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Konrad Werner: Riots in Neukölln?

A lot of people are asking whether the London riots could be repeated in Neukölln. Apparently it depends on who's working at the go-kart track. And whether Tiziano's ice cream café is open.

Image for Konrad Werner: Riots in Neukölln?
Photo by Rizka Budiati (rizkapb; Flickr CC)

In the space of 12 months, England has apparently gone to all hell. Do you remember what the main England-based talking point was last August? It was a woman throwing a cat in a wheelie bin. That was literally the most controversial incident in the United Kingdom in the whole of 2010.

I bet the cat-wheelie-bin-woman must be kicking herself now. If she’d’ve just waited a year, she could have spent this whole week stuffing animals into any available street-side container and no-one would’ve bat an eye-lid. In fact – if you’ve got a minute – I’m confident she could have spent all week hoisting walruses into a skip without fear of it becoming a major news event. And maybe she did.

There has been much talk this week about whether there could be London-style riots in Berlin. Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich says there couldn’t. SPD MP Dieter Wiefelspütz, reigning champion in the Bundestag’s annual silliest name competition, says there probably couldn’t. Rainer Wendt, head of the German police union, thinks there definitely could (crosses fingers – “And my judgement is not influenced in any way by the extra police budget requirements involved.”)

These lads from Neukölln also say there could. But they look to me like they’re trying to make Neukölln cooler than it is. For a start, Sülo’s main source of social frustration is “whenever you cause an accident on the go-kart track, you have to wait for this wanker to come and push you back on the road.” I wouldn’t want to underestimate how annoying the inefficiency of the go-kart track employees can be, but I wouldn’t call this a Rodney King scenario, even if, as Sülo goes on to say, “the bastard does it extra slowly.”

I also know these young men are pretending because they are pictured outside the Neuköllner Arcaden, where I spend approximately 70 percent of my spare time. I therefore know for a fact that Vice magazine had to coax them out of the Tiziano ice cream café to interview them.

“Oh menno,” they would have said, “I just ordered my Nussbecher mit Streusel.”

“No, we can’t do it here,” said the put-upen Vice intern with the floppy hair and the tiny light-blue hat. “The Tiziano ice café does not look very ghetto, especially since it’s been renovated. That’s better – by this Apotheke sign. Could you try to look a bit more frustrated with your lot?”

“That won’t be hard,” responds Sülo. “It’ll be all melted by the time I get back.”

Perhaps I’m being unfair. These lads are mad for ice cream. If our social order does break down, I definitely wouldn’t want to be standing between Sülo and his Nussbecher.