Erinnerung an alte Zeiten

All is well. A siren sounds in the distance. Another Sunday lost to dope and Grandaddy on the stereo, sunshine. The light in the park changes from day to day. A coffee at Sofia. Noch eins.

Last night stumbling home at 3 or 4am from the Yard in Prenzlauerberg I followed the slow arc of Danziger Str south past the Plattenbaus and on, on to Frankfurter Tor. At dawn the old Soviet power of these buildings dissolves - their grey authoritarianism seems faded, more than a little absurd. Mc Donald’s has moved in and with it the blight of redevelopment. The bars have closed or changed and where once anarchists sat hatching plots now American executives relocate.

Freidrichshein was always an unlovely quarter and as the watery light grew harsher, skinheads emerged from the night’s slow shadows and I found my thoughts turning back North to the conviviality of the bar.

South of the Tor, Warschaeur Str begins to break up the relentless monotony of the street. The texture of the city becomes more visible again, the ripped posters and graffittied stencils that announce the subtext of the Kietz.

From here, Ost , is Samariter Str, an early home to the Black Girls Coalition. The bar was a smoke filled back room keyholed into a disco and hidden behind a ripped advertising hoardingPaisley Dalton spun the Doors and the Stooges and we danced.

Further east still, outside Supamolly, I had that same year, run into a young skinhead with blood on his face who announced proudly that he was not a Nazi but those filthy Jews…….

At the Oberbaum Brucke I shake off bad memories and the good. The Wrangelkiez unfolds like a flower in the dawn. Outside the ice cream parlour a group of kids are returning from a fancy dress party dressed like superheroes. The night before at 5am I had fallen into step with a man dressed like a Harlequin who shot me a look from his diamond shaped eyepatch as if to say “ I dare you to not believe that any of this is real.”

Today I took pictures of the street.

At the edge of the park der golfer sits platting his straggly dreads in the sun. Families play shuttlecock and the smell of barbecue fills the air. In the distance, music and children’s laughter.