Tackling Tanked-up Tourists, One Mime at a Time

I used to share a ground-floor apartment with two German girls in Friedrichshain, one street over from Simon-Dach-Straße. While our street was relatively quiet in comparison, we still managed to have a few hairy moments.

One night, while one of my flatmates was home alone, she heard male voices outside her window and scrabbling noises at her shutter, which she hadn't fully closed. Thinking our apartment was about to be broken into, she bravely crept over to the window with her phone in hand and started recording what was happening outside. It turns out we weren't being burgled; it was three foreign guys doing lines of cocaine off her windowsill...

As someone who has had her fair share of rowdy nights out in Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, I don't think I can get too preachy on this one. However, for long-term residents, the constant stream of boozed-up, drugged-up tourists is getting more than a little tiresome. And it seems that the city of Berlin has heard the steady grumbles of the residents over the raucous singing of the tourists.

Local authorities, Visit Berlin, club owners, and the Association of Hotels and Restaurants have come up with a rather novel way of combatting the growing problem, while (quietly) hammering home the fact that Berlin is still a creative and largely open-minded place to be. Over the course of 15 weeks, teams of mime artists will take to the streets, acting out tales of morality to tipsy trouble-makers. For anyone who doesn't get the message, trained mediators will be on hand to explain it to them, and if that doesn't work, the police will step in.

The project launched in May and was even featured on BBC News during the week. Whether or not it works will be discussed after the initial test period. I have yet to come across the mime artists on a night out so maybe I'm not as rowdy as I thought, but I am more than a little curious to see how this works out. A team of white-faced, silent harbingers of morality would probably stop me in my tracks, but what about a gang of stag-nighters, complete with fake penises, who've just consumed their own body weight in excellent German beer?

I guess mime will tell...

By Linda O'Grady
Linda works as an English teacher, writer and editor, and has been living in Berlin since September 2014. She also shares some of her more irreverent thoughts on life as an Irishwoman living in Germany in her blog - Expat Eye on Germany.

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