Solaris interviews: The Monkid

I first met Mik and Manou Rahner on the dance floor of the Mojo Club in Hamburg in 2016. Fast forward a couple of weeks and I was hanging out with them on a daily basis in their design studio EMMAR based close to “Sternschanze”! Apart from being fantastic motion designers I realised that they created pretty awesome art as well. Just check out this animated wall tile piece…

The longer I shared the office with these guys, the more I saw Mik scribbling away on small pieces of paper. Upon closer inspection I saw pretty neat black and white line drawings that fuse vintage sensibilities with the modern designer eye. Turns out he is a tattoo artist as well!

So last week I swung by Fräulein Tinte’s Tattoo Shop where Mik aka Monkid currently set up shop every Monday and asked him all the tough questions…

Hey Mik! When we first met I saw that tattoo around your collarbone but didn’t know you were deeper into the culture. How did you first get into tatoos?

I must have been 8 or 9 years old when my parents took me on a trip to Denmark. When we visited Copenhagen we went by a couple of tattoo parlors that had their signs out on the street. I was mesmerized! The bold and colorful imagery, the nautical and religious symbols, the reflection of life, love and death really fascinated me  – I knew I wanted one! This was the late 70ties when tattoos still were associated with sailors and prisoners and were considered everything but art. In addition to that was I a kid so I had to wait till the early 90ties till I got my first tattoo.

There are many different flavours when it comes to Tattoos. How would you describe the style you are digging the most?

I always liked tattoos that have a deeper meaning, like a symbol on skin that reflects the mindstate of the person wearing it. So for me its not so much about a certain style. Wether its an abstract sign, icon or pattern or a realistic rendition of a tiger, as long as it speaks to me, it works.

Remember your first tattoo? What was the story behind it? 

I was about 21 when I finally got my first tattoo – a heraldic lilly with an eagle on top, a cross in the middle and a skull on the bottom (did i mention i’m into symbols…?). I was working on the design for weeks, trying to create the perfect shapes and composition. This was way before computers with design programms so I worked with rulers and compasses and a copy machine. I went to a tattooer close to where i lived, that worked out of a backroom at a barbershop. He was that classic oldschool Rock’n’Roll guy, pretty shady and very unreliable. I wanted the tattoo to be super small – I was the first one of my friends to get tattooed and I guess I just wasn’t brave enough to go big!

So the tattooer wielded a single needle to do the job. But he wasn’t really experienced with single needle work, so he went too deep into the skin and after a couple of years the lines were blown out and the whole thing looked like a blurry spot on my shoulder. The good thing I learned from this is that skin has some sort of resolution to it too. So if you want to go small you have to simplify the design to make it readable and hold up over the years. And open space is very important in a tatoo design also.

Can you describe the feeling of getting some ink done to someone who never got tattooed?

Well, I think there’s two things about getting tattooed. The physical part of actually getting the ink into your skin, when a set of tiny needles puncture millions of holes into your body. It’s about enduring the pain, being hurt and the healing process afterwards. It’s a bit like excersising really hard. Your body hurts but you fight through the pain and afterwards you feel your sore muscles for some time but you’re super proud you made it!

And this is the second part the mental aspect of getting tattooed. It’s a huge commitment. It puts you on a rollercoaster of opposing emotions: fear and confidence, insecurity and pride. And if everything goes right and you had a good tattooing experience, the positive emotions win over the negative and you charge your personality with pride and self confidence.

What inspired you pick up the needle yourself?

Even though I wanted to tattoo for a very long time, I always hesitated to getting started because I thought (and still think) it’s a huge resposibility to mark someone else’s skin for life. Plus in the early 90s, when I was the age when you usually decide to go for a tattoo career, beeing a tatoo artist really wasn’t an option. But observing the tattoo business from a distance for years I saw so many shitty tattoos from poorly talented tattooers.

I knew I can do better than that and if I learned how to tattoo I’d be able to save some people from really bad tattoos and put something that works on their body. And if people consider it art, I well surpass my goal. So I went for it.

How did you find out about equipment and the tricks of the trade?

Well this was the hardest part. I made a first attempt to learn how to tattoo in 2004. All the tattoo suppliers in Germany wouldn’t sell to non-tattooers so I bought my first machine on a trip to the states and ordered all the other stuff  from an US online store. I paid a fortune for shipping and customs! When i finally got everything, I realized that the needles didn’t fit the tubes, the machine was running way too fast and tattoo education dvds were super expensive. So I threw everything in a box and forgot about it for the next 9 years.

At one point my wife Manou and my kids went away for a whole week on holiday so I decided to give tattooing another try. I started by researching YouTube and tattoo forums for 8 to 10 hours a day. I noticed that a lot had changed since I tried to learn tattooing for the first time! There was way more information than before and tattoo equipment had made a huge leap also. I absorbed every little bit I could get my hands on.

It was a weird mixture of leaked tattoo education videos, self taught tattooers (scratchers) and timelapse tattooing videos. There was a lot of wrong information too. So I took notes, compared and sorted the infos and made my own compendium. After that I threw away most of my old equipment, ordered new stuff from Italy and the UK and started practicing on fruit and pig ears for several months.

Was it hard to get started? Drawing on skin is a bit more permanent than on paper I guess… I assume it’s quite nerve wrecking to practice… 

Yeah, well I knew I wanted to practice on myself first. I didn’t want to mess up somebody else and deal with the guilt! And I wanted to learn so I considered this my investment. I came up with a design (or more like a framework) for my calf that allowed me to progress in tiny steps and have a lot of repetition cycles, to learn from my mistakes of the previous session and try something new in the next one. So rather than go for a whole design on the first attempt and messing up a whole bodypart! I knew you just can’t get everything right the first time.

By the time I tattooed myself for the first time, I was pretty confident from what I’ve learned from practicing on pig skin. I knew how to set up my station, how to hold the machine, all the moves from pushing the footpedal at the right time to wiping while holding the machine was already in my muscle memory, so how much harder can it be, I thought. Little did i know… but the insights I got from this way of learning were priceless. I always went by one rule: I never use a technique on someone that I haven’t successfully tested on myself!

Tattooing techniques, needle configurations or healing and aftercare methods, there’s so many things within tattooing that affect the process and/ or the result. I would recommend this even to experienced tattooers: Just because you once learned something from somebody it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a better way to do things! It’s such a big difference how different needles will affect the skin and you can’t unfortunately observe your clients healing process on a day to day basis. So why not try it on yourself first and see how it works?

So i’m still working on that initial tattoo, I consider it a playground or a lab where I test new needles, different inks and sometimes do something wrong on purpose just to see how bad it really is…

Is the tattoo scene open to newcomers or is it hard to get a foot on the ground? 

It felt very closed until a few years ago. Tattooers kept their trade a secret, suppliers wouldn’t sell to non-professionals and apprentices had to work for free or/ and pay to learn tattooing. It is still this way today for the most part, but the younger generation of tattooers is way more open. A lot of them are coming from an artistc background, they see fellow and new Tattooers more as an inspiration and subject for collaboration than competition or menace.

How would you describe your style? Being a designer I assume you have a quite miraculous approach to it… 

I always considered myself somebody who loves drawing. Thats how I got into university to study communications design and I ended up as a motion designer producing fully digital animations that live on a screen for a couple of seconds and might as well be forgotten a few seconds after.

So tattooing for me is a bit like going back to my roots but with all the skills and the knowledge I gained from working in the design industry. It merges my love for drawing with designing a rendition of an idea on skin. And as a designer I want to pick and choose the style that fits the subject and idea of the tattoo best. Of course I’m drawn to certain styles that are tested and true like in traditional Western and Japanese tattoos and folk art or woodcut or etching techniques to modern illustration, icons and logo design.

So I’m trying not to use one certain style for everything but try to develop a variety of styles to choose from for a certain subject. That being said, I’m sure some people would say I have a certain style – I’m trying not to… at least for now, who knows…

Hamburg had a lot of sailors. I assume there is quite a strong local tattoo tradition? 

It sure does have a strong tattoo history! I guess Herbert Hofmann was the most famous Tattooer from Hamburg, his old shop on the “Hamburger Berg” still exists to this day!

But there are others, not so well known artists like Christian Warlich. Hamburg art historian Ole Wittmann is working together with the Museum for History of Hamburg to unveil and protect the legacy of Warlich and other Tattooers that were a vital part of Hamburg.

Tattoos are getting quite fashionable now. Especially facial tattoos are not as frowned upon as they used to be. How do you feel about it? 

