Nass, which doesn’t mean nice, for Sleater-Kinney

It’s wet outside. Nass, a word which I have just learned. It’s also wet inside, on me and through me. My fingers are too cold to type really efficiently; but just wait, I tell myself, they have real winters here, its no use complaining about the spring.

We’ve just ridden back across town from the Sleater-Kinney show, who as usual tore the place down on a few songs, and just plain rocked on all the rest. This makes two Japanese bands, one American, one Canadian in the last week. It’s time to start discovering the German music scene, or making some myself.

Drinks beforehand with Kenji and Till, who just got a full scholarship at the University of Munich, which makes him something like a German rock star of political economy. They’re spending the weekend at a castle in northeastern germany to celebrate their anniversary.

Tonight, the sky is lit up over the center of the city by the searchlights at the Berlin Hauptbahnhof, a monster of glass and arches that opened on Tuesday. In the low, drifting clouds (and inspired by the WWII reading I have done recently) the lights look eerily like anti-aircraft defenses.

Till tells two stories about this new ubertrain station, which was supposed to be the pride of the new Berlin. To save money, DB made it shorter and squatter than the original plans had called for. That means that some trains will stick out the back as passengers disembark, leaving some people to be drenched on rainy days like this one. Berliners were furious when they heard of the changes; but a city that is technically bankrupt can’t argue too strenuously for overspending.

And then: On Tuesday, the day of the opening, the officials in charge decided that it would be simply impossible to have trains stop there, because too many people would come and clog the system, making the trains late. Efficiency trumpts logic. So if you wanted to visit the new station for the opening party, you couldn’t take the train there. People who didn’t hear the message on the radio watched angrily out the windows, shouting, as the station rolled past and receded into the distance…

In any case, the cheap airfares here are quickly making trains as obsolete as in America. We can’t afford to take the train to Paris this summer. EasyJet, here we come.

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