For years I have been telling anyone who will listen to me that Berlin is shit when it comes to being “cool”. In this aspect it has always been shit and it will always be shit. As far as I am concerned it is a massive shithole of non-coolness; of self-righteous twats. So why am I writing about it? Because I somehow keep hearing people tell me Berlin is apparently so-cool over and over and over, it’s like a new form of tinnitus almost – stop trying to sell it to me!! STOP.
I love Germany. I love Germans. I love German culture. I love the German language (yes, I am fluent). But Berlin? No thanks.
To me Berlin is the city that was always almost great but never actually made it. Always almost. Never made it. Always the pubescent little brother of it’s cool older siblings who actually made it to cool (London, New York) or even the sister who became a glam diva (Paris) – Berlin just never made it. And as far as I’m concerned it’s never going to make it either.
Ze Börlin – there is so much I should love about it, but I can’t. I try, I really try but I can’t. I’ve written about this before – on the 17th of July 2012 – and my feelings have not changed in the slightest since then.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem whatsoever in being absolutely fascinated with the history of this city – is there any other city in the world that can tell a story like that of Berlin? The architecture of the city is fascinating, from the boulevards of the west and the gorgeous Brandenburger Tor to the stunning collosal Communist buildings and monuments. I could walk around Berlin hours, for days, with my camera and take a thousand fascinating photographs.
But this obsession with making Berlin the epitome of cool? Sorry but no.
Back then I said: “I avoid going to Berlin if I can. Not my city of choice. It’s the people. It’s like Shoreditch on Steroids. It’s insanely passive aggressive dickheads. No mate no. Being a self-obsessed unemployed idiot with an ego the size of Russia is not cool. No likey. Sigh. Prove me wrong, please please do!”
The Berlin nightlife is supposed to be so fucking amazing – Berlin clubs such as the Weekend Club at Alexanderplatz? The “legendary” Berghain Panorama setup? Maria am Ostbahnhof? I should love you all, theoretically I should worship you. But there’s something missing. There’s something just too try-hard, too desperate, something about trying too hard to impress, trying too hard to forget you’re actually not that cool?
AND – just like last year – I ask of you, I ask of anyone – please convince me I’m wrong, I want to love Berlin, I want to be a fan, I want to rave about how awesome it is and tell everyone they need to visit. But no one and nothing has managed to convince me just yet. Maybe I’ve been in London too long already? Maybe I’ve become too much of a Londoner? Living in Shoreditch for years and now living in Camden maybe I’m just numb, maybe I’ve just closed my mind to anything that even remotely looks like it’s trying to be a cheap copy of London? Please prove me wrong, I’d be eternally grateful!
Nothing has changed in over a year.
People seem to think that Berlin is some sort of open-minded cultural melting pot of creativity that is open and accepting. Uhm no.
People seem to think that people in Berlin are friendly and welcoming. Uhm no.
People seem to think that Berlin is anarchic and cool and edgy. Uhm no.
So what is Berlin? Let me tell you…
Berlin is a sprawling space, a stretched out town – full of wankers. It is a wanker-magnet. People who move to Berlin are full of shit and think they are God’s gift to the human race due to their amazing creative gifts – but they are all exactly mini personifications of Berlin the city itself – they always “almost” make it, but guess what – they never actually make the cut. It is basically a cauldron of self-obsessed losers.
Berlin is for those people who are too weak or just not talented enough to handle New York or London and don’t have the balls to go any further.
Berlin is the place where predominantly a lot that is “evil” came to full glory – be it the Nazi time or the glorious DDR with it’s wonderful Stasi culture – it is really only “evil” things that historically blossomed in Berlin, and neither of these “successes” seem to have consisted of or instilled a mindset that was accepting or tolerant or multicultural or open-minded. One stifling, mind-numbing system replaced the other and sucked all the life and hope out of it…one after the other. Who knows, perhaps before the 1940s Berlin was absolutely awesome and cracking and it’s just had it’s own will to live sucked out of it.
How exactly, how can we expect a place where so much oppression is so extremely recent in it’s personal history to be so open-minded and tolerant and cool already? It’s not even the city’s fault – it has been subjected to one torture after the other and never been giving a fighting chance? It’s going to take another 4 solid generations to rid itself of its dark stifled upbringing if you ask me. At least.
For people who say “it’s not quite there but getting there” – I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s not been anywhere since 1943 and even then it wasn’t anywhere anyone with a friendly, tolerant and open mind would possibly want to be out of their own free will.
What is it today? It’s full of Neo-Nazis, ex-DDR Staatsbeamte and self-righteous losers from around the world who seem to excel at little else other than ego masturbation.
And people just keeeep trying to make Berlin happen. Persistently. Neverendingly. Banging on and on and on.
Flogging ze dead horse zat is Börlin.
Trying so hard, ever so hard to make that passive aggressive Staatsbeamte cool.
No Berlin, you are not cool.
It’s a fucking waste of time if you ask me.
BUT – like I said, please prove me wrong, please make me love Berlin and earn my eternal gratitude.