The world's artists have moved to Berlin. It has cheap studios, cheap flats and cheap beer. It's poor but sexy. And you can pick up a free trampoline on your way to workby Julian Gough / August 1, 2007 / Leave a comment
Published in August 2007 issue of Prospect Magazine
I’m walking along Linienstrasse, a quiet residential street in former East Berlin, on my way to work. I slow to check out the new graffiti. A Banksy! And 16 new tags by Calyba, or Kalyba, a local graffiti artist so inept he can’t spell his own name.
Ah, a nice chair on the pavement. I turn round, take it home, continue my walk… Ah, a small trampoline. We don’t have a trampoline. I carry it home… No rush. Lovely sunny day. No insects. Berlin doesn’t really do insects. No idea why.
I don’t really know Berlin; nobody does, because there’s no such place. There’s just a bunch of tightly packed urban villages with nothing in common, not even their history. Some of them were communist until fairly recently. Some were capitalist. But now they’re pretty much neither. Communism didn’t work out, and capitalism’s looking pretty shaky here too, with 16 per cent unemployment and a vast €60bn city debt. And they’re certainly in no hurry to try nationalism and socialism again. Berlin has the stunned look of a city that wishes big ideas would just leave it alone for a while.