She with the amazing hairstyle the lips outlined in white to match the rest of her accessories and the dangling crosses for earrings and high lined eyebrows, introduced herself as Mrs. Ilona Lo. L…o… she said expressively. She could have been a Marlene Dietrich’s doppelganger. Who’s bronze plaque I saw stuck against the wall of nr 96, Potsdamer Strasse saying that she lived there in her youth. This once notorious film star is was the first German singer actress to be represented by Hollywood in the 1930’tees. She had had the lead role in Der Blaue Engel (the blue angel) here in Germany. I mostly remember from films and from snippets of a much older Marlene Dietrich on TV. Her amazing sense of fashion the fishnet tights worn with men’s jackets and shorts, the top hat still reverberate today. The smokey voice she sang or talked her songs in including Lilli Marlene and “Tell me where the flowers are” referencing all the dead solders in the war. She received the Medal of Freedom from the States and France, and performed to the ripe old age of 75, after which she took to her bed in an appartement in Paris and did not leave it for 11 years shunning all publicity!
But back to Mrs Lo who is just one of the eccentric population that makes up this corner of the street. I met her coming out of the Moti Mahal Indian Store that flanks one side of the entrance to the back courtyard . On the other side of the entrance is the Harb Gmbh selling arabic goods , its a little bit like walking into an aladdins cave with filigree chandeliers dangling from the ceiling pottery and interesting packets of spices and teas. I go there to say hello to my new neighbour and buy dried figs to go with my coffee which I can get across the road at the bakery. I have noticed how Berliners are big on bakeries and bread and cake and biscuits called pigs ear which are called Palmier’s in French and palm biscuits in England.
So far I have done no othr site seeing than up and down Potsdamer Strasse, If I was a “Berliner” this not going anywhere much ” would not be unusal,I have heard that some never leave the district and traveling across to an other part of town is considered a world tour for some!
Maybe that accounts for the the fact that everything seems to take 5 times as long as in London.
In the meantime while I am sitting here writing, next door in a rehearsal room the man with the trumpet is practising and the actress is doing a scream!