Tuesday, October 8, 2013


An Open Air Loony Bin on Helmholzplatz

Now that summer is behind us, I can whine about how the warmest Berlin summer in recent years just wasn’t long enough.  I really miss my sandals.  Really I do.  Toes previously Free To Be are now crammed into shoes designed by tiny, foot-binded Chinese to torture the footloose and fancy free Western Capitalist Pig Dog (and in so doing, procure a tidy sum, naturally); no wiggle room for my little piggies.  I digress:  Berlin open air events.  Like most of cold, gray, dark, depressing Europe (and I’m saying that like it’s a good thing), Berlin suffers from about 300 days of mleh out of 365.  So when the Berlin summer hits, you’d best get your ass outside and do anything and everything under the sun.

Prenzlauer Berg: a gentrified district of East Berlin wherein the previous punk-and-social-welfare-case people get to yell DIE YUPPIE SCUM (in German no less) to the gentrifiers who scream GET A JOB, LOSER back at them.  It’s great to live in a former punk quarter which is slowly turning yuppie, hipster and foreigner and get to absorb the vibe of something old, dirty and skuzzy cleansed by something cold, antiseptic and sterile.  Perhaps sterile is the wrong word, as Prenzlauer Berg packs in so many new families that it is now referred to as Parentslauer Berg.

Helmholzplatz:  a green park in one of the trendier areas of Prenzlauer Berg.  When I first moved into the kiez (‘hood), I recall strolling through the middle of the park and being accosted by a rather inebriated fellow who started shouting at me and my girlfriend as we passed his bottle-strewn, piss-reeking turf.  Yes, Mr. Intoxicunt, clearly we are The Threat.  Together we work to make about the same money as you get for free on social welfare.  And your flat is bigger and you get to drink outside and wax drunken philosophical all day long as your means of employment.  I’m jealous.

LiederLauschen:  some kind of cockamamie music event contrived in the last days of summer to squeeze the last few Euros out of those who would soon retreat behind the thick walls of their altbau (old building) flats and enjoy cop show marathons while pining away for the summer.  I don’t know WTF LiederLauschen means and I’m too lazy to Google it.  As One of Those who is too lazy / refuses to learn another language (read: American), I’ll wager a guess that it means Punk / Parent Mixer, because the usual drunken suspects were greeting the stroller wielding breeders in a one stage, one bar affair.  I was hoping for a riot with beer bottles flung at breeders and a demolition derby of strollers rolling over the scrawny legs of the punkies, drunkies, junkies and other members of the disenfranchised.

A dozen benches held the butts of those who wanted to warm them.  Just behind the last row of benches, one of the indigenous park dwellers was burning a pile of paper while sitting cross-legged with a ghetto blaster on his shoulder.  It was turned all the way up--and apparently had been for some time--as the speakers spewed nothing but flupping, flapping distortion.  Or maybe that was the band.  I’m too square to ever solve that mystery.  The fire burned on and people walked by.  The distortion reached a crescendo and Chief Squatting Bull began bashing his ghetto blaster against his skull in arrhythmic blunt beats.  The passersby passed by.  What the fuck was this guy gonna have to do to get some attention?

The first band was warming up.  One of those folk diva types sat on a stool with a loosely slung guitar around her shoulders.  Some others held their instruments.  I can’t go into details. I’m not a music critic, though the music sounded about as bad as I expected it would.  She finished her mewling and caterwauling and bowed out gracelessly.  Another band got up on stage while I went to the spaeti to avoid buying overpriced event beer.  I took a swig and looked around.  Chief Squatting Bull’s fire had burned out and his tape had ended or was destroyed by the skull thumping.  Behind him, small squabbles broke out with the harsh-voiced demi-homeless bench punks.  A park drunk cadged a fag from two young ladies seated in front of us. One of the girls gave him a cig to pay her dues and make the bastard go away.  Of course he would not.  He then began hitting on them—both—in an attempt to slur and wobble his drunken way into their hearts.  They got up and left.  He cursed at his knees and I got up to support the bar for a couple of beers for the event.  I was being fully entertained and the stage had little to do with my amusement.  Upon my return with our beers I noticed a completely different drunk had plunked his ass down next to my babe.  I gently placed my hand on his shoulder and said that he was in my spot.  I’m trying real hard to avoid conflicts.  Especially since they seem to fly into my face like a crank-addled Vegas lap dancer.

