I feel like one of the very few queers in Berlin who’s never been for a night, let alone a weekend at Berghain. Charlene said, “I got a ticket to the exhibition at Berghain, wanna go?” Obviously yah, ’cos when else am I ever going to see inside that luscious body.
The group exhibition was that mix of terrible, uninteresting, kinda interesting, not bad actually, that’s rather good, and, like most group shows, a single one I would want for my hypothetical, ‘I’m mad rich, me’ collection. That kind of good. Monira Al Qadiri’sHoly Quarter, irregular vitreous globes of slippery iridescent black on the floor of the Lab.Oratory dark room.
And Berghain. The concrete and metal waxy soft with generations of physical contact and heavy drug fucking energy. No mirrors, no cameras, and that sound system. I’m not at all one for clubbing these days, but a night there — if I got past the door — I wouldn’t leave that space surrounded by that sound.
Out for a wander and long-overdue catchup with Charlene the other day. Treptower Park along the Spree, the Fernsehturm caught in the sunset between Insel der Jugend and Stralau. Berlin dressed up in its proper pretty summer outfit.
I haven’t blogged much this month due to… oh I’m not sure, it just slips by sometimes and I think, “oh it’s been a while, I guess…” and carry on with other things.
Other things. I started a normal job. In the day, like regular people do. I get up at 06:30 so I can be there by 8am and leave earlier so then I have the evening to do web design stuff and about once every two days, yoga at 10pm.
I haven’t danced for two months. Till this morning. Awake so early because of my early habits, I took myself to ballett at Marameo, Edwin the delight teaching his usual class that runs on for two hours or more. Lucky for the yoga or I don’t think I’d have survived, nor felt good about myself. My body has changed from this absence, but more importantly…
I realise how much I miss this world, where somehow I feel is home for me. So familiar after this long, and I suspect it is not easy for my body, used to this constant moving, to let go. Hence the unremediable aches and tensions that only from moving with tension and strain from skin to bones can it be alleviated.
In the moment before taking off for a turn when there is too much time to think, and decide upon how many times to go around, usually choosing an ever-lower, ever-more-lacking in confidence number, and in the snap against the floor making against gravity and the downward anticipation becomes the upward torsion, in this instant, and it is a fine slice of time, Edwin says, “Three!”. And so, having had my own inner monologue overrun by his smart timing decide to go around three times. Because it did seem like a good number when he said it.
A lesson in ballett.
Outside I found what I have sensed these last couple of weeks. Irrefutable signs of life. Blurry, I am sorry, but as with the darkest and most short day, schnee und immer bedeckentheit, so should I mark this passing.
When the sign on the door said please clean up the Hof and put your bicycles in the cellar, and mentioned ‘sanierung’, i thought with the delightful morning sun and spring so obviously near this was some spring cleaning about to occur. I didn’t imagine they’d dig up the Hof and expose a marvelous basement of brick pillars. Sure to tumble in one precarious night…
Lina returned. Monday night via Hermannplatz. I remember the M41 does not lead towards me. The last few days have been a return to winter, proper winter even reminding me of Canada, cold and bright clear skies, dazzling sun, almost too luminous with blinding white snow reflecting all light. Perhaps some more snow later in the week.
I read about two scientists who will be spending summer in the Arctic, towing their lives behind, crossing open water in garish orange survival suits, polar bears by night. One described the blankness which at first the senses find overwhelming in its emptiness. Until… The eyes adjust, or rather the brain does, and replacing the white is a landscape almost bereft of this, rich and saturated in pinks and blues, yellows, browns, all colours emerging shyly from the void until it is a cacophony, a riot.
Berlin in winter is grey. Oh but the glorious whirl of greys and… colour.
I borrowed Lina’s camera. I’d forgotten what it’s like to have a good camera, one that can zoom and frame what I see, that can do things I simply can’t with a camera phone. It snowed in the night, light at first and then heavier, returning almost to the bleak frozen cold of early January. Today My toes were numb and ears burnt from riding east for half an hour through spectacular East-German high modernist communist architecture. I look out from here again, warm and with my desk in it’s new home I can see my old companion still there, dusted in white that breaks the uncoloured grey.
More of a dusting of water frozen out of the air. Lina arrived from Amsterdam, it rained and the slate roof glistened in the low sun as we did yoga this morning. I moved the desk to the wall of bookshelves beside my bedroom door, now when I look up instead of whiteness, I see a hundred books, and when I look over to my left, plants line the windowsill, in anticipation of the sun and outside I see the edges of my Brauerei once more.
My camera is not so good. Well, it is my phone actually, so rather good for what it was three or so years ago, and better than my old digital which is something from an archaeological dig now at five years old and I never packed it for travel. I have to then, play around with my photos a bit to get them looking as I see them and as the sense of how I see them is.
I had the windows open, a cold damp mist but not so soul-killing as to want to seal the apartment and turn the heaters to five, just enough to be reminded this still despite all is winter. My phone makes grey days blue. Neither in a melancholy sense, or contrary to that summery, just… a revolting blue cast that is hard to remove without everything turning horrible. So this is how today feels, perhaps slightly less grainy and more muted. I think I haven’t photographed the Brauerei much on days like today.
Quite often I look out my window, across the warm brick expanse of… I wonder what it is, a vast I want to say Victorian, factory… I must also then find the word for this, late-Prussian, early Imperial. I can sit here in bed examining the steep tiled roof and if i tilt my head so slightly the tapered vertical column of the chimney with its black iron rungs peeks into sight. I do this and find quickly it is called Bötzow-Brauerei, built in 1864. Then, there were two chimneys, also quite splendid gardens on Prenzlauer Allee, fountains and pagodas. Now it is mostly empty, open yet inviting trespass to enter. It is a comfort for me, this abandonment, that it exists as itself and not – yet – made the same, bland, restored, finished. Now it is still alive.
I’ve been thinking for a while of photographing the Brauerei in the varying light and weather. Maybe this is a start.