Deluxe mag dealer
You walk into this slick little store, browse the extraordinary array of international magazines on politics, fashion, art, design, film, music etc., try not to step on the feet of the 10 other magazine addicts doing the same while you nibble at a juicy apple that was offered to you at the counter. It's Saturday afternoon, you're having a wonderful time, but dammit you can't find that underground Hong Kong skateboarding 'zine you're looking for. Now what? Instinct tells you to forget about it, to walk away without bothering to ask the probably unhelpful, apathetic grump behind the counter. Wrong, these guys ain't your average Berlin newsagents (no Lotto!). They're friendly, speak English and are even open to suggestions! They'll order anything you wish, will look it up on the Internet and might even add it to their regular selection. And yes, this store is in Berlin!
VC Do You Read Me? Auguststr. 28, Mitte, U-Bhf Rosenthaler Platz, Mitte, Tel 6954 9695, Mon-Fri 10-20:30, Sat 10-19:30,
Russki tea lounge
Ahhh Gemütlichkeit, cosiness - a holy state of being for the Germans. Especially in the sometimes inhumanely cruel atmosphere of Berlin in winter. One haven of tranquillity can be found in Prenzlberg's Bötzowviertel. Here, you can comfortably rest your trendy bordeaux-colored faux-leather-vintage boots under granny's Spitzendecke, while listening to contemporary chamber songs (in Russian, English or German), field recordings from India, or Lithuanian fairy tales. 'Have a cup of Tschai-kowsky' (tschai = tea in Russian) - offers Egor Sviridenko, who can't get enough of a joke that dates back to his childhood days in Belarus. The shop opened last year - the result of a happy encounter between Sviridenko, who dreamt of importing the tea culture he saw in Southern France's Arabic tearooms, and Russian Arseny Zinogradov, who was looking to open an art gallery. Tschaikowsky offers140 teas, which are served at precisely the right temperature, with the exact amount of necessary tea leaves and in an appropriately-styled tea pot (€3.50). You can also become a 'bookcrosser' here, part of a free online book club with 655,000 members and over 4,600,000 registered books, that sort of works like an international freebie-library. If you're more into stimulating your visual intellect, the tiny tea lounge also features art exhibitions, and will be hosting a 'deep tea house' party in November. Watch the rain through the window, sip your Golden Puerh, enjoy.
GL Tee- und Kunsthaus Tschaikowsky, Käthe-Niederkirchner-Str. 15, Prenzlauer Berg, Tel 7469 7972, Tue-Sun, 14-22:00, www.tee-kunsthaus.de, Deep Tea House Party - minimal & deep sound, Nov 1, 20:00
Entrusting your precious locks to a new hair-dresser is no laughing matter - let's face it, underneath the awkward cape you're helpless to prevent hair disaster. Remember last time you spit out your latte (like head massages, these days they're on the house, unless you go to the cheapos) and demanded a refund, face flushed, eyes moist with repressed anger? Ban hair-don'ts from your life: put your looks in Tanja's hands. The digs are chic and Tanja Petereit, senior stylist, has worked and lived in enough fashionable places, including Vogue in London, to regale you with glamorous stories in your own selected language. If small talk's not your style, there's a plethora of international fashion mags to peruse. Tanja and her partner Tanja will devise the perfect style for you after careful analysis of bone structure, hair type, and all sorts of details you and your previous hairdresser never knew existed. They can also provide tons of hair care and make-up tips (plus make-up lessons) so you can look non-stop gorgeous. All in all, this salon's the real deal: we know, we scoped it out on a recon-mission! Even if you arrive late, all sweaty, breathless and apologetic, you'll be treated like a queen.
VC ANTABerlin Stylisten, Regensburger Str. 4, Schöneberg, Tel 217 0378,
Tue-Wed 10-19, Thur-Fri 11-20, Sat from 10, www.antaberlin.de; €48 (cut) and up
Electronic music evolution
An electronic music radio station makes sense in Berlin. A few years ago, TwenFM was broadcasting quality tracks but couldn't get its funding together. Since September, electronic beats have again been streaming from Cuvrystraße in Kreuzberg. Sonett77 broadcasts free tunes all-day, everyday to whomever wants to listen. "The whole world looks to Berlin for the evolution of electronic music," says station chief Tim Thaler. "That's why it's important to be here." The station's more than 20 musicians and DJs are uncompromising and passionate about the house, techno, and electro they play. So passionate, in fact, that most of them create, present, or contribute to Sonett77's shows for free. The site's slick, virtual turntable-style interface also lets you replay sets on demand. Sets are moulded to fit the hour, whether you're getting up to go to work or pre-gaming with friends on a Friday night. "You need different kinds of music for different times of day," Thaler says. "And it's the quality that counts; we only play music we like."
JM Tune in at www.sonett77.com