In my opinion the face is the most expressive part of the body. You can tell so much from a persons facial expression. If someones arms are covered with ink, it doesn’t really make a difference, if the face is covered, it does. So tiny tattoos are ok in my opinion, if it gets bigger it starts distracting me and interferes with the facial expressions. And I think its not for younger people, because you should really know what you’re doing. You can cover up a youthful mistake on your shoulder, in your face you can’t.

Any artists that inspire you?

Sure, but this would be an endless list starting from early stoneage cavepaintings and petroglyphs to streetart. But I want to point out Jeff Gogue (

Not only is he an increadibly talented tattoo artist and great personality but he shares his knowledge in courses and films also. “Tattoo as i see it” ( tought me a lot, not only about tattooing and visual art in general, but also about the personal growth and development as an artist. I watched it a couple of times and I always learn something new or remenber something I forgot about. I highly recommend this film to anyone creating visual art!

So if I would like to get a tattoo from you… how would we go on about it? 

Go to my website ( and fill in the email form or write directly to me via first. We’d meet for a consultation talking about all things concerning the tattoo and the process and make an appointment when we’d be actually be tattooing. Or if you live in Hamburg just swing by the shop! Every Monday I’m working at Fräulein Tinte’s cosy little Tattoo Shop ( in Hamburg Eimsbüttel.

You tattoo under the name The Monkid… how did you come up with it?

I was born and raised in Munich. The name comes from monks that settled there first and the city uses a little kid in a black cowl (Münchner Kindl) as it’s symbol. It’s an image that you’ll find in various forms all around the city and that stuck with me since my early childhood.

So I merged monk and kid and came up with Monkid! I used it as my DJ name for a couple of years as well and when I started tattooing I thought I might as well just stick with it.

What are your plans this year regarding your art? 

Besides trying to make more time for tattooing and art in general and exploring new ways and techniques I’m currently working on an exhibition of my drawings and flash sheets. I have so many ideas for that so I’m super excited to see how this comes along!

Got any advice for someone who is about to get his/her first tattoo? 

Find someone you really trust and “surrender” to him or her – meaning take the advice, let them do their thing and have faith in them to create the best tattoo and experience possible for you.

Any shout outs? 

Thanks to the universe for steering me in the right direction and my family for bearing with me!

Kickstarting 2018!

As I am sliding into a common “GJD” ( Grey January Depression ) I remembered that it’s a good idea to list all the things to be thankful for in life. So that’s a perfect jumping off point for a traditional Blogger recap of 2017 and an outlook of what 2018 might have in store!

Yes I know I am a bit late to the party but hey, it has been a crazy ride…

Moving back to Germany

2017 was pretty intense for me as I settled back into the flow of my hometown of Hamburg after living 15 years in the Big Smoke aka London. This topic would warrant a whole blogpost in itself, but for now let’s just say it’s quite crazy how much I enjoy being back home! After slagging off Hamburg for the last 25 years for being boring, dull and lacking creative energy it’s quite amazing that my days are flying by and I am not bored for a second. I was SO sure that IF I EVER would return to Germany, the place to be would be Berlin…

So how come I ended up back up north? Well, because I realized that my work actually benefits from a slower pace of life and living in a smaller city! So instead of getting hit by FOAMO ( Fear Of Missing Out ) every day, bouncing around between sneaker launches and exhibition previews like a madman, I actually could sit my ass down to get some personal work done!

I am happy to report that I got pretty busy last year and I am very proud of the outcome: Being it pushing my art, connecting with cool creative people or getting some YouTube videos out there, the slower pace of life definetly helped me to be less distracted and more creative!

Of cause London will always have a very special place in my heart and I am still visiting frequently. If you are planning to visit London this year why not check out my London guide on my blog:


Whilst we are on the topic of traveling, I managed to get a fair amount of travel in as well: Copenhagen, London, Berlin, Frankfurt, Italy and Sweden… always having a great time hanging out with friends and family!

There are so many places I still have to see, so I really want to keep on ticking some cities off my list in 2018. I never been to Greece, Turkey, Finland, Norway or Hungary so this really needs to change this year! I want to focus on smaller city breaks instead of longer holidays as there is just too much to see. So if you can recommend anything, hit me up on all the regular Social Media channels @solaris100!


I always painted and drew, but I am guilty of letting it slide a bit too much for the last couple of years which didn’t make me happy. I am much more happy now being back at it and even getting a couple of exhibitions under my belt in the UK and Germany.

As an artist you are always searching for an unique and authentic creative voice. After I started to just scribble around three years ago, a fresh visual direction opened up to me and I am really happy how my expressionist bubbles and colorful defacing of objects evolved month after month. Now in 2018 I feel really clear about the direction I want to take and can’t wait doing more art! Especially doing murals is a lot of fun and I am planning to blow up the size of my paintings considerably…

At this point I want to give a big shout out to the Street Art School Collective of Hamburg for letting me become a member and involving me into activities like painting murals and the Millerntor Gallery 2017. You can read about that here:

YouTube, Instagram and Social Media Madness

A bit thank you to everyone who follows me on Instagram and all the other obvious Social Media channels!!! Life really inspires me and I just love to share my travels with you. I met great friends online and your support and encouragement really means a lot to me. 

  Follow me on Insta here!
Follow me on Insta here!

I will do more YouTube videos in 2018 as it’s just a lot of fun dissecting nerdy topics like trainers or KAWS toys. I am really into watching videos about nerdy stuff whilst painting or doing chores around the house and it’s very inspiring to see how my fave YouTubers found their voice and raised their game over the years. This new age of direct content creation and distribution is just fantastic!

My current favorite YouTubers are:

Mei Leaf – Don is always entertaining dropping tea knowledge

Paul Cantu – Funny as hell Thrift God from Texas

The Sucklord – Conflicted NYC artist who meditates about Star Wars and the art world… 

So I hope you check em out and give them a thumbs up!

Crafting Solaris 100 Manor

Again really a blogpost in itself, but I am really happy to have found a new amazing flat against all odds three days before NYE 2017! Moving so closely before the new year wasn’t fun but it allowed me a fresh start into 2018. And now, after a solid month of visits to IKEA, I can report that Solaris100 Manor is full operational and offers me to hang out and work in style!

I am sure I’ll do a IKEA Cribs video of the place soon so keep your eyes peeled…

Wow… the Winter blues is gone! So this whole gratitude thing actually works!

I am definitely VERY grateful for everything that happened in the last year and the year before as it led me to this grey January day in Hamburg where I feel ready to F**KING ROCK in 2018!

Thank you so much for being part of the journey so far and let’s keep on moving together…



Star Wars Episode 9: The Solaris speculation!

The Internet is still ablaze with fire that The Last Jedi lit within the Star Wars Community. I have to be honest, I disliked the movie too! 

For me the cardinal sin wasn’t that Captain Phasma didn’t get a bigger character arch or that Luke never had the chance to truly kick ass.

For me it’s that Rian Johnson really narrowed down what JJ can do in the next chapter and got lost story wise.

I still can’t believe that his script got approved and there wasn’t anyone around to flesh out a three part saga to begin with! If you are continuing the biggest and most love franchise in the world you would think that would have been the case…


The worst thing that could happen now is that JJ feels obliged to hit the reboot button yet again to bring back Snoke or undo other parts of The Last Jedi. As much as I disliked this movie, let’s just put on a brave face and move on! Otherwise this trilogy will feel even more like a mess. Let’s just hope JJ sparkles a little bit more nostalgia on everything than Rian Johnson was willing to do.

So the big question is of cause: Where do we go from here.

Snoke is no more, Luke is no more. Rey is on the run with the last of the resistance. Leia is still around. We got Poe, Finn and Rose also. There are some stashed away Jedi books. Kylo is the Supreme Leader. There are Force sensitive people out there.

Let me indulge you with a story I’d like to see in the next movie. And yes, after having finished writing my own version of Episode 9 I actually retconned TLJ quite a bit. Ah well… suck it Haters!

Ultimately we need Kyo to be defeated/redeemed and the Jedi to return SOMEHOW. Another possibility would be that Rey and Kylo cancel each other out as the two sides of the Force, leaving a blank slate for new Force sensitive people to start all over again. Very Matrix-y.

So let’s begin…

Let’s start with the best part of the new trilogy: Kylo Ren. He now is the main dude of the First Order, so what’s next for him? After Lukes passing, all that’s left to do is to beat or turn Rey. 

The film starts with a flashback to the night Luke tried to cut Kylo down. We can see the whole situation unravel with Kylo having an epic fight with Luke.  As Luke looks like he is winning, Ben turns to Snoke to bestow powers onto him. This would be the point where Kylo goes full Darkside and levels the whole Jedi training facility AKIRA style.

