Happy Go Lucky Hearts: Letter from Alexander Skora


After being brightened at Burning Man three times in different years in the early 2000s with all the creative crazy world changers from Silicon Valley and Hollywood, where I worked and lived for many years, I decided to bring back the spirit to Berlin, where I bought a hostel in 2010.

1) Find someone else to run it.

2) Sell all the furniture and pay the creditors.

3) Run the hostel myself.

After I learned that the former operators had pre-sold the spring and summer season 2012 in the year before to school groups all over Europe collecting 50-100 % of the money upfront, only option 3 was possible, so I started running the hostel April 1, 2012 arriving at the reception in the morning and not leaving the hostel until almost a week later for the first time, sleeping 2 or 3 hours each night in different rooms where beds were available.  There was hardly anyone left from the old staff, since people didn’t´t get paid over the winter months and left, so I checked in prepaid groups, got a new team together and changed the name from “BerolinaBackpacker” to “HappyGoLucky Hostel”, had the old BerolinaBackpacker letters from the top of the building taken down and replaced in the same size with the HappyGoLucky Hostel and a few smiley faces.

Along comes a letter from a Berlin bureaucrat with nothing better to do then complaining that there was no form filled out for changing the letters and that they are against them anyway and the orange color of the building, which was already orange, when I bought it a few years before.

Architect and lawyer filed the paperwork for the letters, which was rejected by the office, as they do not appreciate and want hotel names on top of buildings in this part of Berlin, which is curious as everywhere else in Berlin and the world as far as I knew hotels and hostels have their names on the buildings for people from other parts of the world to find it, when they arrive.

Not so in Berlin-Charlottenburg, where I grew up, went to kindergarten 2 doors down from the hostel and to school a few bus stops from there. Gotta love the power trips of Berlin bureaucrats.

Berlin and international artists had carte blanche inside the hostel to determine, who would be working on the facade outside and Dom Brown of Ireland was the winner. He painted away and the ground floor of the facade became Burning Man inspired HappyGoLucky art.

The bureaucrats became more upset and fumed, but as there is still Kunstfreiheit / freedom of art in Germany and Berlin being the capital of creativity in Germany, they kept their papers and stamps to themselves and minded other important business.

But 3 years later, when Dom did the rest of the facade and put HappyGoLucky Hearts on top of the building a bit bigger than it was for 3 years at the bottom, the busy bureaucrats dropped their jaws, pencils and stamps and gasped for air and typed away, asking for this “terrible type of advertising” to be taken down or painted over or else. We are talking about HappyGoLucky Hearts here, nothing else – not McD, big tobacco, oil or car companies, just HappyGoLucky Hearts.  Too happy for them to take.

Big outcry in the Berlin media, head bureaucrat of the Baubehörde Marc Schulte (SPD) was ousted a few months later.  In comes Oliver Schruofenegger (Grüne – green party), looks like the prototype of an alternative happy hippie.  Met with him at his office, agreed that the art is amazing and he actually liked it so much, that he wanted it to stay as a landmark of Berlin and be saved for future generations. Other side of the coin came in the written agreement, prepared by angry assistant attorney Dr. K, who already worked for former Baustadtrat Schulte, asking for the agreement to put it into the files of the property as a “Baulast” – beautiful German word – for all times and to have an appraiser look at the colors every few years and keep it in the same condition as day one like restoring a painting of Michelangelo or Da Vinci.  Felt honored, but bills would be on me.  Said thanks, but not thanks unless the government gets half of the costs covered by funds from Berlin taxes, as I already paid plenty for having it painted already.

Next thing is another angry letter from Dr. K signed probably with a heavy heart by happy hippie Schruofenegger, asking to overpaint the whole facade within the next 10 days or else.

So I decided to bring brightness to Berlin´s bureacraZy and address the public to see, if they want the building back to beige / grey / dirty like the one on the left and the right of it, or keep it colorful and inspiring like Berlin really is.

Please post on this blog, on your social media accounts and anywhere you want to show how many HappyGoLucky Hearts are out there!

Thank you from all my heart!

Alexander Skora






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