uberlin

What I Know About Berliners: 25 Observations

by James and Zoe

Last weekend a *certain* Berlin newspaper interviewed us about our first book, What I Know About Germans, and asked us to come up with a similar list specific to Berliners. It should come out soon, in German, but for those of you who don’t speak Deutsch – or Berlinerisch – here’s our new 25-point list, illustrated by the super-talented Maria João ArnaudWhat I Know About Berliners

1. Berliners are not Germans.
They’re a special breed all of their own. Berliners have about as much in common with, say, Bavarians as Londoners do with people from the north of England, or New Yorkers do with the southerners in their own country.

2. For example: Berliners just aren’t as obsessed with punctuality as other Germans. 
Sometimes, they’re even late :O

3. Berliners don’t even speak German.
Berlinerisch goes so much further than saying “Icke” and replacing “g” with “j” – it’s pretty much a whole language of its own. We vividly remember the final class in a German course after we’d not mastered, but *dealt with*, everything (we thought) the language could throw at us, and our teacher played a CD of Berlinerisch. Minds were blown; tears were shed; hopes were dashed.
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4. One concept that Berliners don’t have their own word for is manners.
It’s not that they’re particularly rude, it’s just that holding the door open for others, and thanking people that do so, just aren’t things here. Back in London we would step over our fallen grandmother to make sure we got on the Tube, but we’d at least say a polite “sorry” as we did so.

5. Berliners are punk as fuck.
And not just the die-hard crusties stomping through Friedrichshain, or their offspring loitering on Görli Park. That middle-aged checkout lady with bright red hair and a few too many earrings? Your postman, who pairs his Deutsche Post uniform with cut-off shorts and beat-up Dr Martens? Punk. As. Fuck.

6. Berliners don’t care what you look like.
You could be an überhipster with a sky-high beanie and painted-on meggings, or wandering the streets in your pyjamas, and Berliners will treat you with the same indifference that they do everyone else.

7. Berliners don’t wear suits, and don’t trust anyone that does.
In this city, there are only two types of workers that wear business dress: landlords and politicians. And no one wants to be mistaken for either group.

8. Berliners may not always act like it, but they care.
If they have a problem with the Government, its policies, or its treatment of certain sections of society, they’ll take to the streets and shout about it. No matter the state of parliamentary democracy, in Berlin grassroots activism is alive and kicking.

9. Berliners – the vegan Germans.
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10. Berliners won’t be told what to do…

11. …or what to smoke…
The real problem with the new mayor of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg’s plan to decriminalise marijuana in her district? The only people to benefit will be tourists too scared to approach the dealers in Görli Park; Berliners are going to keep smoking whatever they like, regardless of what the law says.

12. …or where to smoke it.
The fact that smaller bars successfully kicked back against the 2007 smoking ban is a slight but significant signal that Berliners will NOT be told what to do. Each cigarette smoked indoors is a tiny torch of freedom, and every handmade “Raucherbar” sign might as well say “don’t fuck with me”.

13. In Berlin, there’s a fine line between independence and insanity.
In a city that has always attracted the fringe figures of western society and tested German norms to their limits, it’s not always easy to tell the difference between the “life artists” and the crazies. Every time you see a shellshocked-looking person trudging through the streets mumbling to themselves, check their supermarket trolley for “found art” or look for someone with a video camera capturing the whole “happening”.

14. Berliners know how to party…
Berlin’s awesome clubs are full of friendly people who have their drug intake well under control, and plan to keep going well into Monday morning. The only troublemakers who managed to get past the ruthless door staff are invariably Ausländern. As a waiter told us on our first visit to the city, Berliners “make good party”…

15. …but they make for the worst concert crowds we’ve ever encountered.
Berliners reserve their enthusiasm for the last few hours of weekend-long techno parties and hardcore punk gigs in squats. Their reaction to every other performance of every other genre of music is to stand stock still and, if they really like what they hear, occasionally unfold their arms to slowly clap.

16. Berliners can’t see street art.
Years of over-exposure to grafitti have led them to develop a kind of snow blindness to tags, stickers, murals etc. And with good reason: if Berliners took the time to really look at all of the street art daubed across their city, they would never make it where they were going, and in the most severe cases, their eyes would pop out of their heads.

17. Berliners talk about the weather a lot.
This is great news for us Brits, who treat complaining about the weather as a national sport, and can insert ourselves into any conversation with a few well-chosen references to “Scheißwetter” and “Schnee”.

