit and live here. And I think it is amazing to have such a variety of culture, food, languages and human beauty all in one city. Coming from beautiful and tropical Brazil the author and blogger Gustavo Carneiro found his way to Berlin to study and stayed here. With his words he translates his fascination with the everyday life and publishes his stories in his blog. A story called The Void was his submission for our Strange Magic special. Read it after the jump.
photo: Eylül Aslan
The next story from our Strange Magic series is probably the most sexual one. And sure, a lot of Berlin’s magic has to do with the sexual intrepidness and insatiable appetite of the inhabitants. Did we call Berlin a slut? Several times! But did we ever tell you how the slutty daily live of the Berliners look like? Not so much for now. Thankfully the story Happy Kater submitted by blogger and author Kevin Junk introduces innocent souls like us to the dark waters of the gay piranha pool that is Möbel Olfe on a Thursday night and the morning after. To read his story, you have to continue in German.
The magic about Berlin are not only the rare moments of strange intimacy with strangers or the delicate observations of your surroundings but also the turbulent past this city has gone through. The next strange magic story is somehow a biography with a magical atmosphere by the american Berlin lover Jeff Talton.
Jeff Tarlton has been a denizen of the Berlin music community since re-locating from his home town of Detroit back in 1992. He fell in initially with the Eastern European shamanic music scene. He has put his distinctive stamp either singing or playing guitar as a session musician or featured collaborator, on essential Berlin music labels such as CitySlang, Kitty-Yo and Monica Enterprises, as well as having his own compositions find their way into theatre and film. Indeed, during his more than 20 years in Berlin, Jeff has organized and/or performed at countless local events under his own name & aliases from Columbia Fritz to the most intimate off-the-grid experiments in outer suburbs. As 2013 winds down Jeff is preparing his next live presentation Treason Of The Glitch as well as composing music/sound design for a major German art film due next year. Read his story after the jump.
photo: Anabel Bossart
Since we opened our Strange Magic of Berlin call for submissions to English and German participants it was delightful to see that we got submissions in both languages. The next story is in German from Anabel Bossart. Anabel is an immigrated Appenzeller girl in her twenties. She’s a student of North American studies in Berlin, works as a newsletter writer for a museum in Mitte. In her free-time she loves to roam about the city to discover its marvels. Her blog documents her often curious findings in photographs, but most importantly it contains many little anecdotes about life as someone coming from the equally strange other side of the fence. Enjoy her happy point of views on Berlin in the German version of this article.
After a first quiet funny, a second very surreal, the third story by Irina Dumitriu is somehow the most emotional one of the 10 we choose to be part of the Sophiensaele Booklet. Irina Dumitriu comes from a far away land and has been living in Berlin since 2005. By day she (theoretically) plays with atoms and molecules in a Physics Institute, by night she listens to music, dances, writes, reads, draws, listens to more music, sleeps. There’s not much beyond that. And I hope you will fall in love with this story that feels like a breeze of rainy Berlin November.