B E R L I N - B E A U T Y

Bruce Stirling John Knox – artist, animator, author.

I came for the art, but I stayed for the women; for what Paris has in beauty, Berlin makes up for with character.

My Berlin is psychotic, vindictive, sweating, ovulating, and leering at me like a future ex-lover on the U-bahn.

I don't need any Virgil to guide me toward Cocytus, I've been here before; and these days the Styx is known as the Spree.

Yet there is the constant reminder that I'm not from around these parts; but if necessity is the mother of invention, then discomfort is the womb of creation.

You only become aware of your own ignorance the moment you learn more about the world around you, and there is so much history here that I must be the biggest idiot in this town; but that doesn't mean I plan to repeat the gruesome mistakes of my past anytime soon.

Remember, education is not the same as experience; just as the experiencing-self is the bastard-twin of the remembering-self.

Some girls call this place an 'incestuous village'. While some tough guys say you ain't welcome if you weren't born here. I say, some people need to get their fucking heads out their ass.

There are plenty of smug egos at every bar, exhibition, and dinner party; but only a feeble child needs to be told how to think without first tasting temptation for yourself – and I'm the pig leaving mere scraps for the vultures to squabble over.

I say, drink all night, screw all your friends, wake up naked and alone everyday, and then you'll realize how much you ultimately fit in here, kid.

The city's an abyss, you look into it and it changes you... Hopefully for the worse. For what can you truly know about yourself if you have never challenged your greatest weaknesses?

But for fuck's sake, don't ever fucking admit it! Are you stupid?! Of course everyone's fucking everyone else (over), but never be so flippant as to confess your petty sins even to your neighbor's sleeping dog, 'cause we're all absolutely going to judge the shit out of you!

If New York is the whore of Babylon, then Berlin must be that diseased aunty smiling at you with crooked gold teeth while holding out glistening candy as she hitches up her skirt, and you can bet your bottom-dollar she sure didn't shave.

But goddamn it, as long as we're still laughing about last night's debauchery, then fuck it. It was worth every embarrassing Caligula-moment. Because if there is one lesson we all know through and through: the worst case scenarios make the best fucking stories.

But don't tell... No, do tell... Don't...

"I woke up this morning and I thought what am I doing here?" said Nick Cave... But then I remember what Tom Waits had to say, "The world is not my home, I'm just a passing through."

But you can't escape yourself.

Bruce Stirling John Knox photographed by © Petrov Ahner