“I’D SELL MY SOUL BUT NO ONE’S BUYING”
The Diät tour had ended, and we had made it safely back to Berlin.
Berlin: a place where addictions come to reinvent themselves. Where drinking beers on trains is no biggie, the party starts after 4am, and rolling a big fat jozza by the canal is common practice for locals and tourists alike, who both flock here from all corners of the earth. It’s a chunky city, with wide streets and pavements, clusters of massive, modernist buildings, colourful murals on post-war project housing, green parks and grey skies, and a canal winding through the centre, lined by leafy banks and cobbled walkways. It was the beginning of spring and the budding branches seemed to extend skyward, as if stretching away the stiff winter and welcoming warmer days with open arms.
Every morning for a week, my kind host Iffi and I would wake up, jam our new radio pop song obsessions while eating porridge with ginger and almonds, then head to Static Shock Musik, where we’d jam the Chain of Flowers record hella loud while opening up shop. At least Iffi was jogging every morning to detox from tour—I was waking and baking at the house and day-drinking on the bench outside the store. I was on a hedonist’s quest, sans most of the resulting pleasure. I helped out with some odd jobs at the store (once a shitworker always a shitworker), walked around the Russian Memorial park twice and yet still failed to actually find the massive statue (what a loser), smoked a joint by the Brandenburg Gate and contemplated the evolution of identity in the age of the selfie stick, and lay under the sun in the park staring at the clouds that looked like dicks with wings, listening to Lust for Youth (so unpunk) and thinking about Blake, the demonization of the body and the absurd things we sometimes do to dismantle the illusions in our head. I went to Bis Aufs Messer Records (they also sell their own yummy coffee!) and with beers by the canal, reunited with the lovely Beeney, who was a MRR shitworker my first summer in SF! I saw a packed Diät gig at Tommyhaus, and danced to punk 45s and tunes by London’s Scraps at the Acid Baby Jesus show at Urban Spree, and drank divine Moscow Mules lined with dingos on the balcony at Kastanienkeller where Warsong from Zaragoza joined locals Sunbather in a packed and fun show. By far the most exciting band (and tightest drummer) I was introduced to this time around was Sick Horse, who play a mix of sinister psych garage and tense, snarky punk. On what I thought was my last day—because I don’t know how to read a bloody calendar—I woke up to barking dogs and smeared make-up. I stumbled out the house and through Alexanderplatz (the smell of sausage practically nauseating), walked through Museumsinseln but didn’t actually go inside any of the museums and almost fainted with dehydration by the canal with no corner store or café in sight for blocks or bridges. Poisoned by nicotine and negativity. With an extra day in town I felt suspended in my own mind so I decided to avoid humans and sat on a bench by the river in the sun with Low on repeat for three hours. Then I drank my way to an early night at the store. An earth angel came my way—in that way they do out of nowhere—and, after chatting for a while, about my meanderings, my life in the US, she realized I was the writer of what has comically devolved into MRR’s emo column, sans any of the music. “Yeah, you’re more confused in person than you come across on paper.” Ha, I liked her immediately! After Static Shock closed we went round the corner to hers, where she cooked me up a mini feast and gave me beer and the most delicious home made vodka-lemon drink that her dad makes back in Poland—it was like heaven in a shot glass. We talked and smoked and jammed Total Control and made each other lists of bands to check out, and her hospitality and open-heartedness humbled me. The next day it was “goodbye Berliners,” and a done deal to return for the festival two weeks later.