Blog Posts on The Needle

Welcome back from the Summer! The Needle Fall Preview

Image by Michel Diedrix. Used by permission.
La JohnJoseph. Image by Michel Diedrix. Used by permission.

Where has the summer gone? Cool temperatures, that hint of the autumnal, bringing a jacket for the evenings, students returning to the city, the tourists departing to their Hausmannian avenues, and Berlin coming alive with the buzz of the cultural season.

Of course, it’s also the time when The Needle pumps its syringe after the summer languor. And here’s what we have to inject:

First, might we suggest an event for Monday 25 August, 19h, which is performance artist, singer and novelist, La JohnJoseph’s reading from his new novel, Everything Must Go, at Raumerweiterungshalle. The details are all here. What can I say? La JohnJoseph is a fixture of the Berlin queer scene, goes by the alter-ego of Alexander Geist as the ‘boy-hero of pop’. She also has written a uncompromising Pynchon-esque assault on the literary form (this is the reading) in which he follows a pregnant intersex world-destroyer through adventures that could only be inspired by a Catholic childhood. Believe me, I had one. Yes, I’m pitching this event. Make sure you go. And in return, I promise a juicy exclusive interview with La JohnJoseph in September. 

Later this fall, The Needle will look at the sour side of gentrification, and the devious ways in which long-term Kreuzberg residents are being essentially evicted from their homes, so those same apartments can be sold at 4000 EUR/ square meter.

Another theme is the much beloved category of comparisons. After The Needle received tens of thousands of hits for its contrasts between Berlin and Paris, we are going to go ahead and ask why so many Israelis are coming to Berlin, and what Berlin looks like after Tel Aviv. And do the same for what Berlin looks like after Canada (a rather personal story from, yours truly, the Canadian editor).

Finally, The Needle received a lot of attention in the last months from those living in Saxony when we were critical of Görlitz, the backdrop to the film Grand Budapest Hotel, after our visit there. Trashed is how some readers put it, but I’d rather say the experience simply wasn’t positive. This generated a huge response from the residents of this border town, and even a write up in the major regional newspaper. We will share the media battle, and try to come to a measured retrospective on the experience of being ‘chased out of town’.

We thank you for your continued readership, all 50 000+ of you a month!, and look forward to an exciting, decadent, and debauched fall.


Joseph and his Needle



Joseph Pearson

Joseph Pearson (1975) is writer and historian based in Berlin. Born in Canada, he was educated at Cambridge University, UK, where he received his doctorate in history in 2001. Since 2008, he has written The Needle, which has become one of Berlin's most popular blogs. His portrait of the German capital, Berlin, for Reaktion Press was published in 2017. His second book, My Grandfather's Knife, was published by HarperCollins and the History Press in 2022. He is also the essayist and blogger of the Schaubühne Theatre, one of Berlin's best known state-funded institutions. His writing has appeared widely in the press, literary and academic journals, and has been translated into Italian, German, French, and Arabic. Having taught at Columbia University in New York City, he lectures in Berlin at New York University Berlin (since 2012) and the Barenboim-Said Academy.