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  • Justin James

Romanticising the Grunge

We arrived in Berlin, Germany at 6pm on New Years Eve. Even in the mild darkness of evening the fireworks had already begun. From the air it was as if the whole country had been allotted their own ration of explosive.


The smell of electric fire, firework gunpowder and smoke was intense.


9pm, we arrive at a small local bar run by the friend of a friend. Verena was rough but beautiful, her english guttural but adept. Her perfume sweet, more so when mixed with the liquors she pours behind her bar. We venture to the smokers room to enjoy her break, European cigarettes have a sweeter and more heady aroma than home and the room has its own sweet yet stale breath.




We are gifted with shots on the house, Australians are a rarity here in this part of town. The shots are uber sweet and indistinguishable, somewhere between Jagermiester and Sambucca Black.


1130pm sees us bracing for the 2 or 3 degree night to walk to a rail bridge at the end of the street, this is a great spot we are told by the bar flies. Already there are hundreds crowding the overpass, fireworks explode mere metres from our feet, handheld poppers spin within inches from our face. The crowd mingles, all thoughts for personal space abandoned for warmth and camaraderie. I am warmed by a strangers fur coat as she presses against my side.


Midnight. There are now no spaces between fireworks, the sky is now daylight with neon colour, the ground is on fire with bright yellows and pinks. The air is acrid with sweet smoke, sweat and perfume. Champagne pops, its bitter sweet scent passes by quickly.


Berlin NYE is a romanticised culmination of the feel and scent memory of that night in Berlin that we will never forget. [Obviously I chose to leave out certain scent memories of that night for the sake of a wearable scent, that is romanticising the Grunge of Berlin on New Years Eve.]

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