22.5.12

Review: Lazy Sundays

Barney, that womanizing character on the TV series 'How I Met Your Mother', has this thing he calls a Perfect Week. For the uninitiated, a Perfect Week for Barney is a week when he manages to sleep with a different woman of his choosing, every night of the week.

The female-friendly, Berlin equivalent of a Perfect Week has got to be the Perfect Sunday. The Perfect Sunday entails lounging casually in a park, cafe or beach in the sun until your energy levels rise naturally, at which point you drift unhurriedly, and apparently effortlessly, into the most happening parties/gigs in town. If maximum pleasure plus minimum fuss is your goal then you can have a Perfect Sunday on any sunny weekend in Berlin.
Our Sunday started off with some cooling drinks in a park near to Arena club. Thanks to the recent wet weather, the grass was still soft and cool yet the earth was baked dry by the sun (no wet bums).
Eventually, a group of club kids on a come-down came and sat down near us. Even though they were barking competitively about the fucking great night they'd had and the fucking awesome new togs they'd bought - a contant verbal tug-of-war between frustration and satisfaction - they did not disrupt our shady bliss. Along with a few nearby sunbathers, we smiled at them and each other with wry amusement (and maybe a dab of recognition, too). This wasn't a day for competition, stamina or exertion. This was a day when the sun's movement through the sky and the wind's movement in the grass were more than enough to keep all of our senses busy.

Later we strolled across the way to Badeschiff. Our perfect Sunday seemed like it had hit a roadblock as we rounded the corner and saw the 300-strong crowd of people jostling for position in the queue to the Spreeside club. But the sun was pretty strong anyway so we voluntarily opted to keep on strollin' down Schlesische Strasse. When we got to Magnet Club, we burrowed deep into the cool, dark alley behind it and uncovered a catacomb of cool at MindPirates Vereinsheim.

Sunlight filtered through stained glass windows of the disused industrial mill, filling its high-ceilinged space with a reverent glow. There was a Mexican style altar facing us; issuing forth from a dark room at the top of some stairs to the right, was an ambient droning & rhythmic static, punctuated with intermittent pulses of deep, visceral bass. As the sun tilted to the West, the music rippled like a sonic curtain its dark synth arias muffling the heat of the day.

Mindpirates feels like a refuge, an emergency hatch away from the thrill-seeking killjoys on noisy Falckenstein Strasse outside. It's a place to return to creativity at its earthy source. Ironically, it offers exactly what those madding crowds outside think they are looking for: something unique & one-off... a 'moment' that stands out from the rest as being original and
unfaked.

In the mill's basement there was a second bar (closed) and a tiny theatre where spectral Morris dancers cycled through arcane movements onscreen. After smoking a very special cigarette, we went back upstairs watched the rest of Ed Davenport's set. The sun was going down so we left; a couple of kids playing chess in the parking lot outside looked up and smiled as we passed.

Next we dropped into Berghain's new-ish garden, the next-closest point of interest. There was a jaunty house DJ playing there, top-notch, but her set didn't quite mesh with the ex-military setting. Other gardens are there to be admired but I reckon that Berghain's will be a garden for digging up dirt on one another and making mud pies out of them, to a gritty soundtrack. Give it time...

At the end of the night we passed by Badeschiff again, just because it was on the way home. Luckily for us, the queue was shorter (there were only about 275 people in it now). Once we were finally inside, we trudged across the cooling sands and climbed up a viewing platform that overlooked the Spree, and the club's pool, which was lit from underwater. A group of swimmers had lined up on one side of the pool to dance to the last tunes of the final DJ - kind of like the Mindpirates Morris dancers but more real & alive.

"I'd never have thought that I'd be here right now, looking at all this," said my companion, who was otherwise speechless. Maybe he was that impressed because we'd finally gotten in, despite the crazy-ass queue outside. Or maybe he was surprised that, without even planning it, our Sunday had turned out perfect after all.

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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.