The drunk swung his hand out and pointed my way to sit at the end of the bench.  You see, he needed to continue hitting on my girlfriend.  This was completely understandable due to both the quality and quantity of the chemicals sloshing around in his slushy melon. My babe quickly slid down the bench away from Drunkenova and I plopped my ass in between them.  Undaunted, the Bishop of Bad Breath heaved his amorous airs directly around my head until finally, breathless and feckless, he slowly got up and left.

We took a break from the chaos and left the area for more beer.  Upon our return, the very bench of my babe’s erstwhile seduction was taken over by a new threat:  babies.  A prime example of the Parentslauer Berg tribe was having her attention span stretched so far that a cesarean section would be necessary to cut through:  one child jumped up and down on our abandoned bench while another hung around her scrawny neck like a monkey and the one in her belly kicked in time with the music.  She sat behind our abandoned bench and watched with utter apathy as the bench came crashing down and the bouncing baby boy landed in the midst of beer puddles, cigarette butts and broken glass.  The mother said nothing, as is perfectly normal for German parents with spastic howler monkey progeny screaming and bouncing off the walls.  Ordnung uber alles my ass.

Perhaps butt cheeks generate their own kharma, and chaotic, free-spirited ones such as mine must attract all manner of anarchy.  After the breeder brood had left and someone had righted the chaos bench, it came crashing down yet again as we were trying to reclaim it.   It was the fag cadger, heart breaker, bench flipper.  As I helped him out of the beer/butt puddle, he glared through drunken slits at my face.

We were out of there.  We stopped once more for beer. As we left the circus, the bench flipping ciggy bum was curled up in a fetal position on a small stone wall near the path out of the park.  I told my babe that he still had his bent cigarette sticking out of his mouth.  She looked back at the snoring figure and immediately set me straight:  ‘You’re blind.  That’s not a bent cigarette, honey bunches of oats (she calls me that sometimes).  That’s a big ole snot worm.’

O the snot-nosed drunks and babies of Parentslauer Berg!

Monday, September 2, 2013


Two Little Assholes and One Big Mouth

Berliners will crash into you on crowded public transport without a single fucking ‘entschuldigung.’  Get used to it.  Fuck knows I’m trying.  You can blame the big city and you can blame the stars and Mars and whatever.  Dump a heat wave on a slow moving tram, jam it full of people and shake it.

I’m not the asshole who stands in the doorway of the tram with a large suitcase blocking people trying to get in.  That would be the Deutschbag.  Me, I try to move further into the tram with my big suitcase in tow.  I am not always traveling with a big suitcase, but if I am it is most certainly full of Berliner jelly donuts--or camera gear going to/from an out-of-town photo shoot.

I had just spent the last 6 hours on a sweltering hot train trip from Prague which should have taken 5 hours and most definitely should have been air conditioned.  All of the previous train trips were (air conditioned; most certainly not on time).  It was 11pm in the hottest and most humid night I can remember since 1966 when I was stuck in a Saigon hell hole and received a bamboo shank in the neck which facilitated my rebirth into yet another level of hell.

I digress.  Enter asshole number one:  German female pushing her way onto the tram (normally I wouldn’t refer to a female as an asshole, but what issued forth shortly after our chance encounter can only be described as a load of scheisse being forced out of a very spastic orifice), pushing ahead of the crowd.  Seeing her impatience, I tried to move my large self and my suitcase deeper into the sweltering tube of crowded hell in order to make room.  My efforts were repaid in kind by two hands beating my sides like Rocky training on a side of beef.  I turned to survey the impatient Deutschbagette.  “Where are you going?  There’s no space!” It was true.  If I moved one centimeter forward I would be tip deep in someone’s ass.  And a dude’s no less.  She kept pushing on my back.  I told her to chill out.  She wouldn’t.

“I don’t want to chill out! Fuck you and your fucking koffer!”  She then jumped up on my suitcase, walked over the top of it and dropped down on my feet in front of me.  Clearly this woman was mentally ill.  I was exhausted and about as close to a heat stroke as a 286 lb dude can be without a rebirth or a reboot.  I tried on my best Berliner Schnauze in the face of obvious insanity:  “Are you ok?  Alles gut now?”

“YES!!!” the crazy bitch screamed.  “I doubt it,” I replied.

