Berlin and beyond: Hunting for hipsters

Word is, Berlin has become the hipster mecca of Europe. Tamsin Walker has been on the trail of what, it turns out, is a more elusive and varied species than first meets the eye.

When, a couple of days ago, some poor misguided soul told me I was looking hipster, I had three probing thoughts. Which, since I was not twirling spiffing facial hair, sipping a flat white from the bottom of an upcycled flowerpot or lugging with me a 1930s portable typewriter that doubles as a turntable, were: How so? Don’t like the sound of that. And what the heck constitutes a hipster these days anyway?

For insight I turned to the now infamous Ladybird book on the genre, which after asserting that they are affluent, childless and well-dressed, gave me this:

“Hipsters think plates are very old-fashioned. They prefer to eat from plants, tiles and first generation iPads. This tofu self-identifying cross-species is being served on a spring-loaded folder that contains the script of a short film about a skateboarding shoelace designer.” Read on… or listen…


Category: Writing

Berlin and beyond: Auf Wiedersehen Britain

A year after the Brexit vote, Germany has noted a 360 percent rise in citizenship applications from Brits. Among them is Tamsin Walker, who has spent her summer holiday in northern England, saying farewell.








What is a trip to the English seaside without fish and chips? We drench ours in salt and malt, vinegar that is, not whisky – though there’s an idea – and head out into the whiskery winds of another Whitby summer.

Too cold to sit on the beach, we join the huddle of holiday-makers and day-trippers skewering the same deliciously soggy fayre in the same northern English seaside spirit. Granted, it is the stuff of great British clichés – but it is also the stuff in which many of my memories of growing up are wrapped. Read on… or listen…

Category: Writing

Berlin and beyond: Into the woods

Why do Germans have such a profound and enduring love affair with their forests? Tamsin Walker ventured into their deep, dark depths to try and understand.









I’ll never forget my first walk among German trees. I had just arrived in the country and was a fish out of water. Quite literally. Having previously always lived within relatively easy reach of the sea, my new Bavarian home left me feeling claustrophobically land-locked. Somewhat incongruously, I chose to try and diffuse the mounting sense of unease by venturing into a nearby Wald. It didn’t help.



Category: Berlin, Writing

Foodies eat into Berlin’s impoverished image

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After reveling in its self-styled party image, Berlin is now cultivating a more mature, gourmet persona. The eat! Berlin food festival is key to efforts, but as DW’s Tamsin Walker finds out, it’s all a matter of taste.

Let’s get one thing straight: I am not a foodie. My grandmother used to argue that a carefully crafted pill would be the easiest way to give the body the nutrients it needs, and I sometimes think I might have inherited a mild dose of that attitude. It’s not that I have no appreciation for good grub, more perhaps that I’m generally unmoved by the ebb and flow of dining trends. Read more…

Category: Writing

Move over electro, Berlin’s got a new beat

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Berlin features big on the global set list of electronica, but a bunch of musicians are strumming their stuff in an effort to add another, handmade, string to the city’s bow.

One chilly Friday night earlier this year, I was sitting in Schlesisch Blau mopping up the remains of the soup I’d ladled into my own bowl from the vast pots on the old-fashioned stove, when the chatter and chuckles that are the restaurant’s ambient sound were suddenly interrupted by the deep pluck and jangly twang of an unexpected musical interlude.

Conversations hushed, and within moments the trio of musicians had the stage – or the square foot of standing room in front of the giant soup pots – and the attention of the assembled company. No preamble. Just music that sounded as if it had been tailor-made for that very situation. They played for 20 minutes or so, took their bows, sold a few CDs and went on their way. Read on.

Category: Berlin, music | Tags: , ,

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