Hello Copenhagen

View from the train between Berlin and Copenhagen

I was awoken this morning by a text message. The truth be told, I'd heard a few messages come in throughout the night, but since I'm on holiday, and since I'm in Berlin, I hadn't bothered to look at them. They were, of course, a series of messages concerning the latest challenge (or non-challenge) to [...]

Visiting Berlin

Visiting the Berlin Wall in 1983

The first time I visited Berlin was in 1983. At that time, Berlin was a city divided into East & West by "Die Mauer" ("The Wall"). Sixteen years later (on my birthday), the Berlin Wall came down, and Germany was re-united. Several months after the wall was all but demolished, a group of artists came [...]

Double Happiness in Berlin

I was so incredibly excited when I woke up and looked out of the window this morning. The truth be told, I felt like a big kid. The reason? Snow. Real snow. Not just snow on the ground snow, like I experienced last week in Sweden. Not just a bit of a flurry here and [...]

Radio Days Europe 2013 – Day 2

Ben Fawkes from Soundcloud at Radio Days Europe 2013

As always, Valerie Geller was an inspiration at Radio Days Europe. I first became aware of her work. Even though I've heard her mantra of "tell the truth, make it matter, and never be boring" many, many times over the last decade, it's a message which continues to resonate. "No matter what the platform, story-telling [...]

Back in Berlin

Visiting the Berlin Wall in 1983

The last time I visited Berlin was in the summer of 2008. Before that, it was in 1983, as a pimply-faced teenager with a full head of hair. My, how things have changed. Back in 1983, I was studying German at HSC level. In 2008, despite the twenty-five year difference, I was amazed at how [...]

Männer zum knutschen

"I've been to that bar, I'm sure", I whispered in the ears of my friends as we watched "Männer zum knutschen" (Men To Kiss) at the Mardi Gras Film Festival. It was August 2008, I was in Berlin, and sitting in a bar there with the inspired name of The Sharon Stonewall. While there I [...]

Berlin Wall Anniversary

Visiting the Berlin Wall in 1983

It's the twentieth anniversary today of the fall of the Berlin Wall. I doubt there'll be television specials except perhaps on the ABC or SBS, but I note there is a Beck's Beer advertising campaign appearing on bus shelters around Sydney. I'm not sure why, but I've always felt a bit of an affinity with [...]

Back in Berlin

Twenty five years ago, aged seventeen, I travelled to Germany (well, West Germany as it was then), with a group of school-mates and our teacher. I was in Year 12 and I'd been learning German for a number of years. Sometime a couple of years early, one of us had the idea of fund-raising for [...]

Hello from Berlin

After an early evening nap, I headed back to the Amstel Tavern last night. The same barman from the other night was there again, and after chatting for a while I found out he was actually Scottish. You would never know from his accent he was from Aberdeen. I though he was Dutch who had [...]

Lives Of Others

My friend John and I went to see a terrific film tonight, "The Lives Of Others" about the role of the secret police in East Germany. I don't know why, but I've always been quite fascinated about Germany. The Kaiser. Hitler. The division into East and West. The fall of the wall (on my birthday) [...]