“Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.”
― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
So, I’ve been on a trip of Europe, and kept a diary all the while. If travelling is anything at all, it is unpredictable, and the trip I expected to have was, as is usually the case, radically different to the reality. Modern life is a series of spinning plates, and the more you age, the better you become at keeping them spinning. I am young, and youth is wonderful, but the trade off of so much freedom is that fairly regularly, largely due to my own gross incompetence at being alive, my plates come crashing down around me all at once, and I am left lying bruised and stupid beneath a heap of porcelain. Continue reading
If you’ve followed these rambling diaries at all, you’ll have seen a steady decline in my sanity over the past six months, from wide eyed new kid on the block to another paranoid, muttering hermit on the U Bahn. When I arrived, all I saw was bright lights and endless glitter, and everything else was muted in the background, and I didn’t care to know anyway; but after half a year, those beautiful faces in the foreground melted away as if someone refocused my brain like a camera lens, and behind everything I saw so much that I didn’t like. In the depths of winter, my spirit shrank to smaller than it had ever been before in my life. I’d fallen out of love with the city, and the thought of seeing out the rest of the year here made me shudder. But, as I’m fond of saying, a lot can change in a day. And in Berlin, a lot can change in a minute. Continue reading
I’ve not written anything for a couple of weeks; I’ve been travelling around Europe, looking at things. I’m still polishing everything I wrote, but I can’t stand to see my beloved website sitting empty. So, while I write up all my travels, here’s a video of one of my favourite writers, Jack Kerouac. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, every single time. This man inspires me to see the beauty in every day, to throw myself at life for all I’m worth, and to never stop dreaming. His writing is as wonderful as it is tragic, and the fluctuations he experiences between cascading joy and absolute misery have touched my soul like nothing else I’ve read. I’m far from the first to say this, but by the time you’ve read a couple of his books, you’ll feel like his friend. He was deeply flawed, but he was honest, vulnerable, and his appreciation of beauty was unbridled. We never met, but I miss you, Jack.
Some more nefarious deeds have been done down in the gloomy frozen backalleys of Berlin, and I’m going to let you in on them. Walk with me a while, let’s talk. But, just like last time around, my cast of characters are real people with real lives who don’t necessarily want me to bounce their stories around the stratosphere. So we’re going to need disguises. We all know who they are really, but let’s play make believe for a few minutes. So, meet Jack and Sal. This time I think the narrator will be, oh I don’t know, Levi. Yeah, Levi is good.
So, as a warning to the reader, I would like to paraphrase and bastardise the title of the Oscar winning Daniel Day Lewis film: There Will Be Drugs.
Further to this, I would like to evoke a young Eazy E: Don’t quote me boy, cause I ain’t said shit. Continue reading
Yesterday I was searching for some music to listen to. I was listening to Rodriguez, because I’m slow on the uptake of what’s cool and I’d only just heard the soundtrack to Searching for Sugar Man and loved it. I began poking around in different genres, and I stumbled across Buena Vista Social Club. I threw on their album, and sat still, amazed. Man, those guitars, those soft, complex nylon strings. Those soulful voices, those drums. Chan Chan. I knew that song, or I had once known it, somewhere far away. I’d heard it before, two years ago on the far side of the world. I put my head in my hands and closed my eyes and I was there again. Continue reading
This article was illustrated by my incredibly talented lil bro, Charlie. If you like his stuff you can jump on over to his Instagram, here, to see more.
Vic and I were complaining to each other a couple of weeks ago that although we’ve been in Berlin for a quarter of a year now, we’ve only gone to a few night clubs. I’ve been to Chalet, Monarch, Sisyphos twice, Kater Blau four times, and yet there are dozens of clubs I’ve never gone anywhere near. So, when Michelle text me last week saying she was off to the near-mythical Heideglühen for a day party on Saturday, I was well ready for mayhem. Mayhem I tell you! Continue reading
Today’s entry actually took place on the same day as the previous article. After I sorted my shit out down at the Burgeramt, a celebration was in order – that is, a celebration in keeping with the amount of money currently in my bank account, which is minus several thousand pounds.
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
Yo yo, no pissing away time with introductory paragraphs on this blog. Nah, here we go, a straight up list written in an impassioned frenzy while listening to Thin Lizzy.
