Berlin will always be Berlin, or so goes the song Berlin bleibt doch Berlin. I didn’t know what to expect on my first visit here since the late eighties and early nineties, firstly as a tourist in West Berlin and (after the wall came down) as a guest of friends in East Berlin.
But Berlin this time felt like a city now living on its past; there doesn’t seem to be a vision for Berlin’s future. A vast building programme has implanted modern buildings alongside the historic architecture but I have found a solid bourgeoisie rather than free radical forward thinking.
The famous party culture seems constrained within strict geographic borders, the Weimar freedoms and the politics of Krolloper are from another world as is the devil-may-care attitude from the era of Berlin, the divided city.
Time could be called in Berlin on the freedom to party. There’s creeping gentrification in Berlin so it’s not a huge leap to imagine a clean up, as has happened in Amsterdam, until recently Europe’s other party house. And Berlin felt to me uncomfortably close to the countries of the former East, with their right wing politics.
Name check for the band I saw on Tauentzienstraße: their sign said Stray Mood. Like the city, their fashion sense and their music could do with being more progressive.