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changing gear
This is turning out to be a far more relaxing morning than i expected. I checked out of the hotel at 9:30am and asked if there was anywhere nearby i could hang out for a few hours on my computer. The reception guy said "sure, how about just down here?" This hotel is actually a club of some sort for sailors. People come here to hang out, drink beers, read the newspaper and chat. I've been here for about 3 hours now noodling around on my computer. It's so chill, well overdue, and something i could never have done randomly wandering around Hamburg waiting for my next hotel room to become available.

The second night of the party was not quite as magical as the first, though still a wonderful experience. I left around 8:30pm to look for the day club that was handling the overlap time between the first and second nights. After walking around Bremen for about an hour i gave up and sat down at a shitty bar for a gin and tonic. (If it can cure malaria, it can cure my nausea, right?) Turns out i had found the club after all, although when i'd seen it was closed i just assumed i'd gone to the wrong one. After meeting up with U, who had come from Berlin to play a set, i realized what had happened - everyone crashed hard yesterday and the afterparty died sometime in the afternoon. As a result the second night started two hours late, so when i got to the club at 11:30pm it was just spinning up. I still made it through till after 9am, though, flopping around like a zombie by the end.

The crowd was different last night. I recognized a few people from the night before, but a lot of the more chill people stayed home, leaving the techno vikings and (after 5am) sketchy leftovers from other clubs. The music reflected that, and was a bit more up-beat and simplistic. I did have a good time, though after the first night it was a bit of a let-down. Still, U played his usual complex, evolving set, and the other live acts brought some interesting sounds to the mix aswell. I spent a lot more of the evening having random little party chats to people. Dozed off a few times and was woken once by some guy asking if i was okay; a little later i saw someone else use his sweater to tuck in some girl who wasn't going to wake up for a while. I guess this sort of stuff might happen in other countries too if the culture was different, but i find most other places so wham-bam-thankyou-ma'am that there's no chance for people to really relax. Which sucks, if you think about it, because when you have 15+ hours of top-quality music you're probably going to want to nap a little bit in between, and what better place than in a comfortable chair at the venue listening to music you love? So, yeah, Germany rocks.

I had a more serious chat to U, about gender and music and language and culture. He had some really interesting insights for me; he's been doing electronic music since the 80s so he's seen everything come and go. Last night was the first time i've gone "backstage" since being part of a psytrance party crew back in the 90s. Even though the vast majority of party people i know are DJs and promoters, when i am actually at the party i assume they are working so i let them do their thing. In my head i have this stereotype of the starfucker/sycophant who spends half the party backstage without ever being involved with the gig, and i never want to be seen as that person. On the other hand, there is the bedroom DJ who desperately tries to get their demo into the hands of every touring DJ or artist, and i never want to be seen as that person either. I keep thinking about how much i would hate to have those people coming to talk to me if i was performing. Well, U told me i was being an idiot about it. And you know, he's probably right. He said look, you have to trust that performers will make their judgement based on who you turn out to be, just like anyone else you meet. If they like you, they like you, if they don't, they don't, but if you never make the effort, you'll never know. So i sat back there with him for a bit, smoked some cigarettes, watched the dancefloor from the other side, smiled at the random assortment of performers and entourage from around Germany, then went back out and danced again. It's kind of a breakthrough for me. There have been a number of parties where i've never spoken to the performers, despite knowing them via the internet (or even real life), simply out of this weird fear of being judged that i don't have outside of the scene. But now thinking about it - arriving on the train from Berlin, walking to the gig alone, playing your set, heading back to the train... That would suck if no one talked to you besides the promoter and other DJs. So i'm an idiot.

We talked about other things too, it was the best conversation i've had since getting to Europe and i would really like to hang out again. In Berlin... It also inspired me to muck around with my own music again. Which is what led me here - to cleaning up my laptop that up until today has still been pretty much in the "brand new in box" (i.e. bloated and useless) configuration. Now i have Ableton set up and ready to run on the internal SSD - no dangly hard disk needed - so i can easily whack on headphones and compose anytime i have 5 minutes. I don't know if i actually will, but one of the barriers is removed. Given this was one of the things that made me happiest last year it deserves to come back into my life, even this rambling aimless life i'm currently enjoying. Perhaps it'll give me something to hold on to when i am forced to settle down again too. I don't want to fall apart next time i stop.
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