Enter Asshole number two:  “THAT’S MY GIRLFRIEND!” in an American accent.

Me: “OK.”

Asshole number two:  “SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!!  SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!”

(German tram youth echoing):  “Shut da fuck up, shut da fuck up.  Hee hee.”

Me (to self): very funny, German yoots, but you are not helping.

Asshole number two:  “SHUT THE FUCK UP OR I WILL FUCK YOU UP!!!!!”

I gave him the smirk I give to every Chihuahua who barks at the Big Dog.  It was kind of sad.  Asshole number two was about 5 foot 9, 50 years old, scrawny with long, grayish hippy hair.  The only thing this pussy could fuck up was his morning joint roll.  I was exhausted and in shock.  His retarded girlfriend had just beat my sides and jumped over me to be close to her asshole.  I am not one to interfere with assholes in love, so I let it slide.

I stood there on the 100 degree tram stewing in my own juices (literally) and thinking about what needed to be said:

Dude, clearly I understand the situation.  This here ugly, mentally retarded bitch of yours is all you can get and you are lucky to have her.  I got between you and your stupid bitch and you needed to monkey up and howl at me.  I admire the fact that you spun around and never stopped screaming at me even though you MUST have seen that I am double your size and could crush you without even half trying.  You are only following your simian psyche and I suppose I can respect that. But what you don’t know is that I’ve been taking shit from bigger assholes than you my entire life.  As I got older, the assholes got bigger.  Some of them gathered in threes in London alleys and jumped me.  Some of them jumped me from behind and kicked my legs out from under me in the Prague snow and kicked my ribs in while I was down.  Others, a select few who were brave enough to look me in the face, got my full wrath.  One of them got a broken nose with a geyser of blood.  Another (your exact size and weight) was lifted off his feet and bounced so hard off the ground that he slid-slammed into a door--I thought I was in a cartoon.  Bitches didn’t get up.  Word.

I resisted the urge to bounce-flip your dumb ass because I understand. I got between your monkey ass and your spastic girlfriend.  You have to protect her; this is hardwired in the male DNA.  I even stuffed down my shock and rage and apologized for getting in between such simian love.  It was all I could do to apologize.  For three stops I fought the urge to say ‘Exit next stop, fucktard.’ To this day I think of picking your scrawny ass up and slamming you into your ugly, retarded bitch.  If only to make me feel like I didn’t suck up all the shit in the world for nothing.

And if only to keep another pair of stupid Berlin monkeys from breeding.  But I suppose you already have.  Enjoy your Hartz IV careers, assholes.

Friday, June 7, 2013

National Donut Day 2013: GIMME ONE!!!

Of course I chose to live in Europe, wherein they celebrate the weirdest of holidays.  Berlin, May 1: National Kreuzberg Car Burning Anarchy Day and Molotov Cocktail Olympics.  The night before that they burn witches in parks.  Hard to imagine there are any witches left.  The rest of the time they are celebrating some person or event nobody has cared about for 500 years.  Once it's on the calendar, it can't be taken off without burning more cars/witches and/or throwing more Molotovs.

I'm a pacifist.  Make donuts, not war.  Sure, the sugar of 3 or 4 juicy Berliner jelly donuts makes me as giddy as a schoolgirl, but I am a 6 foot 5 inch tall man (ubergrossenmensch for y'all Deutschers) and that would be funny to see.


Yes, I considered reaching for my pistol, but they took it at the airport.

The only thing left to do (other than inserting bullets manually into my head) is to beg.  That's right, I'm on my hands and knees ovah heah.  Gimme donuts.  There's this button on the top right that says DONATE!   Buy Me a Donut!

If you do that I will love you.  Long time.  And hurry, please.  My knees can't take kneeling much longer.

If you send me a donut donation, I will take a picture of myself stuffing donuts in my face holding a sign with your name and/or website on it.  Think of the power you could wield with one click!  If you DON'T help me out with a donut, a not-so-young man may wind up committing crimes for his fix.  And that's just ugly.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Berlin Hipsters: Another Prick in The Wall

“Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20's and 30's that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter.”
- urbandictionary.com

“Hipsters are a pretentious group of tiny little waiflike creatures (male and female) who dress the same, look the same and act the same—much like any other group of fashion victims.  Upper middle class white kid + liberal arts education + thrift store chic = DOUCHEBAG.”
- Dunkin’ Berliner

O hipster: shall I compare thee to a lump of shit?  Thine large glasses offend me; rip them off and stomp them!  Thou art dressed in skinny jeans which sag at the back!  Contradiction?  Juxtaposition?  Room to carry a load of dung when startled suddenly, timid creature?

