überlin

Doggystyle: Jacob and Blixen

by Zoë Noble

berlin doggystyle streetstyle great dane

“Blixen is stubborn – she’s very much her own dog. To me, she seems very independent; she likes to do her own thing.

I think to some degree, that’s just because of her breed. I’ve always been fascinated with Great Danes, how big they are, and just how gentle they are. Blixen is always the one to walk away when there’s trouble with other dogs or anything – she’s very chill, very calm. She’s a sweetheart.

I take Blixen with me everywhere I can, to work, to parties… The best thing about having a dog is always having your best friend with you.”

berlin doggystyle portrait streetstyle great dane

berlin doggystyle streetstyle great dane

Portrait: Eva Langhorst, Mr. Whippy’s Frozen Yogurt Truck

by Guest Blogger

Eva Langhorst, Mr. Whippy's Frozen Yogurt Truck

by Emma Robertson

You’ve probably seen Eva Langhorst driving around Berlin. After all, her pink and white sixties-style Mr. Whippy ice cream truck is hard to miss. “Freshly made just for you,” it declares in bright blue lettering, and it’s true. Every morning, Eva gathers fresh ingredients – milk, yogurt, fruit – from the local markets in Berlin, and spends the day driving around in her truck, a realisation of a childhood fantasy and an enduring love of ice cream. Her dedication to her craft is made all the more impressive, I find out, because right now Eva is pregnant with a baby girl. When I ask if she’s going to continue running the truck when the baby comes, she smiles. “My parents want to build a custom baby seat for the truck,” she laughs, “So, I can take her with me! We’ll be fine!”

Eva started her business in 2012, and since then, she and her Mr. Whippy truck have travelled all over Germany, selling homemade frozen yogurt. “There’s a lot of risk that you take with a job like this. It’s hard,” she continues, “And when you have a baby, it’s harder. But I don’t really see it as a job. It’s just fun.” It’s no wonder, then, that the end result is so sweet.

iPhone shot Eva Langhorst

In his book The Feast of Love, Charles Baxter wrote, “Forget art. Put your trust in ice cream.”

(Laughs) I definitely agree. I eat ice cream every day! No lie, I can’t get enough of it! I spend all winter actually looking forward to putting on the ice cream machine again! Even if I work all day, my boyfriend and I come home very late at night, we park the car, and we walk to the kiosk to buy an ice cream! (Laughs)

Have you always been this passionate about ice cream?

I was actually quite into ice cream even from childhood! (Laughs) I’ve loved frozen yogurt since I was a girl – that’s where it all started. My mom told me that when I was growing up, I wanted to become an ice cream seller! So there must be something about it! (Laughs)

Do you think that kind of nostalgia plays a certain role in making Mr. Whippy so popular here in Berlin?

Yeah, I think it definitely plays a role! For me, I’ve searched for it for frozen yogurt for years because when I was ten, I tasted it for the first time and I just loved it. With Mr. Whippy, it’s not only the product, it’s also the van that attracts people. Everyone recognises it, it’s like a giant toy! Everyone remembers these kinds of trucks from their childhood, so of course it generates those lovely nostalgic feelings in some way.

Mr Whippy Frozen Yoghurt truck Berlin Tempelhof

Can food, ice cream especially, ever really be as good as the memories or feelings associated with it?

In our case… Yes! My mother makes the best elderflower sauce. It’s one of the syrups that we stock in the truck. Even though, like you said, the associations are a strong influence… I think it really is that good!

Has Mr. Whippy always been a part of your life? Do you have a special connection to the brand?

I actually didn’t know the Mr Whippy trucks because we didn’t have them in Germany. I first wanted to start selling frozen yogurt and only later came the idea of the truck. In 2012, we found the Mr. Whippy truck and imported it from England. It was already a Mr Whippy truck, but I thought, “I can’t change the name!” (Laughs) There was no copyright in Germany, so I just kept it. Then I started to restore the car basically from the inside…

I read that your father helped you re-design the truck.

