Kunst. Kunst. Kunst.

Berlin is awash with kunst (“art”), round every corner there’s more art…

Street art                                                        

                             pop art

                                     performance art

           conceptual art

urban art

                                                   classical art.

It’s enough to give you an art attack.

I think there’s something like 800 galleries here. More than London. Which in one way makes sense, artists being attracted by cheap living costs but on the other… who the hell is buying all this art? Berlin and Berliners are hard up on the whole. I can’t imagine there’s enough collectors to go round.

A Gripe

Sunday shopping. Or not. When I say shops don’t open on Sunday I really mean shops don’t open on Sunday. It’s like a step back in time to the 70’s or 80’s. You may find the very occasional (foreign run) corner shop open for essentials but that’s it folks. It’s not quaint or sweet, just irritating.

Mind you even mid week opening hours are kind of erratic and even the big name brands mostly don’t open till 11am. Where laid back-ness ends and laziness begins… well make your own mind up.

Pretty

Berlin with The Girls

Berlin in June, 10 days, Marvs n Flics along for a long weekend. Another 6am flight out and we were breakfasting in Kollwitzplatz and checking out the food market.

At our insistence the girls hired bikes… not sure Marvia was ever totally ok with it. En route between the Brandenburg Gate and the Jewish Memorial and a close shave with a metal bollard I thought we’d broken her. Oh dear. 

Cue a quick detour into Teirgarten to spend a couple of hours pootling round Berlin’s equivalent of Hyde Park only bigger. Much nicer all round, despite dodging the rain showers but it was fine, the sun reappeared in no time.

A Sunday night trip to GMF @ Weekend, a posh (for Berlin) club atop a tower block rounded off a pretty chilled out couple of days.

Monday was the Reichstag to check out the Norman Foster designed dome. Now normally you have to queue for hours to get in but I found out there’s a smart restaurant up there open all day, book a table and you’re in. After negotiating airport level security (including showing passports) we did a super posh breakfast on top of the German Parliament. At one point I had 5 hot, cold, alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks in front of me. For me twas a real highlight (food, always food with me), so much so I got carried away and picked up the tab. Must have been good.

PSB’s… & a 3am Adventure (part 1)

Friday kicked off with a mild thick head (a 3/10) and a f/book message from Desmond one of the guys I’d met the night before and another organiser of QBT. Bless him he’d obviously sent it soon as he got home reminding me they were all off to Pet Shop Bears and to join the fun. Followed by a 2nd msg saying in case he didn’t make it to the club he’d be drinking in a certain bar meeting friends at 10pm. How nice and welcoming is that?

Andrew rocked up at 10am. After a nap to make up for his 3am start we had another day cruisin’ around mostly in Volkspark Freidrichshain (checked out the Polish War Memorial - bit ‘meh’ after seeing the Soviet War Memorial) 

and then down into Friedrichshain itself for lunch and mooching.

And then home for the essential disco nap.

The evening we U-Bahned it to ‘Zum schmutzigen Hobby’ bar. Literally The Dirty Hobby - it wasn’t, was like a cosy living room with decor by Woolies. Even by Berlin DIY chic standards it was umm… rudimentary.

This was when we finally found the place. Stupid Ian left house without phone or map. We found the Strasse easily enough and promptly walked so far we came to the next U Bahn station still not having found it. First rule of Berlin - nothing is easy to find, it’s always hidden away in some derelict building/back alley/random court yard. So, we got the train back to our starting point and, now armed with our “Berlin sensibility” found it pretty much right away.

Desmond was there and an international assortment of his mates turned up. After some drinking - and studiously ignoring the odd bar crowd; a definite whiff of wedding reception about then - it was a cab to Kantene club for Pet Shop Bears. The club’s in the same former power station as Berghain but without the 2 hour queues and arbitary door policy. Don’t know Berghain? Google it. Though you will be hearing more about it here. Eventually…

Pet Shop Bears was great and remarkably bear* free. Just lots of cute guys and a great friendly atmosphere. Safe to say it was a great night of drinking chattin’ dancin’ until some time after 3am when the previous night’s 3am start caught up with Andrew and he hit the wall. Home time… but the fun didn’t stop there. No no no…. to be continued.


Bear is a LGBT slang term that refers to members of a subculture in the homosexual and bisexual male communities. Bears tend to have hairy bodies and facial hair; some are heavy-set or muscular; some project an image of ruggedmasculinity in their grooming and appearance, though none of these are requirements or unique indicators. Some bears place importance on presenting a hypermasculine image and may shun interaction with, and even disdain, men who exhibit effeminacy.[1]


Find of the weekend: Rosengarten. The bar in the local park. Nice tunes. Sunny disposition. Oh so chilled out. A beach bar without the beach. Darn near perfect.

A 30 second Templehof Tour. All aboard.

3am Adventure (Part 2)

3am we left the club with our new friends; German Christian and Swedish Eric .  2 things you need to know. 1. The club is surrounded by waste land 2. In Britain we (subconsciously) assume you can’t go somewhere until being given permission. Berlin that rule is reversed.

The road we want is t’other side of the waste ground and riased up on a fly over. In my druken state I went into British mode looking for a road or path. Silly me. So off we trek as the crow flys across said waste ground. 1st obstacle chain link fence… with a handy hole in it. Simple enough. The waste ground isn’t flat by the way its very up and down. Get to the other side.. solid 6ft fence and locked gate…. with a handily upturned shopping trolley against it. Evidently we weren’t the first to go this way. So a clamber onto the trolley and drop down and a flight of stairs and we were up on the road. Simples. Sort of. Then it was just a matter of waiting for the night tram (night tram! How cool) all rounded off with a burger. Top night.

Saturday AM: Breakfast at Kollwitzplatz Organic farmers markt, a free wheel down to Potzdamer Platz to see preserved old wall watch tower.. bless probably the least scary watch tower you’re likely to see. Aww.



Saturday PM:  Templhoff Flughaven, the ex Nazi built airport (made famous by the Berlin Airlift) and still one of the biggest buildings in Europe. Closed as an airport some years back last year it was turned into the biggest urban park in Europe maybe the world. You get to cycle down the runways and taxi ways! Is cool.

 


Saturday night: ZMF; dive-y basement club. Dodgy performance kunst (black bird stabbing black cuddly toy… rolls eyes). A naked man dancing (touch of the Fred Wests about him). These pics tell all you need to know… more, much much more in fact…. Ick.

London V Berlin: Round 1

History                  Draw

Culture                  Draw

Bike friendly          Berlin

Speaking English  Draw (!!)

Cost of Living        Berlin

Airport transfers    Berlin

Nightlife…..          TBA!

Traffic                    Berlin

Plastic friendly       London

ATM’s                    London*

Food                     London

Summers              Berlin

Winters                 Miami

Street style           London

*ATM = Geldautomat in German – possibly my favourite German word so far. ‘Geld’ being the old English word for castrate… think about it…