Berlin, baby

At some point in the aftermath of war and political upheaval, someone clearly took stock of Berlin and said, “Right – let’s re-spin this thing, let’s start fresh and do this right.”  It’s creatively re-designed, with thoughtfulness that makes an urban planner type tear up a little.  The centre is very clean and walkable, with a huge leafy park, wide sidewalks, plentiful public transport.  There are solar panels on top of the bus stops to power the glowing advertisements.  In the Reichstag Building, a huge spiralling funnel covered in 360 mirrors has a tri-focus of inspiring awe, diverting rainwater, and reflecting light for the parliamentary meetings below.

*Photo courtesy of Sal
*Photo courtesy of Sal

The line between west and east Berlin has blurred over the years, but an undertone remains.  The west side centre is chock full of big name shops and is squeaky clean.  East Berlin just over the bridge (near Warschauer Str) is a bit rougher but lovable and has better graffiti.

I could spend some serious time in the Skalitrzerstrasse area, on the river side of the East Side Gallery (a strip of the Berlin Wall left standing and decorated with art).  It’s what the Brick Lane area could be if the hipster was turned down and the artsy turned up.  We have a beautiful burger at Görli Burger and wander into a half-lit hovel called Madame Claude.  It looks closed, but a waft of trip-hop music floating up from the darkened stair beckons us below.

We enter a tiny world of the absurd.  The ceiling’s a floor and vice versa – there are chairs, an umbrella stand, flower pot, and sundries mounted above our heads.  The décor is trip-boutique-grunge…some brown 70s-era eye things dot a wall; around the corner, a forest room; the ladies’ room has no water in the tap.  A very burly man with a big grey beard and a towel over his shoulders wanders around, clutching a bottle.  Some guys are saying the “F” word a lot, sprinkled in boisterous German.

A couple of musicians invite us downstairs for a “concert” of trip-hop music with “colourful sounds”, followed by a burlesque performance.  The music takes a turn towards foreboding  – organ zings and a man demanding “du kam!” or something.  Wind noises.

My beer is called “Lagerbier Hell”.  I’m in Berlin, baby, and I love it.

Yeah, me too.
Yeah, me too.

Stumbled on street art – London

this little guy is a ‘happy plum’ – i’ve seen him around by himself and with a mate here and there in the South Bank area. he’s shy, but you can spot him if you really look…













East London Street Art

just outside of Brick Lane
I, too, Like


what i see on the way to yoga

From my flat in Camberwell, snaking through the back streets of Peckham, dipping just into Dulwich – a photo tour of my 34-min walk to yoga:

I have questions about bunting. What do the tiny flags represent? Should I salute? Where does one hang bunting? Can I hang it in the bathroom? Bunting.
I don’t know who spray paints this clever stencil on our sidewalks. Neighbourhood watch officer turned vigilante? I prefer to think this.
In streets with Victorian row houses, there are lots of cement creatures lurking around doorways. Typically they are gargoyles and lions, sometimes a scary face. But elephants? Why not.
I really like this wall. It makes me happy in a simple kind of way.

This photo of children from ?1970s is next to a bunch of row houses.
Where the train passes over
I would like some Flavaz, but this shop is always closed on Sunday.

Lovely House
Dog About Town and Kuki Hair
And a jolly ole English pub thrown in for good measure!
This fence is Halal

This is awesome. Underground Camden Market, near the loos


is that a….?

is that a....?

Yes, yes it is. A giant roach with a baseball cap. O, Shoreditch! You amuse and alarm me.