18. Complaining aside, Berliners make surviving harsh winters look easy.
They pull on some sturdy boots, wrap themselves in layers of Jack Wolfskin, and head out to the U-Bahn, which invariably runs (pretty much) on time. Coming from a country where a few snowflakes on the train tracks brings the nation’s infrastructure to a halt, winter in Berlin is refreshingly “business as usual”.

19. For Berliners, it’s never too early for ice cream…
As soon as temperatures rise above O°C again, winter-weary Berliners are like “fuck it, let’s get Eis”.
berliners-1820. …or for Glühwein.

Even when the Weichnachtmarkts won’t open for months, you can pick up a cup of the hot stuff from early October onwards in your local Späti. Time to swap out your morning beer for something more festive!

21. Berliners don’t eat Currywurst.
It’s just a culinary joke they play on gullible tourists.

22. Berliners never set foot in the “centre” of Berlin.
The closest they get to Alexanderplatz is changing U-Bahns underneath it, they know better than to venture within a square mile of the tourist trap/construction zone around Unter den Linden, and wear the fact that they’ve never seen Brandenburg Gate like a badge of honour. For Berliners, their Kiez is the real heart of Berlin.

23. Berliners don’t want a new airport.
They’re secretly hoping that if construction drags on any longer, the city’s just going to give up and stick with TXL.

24. Berliners don’t hate tourists, they hate douchebags.
If you come here and treat Berlin like your personal playground, blaring your way through Sunday morning leaving a trail of broken beer bottles in your wake, then locals will (justifiably) hate you. Even if you’re just staying in a holiday apartment that is intended for residential use, they’ll probably still hate you – but that’s your douchebag landlord’s fault. In Berlin, you get what you give – and if you disrespect the city, it will disrespect you right back.
berliners-24
25. Deep down, Berliners are teddy bears.

They might seem cold to outsiders, but take the time to talk to Berliners, in their own language – if not Berlinerisch, German will do – and you’ll find them to be funny, warm and welcoming people. Underneath that chilly exterior, there’s a teddy Bärliner just waiting to embrace you!

Tell us, Berliners, do you agree? If we’ve got anything wrong, or forgotten anything, tell us in the comments below!

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What Do You Know About Berliners? Tell us and win a free book!

by James Glazebrook

[EDIT: this competition is now closed. Click here to see if we're running any open competitions] 

If you’re a fan of this blog, you’ll know that we recently launched our first book, What I Know About Germans: 101 Observations. Well, if you haven’t bought a copy yet, here’s your chance to win one – by telling us what you know about Berliners.

We’ve already written about how Germans stare, love their dogs and are refreshingly comfortable about nudity, but what makes Berliners special? According to our article You know you’re a Berliner when…, daily acts of crazy, lost weekends and regular Berlinergasms are signs that you belong here, but what about the people who were born and raised in the Hauptstadt? How are Berliners different to people from the rest of Germany?

We’d love to hear from you, and in return we’re giving away a copy of the beautiful print version of What I Know About Germans – plus one of these awesome überlin tote bags! Scroll down to find out how to win.

What I Know About Berliners

HOW TO WIN A “WHAT I KNOW ABOUT GERMANS” BOOK PLUS AN ÜBERLIN TOTE BAG:

Just answer this question in the comments below:

What Do YOU Know About Berliners?

You have until 6pm on Sunday 8th December. Good luck!

The Boring Bit (yawn, RULES):

1. You must be at least 18 years old to enter.
2. ONE ENTRY PER PERSON!
3. Our favourite comment wins. It’s that simple.
4. We will announced the winners via our Facebook page on Monday 9th December.

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A note on the Berlin startup scene

by James Glazebrook

If you have even a passing familiarity with the Berlin startup scene, you’ll have seen this blog post on The Guardian website, written by someone who recently returned to the UK after a brief immersion in the city’s tech “bubble”. Well, The Local asked for my reaction – as someone who has a lot of contact with expats in the startup world and part of the team about to open Berlin’s first tech campus - and I thought I’d share it here. Read their response “Ten points in defence of Berlin’s startup scene” here, and my comments below.

The Guardian article contains nothing we haven’t heard before. As one of Berlin’s biggest English language blogs, we attract a lot of questions and enquiries from the group to which the writer (who we know) belongs: young non-German speakers who are early in their careers, and attracted to the city’s competitive creative scene. Their observations are valid, but represent a very narrow experience of the Berlin tech ecosystem, one with fairly predictable outcomes.

