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The Best of Berlin in April

Exberliner · 13 Apr 2010, 10:48

Published: 13 Apr 2010 10:48 GMT+02:00

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Written in the sand

When Londoner Jason Andrews first came to Berlin in 2005, it was for the weekend. Little did he know that five years and a published novel (November) later, he’d be living here and launching an English literary magazine with a fellow Anglophone, Becky Crook. Crook, a Seattleite who works at the Friedrichshain-based “platform for social projects” betterplace.org, met Andrews at a writing class; both were enamoured with Berlin’s literature and poetry scene. This month, they’re joining forces to launch SAND, the first local magazine of its kind since Border Crossings disappeared one-and-a-half years ago. “I want SAND to be a central watering hole,” says Crook. “To reflect on Berlin’s vibrant [literary] scene.” Their project has created ripples of anticipation in the English literary community: it has been endorsed by the likes of Rob Grant, the man behind Beat Street, and Fuel hostess Lady Gaby; it has also garnered financial support (and subscriptions) from cafés, bookshops and online donors. The deadline for initial submissions was in February, but that shouldn’t stop all you Christopher Isherwood wannabes from sending in your writings: they could be included in the next issue. Crook and Andrews have invested their own savings in the project. “We're sure we'll make our money back,” they say enthusiastically. Even if they don’t, it’s sure to be a fun, fulfilling project./EP

SAND: Berlin’s English Literary Journal | Appearing biannually as of April 2010. The launch date and details about the party will be posted at sandjournal.com

The cabinet of Doctor Korneev

“A Panoptikum,” Vlad Korneev says with earnest confidentiality, is “a collection of extraordinary or rare objects.” He couldn't have found a better name for his time warp of a shop. The moment you step in, you are swallowed up by a heady mix of venerable typewriters, glinting bowling trophies, retro telephones, funky clocks and wonderfully comfy chairs. In one room, a great stone bust of Lenin introduces a GDR theme: back issues of Das Magazin can be snapped up for a mere €1; kitsch-but-cool bowls cost €3. But most of the time, there aren’t price tags – Panoptikum is about soul, not money-making. Korneev carefully handpicks each item, culling his wares from ‘secret’ bric-a-brac stores, eBay and even rubbish skips, then lovingly restoring and displaying them. Amateur decorators can pick up some truly unique items for their living rooms: a 1970s stereo/record player from the East German electronic supplier RFT (in stunning condition!); a life-size Power Ranger from Japan; and lamps of every shape and size. In the futuristic, refrigerator-like backrooms, the items are not for sale, but can be rented for anything from film to fashion shoots. Here, dentist chairs share space with some of the first ever Ersatzsonnen (electric sun lamps), and a human-sized birthing doll lies on a chair near a talking dispensing machine. Korneev plans to organise a museum-style exhibition soon: the €1 admission price will be a bargain, considering the mind-boggling treasures he is planning to display./PRC

DESIGN PANOPTIKUM | Torstr. 201, Mitte, U-Bhf Oranienburger Tor, Mon-Sat 12-20 , Tel 0157 7401 299, www.vlad.ag

A whiff of Berlin

Give your nose a holiday from the stench of city streets: at Frau Tonis Parfum, you’ll find the new scent of Berlin. Inspired by the fragrances worn by her mother – which always instilled a sense of happiness in her as a child–

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83-year-old Ruhr-born Toni Gronewald fulfilled a life-long dream with the opening of her own perfume boutique last November. Lined with rows of flacons, the shop's simple but sleek white interior exudes an air of nostalgic elegance, while the many fragrances often offer a note of retro sophistication: “Veilchen” (No. 37) was inspired by the violet scent Marlene Dietrich used to wear; “Sminta” (No. 20) is reminiscent of Chanel No. 5, a perfume also invented in the 1920s. Toni’s ‘younger’ fragrances include the light and fruity “Potosi” (No. 86), the aromatic, herb-infused “Lavendelwasser” (No. 1) and the fruity “Tulpe” (No. 58), a perfect choice for springtime. All the perfumes are manufactured in Berlin, with oils from France. The prices range from €7 for a 7ml flacon to €79 for 100ml; eau de cologne and aftershave cost €12 for 50ml and €18 for 100ml – and you can even ‘layer’ your scent with bath salts (€2.50) and soaps (€1 to €1.50). Frau Tonis also offers customers the opportunity to invent their own perfumes: the staff is happy to help you find a suitable combination and ratio./AW

Frau Tonis Parfum | Alte Schönhauser Str. 50, Mitte, U-Bhf Weinmeisterstr.,Tel 030 20215310, Mon-Fri 11-19, Sat 10-18, www.frau-tonis-parfum.com

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Exberliner (editor@exberliner.com)

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