- Read Jay Duplass’ article about having a on-screen romance with a transwoman, the first non-fetishised romance of its kind on Transparent. Read here.
- Even though Labour made great headway today, the Tories still control a lot of our lives so buy this to remind yourself what we should be doing. Fuck the Tories.
- If I could buy everything in the School for Life I would but I really like these confidence cards. Buy here.
- Even though it was an advertising campaign I’d love to drive the Romantic Road through Bavaria and Baden-Wurttemberg at some point. Discover here.
- The most remote and isolated island in the UK is Foula, with only around 30 inhabitants. With a strong sense of Norse tradition they still celebrate the old Julian Calendar with Yule (Christmas) on January 6th and Newerday (New Years Eve) on the 13th. Read here.
- There’s an autonomous Freetown in the middle of Copenhagen called Christiania. Previously a military base in the 1970’s through no real organisation it became a hippie commune that practised yoga and people smoked a lot of weed. It’s now a big tourist attraction and is also home to the ‘The Gay House’, a meeting place for LGBTQI and parties. Read more here.
- If I had a stupid amount of money this is the kind of thing I would spend it on, which is ridiculous, I could make this. Here.
- Another private 1960’s hippy commune, a couple from New York decided to set up in the Grenadines and built their houses from whale bones. You can rent them out nowadays. It’s called Moonhole by the way. Read more here.
- You can float around in a salt bath and listen to underwater Techno in Berlin because of course you can. The Liquidrone looks mental but something I will need to try at some point because of reasons. Check it out here.
- My room is currently very bare and very huge and I’m kind of terrified to do anything to it as I have no sense of design at all. I often read Swoonworthy which is my blog of choice to get a clue for what I want my interiors to look like. Take a look, smart lady
Six weeks in Berlin
So still here, haven’t fucked off back to England weeping about accidentally buying raw sausage meat instead of pate.
Okay, that did happen once and it was delicious but it fuck up my stomach for a good four days. Yeah, raw pork meat is a thing here.
After a few weeks and with the help with a much more capable flatmate I’ve managed to find supermarkets that sell cider, different types of shampoo and conditioner, bacon and vegetables that don’t cost a small fortune.
New supermarket rankings:
- Bio Company
The job is going great, almost too great, sometimes getting wild imposter syndrome where I assume at some point a scary higher-up figure will come to my desk and go ‘Lol no one does this for a job, this was an elaborate practical joke, we will now hunt you and other confused expats for food.’
However, I have gotten lazy with my new friendship making, in Bristol I think I could say I had five solid friends I could rely on to come to the pub and have a pint with me and a few outside of Bristol where I know I jump on a train and hang with in case everything got a bit much. So I think I went ‘Okay I have maybe three people outside of work, five if I made a lot of effort’
I don’t know the etiquette of asking random people in work for a drink, especially since the people I’ve chatted to for a long period of time have been dudes. Do I send a message going ‘hello we have a conversation that was fine but a bit awkward cause I can’t be my real self at work for like six months cause if my personality was a word cloud it would spell out RUDE AGGY FUNCTIONING ALCOHOLIC PRETENDS SHE KNOWS JIU JITSU – oh and I have a boyfriend so I’m not trying to fuck you also lol you are way out of my league anyway’
I’m going to try and go to a board game night tomorrow, maybe a meet-up on Friday and I may try and speak to others at the drag viewing I usually go to on a Tuesday. Perhaps I should make a badge ‘I want to hang out pls help me’
I imagine when I get my jiu jitsu stuff maybe I can rope some people into the office into coming, or make friends with some big burly MMA lads.
There are almost too many cool events happening to keep up, I also want to scope out some indie bars/punk bars so I can potentially pitch a DJ night, I miss playing music to people who were annoyed by it.
Speaking of, in typical expat wanker nonsense since I’ve moved to Berlin I’ve listened to nothing but Alternative 80’s bangers (clock the title, comment below with the answer to win nothing!).
I’ve also discovered I can wear sunglasses without feeling nauseous or wandering into the street without my normal glasses – something I never did in the UK even though I spoke the language and I knew what side of the street cars drove on. I also got out my legs for the first time in like five years, again something I did less in a city where there were ‘generally’ less men hanging around on street corners to letch at me. Odd how I seem to be a bit more fearless cause when I get shouted at I can go ‘EH YOU FUCKING WHAT M8’ in my most scary British accent.
