Coming To Berlin reflects, through the lives and music of migrants, settlers and newcomers, how a constantly in flux city with a tumultuous history has evolved into the de facto cultural capital of Europe. And how at the heart of this, electronic music and club culture play a unique role. A plea for multiculturalism and a love letter to the borderless potential of music, the book breaks the tradition of Berlin’s perception as techno ground zero and shows the true diversity and richness that make up this city.
Told through Paul Hanford’s novelistic narration, Coming To Berlin mixes imagination and interview, psychogeography and narrative, humour and horror. Each chapter follows encounters with people who have made the city their own. Club legends Mark Reeder, Danelle DePicciotto and Monika Kruse. The journey of a young Syrian refugee who has immersed himself in DJing and UK drill.
We catch glimpses of the 1980s punk and art movement, the Genialle Dillentanten, and how it led towards the birth of modern club culture in the city. We follow the Turkish hip-hop scene on the streets of Kreuzberg. And under threat from gentrification, into the post-pandemic world where clubs, a thirty-year long pulse stopped, we hang out with artists reshaping electronic music into new genres and even new genders.
“Paul’s writing combines the fresh perspectives of the outsider-becoming-an-insider, the informed knowledge of a historian and commentator, and the passion and expressivity of a dance floor aficionado. Coming to Berlin does what every book on the dance floor should do: it explores its potential to bring people together in a space that always carries the promise of a better world. If that promise has been disappointed in so many venues in so many cities, it requires those devoted to its progressive potential to remind us how it can still work, even flourish, in challenging times.”
Tim Lawrence (author of Love Will Save The Day)
“Paul is a fiercely intelligent, knowledgeable and passionate writer. His words have such a comforting quality, like a warm hand taking yours, leading you down uncharted paths and back alleys, safe in the knowledge that in the end, you will be better off for the experience, always.”