Warum haben wir diesen Namen?

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“What’s in a name?” // “Was ist in einem Namen?”

(from Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet – Act II, Scene II)

Explaining our name…

WIR KINDER FROM LONDON = WE CHILDREN FROM LONDON

You might find yourself asking why this website is not entitled in the conventional German of “Wir sind die Kinder vom London Stadt” (“We are the children from London town”).

Well, aside, from the URL being ridiculously long and confusing for anyone who can “nicht sprechen Deutsch” it is to do with one city, one book, one film, one song (Bowie’s Heroes) and one woman. That woman being the protagonist from Ulrich Edel’s cult film Christiane F – Wir Kinder Vom Bahnhof Zoo (1981).

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Yet Christiane is no fictional character, living in West Berlin during 1975, during the height of the divided city and the wall, she became embroiled in a world of drugs – hashish, LSD, pills and heroin. What makes this tale so shocking is that her decline into depravity began when she was only 12 and by the time she was 14 her heroin addiction was so strong that she was a full time sex worker. This was a decade, documented in both Stern magazine and Edel’s film, when teenage drug use and child prostitution were rife.

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The pivotal axis upon which the film turns is that of David Bowie and his input – both acting as himself and providing the musical soundtrack. Christiane maintains that her first heroin experience was at a Bowie concert – a scene that is re-enacted in the film and which exposes a 14 year old girl’s adoration for the singer.

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There is also a fucked-up but tragically emotive love story between Christiane and the (gorgeous) Detlef who she meets at the infamous nightclub Sound. It is her love for him the leads her into a whirlwind of drugs and crime – all in an attempt to be closer to him. Detlef introduces her to the sordid underworld of the sex and drug scene at the Bahnhof Zoo train station – yet it is here that she learns her lover and best friend is also engaging in homosexual prostitution behind her back – his yearning for heroin is stronger than his love for her.

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Be warned – Stealing from family, performing underage sex acts, junkies overdosing and graphic withdrawal is shown in lurid detail.

Modern day Berlin is not typified by this film – where the cinematography is dark, unclean and rundown. Former landmarks used in the film no longer exist and the child actors used in the film (most of whom were still in school) have never gone on to great fame.

David Bowie’s Heroes is a song that resonates through the soul, however, very few know of Wir Kinder Vom Bahnhof Zoo and the warning that Bowie was trying to give – having struggled with his own demons during his Berlin Years of 1976-79.

Christiane F. is not an easy watch, despite the unfounded promise that the real character went on to live happily ever after…

This is a gritty bildungsroman, showing that life is never easy, but this film is a piece of history and an artistic expression that is not to be ignored. Indeed, it is by observing literature, music and cinema (in this cult classic and in general) that one sees reflections of life – both the highs and the lows. Wir Kinder Vom Bahnhof Zoo stays with you long after you have finished watching it. Perhaps it will inspire you in some way to make something of yourself no matter what life throws at you.

“At 12 it was Angel Dust. At 13 it was heroin. Then she took to the streets”

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“The Image of a Generation”
Anne x
Photos: Stills & promotional shots from Christiane F © Euro Video
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Chic bring the sunshine to Bestival 2013

For many of those only recently acquainted with Nile Rodgers via his collaboration with Daft Punk, the considerable size of his back catalogue will have come as a huge surprise at Bestival. Any sceptics, only aware of one or two hits, were soon proven wrong. The sun was shining and nothing could dampen the spirits of these disco kings and queens as Chic took to the stage.

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People danced in sync to some of the old tracks, almost creating a flash mob, the crowd metamorphosing into an irresistible, living, breathing disco creature. The lead vocals of Kimberly Davis were absolutely spectacular and cemented her status as a true diva who reached every note with style, glitz and glamour. Rodgers’ masterful guitar as he moseyed back and forth across the stage oozed pure cool. There was perhaps even a dig at Saturday night’s headliner Snoop Dogg who had covered a medley of other people’s songs as Rodger’s exclaimed “All this s*** you hear…is songs I wrote”. What was most flabbergasting was the sheer diversity of the songs he has written; Rodgers is certain to have expanded his fan base with massive kudos to this legend who has penned Bowie’s Let’s DanceLike a Virgin by Madonna and even Lady (Hear Me Tonight) by Modjo.

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Chic’s own songs are funky and easily recognisable in their own right. The audience received the aural delights of Le Freak and I Want Your Love(1978), blasted from the stage. There was also the wondrous Sister Sledge track We are Family (1979), causing a beautiful moment in the crowd and compounded perfectly by the vivid rainbow that appeared behind the main stage as the band played. After a weekend of tumultuous weather Chic and Nile Rodgers shone brightly.

The set concluded with a recreation of Studio 54 onstage: scores of backing dancers, sound men, and women in glamorous regalia poured on, including a small child in the centre rocking out to Good Times. This familial atmosphere was a perfect ending to the summer and proved that Nile Rodgers appeals to all generations and will continue to do so for years to come.

chic 3Our rating: *****

Anne x

Photos: Ambra Vernuccio