It would be hard for an ezine called Cold War Night Life to let pass a film about the nightlife of West Berlin during the 1970s and 80s, particularly when it tells the story from the standpoint of Mancunian exile, Mark Reeder. Under the shadow of medium-range nuclear missiles and surrounded by tanks, West Berlin was an island of Western decadence in a sea of fake socialism; an outpost for the dollar and the mark which could neither expand nor contract. Few wanted to live there, but punks willing to squat in the walled city were able to survive on social assistance and by selling contraband. Some of them formed bands that exploded with energy. Some of them became addicts. Some did both. None of them slept normal hours.
Reeder found himself in the position of Factory Records’ sales representative for Germany, helping to promote Joy Division and A Certain Ratio. Circumstances also led him to co-manage Malaria! – the girl group that was all woman – and organise punk shows in East Berlin. He also made music in Die Unbekannten, which became Shark Vegas and toured with New Order. If you wanted to know anything about the creatures of Berlin’s night, Reeder was your contact – and you didn’t need Harry Palmer glasses to find him.
We’re excited about the trailer for B-Movie, a documentary of that time directed by Jörg A. Hoppe, Klaus Maeck und Heiko Lange. The tagline is “Lust & Sound in West Berlin, 1979-1989,” and it has a soundtrack that includes Malaria!, Neubauten, Tangerine Dream and Tödliche Doris. It is touring the festivals now.