Standing in the ruins of the Jedi temple he gazes at the last 5 pupils that are still alive. He asks them if they are with him and they all nod. We get Snoke landing with a shuttle nearby picking them up. Snoke adresses Kylo telling him he is now ready to be properly trained.


Kylo wakes up from this fever dream and rushes to the command bridge. He orders Hux to travel to a certain star system where he boards his shuttle and descents on a dark planet. Yup fanboys: It’s Mustafar!

I always liked Kylo being a Vader fanboy so I’d bring that aspect of him back.

We see him walk through Vaders old citadel from Rogue One where he calls out for Vader, calling him a traitor for turning and dissing Luke and the Jedi. He is still super emotional about the dream, cursing out the full Skywalker lineage. We could even get a broken down room with the table Vader was crafted on in Episode 3.

Suddenly we get hisses and whispers and we get the force ghost of… Anakin! Yeah fuck it, bring Hayden back! Just make sure he has some good dialogue this time…

Anakin and Kylo have some heated convo about the strength of the dark side compared to the “goody-two-shoes” light side. Anakin goes: “Yeah but would you kill your OWN COUSIN after what you have done to your father and mother?” Kylo freezes then gives some stroppy “I’d kill ANYONE who’s in my way” speech and rushes to his shuttle. OH SHIT! Rey and Kylo are family after all.

We cut to Rey who is with the rest of the resistance on the Millennium Falcon. Leia is getting weaker after her space flight and seeing her brother die got her energy right down. She is on her death bed.

I don’t want to see CGI Leia again and I doubt they shot any scenes with her on Episode 9 so we need to say goodbye to Leia somehow, as hard as that seems.

Leia calls for Rey and she reveals to her that she is Lukes daughter. Leia felt it during her last encounter with Luke during TLJ. She dies holding Reys hand… ALL THE FEELS!

Listen! I do hate that everyone is related and connected in Star Wars as much as you do, but having Rey be a nobody isn’t very rewarding in an epic fantasy way, ok? And having the Solos and Skywalkers face off is kinda cool.

Now Poe enters the stage talking about rebuilding the resistance. At this point we could either go: Fuck the resistance, it’s Rey against Kylo. OR we have Poe, Finn and Rose try to motivate the old allies to join forces again so we can have a big ass final space battle.

I’d say Poe, Finn and Rose go on their rebel sidequest to gather whats left of the rebellion whilst Rey seeks out a planet to check out all the Jedi books in her stash. Maybe she can go to R2-D2 and fire up Lukes old map, retracing his path before he went into exile in Ireland.

So basically she fucks off and makes camp in an abandoned Jedi temple on some new planet where she reads the books and tries to train like Rocky IV in Russia: Damn low tech and a bit rubbish.

Cut to Kylo

He sits on Snokes throne, the door opens and Hux comes in. Informing him that he found “them”.

We cut to a shuttle landing on a planet. Kylo orders the troops to fall behind and walks into some dark alien jungle. He arrives at a derelict Sith temple and gets attacked by 5 shadowing figures. After beating them all after an epic battle one of them says: “So you returned!” Kylo lowers his saber and tells them that he needs their powers. The Knights of Ren are BACK!

Back on the star destroyer he tasks them to track down Rey and the Rebellion and to put their abilities to good use again. We now have some LOTR Nazgul situation where the Knights of Ren search the galaxy for Rey with they Force powers.

Cut to Rey

She is doing her thing in that abandoned Jedi temple, very reminiscent of her AT-AT homestead on Jakuu. Hell, she could even cook up a green “portion” again!

To cut a long story short: Force Ghost Luke appears and now we get that fucking training montage!

After her training is progressed enough he shows her how to craft her own lightsaber. She adds her own modifications and VOILA! We get Darth Mauls double bladed staff just with green blades as she used the kyber cristal from Lukes old weapon!

Meanwhile with the Rebels

Leia passed away, we get a funeral in the debris field of Alderaan. Leias death echoes through the galaxy. It’s the news of her death that reignites the rebellion! #neverforgetAlderaan

We have all these spaceships appear out of nowhere to join the fight and so we have some new toys we can blow up run the epic last battle. Poe is happy, BB-8 beeps and Finn and Rose hug. And Chewie just stands there with a Porg on his shoulder. Awwwwwwwwwwww…

Cut to Rey

We can have a Force chat with Kylo again where she tells him that he won’t find her. He just chuckles and says: “I just did.”

Five starships land and it’s the Knights of Ren. Ren puts all her Luke training to good use and we get an epic light saber battle where she cuts them all down. In the heat of the moment we see her loose control of her emotions and enjoys the killing a bit too much. This way we keep the ambivalence.

 Cool Knights of Ren concept art
Cool Knights of Ren concept art

After the fight is over she knows she needs to face off with Kylo and Luke urges her to always keep her dark side under control. She jumps in her vintage, beaten up star ship ( shall we reuse the Jedi Fighter from the Prequels? ) and flies to Kylo…

Now we got the resistance prepare for battle and Rey heading for Kylo.

So we get one last big fucking space battle! Everyone is running to their space ships. Only Chewie is sad because without Rey or Han he has no Co-Pilot. The hangar door opens and a shadowy figure says: “Maybe I can help with that”… LANDO IS BACK BABY!

We can have a bit of banter with Lando and Poe… “I hope you are still as good as my father told me you were” or something…

Rey of cause gets permission to land and we have a final battle that echoes ROTJ just without an Emperor.

After an epic fight their Force powers cancel each other out and implode the whole Jedi / Sith thing. Now that would be truly a balance of the Force! Plus further movies can reboot that situation anyway.

Sooo… both are out of it and without powers.

Kylo forgives Luke and we get some flashes of Ben, Han and Leia being a family. Rey drops her light saber and gets her moment with Luke. He says: “It’s about time I introduce you to your mother… Mary!” A second Force Ghost appears…

OH SHIT Mary Jade is canon now!

Meanwhile the resistance wins the space battle, enters Kylos Star Destroyer. Poe takes out Hux and the rebels win, yaaayyy!

Kylo and Rey both lost their force abilities. Kylo is still somehow mortally wounded and joins his mother and father in death because he has been such a naughty boy and can’t be allowed to survive the movie.

Rey goes back to Jakuu as “It’s sandy and horrible, but it’s home.”

If we want to be really cheesy we can see Finn and Rose dropping off broom boy from TLJ after they freed him and the other kids from slavery. As he runs back to his parents we see two suns rising on the horizon… implying that the circle starts again!

The End! 

PS: Oh and I’d call it: The Balance of the Force

Let me know in the comments below what you think about my story points! GENIUS, RIGHT?!

A Solaris sermon for Christmas

In Germany we celebrate Christmas one day ahead of the British and Americans so allow me to formulate some soppy thoughts for the festive season already today on the 24th!

When you get older and grumpier one can say Christmas is just a massive waste of time: Cheesy as hell music on the radio, the pressure to purchase even more stuff and Santa has been invented by Coca Cola anyway. But when you strip away all the religious stuff and consumerist hocus pocus then to me Christmas is about wrapping up the year (no pun intended) and coming together with friends and family to chill.

It’s getting cold and dark, so getting together somewhere cosy and well lit makes total sense to me. Dragging a real pine tree into all of this at the cost of it’s life not so much but hey, I just assume the Pagans knew what they were doing!

Yet, even more classic than the Chistmas turkey is the Christmas family feud. When different generations, points of view and lifestyles collide at the dinner table, shit can hit the fan!

So why is it so hard to keep to keep the peace? I guess apart from the obvious issue of having different people forced to co-exists in the same space for a whole evening I feel it has a lot to do with expectations and needs.


It’s easy to avoid issues when you are apart from each other, but hard when being face to face. Every little annoying gesture or comment can trigger Defcon 5 at any given moment,

 So here are some things I feel help to keep things chilly chill this Christmas :

 1. Do check the technique

Someone is always the host and expects that the guests respect the rules of the house. Yet as a guest you are used to your own rhythm, and it can piss you off to have to adapt to the groove of someone else. Yet peace lies in the compromise: The host needs to mentally prepare that their guests want to feel at ease and might have their own requirements to be able to relax, yet the guests should respect they are entering the realm of someone who has his own groove going on.

Basically: Don’t smoke a blunt at the dinner table, yet your parents should allow you to put on some Cypress Hill when the family unwraps the presents!

2. Don‘t bring the Ruckus

Every family has their quarrels. Parents, Siblings and extended family can easily clash over minutiae: Everyone has an opinion of how the other could/should change their job, relationship or lifestyle. As annoying as this is, normally this uninvited feedback comes from a place of love and care. Parents want to see their kids safe and secure, of cause they would lean towards a more conservative approach regarding life. That’s why your Dad hates the fact you want to go to art school instead of becoming a solicitor or something similar boring.

