Archive for the ‘Berlin’ Category


Greenpeace (Germany) labels Vattenfall to be the most environmental unfriendly producer of energy in all Germany. Greenpeace’s study claims that Vattenfall issues 890g (gramm) CO2 per KWh (kilowatt-hour).

Greenpeace says that Vattenfall’s East German brown coal power plants are alone responsible for a total of 53.8 million tons of CO2 per year. And because Vattenfall is improving its infrastructure in Boxberg, Hamburg-Moorburg and Berlin-Klingenberg, it will add to those 53.8 another 18 million tons (of CO2) per year in the future.

Now take a deep, deep breath — and then head over to (upper right, in German, “Schwarzbuch Vattenfall”) for the study.


In pictures

English-language books on Berlin are oddly rare, for reasons I don’t entirely understand. Trying to hunt one down on Amazon, I ran into Jason Lutes’ Berlin, a portrait of ’20s Berlin as a graphic novel. I’m pretty enthusiastic about comics; 90% are crap, but the few great successes make up for them. And, if this review is anything to go by, Berlin is one of the good ones:

tracing the arcs of several overlapping narratives; playing with time; a fiction based around real events; in particular, mapping the sense of bewilderment, loss, chaos, creativity, and uncertainty in Berlin at that point – a city on the edge. Lutes plays out the chance encounters in bustling city life with real grace, ultimately to heartbreaking effect.

Has anybody read the thing? Is it as good as all that?


Freitag, 14.November ab 19:00
ATM Gallery, Brunnenstr.24, Berlin-Mitte

Do you read me?

Looks like a sweet place for all people who love to read.



Part of Millennium Mythology by Tacheles regular Alexander Rodin

Part of 'Millennium Mythology' by Tacheles regular Alexander Rodin.

The prospect of Tacheles being demolished is somehow both inevitable and unthinkable.

Inevitable because in any battle between money and art, money wins. Unthinkable because Tacheles is a focal-point for so much, that I can’t imagine what would fill the gap if it went. Sure, the artists will find other places, the parties move on. Foreign tourists will turn up, look in confusion at a building site, and be picked off by the commercial tour operators. But all of it together, the whole unstable combination of dismal and excellent? Once that goes, it’s gone for good.

For all Tacheles’ faults – the dirt (a cleaner there once earnestly explained to me how he viewed pissing in the stairwells as a form of artistic expression), the in-fighting, the omnipresent drug-pushers – it’s the best we’ve got. I don’t know how to help Tacheles keep going: the legal battles are for insiders, mass demonstrations are more uplifting than effective. I hope somebody does, though.


I discovered some new music for myself tonight – the radio had it playing somewhere. :-)

The band is called Jazzanova (from Berlin, of course) with a song called “So far from home” (ft. Phonte). Been listening to all the samples on iTunes and Myspace and so far it’s pretty cool, easy going, Jazz-Soul-Freestyle, great lyrics. So good I had to google the lyrics from the radio for half an hour before I figured out the band name and the album.

If you want to peak, check out the review on okayplayer, they also have a little mp3 player which has the very same song in it which I heard tonight. More music is on Jazzanova’s myspace.

Gentrifying Alex

The TAZ reports on a councillor’s personal crusade to get rid of the groups of punks gather around Alexanderplatz every weekend. Or at least, he’s trying to ban alcohol there, and I doubt many will stick around without those omnipresent bottles of Sternburg.

It’s always seemed like a nice scene to me, one that goes back in some form all the way to the GDR times (*). Appropriately incongruous, a bunch of scruffy kids in black, between the 700-year-old Marienkirche and the ugly-but-really-effin-huge Fernsehturm. You’ve got the dogs on strings, the emo fringes, the Japan-obsessed girls, the goths in their fuck-me boots and OTT eyeliner, before they all head off to Kopi or Potse or K17, or wherever it is they go now.

Maybe not everybody’s piece of cake – although the TAZ’s vox-pop doesn’t find much outrage – but mostly harmless, and certainly livelier than just another corner of badly-kept park that isn’t doing much. Personally, I’m irrationally fond of them, and I’ll be sad if they get gentrified out of existence. I’m half-tempted to blame this planned ban on the fact that if, like this councillor, you have the name Ephraim Gothe, you’ll end up either loving goths or hating them.

In other loitering-on-the-street news, it looks like outside heaters are going to be banned from January. Glad I’m not a smoker…

* As I understand it, this was something similar to Harajuku Bridge in Tokyo, a place where teenagers gathered in their fanciest clothes to show off at the tourists. Just with the added complication of the Stasi keeping tabs on the whole thing. Oddly, I can’t find much about this online, so maybe I’m imagining the entire thing.

Distant suburbs

Cities leave footprints far larger than their physical borders; there’s usually a whole hinterland dedicated to feeding the city, housing its commuting workers, resentfully dreaming of the place. Sometimes it seems to cover an entire country: London and Paris have near-total dominance over the cultures and economies of England and France. But Berlin? No – Berlin is too young and small and poor, Germany is too decentralized, the Wall messed things up too long.

Then along comes Tobias Rapp, to point out that sprawl isn’t always that simple

Berlin’s suburbs are no longer in Brandenburg, but in Europe – in Venice, Barcelona or Leeds. Tourists have become the fourth pillar of our nightlive, alongide the Ossis, the gays and the Mittis. They’re also scarily well-informed: if a new illegal club opens up, the next month it’ll have a write-up in one of the in-flight magazines” [from the current Zitty, not online]

I’d say the clubs themselves, more than Ryanair, are responsible for this. Tresor, Berghain and Watergate all run their own record labels; globetrotting DJs boost Berlin’s reputations wherever they stop off. But Rapp is (as usual) spot-on with the rest; it’s the neverending airlift of clubbers, the backpackers, and Erasmus students that keeps Berlin’s nightlife afloat. Better to have commuters playing here and workng elsewhere than the opposite, right?

Rapp calls these visitors the Easyjetset, and is finishing up a book about them and Berlin’s clubs. I can’t wait to read it; almost everything he writes has something interesting to say.

After the games

After plenty of debate, it looks like Hertha won’t be building themselves a new home ground. That means the Olympiastadion gets to continue unchanged for a few more years.

Other parts of the olympic infrastructure haven’t been so lucky: parts of the olympic village, for instance, have been gutted by fire; much of the rest is abandoned or decaying. Sad, but it does make for some impressive pictures.

More on the history of the village here.

[and yes, I’m the new guy here. Hi, everybody!]


Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.