Tuesday, June 23, 2015
The desk fan goes whuppa whuppa whuppa in the humid Berlin bog. I take my donuts in my left hand and prepare to leave the place where thousands have come and gone before. I stuff them in my mouth, verily, one at a time, in remembrance of Berlin. The thousands first, then the donuts. I am voracious.
Where? The Next. The next cheap place where creative people go to piss about and throw fairy dust at the sky while waiting for the wrecking ball. We won't be assimilated. There was a respectable time in human history wherein one could live and die in fields or coal mines. Now there is only the sad promise of a sad cubicle in a sad office space. Moving up? Nosir. Moving down. Give me black lung disease, motherfucker. At least my body will die before my brain.
The Next Place will have donuts. Yes, they will be the death of me, but I choose a glorious, deep-fried, jelly-filled sugar coma. Alcohol will be my anesthesiologist. He's the only one I trust. I will go there, to The Next Place, and start another blog.
Maybe it will be titled something like Notes of an Old Fart. I'm pushing 50. It would be a good time to give up the donuts and go for the laxatives.
This is the end, my friend.
But only of my life in Berlin. In the past 20 years in England, Ireland, Czech Republic and Germany, it has always been a bit unsettling when The Big Change comes round. Then I settle in. Then I move on.
There will be other lives in other cities.
Saturday, June 20, 2015
Dunkin' Berliner's Last Few Weeks In Berlin
The time has come. This is The End, my friend. Leaving Berlin. There, I've said it. I'm not the first and I'm not the last. Every year I proclaim This Is My Last Year and then I stay. Six and one half of them have come and gone. 1492 donuts have gone down my tubes (probably more, I don't really count) and I am none the wiser. Perhaps donuts aren't brain food after all. I'm waiting for the pendulums of science and medicine to swing in my favor, much in the way that in one decade they declared that chocolate and wine will kill you, then turn right on around and say the same killers will now feed your brain and libido and you will live and love long time. Science is a fickle bitch, so I wait for her to tell me to eat three donuts per day.
I haven't posted much recently because I saw The End coming and I was numb. Mostly from drinking wine and waiting for the veritas. Haven't found much. Gentrification sucks, as always, mainly because the rents go up and the wages do not. What was once a cheap, barren, sandy beach for feckless, creative nomads (like me) is now fertile soil for money trees. Trustafarians and hipsters take the places of the old guard. They are multiplying and growing to fuse into one large beardbeast. There are now even subgroups within the hipster underworld, the most hilarious of the bunch being dubbed Lumbersexuals. Those are the ones, usually German, who wear blue jeans, hiking boots and red plaid shirts in addition to the ubiquitous big black glasses and beards. I'm guessing that Lumbersexual is a mashup of lumberjack and metrosexual. Perhaps they were cut out of the Woody Allen Sexcapade film featuring the room with the man getting it on with a large rye bread. Perhaps the Lumbersexual was next door having rough sex with rough wood. Splinters are not for everyone (ouch). Bollox. I call them Lumberjackoffs.
The Bellevue Saints
Today I was riding through Berlin for several hours on S and U bahns doing my weekly photo job for a tour company. Every Friday morning between the hours of 10 and 11 in the Ay Em, The Saints get on the S7 at the Bellevue Station stop. You will know them by the trail of dead lyrics. A band of gypsies with a beatbox on a hand cart and 3 guys playing trumpet, saxophone and accordion launch into the worst version of When The Saints Go Marching In you will ever hear.
Gah Martian inn,
Aaaaaaaah win da sints
gaa Martian inn,
Uuhhhh wah wan
Beeeee end dat numm-zah
Win da sints gaaaaah Martian inn!
Evvy botty nah!"
Then they clap and dance and shake their fucking cups in your fucking face. JAY zus. In over one year of seeing the same fuckers doing the same fucking song on the same fucking S7, not one coin goes into the cup (nor do they learn the lyrics). People stare forward in apathy, even when the gnarly McD's soda cup is shaken so vigorously under numb chins that soda crust and tobacco lint fly with the coins. And they do not. Change. The tune. They play exactly one verse, badly, then get off at Tiergarten Station. When they venture too far from Bellevue, their halos begin to tarnish. The trains run back and forth. The broken record spins, hiccups, repeats, repeats, repeats...
If that ain't dedication I don't know what is.
In the crux of the tunnels under the Berlin streets the accordions squeeze filth through their flapholes. With the unholy mantra of the Bellevue Saints still echoing through my early morning brainfog, a new earworm wiggles through my auditory canals. Yes, you guessed it: Dunkin' Berliner hates accordions. Not because the accordion isn't a real instrument, not because they are only played by drunken gypsy polka rejects in the dark tunnels of Europe—but because they are simply the most cheesy instrument on the planet. Even the shitty plastic recorders played by first graders high on Cap'n Crunch don't hold a candle to this shit. In the dark annals of history, someone glued a tiny piano keyboard to a fucking bellows, handed it to a gypsy and said 'Go forth!' (read: get the fuck out of town!).
Two accordion players plied their sleazy/cheesy trade. What is worse than an accordion? Two. One played 'rhythm' MEHHH...muh....MEHHHH...muh while the other lounge lizard's greasy fingers were slip-sliding away over yellow plastic keys. Sweaty armpits pumped away. I wanted them to stop, face each other, and give challenge. Yes, I wanted them to stop torturing commuters with dungeon dreck and start the duel. Like the scene in Deliverance with the guitar, the banjo and the Tard. I believe that when two hideous, backwoods instruments come together, they must duel. Dueling douchebags on accordions. Now THAT's entertainment. Maybe next year they'll even rise from the bowels of the U bahn, ride high over the city on S rails and topple The Bellevue Saints.
Building A Shorter America
Dunkin' Berliner Observation: Amis are getting shorter by the year. Each season when a new gaggle of Ami chicks pours out of the planes, trains and automobiles, I notice the shortness. The voices are still loud, and the ubiquitous LIKE has been newly adorned with UM and RIGHT? But they are losing an inch every year; the batch I saw today must have been around 5 feet 4. Last year they were 5 feet 5, the previous years 5 feet 7—you get the idea. So how is America breeding smaller people? Science (that fickle shit) tells us that tallness is a sign of a country with a high standard of living, and that the Nordic types are the tallest. So what happened to the standard of living in the U.S.A? Where are the Amazons? Sure, a lot of short-assed Mediterranean types dumped their genetic ooze into the American genepool, but there just aren't enough of them to shorten the entire population. Maybe it's the diet. I blame the kale.
Wild, Drunken German Yoots
One thing hasn't changed in all the time I've lived in Berlin: drunken teens on public transport. Passing through Hauptbahnhof today, a group of them were so loud in their drunken shouts, hoots and sieg heil—uh... hoorahs, that the entire train could hear them through closed windows. I'm guessing that they had just graduated high school and were letting off a bit of steam. There's where I envy the Europeans: a dozen boys barely old enough to shave board the S-bahn, drop a case of beer on the ground and begin the festivities. In the States the cops would be legally authorized to call in SWAT and hose 'em all down. One of the yoots is a boy of about 5 feet tall, whith a curly green mop on his head (maybe he's just finished a breeding tour in the U.S.). He hooks up a little amplifier to his phone, the beat rages, and the whole group joins in drunken falsetto: EVERYBODY DANCE NOW! And they do, as jiggy as their wobbly legs will allow. Green moptop looks a bit green in the face as well, and slumps back into his seat until the next chorus of EVERYBODY DANCE NOW strikes up.
How will I find such entertainment in one day anywhere else? Where will I go next? Stay tuned.