Berlin and zines and street fights
I was only there for nine days, and six of those days were non-zine related, so three days in total was spent roaming around, looking for good places to put zines.
The best ones I found were these:
1] Z cinema [or Z-inema, I’m not sure which] – a small bar/cinema that shows bizarro films
2] Filmkunst Fitzcarraldo – a video rental bar that has a small bicycle above the outside window.
3] Moviemento – Berlin’s oldest independent cinema
And that’s it.
I’ll do write ups on two of those places soon, when I’m not working on that ‘Psycho Holosuite’ story. It’s been two months so far. Two months to write one story. It would never have happened in the old days.
There were other places that could’ve been good for zines, but I didn’t get around to them.
Also, through all my constant zine-placing in various cities, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s better to put zines in bars or cinema bars than actual zine stores.
Zine stores are usually empty and a black hole for zines. They get put there easily enough, which is good, but the chances of anyone ever seeing one are tiny. There’s just too much choice, and all the zines are usually stacked side on so you can’t even judge them on their covers.
Better to either put them in bars or cinemas or tattoo parlours, then there’s zero competition. It makes sense to me. I don’t go to zine stores often, but I like zines. I go to the cinema more, and to bars…actually, the most feedback I ever got came from people who’d picked up the zine in bars and video shops.
Berlin is a decent place, even though it’s been popular for over 15 years now, it doesn’t seem to slip…maybe because the rent is so low. You don’t have to be a rich kid to set up a gallery or comic shop or bar of your own.
It’s an inspiring place.
It makes me want to revive those plans I had to open the small press/zine shop in Hong Kong, even though I know it’s suicide. Rent is too high here. You can last a year, maybe, but then the landlord can just double the rent and there’s no law to stop them. This is unchecked capitalism, and it’s rampant in HK…why do we still accept this?
Also, there doesn’t seem to be as much racism in Berlin. Not like in Italy and Spain, where you see immigrants sitting in the train stations all day with nothing to do because the Governments don’t allow them to work and won’t give them benefits.
To be fair, I’m not sure if they’re asylum seekers or regular immigrants…Hong Kong treats asylum seekers in a trashy way too…they get a tiny allowance but can’t work, which results in Sudanese women on buses asking me if I wanted to take her out for the night for a small price.
Actually, that was only one woman.
She offered me an apple, I asked about Sudan then somehow she got the idea I was asking her to fuck me for money.
I don’t blame her, I’d probably be doing the same if I had no other choice. Or would I? It’s hard to know until you’re really desperate for cash. And I mean really desperate, which is something most writers will never know.
The other day, I saw a writer asking about pamphlets to promote his books at conventions and how to keep the costs down, and I told him, hey, why don’t you try doing zines. It’s not that expensive if you save some cash for it, maybe $350 if you do a 40 page zine with 800 copies, black and white…
He said it was way too steep for him, and he’d just stick to pamphlets.
Fair enough…but it made me wonder, is $350 really that much? I don’t make that much cash from my job, but it only takes me 2-3 months to save up to do the zines. You have to make some sacrifices…eat cheap, don’t go out drinking etc…but if you’re serious about your writing then why would you not do this?
Most writers seem to focus on the internet and e-books nowadays, which costs nothing. Maybe that’s the way to go…
But it just seems so depressing…I’m tired of people trying to flog their e-book to me for $1…and the weird thing is, it seems to work for them. I don’t get it. Who’s actually buying all these things?
Where’s the creativity in spamming people?
It can’t be a good feeling, treating people like machines. Isn’t it better to do something different, something more creative…like zines?
There was a mini-brawl in Berlin when I was there…two groups of guys, spilling out of a bar, shouting at each other. Sometimes you forget how scary real fights can be [if you’re sober and not involved]. Then a stocky Turkish guy swings awkwardly for a bald German and you remember how unskilled it is, and how easy it is for someone to go down and stay down.
Man, the anger in their eyes…
I remember when that guy in Liverpool put me down in one punch. At least, I think he did. I just woke up on the floor, bleeding.
That’s the same as most fights I’ve seen in my life. Street fights, I mean. A few quick punches and it’s over. It’s not a cartoon like ‘The Raid’.
I wonder what I’ll do the next time someone wants to hit me. The last time was in Zagreb, where a guy taunted me in front of his mate, said I was a homosexual because I wouldn’t give him money to get some food…and my response was to keep walking.
I don’t know if that makes me a coward or not. I’ve been hit before, but not for a long time now, and I’ve only ever hit someone who hit me first. I don’t really know how to fight, but that doesn’t really matter as most fights happen when you’re drunk. I don’t have a killer instinct to put someone down permanently.
I think, overall, this is a good thing.
Darker view: perhaps it’s because I don’t have enough dominance over others, typically those who want to fight? I worry about this sometimes. If I had a superpower, or was the size of the mountain from Game of Thrones, would things be different? Would I become a motherfucker?
I hope not.
‘Sorry, nature, don’t make me Magneto, I don’t want it.’
I think that was a line from ‘Double Indemnity’.
It is strange though…strange that I’ve written a story like ‘Psycho Holosuite’ where the main guy is forced to re-live his previous assaults as a form of rehabilitation.
I suppose it could be explained as a story about anger, not fighting. Or how psychosis is something that can never be fully erased.
Anyway, key point: don’t go looking for a fight or you might get your head crushed like poor Oberyn.