Ramones Museum Berlin

by Guest Blogger

We visited the spiritual home of the proto-punks with Kevin Cousins, who also introduced us to our favourite record shop in Berlin, Bis Auf’s Messer.

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The comic book, buzzsaw chug of the Ramones is one of the most recognisable and imitated rackets in rock’s pantheon. Eternal misfits, they occupied a space of paradox: musically inept but trailblazing in their deconstructing of musical conventions; Rock and Roll Hall of Famers who never really hit “the big time”; a band equally influenced by the Stooges and the Ronettes. They were the kind of band that inspired dogged devotion: a definitive cult item. Therefore, it is perhaps fitting that the one museum dedicated to these loveable losers is far from their hometown of Queens, New York, and just happens to be where one of their biggest fans lived: Berlin. The Ramones Museum is a testimony to die hard fandom, and has Johnny, Joey et al’s scruffy, underdog charm written all over it.

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The exhibits are arranged in a loosely chronological order, charting the Ramones’ rise from snotty street urchins to major-label almost-stars. Most of the material is presented through myriad fliers, handbills, posters and photos, but within the yellowing snippets there are some real treats to behold. Shots of these punks mooching on street corners in their home city, unnoticed and awkward, stand side by side with iconic portraits of them hitting London for the first time. There they were hailed as champions of a new, three-chord zeitgeist, with a wide-eyed John Lydon and Joe Strummer jostling to be in the presence of their unlikely idols.

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There are touching stories told, too, in which Joey emerges as an especially magnetic character. Clumsy and loping, all limbs and bushy hair, he sticks out as a truly missed icon of the counterculture, with his goofy visage standing out as a welcome presence in all the images on display. His relationship with Johnny was famously fraught: the latter stole and married his girlfriend, leading to a frosty silence that lasted the rest of their career, and this tension is in clear evidence in many of these compelling images.

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From the sublime to the ridiculous, then, as you can witness Dee Dee’s alarming propensity for treading in dog-dirt, and the obligatory, Spinal Tap-esque “rotating drummer”. Alarming, too, are their label’s (desperate?) attempts to market the band. Ramones surfwear for the Australian market, anyone? Amongst other treasures are Joey’s beaten mic-stand from their last show in 1996, Dee Dee’s omnipresent padlock necklace and Johnny’s savaged Levi’s.

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€5 buys you a lifetime’s entry(!) and a drink in the bar. There you can sit and scan the walls, which form a ramshackle mural/shrine to the Ramones, in the form of graffiti left by passing punk and indie musicians. From Biffy Clyro to Sum 41, all these artists have been inspired and touched by the Ramones’ less-is-more ethic and surging, fuzztone pop. They soldiered on and “did the clubs” for years, watching the bands who they influenced overtake and outshine them along the way. They were perhaps tragic in the fact that, unlike a lot of punk bands, they wanted and courted fame but remained perpetual also-rans. Johnny, Joey and Dee Dee died within a few years of each other: they would surely have been delighted to see their legacy done service at this excellent, big-hearted little museum.

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Ramones Museum
Krausnickstrasse 23
10115 Berlin-Mitte

Music Montag: Modeselektor with Thom Yorke

by James Glazebrook

What was I just saying about my obsession with Modeselektor and their labelmates’ output? Well the new German kings of the music video have just released the follow-up to their cutesy “Berlin” promo, with something altogether darker and more spectacular. Featuring vocals by Thom Yorke, a dancer/puppeteer resembling the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and psychedelic animation, here is “This”:

Music Montag: Phon.o

by James Glazebrook


Modeselektor should just go ahead an sponsor our Music section, we feature their releases so often. This time we bring you the new album from Phon.o, out this Thursday on the monkeymen’s 50 Weapons imprint. But before we get into the new shit, here’s a classic Phon.o track – one that Modeselektor expertly blended into Radiohead’s “Idioteque” at the end of their Boogy Bytes Vol. 3 mix CD:

Phon.o’s new album Black Boulder is a few evolutionary steps down the line from pounders like “Ridin’ Dirty”, as the one-time Berlin resident filters the best of contemporary bass music through the dub techno aesthetic of legends like Basic Channel. Check out snippets below, and listen out for Bodi Bill frontman Pantasz on the beautiful “Twilight”:

Black Boulder by Phon.o is out on May 18th on 50 Weapons.

