Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Amazing day today in Germany's capital, bright, warm sunshine filling the streets, radio sounds drifting down from the balconies above, legions of bicycles tearing down Karl Mark Strasse. Visited local bars last night with new acquaintances, moving seamlessly from one bar to another. Many conversations about the nature of drinking, the architecture of spaces in which we choose to consume alcohol.

The Berlin bars that we find ourselves in most, especially those in deep Neukolln, are of the new kind. Renovated shops, abandoned framers or florists or pharmacists, walls stripped back to plaster, installed, situationist artefacts on the walls, flickering candlelight, small selection of beer imported from outsider breweries. Inside, drinkers lose themselves to the supposed anonymity of it all, the blankness that allows insulated conversation to occur, so that it can be said the space of an evening's drinking, the architecture of inebriation, shifts. It moves inwards, a closing circle of closeness that mimics the intimacy of the words. Initial forays about weather, prices, work gradually unfold into critiques of sociality, opinionated disagreements, mindless inquisitions. The candles burn low, the wallets empty, all is said, the day is emptied and all return home, some later than others.

Kuba has been visiting, which has allowed me to discover my new neighbourhood properly for the first time. There's no navigation like that enforced by a visitor. And of course, him being a photographer, we never ventured more than two steps without utterances of stop, halt, wait. The camera lifted away from the chest, where it hangs from his neck on black cord, pictures taken, tenses mixed. Heading out into the streets was great, stopping off in crumbling courtyards, hidden archways, rambling across deserted parks late at night, into backhouses seeking instances and examples of something representational, something itself. Photography is not a language I speak, but one I read with interest.

Today will be one lost I feel. Now I listen to new music, brought to me within an imported magazine, later I will practice a little more for the gigs next week and beyond. Even later I may go out to a Janet Cardiff presentation, but I can feel a gentle, insistent illness coming on, the result of tiredness and one I should be sure to lose before tomorrows trip to Paris. An excuse – at last! Currently, social being does not come to me easily and money even less so, so all excuses are welcome.

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