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Since Ballet School dropped this a couple of weeks back, it hasn’t left our virtual turntable: their cover of Madonna’s “Justify My Love” and Beyoncé’s “Partition”. Something of a statement of intent ahead of the band’s US tour, their dream pop mashup of Ms Ciccone’s critically-panned creative peak and undeniable, world-domination Bey comes with good reason. Here’s singer Rosie Blair:
When “Justify My Love” came out, it made perfect sense because it is the sound of the world’s most powerful woman reaching her early thirties sexual peak. Like, it figures. For about five years after this Madonna released nothing but explicitly sexual music and was totally punished for it. She rarely refers to it now but it was the lowest period of her career, critically speaking. Every time she did an interview one of the questions would invariably be “Do you think your career is over?” I mean, how rude. Beyonce’s “Partition” is the same vibe, a woman in her early thirties reaching maximum velocity with her sexuality except this time, Beyonce was critically acclaimed for her work. The juxtaposition between the two songs is one that is just as important for me culturally as it is musically. It makes me think that it’s worth putting your ideas and perspectives out there as a female even if you get a kicking, ’cause there’s always a bigger picture. This is the definition of “influence.”
The ins and outs of dating in Berlin.
I recently stumbled upon a beautiful essay about postwar New York, and one quote in particular caught my attention:
“Many of its settlers are probably here merely to escape, not face, really. But whatever that means, it is a rather rare gift, and I believe it has a positive effect on the creative capacities of New Yorkers – for creation is in part merely the business of forgoing the great and small distractions.”
Here Is New York, E.B. White, 1949
I immediately thought of Berlin today – of everything it’s given me, of the way the city has changed me and how it manages to make me feel more complete every single day. That’s when it hit me: I am in love, and I have been ever since I moved here. Not with a person – because if there’s one thing I have failed at, it’s meeting someone whom I could love in their entirety – but with the city itself.
I have fallen in love more times than I can remember. I fell in love with the way this guy’s curly hair would stroke my forehead when we kissed. With that old woman, her face covered in chocolate, who insisted on offering me candy after I gave her a cigarette. Her blissful smile, her stirring insanity.
I fell for this other man’s mind, and pined after our compelling discussions about privilege and feminism. I couldn’t hide my smile as I received yet another dinner invitation from a boy who was probably just fooling himself into thinking that he really liked me.
All these brief moments have been more than enough to fill my heart with joy. These, and the realisation that I am changing, every single day. I am constantly creating new experiences and doing things I never ever imagined I would, all because of the beautiful, fascinating people who call Berlin their home.
Not just the fabulous DJs, the ice-cold bouncers, the startup founders who firmly believe they are going to change the world and their fellow creative minds, but also the rude bus drivers, the surly Späti owners, my building’s concierge…
After all these months, I finally understand why Berlin is always described as the Stadt der Singles. If you run down the list of the advantages that a relationship provides, you’ll quickly find out that Berlin – yes, a city – is able to provide you with all of them.
The city’s cultural life knows no limits, so there’s always something interesting to do. Rent is still relatively cheap, so you don’t need to find someone to share a bed with to be able to afford a nice flat. It’s entirely possible to rely on your friends for emotional closeness and support, and regular sex is, well, quite easy to get.
Berlin allows you to focus on yourself and to grow as a person. It makes you more independent, more aware of the world that surrounds you, more in touch with the alternative ways to live your life. Having a nine-to-five job, a stable monogamous relationship, going out on Saturday evenings only and spending your weeknights in front of the television, just isn’t the norm here.
The norm, however, is to be hungry for life.
To be curious, political, involved and determined to find out all about what this world has to offer.
And this, to me, is love.
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Berlin is the adopted home of an almost unbelievable number of formidable female performers and producers. Just a week after XOSAR’s none-more-black metal mix, we discovered some equally dark, but more pointedly danceable music from Sophie Ruston AKA Ghettozoid. She seems to have been laying low for a year or so, so we’re dusting off some classics that remind us of peak-time Miss Kitten being sternly told off by Anne Clark. If you’ve got the good sense to like your synth music shrouded in smoke, and your bass be-bootied, then get more Ghettozoid right here.
EYEHATEGOD are fucking legends! A cornerstone of the New Orleans metal scene, their caustic fusion of breakneck hardcore and crushing sludge spawned a generation of crusty-ass, iconoclastic riff monsters. Next Monday, the boys from the bayou are back in Berlin, knocking our socks/cocks off at Cassiopeia – and we have 2 pairs of tickets to give away! For a quick education on EYEHATEGOD, watch this stellar short documentary from Noisey, and scroll down to find out how to win two tickets to next week’s show!
HOW TO WIN 2 TICKETS FOR EYEHATEGOD AT CASSIOPEIA ON MONDAY APRIL 13TH (full event details):
Just leave us a comment below with the answer to this question:
(apart from EYEHATEGOD) What’s the best thing ever to come out of New Orleans?
You have until midnight on Friday 10th April to enter. GOOD LUCK!
The Boring Bit (yawn, RULES):
1. You must be 18 years or older to enter.
2. ONE ENTRY PER PERSON!
3. We will keep a record of each comment in a database and then a random number generator picks the winner.
4. Remember to include your full (real) name and email address, so we can contact you if you win.
5. We will notify the winner via email on Saturday 11th April.