Right! My dad is really good with cars, luckily. He used to be a racecar driver when he was young! So he’s my helping hand. Without him, it would have been difficult, with all these technical tasks and mechanical problems. It took us four months to restore the truck, and get it decorated. On the side, I work as an illustrator, so that came in handy when we were designing the inside and the signs. I like to work really creatively… I kept all these elements from the sixties and added my own twist, so that was a great project!

Mr Whippy Frozen Yoghurt truck Berlin Tempelhof

It sounds like a family affair. You said your mom makes the sauces, right?

Yes! She’s really sweet. She lives in the countryside and she has this whole garden with all the berries and the elderflowers. So, she does the bases for the sauces for me, and then we have fresh fruits by season as well. I wouldn’t know what to do without my family’s help. My mom helps a lot. And she even comes sometimes to help me with the selling! My dad and I have gone on some trips together with Mr. Whippy. (Laughs) He drives the truck! My cousin helps me as well – she lives in Berlin, too.

Is that homegrown aspect of Mr. Whippy very important to you?

Very important. It makes it so that you can put a lot of love in it. Everyone helps. That’s another reason why I want to keep the company small. It’s important that I’m always present with the truck, I want to keep it close to my heart. We also try to keep the business local… Like I said, we use seasonal fruits from local vendors, and everything is fresh.

That’s what makes Mr. Whippy so different to the kind of ice cream trucks I know from my childhood in Canada, which seemed like a franchise. Everything was mass-produced.

Yeah, actually that happened also a little bit with the Mr. Whippy company itself. It goes back to what we were talking about before with the childhood memories. Sometimes I actually have problems with the name for people who know it from England and associate it with that kind of food franchise. But different people, different connections.

What has the reaction been like from Berliners when they see you driving around?

There’s the English crowd that really knows Mr. Whippy! We used to have ice cream trucks driving around here in Germany when I was a kid, but more in the countryside, so I don’t think Berliners know it that much. They didn’t have that this ice cream culture of the van driving around. For the most part, it’s not the brand that’s the attraction, it’s the look of the big pink truck!

Let’s talk about the product, which is so delicious. What can you tell me about the recipe, or is that top secret?

(Laughs) The secret is actually to keep it simple. It’s important to find a good quality for the base. There are some bases that are just mixes that you stir in with water, and that’s… Well, not so nice. I use fresh yogurt and milk and a bit of lemon, blended with a sugar mix made by another Berliner. He has a frozen yogurt shop and he works as a food developer, studying some kind of gastronomic chemistry. We buy the milk from a local farm as well. So the produce is all from Berlin, and we all work together. We just try to keep it simple and use fresh products.

Close up frozen yoghurt

As for keeping it simple, I imagine it’s been quite a task getting a food truck business up and running in Berlin, the capital of making things complicated.

(Laughs) There’s a lot of rules in Berlin! There are infinite rules about where you can park and sell. When I first started, I thought I could park anywhere in the street, but it turns out it’s very difficult. Of course, the city makes it kind of impossible to park and stay and sell just anywhere. You are bound to the festival places and food markets. It’s also an electricity problem – the machine needs electricity to run, so it’s hard to be self-sufficient. There’s also the problem that because you’re on the road, things can break down! Luckily this has only happened once, but I got towed to the Bread and Butter trade show because I just had to make it there! (Laughs) It’s the same with any job though – you can never foresee what’s going to happen.

Running a truck does have its perks, though, I’m sure.

Of course. This gives me freedom! I can park the car when I don’t want to work anymore. And it waits! I can drive around if I’m not selling well. We’ve driven to Hamburg, Munich, all over Germany on these little adventures in the truck. I don’t think we’d have the same experience if we were rooted in Berlin with a shop or a cafe.

Food trucks are becoming more and more of a trend these days, especially here in Berlin.

Yeah! Definitely. It’s getting really bad for that! When we started, I was one of the first trucks driving around. I got lucky – I was there before the big competition really started. Currently, there’s not really any other frozen yogurt trucks though, so there’s no direct competition for me. There are a lot of people who do ice cream, but the ones that I’ve met, I’ve become friends with. We give each other jobs. It’s a very friendly environment.

