Every Picture Tells a Story: Summertime Karaoke in Mauerpark, Berlin

Travel: Summertime Karaoke in Mauerpark, Berlin

When I was younger I lived in Berlin for a while and it was a place of many shades and moods. Like most of mainland Europe there are four very distinct seasons which lend a lot of atmosphere and fervour to people’s lives. In winter the place has menacing shades, it’s dark for a long time and freezing with black ice on the bike paths that makes you fall down.

The summer in Berlin though is probably the only place you would want to be as a young person. It’s the epicentre of decadence and exhuberant youthfulness. People here are intoxicated on life. And it helps that beer costs less than water and a 1 litre flaggon of weissbier is about 2 euros.

Every Picture Tells a Story: Summertime Karaoke in Mauerpark, Berlin
Singing David Bowie in the park, despite or perhaps because of being drunk. Content Catnip Copyright 2010

In any case I digress, this image was taken while watching the weekly spectacle of summer Karaoke im Mauerpark. Saturday and Sunday afternoon impromptu fiestas where someone originally had the idea to bring a speaker and a mic and then hold karaoke. A whole subculture of random people grew out of this initiative, with a market of ‘used'(i.e. stolen) bikes for sale there, people selling beer and weed out of eskies and people practicing gymnastics and doing random dance routines.

People watching the karaoke would get pissed and then try and sing classic songs from the 80’s and 90’s with a mixed bag of results. In most cases people deliberately took the piss and tried for comedy value. Often people were just out and out terrible singers and yet the crowd never shunned them.

Germans are pretty good natured with heckling and so forth, and unlike the UK nobody ever gets booed off or heckled into oblivion. This is always hard to watch no matter how crap someone is. Everyone clapped in a good natured way despite how bad people sang.

I once got wasted enough one time to attempt to mosey up to the mic and ask if I could actually sing something – Sinead O’Connor, Nothing Compares to You’ I was feeling pretty emo that day because I was missing my ex boyfriend but with someone else at that time who I could tell wasn’t really in love with me. But I digress…apparently the entire schedule of singing was booked out for the entire day you need to go online early in the morning to reserve your place before the karaoke begins to even get a chance to sing.

What the fuck else am I supposed to do? I thought in my booze addled brain. Balance a ball on my nose, clap my paws together? Dance a little Irish jig perhaps? win at game of Guess Who?

Every Picture Tells a Story: Summertime Karaoke in Mauerpark, Berlin
Singing David Bowie in the park, despite or perhaps because of being drunk. Content Catnip Copyright 2010

“No no, no…”I said, mealy mouthed and stumbling around. “You don’t understand, I’ve been working myself up to this for weeks”. The woman just looked at me with that blank steely-eyed expressionless face Germans sometimes get, which can be startling and a bit intimidating. And that was that. We, (boyfriend and I) got some reasonably priced thai duck curry and went back to his apartment.

 

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