Kreuzbergian Glue or Fading to Grey


Announcement for a rally in Kreuzberg 
Mietwahnsinn stoppen!“ – „Stop the insane rent increase!“ Two posters pop out from the immaculate, fresh painted walls beneath our entrance door. That’s nothing new. It’s the way they’re fixed, that catches my eye: Normally they use twos stripes of Scotch Tape. These were fixed by several smashes of glue out of a presumably huge bucket.
„Wow”, I thought. “Now it’s getting serious!”
To Put things straight: I share the opinion of these people and have joined their rallies on several occasions. It’s an anouncement for another rally and I’ll be there, of course.
Yesterday evening, the door bell rang. Our neighbour, an English teacher, had some questions about this and that, and then he turned to the major topic:
Did you receive an announcement of a rent increase as well?” We agreed.
Normally smiling day in and dayout he now turned bloody serious. “I can calculate when I’ll have to leave Kreuzberg and move to Marzahn or any remote place in the country side. Oh this is horrific…”<

This sentence you can hear from many of the old Kreuzbergians these days. The – let’s call them – “money makers” have discovered the district some years ago, bought the tenement houses for cheap and started to propagate Kreuzberg in the media. This district has been famous beforeq, but now it’s kind of a hype. What happens? Living in Kreuzberg becomes popular, the rents increase a lot and the old Kreuzbergians cannot afford the rents anymore.

The district always has been changing, people moved in and moved out, shops opened and closed again, creating a vivid and colorful atmosphere. But this one is different. Kreuzberg always has been a district of working class people, students and migrants, that is, people of little money. When they have to move out,  the social structure will change. A fundamental change and a dramatic one:

First, it’s a bad thing for the inhabitants, who are practically forced to move away from the place they have lived for many years and loved so much.

Number two, it’s absoluteley clear that soon the atmosphere of the district will change, too. For it’s the people, that make the atmosphere. In maybe 10 years from now, Kreuzberg will be similar to – let’s say – Zehlendorf: Quiet, “sober and clean”. No life in the streets anymore. The uniqueness will be gone, and the “money makers” will shrug their shoulders and move to another location. Absurd indeed: those who renovated Kreuzberg in the mean time destroy it by doing so.

In the 1980ies, Kreuzberg used to be famous for the high level of political activity of it’s inhabitants. Many have left, but a lot of the “old guard” still lives here. In 2015, the activists launched a party to gain new members:   The kids from the 70ies and 80ies partying the way they did back then, with the same music, the same food. You can describe the whole scene with one word: greyish. Where are the new kids? Do they take the inspiring environment for granted? Don’t they know that their creativity needs a spark to evolve?

Grey the old Kreuzbergians may be, but at least they’re there. So hand me that damn bucket and I’ll glue the whole city!



First snow in Berlin





First snow in Berlin!

„Watch out!“, I hear a boy yell behind me. Turning my head I can see him and his friends chasing each other on their way home from school. They hide behind cars, duck down deep, jump up and grab snow from the car roofs. And off they go, forming snowballs while they run. They rush, change the side of the street quickly, but their snowballs are faster, even more so thei shouts and laughter. What a joy. And it’s for free!


First snow and the whole world has changed. Even my dentist is in a different mood.

My dentist is a friendly, skinny guy and taller than he needs. He always bows down a little, or maybe it’s because he doesn’t like to pop out of the crowd, be it by his sheer height. His aggressiveness seems to be limited. He avoids bad arguments, he hates to raise his voice and succeeds in keeping his mood on the level of easy listening music you may know from elevators. He is small faced and his dark blond hair is slowly turning gray over the years – you wouldn’t expect something about him hurry.

Now here comes the dental assisstant! She seats me in the chair, pulls a chained paper towel around my neck, and though I’m not really tied, I’m trapped.

I can hear the assisstants tripple behind my back. They move in circles of short distances. And then you can hear the doctor coming: giants feet, long limb stride – a heritage from a long line of ancestors, who walked through the endless plains of northern Germany as farmers with a fork in their hands.

His grip is tight, but well dosed, sending a message of control and strength. His mask is waiting under his chin. He seems to enjoy showing his face in a smile. You can tell from his smile if a man is a „smiler“ or if he uses his muscles to show strength and control emotional expression. The doctor definitely is a smiler. How bad for him, that he has to hide behind a mask the whole day.

In order to prolong his face showing time – or maybe he wants to get rid of an emotional impulse – he crosses the room with few steps and looks out of the window.

„It’s so wonderful“, he says with his soft voice. „The first snow in winter, it’s so magical, it’s like… I don’t find words…. I mean, imagine how our ancestors reacted. For them, winter was a threat, but when the first flakes fell from the sky they were thrilled, I mean they not just fall, they dance to the ground…“ For a moment, he looks at the assisstant as if he thinks about starting to dance with her. 

But no, he never would, of course laughs a little too loud. No popping out of the crowd. Serious face. He straightens his shirt. „Well: We’re not here for fun“, he says.

Sitting beneath me he sorts his instruments, mounts them together into something horrible. Then he stops again with dreamy eyes:

„Today, there’s one word, that always comes to my mind: Magic, magic, magic… How about you?“

I lift my head in despair:

„Dentist driller, dentist driller, dentist driller.“