Monday 31 March 2014

Totally Rad

For keen and not-so-keen cyclists alike, Berlin's omnipresent bike lanes make it a more than ideal city for two-wheeled travel. This in mind, I was super eager to get set up with a cheap little Rad [bicycle] to zip from A -> B (and drop transport costs at the same time). And thanks to a two minute Craigslist forage, I went from bike-less to with-bike in a two hour time span! Nicht schlecht.

Less than £65 outta pocket and I managed to cop myself a cute 1970s number from a cool French guy, who personally renovated and fitted it with a nifty dynamo too. Manufactured during Berlin's GDR period, it came pre-loaded with history and character to boot. I'm wheely happy.

Sunday 30 March 2014

This week I'm lovin'

T.W.I.L, It's Brogues © Brogues Cozens-McNeelance
N A M A S T E 

Jivamukti Yoga Berlin is without doubt my favourite yogi hangout in the city. Admittedly I haven't done a lot of research, but this is partly because when I hit upon it last summer, I was so impressed that it woulda been a bit daft to diversify. So I haven't. And I am lovin' the novelty of being here long enough to become an actual member! Considering the plentiful perks and lengthy class durations, it's very good value indeed.

Jivamukti has a couple of Berlin bases; one in Kreuzberg and the other in Mitte, which is the bigger (and in my opinion better) of the two. Set back within an idyllic little Hinterhof [backyard] off Brunnenstraße, the space even has a well-stocked über healthy canteen, with all the power smoothies and chia puddings you (or maybe just I) could possibly wish for. 

All the classes, though a tad overcrowded at times, are lovingly prepared and wonderfully taught. The ambience is schön, the mats/blankets/blocks/straps are all provided, and the teachers even come round and give y'all a lil lavender oil massage mid-class. It's all in the details. 

Monday 24 March 2014


Safe to say my first Sonntag as a Berlin resident kicked off pretty nicely - I won’t lie to ya, mostly due to a certain wonder-waffle which blew both my taste buds and mind. I’ll get to that. Sundays in this city totally eclipse all others; they are just the best. After linking at Eberswalder Straße U-Bahn, Spud and I started with a sweet stroll through the Kulturbrauerei [Culture Brewery], a winsome yellow-bricked melting pot of cute theatres, dance studios, restaurants, bars, independent shops, a cinema and an obligatory Photoautomat. 

Kulturbrauerei, Schönhauser Allee 36.

After picking up a bunch of upcoming events leaflets (to start fashioning some kinda cultural agenda between us), our rumblin' stomachs led us to one of my many favourite café haunts here: Kauf Dich Glücklich [buy yourself happy]. Located on Prenzlauer Berg super street Oderberger Straße, its sought-after Sunday status was instantly confirmed by the out-the-door queue of brunch cravin' clientele.

Part little shop, mainly a-ma-zing foodie/cocktail/coffee hangout (they're also a thriving online fashion and design emporium), Kauf Dich Glücklich has a most splendiferous selection of sweet and savoury crêpes, waffles, ice creams, coffees and cocktails. It's worth mentioning that crêpes aren't actually served on Sundays - perhaps because they're particularly overwhelmed with orders - but this transpired to be the most fleeting of disappointments, as it meant we were "forced" to sample their crazy good herzhafte Waffeln [hearty waffles]. Dramatic, yeah, but we really did come over all waffle-struck, both uncharacteristically lost for words. The mozzarella/tomato/pesto/basil-topped marvel that landed on our petite art deco table tasted (and indeed looked) nothing short of magbloodynificent. And at a more than reasonable 4€ (about £3.30), very very very good value too. We were even treat to live bluesy numbers from a multitalented musician Mann, whose dulcet tones and mega trombone/double bass/drum skills had the whole place captured from the off.


After contentedly whiling away three hours or so in waffly heaven, we headed to near-by Mauerpark Flohmarkt to soak up the happy Sunday spirit. Glücklich indeed.

Friday 21 March 2014


Berlin-bound til September! Posts aplenty to follow, I'm sure. Tschüß!

Monday 17 March 2014

ICA: Hito Steyerl // Richard Hamilton

The Institute for Contemporary Arts (ICA) never disappoints in its exhibition output. One of my top-pick contemporary culture spots in London, the space has recently reimplemented its super economical £1 Day Membership, leaving you with little excuse not to check out their currently running (and fully worth-ya-while) expo offerings: Hito Steyerl and Richard Hamilton. Here's a compact commentary on the two.

HITO STEYERL (5 Mar 2014 - 27 Apr 2014)
Berlin-based writer and visual artist Steyerl takes a tongue-in-cheek, satirical slant on mass media communication in our digitally driven age. Thought-provoking, cutting and entertaining all at once, her distinctive video installations examine the notion of going unseen in an era wholly consumed by image proliferation and visibility.

