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Bieber and ‘Beliebers’ take over Berlin

Canadian heartthrob Justin Bieber arrived in Berlin on Monday to promote his new single and snap a few artsy Instagram pictures amid a throng of his devoted fans.

Bieber and 'Beliebers' take over Berlin
Justin Bieber at the MTV Music Awards in August. Photo: DPA

Bieber is in the German capital to promote his new single What Do You Mean?, which hit the top of the charts in 80 countries including Germany this week.

Hundreds of “Beliebers” waited in the rain on Monday at Berlin's glitzy film premiere hub, Potsdamer Platz, to catch a glimpse of the singer at the Ritz Carlton where he is staying.

During downtime on Monday, the now platinum-coiffed Bieber visited a park at Gleisdreieck in the Schöneberg district of the German capital.

As well as making use of the park's skate ramps. the troubled star posted some artful Instagram pictures of himself sitting – and praying – on a disused rail track.

 

#pray

Ein von Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) gepostetes Foto am 14. Sep 2015 um 7:16 Uhr

Ein von Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) gepostetes Foto am 14. Sep 2015 um 11:11 Uhr

 

While these photos are sure to delight his adoring young fans, German police who have recently been trying to persuade teenagers to stop taking selfies on train lines might be less pleased.

Among the 21-year-old's engagements on Tuesday is a spot on Radio Energy in Leipziger Platz from 6pm to 7pm, reports the Berliner Morgenpost.

Trouble brewing?

On a European tour in 2013, Bieber's bizarre behavior proved to be tabloid gold.

In London he threatened to “beat the fuck” out of a photographer, while in Amsterdam he wrote in a log book at the Anne Frank Museum that he hoped Frank would have been a Belieber – the nickname for his fans.

But the strangest incident during that tour took place in Germany, when customs officials at Munich Airport seized the singer's monkey after he failed to produce the necessary paperwork allowing the little capuchin to enter the country. The monkey, called Mally, ended up in a zoo near Hanover after Bieber failed to retrieve it.

There is no word yet on whether he plans to recover Mally on his current visit.

While nothing too high profile has happened on his current visit, on Monday a cameraman caught footage of Bieber hitting him with his car door after he arrived at Tegel Airport.

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MUSIC

Dancing like there’s no Covid: first German nightclub reopens in Leipzig

For techno enthusiast Philipp Koegler, it almost felt like a normal Saturday night again as he joined 200 fellow revellers at "Distillery", the first German nightclub to reopen since the start of the pandemic.

Dancing like there's no Covid: first German nightclub reopens in Leipzig
A file photo of a disco ball in a night club. Photo: dpa-Zentralbild | Britta Pedersen

“Tonight, there are no rules,” the almost 30-year-old told AFP, whipping off his mask on his way to the dance floor.

Despite more than a year of closures forced by the coronavirus, it didn’t take long for the thumping beats, low lights and buzzing crowds to reawaken the much-missed club atmosphere.

“It feels like I’ve come back after being away on vacation for a week,” Koegler beamed.

But of course there are some rules to restarting the party, even in Germany where coronavirus infections have declined steadily in recent weeks as the pace of vaccinations has picked up.

The Distillery club in the eastern city of Leipzig, which bills itself as the oldest techno venue in Germany’s former Communist east, is taking part in a pilot project supported by scientists from the Max Planck institute and the local university hospital.

Just 200 club-goers are allowed in instead of the usual 600 and each person must take two different kinds of coronavirus tests earlier in the day, with entry granted only if they test negative both times.

Once inside, the masks can come off and revellers don’t have to socially distance.

Each participant also agrees to being re-tested a week later, to uncover potential infections despite the precautions taken.

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Organisers hope the project can serve as a blueprint for further club re-openings to help the hard-hit sector back on its feet after a devastating year.

Although several venues in Germany experimented with open-air parties, club-goer Konny said it “just isn’t the same”.

“In the club, you’re in a different world,” she said.

Growing influence

Distillery manager Steffen Kache expressed pride at being the first club in the country to reopen indoors.

“Everyone is jealous,” he told AFP.

Kache said that if there has been an upside to the pandemic closures, it was that politicians had woken up to the social and economic importance of Germany’s vibrant club culture.

Lawmakers last month agreed to reclassify nightclubs as cultural institutions rather than entertainment venues, putting them on a par with
theatres and museums to provide more protection and tax benefits.

Germany’s nightlife capital Berlin alone – home to iconic clubs Berghain, KitKat and Tresor – usually attracts tens of thousands of foreign visitors each year who generate over a billion euros in revenues.   

Many observers fear that when the pandemic dust has settled, not all of Germany’s clubs will have survived the lengthy shutdowns.

The collaboration with local authorities that made Distillery’s pilot project possible was “unthinkable before the crisis”, Kache said, and evidence of a “reconciliation” between underground club culture and the political establishment.

He said he hoped the next step would be “the nationwide reopening of cultural spots and clubs, without Covid restrictions”.

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