A call to arms

All you nee is love

Berlin’s dance revolution grows and grows. Words: Kirsty Walker

n 1988 a DJ named Dr Motte (German for moth) took to

Berlin's Kurfurstendamm in a VW van. The original

motivation for this is lost in the mystic mists of techno. but 150 people followed his example. By 1995. 7()().()()() people were taking part and the Parade had become way too busy to be held in the central shopping street. Jump forward another seven years and you‘ve got the Love Parade. now housed in the natural surrounds of Tiergarten.

About 50 floats put together by clubs. shops and record labels from throughout Europe start at the Brandenburg Gate and Ernst-Reuter Platz at 2pm before congregating at the Siegassaulle where top Dls play 20 minutes each until 1 l.3()pm.

Echoes of war and dictatorship preside over the area. most notably in the street names and monuments. If the huge gilded warrior- angel on top of the victory column in Siegassaulle could speak what would she say of the techno frenzy at her feet‘.’ Completed in 1873. to celebrate the unification of Germany and victory over France. she was moved to her present site in 1938 by Hitler and continues to symbolically face France. What better site for a Love Parade then‘.’ Indeed. what better city‘.’ But as I stand there. dwarfed and buffeted by gigantic Germans. too squashed to raise my arms in homage to the pounding beats and the watching angel. I do start to wonder about the love pan.

To keep the party free. the parade is classed as a political demonstration. so each year has a different theme. This year’s rallying call is ‘Access Peace'. Previous mottos include ‘()ne World. One Future' and ‘Peace. Joy and

Pancakes‘. a German expression roughly equivalent to our

‘let's sweep it under the carpet‘. During my week in Berlin. I am unable to catch up with the elusive Motte. ‘He lives an hour from the city and only

It takes club culture out of its oft maligned world and into the streets

uses public transport or a bicycle.’ a loyal devotee named Yatri tells me. ‘He has very high ideals. but he's a shy person. I think his charisma comes from being so ordinary.’

Standing in the crowd later watching .\lotte hard at work. it’s difficult to find anything remotely ordinary about him. Cries of ‘Motte! Motte!‘ go up as the revered DJ. now 4]. takes the microphone and makes an enthusiastic speech (which is reported verbatim in the next day's newspapers). The crowd are mesmerised as he speaks of environmental degradation and the importance of our actions in shaping the future of the world. ()ddly. to my foreign ear. the guttural sounds coming over the microphone. combined with the frenzied. chorusing crowd remind me ofold news reels ofllitler I'tllllc‘s‘.

‘Parade'. pronounced in the German way. is a very emotive word for Berliners as it conjures up images of military both Nazi and Communist parades. l'sing the linglish pronunciation distances this memory and ‘love’ is internationally understood.

And that's what's really at the heart of this parade. It takes club culture otit of its oft maligned world and into the streets for everyone to see and enjoy. lt‘s surreal and refreshing to see whole families. covered in plastic sunflowers (a symbol of the event). with titty—tots bouncing to the beats among the kind of people they‘d be warning their teenage daughters against.

This year‘s Parade takes place on Saturday 13 .luly. If you want to combine it with more clubbing. Berlin is custom built for it. Clubs stay open all night and often serve good food to help you combat the inevitable munchies. The ever changing face of the capital also makes it fascinating sight— seeing territory. A walk with Berlin Walks. a visit to the loo. the Checkpoint Charlie Museum and the lirotic Museum are all musts. A bit like the Love Parade itself.

Excess baggage

Festivals, flights and fabulous fares

I THOSE FINE FOLKS at Lonely Planet have started their very own “Don't be sucked in by Big Brother' campaign. In a determined effort to ensure we don‘t get glued to our sofas amid the BB extravaganza. LP has brought out a new range of titles ranging from Hiking in the Rocky Mountains to Cycling the USA West Coast. For more info see shoplonelyplanetcom I AND THE FUN JUST keeps on coming. Those good-hearted bods at the STA have launched the latest edition of groundlevel packed full of ideas for overland travel across the globe. Check out the Disney Packages from £99pp, African Adventures in Cape Town from £245pp and loads more. Order a copy on 0207 3616 166.

I IF YOU FANCY STAYING a little closer to home why not take a look at VisitScotland's website (wwwvisitscotlandcom) which is offering a great range of short summer breaks ideas. In a bid to get yoor pulses raCing about the world of golf, VisitSCotland is Offering a special Green Fee Savers Coupon. allowing the public to play at over 290 COLirseS in Scotland for half the normal price.

I FINALLY, EXCITING news of a Cuban Carnival salsa holiday. Yep, learn to dance Cuban style with the experts in Santiago de Cuba during the wildest carnival in the Caribbean. For £650 you can expect dance classes, half board accommodation, survival Spanish lessons, and bi-lingual cultural tours. Contact Caledonia Languages Abroad 0131 621 7721 or email courses @caledonialanguages. Alternatively check out www.caledonialangua

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