Category Archives: Music & Films

Sunday Documentary: Worldwide Berlin

A Llama in Centro Berlin from Worldwide Berlin by Berlin Producers

Photo: Centro Berlin, Bolivia courtesy of Berlin Producers

Given its turbulent history and key role in the politics of twentieth century Europe it’s no surprise that when you say ‘Berlin’ to most people, they will think of the German capital. However, there are more than 100 Berlins around the world.  Telling a day in the life of six of those Berlins, Worldwide Berlin is a documentary from Berlin Producers, made with the support of mbb, in cooperation with RBB and Deutsche Welle.

The documentary starts in Berlin, Germany at 6am as Uwe cleans the streets around Brandenburger Tor.  From there we travel to Berlin, Russia, a small village on the Kazakhstan border; a small fishing village named Berlinhafen (Berlin Harbour) in Papua New Guinea; Berlin, El Salvador, where we witness the preparations for a beauty contest; an Amish community in Berlin, Ohio, USA; Centro Berlin in Bolivia with its population of 10 supplemented by 1,000 llamas; and the village of Berlin in Guinea, which some believe was named in memory of a night of passion in the German capital.

Repeatedly crossing borders and time zones we experience a snapshot of life in each of these Berlins over the course of 24 hours.

The Amish Community of Berlin, Ohio from Worldwide Berlin by Berlin Producers

Photo: Berlin Ohio courtesy of Berlin Producers

Worldwide Berlin focuses on a few characters in each of the seven Berlins featured, showing aspects of their daily lives that illustrate the differences between their cultures and surroundings but also at times the similarities in their routines and experiences.

You have to wonder how the Club Mate drinkers of Berlin, Germany would enjoy the Mate tea from which it is derived, drunk in Centro Berlin in Bolivia, or indeed how the inhabitants of any of these other Berlins would react to some of the sights nobody bats an eyelid at in the Hauptstadt.

Worldwide Berlin – Part 1

Worldwide Berlin – Part 2

The documentary, Worldwide Berlin, is just one part of an interactive multimedia project aimed at bringing together the people of all the Berlins around the globe.  To share your Berlin experiences and connect with other Berliners worldwide go to the Worldwide Berlin website, like the Facebook page and follow on Twitter.

Berlin Time – A Berlin Time Travel Experience by Matthias Makarinus

Photo: Still from Berlin Time by Matthias Makarinus

Photo: Still from Berlin Time by Matthias Makarinus

Matthias Makarinus has produced some of the best Berlin videos around and regular readers may recognise his name from my posts about his Rainy Day and Festival of Lights 2010 videos.  His latest project Berlin Time features shots from both those videos and shows us Berlin’s changing face during the day and throughout the seasons.

Watch as the city wakes and goes to sleep again, shines in summer and shivers in winter, cheer on the runners of the Berlin Marathon and marvel at the Festival of Lights and the beautiful Christmas Markets.

With his use of timelapse and hyperlapse techniques Matthias Makarinus has made Berlin Time feel like an immersive experience – sit back and take a journey through the space and time of Berlin.

Berlin Time

Acid Tanks – Plotbot KEN at work

Plotbot KEN at a Former Chemical Factory From Acid Tanks by Isabelle Pett

Photo: Still from Acid Tanks by Isabelle Pett

This video by Isabelle Pett shows Berlin street artist Plotbot KEN at work in a former chemical factory just outside Berlin.  The editing and the industrial soundtrack (The Sect – Underworld Machine Code Remix) are well suited to the setting and KEN’s post-apocalyptic artworks, created on four large storage tanks.

Acid Tanks

Hipsters Love Beer – I love beer, does that make me a Hipster?

Hipsters Love Beer

Photo: Still from Hipsters Love Beer by Nacho Punch

The craft beer scene in Berlin has exploded in the last couple of years and for a beer lover like myself that is definitely a good thing.  Sometimes though, beer appreciation seems to go the way of wine snobbery and this video of hipster mockery from Nacho Punch made me chortle.

I have to say, I’d love to try a Christian Bale Ale – “Oh, that’s so hoppy”.

Hipsters Love Beer

// via Huffington Post //

The Woman Who Married The Berlin Wall

Eija-Riitta Eklöf-Berliner-Mauer, the woman who married the Berlin Wall

Photo: via kotzendes-einhorn.de

“Wow. He’s more good looking than in the pictures.”  This is how Eija-Riitta Eklöf-Berliner-Mauer, who married the Berlin wall on 17 June 1979 describes her feelings on first ‘meeting’ the wall.