So to keep the peace it’s important to dial down passive aggressive comments, unsolicited feedback and open judgment.

Just because you are pissed off that you didn’t loose any weight this year there is no need to tell someone else they got fatter and should go easy on the Christmas chocolates, alright?

Ultimately any concern should be about the happiness of a friend or family member. So instead of diving into questions about current jobs and relationships, one should focus more on another question: “Are you happy?”

If the answer is yes, who cares about the details. Just because you feel the urge to earn crazy money on Wallstreet and drive a Porsche it doesn’t mean your cousin who is working as a lumberjack in Canada simply MUST get his act together and get into the banking business. He might be actually happier than you, with more free time and fresh air!

 3. Don’t give shit Christmas presents!

The most common mistake people make with presents is that they gift things they like themselves, and not actually caring what the person they gift to wants to have.

Don’t be that asshole that gives a loved one ugly jumpers in the wrong size or passive aggressive shit like a treadmill or diet books! And don’t try to beat them at their own game: If your nephew is a sneaker head, don’t buy a pair of shoes in the local mall YOU would like to wear. Respect the fact you have no idea what you are doing and step away from making any hasty decisions. Just because it kinda looks like a Yeezy doesn’t mean it’s a Yeezy!

Another festive classic is to re-gift stuff that got gifted to you and you don’t need anymore. People WILL know what you are trying to pull here!

To get some stuff that’s so far removed from any interest you actually have is one of the biggest insults one can make. Better come clean and say: “Dude I actually don’t care about you. So I didn’t bother getting you anything.” That’s more forgivable than gifting a tennis racket to someone who just broke both of his arms!

So on that note do I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday or Awesome Tree day! Don’t fuck it up… for Chrissakes!


The Last Jedi: The Solaris Edit

Wow The Last Jedi really ruffled some feathers out there!!! It seems I am not the only one who thought the sequel sucked…

I think a big part of the disappointment is that it seemed that Rian Johnson wasn’t really interested in any of the set ups JJ Abrahams established in The Force Awakens (TFA). This made me think of the “Yes, and…” rule I was taught during Improv Theatre lessons: In order to keep a scene between two actors flowing you never interrupt the flow of a story by cutting it off. 

One should always acknowledge what came before and then add any new twists and turns by saying “Yes, and…”. I feel Rian Johnson was more like “Yes, and… FUCK THIS!”, trying to shake off the long shadow cast by JJ and Star Wars itself. This, if I am honest, could have been excused if the story he was telling was more kick ass and exciting. But I am still amazed why he chose to give the blandest characters a big side story, whilst throwing all exciting story beats from TFA out of the window.


So that kept me thinking about how I would have amended the story to make it work better…

So let’s get out the lightsabers and Porg cuddly toys and revisit this mess!

First, let’s start with the set up: 

There is a mystery around Reys parents and her Force abilities, there is the promise of seeing Snoke finish training Kylo, there is the massive cliffhanger with grizzled Jedi master Luke. We still have Chewie hanging around after the death of Han Solo and we need to deal with the tragic passing of Princess Leia herself. Finn is in coma with his back sliced open by Kylo, the Galactic Senate has been blown up and The First Order just lost their Deathst… ehhh Starkiller Base. There are whispers about the Knights of Ren and ancient Jedi lore.

Even writing down this list makes me pissed off that Johnson didn’t really deal with any of that!

Ok so let’s see what MY GENIUS BRAIN would have cooked up…

Let’s start easy.

First of all I would have addressed that Captain Phasma lowered the shields and allowed the rebels to blow up the most powerful weapon in TFA. She is a throwaway character anyway, so instead of having a lame fight with Finn we use her to show how badass Snoke is. I quite liked how Snoke kicked Hux around like a rag doll, so why not do a big ROTJ landing bay scene with Snoke infront of the First Order armies addressing the failure to protect Starkiller Base and making an example of Captain Phasma by killing her with some gruesome Darkside powers in front of everybody!

That would establish Snoke as a badass with powers never seen before and raise the intrigue what his deal is. I really enjoyed the fact that Darth Vader became this hero figure for Kylo, so why not get a bit of Darth Vader hero worship in there too with Snoke praising days of old, with the Empire in full swing. 

We can then continue with the attack on the Rebel Base. That fight against the Dreadnaught ship was awesome and I wouldn’t change a thing apart from making that female bomber pilot a nobody. She can still display mild Force powers to get the switch, establishing that the Force is with many different people, not just the Jedi. But no amulet rubbing, setting up the connection with Rose. BECAUSE THERE WON’T BE A ROSE!

Poe gets dressed down by Leia for wasting too many ships like in the movie, just with the difference that he get’s arrested for not following orders and thrown in lock down. YEP! Poe is out for the moment as his hot-headedness cost too many Rebel troops their lives.

Switch to Rey and Luke

I liked how he threw the lightsaber away so I am happy to roll with the whole “this dojo is closed” vibe. But as we know from similar situations in movies like Fight Club and Dr. Strange what needs to happen next: Rey needs to show some determination and commitment so swing Luke around. I like how she followed him around and how we see Lukes day by day. But: No funny alien nuns and no ugly alien with milk tits. Just kills the whole gravitas of the situation. I mean we are dealing with broken Luke Skywalker here!

So we have some back and forth and ultimately Luke tells Rey about the night Kylo fucked up his Jedi temple and bailed on him. Great opportunity to do a flashback scene, to go back to the time just after ROTJ: The death of his father aka Vader, the unrest after the fall of the Emperor, the birth of Kylo, Han bailing on Leia and Luke trying to re-establish the Jedi Order.

Luke tells Rey how Snoke crept into Kylos mind and corrupted him. This could be done similar to Sarumans corruption in LOTR… somehow Kylo finds a book or artefact that talks about the Dark Side and gets obsessed with it, hiding it from Luke. Maybe Luke himself was dabbling in the Dark Side and Kylo found a forbidden book or Sith artifact? As Kylo is still not over Han leaving him behind Snoke connects with his seeking spirit and whispers into his ear that he is not worth being loved and will get betrayed not only his father but his master also! This would explain why Kylo seeked Snoke after Luke tried to kill him.

We see the night of Kylo’s betrayal from Lukes view and Rey seems vindicated thinking that Kylo is a piece of shit!

Now we get some damn Jedi training, ok? Because Rey needs to be able to kick ass, and without at least some training this won’t fly. Luke can still be reluctant, yet fascinated. It can still end with Rey blowing some shit up and Luke getting a massive freak out like in the movie.

No mind talking between Rey and Kylo. We do that chatting later. At some point Rey leaves Luke disappointed and returns to the resistance.

Now if my memory serves me well we go back to the Rebels and that slow ass chase scene. Ok, so that whole set up was kinda stupid. So we skip all that.

After the jump the First Order attacks.

Kylo still leads the assault and he still doesn’t pull the trigger. The command bridge is still getting blown up. But the scene is played out way slower, with Admiral Ackbar trying to sort shit out but dying a heros death. Just before the command bridge implodes, Luke and Leia connect their minds and Luke tells Leia the famous lines from ROTJ that he always knew she had the Force as well. And that now in her last minutes she needs to let go and embrace it.

We get a damn tear jerking moment of Leia closing her eyes, feeling the Force, smiling and then getting sucked into space. That’s it! She’s gone.

We get see Luke meditating on Ahch-Cho, opening his eyes crying. YES IT’S A TEAR JERKER! The mental goodbye between Leia and Luke!

Rey arrives with the resistance, sees shit is fucked up. The attack left the last ships of the resistance floating in space, so Hux get’s a massive boner just toying with them. Kylo and Snoke have a moment and Snoke instructs Kylo to turn Rey to the Dark side. Kylo contacts the Rebels and tells them that Rey needs to meet him if she wants to save her friends on the remaining rebel spaceships.

NOW we have a waiting game as The First Order can only attack after Rey got turned. We get all the Kylo and Rey dialogues onboard Snokes spaceship. Kylo tells Rey his side of Lukes story and we get the info that Luke tried to kill him. SHOCK HORROR!

Cut back to the Rebels…

Finn wakes up and gets some badass cybernetic spine because his body was so mauled by Kylos lightsaber. Let’s not forget he was a Stormtrooper once and the fact they always play him for comic relief sucks. He can be funny, but he can’t be plain useless.

