Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Berlin (last part)

I look at her in awe, in wonder and in gratitude. How... how did you do that? She shrugs. There's a sudden roar of people. Roger Waters has come onstage. You want to watch the Wall? "What Wall?" We decide to blow off the Wall and climb into the tent, where she entertains me by moving her stripey jumper around to show off the strobing effects which can be achieved when you're on acid. I feel so happy after her rescue I'm beginning to enjoy the POWER SURGES of the drug coming and going.

She goes off for a bit. I listen to a frankly mental sounding family camped next to us having an argument in a harsh unknown language for a bit. She comes back with an American boy who has a soft Californian accent. Well done Cat, it's like she read my mind and brought the aural antidote to the horrible sounding family.

We find ourselves sitting in a group of people talking about Mercedes Benz. "I was talking to someone about that this morning..." "You were talking to me. Dan. Remember?" Another American boy, from Boston. He's so... so straight. He seems hurt that I've forgotten him, I want to explain that it's just that my cerebral cortex has recently been rewired, but I lack the words. There's an American girl there too, from the midwest, leaning up in front of me. She's got bleached blond hair, glowing whitely in the dark, I look at her lovingly, she's so pretty, and she looks so clean.

"I sat... in the dirt... and all these pants, pants, pants legs were walking past me... and I sat in the dirt? Is this me?" says the blond girl, leaning back on my legs and looking at the stars. She monologues softly and monotously about the midwest. "I mean, there's no culture, especially. There's no interesting vegetation..." This remark makes me explode with laughter and I have to take myself off. I have to tell Cat about her "She was so amazed, she couldn't believe that she'd sat in the dirt..." "She sat in the dirt? We live in the dirt! Our life is degradation!" says Cat.

We get talking to a strange, half East Ender half East European sounding man, he's here with his two silent teenage sons, they are street traders, they travel all over, selling whatever they can in street markets. He's just moved from Russia and thought he'd give Berlin a try. He's dismissive of the concert "a pantomime for adults..." (and I never listen to Roger Waters or Pink Floyd after this, ever again.)

I'm beginning to see something, and it's not college, it's not school, it's not work. I can see past it, to these people who are always on the move. There seems no especial reason to go home. I could keep going, like these people do. Living in squats and going to festivals and demos. Bored of where you are? Go somewhere else. Follow the festivals. Speak other languages. You see how your routine is just that, it's not the law, it doesn't have to hold you. I am supposed to be going to college to do photography in September but it seems distant.

We find Jan and Mark the next day and say goodbye, we were meeting people in Amsterdam and they were travelling on. They might have given us their numbers (pre email, pre mobile phones) but we probably lost them instantly. American Greg said he'd find us in Amsterdam. We give in and get the train to Amsterdam, we're hopeless at hitching on the German roads. But after Amsterdam I'm a good girl. I go home. I wonder sometimes where I'd be now if I hadn't.

Next year I will be 40. Planning to go back to Berlin. This time I think we will stay in an apartment though.


  1. This has been brilliant. And it makes me inordinately happy that you've decided to do Cool Things.

  2. This is fantastic - what a great true story. I wish I had been on acid when the wall came down! Bad or good trip it's a trip nonetheless!

  3. Aw, thanks Emordino!

    Sar, if you come next summer you can trip in Berlin too...

  4. Great story! Always nice to look back on good memories. I was in Berlin in the early 80's before the wall came down; a great fun town back then. Its calmed down a bit since though. It was nice to be able to walk through the Brandenburg gate when I was there last year, now that the wall is gone.

  5. I enjoyed this. I'm glad you were a 'good girl' - all that hitching, what were we thinking! I know....I know.....

  6. Steve, I bet it was great. It just has such an amazing spirit and such a mental history.

    Arabella, thanks. I know... I guess it was also because we were so broke all the time.

  7. Oh, you made me feel all gooey and made me want to go to Berlin. And then I remembered I was here already, so I got a train to Potsdam and then another one back.

    Yes, who knows where you'd be now if you'd stayed? The bond to home varies so much from person to person. You'd probably own an enormous apartment here and have no mortgage on it. (Cries for both of us.) Your neighbours would all be respectable 30-something glasses-wearing West Germans with perfect children. And you'd bemoan the old days.

    But you'd still be lovely Annie, and I can't wait to see you here next year. Let's not take drugs.

  8. Oh, you are in Berlin, you lucky soul! I can't wait to see you.