I’ll be proud to live in Berlin when the home owner expropriations are passed and the real estate madness is curtailed.

Article 15 of the Country’s Basic Law states that “land, natural resources and means of production may, for the purpose of nationalization, be transferred to public ownership or other forms of public enterprise by a law that determines the nature and extent of compensation.”

https://www.thenation.com/article/berlin-housing-gentrification-referendum/

Late arrival to Verrücktes Blut

I was supposed to see this play six years ago. Let’s say better late than never. Seen Wednesday, March 20th at the Maxim Gorki Theater.

It starts off very chaotically with everybody shouting. It is very hard to understand what anybody says. This gets better later on but I still had to peek at the surtitles regularly. I guess I’ve been spoiled by Dutch theaters where they strap microphones to their actors.

The premise is clever and the scene surprisingly light-weight. What follows is a bit too drawn out. The physical acting does not impress and you can only threaten to shoot somebody so many times before you actually have to shoot them. If you don’t, things get a bit dull.

The play itself is badly dated and the various debates have far moved on mostly to become irrelevant. The bits of Schiller that they play have held up much better over the past two centuries than Verrücktes Blut has over the past decade. Schiller also lets the actors in this play show their skills.

There is some Islam-criticism that is supposed to be edgy but misses the point. Additionally, we hit the obligatory ethno-clichés, many of which made me laugh during the wrong moments. Neither manages to be actually cutting. The social engagement on display is there for entertainment only.

The troubles with the kids in the play have only worsened and a new generation is now forced to make their rounds through Germany’s broken school system. Nothing about the systemic reasons behind the problems the kids are facing is even mentioned in the play. The situation is unfixable and there is nothing to be done other than ‘acting dumb’.

The actors can’t help the fact that this theater will have to play their break-out hit until the end of days. Especially if it keeps on filling the house. But at some point, it might be good to call the curtains.

Scooters in Berlin

Scooters are not legal in Germany yet but in select locations like here in Berlin you can try them out on private land.

This was my first ride and they are an immense pleasure to use once you get your feet positioned properly. I’m not sure yet what happens if you fall off one but I’m pretty sure it will be bad.

The law allowing these on the road has supposedly been signed but still has to work its way through some German institutions. What will happen when these are legal is obvious:

  • People will adopt them en masse because scooters are amazing.
  • Chaos will ensue everywhere because cities like Berlin have near zero infrastructure to facilitate these vehicles and are unable to adapt at the speed required.
  • There will be some accidents which will be blown up by the media.
  • A huge backlash will ensue as has already happened in many other places.
  • The German attitude towards risk and the ever-present machinations of the car lobby will get scooters banned.

I hope I’m proven wrong but it’s hard to see how it would go any other way.

Parklets Bergmannstraße

I got around to visiting the Parklets in the Bergmannstraße. That is a plural because there are two of them during this pilot and that’s it.

Parklet Bergmannstrasse

As far as quality and usage goes I don’t think there is anything to complain about. The benches look and feel nice and they are being used by the tons of people passing through this street. It is nice to have some extra seating here that is non-commercial.

Parklet Bergmannstrasse

The only issue is that the rest of the street (especially the traffic situation on the thoroughfare) is still terrible. After having seen the botched project in the Maaßenstraße local government is afraid to do much of anything, let alone give this street and neighborhood the overhaul they so desperately need.

Maybe they are right to not do anything. Public works in Berlin have the tendency to not work out. If you already know that you are going to screw it up, you might as well keep your hands off it. But there are lots of new people in Berlin who demand better and in many cases are also willing and able to do it themselves. Let’s see how long the government can resist that pressure.

Begegnungszone Nein Danke