Before 2008 arrives I want to post this picture of Berlin because it shows one of the best moments of 2007 for me: saving the planet on a family weekend to celebrate my birthday with the boys in the most exciting city I have been to, what on earth could be better.

We coincided with a huge climate change protest, joined a lantern march urging Angela Merkel to do the right thing at the Bali summit, rocked with great bands at the Brandenburg Gate, slept in a smart apartment once inhabited by punk squatters after the wall came down, walked silently through the concrete alleys of the Holocaust Museum, and wandered the streets of East Berlin decorated with so much wild and wonderful graffiti that I came home with an adolescent urge to spray paint the posh parts of Edinburgh, starting with the Royal Scottish Academy.

After all that, despite all the Christmas glitter and the spicy German market, poor old Edinburgh does seem very staid and far too smug.

Admittedly, Berlin shows signs of succumbing to affluence. Even in the four years since our first visit, the wasteland of the cold war has been reclaimed by gleaming monuments to capitalism. Potsdammer Platz is as glitzy as any other cosmopolitan city centre. But the revolutionary spirit lives on in the east. ‘Fuck yuppyz’ says the writing on the wall in one old apartment block. Nearby, another tenement has been restored and stands like a sign of things to come in Prenzlauerberg (one of the fast gentrifying areas of the old bohemian quarters of the city). But even here some agile graffiti artist, with a head for heights and a long rope, has added a touch of genius. At the top of the tall building in bold black on the fresh new pale orange paint are the words ‘rock and roll’.

Cunning entrepreneurs are quick to copy the anarchist style. On his state of the art Nokia Dougal took a picture of a beautifully executed graffiti mural sponsored by, guess who, Nokia. But I am sure someone will reclaim it for the street. I like to think that having survived communism, this generation of free thinking, free spirited young people will continue to rebel against our Western conformism. Who needs mass produced fashion among so much individual style.

So happy new year to Berlin. I hope your revolutionary spirit lasts for ever. Now I better go pack.