dimanche, août 31, 2008

One last holla

Naja, after limping home shortly after noon (with a good 25km of biking in my legs), I climbed those 4 flights of stairs and collapsed into bed. But things weren’t done yet; this was just a siesta. I still had to make use of my stempel (stamp) from Bar25, where there was a promising Sunday lineup including Guido Schneider, Benno Blöme, and Onur Özer.

I planned to sleep until about 18h00 and then make my way to the bar, but I got a text message around 15h00 from one of my French buddies (the same one I saw at Rechenzentrum last night), with two pieces of news:

  1. I hadn’t seen him at Berghain after Rechenzentrum because he had walked all the way home from Rechenzentrum (a good 7 KM), which exhausted him, so he took a nap.
  2. He was currently at Bar25, and Onur Özur was currently spinning.

To which I had two corresponding reactions:

  1. You’re crazy…but I was biking everywhere yesterday, so I suppose I don’t have any business calling you crazy.
  2. A headliner spinning at 15h00? That seems odd. Well, I better get moving.

By the time I had taken a shower (taking care not to wash out the all-important stamp on my arm) and put on some clothes, it was already almost 17h00. I decided to leave my bike at home this time and take the U-Bahn this time, and on my way to the Hermannplatz U-Bahn station, I stopped at my favourite Döner Kebab shop one more/last time. With the first bit of food in more than 24 hours in my stomach, I was ready to go.

Sunday afterparty at Bar25

Sunday has always been when Bar25 [LINK] shines. Although Bar25 is open non-stop from Friday night to Monday morning, the real party starts around midday Sunday, when all of the partygoers empty out of other bars and clubs and make their way to Bar25. Sort of like a super-hardcore version of The Endup in San Francisco, this is where all the creatures of nightlife find each other after a weekend of running from club to club…

…and this is where you the results of a weekend on non-stop partying. You see all kinds of results, from cute to funny to wild to depressing to exciting to horrifying:

  • people laying about in the sun in various states of undress and slumber
  • groups of kids climbing into “the confessional” (a replica of a confessional, with two separated chambers, in place so that people can go take their drugs without tying up the bathroom stalls) in an effort to forestall the inevitable crash at the end of the weekend
  • stained clothes, dirty shoes, melted makeup, spattered glitter, wilted hairstyles and flushed, pockmarked faces exposed unflatteringly in the Sunday sunlight
  • the stalwart Sunday Crew of regulars that show up in bizarre and amusing costumes
  • the occasional group that shows up by kayak or canoe on the river
  • people taking turns on the two swings hanging from the branches of a huge willow tree near the river
  • dancers in the little cabin that serves as the club, shuffling to gentle, post-party minimal techno (later Sunday night, it gets less gentle and less minimal)

I rolled in to Bar25 around 18h00 and wandered my way through this landscape of exhaustion and stimulation, grabbing a light Radler (a beer–lemonade shandy) to get things going. I didn’t recognize the DJ spinning at the moment, but I contented myself to shuffle in front of the DJ and coast on the bit of energy I regained from my short siesta. The French buddy that had emailed me earlier wasn’t here, so I sent him a text message and waited for an answer.

Within a few moments, I came across one half of the French couple from London that I had seen in Berghain earlier that same morning. I thought they had already gone back to their hotel to get ready for their evening flight back to London, but apparently they still had enough time for a bit more fun at Bar25. We hung out for a little while in the sun on the deck near the club-cabin area, until at around 19h30 or so they finally made their move back to the hotel.

From there, I wandered my way back into the dancefloor and wandered around, running into an Italian friend that I had met weeks ago at the Primary Colours Festival at Zitadelle Spandau [LINK] and more recently at Club der Visionäre last Thursday. When I asked how she was doing, she made the “so-so” gesture with her hands, even though she seemed to be in pretty good spirits. Apparently, she had taken some stuff at Beghain that never kicked in…until she was in the middle of Ostbahnhof on the way to Bar25 at around noon. Since then she has been in a sort of semi-high state that she felt was like a kind of purgatory. Alas, the extreme and surprising scarcity of drugs in Berlin this summer has left a lot of people desperately buying whatever is available, regardless of quality, with predictable results.

I called my French buddy and found out that he had gone home to make himself a little picnic before heading back to Bar25. He said he would come by soon.

As I was dancing in the little club-cabin dancefloor and checking out a rather cute guy next to me, I overheard someone say in rather deliberate tones, “I am Canadian.” I immediately recognized the cadence of the voice as identical to a famous series of “I am Canadian!” commercials for Molson’s ‘Canadian’ beer variety, which had been everywhere during the late 90s. My little Canuck antennae went right up and I overheard words like “Molson” and “Canadian Nationalism.” I looked over my shoulder and took note of the guy who was speaking and made a note to talk to him later.

An hour or so later, I pass by him standing around on the deck and tap his shoulder, “Hey, the last thing I expected to overhear in Bar25 is a conversation on Molson Canadian beer commercials. After a bit of chatting and introductions, we discovered that we were both from London, Ontario, and that we had been involved in the London rave scene in the 90s at about the same time. Go figure! We gloried in nostalgia for the “golden days” of raving in London, ON, and chatted about the Berlin scene (which he complained was over-hyped), until a cute blonde came by and struck up conversation with us. Like a sort of dowsing rod, his concentration completely re-centered on the girl and I found myself very quickly outside of the conversation, so I made my goodbyes and returned to the dancefloor.

By about 22h00 or so, Guido Schneider finally started spinning. His set was predictably techno, but more minimal and pointed than the sort of set he had played at Tresor about a month ago. I heard from someone dancing near me that Onur Özur actually hadn’t spun yet, so I was hoping that he would eventually start spinning at some reasonable hour. However, alas, midnight came and went and he hadn’t appeared yet. I still had to finish packing my bags and make my way to the airport tomorrow, after 3 days of partying, so I decided that I should cut my losses and head home while the U-Bahn was still running. I got home around 1h00 and climbed into bed.


At around 1h30, I got a text message from my French buddy, “Where are you? I just got here.” You’ve got to be kidding me. I sent him a text message telling him that I was at home, in bed, preparing for a day of travel and, um, moving to another country. He apologized for his “somewhat long” siesta and we agreed to meet each other for lunch tomorrow before I leave.

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