Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Berlin is a pretty amazing place. The city seems to be continually in a state of flux, with endless building sites redoing whole areas from scratch. There's a kind of weird Blade Runner feel to the area when you get the overground, with huge highway-like streets dazzlingly laid out in front of you when the train is on a raised track. Initially the Docklands Light Railway came to mind, but this is a more dystopian feeling landscape, with endless abandoned warehouses and no-mans land has the feel of London back in '92, or even what the back of King's Cross is now if it was squatted more, with endless nooks and crannies uncovering films showing in some of the abandoned buildings and all kinds of impromtu arts stuff going on in these huge squatted warehouses...sometimes I felt like I understood why Einsturzende Neubauten made the kind of music they did, though maybe that's just me sounding like a nerdy tourist / middle-class Wire-reading type into German industrial music. It's an incredibly urban, industrial city in a way that lots of other cities aren't. We went to a club in the Arches with this incredible skyscraper skyline in front of us, yet at the same time industrial wreckage was sprawled all around. It's like parts of the city have gone distinctly wrong since way back when the city was bombed incessantly, and the only way to correct the problem is to raise the areas to the ground completely before starting rebuilding again. In that respect, I can understand why a lot of the Techno bods operating in the city made a comment a while back in a Wire feature that they saw Detroit as their spiritual 'sister' city. Both are hard, grimy but also intensely futuristic cities that produced an appropriately uncompromising, dystopian Techno soundtrack. Whole squatters and traveller types lived in caravans around the river, and you could hear the distant sounds of interesting things going on...on the train, you could see tantalising glimpses of the parties they were having. After that, London seems pretty tame in comparison.

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