I was going to ask… Are you guys out there racing around in your trucks to beat the other vendors to the best spots?

(Laughs) Fortunately, this doesn’t happen, no. We support each other! Sometimes we even park next to each other! You have to live with it.

Do you ever worry that the food truck trend is going to go out of style?

I’m not so scared! I know that actually a lot of frozen yogurt and ice cream shops around Berlin already had to close, and maybe that’s a little bit of a pressure but I don’t think it will ever really go out of style. I think if you have the right product, it doesn’t really matter so much what’s trendy. You create the whole environment. And people will always eat ice cream!

It’s my number one weakness.

I read an article that Germans are the number two highest consumers of ice cream in the world. So why should I worry?! (Laughs) You can have ten burgers but there’s always room for ice cream.

Eva Langhorst Mr Whippy Berlin

Frozen yoghurt flags

Frozen yoghurt homemade sauces

Frozen yoghurt toppings sign

Frozen yoghurt toppings

Wr Whippy Freshly made just for you

Eva Langhorst Mr Whippy's frozen yoghurt truck service with a smile

Doggystyle: Thomas, Butch and Bully

by Zoë Noble

berlin doggystyle streetstyle american bulldog boston terrier graffiti tattoos

“Bully (the Boston Terrier) will be ten in December. He’s a veteran – if he was able to write a book, he would. He’s been dognapped, hit by a car, lost an eye, and he’s been travelling with me through Europe, fighting with the street dogs. He’s a cool guy.

He’s also proof that dogs can be autistic. He’s clever, and lives in his own world. He’s not interested in other dogs, he just wants to be with his toys – and he knows them all by name. He’s like Rainman!

Butch (a 5 year old American Bulldog) is more strong than clever, but they have a very special relationship. He always backs up his buddy in a fight, which just means that Bully is always like, “nyah, this guy’s got my back.” So we have some issues to work on, but luckily I’ve just started studying caninology and I’m also a dog trainer!”

berlin doggystyle streetstyle boston terrier with one eye

berlin doggystyle streetstyle american bulldog

berlin doggystyle streetstyle american bulldog

Doggystyle: Liz and Ivy

by James Glazebrook

berlin doggystyle streetstyle french bulldog

“This is Poison Ivy – she’s five years old.

Does she have any strange personality traits?

Well, she snores quite loudly… She likes to ride in cars, with her head out of the window. And she doesn’t know what privacy is. She follows me everywhere – to the bedroom, to the toilet. She just wants to be with me all the time.

I couldn’t imagine life without Ivy. I’m so happy to have her. When I’m sad, or my moods go overboard, I can take my dog outside and everything’s fine.”

berlin doggystyle streetstyle french bulldog

Doggystyle: Gerd and Tammo

by Zoë Noble

berlin doggystyle streetstyle boston terrier

boston terrier close up

“He farts all the time.”

Portrait: Matthew Gordon, Taiko Gallery

by James Glazebrook

Matthew Gordon, Taiko Gallery, Berlin

Meet Matthew Gordon, the co-owner of Taiko Gallery, a new tattoo studio and art space on Schönleinstrasse in our beloved Graefekiez.

Originally from Sydney, Matthew first landed in Berlin two years ago, after travelling to Europe with his Taiko partner Wendy Pham. They visited fellow tattoo artist Uncle Allan in Denmark, who mentioned plans to open a German outpost, and invited the Aussies to join him. Already half a world away from home, they were unphased by the last leg of a journey to a city they’d never even planned to visit. As Matthew says of his fellow countrymen, “we’re all crazy anyway!”

Matthew Gordon art space Berlin

Moving to Berlin was just the latest in a series of risky but rewarding moves for the young artist. At 19, he quit a promising career as a 3D animator, designing levels for video games and fly-throughs of skyscrapers in Dubai, and persuaded the guy who had started covering his body with ink to train him as an apprentice. Then Gordon cut his apprenticeship short to move to Melbourne, where he opened up a private studio with Wendy.

