31.5.16

Berlingo: "Overrated"

The adjective "overrated" is often used in relation to Berlin's clubs, especially during the tourist high season. It's the time of year when dozens of pop-up parties suddenly appear, run by people who are in it for nothing but quick cash, an ego injection or the chance to play God for a while.
 
To illustrate, I'm republishing this early party report written about an openair party I went to in April 2011.  The party happened on the site where Kosmonaut club now stands but it was under different management then, so any resemblance between the old club and the new one is purely coincidental. 
Be warned: this review is so bad that it's almost good again (if you know what I mean). Please don't bother reading past this point if you dislike that sort of thing!


 

The crowd was under aged, but sooo overjoyed.

"I have just come home from the worst party that I have ever been to in Berlin.

"The night started well enough, with a visit to a chilled openair party by ZMF, somewhere in Neukolln. In retrospect I would have been better off staying there. However, I was tired from a day in the sun and decided to leave for home. On my way back I got a second wind, and spontaneously decided to drop in at another open-air party called "Why?" in Friedrichshain with some friends. (The party was in fact in Lichtenberg but I suspect the promoters lied about the area in order to justify charging higher prices).

"We arrived at the party only to find that the punters were being fleeced for nine euros on the door.  Nine Euros??? My friends and I gasped. With prices like that, we expected to find ourselves in the next Berghain when we passed through its hallowed gates. Instead, we got was a low-rent version of Morlox: a car park party with a few under-decorated sheds.


"Now don't get me wrong, I love Morlox!  But a huge part of its ramshackle appeal is that it has ramshackle prices to match its style.  You never pay more than a fiver to get in, even on a big night.  And if you did, you'd be going in without yours truly!  So "Why" would I pay nearly a tenner for this place?  We never found out; instead, our sky high expectations experienced a swift crash landing.

"The open-air bit of the club was as I said, a car park, complete with lines on the ground and oil stains.  There wasn't any music out there at all.  On either side of it were a couple of small, craptastic buildings - basically, two sets of walls and roofs around two small, craptastic dancefloors. So technically, the openair was not even an openair at all: it was a shed party next to a car park. 


"Dancers driven by a desperate need to justify the absurd entrance fee had crammed themselves into the first shed, making it impossible to dance in. The second shed had more space but the music was so much more boring, you could see why people were steering clear of it. 

"And the fun did not end there. On top of the aforementioned 'Friedrichshain prices', we also had to shell out a whopping 1 euro bottle pfand on our drinks. That's the highest pfand of any club in all of Friedrichshain (and in case you'd forgotten, we weren't in Friedrichshain, we were in Lichtenberg).  We could not get this euro back unless we presented an easy-to-lose scrap of paper alongside our empty bottles. Such a system seemed kind of unjustifiable in a party where every bag was searched on the way in, and the only bottles being returned were ones paid for on-site.  It was a blatant money-making scam, like the entrance price. 

"After what seemed like an eternity of asking ourselves "Why" the party organizers were so determined to make our lives hell, a dubstep/drum n bass room suddenly opened in the basement at about 2:00 a.m., giving us new territory to explore. The music and atmosphere down there were great but alas, it did not last long. Shortly after we entered the basement room an angry little man came up to me and demanded that I check my bag in the garderobe. And guess what? The garderobe was expensive too! What a surprise. I refused, and the man made some threatening gestures, then stormed off.

"Later, we tried to leave the dubstep room but were stopped by an equally hostile female staff member, who had taken it upon herself to barricade the door leading out of the basement.  "Why?" Maybe she just didn't want another one of their valued customers to flee. Eventually one of her cohorts restrained her long enough for us to leg it in the opposite direction.

"We later found out that, apparently, the dubstep party downstairs was part of a separate event, and the staff at the "openair" did not want people sneaking back and forth from one party to the next, without paying twice.  Which kind of makes you wonder why they didn't just lock the door leading between the two parties.

"By this point I was totally fed up with The Little Open-Air Of Horrors and left to go home. But the fun was nowhere near being over.  Back outside, I found out my bike had been smashed up in while I was having 'fun' inside. Maybe it was a psycho member of staff, or maybe it was just another embittered punter venting his anger at being taken for a ride.  Either way, I blame the organizers, who went well out of their way to create a bad atmosphere. 


Verdict: 'Why' pay to go to a party like this when you could stay at home and beat yourself in the face with a dead fish for free? It's cheaper and more fun!"

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...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.