Sexpat and the City: And we frolicked about in our summer skin

by Mr. Sexpat

Mr. Sexpat is a twentysomething English expat living, and occasionally loving, in Berlin. Join us as we follow him into the seamy underbelly of the city’s single scene.

“Dear Summer,

How have you been? It’s been many months since I last saw you and I find myself thinking of you often.

I thought I saw you one afternoon last week in Prenzlauer Berg, but when I asked your cousin Winter if you were in back in Berlin she just shrugged. She said you that you guys hadn’t spoken for years and how you’re full of hot air or something…

I’m okay. I’ve been “writing” for some crummy expat blog while trying to get laid – without much success. So pretty much the same as ever, I guess. But I still feel guilty about how we left things last year.

Looking back I realise that I didn’t appreciate you as much as I should have, in the short time that you were around. When you were last in Berlin I was either asleep all day or hungover or whatever… I completely forgot what a great wingman you can be! With your cousin around girls wear far too many layers so I can’t really get a good idea of their physique – and by “physique”, I of course mean tits. Then she’ll say that I shouldn’t be so sexist and objectify women like that.

“It’s what’s inside that counts,” Winter tells me.

“I know,” I reply. “That’s why I’m trying to get inside somebody!”

Don’t get me wrong, I do really like your cousin but you know she can be a total bummer sometimes. She’s just so… cold.

You’ve got to come back soon right? All my female friends think you’re really hot; just the other day one of them asked when I thought you’d be back. When you’re around all the Gorgonites go back to their caves and the hot dames return, gliding in from The Baltic Sea aboard gigantic, gleaming sea oysters pulled by three and a half thousand pygmy unicorns.

If you do come back soon I promise to make more of an effort with you. There are a ton of festivals I want to attend, and we can go on that weekend mini-break to Hamburg we talked about. (I hear the talent there is exquisite… perhaps because it’s that much closer to Scandinavia?) We’ll finally go to Wansee, walk around for hours and hours, and talk about any boring shit you like…

Like I said, it would be great to see you again so, if you’re not still mad at me, give me a shout when you get back. I really miss you and Berlin just isn’t the same without you.

Lots of love,

Mr. Sexpat

PS Spring tells me you should call her asap, you still owe her 20€.”

The sky over Berlin

cicciostoky, The sky over Berlin, via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution

Music Montag: Kareem

by James Glazebrook

Kareem on myspace

Mysterious Berlin producer Kareem popped up on my radar last week, when Boomkat dedicated their 14 Tracks selection to him. I can’t decide if I prefer their description of the Zhark Recordings chief…

Since 1996 Berlin’s Kareem has forged a steely, blackened body of work spanning Industrial Techno, Hip Hop and Drone… minimal and broodingly cinematic feel… girder-strength, pneumatic pounders… set his sound with a resolutely gloomy and dystopian mood

…or his own…

the Zharkesthetic lies in conveying a claustrophobic state > an atmosphere of threatening sound architecture and almost static soundwalls

Whichever way you slice it, this isn’t easy listening. Kareem’s hip hop work is scowling and downcast, his industrial productions suitably hard-line, and his techno tunnels deep. But while his back catalogue drills seams between the Tresor old school and Berghain’s new breed (Emika, Tommy Four Seven), his experiments with different styles are too varied to ever feel like actual punishment.

Check out this Zhark video – which must date back to the label’s early days – and, if you’re feeling brave, visit Boomkat to download 14 Tracks: The Unheimlich Manoeuvres of Kareem. Stay strong.

Sunday Lunch at The Dairy

by James Glazebrook

Sunday Lunch at The Dairy 1

Before you get excited, this was a one-off! The Dairy in Prenzlauer Berg squeezed two sittings of 12 into their dinky little café last Sunday for “Ye Olde English Pub Lunch”. With spaces in short supply, we booked immediately – we weren’t going to pass up the rare opportunity to enjoy pork pies, beef wellington and spotted dick in Germany!

Apart from the minor disappointment of “no dick for James”, the food was incredible, from the aforementioned meat delights to the cock-a-leekie soup, potted duck and the substitute dessert, a surprisingly light and crispy bread-and-butter pudding. Our genial hosts were talking about their plans for more special culinary events like this, so even though you missed out BIG TIME here, you still might get to feast your face off in the future – stay tuned to The Dairy Facebook Page for updates.

