Marcel Winatschek

When the Voice of an Entire Generation Fell Silent

When the Voice of an Entire Generation Fell Silent

Even today, more or less strangers still ask me by email, letter, and shouting through the open window what happened to AMY&PINK. The portal of good humor. The party ship of Berlin’s newcomers. The voice of a generation that never wanted to grow up, partied for three days in Berghain, and woke up one morning in the ruins of their denial of reality.

Vice’s crude mix of topics has set a precedent, even in the German blog landscape, as Hannah Lühmann once compared us in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung to a brain-dead zombie medium, which is on its last leg with embarrassing horoscopes, irrelevant excitement, and paid partner links for vibrators. AMY&PINK, for example, the extremely successful blog by Marcel Winatschek, which is considered the Bild newspaper of hipsters, is one of the epigones. Because it deals intensively with the breasts of various A to F celebrities, albeit in that sloppy gesture copied from Vice between permanent boredom and excitement.

And further: On AMY&PINK readers learn that the consumption of crystal meth will turn them into lazy zombies, and stupid-looking four-legged friends are the true heroes of the night because an American blogger photographs the dogs of strangers walking at night. And they are urged to finally take away the swastika from the Nazis as well as their ugly friends because it is a symbol of love and peace. The blog is read primarily by young urbanites, and its ironic attitude is as much about the overall social situation as it is about the latest YouTube hit.

The reflexive answer to the exceedingly individual question of why AMY&PINK no longer exists is: I don’t know. And that wouldn’t even be a lie. Because I really don’t know. Maybe it just happened that way at some point. Maybe there was no place for it in today’s media world. Maybe things just have to end at some point, before they are artificially kept alive (even longer) for reasons I can’t understand.

AMY&PINK saw the light of day in 2007 as the successor to my then personal blog Tokyopunk, just as I was making my way to Berlin to begin my training as a digital media designer in the field of conception and visualization at Aperto AG. Everything was new, everything was exciting, everything in my life suddenly revolved around the German capital and the motley people scurrying around in it.

I filled my new project with private stories, finds from the internet, and some fresh music videos and found passionate writers like Hannah, Caro, Ines, Misha, Wenke, Sara, Meltem, Jana, Daniela, and Leni to keep taking the site to the next level. AMY&PINK transformed from a small blog to one of the most-read online magazines in the nation.

In the early years of the new decade, AMY&PINK was the digital destination for young rebels, hipsters, and avant-gardists - and those who wanted to be just that, or at least to know what nonsense these chaotic people were up to. We were invited by brands like Mercedes, Microsoft, and Deutsche Telekom to events all over Germany and the world.

New York, Toronto, London. Rome, Shenzhen, Los Angeles. Lisbon, Monaco, Las Vegas. To get drunk with Kendrick Lamar, Tokio Hotel, and Frank Ocean. And all because we wrote weird things on the internet, using swear words all the time, and some people wanted to read just that. And every now and then there were exposed breasts to be seen. Or vomiting girls. Or swastikas made of cocaine. The more provocative, the better.

The press loved and hated us at the same time - just like the readers. AMY&PINK succeeds in shocking, German newspaper Die Welt wrote about us, for example. The only question that remains unanswered: Who are Amy & Pink?, puzzled Süddeutsche Zeitung. Eye candy, Cosmpolitan applauded. Even if the name sounds like girlish fantasies, this blog pleases not only women. At AMY&PINK current (and sometimes very curious) topics of society are described honestly and sincerely. The special thing about it is the fabulously good illustration. Ruthless and refreshingly different.

No writing product on the Internet has been so unerringly successful for a long time, Les Mads praised us. A grin while reading is guaranteed, said Uberding. The high quota of naked women makes AMY&PINK reminiscent of the blog-turned-schoolgirl report of the 21st century, The Stiller described us. The classic. Because: good mixture, variety of topics, diversified. You just have to like it, Indigoidian wrote.

When I once shared a cab in Kreuzberg with a Swiss student standing randomly by the side of the road and she asked me what I was doing, she got wide-eyed at my answer: AMY&PINK, I know that, I read that every day! And the guy who was checking the press tickets at Melt Festival, when he looked at it, just said: AMY&PINK? Isn’t that that boob magazine? Even in Prague, a girl at a party knew the site. I loved these chance encounters.

AMY&PINK, like probably no other German blog, offers the raw material for bored teenagers who have grown up in their filter bubble of iPhone, Facebook, Buzzfeed, but also Miley Cyrus and Youporn, Nils Jacobsen tried to describe us at Meedia. The world of AMY&PINK is not so much about the girls themselves, but about the girls in the male imagination, who are given an inexhaustible arsenal in the social media age. It’s a world of fast, always available sex, even if it’s not available in real life - after all, YouPorn is always available.

And continuing: It’s a viral world that traditional media have completely slept through - and even the mouthpiece of the somewhat more sophisticated younger generation - NEON - often only touches on. Most recently, the G+J magazine boldly tackled the taboo subject of masturbation - whereas AMY&PINK provides direct templates. The up-and-coming writers can work off the scandals that happen in the pop world every day.

As trashy, calculated, and linguistically limited as the Berlin blog often comes across, its directness is more in tune with the zeitgeist of the younger social media generation, who now spend their time on YouPorn and BuzzFeed than on Playboy or Spiegel Online, Nils continues.

