I think the groundhog mustn’t have seen his shadow this year because Spring seems to have come early to Berlin. This weekend was a blessing of blue skies and warm 15 degree sun and I soaked up every last bit. It has been so nice, but it ended on a bit of a sad note. I will come to that presently, but it started after a nice week of busking and getting back into the Berlin swing.
I think whenever I come back to Berlin after being away for a while I over-dose on it. In the two weeks I have been back I have gone out drinking and drifting almost every day and always ending up in my favourite dive bar Artliners closing the night with a whiskey and listening to the live music there. I had had a good week of busking though and some coins to play the game and on Friday I finished my busking early and headed straight to the East. Warschauer was alive again and I had a feeling it would be. One of my favourite Berlin buskers Zicamen was there brightening up the place with his Brazilian vibes, we drunk a beer and shared a joint and it felt like life was starting to emerge after the Winter for a brand new year.
Saturday was the same and I started early. With my new bike I set at around 11 am and went to all my favourite spots. I started with a Doner in Schoneberg and then went to the market where there was a busker playing in my favourite spot. I then hit Kotti and then to my favourite people watching bench at Boxhagener. I stayed there for an hour and did a bit of observing and then cruised over to the East Side Gallery where there was a funny Chinese busker playing. He was quite good playing all the viral hits and stuff. I watched the sun roll across the sky and absorbed it all up and then headed to Warschauer.
It was booming again and it felt nice to be back there. I spent some of the best days of my Berlin life in that place and though it will never be as magical for me as it was, it was still nice to sit on the steps, mingle, smoke, drink and ramble and meet people. After a few hours I took my bike and rolled on down the road to Artliners, I was a bit early for the music so just drank a whiskey and got ready to head home. I hadn’t taken a coat with me as I was eager to show the Spring I was ready for it, but when the night has come it becomes a little chilly. I was a trifle inebriated and felt it best to leave my bike and jump on the U-bahn. I took one Stortebeker for the journey and got a nice night of sleep in preparation for the morrow.
I woke up early and went to the local markets on the lookout for some shoes. I already have about 7 pairs but you can find them so cheap there that I couldn’t resist. There were a pair of Bangkok leather shoes with a huge heel but they were a little too small and I have learned my lesson the hard-bloodied way, so, empty handed I returned home and set out to find my bike and couldn’t resist the magnetism of Mauer park on a Sunday. It was about a 40 minute ride and I sung all the way excited to see the park come to life again but when I got there I was heartbroken.
It was a building site and a mud bath. The grass has worn away and it was completely bereft of any music whatsoever. There were still people in their droves coming there, but it felt like the whole heart of the place had been ripped out. I walked around hoping to see some resistance and live music but it was bleak. I would sit in my usual spots and it was like the memories would come flooding back to me with a dash of reverb as I remembered all the great bands and people I had met here. It was such a great meeting place and melting pot of all types of music and now it’s gone.
I understand it did get a bit out of hand, but that was mainly due to the drummers and full bands who would set up 10 metres from a singer songwriter and blast them out of the park. It became so hard to hear any one music as it was just a muddle of drums and full bands with full P.A’s and drums that were mic’d up. But did they have to ban all music? Couldn’t they have just said no drums or something? It was hard to take in and feeling very deflated I made my way back to my bike to find that the wheel had got a puncture and was also deflated! Synchronicity.
I managed to ride home by pumping my tires up every ten minutes and though I was so sad about losing the jewel of the Berlin street music culture I am just very happy that I got to experience it at its best. It’s the same with Warschauer; at least I got to experience magical memories there and I should be thankful for that. Though I can’t help the deep sadness I feel that something I love has been taken away, I have to accept it and be thankful I have memories others would have loved to experience.
It is still a magical city of course and I am not giving up on her just yet. I feel Berlin wants me here because I am a good presence. Without sounding too egotistical I have been part of the magic of the city. I have sewed many positive seeds and made people smile. I have been one of the colourful characters that Berlin is so full of. I have sung my heart out in the Ubahns and made people cry and dance. I have had many deep and inspiring conversations and always encouraged creativity and love and laughter. Berlin has been good to me, and I have been good to Berlin. We get on nicely.
In other news: I am reaching the three month mark in my abstinence and am feeling this glow inside of me. I have so much energy and am feeling in a very strong state of mind. I also came to a realisation after this weekend. It is so easy and nice to go out drinking and drifting and reading palms but the geld just disappears, as does your time. I need to expand on the self discipline I have with many other factors in my life and apply it to the drinking and smoking. I sigh as I even write those words because I know they have a deep hold on me. But I need to make more productive use of my time. Right now, I busk and I drink. I write a fair bit and learn songs, but I need to take it up a notch.
I am reaching my 37th year this year and very excited for it. The only people who wish they were young again are those that have wasted their lives. If I could go back 20 years and be 17 again there is no chance I would! I am ageing very nicely and consider myself a seasoned gentleman. I have lived, loved and laughed (and cried of course) but I wouldn’t change a thing. I am excited for the next twenty years of my life! But I am going to see out my thirties like this and then in my new decade, make a new plan depending on my life situation at that moment. You never know what tomorrow may bring, never mind 3 years!
I set out on this journey to become a bit of a songsmith. To learn and sing all the songs that have ever reached and inspired me, and I have done that quite well. But now it is time to take all that I have learned from these master songwriters who inspired me and write my own. I have also been collating all my early blogs into a kind of book format. They are quite raw and require a fair bit of work, but I think it makes a nice story, plus, you can self publish your book on Amazon now for free! So a good incentive to put a closure to those chapters as I feel such a different person from that person I was in my early years of travelling.