What Olive’s Wearing: Rollneck

by Zoë Noble

You can see more Olive photos on her Tumblr.

nhow Berlin: The Music and Lifestyle Hotel

by James Glazebrook

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We have a habit of missing our anniversary (last year, we were in German class when we realised what day it was), so this year we decided to make up for it with a stay in nhow Berlin. Nhow’s PR team kindly invited us to mark four years of marriage – and a decade together – with a complimentary stay in The Music and Lifestyle Hotel, and, as we took the express elevator to our room on the top floor, we knew we were in for a night even we wouldn’t forget!

Our room, in the aluminum-skinned tower that extends out over the River Spree, boasted “scenic” views of Oberbaumbrücke and a distant TV Tower, and was just as impressive inside. Nhow’s interiors feature a pop art update in hues of teal and bubblegum pink, set off by glossy plastic surfaces and future-retro vector graphics. A mirror that doubles as a TV screen is rightly the focal point of each room. We didn’t manage to break into the recording studios, two floors below us, but I imagine they’re just as plush!

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Settled in, we rocked up to the nhow’s riverside restaurant, Fabrics, for a special anniversary supper. We polished off two bottles of a delicious Sliding Hill Sauvignon Blanc and kept our bouches amused with the first Spargel of the season, pigeon, the best coleslaw ever, and “avant garde” bread – made from ingredients like olive oil and curry powder… and a lot better than it sounds! Then we shared an “old school special” of veal cutlet, to a soundtrack that seemed handpicked to celebrate our time together: Annie Lennox, The Fountain soundtrack, “Wicked Game” and “Finally”, which could well have been playing in the club we first “necked on” in.

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Then it was back to our room WHERE THE MAGIC REALLY HAPPENED. That is, I ordered free guitar room service of a Les Paul copy and a Marshall amp, which we proceeded to play very badly indeed:

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Then Zoë did THAT THING I LIKE – let me watch heavy metal satellite channel Scuzz (Enter Shikari live, :D). And THEN… don’t worry, I won’t tease you with any more threats of overshared intimate details, and leave our review there.

The verdict? Nhow is a beautifully-designed, fun place to stay. It doesn’t exactly capture the spirit of rock n’ roll, but instead celebrates the lifestyle enjoyed by successful music stars – and so attracts dull, rich people as guests. But if you can afford it, there aren’t many lavish design hotels in Berlin that can compete with nhow. If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to €300 a night, we recommend you check out Fabrics, a restaurant that is way more reasonable and (we feel) better than, say, Pret A Diner. Practical considerations aside, a stay at nhow tops any anniversary we’ve ever spent together, and maybe ever will!

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Music Montag: Miniblackhole

by James Glazebrook


Miniblackhole is Berlin-based David Meyer, a musician when he gets a free moment from being a technology journalist. The former frontman for rock band Guns To Caviar, Meyer hails from South Africa and moved to Berlin last year after 13 years in the UK. Miniblackhole has existed as a side-project for the last five years, but is now taking the fore as an attempt to create a new breed of electrogrungepop, or something like that. An EP should be out later this year, but David is currently looking for a collaborator to bolster the beats and synths behind his songs – the Chris Lowe to his Neil Tennant, as it were. Skip to the Miniblackhole SoundCloud page to offer your skillz!

What I’m Wearing: Olive’s First Fashion Shoot

by Zoë Noble

Olive needs a little bit more practice modelling perhaps, as she has a tendency to run in the opposite direction, but she nailed her close-up!

Dress: Kenneth Cole | Shoes: Phillip Lim | Necklace: One | Leggings: COS | Sunglasses: I.a.Eyeworks