Bruce Findlay

Bruce Findlay
Schoolhouse Management, 42 York Place
Edinburgh, EH1 3HU
Tel: (+44) 131 557 4242

Bruce's Havers

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

09 11 1989

November 1989 Tony Hollingsworth ( we became friends in 1988 when he organised the Nelson Mandela Tribute concert at Wembley stadium) invited me to a conference on contemporary music business in East Berlin as a guest speaker and of course I was delighted to accept...this was at the time Michael Gorbachev was bringing East and West together...How could I resist?

We flew to West Berlin and made our way by coach to the East via Checkpoint Charlie(held up for a couple of hours which was the 'norm' at that time) and then on to our very posh hotel only a few hundred yards from the crossing.

After checking in(this hotel was for western diplomats and business people and only accepted western currency..very odd I thought)we made our way to the conference centre and were met by our hosts who were most charming and got started. The atmosphere was quite surreal as there was a feeling anything might 'kick-off' in the streets and in fact there was a strict curfew on evening movement and on any public demonstrations with orders to shoot if necessary...exciting and frightening.
A few of us befriended a couple of students and snuck out our hotel in the evening to 'hang out' with them at the student union..good music good fun and innocent..but not allowed.
On the last night of the conference (the 9th ) we invited our new friends to our hotel for supper and were enjoying a splendid meal and conversation when a waiter came to our table and said there was a rumour that Checkpoint Charlie was about to allow a free flow between east and west with simple ID.True or false this was not to be missed and we(8 or 9 of us including our two young friends who had never been to the west before)quickly made our way to the checkpoint.
There were about 60 to a 100 people gathered around a few bemused guards who seemed unsure of what to do,but without much fuss an officer said something to the guard at the front of the excited line of people and they let us pass through with a skant glance at our passports and ID cards and we made our way across 'no man's land'to the west.
It was amazing...there were thousands of people on the other side cheering and yelling and throwing rose petals in the was like the war(cold) was over.
We of course made our way to a pub to celebrate where our young student friends insisted on buying the first round.I went to the bar with them to help carry the beer back to the table but on trying to pay with their east German money they were told in a horrible unfriendly and condescending manner 'we don't take that money here!'.They did take my credit card,but what a welcome for these guys....It did not spoil the moment however...but it did remind us that not all things were changing.

Still on one glorious evening we thought the world was going to change for the better and for ever.....I still believe.

Give peace a chance and Long live the Revolution !!


Anonymous Lynda Moralee said...

Hi Bruce, I remember you being in Berlin , I was looking after Kirsty and Gemma at the time. I was just thinking about that night the other day.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Casa de la said...

Hi Bruce!

Don't know if you remember me, I used to run the Dutch Simple Minds Fanclub. I had a fantastic time, you showed me and my friends everything, we could visit every gig if we wanted and you even invited us to your home when the Simple Minds played in Scotland. I never got the chance to say thanx, I decided to quit the fanclub and you finally seperated from the Simple Minds as well. I read you're still very active in the music business and are involved with musicians and there legal rights. Fantastic. I've just started a new band and I'm still very much involved in music. It would be great to hear how you are doin'! Greetz from the Netherlands from Alexandra.

8:49 PM  

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