So whilst the Rebels await their doom, Finn breaks out Poe and they go on a BRO mission to get support from other fractions of the rebellio
n. So yeah… no Laura Dern and no Rose! They take the Millennium Falcon and manage to leave the Rebel fleet undetected with Chewie who is happy to go on an adventure just like in the good old days with Han!

Back to the bad guys…

Now we jump back to Kylo and Rey. It get’s revealed her parents didn’t matter, she breaks down and accepts to talk to Snoke as she feels she is lost with nowhere to go.

Snoke offers to show Rey her place in all of this and all three board a shuttle and fly down to a close planet. Oh what’s that weird citadel they land close to? Oh shit, it’s ancient Sith temple! BOOM!!!

In the meantime Hux is getting instructed to only attack the Rebels once Snoke returns.

On the planet, we get an insight into Sith lore and Sith training. With Kylo training Rey under the watchful eyes of Snoke. It get’s revealed that Snoke is an ancient being that neither believes in the Dark nor the Light, but tries to fuse both sides to gain ultimate power. He used to be a Sith apprentice that saw the weakness in the Dark side as much as in the Light side. A great moment to bitch about the lame Jedi and the weak Sith in the Prequels: “All they did was talking about trading agreements” Hahahaha, take THAT George!!!

Swipe back to Poe and Finn on their mission. No damn casino planet, no kids with broom handles, no cute CGI aliens! We are in a Jabbas Palace / Cantina situation: Dirt, danger and freaky aliens. Ultimately they start talking to some Mon Calamari. Poe tells them that Ackbar died and the Resistance is fucked. The Mon Calamari take Poe and Finn to a secret rebel base that has been dormant for years. Oh shit… it’s the water planet of Kamino! They build the Calamari resistance in the derelict Clone Trooper facility! Ok I know, we all don’t want to think about the Prequels, but they are canon and won’t go away! So we might as well try to make them retroactively cool! So if you rather wanna pick  Geonosis or a destroyed Naboo… be my guest!

After some motivational speech they dust off all the abandoned rebel tech and we have a strong rebel strike team going back to save the rebellion! Queue to some amazing Rebel ships from the Prequels and OG trilogy appearing out of the water ( they are supposed to be vintage anyway ) and heading towards the last rebel ships.

Switch to Snoke, Kylo and Rey on the Sith planet.

Kylo pretends to turn to the light and we get the epic Rey / Kylo team up, battling Snoke. Through fusing their powers they defeat him and we get a nice grisely death scene.

We cut back to Luke who feels Snokes death. We get a connection between Luke and Kylo as well where Luke feels Kylos burning rage. Luke sits meditating, not sure what to do. Now we get Force ghost Yoda, and they have a moment. Yoda calls out his pussy-ness and Luke sees that he has to wrap things up with Kylo himself.

We walks to the cliff and Force lifts his vintage X Wing fighter out of the damn sea!

Back to the Sith planet. They fly back to the First Order fleet and Rey thinks all is good. But Kylo just smirkes and tells her that with Snoke gone he can finally step into the footsteps of Vader and destroy the Rebellion!

We get some more dialogue between them where Kylo calls Rey weak and all the other insults a Dark Force user would hurl at a Jedi.

He walks onto the bridge and opens a channel to the Rebels, about to deliver an epic last dialogue. But guess who is on the bridge answering the call? FUCKING LUKE SKYWALKER!!!

Luke apologizes for being weak and failing him, for letting fear rule him. He urges Kylo to fulfill his destiny on the light side and talks about how he saved Vader. We get an epic flashback of the the scene in ROTJ where Luke lifts Vader helmet ( now that sounds wrong ).

Kylo gets super emotional and basically screams “destroy the Rebels once and for all”! Lasers fire, Tie Fighters attack… and Luke fucks them all up with some EPIC Force powers. Basically some crazy next level shit like in that Star Wars game where we see the Force push two Star Destroyers into each other. It needs to be completely a HOLY SHEEEET moment. This is where we could use that great Hyperjump Kamikaze effect… or something.

Just when Luke is at the end of his powers we get the Mon Calamari rebel fleet arriving and an epic space battle commences. Kylo chokes Rey and taunts Luke to come over if he wants to save his apprentice. Luke, visibly shaky, agrees.

Whilst the battle rages in space we get a showdown between Luke and Kylo, with Luke rocking his GREEN lightsaber. But as he used up all his powers he is no match for Kylo. We get the “If you strike me down” line and Luke does an Obi Wan Kenobi disappearing act with Kylo slicing right through him.

Back to the space battle…

The rebels are successful fighting off the First Order. Hux comes running to Kylo, telling him that a retreat is necessary.

We pan to Rey who is full of anger and rage, holding the smoldering cowl of Luke. When Kylo turns around we see her picking up Lukes lightsaber, attacking Kylo full blast. During the fight we see Rey totally giving into the Dark side, hammering down Kylo. After he lies on the floor begging for his life, we see Rey lifting her head and we get a close up of her Sith eyes. BOOOOOOOOOOMMMMM!!!!!!

Cut to the Rebellion celebrating their victory, with the First Order disappearing into Hyperspace. Whilst everyone is cheering on the bridge, Finn looks to where the First Order disappeared and yells out: Rey!


Now tell me that would not be a better movie than what we have…

The Last Jedi: A Space Rant *With Spoilers*

Ok so I watched The Last Jedi today. I do love Star Wars so I was damn hyped, especially with all the rave reviews comparing this film to Empire Strikes Back and throwing 5 Stars all around. And when even Arthouse lovers like Mark Kermode and Little White Lies give the latest sequel the stamp of approval it feels warranted to get excited.

I must say I really, REALLY enjoyed The Force Awakens. I watched it four times in the cinema and it always held up. I didn’t mind that it was basically a rehash of A New Hope, I just enjoyed the fact that JJ managed to recapture the magic of Star Wars and wash away the bitter taste of the shitty prequels.

Yet I left the cinema today underwhelmed, and the longer I think about it the more I’m actually getting pissed off. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for giving new directors a shot at Star Wars and I am actually happy JJ didn’t do The Last Jedi. He is great with relaunching franchises, but not so great at continuing them. For example I really loved his Star Trek reboot, but hated the sequel Star Trek Into Darkness as it showcased that JJ is unable to craft anything new himself without clinging to the past.

“Let the past die. Kill it if you have to. It’s the only way to become who you meant to be.”

These wise words uttered by evil space emo Kylo Ren feels like the mantra director Ryan Johnson applied to directing this movie: The way he chopped off story threads and ended characters could be seen as daring, but for me it just felt like bad storytelling and a big fuck you to the audience. 

Don’t get me wrong, the movie was kinda ok. But exactly like Bladerunner2049 there was no new epicness and weight added to the already existing lore. Just a couple of jokes and cool effects.

Without getting too sophisticated here , let me just unleash my inner Dark Side and slice through this thing! Maybe we have to let the past die. Maybe we need to grow up and acknowledge that nothing will ever be as iconic as the original trilogy. Maybe we should just stop trying to chase that first high A New Hope gave us back in the days!

Let’s be honest: THE PREQUELS ALL SUCKED! They were a heap of smelly CGI turd. ALL OF THEM! They stained and damaged the glory of the original trilogy even more than the horrible meddling of George Lucas with the original films that came after! So actually I don’t care about Lucas anymore and his opinions about Star Wars.

The other thing that I need to get off my chest is the practice of trying to fix weak storylines and plot holes with a slew of accompanying books… FUCK THIS ALSO! Either you make the story work in the movies or GTFO! I am not excusing sloppy writing with “Duuude you should have read the Prequel Book… they totally explained it there!” BOLLOX TO THAT! 

After getting this off my chest let’s jump straight to the new movie and my grievances…





Ok so where do I start. Maybe with what I liked: I liked grumpy Luke, I LOVED the Yoda puppet. I love Kylo Ren and Rey. I love how they use practical effects and retro visuals to give us the Star Wars feeling back. And the Hyperspace Kamikaze attack from Vice Admiral Holdo had everyone in the cinema gasping. I loved how they explained why the always overacting doucebag General Hux was still kept around. So yeah, some nice touches there.


Unceremoniously killing off Snoke without giving any insight into his backstory or deal SUCKED.

Having Leia doing some Superman stuff by surviving in space and casually floating back to the starship SUCKED. Especially as there no intrigue. There was no build up and no explanation.

Having Luke basically not train Rey but a bit but not really but a bit again was so underwhelming and SUCKED.

Rey pointless decent into the “Evil Zone” to find… nothing? SUCKED

Finn SUCKED, Rose SUCKED and their whole adventure on that Prequel Casino Planet SUUUCKED and pulled me straight back into the nightmare that is the prequel trilogy. Oh and Phasma? SUCKED!

