Staring down at me eating dates on my balcony as sunset arrives. It’s been a long week already, three more yet to come.
I was walking in dusk along Sonnenallee, with someone passing through Berlin, much of the street quieter than usual, partly a Sunday evening, partly anticipation. A massive group of girls and women fill the footpath coming towards us, like a school outing, but the wrong day. Bright, colourful clothes and hijabs, all smiles, and one of the girls holds a basket up to us, full of sweets. I know what the day is, and it still takes me a moment to put things together. Oh yeah, “Ramadan Mubarak,” I say, and take a sweet. And they’re all saying it.
Here we are again, again, again. Every year, the same. Every year, “Just do the first day, do it for your babaanne,” and “Just do it as best you can, even if that’s bid‘ah.” Every year, those same conversations with myself, and new ones, like, “But there’s so much going on right now for me, and so much coming up …” But just this one day, eh? For all the reasons why.
Pretty bloody sci-fi looking after a night in the Kino with Dasniya. Semi-regular Hollywood superhero slash hoonage slash sci-fi outings followed by ‘our local’, the restaurant next to the cinema, which, for a tourist joint, is actually kinda good? Film was Captain Marvel, very obvious queer, very obvious Hongi and Pasifika carry-over from Thor: Ragnarok, and lol at the blue eyes.
Straße des 17. Juni, Tiergarten and Siegessäule, Potsdamer Straße, Unter den Linden, Alexander Platz and the light of Berlin smudged across my eyes at 1:30am.
London Orbital, Merstham, M23 and A23, Brighton Rd, Coulsdon, Beddington Sewage Treatment Works, Croydon, Thornton Heath, and into London smudged across the horizon.
Finally winter. -11º, night of snow, glorious cyclocross riding through it to ballet.
Riding home from Yoga+Bondage with Dasniya, around 1am the city still, especially along my favourite to-and-from Kreuzberg route. From Oranienplatz a detour leads beside the wasteland of the wall, now an impromptu park and wild, overgrown space.
Through an upheaval of new inner-city apartments (as if Berlin can ever be anything but inner-city, yet still …) before turing a bend and arriving at the river. Which will be on one side until we cross and leave it at the far end of Museuminsel.
It’s always peaceful this way, no cars and few people. Arriving at Unter den Linden and passing through the heart of Berlin, at night on a bicycle, the Dom, Fernseherturm, the pit of the Palast, all the museums … I often think what a joy to live here.
Leaving the Spree, over Oranienburgerstr and winding through the small streets near Sophienstr, up into the industrial and public housing parts of Wedding, alongside Volkspark Humboldthain and home.
More night construction along the banks of the Spree beside Neues Museum…
Apparently the fire department will come and take me down if I attempt to climb the chimney in Uferhallen. Well, it has a ladder, and with a harness and a couple of ‘biners on slings I should be safe within the relative context of the word. Photos from the pinnacle at dawn would be beautiful.
The last days it was surrounded by a silverish bulbous alien abode (or maybe Zaha Hadid was visiting); a ring around its base that last night glowed from within, even resembling the much-reduced Beijing bird’s nest stadium. Uferhallen was opening. After many long months of drilling, hammering, digging, moving piles of earth from one place to another, various loud noises associated with engineering, the studios are finished.
Berlin’s Wedding now is home to something of the size and feel of Vienna’s Arsenal; 14 studios on the south side of the street alone, for Tanzfabrik, Hochschulübergreifendes Zentrum Tanz Berlin and others, and even more vast space on the north-side.
I finally got to go into the old generator hall beneath the chimney last night and my photos really don’t do any justice. It is cavernous … and the stairwell leading to the underground labrynth … mmm I would like to venture down there for exploring and camera-ing.
Stumbled home around 1am, not too late but the week has included Osada Steve (who has beautiful red fingernails at the moment) and much Shibari, Kinbaku and other rope adventures with Dasniya, so tiredness was in order.
I saw my darling Ivo perform last night at Halle. Sublimely brilliant and I shall attempt to write something on that. I took my camera because I hoped to take some things of him. Sadly no. Though I played in the darkness before, wondering over dark light photography.
Playing then, in Manual mode and Shutter Priority with ISO, aperture, shutter speed and focal length. I discover (well compared to my camera phone anyway) useable and beautiful things. Up to ISO 800 is ok, though there is smeariness from the image processing, I forgot to turn off because I forgot about it. (Oh, a little blurriness also because of slow shutter speed, around 1/15 to 1/20). Pushing the exposure two stops also helps bring in more light, though at the expense of what, I’m not sure. Aperture at 2 or 2.8 also lets more in, like opening faucet. It would be nice to try with a tripod for longer exposures with lower ISO and smaller aperture maybe, but even these to me have an attraction.