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postcards from the edge
swing
amw
Well, i'm back to feeling anxious and stressed. Go me. I think it's because last night instead of going out to a party party i just went to a local bar 2 suburbs over and chatted through till almost 4am. I had a precarious "in" here, that being that it's U's local (the artist i met in Bremen) and H was DJing (a guy from Toronto i've Facebooked intermittently for 18 months or so). They're more Facebook friends than anything, but i figured it'd be good to drop by outside of a party environment and also let H know how he's been an inspiration for me in coming to Berlin not solely as a starry-eyed party animal. I was immediately introduced to a bunch of other DJs and musicians, many of whom were ex-pats from South America. We talked music and Berlin and Berlin and music, and (although i ended up speaking English all night) it was refreshing to have some conversations that went a little deeper than the typical raver "how's your night" chit-chat. What made me feel weird, though, is that - aside from the fun nerdy music analysis that industry people do - so much was "How long have you been in Berlin? Isn't Berlin great? Are you staying in Berlin? Man, i love Berlin!" chit-chat. Which was fascinating in itself, but it reminded me of talking to people in Brooklyn who think that that place is the center of the universe. Of course, Berlin actually is the center of the clubbing/techno/party universe, but i don't want my whole life to be defined by some navel-gazing notion about how great my life (here) is. I came here because so many DJs and musicians i love play here regularly, because i know there's enough of a multinational community i can find work in English, because i have an EU passport... But not just because Berlin bla bla Berlin bla bla bla.

And yet... BERLIN BLA BLA BLA. I mean, taking a cab home at 4am (because i was too lazy to wait around for the 24-hour subway) i must've passed 20 bars spilling out onto the street, still going. Party people everywhere. Tonight there are hundreds of events. Plenty more are still going on from last night, or even from Wednesday night. And every single one has great DJs, great music. All over the place you run into educated music-lovers, people who traveled halfway round the world to see this DJ, or picked this club over the 99 other ones specifically because it's that label night. It might not be Berlin Rave City of the Love Parade era, but it's probably something even more interesting now because it is such a fucking nexus of artists from all over the world. I've never been anywhere like it, it's just ridiculous how much is going on. But as much as i love raves and parties and art and music, i feel weird making it my life. I'd feel like i was living in that bubble the coming-down-guy i met at Kater was talking about. I think he was referring more to people who just go to parties to escape and end up lost in the wonderland, but for me that's not the bubble - indeed, that's the whole point - for me the bubble is the bohemian/hipster/start-up echo chamber that floats along around the scene, oblivious of the rest of the world. I find it hard to identify with that crowd, and it's not how i want to make a living. I love bumming around the world on savings, but i don't want to bum around contract-to-contract, project-to-project, making connections, getting comped, releasing on friends' labels, playing at friends' clubs... I want to put my time in, pay my dues, then get on with enjoying the fruit of my labor free of any obligations.

And there's my little free bird cheeping away again. Given the opportunity to make friends with totally open-minded people who actually share the same interests as me i feel stressed out and paranoid. It's exactly the thing U was telling me was stupid - feeling self-conscious about associating with artists at gigs for whatever weird reason that i do. It's like i'm scared of making friends, of becoming part of a "crew", just in case i get hurt or disappointed again. And it IS stupid, because i know i'm a nice person, an intelligent person, hopefully funny at times, and always a good friend. But i am terrified of getting that close in the first place. I have absolutely no problem talking to strangers i'll never see again, being open and genuine and interested, but the thought of seeing them again, of becoming a local where everyone knows me, having friends call me or text me to do shit together... I get shivers. Why is that? I'm only making life harder for myself. It's thoroughly weird and fucked up.

So i sit here in bed with a ball of nerves in my stomach over absolutely fucking nothing, feeling weird and stressed and worrying and i don't even really know what it's about any more. It's anxiety about anxiety, that utterly ridiculous yet petrifying sensation. I want to crawl under the covers and watch Netflix for the rest of the weekend and then go to an entirely different club tomorrow, and next week, and always be the tall fair stranger. I am loving Europe, i am loving Berlin, i have always loved this scene and will continue to do so forever, but God, God, settling is freaking me the fuck out.
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