I really, really miss my cat. I have a tattoo of her on my leg and it’s basically made me realise that I should never get anyone I care about tattooed on me in any way – you know unless I can’t see it. I keep looking at how long cats live for and trying to work out if whether I’ll be over here and she’ll die. Urgh what a bummer right?
Anyway, things are going okay:
I have fuck loads of paperwork I should be doing (cause Germany amirite)
I need to write letters to my family but I can’t find stamps.
I want to go swimming but I need to build up the courage.
I need to take out my camera more, I have crazy good insurance on it.
It’s too hot all the time.
I keep waking up with swollen eyes, apparently, it’s cause I’m eating too much salt.
Green Giant gave me a shitty answering about bulk buying heart of palm to Germany, I’m going to call them so stay tuned for that
- Did you know the Hellfire Club isn’t just an evil organisation in X-Men, it was also a club organised by socially and economically well-off types to look at porn, get wasted and practise occult magic. Sounds cool, you can visit their meeting place as well. Read more about it here.
- My favourite part of the Hellfire Club is the organiser Sir Francis Dashwood.
“The downfall of Dashwood’s Club was more drawn-out and complicated. In 1762 the Earl of Bute appointed Dashwood his Chancellor of the Exchequer, despite Dashwood being widely held to be incapable of understanding “a bar bill of five figures”. (Dashwood resigned the post the next year, having raised a tax on cider which caused near-riots).”
- On the 29th of June the small town of Reus, Catalan hosts a festival of St. Peter where the let off fireworks in the street and have people dressed as giants who dance in the town square. The Wikipedia makes it sound like a mental acid trip. Read more here.
“During the procession, from the bell-tower, the Toc General de Festa (an event in which people ring a big bell) is performed. Afterwards, the Seguici returns to St. Peter’s Priory and at the time the Image enters the church, all festive elements burst into dance at the same time. As a culmination to the festivities, the gegants bicentenaris (“bicentennial giants”) and the Águila (“The eagle”) return to the Square to perform the last dances, followed by a bunch of demons who are in charge of closing the festivity.”
- It’s Black Lives Matter month in Berlin in June, there’s a lot of awesome things going on, I’m going to try and go see I Am Not Your Negro and Hidden Figures at Freiluftkino Kreuzberg. Full programme here.
- In my old apartment on Opplenerstrasse, for some reason when I walked through the courtyard it made the exact same noise of the walking sound in Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines – one of my favourite video games. Felt like my brain was melting but it was a weirdly enjoyable experience every time I noticed it.
You can always say you’re having a tough time when you’ve moved somewhere new. I’ve read that many times in Guardian long-reads or in a start of a memoir. “Sandra found it difficult to adjust to her new home in Vienna.” That’s the sort of shit you read all the time right? However, it’s always in a retrospective, it usually leads to Sandra finding herself in the vibrant fruit market, or in arms of an exotic lover who showed her the wonders of the city she didn’t speak the mother tongue of.
You don’t read many articles that start with “I just moved somewhere and I knew it was going to be tough, challenging and lonely for a bit, but I know myself and I know I will stay indoors drinking wine all the time if left to my own devices.”
However, that’s just how this ramble is going to start because I just moved to Berlin and I have to fight my anxiety everytime I go out the door because I don’t like looking stupid. And that’s what I think of someone who lives in a country where they don’t know the language or is surprised by differences at the local shop. I seem to keep making myself look stupid by not even attempting to speak German even though I know some phrases that I need to get by. No matter how much I think ‘danke’ ‘bitte’ – I just go THANK YOU in the Queens.
Here are some observations in my first five days from the local REWE and BioCompany:
- Bread is weirdly packaged if you just want normal bread, not like a baked rye, it’s called butter toast or in the packing has an American flag.
- All booze is fucking obscenely cheap.
- Germans and Brazilians buy a lot of bottled water.
- There isn’t a wide selection of meat and poultry unless you want cured meat or German sausage in which case there’s fucking loads mate.
Fresh meat and produce generally is a bit more expensive than the UK, but in Berlin, it’s so cheap to eat out it makes sense why so many people just do that instead of cook at home. The amount of places I’ve walked past selling amazing looking food is crazy and people have got it in little bags, ready to take home for dinner instead of going to the shop.
I miss my cat.
The woman I’m renting the Air BnB from seems to be a little crazy, or perhaps crazy from my British sensibilities where she seems overly friendly, overly sharing and just overly everything. She came to the flat tonight to pick up some things she had forgotten and was horrified I wasn’t going out on a Friday night – she even went as far to invite me to go out with her and her friends. My British response to this was annoyance. Why are you being so inviting, why are you still here, please go and leave me to my bolognese and my 3 euro bottle of wine that I have bought and finished four nights in a row.
