Impression – A Guitar Night Out

Omg.. after a great Chrysalide gig in Slaughterhouse (with only like 25 people watching, people, what’s wrong with you, already hibernating??) I traveled back in time yesterday, to something in between the Vera club in the 90s combined with a cheesy 70s party in the ORX and the hairmetal-karaoke from the Baroeg: the Paranoid Party in Berlin:

  • The djs were actually playing from VINYL. Including some well-played records with lots of cracks & hisses (that poor ZZ-Top-record…)
  • The tracks were in between 3-4 minutes long, and they were songs. As in, you know when a song started and when it finished. No fancy mixing
  • The good old worn-down leather couches to crash on on the stage, and the “steps” around the dancefloor to sit & hang around (Vera….). HUGE speakers, think (again) Vera in the 90s
  • NO fancy light effects. Heck, no light effects at all. Just two projections of something brownish/black I couldn’t decipher & a huge discoball, and therefore, wonderful pretty shadowy corners and a shady dancefloor. A not overfilled, but well-used dance-floor on an uneven wooden floor.
  • Lots of 70s and 80s hardrock & metal (from the Sweet to Motorhead, and I think I heard Rock Goddess…), ok, that’s mostly too mainstream for me (not my music in the 80s either), but also Slayer, L7, Fugazi, Hellacopters and of course Nirvana
  • The crowd was enthousiastic and having a frik-load of fun. lots of air guitars, jumping, running around, headbanging, lifting each other up, doing ballroomdancing, jumping on each others backs, tossing each other around. I had a weird air guitar-headbanging-sparring-contest with some unknown guy on Motorhead 🙂
  • When the first note of a song started, it was always someone’s favorite. And that someone would jump up, get a huge smile on his/her face and MOVE. Nicest thing I saw was a big guy dancing, jumping around, running up the stairs to the stage, doing an air guitar there, running down again, jumping, and next on stage again for his air guitar. Not to show off or impress, but simply because he was going crazy on that song.
  • Crowd mostly dressed in tight black jeans, bandshirts with sleeves cut-off, lots of long hair, few mohawks & the bald-head-with-beard. Beer seemed to be the most common drug, though not an “alcoholic” atmosphere. Party started early to Berlin standards (high-time around 2), ended not too late (I left around 5)
  • I saw people leaving the party actually going up to the djs to thank them…

For the record: it’s this (monthly) party: from these people:

And this is how they promote themselves (didn’t hear Melvins, Monster Magnet, Mudhoney, Soundgarden and the like unfortunately… maybe next time 🙂 ) “PARANOID – KREUZBERGS HEAVY ROCK PARTY! The waiting has come to an end! Finally Berlin has a regular clubnight where you can party to the coolest Rock&Roll-Sounds. Who finds the common Indie-Parties to poppy and starched, who finds metal bars frumpy and grumpy, who fears teenagers and trite blockbusters at Ballermann-Rockparties, watch your knickers get wet! The city’s finest deejays spin: – STONER à la Queens Of The Stoneage, Monster Magnet, Graveyard or Kyuss – GARAGEROCK à la White Stripes, Black Keys, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club or Jon Spencer – SCANDINAVIAN-ROCK à la Hellacopters, Turbonegro, International Noise Conspiracy or Hives – OLD SCHOOL METAL à la Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Pentagram or Slayer – 70’S ROCK à la Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, MC5 or AC/DC. – PRE-GRUNGE à la Nirvana, Soundgarden, Melvins or Mudhoney – US-ALTERNATIVE à la Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth, Beck or Lemonheads – UK-INDIEROCK à la Supergrass, Kasabian, Primal Scream or Oasis

