25 July, Berlin – ‘All Over The Place – Europe’
Coming from the UK I feel quite at home in cities that were blown to bits in World War 2, but Berlin takes things to a whole different level. There barely seems to be a building left standing that predates 1945 in all the parts we visited today, and there are still quite a few empty bomb sites even now. I guess this is what has helped Berlin gain a reputation for being one of the coolest cities on Earth, as empty derelict spaces always attract the crusty creative types who then go on to do interesting things with the place. We were hanging round those kind of places today, filming a number of the city’s 12 old school black and white photo booths.
There seems to be nothing that people in the 21st Century like more than taking endless selfies of themselves pulling stupid expressions, so some artists here had the idea of fixing up some 1970s photo booths and installing them on the edge of ‘regenerating’ areas of town. They’ve been a bit vandalised and knocked about, but are still functioning well and attract a lot of partying people and curious tourists. Unfortunately on the way to one of them we got an extra Berlin experience we weren’t counting on – banging our people carrier into the side of another car. All the German bureaucracy for what was basically a scratch on someone’s wing mirror (police have to be called for any traffic accident, no matter how small) put us behind schedule a bit.
After a quick curry (our director Al said it was the first curry he’s ever eaten. How can you live to be in your 40s in the UK and have never eaten a curry?!) we made our way to the Panoptikum, which is a ‘Museum of the Unusual’ set up by a Russian guy called Vlad. He’s an artist who believes that “form without function is meaningless”. Basically, he likes collecting weird industrial, medical and domestic objects and sticking them together to create surreal art. He probably thought it was pretty surreal when he saw what I get up to for a day job, like donning a pink jacket and grey wig and hosting a quiz in his gallery as Gameshow Man where I went off on an improvised tangent shouting about the new extension Gameshow Man has just had built over his garage. It’s a good job we never have to come back to these places…