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Sat, Mar. 3rd, 2007 03:09 am
The lost spirit of Berlin is back!

Berlin never yuppifies. Here, pioneering bohemians just don't get priced out of the very neighbourhoods they've enhanced with their courage, imagination and ingenuity, and don't get replaced by unpleasant, arrogant folk who work in finance. Sure, that might happen in London or New York, but it doesn't happen here. No sirree. That's what I like to tell people, anyway, and to some extent it's true.



Well, actually, to be honest, it's not all that true. What I mean is, it's a question of degree. Sure, districts like Prenzlauer Berg and Mitte have probably changed more quickly than districts anywhere on Earth (just fifteen years ago, restaurants on the ultra-bourgeois Kollwitz Platz used to unscrew all external lightbulbs of an evening so the squat punks couldn't smash them). But, with financial and industrial types safely confined to Germany's more Westerly cities, the games of Musical Chairs seen in London and New York don't happen here. Huge numbers of Berliners remain broke, which is why the prices and rents here stay so extraordinarily low.

I could, though, give you a list of the things that made Berlin great when I first moved here, way back in, oh, early 2003, and tell you how they no longer exist. I'm not quite sure whether to blame too much yuppification for this or not enough. The wonderful Automaten Bar has been replaced by a generic fashion store. That was probably a case of the artists who ran it getting bored. It happens. But it was also certainly a case of Mitte rents going up. The same thing has just happened in Friedrichshain, where the venerable Volksladen has just closed, citing the end of their lease and an unacceptable rent hike.

Volksladen (The People's Shop) was an organic bakery and cafe on Gabriel-Max-Strasse furnished like a nursery school. It was run by a Herr Volks (Mr People), who modelled it on the kindergartens set up by radical Berlin parents, known as Kinderladens. Yumi Son, who runs the nearby Smart Deli, did a little article about the closure of Volksladen in the latest issue of her magazine Taken. Mr Volks, who also runs a local restaurant, is "a very nice single man," Yumi writes, "and I will introduce him to someone if I can find the right person".

I've just heard that the wonderful Le Petit Mignon, which is on my street in Neukolln, Sanderstrasse, will close at the end of March. Le Petit Mignon is run by a dreadlocked Frenchman called Guillaume. It stocks Japanese noise CDs, mangas, copies of Street magazine, DVDs, beer... and throws great parties. The last will be held on March 24th, and will feature live music and an art exhibition (they're usually splashed all over Guillaume's kitchen). Le Petit Mignon promises to re-open somewhere, sometime, but doesn't sound too sure.

A similar uncertainty has surrounded Cocolo Ramen for almost a year now. Run by designer Oliver Prestele, Cocolo has been a Berlin institution for about ten years. Two nights a week -- Friday and Saturday -- Olly has wheeled his self-designed ramen stall (all packed into red flightcases) to a temporary location and set up shop, making the most delicious ramen you'll ever taste outside of Japan (and better than a lot you'll taste inside it too). Olly may be only a part-time chef, but he doesn't do things by halves. As you can see in this Japanese TV report, Olly designed and built his own ramen-making machine from scratch, did the same with the stall, and went to Japan many times to study "the way of the noodle". Hisae says: "I think he just looks like a German, but when he makes ramen he's Japanese."



Last month I told you that Olly was opening a full-time ramen restaurant on Gippstrasse in Mitte, and yesterday Hisae and I went to see if it was open yet. I went into the Japanese restaurant at Gippstrasse 3 to ask them if they knew where Cocolo Ramen was, and there was Olly himself, dressed in dark blue overalls, sitting at a table with some Japanese men. He pointed next door and told me the new place was right there, then took me over for a preview glimpse. He's been working on carving the wooden counter (no more flightcases -- this is a permanent location) non-stop for the last few weeks. Singlehanded.

The place was small and smelt strongly of industrial glue. In a week or so it'll be tightly packed and smell delicious. Olly hopes to open next weekend. He'll continue to make ramen just twice a week, delegating the rest of the time to a German cook. Not a Japanese? "No," says Olly, "I wanted someone to start fresh and learn it from scratch, someone who'd have the enthusiasm".

A little of the old Berlin spirit (ah, those heady days of late 2005!) will return with Cocolo. A hearty Berliner banzai for that!

33CommentReply

http://claimid.com/joey_roth
http://claimid.com/joey_roth
Fri, Mar. 2nd, 2007 10:33 pm (UTC)
cities change

I start getting worried when cities calm down – I think the tribes that comprise a city need to continually consume and defecate the physical land that comprises the city, since your membership in one of these tribes depends on what you, as an individual, consume.


