The stuff you find at parties.

At a club last weekend, I was talking to a Goa fan about some of the stuff we'd lost and found at parties in the past.

"One night in the Berghain, I actually lost my shoes," he said. "Yes. One of them fell off on the dancefloor & I could not find it again so I took the other one off. Then that shoe also became lost." You may well ask how someone could lose his shoes on the dancefloor but really, what kind of person finds shoes on the dancefloor and then keeps them?

The Goa fan continued: "I was walking the whole night with no shoes in this club and nothing bad happened to me. Then, in the morning, one of the staff from the Berghain saw me and said, 'You cannot be here without shoes.' And he threw me out." Wow. So Berghain really refuses to roll out the red carpet for anyone, even a shoeless Joe who might cut his feet without it! Losing shoes is surprisingly common occurence, though; my friend Katja also left hers behind at a festival and, after searching for them all night, finally found them sitting in the centre of the dance floor. Maybe they were telling her that that was where she should have stayed. Back at the club meanwhile, another new acquaintance had found a body jumper that had no sleeves or arm holes in it. We couldn't figure out what to do with it so we just left it there - some things are better off never being found.

So what's the strangest thing that you've ever lost or found in a party, rave or club? Some of the things on my personal 'find' list include:
- A rubber hamburger
- A stove
- A black bin bag full of fur pelts (real fur not 'fun' fur)
- Loads of stuffed toys, whistles, flashing accessories and shades with silly, colourful frames... more shades than ever since coming to Berlin!

A few years back, a friend had a nasty 'find' when she went raving in an empty office block that was owned by her boss. While looking for a place to set up their rig, one of the crew members uncovered a fully-equipped fetish dungeon on one of the upper floors. When we got there (all breathless and wide-eyed from racing up the stairs) we found crusties manacling one another to the X-Cross, bouncing on the spanking bench and brandishing riding crops and dildos. I nabbed a homemade, studded man-leash (which is now worn by my teddy bear - yet another party find). My friend was probably the only person in that dungeon who wasn't laughing though. Before that party, no one had had access to the building except her boss. And all that fetish furniture was remarkably free from dust. No more jokes about that boss being a slave-driver, then!

The Jukebox room at Brunnen 70 was made possible entirely by party finds. A young English woman who worked at the club kept on finding discarded records when she was cleaning up at the end of the night and she felt so guilty about throwing them away that she decided to start a collection. Now, the Jukebox room is full of crates of these abandoned records, and they get played each week by DJs at the request of the dancefloor. Depending on who is in the crowd, you might end up hearing Kristina Bach back-to-back with Bach.

Once I was dancing in a totally deserted stretch of warehouse when I began to crave a beer. Almost at the same time, I spotted a bottle of beer rolling slowly across the floor towards me. As it came to a stop against my foot, I realized that it was both full & unopened. There was nobody within a dozen meters of me so how this beer came to be was, and is, a total mystery to me. I propose a toast to divine intervention!

At the risk of sounding self-involved, my favourite 'lost & found' story also involves me. In 2002, I brought a disposable camera to a free party. After taking a full film of pictures of friends, DJs and dancers, the party degenerated into the usual beer-drenched debauchery & the camera vanished. Fast forward to 2004, when I met a petite blonde girl named Hayley at yet another free party. We were making small talk when she suddenly blurted out, "I think I have some photos of you at home. Did you by any chance lose a camera...?"
It turned out that she'd found my lost camera, kept it and developped the photos, because she "hated the idea of someone losing their memories". A couple of weeks later, I got the photos back in the post. Ah!
The most touching find that I ever saw, however, was a page long, handwritten letter to a (presumably ex) lover, in which the author admitted to a list of failings with painful candid-ness. Hopes for forgiveness mingled with self-awareness & sadness: 'I can't help it, I'm a fuckup. But can we at least talk about it?'

Who can read these stories and say that parties are just shallow places for making a fashion statement? It seems like everything and anything in the world can be found at them... found, and lost and found again. I'm sure that there's a lesson to be found in that, somewhere.

Top left: silly shades found at Sisyphos
Middle left: the Jukebox Room

Bottom left & above right: two photos from camera lost at party


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