A Berlin Diary

Just realised I might as well make a note of any noteworthy cultural happenings as they happen – something like Samuel Pepys, only less interesting and set in Berlin.

Monday 13 December 2010 – SuperCollider group Christmas party. Thanks to the generosity and culinary competence of its members, we consumed borscht, humous, onion cake and tiramisu, along with several bottles of wine and a few obscenely large glasses of Bison vodka, then listened to the worst pop music we could find on youtube (Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Smurfs, Cylob etc.) Not before I had forced a conversation about code obfuscation upon my colleagues, of course.

Thursday 16 – Went to see JODI give a presentation at the Berliner Technische Kunsthochschule. It was a bit perplexing – a few mumbled words and then some animations looking like a computer desktop going mental, followed by some kind of Google street view weirdness. Their page explains everything, and nothing. I like the not understanding though, it’s half the fun of their website http://wwwwwwwww.jodi.org/. (Another amusing page is at http://wwwwwwwww.jodi.org/100cc/havoc/index.html which I was made aware of thanks to Julian Rohrhuber.)

Friday 17 – Concert at NK. Helena Gough (some lovely electronically processed sound sensations), Robin Hayward (long notes and unusual noises performed on the tuba – at the end I thought, “hmmm was that it?” But during the performance, time stood still in some way) and Bernd Schurer (soundcard problems meant the whole set was cursed by a high-pitched sinewave, which made it a bit painful for at least a couple of us. I enjoyed the first 10 minutes of cascading metallic dribbles but after that it didn’t change very much.)

Saturday 18 – Concert in the tiny concrete basement at Staalplaat record shop, Neuköln. Seiji Morimoto and Rubén Patiño performed a 4 channel piece in occasional darkness, which was fun. Ranz Runolff Runge told some fairy tales along with accompanying slides. It was lost on me, but I derived some pleasure from the soundtrack of bad trombone playing, bringing back teenage memories.

It’s pretty cold and the snow is piled high everywhere in town. I don’t mind so long as it isn’t too windy. The winter only truly stops being fun when the snow turns to ice and it becomes impossible to walk anywhere without skidding out of control. An enjoyable experience at the moment is to walk past the huge Weihnachtsmarkt near Alexanderplatz and listen to the terrified screams coming from the rollercoasters and other precarious looking rides.

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