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zzberlin
zzberlin
hh
Fri, Mar. 2nd, 2007 11:46 pm (UTC)

<<< I could, though, give you a list of the things that made Berlin great when I first moved here, way back in, oh, early 2003, and tell you how they no longer exist. I'm not quite sure whether to blame too much yuppification for this or not enough. The wonderful Automaten Bar has been replaced by a generic fashion store. >>

hi Momus, please don't be coy. You know (brooklyn, madrid, west oakland, seoul) as well as I do that the artists go there first. You go to Berlin then the others follow. You move to Japan we think "hmm." Please don't pretend you are not aware of the influence you wield. Next is East Oakland, then Philly. I think it you write it they do it.


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(Anonymous)
Sat, Mar. 3rd, 2007 01:03 am (UTC)
low

barriers to entry keep the city in flux. the things that pass give way to the things that are yet to come. i am grateful that the city is large enough that i am always coming upon something new and remarkable. looking forward to the ramen.

william thirteen
http://www.squirm.com


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freesurfboards
freesurfboards
freesurfboards
Sat, Mar. 3rd, 2007 02:35 am (UTC)

Someday I will open "The Museuem of Stores that were Never Finically Lucrative".


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cerulicante
cerulicante
cerulicante
Sat, Mar. 3rd, 2007 04:01 am (UTC)

I love fresh ramen. It's one of the things I miss most about Japan. Since I'll be moving to Okinawa this summer, though, I've already scouted out several good restaurants in advance.


Japanese ramen is the apotheosis of heavenly cuisine.


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sarmoung
sarmoung
The Empire Never Ended
Sat, Mar. 3rd, 2007 12:44 pm (UTC)

...and Okinawa soba is what that ramen god eats on special occasions. (Drifts into food reverie about Okinawa...)



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(no subject) - (Anonymous)

(Anonymous)
Sat, Mar. 3rd, 2007 08:25 am (UTC)
longtime can-fan has new album

hi momus,

sorry for the spam, but i don't know how else to say this... i've been listening to can since 14 (24 now) and i finally made something i think is good enough. and i figured you might dig it.

it's here: http://tago-mago.net/music.htm (http://tago-mago.net/music.htm)

remixes of the streets, marvin gaye, mos def, b-52's, cocteau twins, more

hope you like it

---------------

The "Eardrums shall fail" blog said:

"Remixing is raised to art status when you give new life to music, any type of music. To see potential in a boring cut, to push the envelope all the way to different galaxies, to let your mind wander where the original intention left off - all this presumes passion and marquees lighting up over your head as opposed to a mere lightbulb. A writer, most of the time, is a passionate reader first and a remixer of words second. Tago-Mago does that with music. I may not like each and every track but that would be a strange and new feeling anyway. Rarely have I heard a reinvention of music I was, or thought I was, familiar with, in such unexpected ways. His major influence is Can, and the mixes are inspired by a variety of hip hop and electronica artists."



http://eashfa.wordpress.com/2007/02/24/pusherman-tago-mago/ (http://eashfa.wordpress.com/2007/02/24/pusherman-tago-mago/)


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(Anonymous)
Sat, Mar. 3rd, 2007 11:43 am (UTC)

To my observation the yuppification of certain formerly working class/ allegedly boho areas of cities tends to take place more by increments of economic strata rather than by sudden change.
The spearhead of yuppification seems to consist of monied, nominally left-leaning, academic professionals, the finance/top tier sales-people are usually the last to move into such areas (that working class associative stigma hangs like a miasma for them) and such people prefer instead a suburban barn with extended greensward and a huge kitchen for entertaining their equally vacuous friends in.
Regards-
Thomas Scott.


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(Anonymous)
Sat, Mar. 3rd, 2007 11:58 am (UTC)
Gulp

Gokkun your spunk please?


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(Anonymous)
Sat, Mar. 3rd, 2007 04:19 pm (UTC)
'Pioneering bohemians', nein danke!

Capitalism is our greatest work of art. The shining symbol of human collaboration, support and love. What a simple and elegant design it is - The more I learn to give you what you want, the more I get what I want. Money is not an end point, just the pivot table for desire. Why fetishize and fear it? Why muddy such beauty with analysis and personal issues? That's like sticking an iBook inside a bakelite shell. Why want the world to resemble the old ideological and spiritual models instead of the new exchange model. Give in to such a beautiful beast! Be submissive to the public, for that is where we learn the true humbleness of financial spirituality, generated like the wool feeding on Ghandi's wheel. Learn what we want, then give us more, expanded and improved. Easy! Why did we buy your better-selling songs? Advance that further! The key to spiritual, artistic and intellectual riches lies in the social, not some bitter, inner world of self-expression, textures or 'concepts'. Poor 'pioneering bohemians'? If they are failing, it is utter transcendence and arrogance. Don't ignore your own truth by trying to find it. You have it already. Only capitalism understands this, because it is non-intellectual, non-detached and of the people. The world is your muse, not 'you'. Capitalism is our highest artform. Trust in the Nirvana of political discovery.


