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Last year I used the 24th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall to tell my personal “Wall fall” story. There are many that are more exciting, but few that provide that all important “view from Saskatchewan” perspective.

Pseudo-panorama of the death strip at Potsdamer Platz (photo: author).

Pseudo-panorama of the death strip at Potsdamer Platz. Graffiti in underlined in black reads “Germany is more than the Federal Republic of Germany” (photo: author).

This year I’d like to share my memories of my first encounter with the Wall in the spring of 1985 and reflect on the reality that this structure imposed on the divided Berlin for the 28 years of its existence. Read More

I’m going to start this post marking the 52nd anniversary of the construction of the Berlin Wall on August 13, 1961 (what do you get a Wall that has ceased to exist?!) by referring to Lloyd Cole, one of my favourite signers.  The lead single off his latest record (the very fine Standards) is a tune called ‘Period Piece’ which is written from the point of view of the Berlin Wall. In it Cole sings, “It was my austere demeanour defined the age”. Anyone who experienced the Wall while in Berlin will know that Lloyd is not exaggerating: the Wall served to make manifest the tensions of the Cold War in way that nothing else ever did. Something for which we can be grateful.

For those of you in need of a tutorial on this event, a clip below from the Discovery Channel gives a decent overview of the Wall’s construction, even if it does, bizarrely, date the event as August 20th?!

Wall Chasing in Winnipeg

Perhaps it’s the Wall’s era-defining quality that explains my motivation for spending part of my recent western Canadian vacation tracking down one of its many pieces which have been strewn around the globe in the past 20+ years. Read More

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