There was a lot of talk about clubs and clubbing while I was here, but the only live music I saw was a Cuban band at a salsa party in the Gruener Salon in Rosa Luxemburg Platz. The party was apparently organized by a branch of the local Communist-leaning party and was part of a weekend long festival taking place in the nearby square. In lieu of an entrance fee, attendees were presented with pamphlets and encouraged to leave a donation in the donation box. That's a version of PWYC that I'd never seen before. The music was great the beer was super cheap, and Germans have no idea how to dance salsa [insert joke about German dancing abilities here]. Salsa lessons may be nearly nonexistent in Mitte, but people of all ages sure do love the music.
Speaking of clubs, I thought that clubs were being forced to close in Berlin? I'd read about how zoning laws and redevelopment were starting to put the clubs out of business and people were worried about the long term health of the clubbing scene. You can put those worries to rest -- there are a million new clubs (and DJs) I'd never heard of before, and more parties than ever taking place in every corner of the city. Too bad I never went to any of them, because I'm getting old and cranky and need my sleep lately. I thought about heading to Berghain (I was staying only a few minutes walk away) to get rejected at the door for old time's sake, but I didn't.
I bought a ton of music at Spacehall, which is clearly now the best place for buying CDs in Berlin. It's almost become my one-stop emporium for buying music in the city, at least until I get back into buying vinyl again. I also may have bought Pure's "Bodyhammer" 2CD compilation for the second time, I'll have to check when I get back home. I have a 2CD album at home that isn't recognized by Gracenote, my guess is that I bought it in Berlin right before packing up and moving, left the CD cover in storage, promptly forgot what it was, and rarely took it out of the case because I didn't have the slightest clue what it was. Anyone need an extra copy?
I also bought Depeche Mode's "Monument" book because I was seeing posters for it everywhere and it looks too good to pass up (even in German). It's damned heavy and there's supposed to be an English translation on the way in the fall but why wait? The pictures should tell the story quite well anyway and it's bound to be a collector's item so this is money well spent as far as I'm concerned. I'm perfectly willing to struggle though it and use my extremely limited knowledge of German to make my way though some of the text. Part of the focus is on the Eastern European fan clubs anyway. There's a preview on Electronic Beats' website, whose magazines I will be reading on the flight home.