Berlingo: "Monster Raving Loony Party Names"

Whoom-whoom. Shlomp. Funch. Ge-Oh-Ah. No, these are not the sounds made by an alien swamp monster... believe it or not, they are the names of Berlin parties that have been listed on Resident Advisor recently.

In Berlin, a club blogger's life entails makin a weekly journey through a wilderness of obscure, playful party names that offer little insight into the events they are referring to. Berlin's club promoters seem locked in a constant competition to see who can come up with the silliest and frilliest names.  This may be the  reason why no one party ever seems to keep the same name for very long - it's only a matter of time before a rival party will come along with an even more bizarre moniker and set the weirdness bar just that little bit higher. 

First there are the run-on party names: 'Animals In Space From All Over Europe' at Subland.  'Take Off Your Shoes and Burn Down The Vatican' at Privat Club.  'There Is An Infinite Number Of Monkeys Outside Who Want To Talk To Us' at Raum Berlin. Are these just are the sort of names that result when you blend Germanic concision with the type of hallucinatory rave imagery that is found in Berlin's party scene?  Or are they an expression of the (supposedly non existent) Teutonic sense of humour?

On the other end of the spectrum are the club nights named by people who have given up trying to think of surreal, witty one-liners. They're happy to just slap their party with the first words that come to mind, even if that happens at the local supermarket.  Take 'Various Vegetables' at Naherholung Sternchen.  Or 'Its Potato Time'.  That seems like a wholly inappropriate name for a party at a club called Flamingo, don't you think? Maybe the organizers would have been better off going with a tropical-themed name like 'Bongo Bongo with Sex Tags All Night Long' at Soju Bar. Or 'Beachcoma', an apt pun on those predictable, tropical-themed house nights.  'Pet Shop Bears' is an innocuous sounding night at Berghain Kantine... until you realize that the party is taking place at a super-liberated queer club where sex on site is not out of the question. Taken in this dim light, the connotations of 'bears' and 'petting' might take on a slightly seedier tinge.

Sometimes a club name unintentionally comes off nasty and for the totally wrong reasons. What were the promoters of 'Sweat Lodge, 5 Years Cocktail' thinking when they named their event? It just makes me think of a cocktail glass full of stale bodily fluids. Yum!

Then there are the party names where someone just strung a bunch of random words together into a clubby-sounding phrase: 'Elektro Tokat All Night Long' at Intersoup.  But gibberish can sound meaningful sometimes too, like the vaguely monumental-sounding 'Antibling Promassive' night at Hangar 49.

Then of course, there are the parties named for sounds in the music they play, like the aforementioned 'WhoomWhoom' at Morlox club and 'Shlomp' at NaherholungSternchen. Other names capture the mindless exuberance of the dance floor, like 'PartyPartyParty' at Fiese Remise or 'Happy Feet with Knueppel' at Bohnen Gold.

When that enthusiasm wears off the promoter might opt for a namethat better describes his or her audience, like 'Wasted German Youth' at Horst Kreuzberg. And then there are party names that seem to have been thought up while the promoter was on a nasty comedown, like 'Fuck Off' at Gretchen, for instance.

Then we have the literalists; people who name their parties things like 'Ge Oh Ah' at Tacheles. This name leaves one in no doubt about what style of music will be playing (let me guess: is it G-O-A?) WYSIWYG sometimes resorts to listing its party like ingredients on a cereal box: witness '12 Hours 3 Artists' party at WYSIWIG. I'm sure it was a good night and all, but couldn't they have just picked a bunch of words out of a hat and named it that?  It's what everybody else in Berlin seems to do. 

But at a time when the pretension levels soaring across the club scene, it is nice to see that many Berlin clubs still don't take themselves too seriously (or if they do, they need to fire the people in charge of naming their parties).  Not that I am complaining... with the constantly mutating names of Berlin parties to keep me guessing my blog career is never boring. Here's hoping that Berlin never succumbs to the trend of sticking its parties with consistent, brand-style labels. No two parties are ever the same, after all, so why should their names be?


  1. brilliant article. Great read from start to finish. I have wondered in what state party promoters come up with these colourful tag..lines.


All writing & images © A. E. Elliott (unless otherwise specified)

Search This Blog

My photo
Berlin, Germany
...is NOT a fashion blogger! I write about underground music, activism, social media rights. Other publications that I have written for: OpenDemocracy, Urban Challenger, Siegesaeule, Alternative Berlin and Sensanostra.