If you land an internship at an English-speaking company, you are likely to remain in that bubble, speak (and hear) very little German – and you’re most at risk of losing your “job”. We know lots of people who have discovered that “the streets are not paved with gold”, and have had to move back home or onto somewhere where they can more easily lay the foundations for their career. But we also know plenty of people who’ve landed (very) real jobs at successful companies, who have stable work and are appropriately rewarded for their experience and qualifications.

We’re sick of the mainstream media cycle of hype and backlash when it comes to Berlin in general, and the startup scene in particular. No one in their right mind would believe that Berlin is the next Silicon Valley, or the only European startup hub that matters – but, equally, no one should dismiss it as just a hipster party town. We turn out innovative, productive businesses with global impact (SoundCloud, 6Wunderkinder, ResearchGate), and we’re only going to see more success like this. But we still have a long way to go…

To the Berlin startup community we say: ignore all of this. Keep your heads down and keep up the good work. To anyone thinking of moving to the city to follow their startup dreams, we say: don’t believe the hype! Follow the advice of this article and do your homework, find a company that you fit with and feel passionate about, and enter the Berlin startup scene with open eyes and realistic expectations. Good luck :)

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Illustration by Josh Bauman.

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What I Know About Germans – The Book!

by James Glazebrook

It’s finally here! We’re very proud and über-excited to announce that our first book, What I Know About Germans: 101 Observations, is out to buy today.

What I Know About Germans is based on our insanely popular blog post of the same name, which generated over 40,000 Facebook Likes, 600 blog comments, coverage by the likes of Bild and Financial Times Deutschland – and enough traffic to crash our servers on more than one occasion! A lovingly compiled collection of an Australian writer’s hilarious observations about her adopted beloved countrymen, What I Know About Germans has been brought to life as a beautiful book, available in both print and eBook versions.

Want to see what we’re so excited about? Take a peek inside…

What I Know About Germans: 101 Observations has been a year in the making, and is the result of a lot of hard work from a small but dedicated team. We’re indebted to author Liv Hambrett in particular for allowing us to publish her post in the first place, for writing new and improved observations for the book, and for being the unofficial WIKAG cheerleader while we pull it all together. I’d also like to thank Josh Bauman, whose awesome illustrations really bring Liv’s words to life, Eric for producing our impressive What I Know About Germans web page, Sharmaine, Evi and the epubli team for their help and support – and of course Zoë for beautifying everything with her boundless design talent! Group hug :D

Anyway, enough of my gabbing. To find out more about the book, and to pick up a copy, visit the What I Know About Germans: 101 Observations page now!

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Hilarious alternative Berlin Subway Map

by Guest Blogger

“Nächste Station… Filthy-Syringe-Platz.”

Redfern Jon Barrett reimagines the Berlin subway map, with hilarious consequences. Click to see the full thing!

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A manic giant with a PhD in queer literature, Redfern writes about polyamory, witchcraft, and science fiction. His weird novel Forget Yourself is available on Amazon. Read more at redjon.com.

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Berlin: Love it or leave it

by Guest Blogger

Sick of all those expats complaining about how Berlin is “so over”? So is Hannah Graves, the writer of this heartfelt article, and snapper of the accompanying – hipster friendly ;) – photos. Quit whining and read on…

399751_10151011221161736_987169636_nLast week I stood outside a tiny bar in Milan. It has a basement, which has become one of the last places in the city to put on small gigs. Talk turned to Berlin and, something I hear a lot these days, how it “used to be amazing.” Hang on just one moment my Milanese friends…

You’re standing there telling me how Berlin is “so ten years ago”, while drinking a plastic cup of beer that cost you five Euros? FIVE EUROS?! I’m not going to try and brew the very brilliance of Berlin down to the cost of a beer, but this makes me laugh. I’m tired of being told that I missed the party, or worse, that I’m one of the reasons why the party’s finally over.

Every day my Facebook feed is filled with embittered articles posted by expat friends that attempt to evaluate exactly why Berlin is no longer the creative, cost-effective centre of liberal attitudes and quality living that it used to be. I read, I yawn, and I wonder what it must be like to fall so out of love with a place that clearly used to inspire so much in these people.

