mardi, avril 14, 2009

No, I didn't call Africa for 6 hours, why do you ask?

So, yesterday I got a call from my cell phone provider, SFR, telling me that I had an unusually high usage of long distance minutes. In fact, there were 230€ worth of calls. After a moment of confusion, I got more details on the consumption and the reasons became really clear: all of the calls were made to Africa, which I never call, and they were made during the space of time between when I lost sight of my old phone two weeks ago and when I blocked the line a few hours later. And the first phone call started minutes after I last remember having my phone in my hands, which means that I hadn’t lost my phone, but instead it had been stolen from me when I wasn’t looking. Hooray!

The woman on the phone told me to call the client services hotline to report the theft and ask them to refund the charges. When I called the hotline, the guy on the line told me that any charges incurred between the loss of the phone and the blocking of the line were non-refundable, but if I lodged a “déclaration de vol” (theft report) with the police and faxed it to them, SFR would check my phone records to ensure that these numbers had never been dialed before from my account, and then they would reimburse some or all of the charges. Yippee.

So today after work, I went to the commissariat near my workplace in the 13th arrondissement and spent nearly two hours filling out the theft report. It took ages to record all of the information, and even longer to get the document finalized, printed out in triplicate, and then signed and notarized. When all of that was taken care of, I called SFR to find out what number I should send the report to, and after three unsuccessful attempts at speaking to someone who could help me, I finally got through to someone who told me to just mail the whole thing in. Ugh, fine.

So anyways, that’s that for the time being. I now have to wait for about 5 days to hear back from SFR about what they’re going to do with those charges. Whee! Between this and the massive electric bill I got for the winter, I might as well just make a pile of money and burn it and then go live under a bridge.

lundi, avril 13, 2009

Masomenos, my dear

OK, I’m a good 1 week behind on blog posts and I don’t foresee catching up in the next few days, so here’s something to tide you over: recent releases by Masomenos, whose tracks have been getting more and more attention. Enjoy!

Go to Beatport.comGet These TracksAdd This Player

dimanche, avril 12, 2009

Sunday at Club der Visionaere

When I got home from Berghain, it was about 14h00 or so, and I had plans to meet up with a friend from the Chicago scene (let’s call her Ellen, for ease of reading), so I got to bed and tried to get a few hours of sleep. At around 18h00 or so, I got up to take a shower and found a text message from Ellen, saying that she and a friend were at Bar25 already.

So I took a quick shower to make my body forget what I had done to it, put on a fresh set of clothes, and headed off to Bar25. The line at the door wasn’t very long, which at first felt like a relief, but the line was barely moving at all. This was partially because it was Sunday and, since the bar is open all weekend nonstop, anybody with a stamp from earlier in the weekend has the right to jump the line and enter. So there were lots of people bypassing the line and holding things up, but also the doorpeople were constantly concerned with exceeding capacity (like anybody checks in Berlin).

Anyway, both of the women running the door were clearly cranked up on speed or coke, and thus making little sense. They were cracking jokes, then arbitrarily picking people out of the line and sending them in, sending other people away, and leaving others to just wait and wait in line. At some point, they decided to start asking people that were leaving if the were planning to come back. If they said they were leaving definitively, then the doorperson would count the number of people in the departing group and try to find a group of the same size in the line. Since people were always leaving in groups and I was all alone in the lineup, I ended up spending nearly 30 minutes at the front of the line, waiting for them to let me in. Of course, the doorpeople here are famously fickle, so I couldn’t risk arguing with them.

Eventually, after calling me several times to see what the hell was going on, Ellen and her friend came out and we hopped into a cab toward Club der Visionäre.

When we got there, Matthew Styles was spinning, and the rumor on the dancefloor was that Ricardo Villalobos had arrived on his boat (which was indeed moored at the dock) and he might come spin later that night. How exciting! Villalobos is known for magically appearing at Berlin establishments (especially Club der Visionäre) late on Sunday for one last DJ set before the end of the weekend.

Anyway, Styles was spinning relatively minimal house (but with more frequent vocals) and a bit of techno, which Ellen and her friend preferred to what was playing at Bar25 (and from what I could hear while in the lineup, me too). It was a bit more upbeat and energetic, too.

Shonky, a Parisian DJ now moved to Berlin, is in the corner near Matthew Styles, chatting with another Frenchy guy in a black turtleneck (seriously). After a few minutes, Ellen and her friend and I end up moving near that corner to get a bit more space, and Ellen chats up the Frenchy dude after Shonky leaves (go Ellen!). It turns out that this guy is also a DJ, and that he would be filling in for Mr. Styles when he needed a break from his all-night DJ set to get a drink.

I never got the Frenchy guy’s name, but he put down this amazing track that just got all of us FREAKING OUT, and it turns out that it was that recent release from Masomenos called “Les Trois Petits Cochons” (The Three Little Pigs) [see previous link for sample]. Sometime this coming week, I’ll have to make a post on what Masomenos is up to these days. As Fantômette had described it a week ago, they’re something of a breath of fresh air to the minimal scene.

Anyway, by about 1h00 I realize that I might miss the last train to Florian’s place and that I had a train to catch, so I said goodbye and headed out in a hurry. I obviously had managed to obtain a contact high from all of the pot being smoked around me, because I caught myself spending 10 minutes closely inspecting an U-Bahn system map in the Märkisches Museum station. What was so interesting?!