Ode To R19

Credits as per photo, via R19 Facebook page

Club R19 is closing.

Another phenomenon of the Berlin party scene is vanishing, leaving us grappling to describe exactly what it is.  Or was  

The problem with R19 is setting yourself apart from whatever is happening there for long enough to describe it.  Stop for a second and someone / something will grab you and drag you along for a ride. Usually, I just show the place to people and let them decide what they think it is.  Their reactions vary from wowed to wary but they're usually closer to the 'wow' end of the spectrum.

I’m a big believer in taking party photos (taken responsibly and with permission) but I’ve never had time to think about taking a pic in R19Time or space.  Anything that you do that isn't part of the present seems to leave a palpable vacuum that the people around you pick up on, zero in on and try to fill.  Besides, stepping aside to reflect on it all would just take you away from the conversation, quest or dance you're embroiled in, when you'd rather just let it sweep you away.  (Be careful that isn't a darker undertow leading you on like at any party).

I can't sum R19 up.  All I can tell you is what you'll see there: one room is like your badass flatmate’s 48-hour living room party, the other's a sort of cosy techno dungeon (or brilliant psytrance sanctuary, depending on the day of the week). Just as the hours of dawn and dusk spread towards each other and pool into a marbled swirl at R19, the two areas merge during the night and day... and the night and day after that.  You’ll see the same faces jagging around each dancefloor, faces cast in different hues by the changing aspects of the music and crowd.  

I can also tell you what you'll hear thereTripping psytrance or banging techno in the main room.  Monging acid twister house in the other, played for end-of-the-liners and sofa jockeys who'd otherwise find themselves dancing at a bus stop. They hang onto their collective last resort with a wishful intensity, gripping onto that slowing momentum with a forceful will to reverse it.

Oh, and there's also a luminescent, Martian replica of the Berlin skyline in the courtyard... and the ping pong... beach seats... kicker...  All waiting on that moment when you can’t handle the pressure to participate anymore. 

R19 is the kind of low-key, madcap, anything goes rave shack that Berlin claims that it wants.  And it has it, but it's vanishing even as the masses are walking past, asking 'How much would a flat in this Nightlife Mecca cost?' They need look no further than the newly-renovated blocks across the way that are pushing R19 out of existence.  

Check out R19 before it shuts forever. There are a zillion places in Berlin that'll give you room to pose and pick and choose whom you speak to. That'll let you glide out the door in an 'edgy' ensemble that’s still still as spotless as it was when you glided in. 

R19 isn't one of them

All that matters there is that you throw yourself through the door and into whatever’s happening on the other side... for better or for worse. That you participate.

When it shuts R19 will definitely leave a gap in the Berlin party scene, but I'm still not sure what shape that gap will be.  Maybe that's because the shape of R19 changes with every new punter that it absorbs into the fray.  

In Friedrichshain, I suppose the nearest thing to R19, after it closes, will be Urban SpreeAlthough Urban Spree is a super venue that I also adore, it isn't ‘open always’ like R19 is.  It doesn’t whisper at me - when I'm going home at a reasonable hour, heading to the train station right on schedule - and say, in a smoky voice that billows out the door and wraps itself around my feet, purring, "...one more dance…” 

R19's last 'Who's My Rabbit' all-dayer will happen on Sunday, July 10th.  Check this blog or @unsceneberlin on Twitter for more details of closing parties


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