I wrote One Punk Summer in Berlin. I was spending a year there on an exchange program. I arrived three days before reunification. The communist police state had collapsed, but famous symbols of its existence could still to be visited: A ransacked Checkpoint Charlie that had been taken over by the homeless; long sections of intact wall, colorfully pained with graffiti on the west facing side, pale brown plaster on the other. Machine gun towers with spotlights stood tall. I climbed up in one of them and looked around. You could see for miles.
In my prison-cell sized dorm room, painted with black and white pro-Stalinist art by whoever had it before me, I opened my Tandy 1100FD laptop and plugged it into my toaster-sized voltage converter. I started a cassette tape rolling of collected random punk songs. The music was fast, exciting, completely discordant — and I banged out One Punk Summer to the Ramones, Fear — Hüsker Dü.