- Join a gym, get fit again, develop buns of steel, abs of marble and guns of granite.
- Join boxing classes in order to become DEADLY with my fists to the point where I need to get them registered as concealed weapons and obtain a permit to have them on me at any point.
- (Assuming Donald Trump doesn’t accidentally-on-purpose destroy life as we know it) Buy a moped for whizzing around the city like a bat out of, uh, Leeds.
- Visit 10 new countries, specifically including Morocco because I want to ride a camel drunk through the desert while scream-singing ‘Arabian Nights’ until everyone tells me to fuck off.
- Visit every club in Berlin, because it’d be rude not to.
- (If we are not incinerated in a nuclear holocaust courtesy of bumbling onion-hakwer Donald Trump) I will sort out the damned hole in my tooth that has been on/off hurting for about a year.
- Convince my dad that Jeremy Corbyn isn’t the bastard he bizarrely thinks he is, and that Socialism is actually quite a good and pleasant idea.
- Do not sit quietly and tolerate any more pro-capitalism arguments that are silly and nonsensical, including:
- Socialism is just leeching off rich people! (No it isn’t, but capitalism is leeching off poor people)
- It’s always been this way! (No it hasn’t)
- There will always be rich people and poor people! (No there won’t)
- Socialism will never work because of human nature! (Nope, humans are a product of their environment)
- But it’s my money! (Kim, there are people that are dying)
- Stay angry, stay passionate, hold onto my ideals, and advocate positive change in the world.
- Keep listening to the Clash.
- Make a shitload of weird new friends.
- Take up graffiti. Seems fun. I could write choice Clash lyrics. Or draw dicks!
- Try out a new haircut (just kidding, I’m not going completely mental).
- Make an arch rival, a nemesis, someone who I can occasionally do battle with, etc. I feel like it’d be a good motivator.
- (If Donald Trump hasn’t already destroyed literature and held mass book burning rallies) I plan to read ridiculous amounts of books and get really smart and stuff.
- Either buy a guitar or fly my own over from Blighty. Start a fucking great band and make songs about how shit everything is and do Joe Strummer proud.
- Get more articles published – Vice and the Guardian are the two I’m aiming for, and they have thus far met my pitches with agonising silence. God dammit.
- Keep in touch with my friends back home and don’t change into an arsehole just because I live in Berlin now.
- (If there are any left that haven’t been hurled into camps) I will help refugees, help the homeless, volunteer and try to make things generally better.
- Get involved in more political activity, maybe get arrested and shot for my beliefs after making an incendiary speech that echoes down the annals of history and eventually leads to the uprising that will free the poor and downtrodden from their shackles, something like that, idk.
- Never pay that stupid rail fine even if it means I am slung into a gulag and forced to swing a pickaxe for the next 80 years. FUCK THE MAN.
- Be a successful vegetarian. Learn to cook wicked veggie meals and get buff off of vegetables and prove everyone wrong that said I would fail miserably and look unhealthy and be all pale and skinny. I will eat no meat and I will be a bronzed Hercules.
‘Look, it’s cold in here, okay?’
- Pay off my overdraft and for the first time in five years have a bank balance that doesn’t start with a ‘minus’ sign.
- (Assuming Donald Trump’s greasy fake-tanned finger hasn’t slithered all over the Big Red Button and turned all to ashes) I plan to become more attractive. To either sex. All attention is good.
And last but not least, the most noble of my aspirations for the coming twelve months: get laid in a Berlin nightclub. But, again, that’s not likely to happen, as we will probably have all been machine gunned to death by swooping drones because someone on Twitter called Donald Trump a bull-frog-throated cock ring with a voice like Porky Pig that looks like someone skinned the Honey Monster, then reanimated it’s swollen corpse using a brain taken from one of those small yapping dogs everyone hates.
Good grief, what a visual metaphor.
Maybe it’s the dark Italian coffee my flatmate has just brought me, or maybe it’s the remnants of last night’s snow outside my window, dusting the streets and trees and cars under clear blue skies. Maybe it’s the red wine hangover ebbing away, or maybe it’s the afterglow of an evening spent in the best company. Continue reading