Inspired by Grime of San Francisco’s Skull and Sword, Shige of Yellow Blaze in Yokohama and local hero Owen Williams of TAMA, Matthew started carving out a niche in the tattoo world: “I don’t look at any other work or references. I draw from my head, and if it’s wrong, it’s wrong. It’s the only way to give yourself a style”. That style, which Matthew calls “open illustrated Japanese”, renders Eastern-inspired imagery in vibrant colour and (not surprisingly) perfect 3D, with dragons and snakes covered in intricate, interlocked scales that pulsate from the subject’s skin. He conservatively estimates that his forthcoming art book contains over 5,000 hand-drawn scales.

Matthew Gordon Medusa snakes sketch

The desire to be different that informs Matthew’s work is also shaping the shopfront that he single-handedly renovated from a water-damaged, nicotine-stained Fahrschule into a beautiful, white-walled, multidisciplinary space. “We’re trying to create something different, that’s not just a little hole-in-the-wall studio,” Matthew explains. Taiko Gallery  is “more about the art, and less about making a million dollars,” serving as an exhibition space for the founders’ paintings, and a venue for life drawing classes and other creative events. Above all, it is “a positive place”.

Matthew Gordon art space Berlin

Unfortunately, not everyone is pleased about the latest development of this small Kreuzberg side-street, where old school Berliner haunts like the 24-hour bar Bei Schlawinchen rub up against the internationally-owned curiosity shop The Cheese Mountain Tragedy. The subject of thoughtless protests against the perceived gentrification of long-gentrified Graefekiez, Matthew finds himself cleaning spit off the gallery’s window almost every day.

But far from feeling threatened by such low-level hostility – “I’ve got a scythe in the back; I’d like to see them try” – he has been surprised by the extent to which foreigners are tolerated, if not always embraced, in Berlin. “Most of my time is spent in my own little bubble. I feel like an alien sometimes, but that’s OK. I’m in my own little world, no one really pays attention to me, and that’s fine.”

Matthew Gordon at work tattooing

“It’s definitely opened my eyes to the way that Australians deal with foreigners. If you go to Australia, and you have trouble speaking English, it’s horrible for you. People are abused to their face, and it’s just shit. If I ever go back and see that, those racists are getting told to shut the fuck up.”

Provincial attitudes aside, Matthew is optimistic about the future of Taiko Gallery and his adopted home: “Even in the two years I’ve been here, I’ve noticed more art going on and I’ve met lots of interesting people. Berlin is a great city. It’s a good place to have a new thing, one that doesn’t really exist yet. In five years, you’ll have built a reputation, with expats and Germans alike.” Put simply: “Being able to see Berlin grow is cool.”

Matthew’s book of snake illustrations, the Compendium Vipera, is now available via Illustrated Monthly.

Taiko Gallery, Schönleinstrasse, Berlin

Taiko Gallery, Schönleinstrasse, Berlin

Tattoo ink bottles

Matthew Gordon leg tattoo

Matthew Gordon tattoo sketch skull snake

Matthew Gordon Taiko Gallery paintings

Matthew Gordon animal skull painting

Matthew Gordon painting close up

Matthew Gordon self portrait close up

Matthew Gordon, co-owner Taiko Gallery in Berlin

Doggystyle: Lisa, Jeremy and Toro

by Zoë Noble

berlin doggstyle streetstyle Shiba Inu

“The first German word we learned is “Fuchs”, because a lot of people were asking us if Toro’s a fox. He’s actually a Shiba Inu, an ancient breed of Japanese hunting dog, which was almost killed off during World War Two.

I always knew I wanted this breed. About seven or eight years ago there was a woman who had a litter of Shibas, and she put a live webcam on the puppies six hours a day. That was when I first learned about them – sitting at my computer at work, watching. Oh my god, they were so cute.

But they’re a big internet meme now – such Doge – so we’ll be on the U-Bahn now and people will be taking pictures of him. Toro has a very expressive face. He usually looks really happy but he can look sad too. When he hasn’t been fed, he’ll get in this crouch pose and stare at you like, “come on”.”

closeup Shiba Inu beside owner

closeup Shiba Inu