From Geordie Shore to Germany

by James Glazebrook

We’ve recently been made aware that the überlin origin story is incomplete. We use phrases like “London to Berlin”, “LDN to BLN” and “London refugees”, but that’s an oversimplification. Yes, we lived there for five years, and it’s convenient to describe Berlin as being so much cheaper/more liveable/awesomer(?) than London, but that’s not where we’re from. No, both Zoë and myself grew up in the North East of England, in a city called Newcastle upon Tyne.

I’m always surprised when Germans have heard of Newcastle. They may only know Newcastle United FC, and sometimes Newcastle Brown Ale, but as football and drinking makes up 90% of our culture, all they’re missing is the details. Apart from one poor girl who’d had the misfortune to spend a year in Newcastle as a student, for whom this VICE article will make for uncomfortable reading:


That article is ostensibly about a new generation of students, The Lads, but it’s really about Newcastle. Our hometown is the *only* choice for lads who want to spend their University years drinking, having their faces tattooed on their arses, and getting rapey with the lasses. But local competition to be “Britain’s Biggest Lads” is fierce, coming from these plucked-and-preened trannies with Schwarzenegger bodies and a thirst for fanny:

The Geordie Shore lads and lasses might be extreme examples, but they’re just at the end of a scale on which almost every Toon-dweller sits. The flipside of the stereotype is that we love to party, have a fucking crackin’ sense a’ humour, and are really friendly (unless you come from south of the River Tyne). That’s why stag and hen dos from all over the country flock to the Bigg Market, a concentration of bars and clubs pegged by VICE as “the roughest part of Newcastle City Centre” but which has also been voted

Great Britain’s no. 1 tourist attraction. In the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Destination Awards for European Nightlife destinations, four of the UK’s nightspots finished in the top 10; Newcastle was awarded 3rd Place behind London, and Berlin

(bold disbelief my own)

Here’s what the Toon’s nightlife is really like:

But it’s not all bad. There’s the Happy Chip, where you can buy poppers with your kebab, and Curry Hell – the world’s hottest curry, free if you can keep it down. There’s a metal club… or there was, until they paved it and put up a parking lot (seriously). In a lot of ways, Newcastle moulded us into the people we are today – Zoë, a true diamond in the rough, and me, just rough. And even though I’d been away to university, went travelling and moved to Edinburgh, it was when I returned to Newcastle that I met Zo – in this very club:


Let’s ‘ave it! I actually went to school with R Kelly in the background…

So that’s us. If you’re still interested in our home toon, here are some FAST GEORDIE FACTS what we’ll lorn ya reet good man:

  • The “castle” in Newcastle is pronounced like “hassle” not “parcel”. If you really want to fit in, say NEW’ASSIL MAN.
  • Real Geordies don’t say “Howay” (meaning: come on), we say “Hawez”.
  • We invented the word “chav“. Seriously, we’ve been calling people “charvers” since at least the 90s, when the tracksuits were way more gaudy.
  • Despite having no decent live venues (at least when I lived there), the North East has produced some amazing musicians: Venom, The Animals, Dire Straits, The Wildheartsyourcodenameis:milo and Bryan Ferry
  • We’ve also given the world Ant and Dec, Jimmy Nail, Sting and Cheryl Kerl. Sorry.
  • The first Geordie came about when a Scotsman shagged a sheep. At least that’s what a (Scottish) festival-goer told me once.

[EDIT: For a great rant about why we love to hate Geordie Shore, check out Charlie Brooker’s Guardian column]

Music Montag: Brunchhain!

by James Glazebrook

noun [brənʧ heɪn]
1. a big, boozy brunch followed by a trip to Berghain
2. the most fun you can have on a summery Sunday in Berlin

Yesterday was Big Fun for a couple of reasons. It was our first Brunchhain, and our friends Mike and Casey’s first ever trip to Berghain – and it certainly didn’t disappoint. To them, it looked just like the descriptions in our Inside Berghain post (club scene from Blade, techno Crystal Maze…) and sounded suitably apocalyptic:

Outside, it was a different wibe. We spent most of our first Brunchhain in the club’s summer garden, soaking up some rays, some sights (oh, the people watching!) and some warm house grooves, courtesy of Red D. The afternoon’s highlights were disco anthem “Don’t Leave Me This Way”, and the kind of Chicago classics that pepper D’s awesome Ron Hardy tribute mix:

I was a little disappointed that we missed Dinky, whose set was moved from Sunday to Saturday night at the last minute. Here’s the kind of mix I was hoping for from her, back-to-back soul and disco sweetness:

So let me add to the obvious things people say about Berghain: you have to go, and you have to go on a summery Sunday after a big, boozy brunch. In conclusion: BRUNCHHAIN!!!

