jeudi, février 19, 2009

The Four-Night Weekend, Part 1: Techno at a Swinger's Bar

Wow, this was a long, long weekend. So long, in fact, that it started on Thursday.

Daytime activities were pretty banal: work, then doctoral students’ workshop, then home for a while. However, the director of the doctoral workshop was having us over for dinner that night, so I headed over there around nine to start the evening. As conversation carried on at her place, we went through two bottles of champagne and several bottles of wine (between 10 of us), so everyone was feeling a bit warm and fuzzy by the time we left.

My friend DJ Childerik and some of his friends had organized a soirée tonight at this club, l’Hôtel des Sens, which is usually a swingers club on the weekends, so I decided to go check it out. Three of my colleagues from the doctoral workshop came with me, but they left pretty quickly, once they discovered the price of drinks: 15€ for a standard mixed drink. By comparison, Le Rex charges 10€ and Berghain (in Berlin) charges about 4€. I was having some serious trouble justifying paying that much for a drink at a not-well-known club, although I suppose that explained why there was no cover to get in.

Anyway, I was actually a terrible host to my colleagues, as I arrived at the club and was immediately swept up into talking with DJ Childerik and his girlfriend, and then all of their friends. I was captivated by conversation with one friendly guy that had lived in Berlin a while ago; we talked about our favourite locations in Berlin and told stories of partying and excess. He was also really interested in my time in the Chicago and Toronto scenes, so we had a lot to talk about. I told him that the (minimal) techno scenes in Chicago and Toronto are smaller, which means less events can be organized and less big-name DJs, but also a more tight-knit community and more “underground” events in basements of homes, warehouses, artists’ studios.

Aside from Childerik, there was also Eva Kokoschka and Alyotis spinning. The sound for the evening was relatively light minimal house, which was nice to hear in this interesting space. The place is in a narrow building, spanning 5 floors in total (although the bottom floor closed tonight). There’s a smoking room in the top floor, the coat check and bathrooms in the floor below, and then a floor with the DJ booth and the bar and a dancefloor on the last floor. There weren’t all that many people there, so we ended up clustering near the DJ booth and dancing there (also, lots of people hung out in the smoking lounge, where the music was less loud and you could talk).

A friendly guy chatted with me in the bathrooms (nothing salacious, just comments on the space-age faucet they had in the bathroom), and then I saw him again a bit later at the bar. We chatted for a bit more, he asked me if I knew the DJs, he told me about the wine shop he works at, and then suddenly he was offering his drug-procuring services and pressing his business card into my hand. Kids these days; so forward!

I also got to know a nice lad that was apparently good friends of Childerik and his girlfriend. I won’t go into detail, but I’ll say that he’s cute, he works as a hairdresser, and he’s a good kisser. I eventually needed to head home and get some sleep, but we exchanged phone numbers and planned to see each other again during the weekend.

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