4.7.11

Opinion: Visions of CDV

By Sandra Winkler

As we’re locking our bikes to the iron bars of the dark bridge, we can already hear the steady drum of the bass from the small club below. Apart from this, the area is quiet. It is the summer of 2004, and we are visiting that cool new club that a friend of mine has recently discovered. The bar is a shack and the people are drinking their beers sitting on floats chained to the quay, on a warm summer’s night. The ‘Club der Visionäre’ (CDV) - clearly an insider tip with potential.

Seven years later, it’s a critics’ choice in Time Out Berlin. Therefore it is not surprising that on a Tuesday evening in June 2011, the club is crowded, dominated by people speaking English, French and Spanish. Hip young Berliners (and those who want to be) are tightly packed into the small area of the club. There is still some space on the floats, where we are having our first drink of the night. Groups of people are crossing the bridge above us, as the ‘Arena’ next doors is also attracting Berlin’s party people.

Back on firm ground we discover a nice spot at the other end of the club and, right away, meet two friendly Danish travelers with their German business partner. As we speak, a young drunk American bellows: ‘How many days do you have left to live?’ followed by incomprehensible blathering. Next to us, a group of French tourists is smoking one joint after the other. Some visitors of the club are chilling on the club’s boat, the VIP-area, which leaves every now and then to take people for a ride on the river Spree. A massive tree rises above our heads, reaching even higher than the bar on the 1st floor terrace. It is quieter there and we meet an American on a college trip through Europe - who claims to be the son of Joe Satriani, the famous guitarist. He proves this by showing us a picture of his dad. His friends join our group and one announces in heavily accented Spanish ‘I only speak Spanish here, because Germans hate Americans’. After replying that I don’t hate Americans, just idiots in general, I decide to leave the conversation.

With the impressive tree towering above me, I sit and listen to the sound of the bass drum from downstairs, the warm summer wind, the slightly fishy smell from the Spree mingling with the mix different languages around me. Slowly the sky is turning orange as the sun is coming up.

‘Insider tips’. Everybody wants to be the first one to discover a new spot but not every shack makes a cool club, and not every assembly of chairs by the river is a beach bar. CDV was one of the first of its kind – at least it was for me. The club has earned its place on the hit-list of Berlin ‘insider tips’ thanks to its location, its fucked-up coolness and, surely, the floats.

It is the summer of 2016 and I am back. I get out of the taxi and am standing on the same bridge. To my left the glowing blue lights of the Aral gas station, to my right the new glass cube of the Treptow entertainment area. Below the bridge where CDV used to be, it is quiet. An award-winning eco-hotel is now occupying the river banks. With the disappearance of CDV, Bar 25, Kiki Blofeld and the like, Berlin’s bass-drum heartbeat has been silenced.
No to Mediaspree! / Mediaspree Versenken!

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Berlin, Germany
...is NOT a fashion blogger! I write about underground music, activism, social media rights. Other publications that I have written for: OpenDemocracy, Urban Challenger, Siegesaeule, Alternative Berlin and Sensanostra.