Mary Rose Cook

Berlin

The important things are those that happen between the lines. I can write the most tangible descriptions, but you will not dream of them, you will not reminisce, because you don’t know all the details.

Sunday

Matthew and I sat in Victoria station and ate two Krispy Kreme doughnuts each.

Three hours later, Theresa, looking cooel in her little lace-ups and red anorak, met Matthew and I at Schodenfeld airport. We took a cold walk to the underground railway and then videoed each other as we went back into the centre of Berlin.

We arrived at Theresa’s beautiful apartment in Latte-Machiatto-land and hung out and drank Yorkshire tea in the kitchen, off-white fridge buzzing in the corner. I got Theresa to talk to the camera about the venues we would be playing at.

Monday

Matthew and Theresa set off early in the morning, he to interview a prominent architect about shrinking cities, she to her Musicology tutorials at Uni.

I struggled out of bed at noon and then, without map, without directions, without any kind of a grasp of ze Deutsch, I set off to meet Theresa at the Perkammonmuseum. I asked my way there, making progress street by street, speaking to nice couples and sour-faced women, handsome boys and American tourists.

By some miracle, I arrived on time and hugged Theresa in gladness. We walked through the streets, passing huge, ruined buildings being renovated, beach-hut coloured apartment blocks. We walked on broken-up flint pavements and granite paving, went into shops that subsist on disposable incomes and grocers full of old women. We ate vaffles and swung on swings near a graffiti wall Theresa likes and then went back home and sat on the sofa.

The first gig was at A, a sort of tavern with huge windows that looked out onto quiet streets. Matthew and I met some of Theresa’s friends - Olga, Hauden, Andreas, his housemate Andrea - and we talked about the art scene and short films and plagiarism and squats.

I played first, each song bookended with muted applause and successively quieter “Danke”s. Theresa then came on and played a wonderful set, complete with demonic, crawling cat robot, toy guitar riffs and alternately ebullient and mournful video projections.

We got very drunk and finally took a cab home at three a.m.

Tuesday

The three of us took a tour of posh boutiques, ate delicious falafel in floury pancakes at a Turkish place, drank coffee and then, in a highly caffeinated haze, we rushed out onto the street, Theresa saved me from getting hit by a tram, we flagged a taxi, picked up the car and the Golden Disko Ship music stuff, filmed a Ronin-esque journey across Berlin out of the front of the car, picked up the beamer (projector) and arrived at venue two.

The place was a concrete shell with a lamp-post in the centre of the room (complete with yellow bin), a kiosk for beer, a stage (the front representing a window looking into a house). Sauvern took Theresa and I through our sound-checks and then we drank beer and composed impromptu songs on the piano. Matt and I discussed the fact that we had begun to speak English like foreigners. Apostrophes had disappeared from our words and sentences. Further, we were veering towards German - our “yeah”s had become “ja”s, “hello”s “hallo”s, “pardon”s “was”es

I played first and bellowed my way through the set. People seemed to enjoy it and when I came off stage, I stood in the corner of the room and hung my head as I withstood a minute’s worth of applause and embarrassment. It struck me that the expression I wear when singing is much the same as the one I wear when kissing.

Theresa suffered through numerous equipment malfunctions and sound problems. She weathered it, though, and for the first time the sadness of her songs came through live.

For the rest of the evening, we all stood around and talked and drank beer. Theresa and I played an improvised duet on the piano that stood behind her video projection screen on the stage.

Then we packed up and left.

Wednesday

A lovely, lazy day. Matthew went to the airport and Theresa and I went to a little cafe in Latte-Machiatto land and ate waffles and ice-cream as Jose Gonzalez played in the background.

We drove to the Soviet monument - a park of statues and granite - and stood on the steps of the main building. The cold bit at our noses and cheeks. It started to rain, and we stood there in the orange, unheated glow of the stone building.

We ate a Bolivian supper, spent the evening jamming in a rehearsal room and then went home.

Thursday

Theresa lent me her Sonic Youth “Confusion is Sex” t-shirt. We ate breakfast. We went to the airport.