I’m tired of Poe doing his “hot headed pilot” thing in every scene he is in. I’m tired of Finn as he is basically the Jar Jar of this new trilogy: Completely pointless. And all this added on crap about animal cruelty, Roses family story and that totally forced romance… SUCK SUCK SUCK!

I’m tired of the whole “Oh they got weapon X, we need to blow it up!” “Damn, now they got weapon Y, we need to blow it up also!” Really dudes? Let me guess… does it have a weakness? Is there an exhaust pipe? DO WE NEED TO BLOW UP THE REACTOR CORE? Seriously: First it was the Dreadnaught ship, then it was the tracking device and ultimately it was that gun on the fake Hoth planet. YES! HOTH! Just because you mix some red in there it doesn’t distract from the fact that you ripped off Empire!

 Gorilla AT ATs on Hoth
Gorilla AT ATs on Hoth

More? Ok…

Reys “Put a shirt on” joke in the middle of an intriguing scene SUCKED

The wannabe funny alien nuns on Lukes Planet SUCKED.

All the new ship designs SUCKED too. Seriously… no iconic shapes, everything blocky and whatever. 


Damn that looked tasty…

So what would I have liked better? What was my expectation?

I would have liked to know more about Snoke and the goal of The First Order apart from just being evil. At least the Emperor had the Sith thing going. But Snoke? Who was this guy? What was his connection to the Force? Wasted…

Same for Rey. I would have enjoyed some Jedi training, some insight into the Jedi culture. Some cool Luke monologues. Same goes for Kylo Ren. So how come he turned? Why was he in contact with Snoke although he trained with Luke? How did he grow up during the time after the Emperor was defeated. How did the First Order form? And where are the Sith in all of this?

I fear there is really nothing deeper here then some cheap story beats and killing off the legendary characters of our childhood. I fear that the next sequel will make it painfully obvious that there hasn’t been a strong vision for a story arch that’s unfolding in a satisfying manner over the time of a trilogy.

Talking about a satisfying trilogy: Each part of the original movies added new and exciting characters and story beats. So much iconic material! Maybe certain films just have their time. Trying to recreating the magic will ultimately fail.

If The Force Awakens felt like rekindling a love affair with a past lover, The Last Jedi feels like the week after where you realize you are clinging onto some old emotions of the past and it’s time to move on.

So maybe we Nerds need to let the past die. Accept that what has been will never come back.

I do want the new movies to be good, I want them to succeed. But the Last Jedi didn’t feel like it opened the mythology up, it felt like it shut it down in the most nihilistic way possible.

Anyway… let’s see how they wrap it all up in two years.

May the Force be with us until then!

Solaris goes Berlin

If there is a city with similar hype levels than London then it surely must be Berlin. One could even say that Berlin is actually taking over London as the most hyped city in Europe and maybe the world! If Bowie loved it then it can’t be all that bad right?

Now, my dear reader, please don’t expect a deep meditation about life in Berlin. I never lived in this great city myself and have been only visiting as a tourist. But I’d like to share some impressions from my last trip and some thoughts that go along with it…

Day 1

It’s not a secret how great Berlins music scene is. But on this trip I wasn’t keen on sampling the local DJ talent: One of my fave bands skipped Hamburg on their tour schedule so that I had to jump on the train to attend their gig at the Columbia Halle! Talking about trains: The connection between Hamburg and Berlin is ace and instead of gruelling 3-hour bus journey one can now be in Berlin within less than 90min. Awesome! 

 Not the set of Bladerunner
Not the set of Bladerunner

With nearly 3.5 Million inhabitants it’s easy for Berlin to feel futuristic and derelict at the same time. So from the spaceport interior of the Berlin Main Train station, I effortlessly stumbled into the shabby chic of Soho House Berlin. A friend invited me for a catch-up and some food and once I walked past the big copper doors I got instant flashbacks to the Shoreditch House in London. They do run a franchise here after all and it looks like each House has a similar vibe to it. Not that I am complaining tho!

Soho House Berlin and London have another thing in common: A pimp pool on the roof. PLAYA! So yeah… it’s advisable to make friends with memberships. They are just the nicer people anyway… right Sascha? 😉

 Tropical plant vs Grey Berlin sky
Tropical plant vs Grey Berlin sky

After applying some fragrant Cowshed hand moisturiser I waved the In-Crowd goodbye to meet my sister for the main event: The Berlin concert of my beloved band Justice!

There are very few musicians I really obsess over, but they all have one thing in common: Great style and a theatric demeanor! Being it Björk, Deee-Lite or Justice… the attitude levels are cranked up alongside the volume.

With their satin jackets, unkempt hair and vintage Genesis T-Shirts Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay just ooze 70ties porn style and could have been rebellious heartthrobs in 80ties movies like La Boum. As you can see… I am having a massive man crush on these dudes! Stylish French fuckers…

After we stood half an hour outside the wrong venue wondering why all these Goths wanted to attend a Justice concert we ended up in the right spot. What can I say, they fucking killed it! A perfect blend between rowdy Techno and Electro served with a massive slice of melodic French cheese. Fantastic. If you have never witnessed their stage show I can recommend their great Tour Documentary Across the Universe or the many live recordings of their shows on YouTube.

To round the amazing evening off the whole Ed Banger Squad was in town, playing at the Prince Charles Bar a thoroughly enjoyable eclectic set consisting of House, Electro and some heavy Rave classics. Especially seeing the legendary Cassius open a bottle of Vodka with their teeth whilst dropping 1999 was a joy to behold…

 Too many men too many many men
Too many men too many many men

So yeah… it’s a no brainer that Berlin really is a global party capital. And NO, I haven’t been rejected by Berghains bouncers yet. That will be an adventure for my next trip!

Day 2

Time to hit the stores! Although Hamburg has some great stores, Berlin of cause presents a wider variety for the indulging fashionista. As I purchased some pretty awesome and limited Levis x Justice patches at the concert I needed some vintage garms to put them on. So off I went on a tour of Berlins vintage shops…

After being blessed by the thrift gods in the first shop with a ferocious vintage college jacket for 45€ I still had some time left to check out further Berlin Hypebeast stores like Overkill, Firmament, WoodWood and more. So yes, Berlin is a fantastic place to upgrade you wardrobe and I would recommend the area around the tube stations Hackischer Markt, Weinmeister Strasse and Schlesisches Tor.

 Literally... shoe overkill
Literally… shoe overkill

And off I went towards Friedrichshain to check out HHV. The physical store of the virtual record store Hip Hop Vinyl has everything to kit out any aspiring Rapper: Shoes, garms, magazines and, of cause, vinyl. Loads of it!

On route, I met my good friend Peter. As to prove my point about Berlin snatching Londons crown, cool cat Peter swapped London for Berlin this autumn and has apparently never been happier!

Check out his great design work here:

So yeah, the bottom line is: Shopping is great in Berlin. And if you don’t believe me you are either boring, badly dressed or BOTH!

 Spoiler warning: ME!
Spoiler warning: ME!

Day 3

After having had my music, party and shopping cravings satisfied it was time to tick off the last box of any respectable Solaris100 City Break: Street Art.

Basically the whole East of Berlin has been covered in tags, throw-ups, pieces, stickers, paste-ups and any other form of color based artistic expression so it’s great fun to just have a walk and go on an art hunt like an art c**t. Of cause, the odd Solaris sticker might have been applied at various places around town as well.

The big Street Art related thing in Berlin is the recently opened Urban Nation Gallery at Nollendorfplatz bang in the centre of town.

Actually, I shall dedicate a fresh new blog post about this magical place in the future. Just be assured it’s worth the journey. From Ben Eine to Faile, Ben Frost and Banksy… the show is incredibly well curated and has the who is who of the current urban art scene hanging on the walls.

And no, there is no gift shop YET! 😉

Seeing all this amazing art really inspired and motivated me to go back to my studio and start painting again! But first I had to catch up with a good friend and fellow artist for a tasty Currywurst and a chat: Rainer Bornowski has been an inspiration to me since I started to dabble in Vector illustration and we both share a love for bold colours and applying our designs to physical products like record covers, T-Shirts and Postcards.

Check out the world of Bonito here:

What I really love about Berlin is the derelict vibe of it all. There is really no other city in Germany comparable with this sense of freedom you have in the German capital. I really hope that London will realize that aggressive gentrification will extinguish any creative spirit that made the city so amazing in the first place.

A city without any space to roam and get lost will loose it’s artists, so let’s hope Berlin stays fun, funky and the right amount of dirty!

So bye-bye Berlin, you have been great! Oh, and by the way, I prefer the Currywurst at Curry 36 over the offering at Konnopke’s Imbiss. Go for the spicy one!

