As you may already know, last weekend was THE weekend.
After the kerfuffle of booking my trains for the wrong weekend I met up with my driver for the weekend, BMW Benny and we headed off into the sunshine of Munich, heading north. Unfortunately the guy sat next to me wasn’t a particularly talkative sort and had his iPod in from the word go, leaving me with no option but to sleep and pass the time. We arrived in Adlersdorf just outside of a grey and cold Berlin after a mere 4 1/2 hours hitting a scarily fast speed of 240km/h (150mph) along the way.
Once Thomas had arrived we made our way to our Hostel near the Ostbahnhof, described on the website as an ‘Oasis of calm in the busy city’. An Oasis it was not and after we’d met our new roomies for the weekend (2 lovely lesbians from Sachsen) we prepared ourselves for Berghain, the club where Atoms For Peace were to be playing. The world-famous hub of German techno music was handily a 2 minute walk from our Oasis and once we’d contemplated the offers to buy our tickets from desperate punters outside we were in. Then the excitement started.
A few beers in and we were happily bopping away to the support DJs along with everyone else in the crowd. Turning to my left to look at the guy dancing next to me I nearly fainted. IT WAS THOM BLOODY YORKE. I have never really been starstruck before but I physically couldn’t say anything, I just returned to watching the DJ. It was fangirling at it’s worst.
At around midnight Thom and Nigel (Godrich, long time Radiohead producer) took to the stage armed with 2 laptops and a bass guitar. It’s been a long time since I enjoyed a gig as much as this one, with the new Atoms For Peace songs interspersed with some of Thom’s solo stuff. Although on the stage for two hours it felt like no time at all had passed when they left the stage and only once they had done did I realise that I’d been grinning like an idiot for the entire set. Thom then returned and did a full 2 1/2 hour DJ set which was also fucking incredible, even though I’m not usually a huge fan of dance/house music. In bed for half 4 wasn’t too bad, especially seeing as how a Friday night at Berghain is known to last until Sunday afternoon.
Whereas Thomas was in charge of the sorting out our nights out, I was well and truly in charge of daytime activities. Our busy schedule started with a trip to Berlin’s official bears. Not many people know it, but tucked away in the middle of the city are Schnute and Maxi, two brown bears. I was truly astounded to see the two happy looking animals relaxing in the cold weather directly next to a children’s playarea. Germans are cray.
Next stop was the Brandenburg Gate, followed by a tour of the Reichstag, which is not actually possible unless pre-booked. After going through the airport-like security system we made our way to the top, where Thomas took a brief detour via the A-ha ‘Take On Me’ video.
I think by this point Thomas had had about enough of Nath’s Stadtrundfahrt so we headed to Kreuzberg’s Burgermeister, a small independent Burgeria under a bridge with incredible reviews. And rightly so. My BBQ Bacon Burger with Jalapenos will live loooong in the memory even if it didn’t last long on the plate.
Responsibility was handed back over to Thomas for the evening and he took us into the heart of Kreuzberg to a ‘club’ called Chalet (it was more of an empty building to be honest) where his friend Oliver Klostermann was playing live, an interesting mixture of big beats and great piano talent. It was around this time I learnt a new bit of German slang – “Inselaffe”. Essentially this is a derogatory term for English people translated as “Island Monkey”. Being a fully intergrated member of German Society, I proceeded to call every Brit I saw an “Inselaffe” under my breath for the remainder of my time in Berlin. Yet more dancing occurred and after a truly fantastic Döner sat next to a transvestite we headed home. It was 6am.
Understandably neither of us wanted to do anything of any real merit on Sunday and after a Mcdonald’s lunch, I bid Thomas farewell as he headed to the Hauptbahnhof for his train back to Munich. I however, still had 5 hours to kill and Nath’s Stadtrundfahrt restarted with a little less gusto than the previous day. My first thought was that a nice, warm Museum might be a great way to pass the time but having seen the unbelieveable queues to get in I sacked it off and headed instead to the Film Museum. An enjoyable few hours were spent before I headed to meet Benny once more in Adlersdorf for the journey home. Due to the snow this was particularly difficult going and more than once I was woken from my blissful sleep because the car was sliding all over the place at 180km/h. We finally made it back into Munich around 1am and the impending start of the week hung heavily over me.
Tomorrow sees me head on my mystery trip to a European destination which only 2 people know of. It’s absolutely killing me not being able to talk about it, but it should all become clear in the next 48 hours!