Hey ho, let's go to Berlin

by Jelena Popović Davis (United Kingdom (Great Britain))

I didn't expect to find Germany


„Oh my god, look at the size of that shoe!“, I exclaimed as I saw a pair of Marky Ramone's black Converse sneakers in a half fallen apart state staring at me from behind the glass. „Don't worry, they disproved the theory of the shoe size being connected to the size of the man’s penis a while ago“, the husband calmly observed and went to look at Joey Ramone's signed leather jacket in the next room. “Ha ha, so funny!”. The song coming from the speakers changed from I Wanna be Sedated to Blitzkrieg Bop. I took a swig from my frosty Bayreuther Hell beer and continued going through the room covered in Ramones memorabilia. Across the river from The East Side Gallery, a still standing part of the Berlin wall covered with over 100 graffiti, we had entered a small bar in search of a cold drink to save us from the heat of Berlin asphalt in the middle of summer. Walls covered in scribbles and many Ramones souvenirs all over the place told us we might have stumbled onto something more than just a mere bar. This small museum was born out of Flo Hayler’s need to get rid of his Ramone’s junk (an ultimatum given by his girlfriend - it’s either me or the Ramones junk on the walls). From 2005 today, the museum changed three locations and finally settled in Kreuzberg, in the back rooms of a bar with brick walls and mismatched furniture. The tattooed girl behind the till fitted right into this punk paradise with her bright yellow hair and a pierced septum. She saw our puzzled looks and cracked a smile. “Oh hi, welcome to the first and only Ramones museum in the world! For €6 you can grab a beer and take a tour of the museum in the back rooms”. “You mean we can take the beer into the museum?” the husband asked with scepticism which was greeted by a hearty laugh. “Of course you can”. “Say no more and lead us to this promised treasure trove!” There was no need to utter the words “open sesame” to get into this cave of wonders. For a few moments I felt like I had stepped into a 20 year old musician’s bedroom some 40 years ago. Newspaper clippings and posters of old gigs covered the walls. Amplifiers used on stage took the corner of the first room. There were badges, playing cards, guitar picks, drumsticks, placards from concerts and even a Ramones themed Monopoly game in the display cases dispersed around the small rooms of the self proclaimed museum. The weirdest thing was probably Dee Dee Ramone’s autopsy report which hung on the left as you entered the museum, right next to the what seemed to be the lyrics of a song called Tommie says. From 1977, the year that saw “Leave Home” and “Rocket to Russia” released, through the making of their legendary logo, sold out tours, break ups and reunions, all the way to their last ever show in Los Angeles in 1996, the history of Ramones was plastered over the walls, hung from the ceiling and put into display cases. Walking further into the back rooms there is a hidden nook. You reach it by going through a narrow, short hallway whose walls show the posters for a film called “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School”. This was the Ramones’ shot at getting on the silver screen. The whole film can be enjoyed sitting on a patched up sofa in the small room at the end of the hallway. The room itself is littered with movie related memorabilia like t-shirts, posters, pins, lobby cards, press releases etc. The history, the energy from the concerts and fan excitement could still be felt among the plethora of Ramones merchandise. Another beer before the road. We sat on the sofa that looked like it had been salvaged from an old DDR apartment and we read the scribbles on the ochre wall, right next to a photo collection of the bands that had played in the pub. “You know we gotta go back outside in the sun once we finish the beers?” “Yeah, I know…”.