If there was an Internet before the Internet, then “Tip Magazine”, or “Tip” for short, was right in the middle. A detailed cultural program plus “Lonely Hearts” personal ads plus “minitips”, plus opinionated scene journalism, that was the unbeatable recipe for a long time, big city service every two weeks at the kiosk. In the 1980s, circulation reached the 100,000 mark. It was a strong phase for German auteur films, and the Neue Deutsche Welle was spilling over.

The story begins in Schöneberger Hauptstraße in a kitchen. “Tip” founder Klaus Stemmler had teamed up with art house cinemas such as NotOUT, Filmkunst 66 and Klick. The first issue was six pages, printed on a small offset press, and distributed free of charge.

In 2013 the magazine was taken over by Raufeld. Today, the magazine, which has remained largely true to its concept, is published by the Tip Berlin Media Group. The circulation is still around 13,000 copies.

But the “Tip” shows an amazing will to survive. “Zitty”, the old hereditary enemy”, lies in the graveyard of the alternative press. It is very ironic that both publications were published by the same publisher for a while. Those who read “Zitty” (allegedly printed on recycled paper) did not touch the “Tip”, which, oddly enough, was considered glossy. And vice versa. The editors maintained a “Cold War”, they divided the city among themselves.

“Zitty” were the alternatives on the left, “Tip” seemed a bit more established. The editorial office was in the ragged Potsdamer Strasse: first on the fourth floor, above the “Quartier Latin” (today “Wintergarten”), then opposite as a neighbor of the Tagesspiegel and the “Abend”, the 1981 faded tabloid. The “Potse” was considered the school of life for poets and young journalists: West Berlin’s Sunset Boulevard ended in the no man’s land of the Wall and at the sad line in the side streets.

Jörg Fauser, the writer who died young, was out and about in the pubs and establishments. Fauser belonged – like the legendary, quirky removals entrepreneur Klaus Zapf, he is no longer with us either – to the early “Tip” family around the editor-in-chief Werner Mathes. The “Tip” milieu is reflected in Fauser’s hard-boiled novels (“The Snowman”, “The Snake Mouth”) – as cool as one would have liked to be.

Of course, looking back at romance is seductive. The production weekends were notorious. The volume of the magazine was 280 pages, and the print templates had to be taken on Sundays to West Germany via the transit autobahn, as it was called in those years. Layout and alcohol, final editing and beer were synonyms. It was no different in the daily newspaper business back then. They drank, smoked and died young. Alcoholism has claimed its victims in the “Tip” workforce.

There was a lot that was innovative – like the film and theater mirrors with the scores. Subculture, high culture: borders didn’t matter. The word “cult” arose in its commercial context; Cult film, cult band. The magazine also had that status at times. “Tip” was a stepping stone.

You could, you were allowed, you had to write straight away, try yourself. The city magazines have changed journalism. Many wanted to be a German Hunter S. Thompson. Big mouths and sometimes a little behind, that’s how you appeared in the city: Young journalists like Matthias Matussek, who wrote excellent feuilletons in “Tip”, later went to “Stern” and “Spiegel” and finally took a sharp right turn.

Wolfgang Brenner later wrote thrillers and non-fiction books, Christoph Terhechte, once a film editor, became a festival organizer, and Alfred Holighaus, the long-time editor-in-chief of “Tip”, also plunged into the film industry.

One of the authors was Wolf Donner, film critic and head of the Berlinale from 1977 to 1979. Qpferdach came to Tip from the taz, a colleague who was always in a good mood and who died just as young as the musician and music editor Hagen Liebing, who played bass on the early songs of “Ärzte”.

As if there was a curse on the three letters. So many authors and editorial staff are no longer there when “Tip” celebrates its 50th anniversary.

The city magazines are hardly an avant-garde of urban journalism anymore. Just as her relaxed, personal style was formative, and the film and pop themes were taken over by the arts pages of the major daily newspapers, these newspapers themselves are in the midst of radical upheaval and are taking up internet formats. Online habits have changed the way newspapers are published and read much more fundamentally than the city magazines once did in their own way.

The “tip” put film yearbooks and a number of special issues on the market and organized the “Fisch sucht Fahrrad” parties. It was quite a fluid time, back then on the Potse, in a biotope called “tip”, where miraculously twice a month a full booklet somehow came together with reports and reviews and portraits from the large, small film park between Dreilinden and Potsdamer Platz.