8 November 2006

Waiting for Trains Pt. 2


Blurbanism ∕ Buildings ∕ Public Space

As mentioned in the last installment, the true centepiece of Berlin’s prestigeous new Main Station, is a four meter high shopping bag cordoned off with an official Deutsche Bahn fabric barrier. Here it is:

Big bag
Big bag theory

More revealing than this sculpture, which blatantly betrays the station’s true identity as being a shopping mall, is the message at the bottom. It reads as follows:

“Shoppen. Schlemmen. Staunen. 80 Geschäfte. 7 Tage die Woche.”

Translated to English, it reads:

“Shopping. Guzzling. Astonishment. 80 businesses. 7 days a week.”

As much as I appreciate the subtleties of the German langauge, the word “schlemmen” is utterly foul and should be dispatched to the bin of linguistic history immediately. It conjours to mind some flatulant gourmand, gorging themselves loudly from a trough, pickling their liver in brandy, barely managing to come up for air between mouthfuls, and sadly enjoys wide usage: traumatically, even on food packaging.

The final qualifying word, “astonishment”, is though entirely valid, for it is undeniably a remarkable thing to find any business doing trade on a Sunday in Berlin, let alone 80 all at once. Handy then, that it is now possible to arrive in Germany’s capital right at the heart of a temple to 21st Century free-market consumerism via the comfort of a high-speed Intercity Express. Hauptbahnhof is one hell of a convenience store.