amw (amw) wrote,

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i had the time of my life

I think i'm exhausted but i can't really tell. I want to write anyway because i need to while it's fresh. The last 24 hours have been amazing. Around 10pm last night i took a disco nap and woke up around 1, at which point i ventured out to LautLeise 3 Jahre. The venue is in an old railyard that now houses several clubs and bars. No signposts. You just walk through an opening in the graffiti-covered wall and wander across an overgrown courtyard looking at various graffiti-covered warehouses until you find it. Even once i was in there it took me an hour to find the fourth room (behind the coat check, behind the bar, in a different warehouse). The music was great, of course, even in the "new talent" room. It's so fucking cool to hear tracks i have been buying all year on a big sound system with people going nuts to them. I met a Bavarian couple who randomly decided to come up to escape Oktoberfest, shared Jäger shots, and danced and danced. Home was a 20 minute walk, with a brief pit-stop for coffee.

I wanted to go to KaterHolzig too, but i needed sleep. So i napped for 2 hours, had a shower, ate lunch, then went anyway. And God. I love that club. It is an absolute feast for the senses. I could pull words out of a hat and eventually i'd be bound to run into it there. At one point i was sprinkled with confetti sitting in a blue hut drinking mint tea with my foot resting on a wooden sled listening to swing watching people try to win a carnival duck shoot whose target was a cat in a hat. I mean, for fuck's sake. I don't know how to describe how utterly decadent that place is. Even if photos were permitted they wouldn't do it justice, because it is so utterly jam-packed with art and random baubles you just have to soak it in. And sadly, that can only be for another couple months, because the abandoned factory it's built around is being converted to condos. Once again Lake People brought me to tears, but i was close anyway because that place is like fucking heaven for me. Time disappears, nothing matters.

This time round i had a few more conversations. I met a girl in her 20s who lamented the fact that the city felt like a village for her because she always sees the same people every week, yet still appreciated just how lucky she is to have such amazing clubs in the first place. She said no one gives a shit about German Unity Day, or Christmas, or pretty much any holiday - it's just an excuse to party another day. She said she didn't care to celebrate anything her ancestors did because it's not relevant. I said perhaps she'd think different if she'd lived through the East/West years, and she agreed but said it doesn't matter any more.

Her view was not shared by a slightly older guy from the west. He said Berlin was on a thread, it has no industry, it doesn't produce anything, the only thing it has is tourists. He bitched about the East Germans who supposedly still romanticize the old days and hate all the Westerners and tourists flooding the city. He said the city would be nothing without them. Of course, he also said the rave scene was hollow and meaningless and you exchange numbers with people and then when you're sober you have no idea who the fuck they are any more, and that it's all just a bubble, a fantasy. Which is of course true, but it also means he was probably coming down and a little mopey.

One of the workers there told me she wasn't sad the place was closing. She said it had gotten too big, that there were too many tourists. I kinda understand what she means. It wasn't so noticeable this time around - probably because i was there during the day - but last time it felt like half the crowd was French, or Italian, or Spanish, or English. They tend to stick in the main room, dancing to the same tech house they can hear at any club in Germany, but Kater is notorious so you have to check it off the list, along with Berghain and Tresor and Weekend. The thing is, what makes the place for me (and probably for the original Bar 25 crowd too) is the Hütte room, where the music remains quirky, the random forays into jazz and pop and cabaret, the weird hippie decadence of it all. I'm sure the other tourists love that too, but perhaps they enjoy it more from the outside in?

I've been following the behind-the-scenes drama with the ongoing shutdowns of Berlin clubs and last year a bunch of the Bar 25 commune managed to repurchase the original land and are slowly setting up a new thing there, though the woman i was chatting to told me it'd likely be 8 months. It's fucking heartbreaking to finally be in Berlin, discover what is hands-down the best club i have ever been to, and know even if i stay here it'll be gone by the end of the year.

Later i jive-danced with some random dude who introduced another guy where after a few minutes of speaking German to one another realized we were both from the UK. He's been living here 2 years, and actually took the time to learn the language well enough to communicate comfortably in a club (i still falter a bit, and find it almost impossible to understand shouted comments on the dancefloor). He had the archetypal Berlin migrant story - coming over to work at a start-up doing some vague thing or other, running a non-profit media project on the side, bla bla bla. It was cool to meet another migrant, and inspiring to hear his German, but i do feel i want to keep a little at arm's length from that crowd. I already know a couple of DJs who have moved here from Toronto who hang out in ex-pat circles and do that semi-employed bohemian thing. If i do move here i want to move to Germany, you know? In the midst of our conversation, a local girl came over to ask for a cigarette and said wistfully "we live in Berlin, the capital of Germany, and my boss tells me to address all our customers in English, because there are so many foreigners here".

I had to force myself to leave. I know if i didn't i would have followed the pattern everyone warned me about - going from party to party to party and before you know it you're another Berlin waste-case. It's almost midnight. If i magically wake up by 2am maybe i'll go back to MIKZ to catch Schlepp Geist, seeing as i still have the arm band from last night. But i suspect i will pass out solid, and i almost certainly need to. What a night.
Tags: music, travel

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