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Bowie Berlin Walk

March 17 2017 at 9:32 AM
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tintoy  (Login tintoy)
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from IP address 82.33.52.8

I took the walk last Sunday and thoroughly enjoyed it. Philipp our tour guide was passionate, funny and full of information - Bowie and history. I cannot recommend this walk enough, we got 4 hours for €14. Brilliant! Oh, you also get a free drink at the end in Café Neues Ufer. Our group was cool too happy.gif

 
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tintoy
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Re: Bowie Berlin Walk

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March 21 2017, 8:16 AM 

[linked image]

Bowie's old windows! What struck me was how ordinary and affordable the flat looks. I know he was broke but student broke?
Apparently, the people who now live in the apartment had never heard of David Bowie!

 
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Anonymous
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Re: Bowie Berlin Walk

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March 21 2017, 3:40 PM 

This article gives a little background on the apartment:

http://www.tagesspiegel.de/kultur/david-bowie-in-berlin-als-major-tom-in-schoeneberg-lebte/7827370.html

For those who don't read german, it's mentioned that the apartment has seven rooms, and by -76 was rented out to an attorney "gone stray", having had all walls painted black, all windows darkened, turning the apartment in to a commune.

The landlady managed to have the attorney's lease cancelled, and was worrying about how to afford a renovation when "a lady" (Coco, I presume) got in touch, wanting to rent the apart on behalf of "a British artist", on the condition that he would be allowed to redecorate the place - at his own cost. The landlady happily agreed, and a group of craftsmen came in and performed a complete renovation, leaving the apartment all white and totally redecorated.

A seven-room "altbau" (pre-war building) apartment in the affluent neighbourhood of Schöneberg may seem a relatively humble housing for a rock god, his young son, his assistant Coco and friend Iggy Pop (Iggy later had to move to a smaller apartment in the courtyard building after repeatedly robbing the refrigerator of all it's expensive KaDeWe food), but I suspect Hauptstraße 155 never was, and still isn't an address where poor people could afford to live.

In the late seventies, West Berlin was isolated deep inside enemy communist territory, completely surrounded by electric barbed-wire fences and the famed wall, fuctioning as something of a storefront display for western lifestyle, heavily subsidised by the Bundesrepublik, the US and the other western allies. West Berlin at the time was perhaps the wealthiest city on the continent, and also because West Berlin residents were excused from the otherwise compulsory miltary service, a steady flow of young people, many male and of non-conformist attitudes, were drawn to the city from all over West Germany. Bowie didn't live in Berlin as we experience it today, he lived in West Berlin, a completely different city, a social and geographical landscape and atmosphere which since long is gone for ever, for better or for worse. The problem with visiting Bowie's Berlin is that although some of the streets and buildings remain, the city just doesn't exist anymore.



    
This message has been edited by ormenlange from IP address 84.209.36.152 on Mar 21, 2017 3:47 PM


 
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tintoy
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Re: Bowie Berlin Walk

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March 22 2017, 7:50 AM 

Many thanks for the interesting response. I learned a few bits more from you. I don't read German so am puzzled by the 2 women in the article.

Anyway, the neighbourhood just looked a little 'affordable' to me, not, deprived or run down but certainly not top dollar real estate as they say across the pond. I first visited Berlin in 1988 so was lucky enough to see some of the same 'Berlin' that Bowie inhabited.
The city fascinates me and I am thinking of visiting again quite soon . . .

 
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Michael
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Re: Bowie Berlin Walk

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March 22 2017, 7:58 AM 

Berlin always puzzles me because Bowie only lived there for a year and a half at most and only recorded two albums there. He lived in Switzerland and NYC far longer, yet Berlin milks its connection for all its worth.

I think the reason Bowie went there solely because of his interest in Hitler and the Third Reich, not because of any ideas about cleaning up or coming off drugs.

Mist.
'When I saw the result, I threw up. My body rejected it.'

 
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p.r. koenig
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by the wall

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March 22 2017, 2:22 PM 

hi cybercitizens,
Bowie and Pop "lived" in Berlin for a very very short time, maybe some handful of months, totalled. In reality he still was located in (tax-exile) Switzerland (at that time, Swiss law required at least 6 months per year in order to benefit from tax-benefits) or was on tour with Pop or recorded in Paris where he also was in court re DeFries.
At that time, Nastassja Kinski also seeked tax-exile in Switzerland, in Genevra, a town near where Bowie had his location. This was refused by the authorities ...
p.r.k.