I kept hearing the term ‘hipster’ bandied about in Berlin.  It took me a while to give a shit, since all I care about is Berliner jelly donuts and Berliner spaetis.  But then I heard that they are arriving in droves and driving up Berlin rents with their trust funds and ‘lofty’ real estate aesthetic.  So, looking for a new scapegoat for gentrification other than yuppies (who have lawyers, thus making it harder to perpetrate hate crimes with impunity), I decided to research and investigate this neo-nuisance with all the voracity of one who can devour 6 Berliner jelly donuts in one sitting and never even THINK of fitting into skinny jeans.

Classification of the creature Hipsteris Urbanitis is easy when beginning from the top down:

- Cap:  the hipster usually wears heavy wool winter caps that are two sizes too large.  When the temperatures surpass 80 F, the hipster’s movements slow to a crawl.  They often sit in parks with dull smirks on their faces as the burning sun and the thick wool slowly turn their lazy brains to mush.

- Eyewear:  the larger, thicker and blacker the glasses, the better; most of the time the glasses aren’t even prescription.  To a hipster, looking dorky is part of the fashion irony.  Perhaps they think that nobody will hit them if they wear glasses.  Heh.

- Beards:  often a hipster grows a beard to differentiate themselves from the gays and the metrosexuals, who merely have skinny bodies and perhaps only a thin Freddy Mercury moustache.  Hipster beards fall into one of two categories:  Category one: scraggly, unkempt and sparse.  The youngest, skinniest white kids aren’t often able to grow beards and therefore get an A for effort in this category. Category two: heavy, dense and long.  The jury is out on the reasons for this heinous hair growth on such a skinny creature.  Some say it is an ironic attempt at mimicking the hillbilly look.  Perhaps it is a throwback to the Ginsberg days.  Personally, I simply believe they are members of Al Qaeda.

- Smirk:  they think they are smarter, hipper and cooler than everyone else, so they generally are seen with the tiniest of smiles while walking down the street.  To the casual viewer, they may appear to be slightly mentally retarded.

- Torso:  hipsters are all about obscurity in the bands they worship (so I’ve read), so a common hipster t-shirt is adorned with crude artwork and band names like ‘Sonic Death Monkey,’ ‘Squirrel Bucket,’ ‘Trench Coat Weasels’ or ‘Temple of Pooh.’  Many of the band names on their ubiquitous iPods were formed by combining electric guitars, small, furry animals and common home and garden implements.

- Pants:  skinny jeans.  These tight jeans look spray painted onto the hipster’s scrawny frame—except for the ass end, which appears to sag way out of proportion with the rest of the ensemble.  Either they are wearing colostomy bags or they collectively suffer from Diminished Gluteal Syndrome.

- Shoes: don’t get me started. BRIGHT FUCKING ORANGE??? REALLY???

I once sat in a pub in Prague in the late 90s discussing how to tell the hookers from the ordinary Czech women.  The fad at the time was knee high leather boots, high heeled. The jury agreed that the hookers had stiletto heels on their boots; the ordinary Czech girls had blocky high heels.

I once sat in Mauerpark with a group of Germans and one Irish friend.  The German gushed guttural and nonsensical to me, but the word ‘hipster’ kept popping out of the mish mash.  They were pointing out the hipsters.  I was new to this game.  At that time EVERYONE who hung around Mauerpark was a feckless douche.  My damn self included.

Recently I saw an old acquaintance of mine at the Carnival of Cultures.  His previously-braided goatee had burst from its tether and bloomed into a wild and wooly spectacle of chin bush.  I cornered him and said ‘ARE YOU A FUCKING HIPSTER?’ pointing at his wild goat and horn rimmed glasses.  He countered with ‘No! You are!’ while pointing at my sparse, salt-and-pepper gray/black goat.  We took turns accusing each other of being hipsters and heaping bags of douche (in a friendly sort of way).