523641_10151083310836736_1947451326_nThese articles read like letters to a lost lover, one that moved on and left the writer feeling, well, left behind. “Berlin, how could you, what happened to you? Why are you spending time with these hipsters, with their money and haircuts? You’ve changed Berlin, you’ve changed. Well I’ve moved on too”. Only they haven’t. Clearly they haven’t. They watch the city grow and evolve and they obviously resent it. The advice I’d give any of these disenfranchised expats? Move with the times or move on.

If you arrived in Berlin at a time when rents were much cheaper, and you felt like you had a monopoly on the place because you were part of a tiny minority brave enough to move here, then Bravo and Hooray for you. If in your mind you partied here as a pioneer ten years ago but don’t want to now, don’t go blaming Berlin for changing – when, over a decade, it’s pretty certain that you changed too.

I KNOW I’ve only been in Berlin for a year, but I’ve been through the intoxicating effect this city can have and already come out the other side. Admittedly it’s not all amazing all of the time. Berlin isn’t without its problems, and I can understand the importance of being aware of the wider socio-economic impact certain changes are having on the city and the people that live in it. I just don’t feel the need to let it influence my individual experience of the place to the extent that I’d encourage others not to follow me here. That’s not my hipster expat ignorance – it’s my commitment to making the best life I can for myself in an environment unlike any other I’ve personally experienced.

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Many seem to argue that therein lies the problem – that people like me move here and expect certain things from a city they don’t contribute to, that it’s all about personal experience rather than shared consciousness. My own experience of Berlin is quite the opposite. I moved here to work a job I love but that I cannot afford to do in my home country. I have been fortunate enough to meet a huge variety of interesting and creative people, all contributing to the diverse culture offered by Berlin.

I’ve come to realise that If you don’t immerse yourself in the spirit of Berlin then it isn’t any fun to live here, and if all you do is have fun then you don’t REALLY live here. That’s the real appeal of Berlin, that you have to take the rough with smooth just the same as you would anywhere else. Only here, for me, riding out the rough times is ten times more tolerable.

I have friends who have come and gone, their love affair ended. They had their reasons; it was time to move on. Personally, I no longer feel the need to continually bang on to anyone who will listen about just how AMAZING Berlin is, but I also can’t imagine living anywhere else. If in the future we fall out of love, I hope I’ll have the maturity not to bitch to any other (un)interested party about how Berlin just doesn’t do it for me anymore. I’ll accept that it’s time to move on, and do so graciously. But not to a place where four beers cost me twenty Euros.

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If you enjoyed this, then you should definitely check out “London: The Break Up” by Marie J. Burrows.

If you didn’t, let us know why in the comments below!

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Alberto Madrigal: A real job

by James Glazebrook

Alberto Madrigal Berlin cityscapeOne for our Spanish and Italian readers and all lovers of beautiful illustration. “Un lavoro vero” (A real job) is the tale of Javi, an unpublished comic artist who moves from Spain to Berlin to follow his dreams. Family and friends keep telling him to drop it and look for a real job, but he has no answer for them, because he hasn’t drawn anything for months. Created by Berlin-based Spaniard Alberto Madrigal, this is a very personal story, yet one that will ring true with anyone living an expat life here in Berlin. I’ve had a sneak peek at an English version, which will hopefully be out to buy in the future, but ”Un lavoro vero” is already available in Italian by Bao Publishing and will be published in Spanish in December. Follow Alberto on Tumblr to find out when “A real job” is available in your language.

Alberto Madrigal Un lavoro vero cover
Alberto Madrigal Un lavoro vero boarding plane
Alberto Madrigal Un lavoro vero TV tower
Alberto Madrigal Un lavoro vero Wohnung
Alberto Madrigal Un lavoro vero Wohnung 2
Alberto Madrigal Un lavoro vero Wohnung 3
Alberto Madrigal Un lavoro vero winter

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Some apology to Berlin

by Guest Blogger

By John Medlock. 

Berlin. Wake up from your slumber. The third summer of love is now dead, buried, a mystery. It’s a jealous footnote to those who weren’t there and a nauseating pit of nostalgia for those that were.

Maybe it was the drugs. Maybe it was the music. Maybe it was the history and that sense of standing on the precipice which sends the alluring shiver of expectation down the spine of everybody who passes through the city’s gates. Or maybe not. Whatever it is, there can be no denying that the sensation has changed. Maybe it has watered down, or maybe it has disappeared altogether, but the search for the hit is getting harder. It’s something that cannot really be quantified. Because of that, it may no longer be found again and we cannot tell if 2013 will be a fourth.