It’s slowly dawning on me that perhaps like London when I lived there, I loved the ‘idea’ of it. You know like Japanese tourists who go to Paris and freak out because Paris is actually a bit of a shithole. I’m not cool at all, I also don’t Instagram enough, I should be going to markets and cute bookstores and taking photos and shoving all happiness into the likes I get. People tell me the art here is great, cool any specific galleries? No, just all of it? Fuck, that’s a lot of pressure to get it right.
I also keep not speaking German out of fear that they’ll know, I mean, they know anyway.
I’m just having trouble functioning as a human being as well. I couldn’t find pans when I first got here, so assumed frying things wasn’t a German thing, they don’t really have bacon so I was like ‘okay then boiled eggs it is’. So now I have 12 boiled eggs in the fridge, I’m not a fucking bodybuilder, I have no need for 12 boiled eggs. I came back from a gig at a punk venue five minutes down the road and ate an egg drunkingly, confused at why I couldn’t just email the woman asking if she had a frying pan.
I found the frying pan and a few other pans. They were in the oven.
Food seems to be my main issue, I’m a picky eater in the sense that I eat food like a 18th century french nobleman. I like shellfish, cured meats, good cuts of meat and vegetables on occasion but they aren’t a main staple to my diet. Last time I was in Berlin I used a Google Translate camera app that let’s you translate things through your camera. As I was having anxiety about which tomato sauce to buy in an ailse fucking dedicated to it, I held it up to one and it flickered between thinking a German word said either ‘Humiliation’ or ‘Strangler’ – so a good omen.
I bought the one that said bolognese and it was delicious.
I’ll probably be better next week, but this was just random sporadic thoughts I needed to get out. Mum if you’re reading this, I’m fine, I’ll skype you tomorrow.
- Nicholas White got in an elevator in New York in 1999 and was stuck for 41 hours. It nearly ruined his life, old long read from the New Yorker. Read here.
- David Schwimmer directed five shorts based on real life experiences of harassment from men to women. A difficult watch but an important one. Watch here.
- I listened to the More or Less, Radio 4 Podcast, on a plane back from Scotland about the Pay Gap and the ‘myth’ around it. I would recommend it, or if you prefer, Elle of all people wrote a great breakdown of how the stats can be used by people with agendas to tell their own story. Read and learn here.
- The Tumblr logs the ‘Humanitarians of Tinder’ i.e. people who visit different countries and take photos with children of colour to land dates. Peruse here.
- Whenever I go ‘deep’ on Wikipedia I usually end of stumbling around articles surrounding the occult and mysticism of the early 21st century. Always an excellent waste of time, I’d love to read some books on the subject. Read about the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn here.
- Check out some of the images of Japanese public housing estates, interesting the similarity and differences to traditional Western architecture. Look here.
- I’m moving to Berlin in April, this graphic map of hotspots from Present & Correct is on my list of the many things I need to buy. Buy it here.
- Another Tumblr worth looking at, this one compiles the best signs in Anime TV and Film. Some strong looks. Look here.
- Really enjoyed playing with these visualisations of standard statistical and analysis models. Play here.
- It was vaguely warm in Bristol this week so make sure when it starts being sunny that you’re in the perfect time and place for it. Use this little tool to find out where the sun is going to be landing. Check it out here.
- This long read was really interesting about the scattered and disruptive history of the small town of Baiersdorf in Germany. Delve here.
- Little White Lies posted the Top 100 films of the 90’s, need to work my way through this. Bookmark here.
- Operation London Bridge is the codename for the media when the Queen dies, surreal thing to think that a Head of State hasn’t changed in such a long time, morbid and fascinating here. Become a Royalist here.
- If you’re like me and are obsessed with nice looking interiors you’ll never implement because you’re a shitpig of a human being then you’ll like This Old Apartment Tumblr.
- I needed a general stock image of a sign recently and ended up pursuing Unsplash’s collection of sign photography, pretty rad. Explore here
- Discovered another new phrase in an Alan Patridge episode of all places. ‘Noblesse oblige’ literally meaning “nobility obligates”. It denotes the concept that nobility extends beyond mere entitlements and requires the person who holds such status to fulfil social responsibilities, particularly in leadership roles. Read about it here.