    
This message has been edited by p.r.koenig from IP address 84.75.165.31 on Mar 22, 2017 2:30 PM


 
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Nemo
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Re: by the wall

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March 22 2017, 3:31 PM 

"I remember I visited Bowie’s apartment in the Turkish sector. After lunch David gave me a tour through his home. All rooms were large with high, white ceilings and quite bare – only objects of use. One room was totally different from the rest. It was full of objects, plush, ornaments, heavy velvet draped curtains, Tiffany lamps, dark colours and a fireplace with oil paintings of Grand Mama with hair in a bun and Grand Papa with a pipe. I thought Bowie had left it the way he found it – as a contrast. Or maybe to make German visitors feel comfortable. How wrong I was … No coincidence with David Bowie. He had totally choreographed each rooms including that room like he had always created everything – "
Derek Boshier
https://www.fratellowatches.com/how-a-speedmaster-and-a-flightmaster-ended-up-in-david-bowies-1979-lodger-album-art/
.

 
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Anonymous
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Re: Bowie Berlin Walk

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March 22 2017, 9:35 PM 

"the neighbourhood just looked a little 'affordable' to me, not, deprived or run down but certainly not top dollar real estate"

I think you are absolutely right about the "not top dollar" part. Seems to me that Schöneberg, along with a few other parts of West Berlin suffered a downfall in status and attractivity as the younger and wealthier professionals gentrified the Prenzlauer Berg and Mitte neighbourhoods of the old East. These days the residents of Schöneberg seem to be older and more socially mixed than in the late seventies. Word is that the younger crowd is starting to rediscover the stately altbaus of the old West, though.

I've been coming to Berlin regularly since the late seventies, and it's been fascinating to watch the city going through radical changes. When the city was still divided, the area around Zoo station and the Kurfürstendamm was always pulsating with nightlife and neon lights, and the punks and the hip crowd were squatting among the turkish immigrants in Kreuzberg.

Then the wall came down, and during the nineties the night life, the art scene, everything seemed to move east, leaving Zoo and the Damm behind in something of a void. In the later years though, Neukölln seems to have been experiencing something of a rejuvenation, so maybe spring is coming for other parts of the old West Berlin as well. It's been a couple of years since my last visit to the city, but I'm taking a few friends for a stay this summer, so I hope to catch up with the latest ch-ch-changes. wink.gif


 
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tintoy
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Re: Bowie Berlin Walk

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March 23 2017, 8:21 AM 

@ Michael
yet Berlin milks its connection for all its worth
To be fair, I think they are genuinly fond of the Bowie connection with their city. They are proud that he chose Berlin to live in for a while. I didn't see any milking. I bought a brilliant book (A Tribute to David Bowie - Hauptstrasse: The Berlin Years 1976-1978) that was well put together and actually difficult to find. Apart from the walking tour saw no tat being peddled and no other Bowie references.happy.gif

 
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tintoy
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Re: Bowie Berlin Walk

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March 23 2017, 8:33 AM 

@ Michael
I think the reason Bowie went there solely because of his interest in Hitler and the Third Reich, not because of any ideas about cleaning up or coming off drugs.

Interesting theory but maybe it's not as simple as that. Wasn't the Nazi stuff he was fascinated with drug induced delusion?

On the Bowie Walk they said that the only reason he moved there was because he was broke - rents were cheap and Hansa was cheap. In interviews I think he subsequently said that it was the Isherwood, Expressionism, Weimar Republic, Film, gateway to European arts that attracted him. That, and the need to heal. Maybe it was a little of all three?

The trip to Berlin has made me hear Low in a new way too! I swear I'm hearing things in it that lurked in the aural shadows before! I am also re-reading Low by Hugo Wilcken which, apart from the odd music journalist cliches (guitar licks/synth washes) is brilliant. It offers an interesting take on Low as schizophrenic album and gives some psychological insight . . .

 
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wok
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Re: Bowie Berlin Walk

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April 2 2017, 12:18 PM 

the smack capital of europe...throw in a bit of caberet and you're all set...any photos tintoy?

 
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tintoy
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Re: Bowie Berlin Walk

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April 2 2017, 6:17 PM 

any photos tintoy?

I took the apartment windows one. There's a few more herehttp://inabigdanceskin.tumblr.com/
Since returning from berlin and the Bowie stuff, I cannot stop listening to Low. I mean, everyday - it's become an obsession!

 
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