Eklöf-Berliner-Mauer, who lives in Liden, Sweden in a house that doubles as a guillotine museum, fell in love with the Berlin wall when she saw it on television when she was 7.

Asked for the Swedish TV series 100 höjdare (100 Highlights) about the first time she had sex with the Berlin wall, she says that she was 12 or 13, though she is coy about the details of the encounter.

In her bedroom she shows Fredrik Wikingsson the 1:20 scale model of the wall she sleeps with, the sixth such model she built complete with barbed wire.  She also has a fence in her room though ‘he’ is too big to take to bed.

Unlike the many thousand of people celebrating on 9 November 1989, Eklöf-Berliner-Mauer describes the day the wall fell as a ‘catastrophe’.

In Lars Laumann’s film Berlinermuren, which was shown at the 5th Berlin Biennale and propelled her into the media spotlight she elaborates on her feelings about what she feels is the mutilation of her husband and singles out the Hoff for criticism for the part she feels he played:

Shame on you David Hasselhoff – you are nothing without that talking car.

100 höjdare – Berlin Wall Woman (Berlinmurenkvinnan)

Eija-Riitta Eklöf-Berliner-Mauer isn’t alone in having strong feelings for the wall.  Erika Eiffel is an American who married the Eiffel Tower in 2007 and also has a relationship with the Berlin Wall.

She is the founder of OS Internationale, an organisation for those who are attracted to and have relationships with inanimate objects.

Taboo: In Love With The Berlin Wall

Berlin, Berlin: Autumn

Berlin Street Artist ALANIZ at Bärenquell Brauerei from Berlin, Berlin Autumn

Photo: Still from Berlin, Berlin: Autumn by Nehemias Colindres

With less than a week to go until the winter solstice it’s time to celebrate one of the most beautiful times of the year in Berlin, autumn, with a short film from Nehemias Colindres – Berlin, Berlin: Autumn.

The film is an ode to Berlin set to some beautiful images of the city and, as the last stubborn brown leaves cling to the almost naked trees and icy winds hint at snow, we should remember the colours of autumn soon to be replaced by an almost exclusively grey on grey backdrop.

Berlin, Berlin: Autumn

Berlin Songs: Stephen Paul Taylor – Everybody Knows Shit’s Fucked

Stephen Paul Taylor - Everybody Knows Shit's Fucked

Photo: Screenshot from YouTube video originally Instagram of Louisa Menke

Wearing tight trousers, chunky boots, a spangly top and a headscarf, Stephen Paul Taylor,a Canadian Wahlberliner, sings ‘Everybody Knows Shit’s Fucked’ and then he starts to dance, flicking his legs in what will surely become the Office Party dance move of 2014.

The scene was captured by Louisa Menke a Dutch photographer and pro skater and posted to her Instagram account.

The “everybody knows shit fuck” dance

A video posted by Louisa Menke (@louisaamenke) on

The video was shared on Reddit and that’s when its popularity just took off.

Asked about the song in an interview for a Munich radio station, Taylor said:

I think it embodies the frustration and confusion that’s going on in the world right now. Because things are pretty fucked. Really all you can do is say Shit’s Fucked and accept it in a way. I think maybe that’s just the zeitgeist.

Spotting the opportunity that the viral video has presented SPT has recorded a full-length video for the song in his kitchen with some friends and there’s a release party at Urban Spree on 11 December 2014.

Stephen Paul Taylor – Everybody Knows Shit’s Fucked (Reddit Edition)

If you like Stephen Paul Taylor’s Everybody Knows Shit’s Fucked, you should check him out on Bandcamp and follow @blastingbrains on Twitter.

via // @gillyberlin //

CSI: Berlin

Horacio Canine in CSI Berlin - a crime drama for Furries and advert for Eurofurence 20

Photo: Screenshot from CSI Berlin on Vimeo

When it comes to Krimis (crime dramas) in Germany, Tatort is undoubtedly top dog – watching the newest episode on a Sunday evening is a religion for some people.  Tatort, like the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation franchise in the states has several spin-offs based in different cities, including Berlin.  But will Tatort be ousted from the affections of Berliners now that they can watch CSI: Berlin.

Move over Horatio Caine, here comes Horacio Canine.

CSI: Berlin was made as an advert for Eurofurence 20, a convention for ‘Furries’ held at Berlin’s Estrel hotel in August 2014.