So I’d like to apologise because there may be some portion of blame to be doled out for the demise.

I apologise for my curiosity, I apologise for my naive quest for the authentic and I apologise for every other person, Ausländer or Deutsche, who is here doing the same thing.

The City.

Berlin is the most authentic place on earth. History has made that the case. There simply was never any time for bullshit. Never was and never will be.

This city is like the ugly, pretentious older brother who, no matter how much you try and disbelieve them, is right when they say they’ve seen it all.

In 2011, with the flood of ever richer, ever younger, ever more disenfranchised and dysfunctional people fleshing out the districts of note (Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain, Neukölln), the (3rd?) summer of love happened. The music was great, the parties, the drugs, the people. Pure hedonism. No apologies. And, in the spirit of so many platitudes, the party died.

In its place, hubris, followed by doubt, followed by anger and finally a flaky kind of cynicism has taken root. Now you justify to yourself and others why you are here, living space feels like it’s at a premium (almost just as much as the need to be believed).

“How long have you been in Berlin?” is constantly, consistently leveled. “How long is enough?”

We feel gagged now. We are lost. Is the party still in Neukölln or has it (whisper it) moved to the West? What the fuck happened to Kreuzberg? Remember Wedding? When will richer people stop bitching about the quest for authenticity when there is no authentic experience that can be bought with your wallet (except, of course, for all those powders)?

Let me now, as an outsider, blame the outsiders for the lack of anything to focus on.

This city’s transient nature is dizzying. And let me blame the drugs. Because that’s easy. And because they’re never as good as they once were.

The city is afraid to look to its future almost as much as it’s afraid to look to its past, since we know that nothing good ever comes from a fixation on what has passed.

The Reader.

At least, I think that is the case and I think that that is true. Because I wasn’t there; because I am not here… I am living in the past and I’ve chased a dream like everybody else, in love with the Berlin of 2010/2005/2000/1995 ad nauseum.

Dreamy images I’ve lusted after from history books, films and from computer screens, planting the foundation of our generation‘s constant affliction: the incessant need to ‘be there’.

Perhaps that dream is now dead. It seems that against the dying face of winter, on the sliproad into 2013’s summer, nobody really knows where it’s at.

And how can you trust me? The fact that this is in English should speak volumes. Yes cities change and you cannot, should not, attempt to pin international forces on individual people.

We’re all playing the game and this city is the perfect playground. But one still has to be sensitive to it. Do not be threatened into thinking that you should “know your place” but definitely never take what this city has, and what it offers you, for granted. History walks the streets as much as you do and the present can be blown away in an instant.

Out-priced today, it may be the Turks, but you can be sure that tomorrow it’ll be your artistic collective under the hammer. Be under no illusions. But equally, don’t take any shit.

So grow bold Berlin. Feel stronger in yourself. Charge up my smartphone and be sure to ignore the krusty punks, with all their quasi-social-fascism and suffocating cultural pontificating. Shrug off too the cynicism of the panda-eyed dying ravers, pink skinned and sensitive to the morning light, as innocent as newborns. Perhaps build a wall around the redneck anti-Schwabians (but be sure to keep those rich southerners in there with them too).

But most of all: reclaim and protect your identity; from the freemarketeers, from any group that thinks it owns you and from people like me who try and understand you.

 

Taken from the first issue of ÜBERGANG, a cultural and literary magazine in English and German, published twice a year. The publication offers literature with illustrations that reaches out to a liberal audience with features often touching sexual topics through poetry, commentary, interviews and fiction. In Berlin spirit it uses culture to open up minds and promulgate new ways of living.

[EDIT: this competition is now closed. Click here to see if we're running any open competitions]

We have two copies of issue #01 of ÜBERGANG, devoted to Kottbusser Tor, to give away. Find out how, below.

HOW TO WIN A COPY OF ÜBERGANG, BERLIN’S NEW BILINGUAL CULTURAL AND LITERARY MAGAZINE:

Write your own apology to Berlin in the comments below. Come on, you must be feeling guilty about something…

The two most heartfelt apologies will win their authors a copy of ÜBERGANG.

You have until 6pm on Friday 4th October to enter. Good luck!