Solaris over and out!

Bladerunner 2049 and the curse of the dissapointing sequel

When reading reviews of the sequel to Ridley Scotts Masterpiece from 1982, Bladerunner 2049 is getting heaps of praise. It’s 5 stars all around and even hard to please movie buffs like Mark Kermode called it “a future classic”. And I really wonder why.

Don’t worry this post is *SPOILER FREE*

Having just watched the movie I am compelled to (unfortunately) strongly disagree. After the visual dust settled and the epic soundtrack died down, nothing much of substance really stuck with me. Don’t get me wrong: The production design is fantastic and the soundtrack immense. Plus you have to applaud the filmmaker to ape the slow pace of the original. Yet the question has to be: Was all this effort warranted? Did Bladerunner even need a sequel?

Without going into any spoiler territory I felt the story was very bland and obvious, the villains very cookie cutter and the set up for a sequel felt forced. I have no idea why so many reviewers praised the movie for being a standalone story whilst it’s a pretty obvious attempt at creating a franchise. Bladerunner 2049 just has nothing new to add to the conversation apart from getting Harrison Ford back into the role of Deckard. Especially the last part of the movie was so formulaic that I felt I am watching a bad direct to DVD sequel. Harsh but true.

Plus: Can we please stop with all these prequel story mini-movies? Like Alien Covenant, Bladerunner 2049 has accompanying short movies on YouTube that supposed to fill in some additional info about the storyline. I really feel this added content cheapens the movie experience as it feels like crutches the screenwriters needed because they didn’t find a way to flesh out the story in the actual movie.

Although the cast is full of talented actors, Leto and Ford don’t actually have much to do in the film and I found the rest of the cast pretty bland as well. Even Ryan Gosling starts to grate on me, always playing the same type of brooding loner since his movie Drive from 2012. The more I think about it, the more I am disappointed that they didn’t find a way to really add something new and worthwhile to the Bladerunner universe.

So why are so few sequels great? And why do so many sequels suck? Don’t get me wrong… I have nothing against sequels generally. There are actually a lot of sequels I absolutely LOVE! I just feel most sequels try to fake it without actually making it.

So let’s have a look at some of my favorite sequels and why they work.

Expanding the storyline: The Empire Strikes Back

Let’s get the elephant out of the room first: Empire is just a fantastic sequel! After Star Wars told a pretty standard space story about good vs evil, Empire just added so many great characters, iconic moments and story twists that nothing felt like a tired rehash or simple cash grab. Yodas training, Hoth, Bespin, Boba Fett, that meteroid chase plus space slugs… fantastic! Plus it had the balls to end on a pretty bleak cliffhanger. Still the best sequel to this day. 

Go BIG in a good way: Aliens

The classic sequel concept: Just go BIGGER and LOUDER! But where lesser directors fail and fail again, James Cameron gloriously succeeded.

Doing a 180-degree on the first Alien movie and turning a claustrophobic horror piece into a full-blown war movie was just a stroke of genius that totally could have backfired. Just it didn’t!

I recently rewatched Aliens and it’s as tense, nailbiting and effective as back in 1986.

Again, it added so much new and great material to the Alien lore that it never felt boring: The space marines, the alien queen, the power loader battle… just fantastic! Even if the final end boss gets blasted into space yet again.

Have a standout performance: The Dark Knight

Although I feel that Christopher Nolan could have trimmed the runtime of The Dark Knight a little, this was basically the Batman movie I always wanted: Dark, gritty and more of a crime drama than a campy comic book movie. And most of the praise for making this an awesome flick just has to go to Heath Ledger for his portrayal of The Joker.

There is a reason why The Joker is the best villain ever to grace the pages of a comic book: Although he is a colorful jester with a variety of bold outfits, he always was a dangerous and twisted villain that should never be underestimated. This violent, psychotic and dangerous side of the character was never played before this such relish as by Heath Ledger who deservedly won a posthumous Oscar for this performance.

So to come back to Bladerunner 2049, Alien: Covenant, James Bond Spectre and the many other sequels that totally disappointed me: Without adding new, exciting and iconic material to the foundation laid by the original, there is not much merit in doing a sequel. And that’s why Bladerunner 2049 really disappointed me, despite its beautiful visuals and booming soundtrack. It just didn’t add anything fresh to the formula, just really well regurgitated the style of the first.

To wrap this blog post up… let’s talk about the only sequel that TRULY matters this year: Star Wars The Last Jedi! Let’s keep the fingers crossed that The Last Jedi will not fall into the same pitfalls I just mentioned and just rehash what came before. I really hope the film will be able to create new and exciting Star Wars moments… May finally a good sequel be with us!

The Solaris guide to London

I have been living in London for 15 years and I still love the big smoke dearly. So when friends ask me about what to do when traveling to the capital of Britain I am happy to give advice. So in order to not repeat myself all the time I thought I’d write up this little tourist guide for y’all…

A disclaimer: This is by no means an extensive list. Covering everything this amazing town has to offer would be impossible! So this travel guide is aimed at people being obsessed with the same stuff that I am: Shopping, Urban Art and Record Shops!

To start off I’d like to give the basic advice of allowing enough time. I’d say visit, at least for three days, not including travel. When I go on a city break, I try to fly in late on a Thursday to wake up fresh the next day and fly home on the Monday so I don’t have to rush on the weekend. Just saying’…

Regarding accommodation, I would go for an AirBnB in the East London area: Shoreditch / Hackney. That’s where all the fun is and you are not stuck somewhere in Zone 4 with no way to get home conveniently.

Airport wise, I prefer Gatwick and Luton as it’s relatively well connected. Stanstead and Heathrow are further away and a bit of a pain in the butt.

Regarding travel within London: I’d get an Oyster card as soon as possible to get the best travel deals and the convenience of touching in and out. This card can be acquired at any tube station and returned for a refund when you leave town again.

The two apps to download: UBER and Citymapper! Now you are ready to go…

Day 1 – Friday: Shopping Mania!

Fresh out of bed I’d start with a breakfast on the go at Pret-A-Manger. Yes it’s a chain but we don’t have a lot of time and the food is great. Soho and Carnaby Street are full of stores with international acclaim so I’d wander from Holborn via Neil Street into Soho and further on to Carnaby Street. As I am into my Streetwear my points of call would be Supreme, Maharishi, Patta, Palace, Oi Polloi and Foot Patrol. More common spots to hit would be Adidas Originals, Nike, Size? and Carhartt. For a more eclectic taste I’d recommend Lazy Oaf and Dover Street Market. Especially Maharishi is worth a visit as the shop has a fantastic interior design!

A word of warning regarding visiting Supreme: The Hype is strong! Schedule in around 2 hours of waiting time to enter the store, especially on a Friday when they just got new stock in.

For lunch, I would try to grab a filthy meal deal at Boots or another super market along the way. You really can’t fill your belly cheaper and we need all our money for booze and trainers later on!

If that doesn’t tickle your fancy you can grab some food at the Japan Centre on Piccadilly Square: They got very affordable Sushi and Bento boxes. 

Now that we are fed and freshly dressed we can continue to start record digging: Sounds of the Universe, Reckless Records, Sister Ray and Phonica are all in the area and cater for the vinyl obsessed.

The pubs will start filling up from 4 PM onwards so it’s a great time to wrap up your shopping spree ( no pun intended ) and start getting some beers in whilst soaking up the hustle and bustle of the city. Expect to see loads of Bankers getting absolutely shitfaced! Great people watching spots are The John Snow or The Coach & Horses.

British etiquette: No half Pints and Shandies allowed! A proper visit to the pub consists of four pints average BY LAW! Bar snacks can be consumed, I would recommend Pork Scratchings. More certified British snacks would be Wotsits, Monster Munch and Scampi Fries. Bar snacks / crisps are regarded actual food in Britain so don’t feel bad if your dinner accidentally consists of 5 pints of beer and a bag of dry roasted nuts. We all been there!

The John Snow pub actually belongs to a group of pubs run by the Samuel Smith brewery: This means it doesn’t serve big mainstream beers like Heineken or Stella but brands brewed by Samuel Smith. The good thing about it: The price for booze is very affordable and well below other pubs! So seek them out, there are a couple located in Soho!

For dinner, I’d hit Bodeans to get some filthy ribs or pulled pork. Other places to check out would be Wahaca for some Mexican Street Food and great Tequilas or any of the other chain restaurants that litter the area: Busaba Eatthai, Byron Burgers, Chipotle wraps. What can I say… I am a man of simple pleasures!

