13 March 2012

Exhibition – Berlin

I got an invitation from J.A.W.'s Thomas & Julien in the middle of 2010, asking if I'd like to take part in an exhibition and Plastic People party in Berlin. With Sam Floating Points and Ade already on-board, it didn't take much persuasion.

I discovered the J.A.W. family were real Plastic People heads with a stack of old flyers and memories, I was surprised our paths hadn't crossed before. I put it down to me stubbornly occupying the same patch of dance floor, week in, week out (why do we do that?) My spot; left hand speaker / DJ box was a world away from the dark mysterious corner inhabited by these guys.

HHV was the choice of venue for the exhibition. The ever efficient German project management came into full-effect as I was sent photos and measurements to help me plan the layout. By this stage I had completed nearly 12 flyers for Floating Points, so these hung on the right hand side. Some larger square prints, mainly Hip Hop based, hung above them. On the left hand wall a 'timeline' of the x29 Balance flyers I had created from 1998 – 2003. Above these more classic posters from the club.

I went to work on the flyer for the gig at Festsaal Kreuzberg. The layout was based on the Floating Points series I was currently doing. This would be my third flyer for these two, this time taking on the role of robots. Sam: technical and Ade… not so. Ade's body is JCB yellow with a concrete waist, he holds a bag of lemons. (he would always going AWOL on busy nights – and be off, buying lemons).

Getting friends together these days can be hard, even in London, on your home turf, it can be difficult getting your crew together. But somehow with days to go, a whopping party of 8 Londoners were Berlin bound. I was put up at the Michelberger Hotel. Very cool. Even cooler if you like The Big Lebowski. On arrival, the first thing they told me was that the bar was open 24 hours and check out was at 4pm. This was going to be alright.

With some time spare in the afternoon, I explored Kreuzberg. I loved it and it reminded me a lot of old Williamsburg in New York. It also made me realise how clean and sterile London has become pre Olympics. The only thing I'd change would be the weather… too damn cold.

In the evening we drank beer on the top deck of a bus that had been turned into a bar, followed by Korean food (cooked by Ade) and then some smoke-filled clubbing and German karaoke (Sade, Smooth Operator, yes, it cleared the room but felt good). Some 3am Pizza and a cold walk back to the hotel, passing queues of punters outside clubs at 4am.

It was inevitably that Saturday started slowly. We headed over to HHV where we received a warm welcome. Lovely to see so many people had turned out – it felt a little strange getting so much attention and even weirder being asked to sign work, but I soon got into it! Some food, more drinks at the hotel and then we had to return to the bus. We arrived at Festsaal Kreuzberg for the main event. The venue was a scaled up version of Plastic, even the colour scheme matched. A decent sound system made it feel like home from home. It quickly filled to capacity and Ade & Sam played a blinder. Highlights: All the Balance classics, Space Funk, The Pixies, Shades of Jae, Johnny Hammond, Leon Thomas… so good. Tune of the night for me was Mala / Alicia which sounded incredible in the early hours. An amazing night. We bundled into a taxi at 6:30am to find some breakfast and The Michelberger.

Masses of thanks to Thomas & Julien for organising a memorable one, to HHV Store for lending me their walls and for everyone who came to the exhibition, big thanks to the London Family for all the support and for making the journey over.

a few limited Floating Points flyer packs are available here

I'll be back. Maybe in the summer when its warmer.

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