CSI Berlin

//via Berliner Buzz//

Sunday Documentary: The Iconic Photo of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Anthony Suau - Iconic Photo of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Photo: Anthony Suau | Time Magazine

On the 9th of November 1989 the eyes of the world were on Berlin.  TV crews and journalists from all corners of the globe gathered in the German capital to document one of the 20th century’s defining moments – the fall of the Berlin Wall.  25 years on from that incredible night it is only right that today’s Sunday Documentary should be about the Mauerfall. Photographer Anthony Suau was amongst those capturing the scenes of jubilation and euphoria for Time Magazine and he recounts his experiences in The Iconic Photo of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

As thousands of people gather in Berlin to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the opening of the border that separated East and West it is time to reflect on the events that made it all possible.

Tonight in Berlin the border is visible once more.  The Lichtgrenze (Border of Light), an installation of 8,000 illuminated balloons marks the course a 15km stretch of the wall from Bornholmer Strasse to the Oberbaumbrücke.

Like the Lichtgrenze, on 9th November 1989 it all started at Bornholmer Strasse.

In response to mass protests and a giant tear in the Iron Curtain making it possible for citizens to escape through Hungary into Austria, the East German government decided to relax it’s border controls and allow travel between East and West.  In a fortuitous twist of fate an uninformed Günter Schabowski appeared at his daily press conference and told the gathered reporters about the easing of restrictions.  Asked when the new directive would take effect he replied ‘As far as I’m aware, immediately. Straight away.’

And so the fate of the Berlin Wall was sealed.

East Berliners curious to see the Western half of their city went immediately to the border crossing points and thousands gathered at Bornholmer Strasse.  Harald Jaeger was the guard in charge of Passport Control at the crossing point and under increased pressure from the crowd he disobeyed the orders of his superiors and opened the border.

As a symbol of Berlin, the Brandenburg Gate was a natural gathering point for the celebrations that night.

No doubt emboldened by alcohol, the new sense of freedom afforded to them and a feeling that the guards no longer had the same power over them, revellers climbed onto the wall.  But even that wasn’t enough for some and they began attacking the barrier that had divided the city for 28 years. The wall had fallen symbolically that evening but many were determined to see it fall literally too.

With knives, hammers and pick axes they set about destroying the Berlin Wall.  It was this destruction that was captured by Anthony Suau for Time Magazine in what has become one of the iconic photos of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The Iconic Photo of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Ohrwurm: Teenage Bottlerocket – Ich bin Ausländer

Teenage Bottlerocket - American Deutsch Bag EP Artwork

Photo: Teenage Bottlerocket – American Deutsch Bag EP Artwork

Anyone learning German will at some point have used a variation on the lyrics of my current Ohrwurm, Teenage Bottlerocket – Ich bin Ausländer.

Whether it’s at the bank attempting to set up that first Konto, the dreaded Anmeldung at the Bürgeramt or just chatting with friends, we’ve all had to point out our shortcomings when it comes to our understanding of Deutsch.

My personal stock phrase in these moments, to the amusement of some of my friends, is ‘Es tut mir leid, mein Deutsch ist nicht so gut’.

This isn’t of course an experience exclusive to those learning German.  Anyone attempting to take their classroom or book knowledge of a new language to the next level and attempt a practical application of their skills will have been in a similar position.

That moment of utter confusion with a mixture of embarrassment and abject terror thrown in when you realise you no longer have any idea what the person in front of you is saying and you’ll have to let them know.

It all started well enough but then there was a word or two you didn’t understand.  Then while you were trying to work out what these elusive words were you missed the next ten or twenty.  You start practising the phrase you’ll use to interrupt them and now it seems that all that is coming out of the mouth of the person you are speaking to is a jumble of vowels and consonants.

And it seems American punk band Teenage Bottlerocket had some difficulties with language during their 2013 European tour as they released Ich bin Ausländer as part of their American Deutsch Bag EP.

Teenage Bottlerocket – Ich bin Ausländer

For those who don’t understand German, the English translation of the songs lyrics is:

I’m a foreigner and don’t speak German well.
I’m a foreigner and don’t speak German well.
Slowly please, slowly please
Speak slowly please
I’m a foreigner and don’t speak German well.

A quick google search of the title brings up what is presumably the original version from Uwe Kind.

It would seem that this is part of a language learning tool called Eine kleine Deutschmusik from a company called Lingotech but it comes across as a 1980s TV comedy sketch.

Uwe Kind – Ich bin Ausländer