A Trip to Tempelhof

by James Glazebrook

There’s something very Berlin about Tempelhof. When the former “City Airport” closed in 2008, the land didn’t become the site of yuppie flats, public housing or a big ugly entertainment centre – but a public park. And when it reopened a year ago, it hadn’t been landscaped within an inch of its life, or filled with concessions and other “attractions”, with the “support” of one of the city’s corporate entities.

To this day, it looks like they’ve just hosed down the runway, painted on a bike track and taken away the worst of the debris. (Though they did leave behind the wreckage of a plane the fire crew used to practice on.) Unfortunately you can’t get inside what was once one of the 20 largest buildings in the world, but you admire it from behind a fence, as you can all of the little shed-like structures that used to house generators and the like.

Go early on a weekday (the park opens at 6am) for maximum “just woken up after zombie apocalypse” vibes, or on a sunny weekend to check out all the cheery Berliners running, cycling, rollerblading, windskating, playing with kites, remote control cars and planes, grilling, chilling etc etc. Or for this: Berlin Festival 2011.

Überstyle: Gorlitzer Park

by Zoë Noble


Flohmarkt Find: Sing Blackbird

by James Glazebrook

We’ve been fans of vintage clothing store and café Sing Blackbird ever since Berlin Unlike sent us to review the place. Despite moving into the same area and always getting a warm welcome/German language help from the lovely owners, we haven’t yet made it along to the various film screenings and concerts they throw, and have only just made it down to their (semi) monthly flohmarkt.

Occupying the space in front of the double-fronted store, the fleamarket is small but perfectly-formed, offering a nice little selection of second-hand garments that straddle the line between cool and trying too hard. Admittedly, the tables outside struggle to compete with the carefully-edited collection within Sing Blackbird itself – not to mention the draw of tasty vegan brunch and delicious homemade cakes – but they make for a short-but-sweet Sunday amble. Check out Sing Blackbird on Facebook for updates on upcoming fleamarkets and other events.

No publicity please!

by James Glazebrook

We’ve just got back from being denied entry to C-Club, because they wouldn’t let us in with Zoë’s camera. At first, the bouncers didn’t seem sure about the venue’s policy, but one of them soon arrived at a rule he was happy to enforce: no large cameras, only small point-and-shoots. Of course, we were welcome to leave our grand’s-worth of gear here, he said, gesturing towards a plastic box at his feet right next to the door. He’d give us a number and everything – “it will be safe”.

What really bites is that we would have been allowed entry if we were on the press list. The only reason we weren’t was that I deliberately chose to buy tickets, to put money in the pockets of one of my favourite bands, Innerpartysystem (a fledgling group who, in this tough climate, have already been dropped by one major label). I would have posted Zoë’s photos here, and written a no-doubt glowing review (they’re amazing live) for BANG BANG BERLIN.

But it turns out the venue doesn’t want the publicity. I don’t know about headliners 3OH!3, but IPS are smart enough to know about the power of both fans (which has kept them alive) and good content. This is a band whose punning Never Be Content EP was launched with a video, below, all about the potential of media, marketing and advertising – albeit for harm. They know that the more words and images “out there” about them, the better.

So this must be the venue’s policy. But it doesn’t appear on their website, their tickets or even on notices at their doors. And they’re using is as a reason to turn people away, while tickets are left unsold at their box office. I understand why Berghain don’t allow cameras, because the lack of records of the superclub’s inside space actually adds to its legendary status (and leads to bonkers descriptions like this). But, Columbiahalle’s little sister venue is certainly not Berghain, nor are the clubs that are rumoured to be adopting similar policies. In fact, we don’t know what these places are like, because we aren’t going to them – and without any publicity, no-one else will.

So fuck you very much C-Club. Here’s hoping the city’s red tape chokes you off real soon.

Backstage at Berghain

Lucky for Berghain, it doesn’t need publicity – because photos like this (backstage) won’t help!

Peaches Does Herself

by James Glazebrook

We didn’t think we’d be able to post about “Peaches Does Herself”, as it was so amazing that Zoë couldn’t take her eyes off the stage long enough to focus her camera, and I was left with no words to describe what I’d witnessed. Luckily, our friends at Good Hard Working People saw the show last year and gave it a great write-up, republished below – which means we can get on with describing the wrongest moments of a performance that reached new levels of wrong. Scroll down for our panty droppin’ show stoppers…

…the fully staged, choreographed and art-directed show “Peaches Does Herself”, which celebrated the 10th anniversary of the first album (“Teaches by Peaches”) by Canadian-born, Berlin-based electronic music artist and DJ Peaches.

Peaches does Herself

Peaches sings in the operating table (the green lights functioned as musical instruments played by performers)

The show tells a comprehensive story of a woman going through a sex change and looking for love – all through the use of various songs by Peaches and very effectively staged with great attention to detail, well-designed costumes and sets and choreographed and performed by talented dancers and actors with humor and sass. It became obvious that this was a production by gifted and hard-working people. Of course, I can’t ignore the fact that the themes of many songs and the show might be upsetting to some (although apparently not to Peaches’ parents who came on stage in the end and even hollered lyrics into the mic, which was such an endearing moment) – and that there is quite extensive nudity.

