Andy whimpered and mumbled constantly in his sleep. He seemed to be haunted by the awful specters of a life of ill-deeds. Or perhaps it was just the Czech food failing to agree with him, you can never tell with these kinds of things.
Either way, I was sharing a room with him and my sleep was disturbed by his mutterings.
But he seemed well rested when the time came to gear up next morning, and once breakfasted, he made snappy farewells and headed out to the Praha airport to catch a flight back to London while the rest of us (Dr. Yasmine, The Baaron and myself) loaded the Galaxy for the drive to dirty Berlin.
Dirty, dirty Berlin. I had not been back there since I bailed in the winter of aught-five, after living for 2 years in a tiny apartment on Weser Strasse, Neukolln. People tell me Weser Strasse is now some sort of hipster miracle mile, but when I lived there it was just left of nowhere's asshole. Just another row of ugly boxes smeared with frozen dog-shit and inhabited by strange, downwardly mobile "easties" who looked like they ate cat food and prayed to the television.
I used to sit in this "Shultheiss" after work with the middle-aged plumbers and winos and cry because everyone I knew lived in cool neighborhoods and knew where the parties were at....
...but once the anti-gentrification stencil-art appears, you can pretty much call the battle over, and anyone who doesn't have sleeve tattoos and an iBook is on the losing team.Well, come to think of it, I suppose there was that crew of fixerati-dressenger girls who lived downstairs and used to sneer openly at my dorky bicycles, but they definitely seemed out of place at the time. Far more representative was my next door neighbor, who played video games 18 hours a day at deafening volume, drank his weight in bottom-shelf red wine each night and looked almost exactly like this....
So, what do you think about Hansa Rostok? Heavy Metal Pussies?
But getting back to our trek from Czech, the drive was singularly uneventful until German federal police stopped us on the border and we became embroiled in some sort of demonstration of force for a TV news crew. The cops nosed around our car and barked questions and poked us with assault rifles while the camera crew scuttled around like big crabs, getting shots of Deutschelands finest keeping the fatherland safe from suspected Australian terror groups.
Doctor Yasmine got surly with one of the stormtroopers and was almost hauled away for a beating, but she was unhanded after a last minute flurry of grovelling, apologetic noise from The Baaron and myself. In the end we were allowed to continue our journey after 25 minutes of pointless intimidation with our persons and possessions intact. Apparently we posed no threat to German national security.
This is, of course, just a file photo, but it gives you a rough idea of just how baden-baden these German feds were. Scary shit, people.
We arrived in Berlin around 5pm and drove immediately to the Michelburger Hotel on Warsauer Strasse. The Michelburger is a kind of new-generation hipster hotel, catering to the armies of vacuous, self absorbed iTwats from across the globe who flock to Berlin every year in search of inspiration, or affirmation, or something. Perhaps some ketamine.
Cookoo clocks, suitcases, a Ben and a Baaron. There is a truly great folk song in there somewhere.
It's a very nice place and I recommend it, especially if someone else is paying the bill, but the other guests filled my heart with so much hate that I had to syphon off the excess and store it in an empty 4 litre Coke bottle under the bed. Figuratively speaking.
Having said all that, there was a fine treat waiting for me at the Michelburger when we arrived. It was six feet tall, French and stoned. Yes, it was my one and only true love, the disgraced ex-super-model stoner-witch from Brittany, Lady Alexandra Cecile Bouche.
She was sitting on a rickety iron chair in the hinterhoff smoking reefer and reading a Portuguese translation of Winnie The Pooh, with eyes like over-ripe tomatoes and a slow-burning grin plastered across her face, despite the freezing temperature. I snuck up behind her and prodded her ribs and she whinnied just like a horse and smacked my face good and hard. What a woman.
Eyes as red as fire and a smile that could power a small town. That's the Lady Bouche.
But enough background fuzz, let us talk shop!
I had been to Magnet on Falkenstien Strasse only once before, to see Diplo back in aught five and I remembered nothing about the place except being rudely ejected when I was mistaken for a local coke dealer called Holgar who had gone berserk and attacked the cloak-room girl the week before.
Many things impressed themselves upon me throughout the first couple of hours in there, most of them to do with the handsome snack platter back-stage. There was a range of vegan small-goods that were particularly impressive. The woman from the promotion company, whose name escapes me, was a one of the on-the-ballest humans I've ever encountered in the musical sphere. She did things for our benefit in the fluid moments before we even thought of them.... like magic, motherfuckers, magic!
The gig ended up being one of those shows that is kind of awesome, but only in context. It's not like people went crazy or anything, but the atmosphere of good natured indulgence we recieved seemed so much more convincing because it was coming from a Beeeeerrrrrlllliiiinnnn crowd. Know what I mean?
Maybe not, and if not, you are doing something right in your life. Keep it up.
Here The Baaron appears to be suffering from that Heavy Guitar Syndrome which caused him so much grief in Switzerland. I, however, am upright and fighting fit.
No, wait! He's straightened up again. Good for you, Cuddles!
Anyway, post gig the lady Alexandra scooped up some scrap MDMA that was lying in the bottom of her handbag while I made good use of the huge quantity of beer I had hidden in my soft-case during soundcheck. We spent a good deal of time backstage having disjointed conversations with the guys from the opening act and laughing like giddy children at nothing in particular.
At one point I wandered back into the main room to catch some of Theopholis London, the headline act, as he crooned along to MP3s' wearing an ostrich feather bath-robe and a huge purple fedora. It made me feel strange inside, so I became afraid and punched his front-of-house engineer in the chest. After alot of pushing and yelling I managed to make my position clear to the poor old creep and in the end he wished me well, but it was touch and go.
I have scattered memories of trying to find a reggae bar I used to frequent in an abandoned railway depot out back of Warssauer S-Bahn station, but it was a fruitless search. We ended up back in our hotel room drooling and sobbing and watching the endless loop of The Big Lebowski that the Mickelberger shows on one channel of it's in-house TV.
…and to me, that smells like VICTORY. We came, we saw, we drooled and sobbed in our hotel room. What did YOU do on the weekend?