10.11.2015 - 11.11.2015
Well this stop takes the approximate distance covered to over 15,000km. That be some distance. If I was a car I would be definitely due for a grease and oil change. Maybe inflate my tires a bit. Guess Berlin did just that. Pumped my spirits up again. I mean, I saw the Northen Lights, on my very first night in Iceland. In Reykjavik, even in the city with light pollution diminishing the effect. Crazy.
I'm in love. With the sky.
Because as I found out, even people who went on 'Northern Lights Tours' that night, out on the boat, didn't get to see it. I'm one lucky cat. As mum said, even people who have been here multiple times missed out. That be crazy y'all. It was evidently a very strong solar activity night, because out of a score of 9, it was at an 8 that night. Have no idea what scale they would be using. Naplan scores? Probably not. Anyway, I feel blessed by the gods/ spirits/ big people in the sky that control the levers that meterologically influence our daily grind. But, what about Berlin. After all that's where I started this post. Well, it's a start to be sure. Having departed Reykjavik at that hour I didn't think existed, 6AM, man I left the Biscuit Factory at 3AM. What?! I was promptly asleep on the plane once it finally took off. See what I did there. Jumped back to talking about Reykjavik instead of Berlin.
Now, having arrived, in aforementioned city, and not been able to check in till 3pm, and having time travelled 1 hr ahead, I did a loop of the block so would no whichever direction I approached the hostel from would look vaguely familiar. Totally seasoned. Got all the tricks. Scooted out straight down the main street in search of urban delights after that. First port of call was the river. Generally a good place to start for graffiti. Was underwhelming. But, seeing some construction areas under the train line, another failsafe, I headed around. Just following the wind. Eventually started to open up. First impressions of the streetscape. Totally different to my previous haunt. Definitely more of the 'by the people, about the people, for the people' if you get my drift. A bit of graffiti origins. Actually, more of a giant f@#$ you to the establishment. Interestingly, all of the really good pieces are totally fenced in by construction sites, like a massive exclusion zone. Appears I may have hit the areas undergoing gentrification. Or, destruction of the character that made these places come alive again. Enough of my political/ social diatribe. Focus.
Actually, I mean I saw a famous Banksy piece, that was totally inacessable even with my sweet as zoom lense. Just could not find a place where I could nail the shot. A few words I like to spell incorrectly; deliscious, nesecarily, beg your parsnips! Sorry, got distracted again. Point is, there seems, just on day one of me exploring, this kind of covering up of Berlin/ societal history. I even, literally, stumbled upon an old section of the Wall. Not the tourist Checkpoint Charlie jazz, which is not near any remaining wall, but some area that was all overgrown with grass. No one around. Was weird. It was all walled off, ironically. Behind some Police joint. Almost got arrested cause I was taking all these photos, inadvertantly looked like I was staking the joint out. Don't worry, just me panicking. There was no constabulary-Daniel interaction.
It's now day two. Things may get a little unhinged. But that is my want, and as i'm the occaisional master of my own insignificant existence, perchance indulge me. Actually, not asking for permission. As stated preiviously at some stage, this endeavour will increasingly become more of an insight to my state, perhaps a deteriation of an otherwise 'aight mind. Or mabes, this is what we all go through and our persona that is projected into the world comes across more stable. As I experience stateless existence. Kind of. Probably will wander a bit. As I was stuffing my face with diner, I had a de ja vue moment, except I knew it wasn't real because, according to my feeling, I wasn't actually eating pizza when I 'lived this moment' before, which then caused another de ja vue, because that was origionally what I thought on my first 'living' of that moment. Was a double de ja vue. Got seriously confused.
Mr's Fryer, your use of the word stalk is fitting, it's more or less what I did to Emma throughout Europe. Observing it from a distance would probably lead to all kinds of assumptions, but I'm no Olaf. Despite my use of masking tape once. I'll let Emma, maybe, tell that story. I'll clarify that, the masking tape and my use of it occurred before I left Australia! Funny, I kind of feel like I know you, what happens after chilling and talking crap non stop for a few months, you feel like you know have known someone for ages. So, appreciate the comments, hope you get a few more chuckles.
