Noel Gallagher has just released his latest solo album, Chasing Yesterday. As the carefully chosen title might suggest, this record sounds outdated, not far from what it could have sounded like 20 years ago in the heyday of Oasis. It would’ve been kind of cool back then, but today-sorry, dear fans of Oasis-it’s simply boring. Add to this, Gallagher’s rants about how rap music merely revolves around “bitches” and money and how absurdly funny it is that there are people rapping in languages other than English.
What does this have to do with a new Loveparade in Berlin? All of this says something specific about Noel Gallagher: He’s old.
The original Loveparade, a politically-minded techno festival, happened almost spontaneously after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a quarter of a century ago and ran for 14 years until 2003, then in 2006 while other events of the 00s were cancelled or relocated. Incarnations in San Francisco, Buenos Aires, and other cities were presented sporadically but by 2010, the Loveparade was officially over after a disastrous and fatal event in the small city of Duisburg in western Germany. Now, a new group of organizers is picking up the Loveparade legacy with a new-ish event called “Train of Love.”
Someone should tell Gallagher and the Love crew that it’s only natural to change when we get older. Nobody should try to be the kind of person they were when they were 20. When you’re 20 years old, the world is yours! Everything feels so awesome, so young, so wild. But when you get older, there’s this ugly little feeling that appears on your shoulder from time to time. Its name is nostalgia.
Nostalgia is the worst thing that can happen to you. Sure, you can safely grab your copy of What’s The Story Morning Glory from time to time and indulge in the past, but anybody permanently caught up in nostalgia, can never really do anything relevant in the present.
The idea of bringing a new Loveparade to Berlin and renaming it the “Train of Love”-Zug der Liebe in German-reeks of nostalgia from miles away. For that reason alone, this train can’t be a good idea. A look behind the scenes confirms this assessment. The original founder, the DJ known as Dr. Motte, or any younger versions of him are nowhere to be found. Instead, the lead organizer is 42 year-old Jens Hohmann, previously known to only a few people as the person behind the Berlin clubbing guide “The Club Map.”
There is nothing wrong with Hohmann and his friends wanting to be socially engaged but nothing truly makes sense when you read the group’s official statement. On one hand, the completely meaningless title, Zug der Liebe, sounds like a bad attempt at translating Loveparade. On the other hand, the group’s highest priority is to not be compared to Loveparade. The Train of Love wants to be political and stand up against blind consumerism and at the same time use a hollow non-slogan like “peace, joy and love.” Don’t get too excited about the joy: guests are also advised to not bring any alcohol to this public, outdoor event.
What is this train supposed to be? A political movement against gentrification, racism, consumerism? All of these topics are mentioned in the organizers’ statement, somewhat randomly. What is the common ground between racism and gentrification in inner Berlin? How the hell is consumerism involved in this? Is “love” supposed to be a serious political demand?
If you want to be so political, why not also demonstrate against Greek debt, welfare freeloaders or drugs? Or maybe even in favor of drugs! Against the Olympics, building expensive condos on the Tempelhof airfield and against the TTIP trade agreement between the US and EU. Against or for Putin, veganism, meat-based diets and destroying the rainforest. Honestly, just take your pick!
If a group is not daring enough to agree on one unifying cause or concept, whatever selection they choose seems random and therefore trivial.
In 1989, when people met for the first time to celebrate the Loveparade in Berlin, there was actually some exciting stuff happening right there and then: The Cold War broke away peacefully, the Wall fell and Berlin was reunited, a brighter future was ready to be conquered by the youth of Germany’s capital. Ecstasy could keep you in a good mood and techno provided the soundtrack. Love triumphed over fear and there was a distinctive air of freedom.
Fast forward to today, the situation has changed dramatically. The world is falling apart, with chaos steadily approaching our little oasis of wealth and affluence in Germany. Political issues are becoming more and more important, even for a large group of young people who felt apolitical for a long time. Berlin offers less freedom every day and is squashed by tourists and gentrification, but at the same time the city is utterly dependent on the income tourism and gentrifying provides. Oh, how brave it would be if the Train of Love were a demonstration with a clear political statement, at best brought forward by a young generation affected by all of these changes.
One can only hope that someday a youth movement will be born like the one that created the Loveparade at the end of the 80s. A movement immune to appropriation by middle-aged people with their nostalgic agenda.
While I sincerely hope that this will happen, it’s doubtful that Berlin as it is today is still the place for it to happen.
This story originally ran on THUMP Deutschland.
Translated from German by Daniel Marz.