Berlin Part 2 (some of the pictures in this entry keep disappearing so if there is text that doesn't seem to make any sense that's the reason.)
So... Berlin apart from having a rich history, it has some amazing museums and galleries. First up the Pergamon...
Its called this because the Germans plundered an entire temple from the ancient city of Pergamon in Greece. This seems to be a pretty common thing in European museums but no one seems to mind though. (By the way, Rufus Wainwright fans should note that the cover of his latest album Release the Stars is taken from the figure on the bottom right hand corner. Now you know.)
If stealing an entire Greek temple wasn't enough, the museum also houses one of the Ishtar Gates which was one of the eight entrances to the inner city of Babylon and was one of the original seven wonders of the world until something more, urm, wondrous took its place. It was excavated from the remains of Babylon which is actually located 80k north of Baghdad. So happily I didn't have to travel to Iraq to see it. But that got me thinking, since John Howard thinks its such a brilliant idea to send the Australian army into an endless, senseless invasion of Iraq where the local people are actually worse off than when they were living under a fascist, totalitarian regime (operation enduring freedom which will kill yo' ass), maybe he can organise a day trip for the troops to see the ruins of Babylon. You know, make it educational as well as destructive. Maybe John Howard could go as a tour guide. Then maybe he could go out in the field with the soldiers, you know, give him a rifle so he can experience combat. Then maybe they should send him to a really dangerous place just by himself with a target painted on his back. That would be brilliant, a sure vote winner. I'd vote for that.
Anyhow, the Pergamon also has an amazing collection of Islamic art, books and ancient artifacts which were pretty special. Sadly, my photos of that stuff came out kinda crap so you should go and see it yourself.
My next favourite place was the Hamburger Barnhoff which was recommended by my oldest friend Dave. Its a gallery of contemporary art which is situated in this amazing old train station. It is plausibly the most spacious and beautiful gallery I've ever visited but Dave did warn me that the artwork was a little cerebral. From this, I have worked out that "cerebral" is a codeword for crap as most of the exhibitions were utter rubbish... but the building was breathtaking. (By the way, I have no credentials as an art critic, I just know what I like and definitely know what I hate. Its all subjective anyway.)
An original Keith Haring. Art I hate.
Anyway after spending a few days in galleries and museums, we decided we needed to go lowbrow for a day but we didn't realise how low we would sink. We started our lowbrow day by seeing Harry Potter at the pictures. However, when we walked out, I started heading down this fenced off area until I realised I wasn't supposed to. We found out that the cinema was in preparation for the German Premiere of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Thinking it would be funny, we stuck around. Bad idea.
Phwoar, the silver carpet because a red carpet would be inappropriate for a film with silver in the title.
I have to admit I had no interest in seeing this movie as I have tried to watch the first one but have given up because it! was! shit! And I can watch any old crap but the first Fantastic Four wasn't even craptastic enough to be watchable. However, knowing that Julian Mcmahon is in the movie (Danni Minogue's ex-husband, star of Charmed and Nip/Tuck, the b-grade actor's actor), I felt it was my obligation... nay, my duty to get my photo taken with him if possible. Here's Ruth and I giddy with excitement with the prospect of seeing Julian McMahon.
Sadly, we soon learned from a friendly bouncer (who knew?) that Julian Mcmahon was not appearing. The crowds were swelling with crazed old ladies, thuggish paparazzi and teenage boys with semi-erect penises for just one person - the terminally untalented Jessica Alba. Really, name one good film she's been in apart from Sin City? Dare ya, lady can't act, end of story.
In my life I have survived the fiercest heavy metal mosh pits, been chased down the street by a baton wielding police man, been beaten up by a gorilla sized army dude in Townsville, been dragged from underneath the hooves of a horse when I fell down at a protest and I have even watched Glitter from beginning to end. But none of this compares to the arrival of Jessica Alba at the launch of a film. It was incredibly scary because people just went crazy. Seriously, batshit crazy. No really, this was skipping through a field of landmines in clown shoes crazy. I don't think you're getting it, off their medication, unhinged, killer, 28 days later zombie crazy!
Since we had stumbled upon the thing, we were on the barrier but people were hitting me in the back, pulling at my hair and strangely enough, pulling down my pants from behind to get to the front. They were screaming, crying and generally hysterical like Elvis, Jesus, Kurt Cobain and Steve Irwin had come back from the dead and just announced they were forming a boy band. I'm not joking, it was a war zone as Ms Alba glided by. I got out of there pretty quick because I wasn't prepared to get beat up by a bunch of berserker fans who would claw through my skin with their fingernails and eat their first born to see some actress I don't even like.
I did feel sorry for this guy though. He's also in the film but basically followed quietly in Alba's wake. Poor bloke, people were asking him to get them her autograph. I felt a bit sad for him but he asked if people were alright in all the chaos so he seemed ok. I guess he just wanted to get it over with so he could hit the bar. He's Welsh apparently...
While we were waiting for all this bullshit to unfold, we noticed there was an Australiana bar just across from us. These kind of places have been pretty much everywhere we've travelled and I have never viewed them with anything other than embarrassment and contempt. BUT on lowbrow day after the Fantastic Four debacle, it seemed perfect. It was called the Corroboree Bar and was filled with surf boards and fake Aboriginal art which I'm sure is not offensive to Indigenous people in anyway whatsoever. Terrible stuff but didn't that VB taste good.
As I wiped a patriotic tear from my eye, this replica Sydney Harbour Bridge walkway made me feel homesick. Well, not really but it did make me laugh hysterically. Totally brilliant.
Fortunately, this Australian atrocity was in this pretty amazing building complex surrounding by cool buildings.
After a successful day of lowbrow action, we hit the underground and headed home satisfied that in Berlin, one of the world's greatest cities brimming with culture and history, we did the tackiest thing of our entire trip. Yay!