Before I arrived in Berlin to shoot Elska Magazine Issue (02), I wasn’t hugely excited, I’ll admit. I’d been quite a few times, especially when I was living in Poland and could take a quick-ish train for a weekend. But really those trips were about getting out of Poland (no offense) than about actually wanting to go to Berlin. The place always just seemed dirty, extreme, and just never clicked with me.
But something changed after spending a full week there. The grittiness, the people’s appreciation of art in all its forms, the high ceilings of the old flats, the relative affordability compared to London (where I live now), and even the fact that the chips just taste better than they do in England. Most of all I felt that I could be myself here and no one would care.
So as soon as I got home I started doing research on what it would actually be like to live in Berlin. One article I came across was titled “11 Lies About Living in Berlin“. It reported how Berlin was expensive, had terrible weather all year round, how the people were fake and pretentious, and how full of foreigners it is.
This isn’t the only article out there about how awful Berlin is, and something struck me. Yes, Berlin is touristy and more expensive than it once was, but the point of these articles is just to scare people away, to keep Berlin for the Berliners.
But also there is a genuine sense that what Berlin once was is now lost, that its authentic cool has been replaced by hipster pretense. Some told me that Leipzig is the new Berlin (and actually I nearly did Issue 02 in Leipzig rather than Berlin)… but actually more told me that Leipzig was three years ago. Anyway, I can’t say what Berlin was but only what it is now. And it is now an awesome city and I’d love to live there. And I’m sure that soon enough I’d start complaining about how it’s gone downhill too. That’s just Berlin culture I guess, one tick in the minus column beside a much longer pluses column.
To see more about Elska, go to www.elskamagazine.com