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Studio 1850

Wait until the punch line...

Designer Emma Singleton talks on adjsuting to a new tone of voice of her recently inhabited city space. 

The Germans aren’t often known for their humour; more for their efficiency, their exactment, and honesty. Having lived in Berlin for the past couple of months I now see that their sense of humor, their jokes, are just paced differently. Much like the German language it seems that you have to be patient and listen carefully until the very end, until the punch line. In the German language, generally, everything important about the sentence comes at the end, so in conversation you have to listen to one another properly and wait until each other has finished before you can reply. Unlike in other languages, like English, where we are all too quick to pre-empt each other and interrupt... the points we want to be heard are situated more at the beginning than the end. The German language is more about the journey to the end than anything else. 

This sense of patience for the punch line is something that I have seen seeping into the geography of the city. As I cycle from East to West on my daily commute I pass through at least three different districts, each as different as the next. Cycling past them I’ve learnt that they all have a clear beginning and end point. Like a German sentence, I peddle through their streets witnessing the buildup of their identities – then at the end I understand the place’s essence; its own sense of humour.

This ‘wait for it’ pace is new to me; having lived in England and the Netherlands, I feel comfortable in saying, that here, everyone honestly takes their turn to be heard, they aren’t rushing to interrupt each other. This pace is something to learn from... rather than rushing at the start of a process to make sense, why not wait and let it build up until the end for it all to come together? 

With Berlin being a city which is so well known for its saturated creativity, with something, somewhere, always going on, the idea of coming here as a young creative is exciting – but, if there is one thing I have learnt from my time here so far is that slow and steady wins the race. Like German jokes, in Berlin, you have to be patient, to listen, to wait your turn... then you will hear the punch line.

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