Nostalgia, grand luxe

It arrived out of the blue. I don’t remember the context or where I listened to it the first time, probably at work, but I remember feeling very moved by it. Frank Ocean named his first mixtape/album Nostalgia, ultra – but I don’t think I’ve heard of any nostalgia that matches the weight of Bowie’s Where are we now – with a man lost in time, reminiscing the times gone by, walking the dead in Berlin.

To me it reads as a love letter to the past. There might be an apology within. I still get goosebumps every time from how grand it sounds. And the weight with which it seems to deliver this insight that this was the life I was given, this was the choices I made, this is what I left behind.

In May 2018 we left the kids with their grandparents and drove to Berlin for a weekend. In my head Where are we now was already playing as the soundtrack when we checked in at the Michelberger Hotel. When our room was presented for us we were blown away to find we had been upgraded and got the hotel’s most impressive suite.

Looking through the leaflets there was a map of Berlin’s with Michelberger’s own recommendations of cool cafés, bars and clubs etc.

Printed on the map was the full lyric to Where are we now? Bam! It almost made me cry. So I decided to see if I could get that the strange boombox on the floor working. And I had the song playing on repeat in this spacious suite with the spring light sifting through the thin, veil-like curtains.

It’s quite a memory of a perfect trip. I love Berlin.

(The sound was incredible too. I later checked to find that the funky boombox was from an Austrian boutique hifi-maker and had pricetag of … €3000?)

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