Sunday Lunch at The Dairy 2

Sunday Lunch at The Dairy 3

Stockholm Shop Report: Acne

by Zoë Noble

Acne Stockholm 1

Our recent trip to Stockholm was a feast for the eyes, but it wasn’t just the scenery that was stunning, but also the flagship store of my current brand crush, Acne. For me, the fashion house embodies the Stockholm aesthetic of effortlessly cool minimalism, so it would have been a crime not to visit them in their hometown. The staff were super nice, super hot (damn you Swedes!) and even allowed me to take some photos to remember them by. In between my drooling and staring (at the collection, of course), I bagged myself two pairs of jeans and the most perfect leather jacket. Even better, because their prices are so much cheaper  in Sweden than in Germany or the UK, I was saving money! … At least that’s what I tell myself. Looking at their Spring Summer 2012 collection I think another trip to Stockholm might be in order as well, hooray!

Acne Stockholm 2

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Acne Stockholm 8

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Acne Stockholm 5

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Acne Stockholm 9

Click here to read all about our trip to Copenhagen and Stockholm.

Berlin Sound: A SoundCloud Group

by James Glazebrook

What does Berlin sound like? Many would nominate the 4/4 thud of the Berghain speaker stacks, the blare of U-Bahn buskers, or squat-party punk. But what about non-music audio?

We’ve set up a SoundCloud group called Berlin Sound, for people to share their sounds from around the city. So far we’ve heard: the hustle and bustle of the Maybachufer market, the eerie calm of Neukölln and Kreuzberg at night, and the seemingly endless announcement from the female “voice” of the U-Bahn when it pulls into Alexanderplatz. Oh yes, and the 4/4 thud of the Berghain speaker stacks!

You can hear the sounds we’ve collected so far using the widget below, or over on the Berlin Sound group page. If you already have some (non-music) audio to share, simply join the group, upload your sound to SoundCloud and click the “Share to group” button on the track player. And why not download SoundCloud’s mobile app, and go out and record something we’ve never heard before?

We’d love to hear your Berlin Sounds!

Music Montag: David Bowie / Xu Xu Fang

by James Glazebrook

It’s a big year for Bowie, as Dame David has just turned 65 and celebrated the 35th anniversary of his first classic Berlin album, Low. The city is celebrating its favourite adopted son this week with a film screening, walking tour and club night in his honour. Allow us to join in by posting the video for Xu Xu Fang’s cover of “China Girl”, featuring a few of our favourite things – horses, beards, black and white.

If you feel like toasting the Thin White Duke, you should start with Merkezi Movie Club on Monday, which is screening Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell To Earth, starring Bowie as the eponymous alien. Feeling Gloomy will be going through ch-ch-changes all day Saturday, with a Bowie Tour and a Bowie-themed edition of the Feeling Gloomy Clubnacht.

If you’re unlucky enough not to live in Berlin (sadface), or can’t make these awesome events for any other reason, you can at least live vicariously through illustrator Holly Sims’ Bowie-inspired poster series for Feeling Gloomy. Altogether now, “I, I will be king…”

Heroes by Holly Sims

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

by James Glazebrook

The clear highlight of our recent trip to Copenhagen was the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, which justifiably calls itself “the most beautiful museum in the world”. An hour up the Zealand coast from the Danish capital, the Louisiana combines an excellent collection of postwar art with a sculpture garden that drops down onto a beach with panoramic views of the Oresund. Not only was the museum the best thing we did on our trip to Scandinavia, but it had us eyeing all the nearby houses and vowing to one day live somewhere “just like this”.

The Louisiana’s permanent collection includes big names like Warhol and Henry Moore, but my personal favourites were the greatest cluster of Giacometti’s stick-thin man-maquettes I’ve ever seen, and the precarious Self Passage, a George Traka installation that leads brave explorers down to the ocean. A temporary exhibition by persecuted Chinese artist Ai Weiwei pricked our lazy Western consciences, and a retrospective of Andreas Gursky’s extraordinarily expansive photographic art has changed the way Zoë looks at her craft forever.

But let’s face it, it’s the stunning setting that will keep us going back to the Louisiana more. We’re seriously considering flying back to Copenhagen just to jump on the train up to the museum, and come straight back. If that sounds insane, one look at these photos and you’ll totally understand.

Click here to read all about our trip to Copenhagen and Stockholm.