Ten years later Shepard Fairey returns to Kreuzberg to leave Berlin with this piece. Seemed like a really nice guy- he gave me some stickers.
Last night I heard some lady wining about someone she knows saying “oh that place, that’s so 10 years ago” to which she agreed with her effeminate male friend that this person is a shallow bitch and how they hate people who only want to go where it’s cool, while we’re all sat in a bombed-out bohemian renovated warehouse basement for the launch of a new cultural space, complete with a medley of fresh art on the industrial brick white walls. An hour later and a Grecian eccentric having removed his razor sharp suit and chonged a few big ones is scattering salt across the buffet,
"They use it to wake up the Vampires" he says,
"I thought they used it for protection against the Vampires?" I said,
"So they wake them up and then tell them to fuck off?"
After which he drank some olive oil then went busking for donations on behalf of the food our friends made. Funny how some people are naturally, kind of… well, much more interesting than the performance artist with a microphone behind him impersonating some kind of drunk neurotic vodka yoga instructor eating popcorn off the floor.
I know little about the broader consequences of the Scottish Independence Referendum, I don’t think many people do. I do know that if the Scots vote to stay with the UK there’s no way they’ll get anything other than Westminster coming down on their heads like a ton of bricks. You see this is the way England does business. The rest of the world are hundreds of years behind when it comes to being the sneakiest snake in that jungle. What am I talking about?
Two years ago on the Scottish borders in Berrick-upon-Tweed while producing a photo book about this political situation, I met a Scot in a pub who worked at the local nuclear power station who told me to look into the McCrone report, so I did. In 1974 the English commissioned the McCrone report to determine how much oil there actually was in the North Sea in Scottish territorial waters at a time when the Scottish National Party recorded their best ever result in the polls. A report that stated an independent Scotland would be as rich as Switzerland. Westminster rewrote history- they classified the document and it remained hidden for 30 years unearthed only in 2005 under the Freedom of Information Act.
I consider it an embarrassing mistake on the part of Westminster that this document ever became public. I also think this kind of behaviour is the top of the tip of the iceberg, and by that alone I hope everyone in Scotland goes down to the polling station on Thursday 18th September to vote YES.
This political situation is much much larger than Scotland and the UK. The eyes of the world are watching, especially the Catalonians in Spain. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, be bold, be Scottish, vote YES. Be the pioneers, pave the way for the rest of the world because the only way you get close to what’s cookin’ is if there’s nothing between you and your food.
So I’m sitting down for a burger at a place I’ve been raving about for a while. The food arrives. I’m eating, once again the burger is really undercooked so it just falls apart on to the plate. The chips are more like crisps, like the cremated remains of what used to be potatoes, covered in so much salt that if I threw them in my drink they would have floated. And why did I order the American cheese? The square brightly coloured synthetic monstrosity with a list of ingredients decipherable only by a biochemist with a week to spare.
Over comes the waiter,
"How’s your meal man?"
I remember eating there back when I thought it was better and being perplexed as to how anyone could improve on their food. Well, I went somewhere else where the burger was cooked and tasted much better, the chips were in a different league and the bill was 30% cheaper.
The ego wants to be right, because to be wrong it fears death. This is fundamentally unprogressive. It’s important to be reminded how little you really know because certainty will leave you trying to dig your way out of a deep hole.
She was wearing a Nirvana T-shirt, he looked like Kurt Cobain.
Today I was making photographs. After several hours peacefully through the city, a guy in the background of my portrait of a shopping trolley came over shouting at me, gesturing to look at the photo. I showed him the last picture and he immediately rubbed his blood all over my hands and the back of my camera. He’d pierced his finger and run over only to do this.
I looked him in the eyes and said in disbelief- “that’s really not cool.”
With a half-crazed, mostly-vacant “what are you going to do about it?” glance he ran away. I turned 160˚ and walked straight into the toilets of the hospital which happened to be behind me overlooking the whole scene to disinfect my hands and camera with soap.
THAT; IS FUCKED UP.
Benny Goodman, Sing Sing Sing, 1936.
"But Walid went with his paint roller over all, from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, over all" reads the subtitles as Berliners watch the scene of someone indiscriminately roller painting a big blue line though the words “ICH BIN EIN BERLINER” painted in large black letters on the separation wall between Israel and Palestine at the German premiere of Style Wars 2 in an open-air cinema in Kreuzberg, Berlin.
It’s the duty of journalists and artists to re-contextualise the present so that we might understand its significance, to lead us toward a better future. Wilkerson does exactly that:
It’s a year or so since a man wiser than me brought this to my attention. Recently I’m reminded about it and it’s worth contemplating.
A friend of mine, lets call him Steve, told me a story about how he was without money for some time and his friend who we’ll call Dave, supported him. Sometime later Steve got a job and was soon earning enough to pay Dave back the money. He returned to Dave and tried to pay him back the money, but Dave refused to accept the money back. On the one hand you might think this a noble action, which it was in the beginning, but to not accept the money back is in Steve’s words- for Dave to have power over him. Be mindful of that on occasion that you think you’re doing someone a favour being generous, you might not be, you might in fact be making them uncomfortable by keeping them indebted to you, which defeats the value of being kind.
There’s an inherent contradiction in the statement “I don’t play games”. Even if you think you don’t, you’re still part of one.