Berlin (continued): I was a passenger…

Jez Collins continues the report on the Berlin mobility.

Cultural Spaces and Places

Taking its name from the third Eric B and Rakim LP, Let The Rhythm Hit Em is a mixed media exhibition being held at the rather imposing and impressive Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien.

The exhibition looks at the relationship of and between art and music. With over forty artists exhibiting there was a broad range of art on display some which grabbed me, others less so. I was really interested in the venue however. If I understood Nadine and Jana right, the venue has been ‘given over’ to arts and cultural organizations in Berlin to use as a exhibition and cultural space on what I understand to be no, or very low, rental charges. This allows for experimental rather than commercial interests to be at the forefront of programming.

Apologies to the artists for not noting their names down when taking the photos (the beer was strong!)



The exhibition is on until the 15th January

Heritage and Tourism

UK Music recently published a report into the economic value to the UK of music tourism Likewisem popular music is often used by agencies at national, regional and city level to illustrate the role it can play in social, cultural and economic well-being. Its importance can be illustrated by examples as varied as the Seattle Music ExperienceBritish Music Experience or the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

A central aim of our Leonardo research project is to explore the place of music heritage in our partner cities, so we were really pleased to find Music-Tours Berlin which became a welcome part of our itinerary.

We signed up before we left England and opted to take the three hour bus tour, joined by our Spanish partners, Marga, Israel and Chris.

We met tour founder and guide Thilo Schmied outside of Hotel Adlon at 9am. Famous, as we were to find out, as a bolt hole of presidents, kings and princes and the King of Pop – Michael Jackson – and his son Prince, along with Paris and famously Blanket. For it was here that MJ dangled his son Blanket over the balcony to his fans and a rather large number of paparazzi. And so we kicked off our tour.

The tour took in the world famous Hansa Studio’s were Iggy Pop, David Bowie, U2 and countless others have recorded, the house Iggy and Bowie shared, the bar next door they drank in, some of Nick Caves hangouts, the site of Tresor, the home of Berlin techno as well other clubs that have given Berlin the unofficial club capital of the world title.  These are just a couple of the sites we saw but what really made the tour for me was Thilo’s personality, passion, knowledge, and pride in Berlin.

Thilo obviously knew the stories, the people and the history of the city and its music but his enthusiasm in making sure we also got to know some of this history left a lasting impression. It was so much more than just a list of places which would have been the easy, but boring, thing to do. It was easy to understand how music was entwined with the city’s history, no more so than in this interview with Thilo. I could easily travelled around with him all day, alas he had another group that afternoon.

523740-Thilomemory from BCMCR on Vimeo.

So what made him start the tour?

For Thilo, he was embedded in the music industry when he spotted an opportunity which he thought he could exploit by using his local knowledge. Working with a number of partners, Thilo is constantly changing, refining and creating new tours as he welcomes bookings.




Paul and I were invited to speak at the All2gethernow event that was taking place as part of the Berlin Music Days event. Our German partner, Andrea Goetzke, was responsible for helping to organize the event which also included the UK organization, Un-Convention, who organised the Un-Convention Factory.

All2gethernow brings together speakers from across the wide music spectrum, commercial and cultural, to discuss, share, meet and hear new ways of understanding music in the digital age.

The event was held at yet another amazing Berlin venue, Kater Holzig which in turn was the new site of the legendary Café 25 venue.

We had an ok turnout for our talk, I think there may have been some language difficulties, but it was good to start talking about our projects and practices outside of an academic audience.

The event also had some of our friends talking and presenting: John Robb, punk, journalist, print and online author; Steve Lawson, musician, and educator; and Ruth Daniel founder of Un-Convention.

We dipped in and out of the event as we were zig-zagging all over Berlin meeting interesting people, but what I saw I enjoyed and overall Berlin was a real eye opener for me. I think there is much here for the Leonardo project to learn and report on. The use of spaces and places, the support given by city and state agencies and the attitude of the people.

I’m sure we will be back.