The word around the campfire is that hipsters don’t know they are hipsters (or won’t admit it), much in the way that serial killers and politicians tell themselves they are answering a ‘higher calling.’ As my psych prof called it, ‘sailing down that famous river in Egypt, Denial.’

Yes, I have black rimmed glasses.  They are not huge.  They are normal sized.  Yes, I have a goatee, but not a beard. And there is no fucking way I can fit my Vegas Elvis ass into skinny jeans.  My head sweats in winter if I wear a standard, garden variety skull cap.  Plus I’m twice the age of the average hipster.  Innocent, Yer Honor.

I still don’t know what the hipsters are up to.  They are probably just the most recent harmless manifestation of pretentious fashion victims who believe that they are iconoclastic when in fact they are doing the same damn thing everyone else born in their circumstances is doing.  They are rather skinny, timid and silent when I spot them.  No need to tear them apart, physically at least.

Unless I find out they are responsible for the rising rents in Berlin and/or gentrification in general.  Then I’m a goin’ huntin’.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Hochlander Fünf: Die Hoffnung

Or “David Hasselhoff Returns to Berlin Lookin’ For Freedom”

Thank the tiki gods; the Hoff is on the case.  Just when all Berliners had lost hope, just when the Evil Capitalist Swine were about to tear down a protected (nod wink) historical monument, aka East Side Gallery—the Hoff swooped down from the sky like a hawk to save our dignity and maybe even our Berliner jelly donuts.

The man is all about dignity.  Sure, his hero’s cape is stained with (hamburgers, beer and puke) the excess of his slow decline into the dustbin of kitsch pop culture history. Yes, he talked to a car in a tv series.  Sure, he ran slo mo on fictitious beaches watching bouncing breasts as his mostly teen audience watched his bouncing belly.  Und jawohl! He sang in German on stage to throngs of squealing mädchens.  He also wore a sparkling lounge lizard suit at the Berlin Wall in 1989 and sang ‘Lookin’ For Freedom.’  And that’s all you need to know.

I’ll take any hero I can get.  Because the gentrification war is not being won by anyone but the Usual Suspects, Those Who Hold All the Cards: The Man.  I’ve read the comments on the news forums.  Nerdy lawyers types suggest that all property is for sale to the highest bidder—who have the right to do whatever they see fit with that property. On the other extreme, drugged out party kids want to have techno raves and free love on the former Death Strip behind the wall.  And the rest of us wonder just how in the fuck the status of a public historical monument can be sold for a few million to shortsighted investors.

I’m just going to come out and say it:  Berlin tourism ain’t all dat.  With the exception of a handful of architectural pieces of antiquity and a few trendy neighborhoods, Berlin is just a vast expanse of disco dance floor space waiting to be filled with a vast expanse of empty heads looking to bob those heads in/on ecstasy.  These poor but sexy kids dance the night away while their parents sell the few meager scraps of heritage left.

The excitement of an ever-changing, culturally evolving city is quashed and quelled by simple, stupid, base profit motive.  The East Side Gallery / Berlin Wall monument is number 2 on the list of tourist attractions.  Brandenburg Gate is number 1.  I don’t even know what the others are, there are so few left.  War razed Berlin, developers raped Berlin.  High rise luxury condos in Berlin are about as out of place as high rise luxury apartments in Warsaw. The end most certainly does not justify the fucking means.  And the mean fucks are fucking Berlin. Meanly.

An aging icon girds loins for war.  Stained and stigmatized, our icon finds renewed hoffnung (hope) decades after the shame, the derision and the controversy.  The icon has been cleaned up, propped up and presented to the masses. Some want to forget the aging icon and bury all associated memories at the end of its heyday in the 80s.

But the Hoff and the Berlin Wall are still standing.  For now.

UPDATE: The fuckers managed to steal (for it is theft clear and simple) 3 more sections from the wall before I could write and upload this story.  Either I need to speed up or developers need to slow the fuck down.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Brandenburger WHORE

Or How the Berlin Bear Opened its Butt Cheeks to Corporate Cock

There’s a limit to my patience.  Sure, I was forced to move out of P’berg by greedy landlords—and now I haven’t had my favorite Berliner pfannkuchen mit kirsch for over a MONTH.  But now They have gone too far.  The day that a world class city like Berlin decides to sell its famous historical landmarks to make way for luxury yuppie scum condos is a sad day indeed.  The East Side Gallery section of the Berlin Wall may be marked with little metal plaques proclaiming it to be a historical monument, but that shouldn’t deter would be corporate raiders.  If you are a large investment company looking for the next big bubble economy to rape and pillage, well, pilgrim, the Berlin Bear is ready and willing to love you long time.

