The Berlin Diaries – Disenchantment at the Brandenburg Gate

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(From the 6th of Feb. My opinions have changed somewhat since writing this; the city and I have made friends again, but what I’ve written here was true once, and so it stays.)

It’s Monday morning and I’m feeling wretched, and so the only time I can write this is right now, as my wretchedness may well be due to chemical deficiencies that will have righted themselves tomorrow. But perhaps not. Continue reading

The Berlin Diaries – The Wizard’s Lair

 

Thursday I braved the snow and lashing winds and headed down to the Bürgeramt in Wedding. ‘What is the Bürgeramt, Dan?’ I hear you plead. The Bürgeramt, my friend, is a frightfully dull bureaucratic building, an official government site where you have to sort out all your throat-slittingly boring paperwork, registrations, documentation, whatever. After three months living in the city, I have finally moved into a flat where I am able to register – which is a crucial part of moving here, as it allows me to get a bank account, get health insurance, get paid, you name it. The German word for this kind of registration is Anmeldung, a term which now boils my blood every time I hear it. Continue reading

The Berlin Diaries – Homecoming

I’m in a wonderful mood this morning. I fly home to England tomorrow for the Christmas holidays. I’m finally returning home, and I never expected I’d be doing it on my own terms. I didn’t fail, I didn’t crash and burn like so many others I’ve met along the way here; the French guys I met back at the hostel who spunked all their money in one month; the homesick kids who come in their droves and fly back after a couple of weeks when they miss sleep and sense; the poor buggers who are overwhelmed and turfed out by the ever unspooling red tape. Moving to Berlin is an upstream salmon odyssey,  battling against the current with hungry bears pawing the shallows. It’s a mad dash for safety under sniper fire, friends being picked off seemingly at random. You’re only ever one U Bahn fine or job interview rejection away from complete failure and a disgraced Ryanair home. But despite everything, somehow, I made it, and it feels so good. Continue reading

The Berlin Diaries – Thanksgiving

I’m English, which means I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving and don’t really know what it’s about. Hang on. Let’s educate ourselves. Right, you wait here, and I’m going to trek to the mystical land of Wikipedia in search of answers. If I’m not back in three paragraphs, assume I’ve failed my quest, give me an honorary funeral (Viking style, please), and move on with your life. Promise me, if I fail, you will try to learn to love again. Promise me you will find another blog filled with stupid drunken travelling stories. You promise? Okay. Here goes.

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The Berlin Diaries – A Jolly Good Battering

The sun rose on Monday morning, and gentle rays of sunlight drifted in through the curtains. The old schoolteacher who lives upstairs was practising the piano again, and the notes floated down to me like snowflakes. I lay sprawled in bed fully clothed, hanging, desperately dehydrated and unable to move, but I was happy. The weekend had been a heavy one. Mike Skinner, Kater Blau, Slaves, all brilliant. There was but one last gig to attend. Continue reading

The Berlin Diaries – The Sweat of Slaves

 

After the Mike Skinner gig came the weekend. It was Friday night, and although many friends of mine were heading out and my phone was buzzing like a rampant rabbit on meth, I tore myself away and stayed home, applying for jobs and writing. I know, right?! It’s almost as if I’m becoming a proper adult – although not really, because the real reason I couldn’t go out was that I had a friend from home visiting early the next day and I didn’t want to be deathly hungover. Continue reading

The Berlin Diaries – 16th October

So, after collapsing onto the sofa at 8.30am with Tommy and Tianna, I was absofuckinglutely out of it for the next few hours. It was the first time I’d been to sleep since I woke up two days before on Friday morning. At 11am, I was prodded awake by the guy on reception at the hostel. The reception desk is in plain view of the sofas, and he’d been watching us snore for almost three hours. Continue reading