Saturday, April 05, 2008

More of What I Saw...

So, Berlin is Dark - a city of the night. We woke up and set off on a hunt for breakfast. Sadly our hotel was situated in an area where all traces of breakfast had been surgically removed, either that or stolen by Starbucks and Dunkin' Doughnuts. Even worse we soon discovered there had been an alien invasion during the night but the Berliners were so blitzed by their extreme nightlife (or maybe just overwhelmed by the weight of their extraordinary and often tragic history) that nobody seemed to have noticed. We did though and stared in stunned silence at a series of buildings that appeared to have dropped from the sky.

Roth was there before us once again. On page 125 of What I Saw:

"The wickedness, sheer cluelessness, and avarice of its rulers, builders, and protectors draw up the plans, muddle them up again, and confusedly put them into practice. The results - for this city has too many speedily changing aspects for it to be accurate to speak of a single result - are a distressing agglomeration of squares, streets, blocks of tenements, churches and palaces. A tidy mess, an arbitrariness exactly to plan, a purposeful seeming aimlessness. Never was so much order thrown at disorder, so much lavishness at parsimony, so much method at madness."

The other aspect of Berlin's architecture we agreed with Roth on was the way things didn't look at all conventional. When I say "cat" you think of a small furry animal with whiskers. When I say "pub" you think of a cosy room full of already dead geezers supping pints of best. (Oh, well I do.) In Berlin this all breaks down. You walk into what you think is a bank, only to discover it is a "cool" bar. You are searching in the guide book for the location of a particular flea market only to discover you are sitting in a cafe in the middle of it but it was so different to the way you expected it to be you hadn't realised.

P116 Roth once again:

"Still more confusing is interior design. I have learned that those hygienic white operating theatres are actually patisseries."

1 comment:

  1. Blimey - where about *is* this, and where were you staying?

    It looks like someone dropped the Flat Iron building from New York, and then decided to update it on both sides. Funky. I like it.

    They don't look like they would survive a stiff wind though...