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Beamer, Dressman, Bodybag
Alexander Wells
19 April 2023
published in Issue Three

Whenever I leave my Berlin apartment, the first thing I see is a sign saying CHICKEN HAUS BURGER; the second is a café blackboard announcing: « You can’t buy happiness but you can buy CROIFFLE and that’s kind of the same thing. » A billboard advertises an upcoming film as « ein STATEMENT für GIRLPOWER »; one shop promises a wide range of Funsocken. Rather more disturbing — particularly here in Neukölln, a neighbourhood copiously populated by leftie Americans and families from the Middle East — is the Arabic-German barber shop called WHITE BOSS. And when I go downtown to the bookstore where I occasionally host readings, the only good coffee nearby is served by a place unbelievably named PURE ORIGINS.

Being an English native speaker in Berlin means wading daily through a sea of linguistic nonsense. « Be Coffee My Monkey » orders one café; another says « Make Coffee Love Magic ». At one of those cafés you might overhear Germans saying things like « das ist ein Gamechanger! » and « Hast du’s geliket? » and « Oh my God was für ein Fuck-My-Life-Moment ». On bad days, I worry that English has turned into...

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