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(Anonymous)
Sat, Mar. 3rd, 2007 04:42 pm (UTC)
Re: 'Pioneering bohemians', nein danke!

The bakelite ibook sounds like an item
that will magnetize a very popular ebay
auction in 2027.


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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand


(Anonymous)
Sat, Mar. 3rd, 2007 07:58 pm (UTC)

As a man with Edinburgh New Wave connections, you may like to know that the Scars Author! Author! is being reissued on CD.



http://researchgtr.20m.com/authorauthor.htm


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(Anonymous)
Sat, Mar. 3rd, 2007 09:13 pm (UTC)
le petit mignon

well, actually guillaume is one of the revitalizers. He will go run staalplaat record store, and as i have heard from him, he will do some more there then selling obscure cd-s. His festsaal concerts in kreuzberg draw a good crowd, and as i could experience as a performer and an onlooker, with a very wild and enthusiastic crowd, that i haven't encountered since the old punk days. lepetitmignon will continue to be the store it is. a group of ten people will do pretty much the same thing there and organize sound events. I do hope that paco and sean are smart enough to continue using the same name. a sad story of landlords is however scherer8 (http://scherer8.de) where helge alias der tapeman will close the doors. he was one of the best programmers in town. friday 9th will see the wild bunch of the tape only gang and der tapeman himself in action, 16 march is the goodbye party. come and get nostalgic. greetings from the near east, rinus@tapecare.blogspot.com


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zzberlin
zzberlin
hh
Sat, Mar. 3rd, 2007 09:43 pm (UTC)
Re: le petit mignon

<<

Sat, Mar. 3rd, 2007 01:13 pm (local)
le petit mignon

well, actually guillaume is one of the revitalizers. He will go run staalplaat record store, and as i have heard from him, he will do some more there then selling obscure cd-s. His festsaal concerts in kreuzberg draw a good crowd, and as i could experience as a performer and an onlooker, with a very wild and enthusiastic crowd, that i haven't encountered since the old punk days. lepetitmignon will continue to be the store it is. a group of ten people will do pretty much the same thing there and organize sound events. I do hope that paco and sean are smart enough to continue using the same name. a sad story of landlords is however scherer8 (http://scherer8.de) where helge alias der tapeman will close the doors. he was one of the best programmers in town. friday 9th will see the wild bunch of the tape only gang and der tapeman himself in action, 16 march is the goodbye party. come and get nostalgic. greetings from the near east, rinus@tapecare.blogspot.com


ReplyThread Parent
zzberlin
zzberlin
hh
Sun, Mar. 4th, 2007 04:05 am (UTC)

Roam if you want to roam around the world


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zzberlin
zzberlin
hh
Sun, Mar. 4th, 2007 06:32 am (UTC)
I really wish I could b e important

I i wish I could swim I wish like dolphines could swim

Oh we could be heroes just for one day

I ocould be kind, and you could you could be Queen

We could be heroes just for one day

Standing by the door And we kissed we said nothing before



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zzberlin
zzberlin
hh
Sun, Mar. 4th, 2007 06:33 am (UTC)
Re: I really wish I could b e important

I sure wish I could slippe into something


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(Anonymous)
Fri, Jan. 9th, 2009 10:57 am (UTC)
http://www.frmkd.com

Thanks.. !!! Nice page..
Forum (http://www.frmkd.com/)


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yekong
yekong
Mon, Sep. 21st, 2009 05:51 am (UTC)
Garment manufacturer monitors fashion trends with e-commerce

As a supplier which specializes in fabric for women’s garments, our company is devoted to the R&D of our products. But with the limited conditions and the lack of information, our company’s development was restricted for a long time. It also made it difficult to demonstrate our designs and products to more professional buyers.


Through the Internet and advertisements, we began to know about Alibaba.com and realized that it was exactly the best B2B platform that we needed. Therefore, we immediately cooperated with Alibaba.com.


After a period of operation, we came to know more and more overseas buyers through Alibaba.com. Alibaba.com has not only brought us more opportunities but, more importantly, it gave us a stage on which to display our own wares. Through the communication and cooperation with buyers, we are able to understand the direction and development of the latest overseas fabric trends promptly and make the corresponding adjustments. In the showroom, we display our newest designs and ideas each season regularly, which has attracted more buyers and helped us to step onto a path of continuous development Gucci Earrings .


We will continue our cooperation with Alibaba.com, and we believe that our company will develop to be an emerging brand in the fabric domain if we rely on this outstanding platform.


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kubisim123
kubisim123
Wed, Dec. 16th, 2009 11:39 am (UTC)
AnormaLiz

Hi!
This is our site
www.anormaliz.com


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