Andreas Murkudis Concept Store

by Zoë Noble

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Berlin, you temptress you. Here I was, counting my pennies like a good girl, and you’ve only gone and opened up a concept store that makes me want to sell everything I own and clean them out Victoria Beckham stylee. Andreas Murkudis sits in the former Tagesspiegel building in northern Schöneberg and this light, airy space is more reminiscent of an art gallery than your average designer store.

With collections, all handpicked by Murkudis himself, from the likes of Céline, Dries van Noten and Maison Martin Margiela – and some right bobby dazzler (Geordie for beautiful) homewares – I ooh-ed and ahh-ed my way around the store. I became mesmerized by one of the Bi-Cabas Céline totes (pictured below) that has been on my “if I ever win the lottery” list… very, VERY tempting. One more visit to this she-devil of a store and I might just be swayed!

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The Cheese Mountain Tragedy

by James Glazebrook

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What a kwinkidink! We were walking down Schönleinstrasse, and who did we see standing in a shop window but Josh Bauman, illustrator of both the Caffeinated Toothpaste comic strips and this awesome Daily Deutsch doodle? It turns out that said shop is the studio and gallery that Josh shares with fellow arty types Johan Potma and Wolfgang Reimers. The Cheese Mountain Tragedy (LOL) is a real treasure trove, wall-to-wall with comics, prints and other objets, all but the most sentimentally-valuable of which are available to buy – at low low prices! It’s worth popping your head in to see how these (surprisingly neat) artists work, and envy their creative life and awesome kit. Josh showed us his sweet interactive pen display, before signing a copy of the first Caffeinated Toothpaste book, and we walked home with silly grins on our stupid faces. Yay!

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Video Exclusive: K_chico, “Burn”

by James Glazebrook

k_chico Burn

I’ve been writing about music long enough to feel like I’ve heard it all before. So I get super-excited when I see or hear something unique (to me), like K_chico‘s new track “Burn” and its photo-morphing video:

Berlin-based K_chico namechecks blues legends like John Lee Hooker, but obviously draws just as much from electronica – with “Burn” also tipping its hat to Depeche Mode and the quieter moments of Black Strobe’s Burn Your Own Church album. The video, directed and produced by the artist himself, was a real labour of love – those three-odd minutes took five months to plan and shoot.

Some more facts about the awesome “Burn” video:

Pre-production – 5 months
Days of shooting photos – 2
Total photos taken – 3,072
Photos used in the video – 256
Average time taken to morph one scene – 6 hours
Scenes morphed in total – 108
Scenes used in the video – 42
Actual videos used in video – 3

You can find out more about K_chico on his website, and hear what makes him tick by listening to his mixtape of “love songs” from Nick Cave, Ladytron and (!) Mr Oizo. ♥

Music Montag: Monotekktoni

by James Glazebrook

Again, Pale Music’s Berlin Insane compilations have come up with the goods! This time, they helped me unearth the intriguing Monotekktoni, who sounds like Björk taking on Siouxsie Sioux in an awesome-off.

The artist herself is a little more abstract in her own description of her music, which I’ve left badly Google Translated, for art’s sake:

I-I do know is what am a rattling rock band without a guitar.
I am a meat grinder in the orchestra in miniature, the conductor turns at the wheel.
The orchestra also. I am the orchestra. I am the conductor.
The conductor is a woman. Volunteering. The drums in double occupation.
Electronic woman I rock band that fits under and behind a table.
And all the heart.


Most recently, she’s released a set of piano ballads as Tonia Reeh, but I’m sticking with the electronic bonkersness of her Monotekktoni alter ego. Specifically, “Dynamite”, in which the artist builds a pipe bomb disguised as a baby in order to blow up a Berlin bank. BOOM!

Technoviking at the 1927 Fuckparade

by James Glazebrook

We’ve uncovered never-before-seen footage of a time-travelling Techno Viking tearing Weimar Berlin a new rave-hole:

OK, so we actually made this ourselves – but that doesn’t make it any less awesome. Many thanks to The Artistifier app (“Make any YouTube video award winning”), Zoë, who filmed the video on her iPhone when said app wouldn’t export it, and of course Techno Viking – seen here in all his full colour glory.