Berlin brings a blast from the past

Coming out of my hotel just off Berlin's Ku'dam, I found myself accidentally right outside the hotel I stayed in 23 years ago when working on Roger Waters' 'The Wall', Berlin 1990.

Later in the day, when enjoying being a tourist, I realise that the impressive Holocaust Memorial between the Brandenburg Gate and Potsdamer Platz sits right where my portakabin was. I had a tiny office, shared with a colleague while all around us the stage was built, rehearsals performed, costumes created and tantrums calmed. Usually.

One of my most vivid memories was the day of the show in July 1990, trying to monitor the 'Access All Areas' passes. These coveted AAA laminates were worn around the neck of stars and their friends, families and 'staff'. Some of the requests were reasonable, friendly and satisfied (Bryan Adams could have had anything he lik - he was full of respect). Others were difficult, arrogant and downright nasty (naming no names, but they know who they were).

So, the room I sat in as the stream of artists and crew came and went, was right where - two decades later - tourists remember the millions murdered in the Holocaust. The immensely fortunate life that I have had was partly conducted in a place of somber reflection and I am not worthy.

Too much of my life has been wasted. Too many opportunities squandered. Too many people by. Far too many days, weeks and months spent too casually on irrelevancies.

Berlin is a city that can only humble every visitor. Blessed with long lives and many good fortunes, how many of us have justified those opportunities? That is why we remember Anne Frank. She stands as a symbol of all those children and young people whose lives were cut short.

An hour walking around the Checkpoint Charlie Museum was not long enough. A walk around the Holocaust Memorial was just a gesture. I can do no more than try my best. I cannot go back to July 1990 and nor can I wish that decisions I made then and subsequently had not been made. My life starts today. Now. Sitting in a hotel surprisingly close to that one of 1990, and vow to make my life count.

The last four months have been truly horrible, with a massive car crash and then a fractured shoulder. But using those two events as excuses for inactivity and a lack of creativity is a cop-out. Get on with it.

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