And like any discreet whore, Berlin is not your average Tiergarten variety bang-em-against-the-bin-in-the-alley crack ho, no sir.  The Berlin Bear may have always been poor but sexy, wearing its saggy Russian dancing bear tutu with shame while it desperately tried to leap through the hoops of progress, but fear not: times they are a’changin’.  For a few million, not only will the Berlin Bear do a little dance, make a little love and get down tonight—you get total control over the zoo.

On the eve of March 1st, sneaky little bastard developers removed a piece of the Berlin Wall monument in the middle of the night.  By 9am the next morning, hundreds of protestors and media (including one pissed off dunkin’ berliner) brought the whole destruction to a standstill by sheer force of will.  The cops were not afraid.  They brought enough of them.   At the end of the day, it’s awfully difficult to do your job as a construction/destruction worker when hundreds of people are screaming at you.  It causes the jackhammer to fall from trembling fingers.

I’d like to say I got some juicy pics of the Berlin Bear doing its dirty deeds with the Men in Suits in a seedy alleyway somewhere.  But I only got protest photos. The dirty shit was done behind closed doors.  When confronted by the media, the duplicitous bear trainers and tutu cleaners (aka city honchos) simply stated that the owners of the site (developers) had the legal right to do what they wanted to the monument.  Waitamotherfuckingminute.  The DDR commies built and owned the Berlin Wall.  After the fall of communism, the Wall was owned by the State.  So how in the hell did a public/government owned landmark come to be up for sale to the corPIRATES?

The East Side Gallery restoration group spent millions of euros of EU money on the complete restoration and renovation of this particular stretch of the Berlin Wall.  They even invited back the original mural artists who had left their marks and messages of freedom emblazoned on the wall 20 years before.  Acid rain and graffiti wore heavy on the concrete barrier, and during the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall (2009), the renovation was completed in a gala ceremony.  Hell, I even spent several months making a photo documentary on the whole process.

And there’s the rub.  As a photographer I can take photos of people painting on walls.  As a writer I can make frequent and flippant usage of the some of the most offensive Anglo-Saxon words on offer.  But how can I photograph and write about the largest invisible city killer out there?  Berlin is gentrifying at an alarming rate.  Every time I move to a new flat, the rent DOUBLES.  Either that or there are 30 people waiting outside the door of the flat for a group viewing.

The Berlin Bear was beaten by its cruel Russian handlers for decades. They starved it, poked it, dressed it in a pink tutu and forced it to ride a bicycle.  Any normal wounded animal would bite back.  Instead, this old bear, poor and helpless without its old master, dragged its battered ass and tattered tutu in search of a new master.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Or the Beginning of the End?

Gentrification wins.  I give up.  After 1 year in Friedrichshain and 3 years in Prenzlauer Berg, the fuckers doubled the rents and drop kicked my donut ass out into the Niederschönhausen hinterlands where, literally, the streets have no name.  A few blocks down from my row in the cemetery of dead suburbanites are streets number 97 and 101.  I haven’t ventured to find the ones in between because it would remind me that I too have become a number.

I always knew my time here was limited.  More than a year, less than five, I figured. A million ‘creatives’ (mostly bullshit hipsters and trust fund babies) fucked up Berlin; they came, they saw, they drove up rents, they left.  I bought some of their furniture on their way out.  I suppose it was folly to move to a place where all of my education and years of professional experience add up to a medium pot of piss in a sea of wannabes willing to do what I do for beer money.  I still did it, hell yes, and I did it My Way, mutha fucka.

I’m not gone yet, but it feels like it out here in Schiessedorf, the name I coined for the Shit Village in which I now reside after the fallout from leaving the overpriced barn I rented from the Polish farm animals in P’berg.  I ALMOST got a flat right down the street from where I was.  I had all of Zee Papers and shit, and then it all fell apart.  The fucker didn’t meet me at the bank for the deposit transfer (he didn't want my 1500 EUR I guess) nor did he answer phone calls or emails.  Let’s just call him König Deutschbag. Plan B: Scheissedorf. It fell in our laps like a cold beer.  After one month of daily searching, we got Scheissedorf.  I’m only here for three months.  Then…?