How Not To Be Seen: A Fucking Didactic Education. MOV File is an extremely wry and powerful (mock) instructional video on the art of attaining invisibility in the epoch of omnipresent over-visibility. If ya can sit through the mind-numbingly grating slow-mo TV voiceover, the step-by-step guide lends a pragmatic hand in swerving state surveillance and scrutiny; a virtually impossible undertaking in a climate of ubiquitous knowledge and digital data. With such suggestions as shrinking yourself smaller than a pixel, being female and over 50, or disappearing through the use of green screens, the proposed subversive strategies stir up some serious existential reflection.

From its title alone, Liquidity Inc. nods towards the film's principal concepts of liquid (namely water) and the economy. The 30-minute short pivots around protagonist Jacob Wood, who took the transition to a Martial Arts career after losing his job at investment bank Lehman Brothers. It's perplexing and absorbing, flitting between a balaclava-donning spoof weather forecaster ("your feelings are affecting the weather, and you are feeling not that great") and browser window pop-ups of curious animations. Weird but wonderful.

RICHARD HAMILTON (12 Feb 2014 - 6 Apr 2014)

If you haven't heard of Mr Hamilton, you'll most certainly have set ya eyes on the British artist's seminal works - his iconic Pop Art piece Just What Is It That Makes Today's Homes So Different, So Appealing? (1956), perhaps? In this impressive retrospective, the Institute looks back at some of Richard Hamilton's pioneering ICA-held exhibitions and collabs over the 20th century. Presented in partnership with Tate Modern's charting of his artistic legacy, it's a good and proper homage to his remarkable 60-year career.

The lower gallery harks back to Hamilton's 1955 display: Man, Machine and Motion. Arranged in a meticulous walk-through-able grid structure, the arrangement champions the possibilities of Man brought on by technology, specifically exploration. The re-staged installation stays true (as much as possible) to its original layout design, which can be spotted upstairs amongst the collection of rare archive material. Also found in the upper gallery is a re-installed an Exhibit (1957), Hamilton's totally abstract, subject-less display of precisely positioned perspex sheets. It's an altogether crackin' salute to a top talent.

Tuesday 11 March 2014

This week I'm lovin'

Maybs not the brightest of ideas post Sunday's gruelling 10k cross country (followed by a day of heavy suitcase liftin' yesterday), but I'm totally intent on making my transient LDN return as productive as possible! So - this morning I thought I'd start as I mean to go on and bop to East Dulwich's lovely Push Studios to give Piloxing a whirl. 

As the name hints, this relatively newfangled workout trend is an offbeat intermingle of pilates and boxing, backed by uptempo beats to keep ya motivated. Today's class consisted of 45 minutes boxing/dance-inspired cardio, rounded off with a 15 minute mat-work segment. You're even equipped with novel weighted gloves which, though seemingly not that weighty to begin with, for sure present an extra challenge on the arms and shoulders as reps increase. The diverse session strikes a super satisfying balance between testing, energising and fun. I'll be back.    

Monday 3 March 2014

Design domingo

While on my Matadero jaunt this Sunday, I unwittingly (and all too happily) hit upon actual design dreamland. The Mercado Central de Diseño, housed in the design wing of my fave interdisciplinary creative complex, is a two-day monthly event which showcases national talent within the design field. 

Firstly, I really should big up Matadero in itself, as I don't think I've previously mentioned it on the blog. This former abattoir (plain talk: slaughterhouse) and livestock market, designed in the early 20th century by rated Spanish architect Luis Bellido, is today a stunning and vast creative breeding ground containing superabundant artistic disciplines: dance, music, performing + visual arts, fashion, literature, design, architecture, philosophy and cinema. 

The grand Plaza Matadero often accommodates open-air art installations, as well as providing the serene setting for Matadero's outdoor bar/eating area. There's even a bicicleta rental facility, if ya fancy freewheeling around the site in style. It's an all-round enchanting spot, with the building's previous life lending it both an eerie and remarkable character. Nothin' but praise.

Yesterday's design convention totally reflected the Matadero team's commitment to curating and cultivating a space of contemporary creation, where culturally minded and design-loving folk can connect, reflect and participate. One-off stalls suffused the capacious, industrial-interiored Central de Diseño, all (wo)manned by passionate designers and makers selling their innovative wares. From fashion to furniture to art works, I could've effortlessly blown my mythical €€€€s on the diverse line-up of lustworthy goods.

Here's a compilation of my STANDouts:


Not that my total technophobe old man has any way of seeing this, but: 
Happy Birthday Pa.

Saturday 1 March 2014

Madrid Guide

Since I'm fast approaching the end of my six-month Spain stint(!), I thought it was about time I collated a lil Madrid manual. As with the Berlin Guide I pieced together last summer, it's not thronged with super touristy guidebook go-tos (not that they're not important - you can find heaps on those elsewhere), but rather a compilation of my personal haunts and recommendations that you just might like too. Find it aquí/here.