 

The Boring Bit (yawn, RULES):

1. You must be 18 years or older to enter.
2. ONE ENTRY PER PERSON!
3. Our favourite apology wins. Simple as.
4. Remember to include your full (real) name or we won’t be able to put you on the guestlist!
5. We will announced the winners via our Facebook page on Saturday 5th October.

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The Ten Berlinmandments — with GIFs!

by Guest Blogger

by Redfern Jon Barrett.

In two weeks’ time I’ll have been in Berlin for three years. I love this city – though I’m not one for attending trendy ‘discotheques’ whilst taking ‘Columbian Baking Soda’, and ‘[INSERT THIRD TONGUE-IN-CHEEK OUT-OF-TOUCH REFERENCE PEOPLE WILL TAKE AT FACE VALUE]‘.

Even so, Berlin is full of interesting, open-minded people, and as a queer-thinking, polyamory-loving, witch-being vegetarian leftist (whose entire identity can be summed up by those five categories), being here is like getting to live in the 19th century if you’re a massive conservative. In short, it’s weirdo Disneyland.

But some things in Berlin can be annoying, and in the spirit of ruthlessly criticising everything I love, I present:

THE TEN BERLINMANDMENTS

1. THOU SHALT NOT ENDLESSLY DISCUSS HOW GUILTY THOU ART FOR NOT LEARNING GERMAN

Because really, this only affects you. If you feel bad that you don’t speak more German, go learn German. If you don’t want to, then you can’t feel that bad. Either way, there is now a city-wide ban on discussing how you need to take another Deutschkurs.

Penalty: having your mind wiped, and your knowledge of English replaced with Turkish. All Germans refuse to learn Turkish.

2. THOU SHALT NOT MAKE ART WHEN THOU HAST NOTHING INTERESTING TO SAY AND THOU IS ALSO REALLY, REALLY BAD AT ART

Don’t get me wrong, Berlin has some fantastic artists, and I’ve worked with several of them – there’s a lot of talent in this city, but that talent is concentrated in about 10% of the total number of people actually calling themselves artists. The other 90% are either trust-funders working on a project that will never actually materialise (IT’S ABOUT THE PROCESS), or are trust-funders paying for an overpriced vanity residency which once a year will open their doors for an ‘exhibition’ whose attempts at insightful social commentary involve a bad drawing of Jesus with an iPod. MIND BLOWN.

Penalty: having to justify your stay of execution to a death panel, using only your own works of art as warrant for your continued existence.

3. THOU SHALT STAND ON THE FUCKING RIGHT, AND WALK ON THE LEFT, IF THOU WISHES TO USE A FUCKING ESCALATOR IN THE UBAHN/UNDERGROUND/METRO/SUBWAY

Or I will push you down said escalator.

Penalty: receiving a poison dart to the neck at the top of an escalator crowded with tourists talking on mobile phones. The antidote is at the bottom. 

4. HONOUR THY LUNGS

“Yeah, I’m currently planning on giving up smoking, and I did give up for five weeks last year, but it’s really hard when everyone’s smoking in a bar, and I just want to smoke socially, like when I’m drinking, but then you find yourself smoking in the day as well, I just wish I could smoke now and then but it doesn’t seem to happen, anyway I’m giving up soon, I just want to enjoy myself a bit more before I do.” – EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN BERLIN, INCLUDING ME

Penalty: city-wide smoking ban

5. THOU SHALT NOT JUDGE OTHERS’ CLOTHING, IT IS NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS

There’s a game in Berlin, called ‘Let’s Be Fucking Horrible To People Wearing Clothes Different To Ours’ (working title). And everyone is in on it. “Look at that hipster! Haha, fucking hipster, with their hipster clothes! I’m better than you, hipster!” – “Hey, you’re not wearing a stained hoodie with a bad slogan about the evils of capitalism! Are you a tourist? Your clothes look expensive! Fuck off, foreigner!”, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.

Penalty: being forced walk around Kreuzberg in an Armani suit until you’re torn to shreds

6. THOU SHALT WEAR THINE HOLY PROTECTIVE EARMUFFS

Thine divine earmuffs shalt protect thee from the angry street rants of born-n’-bred native Berliners, and shield thine delicate ears from their daily abuse.

What is wrong with them?

7. THOU SHALT DESTROY THE STAG NIGHTS

They must not be allowed to dwell in Berlin. If you see a group of drunken men in identical t-shirts, it is your sworn duty as a Berliner to slay them all.