It’s peaceful out here in Scheissedorf if you are a corpse type looking for that sort of thing.  There are about 5 restaurants and bars within 10 square kilometers of here and two of them have boards in the windows and for sale signs outside.  I could be already dead.  People cross the street when I shamble down the broken sidewalks.  I look and feel ghastly and ghoulish most of the time.  I saw a couple of androgynous Goth individuals in long black coats gliding down the street.

BUT HEY!!! I’m a digital nomad.  I’ve just decided.  I don’t have to stay in Berlin, learn German, compete with all the low waged locals AND get rampant discrimination from Zee Paper Nazis.  Nosirree, Bob! I can do what I do from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.  I write. I do websites. I take purty pitchers n stuff.  So if I can’t find a flat in a decent area of Berlin during my Scheissedorf limbo, I’ll just take my camera, laptop, my trusty donkey and lance, and take a flying fuck at the next windmill.

Because that’s what you do.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

C-I-L-L. My Land....Lord

Maybe the smarmy little fuck saw us paying for our sumptuous Greek meal at Asteria with a 50.  We were sitting by the window and I swear I saw him slithering by.  Can’t let your landlord see you spending money.  Because then they will think they can milk you for MORE.  It’s in their nature, just as the parasite in your intestine is only trying to survive in a shitty tunnel.  Poor, smarmy little shitsucker.  He is only doing his caca duty in the Capitalist World:  property owner, parasite, pain in my ass.

The greasy little bastard is everywhere:  in line in REWE at 11pm with his fancy black wool overcoat thrown slapdash over stained blue satin jogging suit—the kind only Eastern Europeans wear.  The man is a Pollock by birth, Berliner by accident, money grubbing parasite by choice.  Who gives these people property, really?  Didn’t earn it; no fucking way.  He slithers through the park, letting his greasy hair grow long while his baby mama grows fat.  He is a breeder, so he gets the dole as well (the government pays for his girlfriend’s flat, they share another flat, and he rents us her flat for double what they pay him, cash under the table).  He throws his head back, smirks and gives me a condescending little ‘hi!’  I nod and silently shoot needles out of my eyes into his empty fucking skull. 

‘Ach!  Mein kopf!’ he would say whenever I asked him to do his legal duty as a landlord and fix the fucking dump.  That or ‘Morgen! Ein hunnert procent! (Tomorrow! 100%!)’ Ask this empty-headed white trash slumlord for anything and you get bullscheisse.  I ended up repairing everything in the flat myself at my own expense—only because listening to his bullscheisse one more time would result in me caving in the aforementioned skull with the nearest blunt object.

These warm feelings of death and destruction weren’t assuaged by his demand for more money.  Yup, one day I brought them the rent--just as I had done for 3 years--and they demanded 600 EUR per month instead of our usual 500.  For a small, one room flat. Tried to raise our rent 20% he did.  He even threw his arm in the air and said ‘600 pro monat oder RAUS (600 per month or GET OUT)!’  Strange how the Polish can imitate the Heil Hitler pose on demand.  Monkey see, monkey do I reckon.  Naturally, as an American, I don’t give in to terrorist demands. Nor do I take kindly to the cattle prod of gentrification.

One day The Weasel was in my flat.  He weaseled past Gabushka at the door—real sneaky like—and I found him fumbling around in my bathroom.  I was eating in the kitchen and really pissed off (because I had to drop my food).  I believe in a previous (Texan) life I shot bastards like him.  For LESS.  My German is scheisse and I don’t give two flying fucks.  So as I’m asking him between chews WTF he is doing in my bathroom, he spouted off some Germo-Polish crap about checking the meter.  I escorted him out of the flat.  Said to him (with a small degree of satisfaction I might add) ‘Morgen.  Ein hunnert procent.’

Then The Cow sent me an eviction email.  Gawd dammit, I miss the old days when printed eviction notices were nailed to the door, Martin Luther-like.  Cow and Weasel are lovers, breeders and my landlords.  I sublet under these stupid farm animals because that’s what We Foreigners have to put up with in Deutschland Uber Alles.  They don’t want us here, it is clear by the shitstorm of paperwork required to do ANYTHING here.  So The Weasel was pissed off when I asked him to leave.  He yells at The Cow (who speaks a few words of English) and she swings her udders over to the pc and bangs her hooves on the keyboard.