Having taken your daughters advice, I embarked on a free 'alternative' tour of Berlin. The use of free is a slight misnomer as these dudes run off the generosity of fully cashed up tourists like myself. Actually, considering most are on a budget and there was only 3 of us today, very small group, I, in the luxurious position of actually making money on this trip, tipped a fair bit. But Max was totally on point all day. How weird and lucky to be able to cruise around Europe, to some pretty expensive places and still be saving cash. I mean my actual savings are at the same level when I left. Despite all the crap I have bought myself. Now I feel guilty. Looks like the young niece may be getting additional treats. Probably should spread the love a bit broader. All right. If anyone wants to meet me tomorrow, I'll shout you a coffee.
Having crapped on a bout my initial views of Berlin, turns out I may have been a little quick on the draw. I saw so much street art/ graffiti today its unbelievable. Interestingly, Max's general overarching theme as he took us through some up and coming neighburhoods was about gentrification and the negative aspects that this has on a local community. I learnt a stack. Consolidated my own beliefs and feelings on the corporate greed/ property speculation monster that priced me out of Brunswickedest and turned it into a comodified locale. Lets be clear. I am a massive hypocrite in this situation. I mean I stopped at Starbucks and bought the cheapest espresso so I could use the free WiFi cause it took me 1 1/2 hours to find the meeting point. Lucky I busted out early, anticipating some such silliness would arise.
Just re read the entire entry from yesterday. Boom. I was actually completely on the money. That first impression was, as most guts feelings, on point. So the building I saw the 'Banksy', after talking with Max we're not sure if its a legit piece or a copy, used to be a artist squat. About a year ago it was reclaimed by the landowners, evicting everyone out and turning it over to be developed. This is a recurring theme in Berlin and a global phenomenon. Again, the whole 'by the people for the people, about the people' vibe I got was on point. An example.
Incidently, the other paste is from SOPE, heaps of these pastes are all over the place. Always characters of mushrooms and bunnys. Reason why pastes are prolific in Berlin, its quicker to throw up, and is only considered as 'littering' not vandalism, as opposed to stencils of straight graffiti/ tagging. So, legislation leads to adaptation. Also is relevant in the 'war on drugs' and most attempts at legislating your way out of a 'problem' Sorry, getting a little social agenda anti system vibe seeping out. Look, this kind of art is not for everyone and can look ugly as sin. I completely agree. Have found myself advocating for tagging at work (not actl tagging of our expensive automated analysers, although I like to think every time I sign a piece of work, DK is a little tag in history, considering it has to be kept for 5 yrs also a legacy!), not that I'm a fan, but I think you have to show a modicum of consistency. As I said, there is truth in ugliness. Wow, I must be drunk, just wowed myself with my insight.
Mum, this leads me to a piece you will really dig. They are scattered throughout Berlin, by an artist called Yoga, or maybe Yogi? They are little corkscrew figures in various yoga positions, the overarching point is to remind people to look up! Because they are tiny, so inconspicuous. Its a modern day stop and smell the roses mentality. I rekon you should try and do some free tours at the cities you go to. Its great hearing passionate views from locals, and you get great insights. I think this group runs other 'alternative' tours in other cities.
Cath, reminds me, your comment reminded me, when I was flying into Berlin, once we penetrated the low cloud, the first sight I had was of trees. Now Iceland is a barren place. Most of the trees have been cleared by the early settlements. That was a lot of reminders. The sheep finished the task on the native wildflowers. So no, there is a absence of my favourite fine foliaged fellows, the Birch. May they endure, evermore, in the great sparse expanse of Siberia. Crazy, I spent 3 odd weeks travelling from Beijing to SPB. It's a little crazy. And I had an off the charts time with my NZ crew. Dan, Sarah and Emma. Man. Was sweet.
Some photos. A few big name artists I saw today, and in other places if you have a memory and an eye. Blu, London Police, Os Geomos. These are some of the the big international names. Blu does a lot of stop motion video with his pieces, so check that out if you bored or its you first day back at work and your wearing corporate gear, watching Arrow and just been a general menace.
Let me end, on what I think is my best photo, ever taken, ever. Mum, this reminds me of your black and white self portrait that you took all those moons ago. That has stuck with me because I think its off the charts. Well, this is my modern take on a self portrait in a mirror. Updated, in colour. If you search for the translation of the word yourself, you'll get another layer of awesomeness that I didn't realise at the time. Very few times in my life do I feel proud of an actual achievement. This is one of those times.
Not sure if its obvious, but I may be missing talking gibberish to Emma.