Can you describe to us what the city of Berlin looked like in the 80s and 90s. What was the culture like? How was it to be a Berliner back then?
Being a West Berliner. That was wonderful (and I don’t just mean the 8% Berlin allowance). You could go wherever you wanted with a certain amount of hassle and you would miss many anecdotes about GDR border guards today.
I have fond memories of that time. I wasn’t a scene-goer, but in the early 80s I often went to the folk clubs around Bleibtreustraße and Savignyplatz, and later often to the Tempodrom, which was then still a tent next to the Congress Hall. The charm of Kreuzberg is no longer in evidence today. But what does charm mean? In the 80s, the houses still had bullet holes from the war, there were undeveloped wastelands, the air was bad.
In any case, there was a ritual for me: Saturdays were spent in the converted bathroom doing lab work while listening to the national football league.
It’s nice that ‘Die Stiege’ still exists today on Oranienstraße in Kreuzberg with the same interior and the same brothers running the place. Even the prices are still good.
In the mid to late 80s, Love Parade and CSD made their way into the city, still on a manageable scale. This also interested me photographically, but did not yet have the resonance and commercial effect as in the following years.
Around 1988, cultural saturation set in: Madonna in the Olympic Stadium: cancelled because of lousy demand, Frank Sinatra ! was cancelled because of high prices (in revenge he wanted to turn West Berlin into a big car park…), Dylan moved to East Berlin in Treptower Park. For Neil Diamond at the Waldbühne, many tickets were given away at our publishing house. The air was out a little.
Then came the fall of the Wall, the East was conquered. New pubs and clubs were founded everywhere. Exciting times, a bit techno heavy, not my thing. Many foreigners came to the city, gold diggers, freaks, entrepreneurs – the upheaval began.
I changed to the photo editorial department of BILD (until 2001), we set up external editorial departments in the new federal states, my son was born, I started a family, my time became scarcer.