Penalty: failure to let a stag night pass unslain shall result in you working as bar staff for a hostel in Mitte, where groups of drunken tourists will make fun of you, mistaking you for German and giving you constant Nazi salutes

8. THOU SHALT NOT FORCE EVERYONE TO DO YOGA OR GO CYCLING, THESE ARE FALSE RELIGIONS

Not everyone likes yoga, and to constantly spread the word of yoga BECAUSE OH MY GOD YOGA PUTS YOU SO IN TOUCH WITH YOUR BODY HOW CAN YOU NOT DO YOGA is to promote idolatrous gods. The same goes for OH MY GOD HOW CAN YOU NOT OWN A BIKE I HAVE A SPARE ONE COME ON A BIKE RIDE WITH ME WHERE YOU’LL BE REALLY SLOW AND I’LL GET ANNOYED AND FRUSTRATED DESPITE THE FACT YOU TOLD ME YOU’RE NO GOOD AT BIKE-RIDING COME ON COME ON BIKE BIKE BIKE BIKE BIKE AAAAAAAAHHHHHH

Penalty: removal of all yoga-twisting, bike-pedalling limbs

9. THOU SHALT NOT QUEUE FOR HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS FOR NO PURPOSE

Berlin will give you enough opportunities to enjoy a good queue. Every trip to a government bureau (there will be many), every hospital visit, every time you need to withdraw money from an ATM will involve a long time in a lovely, unending queue. You do not need to add to this experience by queuing for an hour for a kebab, or an ice cream, or for two hours to get into a club, because THERE ARE OTHER KEBABS AND ICE CREAMS AND DARK DANCY DRINKY PLACES, AND YOU ARE WASTING YOUR LIFE.

Penalty: you will be forbidden from entering a queue for a period of one year. As every single action you take in Germany involves a trip to the state bureaucracy, you shall die homeless and penniless, without kebabs or ice cream.

10. THOU SHALT NOT LEAVE THE CITY IN WINTER, WINTER IS YOUR PUNISHMENT

I’M LOOKING AT YOU, EVERY SINGLE SPANISH PERSON. WINTER IS THE PENALTY FOR ENJOYING BERLIN IN SUMMER. FROZEN BEARDS AND RED-RAW SKIN ARE REMINDERS THAT YOU ARE LUCKY TO BE ALIVE.

Penalty: the city walls shall be closed to you forever, and you shall be forced to make a living dancing for pennies in Potsdam

Go forth, my children, and share the wisdom your Berlingod has gifted you! For thine are the canals, the Sternberg and the Görli, forever and ever.

- Berlinfern

A manic giant with a PhD in queer literature, Redfern writes about polyamory, witchcraft, and science fiction. His weird novel Forget Yourself is available on Amazon. Read more at redjon.com.

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The Illustrated A-Z of Berlinerisch: E

by Guest Blogger

Berlinerisch E

by Claire Webster

Eierpampe – mixture of sand or mud with water that kids make when they’re playing (lit. “egg goop”)

E also stands for:

eenmal (einmal) – once.
Einjemachte, das – money in reserves, from Eingemachte meaning preserves or conserves.
einfeif’n – to eat, short for hinein pfeifen, colloquial for “sucking in” (food – or even drugs).
etepetete – prim and proper.

 

The Illustrated A-Z of Berlinerisch is a guide to the particular brand of German spoken in the country’s capital. One of our native Berliner helper elves describes the dialect as

a direct language with Herz und Schnauze (heart and snout). A Berliner always can make fun of others and him/herself, says everything as if he or she is a little drunk, and shortens words – because time is money, and after a hard working day you don’t want to spend a lot of energy speaking “properly”.

If you want to learn more about the German spoken by the rest of the country, check out our illustrated Daily Deutsch Doodles and follow the hashtag #dailydeutsch on Twitter. 

 

Berliners! Have we got anything wrong, or missed out anything important? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet your suggestions to @uberlinblog. Many thanks to everyone who’s helped us so far, especially @iForia@strollogy@Inzuam@MarcoHafke, @RobZan11, Yoram Roth@WeAreBerliners, @Da3X and @arne_mertz.

Illustrators! Want to help us prettify the A-Z of Berlinerisch? Drop us a note at email (at) uberlin (dot) eu, and we’ll let you know how you can get involved!

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