Impressions – Random Snapshots of Humanity

Random snapshots of people in a big city’s underside – how human we are…

  • Mummy takes her little son along to the giveaway shop to bring the toys she sorted out. He sees a box with toy cars to be given away on our shelves. Shouts out: wow, those are exactly the same cars as the ones we have at home. Mum tries not to look guilty. She was here last week too to bring stuff and secretly unloads another bag of toys behind his back.
  • Foodsaving brunch. A guy with bad teeth and probably no money to spare loads up his plate, and fills a container for a friend. First time here, and he thanks us so much: his housebound friend only gets 10 minutes a day for household help, barely enough time to warm up a microwave meal. And finally he can bring his friend real, good, food. He’s so happy, not so much for his own plate, as for the tasty food he can bring his friend.
  • A homeless guy has taken up residence on one of the wooden benches in front of the free shop. No matter how much we try to convince him to come in and get some free hot tea and cake in a warm place, he proudly refuses, and rolls up in his sleeping bag. The evening before I had a little chat with him. He enjoys the clear skies and the stars, even yes, it is actually too cold to sleep outside. One of my colleagues tells me, the only offer he actually took up, was the offer of the house to take a shower. When I leave the giveaway shop, there’s loud snoring coming from the sleeping bag, and I notice someone passing by has covered his sleeping bag with another blanket.
  • A team of people comes in half-frozen through the wet snow for the hot soup at the foodsaving brunch .They just organized a friendly football match with a group of refugees who just arrived in the neighborhood,. One of them asks me in the kitchen if it’s ok if the refugee team joins us for the food too. Of course. The only problem is, just one week ago, when the foodsavers found out about the shelter and started bringing food to the refugees, they were told they sometimes get too much food, and well.. now that food is saved and brought to the brunch. So those refugees might actually get the leftovers of their last night’s meal if they join us today.
  • One of our regular guests in the giveaway shop is in desperate need for help. She’s more an alternative minded person and likes bright colors and “india” fabric. But now she has to attend a classical concert of her grand daughter, who gave her a “dress code”. We have a lot of fun dressing her up in “classical” style… and she is semi-shocked, but also pretty satisfied when she sees the result in the mirror.
  • Foodsaving on the week market, and we have like boxes and boxes of prunes which need to be eaten the same day. Me and a new foodsaver bring it to one of the house projects, where they organize “cooking and eating with and for homeless people”. Immediately we are invited for the food, but no, we just want to get rid of the prunes. Quickly the plans are made for prune pie, and the spokesperson, in between calmly pointing out to a homeless lady “no smoking while other people eat” tells us there’s another initiative for involving homeless people to help themselves, but the source for the food ingredients is drying up, He emphasizes it is so important not to treat homeless people as if they are little kids, but to take them serious so they can get themselves out of that situation, with a little support. The guy obviously knows from personal experience what he is talking about, and you noticed how much the (still) homeless people respect him.
  • A woman comes in the giveaway shop with two little refugee boys. One speaks a bit of german, the other one only english. Big-eyed they look at all that stuff, and shyly ask if they can take some of the board games and puzzles. The woman tells them not to take everything, but leave enough for other kids. They politely nod, and make an obviously huge effort not to go wild on the cakes we offer for free. Then a bunch of german school kids storm the place… going through all the cakes, and the shelves. When I put a hold to their enthusiasm the moment they want to take a pair of crutches, they tell me, ok, they would only take stuff if they could really use it, for a school play or so, and then return it. After watching this, the refugee kids lose some of their shyness, and not only happily consume their cakes, but also find out there’s a piano… Which after 10 minutes, we wished they hadn’t.

Rant – I am a trafficker – a smuggler of humans (reprise & reblog)

This is the “semi-official” report from the incident a few weeks ago, published on a dutch blog (in dutch, sorry..), about when I was stopped by the dutch border cops & threatened with 3 days detention because, omy, I dared to tell a Syrian refugee where the train to holland left, & chatted with him in the train crossing the border between Germany and Holland.

And since then, I’m registered as a “refugee smuggler” in their computer system. Since I can’t let this just happen…. and I hope it will wake up a few more people.

Ik ben een mensensmokkelaar