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Komet is about to explode

This is the story of one of Berlin's greatest originals – 72-year-old Komet Bernhard.

By: Filip Sandström Beijer

If you have been out clubbing in Berlin, it is not unlikely that you have encountered a charismatic old man with a white beard and a gleam in his eyes.

Maybe you have even been lucky enough to be invited to Ritter Butzke , where he has a standing guest list, or you’ve got picked up at the S-bahn to join the Komet party train. The man we are talking about is, of course, Komet Bernhard, one of Berlin's strongest personalities and artists who is known for gathering groups of party people on the U-Bahn to join him on his party path. Sometimes he goes under the nickname “Techno Grandpa”, famous for dancing nonstop in the Berlin techno clubs.

Playful Magazine has decided to meet him at the brand-new bar The Hause in Kreuzberg. It is his manager Patrick who runs the bar and when we meet, he takes the role as a translator. Komet understands English but is more comfortable in expressing himself in German.

A few minutes before we enter the bar, we see that Komet is already sitting on the outdoor terrace. He sits and focuses his gaze on a small plant that is placed on the table and makes gestures with his hands. When we meet and I ask him what inspires him as an artist, and he tells me:

"Everything. Everything in everyday life and everything that exists inspires me. It makes me who I am."

"I have always been fascinated by space and that we are part of the universe. What is it not to be fascinated by?"

He was nicknamed "The Komet" early on, growing up in his hometown of Mainz because he devoted most of his time awake to thinking about the universe.

"I have always been fascinated by space and that we are part of the universe. What is it not to be fascinated by?"

Komet Bernhard is known to be richly gifted. He has always worked as a carpenter making frames for his art works that he keeps stacked in his apartment. Just Google “Komet Bernhard” and you’ll see. The apartment is a center for all his creativity, and this is where he both collects and creates his art and music. Yes, of course he is also a DJ.

Komet looks at me with an intense gaze when I ask him if the apartment is starting to fill up. He makes a grimace and closes his hands as if something is going to explode.

"Kaboom! I’m just waiting for it to explode!"

As the apartment is on the verge of rupture, he looks forward to it eventually expanding in terms of a creative explosion. That's when his art goes to the next level and a black hole will open, he tells me. Hazy? Maybe, but who said that an artist should be concrete?

For the partygoers, Komet Bernhard is a well-known face. He usually goes out clubbing 4-5 times a week when there are no Corona restrictions and assures us that he managed the break well.

"I have so much else to do, so it has been no problem."

Among other things, he creates music and in recent years has made a name for himself on Berlin's DJ stage. This is one of many things he’s been focusing on during quarantine. The style of his music is, to say the least, distinctive and experimental, completely in line with Komet's personality. He talks about trips and tours abroad, hotel nights and luxury restaurants.

My prejudices tell me that Komet must be difficult to travel with. That he has a hard time arriving on time, because he gives the impression of being on the go all the time. But, as it turns out, I'm wrong. Patrick, his manager and today our translator, describes him as the complete opposite. Perfect to travel with and very reliable. Things are not what they seem to be, and the space fanatic is more down to earth than you might think.

In Berlin, he has, among other things, been opening act for Fritz Kalkbrenner at a secret concert, where he basically stole the show. Kalkbrenner was supposed to be the surprise act, but things turned out a little bit different.

"When I stepped out on stage, everyone thought I was the surprise, so it was almost as if they were disappointed when Fritz went on afterwards," says Komet and laughs.

Patrick and Komet met for the first time a few years ago when Patrick was to record a music video that Komet was invited to participate in. Patrick says that he was convinced that the old man, whom he had only heard of and seen on YouTube, would not show up. But he was wrong. Well before the appointed time, Komet Bernhard was on site, neatly dressed and ready to deliver. In other words, the prejudices about his being a total madman were shattered.

The two are today colleagues and close friends, so close that they even celebrated holidays together.

"I celebrated Christmas with Patrick's family this year," says Komet.

"Berlin is like a small universe. It is infinite."

During the interview, we are constantly interrupted by people who come by and say hello to Komet. He is careful to greet back and meets everyone with a smile and an honest look.

It is almost as if he is Berlin personified, something he himself also agrees with. He loves the city that gives him the opportunity to dance, be creative and at the same time inspires him again every day.

"Berlin is like a small universe. It is infinite."

I ask him what inspires him in life and in the creation of all the art he does. He looks me in the eye and says.

"I am because of you"


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