Watch an official behind-the-scenes video for “Peaches Does Herself”:

Here is a NSFW clip of a scene that features the nude and quite stunning Hermaphrodite (or transsexual) – who seemed to be both a perfect-looking man and a perfect-looking woman and a talented ballet dancer. The clip also features Peaches in her not-so perfect looking Hermaphrodite outfit and another gender-bending performer.

Show Stopper: The Wrongest Moments of “Peaches Does Herself”

The young guys sat next to us left in the intermission and didn’t come back, giving their tickets to a couple of girls less fazed by the onstage debauchery. What were they expecting? Anyone with a passing acquaintance with Peaches knows that she is a liberated bi woman with a singularly sexual focus, and merkins to match. Surely everyone’s heard “Fuck the Pain Away”?! But even I have to admit that prior knowledge of Peaches and her fellow performers doesn’t prepare you for seeing them act out her fantasies in the flesh. Here are the moments that made our jaws (and nearly our panties) drop:

Peaches, complete with huge fake tits and dick, serenading transexual Danni Daniels on a park bench. Twee staging and a pretty violin version of “I Feel Cream” set the scene for some cute chase-me chase-me antics with a six-foot-odd ballerina with a ballbag. Some friends were in White Trash last year when Peaches turned up with a stark-bollock-naked Danni in tow – that must have been even more surreal.

Fake tits and dick explosion. A heartbroken Peaches performs some offstage self-mutilation and returns with her post-op parts exploding into red confetti. A spectacular sight, but every man in the audience was fixated on the mangled gore of the scarily accurate chopped-up cock. *crosses legs*

Sandy Kane, the Naked Cowgirl. Like Times Square’s Naked Cowboy, only female, ancient, Jewish and X-rated. Somehow she managed to further filthify songs like “Mommy Complex” with plenty of swearing, dick jokes and old-lady-boob tricks. You can see an interview with a thankfully fully-clothed Sandy here, but you’ll have to take our word that watching her light matches in her nipples wasn’t half as bad as seeing her tuck the matchbox under her breast for later.

Psychotic stage invaders. I thought the crowd was a little restrained, until I realised that all the crazy was distilled into these two “characters”. The first time they rushed the stage, rubbing their crotches with manic faces that are still burned into my retinas, I thought they were part of the act. But the second time, when they were dragged out of the doors screaming “BULLSHIT!” it was clear that they were mental fans, and easily the most fucked up thing we saw all night.

Phew! After all that filth, I bet you could do with a video of a guy making stuff out of balloons. Enjoy!

30 Day Song Challenge

by James Glazebrook

Only the most tenuous Berlin connections here (Booka Shade, and, er… Mathew Jonson and Emika live here… oh, and Iggy Pop used to!), but what can I say? I love music. That’s why I’m Music Editor for BANG BANG BERLIN, and that’s why I write for Resident Advisor. That’s why, even when I’m not being paid for it, I love to bang on about music, and that’s why I enjoyed doing the Facebook 30 Day Song Challenge so much. For anyone lucky enough not to be my friend on Facebook, here are my nominations in full…
(BONUS BEATS! For anyone lucky enough to have access to Spotify – sorry Germany! – here’s a link to a playlist of most of the tracks)

Day 01 – My Favourite Song: Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill
I hated having to chose just one favorite song, but then I played it and got chills and welled up.

Day 02 – My Least Favourite Song: Björk – It’s Oh So Quiet
It stuck out like a sore thumb on the otherwise perfect album Post; it played into the hands of both critics and fairweather fans who thought of Björk as just a kooky pop pixie (rather than a genius); it’s a Big Band number etc etc.

Day 03 – A Song That Makes You Happy: Cancer Bats – Black Metal Bicycle
“Some people call me a nihilist / Say I don’t believe in a thing / Well I know that can’t be true / Cos baby I believe in you!”

Day 04 – A Song That Makes You Sad: Nine Inch Nails – Something I Can Never Have
This has been with me, from the first girl to break my heart to the very last.

Day 05 – A Song That Reminds You of Someone: The Cure – Lovesong
For Zoë.

The Cure – Lovesong – MyVideo

Day 06 – A Song That Reminds You of Somewhere: The Grand Spectacular – Being A Dickhead’s Cool
♥ / H8 London Fields.
(BONUS BEATS! Read about the whole London Fields dickhead/hipster phenomenon here)

Day 07 – A Song That Reminds You of An Event: Booka Shade – Night Falls (Larry Gold’s ‘Night Falls Over Philly’ String Version)
When I got married I walked down the “aisle” to this. It was a tiny room so I only heard about 10 seconds of it; listening back to it confirms that this is the perfect wedding march.

