To Berlin

To Berlin, to speak at a media conference and then appear in the panel: very tiring, especially when asked a question. Having to concentrate on the English translation of the German speakers in my ears, translate it into proper English, then formulate an answer, was really quite difficult. Enjoyable, though - and felt very positive about how my presentation went. Also interesting how the bravado and talk of new platforms that I heard in the conference have no reality in real life; indeed, visiting IFA the next day (on my holiday, if you don’t mind, and it had nothing to do with the rain) I saw precious little radios. The only place promoting DAB in any serious way, that I saw anyway, was… ZDF, the television service. Hmm.

In a bar in Germany. In Berlin, to be exact.

I was here this time last year, and a lot has changed. There’s a new railway station for one (which I will go and see, being a sucker for impressive new architecture). But the building in Berlin continues apace everywhere - the empty bit next to the Brandenburg Gate is nearly finished, and all manner of new and exciting buildings appear to have sprung up since I was last here.

The most marked change is the football. The World Cup was here a few months ago, of course, and it’s interesting how much has been done for it. T-Punkt phones now sprout a purple and white football on top, instead of a purple and white T-Punkt sign. The hotel guide tells me which games I can go and see during my stay here in Berlin although they were two months ago and therefore I can’t. Pictures of footballers are everywhere. And, most strikingly, the bottom of the TV tower in old East Berlin is now painted like a football. Cool.

You join me drinking a little Schofferhofer Hefeweizen dunkel - which I just asked for as Weissbier Dunkel, which may be the reason why the barman didn’t understand me, asked me to repeat myself, and then said rather condescendingly “Well done”.

The television has DS:F on it, which until recently has been showing a motor-sport type show, and is now showing what QuizCall would look like if it was also a porn channel. A leggy blonde in yellow hotpants is asking questions to a caller - they could win 200 euros - and has just peeled off her top to display a fearsome set of headlights. She’s now stroking her hotpants suggestively. This is the German equivalent of ITV1, at 10.50pm, folks. This is what might happen at home. Please write to the Daily Mail now.

There are two confusing things here. First, that people are still coming into this bar at 10.50pm, and secondly that I have had a beer, a currywurst (it’s the law, okay?), and another beer, and have yet to be asked for any money. These things would never happen at home.

The woman on the television looks as though she wants to take her hotpants off now, and is twiddling her belt suggestively. Get your complaints in now before civilisation ends.

Back to the hotel in a minute, from where I will be mainly sleeping, then having breakfast, then eschewing the car that has been laid on for me to transport me 500 yards by - shock - walking.