And: The zeitgeist has changed creepingly but radically in recent years. For those in their early twenties, it’s: porn is okay. Fast sex is okay. Sasha Grey and Miley Cyrus are their protagonists - not the Eurovision Song Contest and Lena. AMY&PINK is the most consistent shorthand of the new pornographic Internet age: Everyone can see everything today - and everyone sees everything today. And Marcel Winatschek is the blogging pimp of the Miley Cyrus generation, always feeding the 18-year-olds new fodder - written by those same 18-year-olds.

The problem, unfortunately, became that I continuously maneuvered AMY&PINK into a spiral of What the Fucks, from which I soon couldn’t get the site out. While in the beginning, everything was funny, ironic, and over the top, at some point a completely far-fetched professionalization of the content took hold. On the one hand, we had to be more blatant than everyone else to keep readers interested, on the other hand, advertisers demanded less exposed private parts on the front page.

In addition, the Wild West days of the Internet were over by the mid-2000s. Any pictorial content that had not been contractually approved by the author, rights holders, and, preferably, three to twelve additional lawyers, was not allowed to be published. The site lost its visual bite because everything consisted of official press photos, the texts became more and more absurd and unrealistic, AMY&PINK turned from a shining rock star into a washed-up lunatic who slurred loudly to strangers on the street that he was still cool - really, I swear, you, burp, stupid cunts!

Long before I suddenly found myself somehow in the shop window of the digital world through Twitter, I liked AMY&PINK, Marie von der Benken told Netzwirtschaft. But when Hannah Maria Paffen was still there. I was very young and hoped for castings at Fashion Week. And she was allowed to go there as a blogger. At that time, I had as much idea about bloggers as Boris Becker had about serious liquidity planning and thought they were primarily spoiled brats who spent too much money on brand-name clothes in which they then photographed themselves.

Furthermore: Hannah, on the other hand, was honestly overwhelmed by the fact that a company wanted to fly her to Berlin to see a fashion show and I started reading all her texts. That must have been around 2007. At some point, she left and AMY&PINK became the Stefan Effenberg of coming-of-age blogs. Once world-class, but today you wish someone would tell him once in a while: just stay at home and enjoy the thoughts of the good old times.

With the departures of the authors of AMY&PINK also disappeared the variety of voices, which for a long time provided the content balance on the site. For every photo series about fucking teenagers, there was an intimate text about heartbreak before it decayed, for every LSD-soaked music video an amusing travelogue, for every bizarre inanity a story about the small and big experiences of those who had chosen AMY&PINK as the medium to digitally realize themselves there. After all, they could have published their texts in NEON, VICE, or the local paper in Buxtehude. But at some point, all they got were empty shock articles. The aim was to attract attention at all costs when no one had been interested for a long time.

I tried to save AMY&PINK. Really. Not God is my witness, but Hannah, without whom I would possibly have drowned in my madness long ago. The poor thing had to listen to the drama every day, for years. There must be something we can do with it!, That can’t be the end!, and Maybe we should try it again in English? I was caught in an eternal cycle of brooding, doubting, and trying things out.

If I were even a touch as cool as I’ve always pretended to be in my countless articles, I should have doused AMY&PINK with gasoline years ago, set it on fire, and let it explode behind me in cinematic slow motion as I walked crazily smiling toward the camera. But I’m not cool. And I can’t let go that easily either. After all, visitor numbers continued to be quite good, the content I’d been building for years was being diligently clicked, and any SEO expert would have been happy to see such metrics.

But in the end, I put way too much time into saving AMY&PINK that I should have rather invested in important things. Getting a real job, for example. Having children, planting trees, building houses, I don’t know. Only to admit to myself at some point that it’s not going to work out with AMY&PINK. Not because the website itself didn’t work anymore, but because I had outgrown the whole thing and it was finally time to say goodbye. AMY&PINK had been fun for me at some point and now it wasn’t anymore. And no click numbers in this world could change this feeling.

So one fine morning I sat down in front of my laptop with a hot coffee, made a backup of the site, and then purged the server. And I felt nothing. Nothing at all. I was just empty inside. AMY&PINK was dead. And I didn’t care. I finished my coffee, got up, and went for a walk.

Even today, more or less strangers still ask me by email, letter, and shouting through the open window what happened to AMY&PINK. The portal of good humor. The party ship of Berlin’s newcomers. The voice of a generation that never wanted to grow up, partied for three days in Berghain, and woke up one morning in the ruins of its denial of reality.

The reflexive answer to the exceedingly individual question of why AMY&PINK no longer exists is: Because I didn’t enjoy it anymore. And it took me a long time to admit to myself that this reason alone was enough to end it, even though logic said otherwise.

Instead, I now have my own little blog again, which I can fill with content that really interests me, and where it doesn’t matter if I’m the only one reading or liking it. Here, it doesn’t matter if I write about my current favorite Japanese band or publish a short story about a city at the end of the world. I may even post an article or two from AMY&PINK over here if I think it would fit quite well. After all, why not? I can now do whatever I want (again). Hooray.

I’ve learned a lot from AMY&PINK and the people who even had anything to do with it. But now it’s time to let it rest and start something new. After all, the world out there is huge and the possibilities to find happiness are limitless. You just have to have the courage to let go, to reach out to the unknown and let it lead you to new adventures - before it’s finally too late.