Now we are moving out.  It got so bad that they were trying to come into the flat every other day.  I refused every time.  I’m already out; they’re not getting in.  I changed the lock. Then they tried to move up our eviction date from 40 to 30 to 20 days.  Then, for the first time in this here donut muncher’s life:

I lawyered. The fuck.  Up.

You’re looking at a dude who never thought he would say the words ‘my lawyer’ from outside of a jail cell.  Lawyers are for people with money.  Or people in accidents.  The Polish farm animals made it easy.  They started a shouting match via email because they were too cheap to call me.  Stupid fuckers.  Now MY LAWYER (heh) has the transcripts.  24 hours later, MY LAWYER called me to say that I would no longer have any problem with these grubby little white trash fuckers (or German equivalent; maybe weißmüll scheißkopf ?).  He even got us another month in the flat while we look for new digs. Now there are no knocks on my door, no new email threats.  The Cow even wrote ‘please’ when she emailed to ask me to let the heater maintenance man in next Friday.

And I haven’t seen hide nor hair of The Weasel since.

Next episode:  A Rolling Donut Gathers No Moss

Friday, January 4, 2013

A Deep Fried Czech Christmas

All pans filled with bubbling oil and breaded meat; all people filled with booze over a big meal.  In Czechia they like to smažit; or fry the fuck out of everything. Then dump booze down their gullets in wave after wave.  The internal organs are the enemy and they must be punished with alcohol and fried foods. There were only four of us in the small Czech family village house for Xmas dinner but we ate and drank like there was no tomorrow or yesterday, Mayan style.

The small village kitchen was a sweltering vat of oil and steam as anything and everything edible was battered and chucked into a pan of oil. All burners were on 11 and each pan had its own animal: the carp pan, the chicken pan, the pork pan—and my personal favorite—the fried cheese pan (mmmm….cheeeeesse).  If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen, they say, so as soon as I chucked my cheesy contribution into the sizzling pan I went back to the living room to check on the condensation drops on my beer bottle. As we were about to sit down to SmazhFest 2012 and enjoy our deep fried carp, pork, chicken and cheese, Gabushka pointed out an interesting Czech Christmas superstition: nobody could get up from the xmas meal before the last person was finished eating.  If someone did, that person WOULD DIE.  Well, sure, we’re all gonna die eventually if all the fried food and booze doesn’t kill us.  No, it was more ominous than that.  There were no specifics; just the looming scythe of the Grim Reaper standing behind us as we ate.  No wonder the Czechs are so cynical—and dig Bergman films.

A big part of the Czech Christmas décor is the Betlem, or nativity scene.  Many Czech towns large and small hold a treasure trove of hand carved wooden nativity scenes dating back to medieval times.  Some of them even move with little wooden gears. Creepy. The average village house has a miniature nativity scene made of wood, mostly with no moving parts to choke a child or a fried-food-bloated Czech. As we sat at the table chewing the fatty food, Gabushka’s brother noticed the faint smell of burning wood and wondered if the Betlem was too close to the candles.  His mother, who had recently been released from the hospital, complained that she needed a toilet soon.

Everyone looked at each other’s plate: morsels remained and people weren’t yet finished.  I started to smell the scorched wood and The Brother tried to stretch his arm toward the Betlem on the shelf without leaving his seat.  Of course it was just out of reach.  Old Ma shifted in her seat and looked very nervous.  I hoped that she was wearing those adult diapers.  It was becoming abundantly clear that Czech people would crap their pants and burn down the house before fucking with holiday superstitions.

I shoveled my fried food in at a feverish pace and horsed down my beer to save us all.  Gabushka poked at her last two morsels of fried something-or-other and announced that if she had one more bite, SHE would die.  Right on cue, The Brother jumped up and put out the candles near the nativity scene and Old Ma hustled to the can as fast as her little old legs could carry her.

I remained seated, just in case.  Not that I am superstitious.  I was merely immobilized by the warm burn in my belly and the heavy beating of my heart as it feverishly fought an oil wrestling match with the Xmas dinner.  For a moment I thought I felt the icy, boney hand of The Reaper tickling my shoulder and I wished for a salad for the first time in my life.  

photos by Gabriela Sarževska