Day 08 – A Song That You Know All the Words To: Vanilla Ice – Ice Ice Baby
“Cookin’ MCs like a pound of bacon!”

Ice Ice Baby, in stills from BURBS on Vimeo.

Day 09 – A Song That You Can Dance To: Mathew Jonson – Marionette

Day 10 – A Song That Makes You Fall Asleep: Emika – Count Backwards
No offence to the delightful Em, but this induces sonic somnolence.
(BONUS BEATS! Read my interview with Emika here)

Day 11 – A Song From Your Favorite Band: Deftones – Knife Prty
I don’t rrrreally have a favourite band but this one have never put a foot wrong.
(BONUS BEATS! I did a mix inspired by, and featuring, this track, available over here)

Day 12 – A Song From A Band You Hate: Oasis – Champagne Supernova
During the Oasis VS Blur “Britpop wars” of the 90s I was firmly on the side of FUCK YOU ALL.
This was the least shit song to some out of the whole tiresome affair.

Day 13 – A Song That Is A Guilty Pleasure: Phil Collins – Against All Odds
Only, I don’t feel one iota of guilt.

Day 14 – A Song That No One Would Expect You To Love: Kelly Clarkson – Because of You

Day 15 – A Song That Describes You: Gary Numan – Me! I Disconnect From You
The “Cars” star presages my social media addiction:
“You could tell from conversations / I was waiting by the screen… Please don’t turn me off / I don’t know what I’m doing outside”

Day 16 – A Song That You Used To Love But Now Hate: Korn – Twist
I don’t have much hate left – it took a lot out of me just championing nu metal on a daily basis. But looking back, there is plenty to be embarrassed about, particularly in Korn – all neatly encapsulated in these 50 seconds of Tazmanian-devil nonsense.

Day 17 – A Song That You Hear Often On The Radio: Iggy Pop – Blah Blah Blah
I’ve always hated radio, because there’s not enough music and there’s too much of this: blah blah blah.
(BONUS BEATS! To find out what I hear on the closest thing to radio that I listen to, check me out on last.fm)

Day 18 – A Song That You Wish You Heard On The Radio: John Cage – 4’33”
What’s with all the radio questions? Last time I checked we lived in the 21st Century and had more ways than ever to *choose* what we listen to. Why do we need radio?
Here’s what I like to hear from the radio: silence.

Day 19 – A Song From Your Favorite Album: Faith No More – Kindergarten

Day 20 – A Song That You Listen To When You’re Angry: Glassjaw – Pretty Lush
Pure screamo sadomasochism. No one plays both the victim and the aggressor quite like Glassjaw.
“I wish you a broken heart and a happy new year”

Day 21 – A Song That You Listen To When You’re Happy: Beastie Boys – Hey Ladies
When I’m what? Just kidding…
“Hey ladieeeeeeeeees – Get – Funkay”

Day 22 – A Song That You Listen To When You’re Sad: Kanye West – Welcome to Heartbreak
This is different how to Day 04 (A Song That Makes You Sad)? Luckily I have endless reserves of miserable music. Here’s some from Kanny’s (genius) emo period. Nice jumper.
(BONUS BEATS! Here’s the EMO TEARZ ;_( playlist I put together to coincide with an article I wrote for the print version of Pamflet. Sorry, Spotify again!)

KANYE WEST “Welcome to Heartbreak” Directed by: NABIL from nabil elderkin on Vimeo.

Day 23 – A Song That You Want To Play At Your Wedding: Art of Noise – Moments in Love
I’ve already used mine and Zoë’s wedding march (Day 07), so this is for when I take a second wife. By then I’ll be so cursed I won’t worry it being a bad omen (it also soundtracked Madonna and Sean Penn’s nuptials).

Day 24 – A Song That You Want To Play At Your Funeral: Haste The Day – When Everything Falls
Because of the triumph-over-death lyrics, because of the Christian message that my parents may be able to tease out, but mostly because I’ll have a captive audience.
“I will stand, I will stand / When everything falls away / I will fight this war forever, or until I die”
(BONUS BEATS! An article I wrote when I first discovered Christian metal † m/ † )

Day 25 – A Song That Makes You Laugh: Liam Lynch – United States of Whatever
“…that’s cool”

Day 26 – A Song That You Can Play On An Instrument: Nirvana – About A Girl
The first few chords at least.

Day 27 – A Song That You Wish You Could Play: Fleetwood Mac – Big Love
I’m normally of the opinion that acoustic guitars are for gays, but Lyndsey Buckingham rips it with this.

Day 28 – A Song That Makes You Feel Guilty: Estelle – Someone Like You

Day 29 – A Song From Your Childhood: Michael Jackson – Thriller
One of my few childhood memories is pouring over the sleeve of this record on our dining room floor.

Day 30 – Your Favorite Song At This Time Last Year: Obituary – Final Thoughts
Who can remember back that far? I can’t, but I faintly listening to a lot of Obituary after seeing them live (the night before this video was recorded). Enjoy!