If you wanna go posh I’d recommend Yauchatcha: A trendy Dim Sum place with great food and interior…

For some late night entertainment I would just spend the night in the pub and get drunk: It’s a British classic! If you feel more cultural you might want to catch a musical or check out the Prince Charles Cinema: Their prices are really cheap and they show a lot of weird cult flicks and sing-a-longs! My favorite cinema in London… 


If you want to drink late and don’t fancy a horrible overpriced and naff Soho bar I’d go to the Crow Bar which is open until 3 AM. But be careful: The patrons do enjoy their Heavy Metal!

If you feel peckish after I’d definitely go to Bar Italia for a late night snack and coffee: This place is just legendary and a must see!

Day 2: Tourist stuff and museums

On Saturday I’d start early with a walk through Bricklane. There is loads of great Street Art to check out: Either in the Normadic Gardens, on the walls around Bricklane or at Stolen Space Gallery at the Whitechapel end of the street. In any case, check out the motorcycle shop run by London Artist D*Face called Rebel Alliance and grab some nice patches or a cool T Shirt! If your art taste is more contemporary: There is Whitechapel Gallery just down the road also.

FYI: I put a lot of stickers up in that area so keep your eyes peeled and tag me on Instagram! 😉

If you get hungry grab a beigel from the legendary Beigel Bake at the top of Bricklane. Open 24/7 on 365 days in the year! I even spotted Apex Twin there one day so you are in good company. Go for the salty Beef Beigel with mustard! A Bricklane essential…

Then onwards to London Bridge. Take the 149 Bus from Liverpool Street Station and ride all the way down to the river. Have a walk via Borough Market, past the Golden Hinde towards Tate Modern. Especially the new extension is worth a visit as you can be a bit of a peeping Tom!

From there you can continue walking up alongside the river towards the Southbank Centre, the London Eye and finally Big Ben! If you still can walk I’d cross the river and go central again via Trafalgar Square and maybe holla at Buckingham Palace if you must. That should all your tourist snaps be done then!

I’d then jump on the tube and head back East to grab some Vietnamese food in Shoreditch. But a word of warning: Don’t get caught up in some naff tourist bar after for drinks! If they have an excessive amount of neon in their windows… MOVE ON!

My recommendations for after food liquid entertainment would be Dragon Bar, Jaguar Shoes, Old Shoreditch Station and the Bricklayers Arms to name check the few cool places in the heavily gentrified area. A hidden gem is the Bar Bohemia with its entrance innocently hidden between a news agent and a Kebab shop. But don’t be fooled! Bar Bohemia is a fantastic place for cocktails in a 60ties retro setting. Highly recommended! They got loads of Absinth too… be careful!

As the night progresses I’d head up further East: Dalston is full of pubs and venues to dance the night away and get some drinks in. My recommendations: The Shakewell Arms and Dalston Superstore ( yes it’s a LGBTQ bar but Hetero friendly and a lot of fun! ) and The Alibi.

If you are a fan of the Resident Evil franchise I would definitely check out the Ridley Road Market Bar. It’s a trendy Berlin-esque bar in the middle of the notorious Ridley Road Market in Dalston where during the day many local butchers sell their wares… just so you can enjoy the sweet smell of rotting flesh whist queueing up for your Mojito at night! It’s definitely an authentic East London experience…

For a late night snack I’d recommend the awesome Lamb Shish at Umut 2000: All meaty awesomeness wrapped in home baked bread and cooked over a big fire!

If you see some elderly men walking up the street: That could be British art duo Gilbert & George who frequent the same Turkish restaurant every day for art reasons. Mangal 2 doesn’t only serve great Turkish food but has the most hilarious Twitter feed ever. Check it!  

Sunday Day 3: Chill and Sunday Roast

Sunday is fun day! As all museums and shops will be open it’s possible to wrap up any loose ends from Friday or Saturday. Just make sure you are in a good pub to eat a proper British roast around 5PM!

A great spot to hang out when the weather is good is the Columbia Flower Market. It’s very close to Bricklane so if you still want to check out Stolen Space or the markets you can easily wander over. My pub of choice in the area would be The Royal Oak for a cheeky afternoon pint and a roast!

For record lovers, the East has some great shops to discover as well: From the more obvious Rough Trade and Sister Ray to Love Vinyl, Kristina RecordsEldica and Lucky 7. And whilst you are in the area, why not say hi to NTS Radio which has its recording studio near the Dalston Overland Station.

  via NTS
via NTS

When the night falls head over to The Haggerston, a pub between Haggerston Station and Dalston. They have live Jazz on Sundays and the place is rammed with Hipsters… and I mean this in the best way possible! It’s open late so expect to get drunk and have a dance! Do it! If you are single this is a great spot to check out too #meatmarket

Now if you have been clever and listened to my advice you can sleep in a little before packing your things and heading home on Monday. I hope this guide helped you a little. Hit me up on Twitter if you have any questions, always happy to help! For further research, I would recommend TimeOut and TripAdvisor.

Essential British vocabulary:

Cheers! Thank you!

Are you taking the piss? Are you bullshitting me?

Let’s go for a cheeky half! Let’s get really drunk!

You foookin’ cunt!!! You god damn vagina!Worst insult in the British language )

Twat! Idiot!

Getting smashed / shitfaced / hammered = Getting drunk

Hair of the dog = To continue drinking when hangover

In that note… hope you enjoyed my little introduction  to the awesomeness that is London. And remember: Don’t take the piss… you cheeky twats!

Group hug, Solaris

Art for Water: Millerntor Gallery 2017

Of all the things London spoiled me with, Street Art was one of the most vibrant. Rarely a week passed without a new great show opening around town. I still remember the very first KAWS show in London 2003, Banksy’s first exhibition at the Dragon Bar or Ben Eine painting his letters in Bricklane.  And who can forget the legendary group show Santas Ghetto on Oxford Street 2006 uniting the “Who is who” of the global Street Art movement like some arty Avengers?

Well, I am happy to report that Hamburg is getting it’s arty groove on as well with murals by 1010, LowBros and a vibrant Graffiti scene that has been spawning legendary writers and taggers like DAIM, OZ (RIP) and MOST just to name a few.

So I was more than happy to learn about the annual Millerntor Gallery event that transforms the football stadium of the Hamburg Soccer Club St.Pauli into an open air gallery over a long weekend to raise funds for their charity Viva Con Aqua

Already in it’s 7th year, the line up featured an international selection of fantastic Street Artists and Graffiti writers and thanks to an invite by local Graffiti Store Underpressure I was able to create artwork for their charity auction featuring 100 painted Minisubwayz trains who would get raffled away during the event.

In addition of having had the honour to submit some art alongside some proper Graffiti and Street Art legends I was able to support the Street Art School Hamburg during the gallery run.

Offering workshops to educate visitors about Street Art and let them have a go at painting and stencilling themselves, it was the perfect hands on experience to unleash their own creative genius after checking out the show!

Of cause I had a stroll through the show as well. Here are some of my personal favourite pieces from the art on display. 

For sentimental reasons I really loved the Bud Spencer piece by Spruehwairk… great execution as well! Following is works by Marc Jung x Marco Fisher, Gabriel Riquelme and Smith The One x Seher One. How dope is that skull?!

Music and talks were a big part of the experience so shout out to Hamburg artist Marambolage who decorated the stage area with colourful drops!

Another impressive piece was the Underpressure train wall. Over 100 artists contributed and for 75€ per lucky dip you could go home with a train full of original artwork. I still don’t know who got my train, so please contact me if you were the lucky one!

The Millerntor Gallery didn’t just attract artists and musicians so I was able to make friends with a lot of other DJs, Promoters and general movers and shakers as well. Big shout out at this point to the Ramba Zamba St Pauli Fanclub who ran the Kuttique stall. Fucking mentalists! Not only did they invite me to spin some tunes but suddenly the whole place became the backdrop for a Nigerian Pop Video. Crazy…

With all this energy all around me I couldn’t resist picking up a couple of art pieces as well. After walking past it a hundred times I had to pull the trigger and got this hand painted tray by MyntOne. I am a big fan of the Jukebox Cowboys Crew and his execution and colourway was just too fresh!

In addition to that did I pick up a lovely Felipe Pantone print and one of the awesome limited edition Millerntor Gallery Graff Beer mugs.

Tried to create my own limited edition Millerntor Gallery artwork as well but didn’t manage to finalise it in time… one day I shall finish them! Keep your eyes peeled!

So what more can I say: I had an absolute blast! I just love such events that connect the dots between art, music, people and social engagement. I shall put in some work to be able to paint a wall at Millerntor Gallery #8 in 2018! Until then…