I’m skint as fuck, man. It’s the 20th of November today, and for the past two weeks I’ve lived off about 40 euros. I have 15 left to last until the 13th of December, or when I get paid for some freelance work a while back. Whichever comes first. Being skint is very, very boring. I’ve already paid my rent and I’ve bought enough food to last a couple of weeks, so I won’t die, but christ, there’s bugger all to do. If you want to interact with the world around you, you need money. If I want to see my friends, I can walk 5 miles across the city or pay for the U Bahn. Choices, choices.
These diaries seem pretty hectic if you read them all at once, like I’m partying hard or whatever, but to be honest the weeks drift by quietly. I spend most days in the flat writing this diary or applying for jobs. I’d do more, but… money. I wish I could build a full working Tardis, just so I could visit myself a month ago at Come Backpackers and give myself a good booting. Save money, you tit. Stop going out. Future Dan always gets screwed over. Past Dan is a dick head, and I don’t like him.
Someone told me recently that it gets cheaper the longer you live here – and it’s true. Whereas my first few weeks saw me spending perhaps €150 every weekend, for the past couple of weeks I’ve spent maybe a tenner. I’m walking everywhere to avoid paying for the U Bahn (which keeps me skinny), buying ‘value’ foodstuffs, and I’ve switched to wine over beer. A beer is cheap – a 500 ml Sternburg is a euro, max. Wine, however, is cheaper than water. I got two bottles last night for €3,50. That’s a full night’s antics paid for.
Last night I went to a house party at Flossie’s. I stopped by Victoria’s on the way, and met a couple of her mates from back home that were visiting for the weekend. The pre-drinks merriment was soiled somewhat, however, when Victoria’s friend went to grab his phone from his pocket found it missing. We searched everywhere, until he remembered a young man that had asked him for a cigarette in the street, an hour before. Then man had put his arm around him, and must have swiped the phone as he did it. If someone you don’t know puts their arm around you in the street, dance away quickly.
We all discussed whether or not to head to Pornceptual. Pornceptual is a club night that occurs four times a year, and it’s everything you’d imagine. The entry fee is €15 if you go in fully clothed, €12 if you’re in your underwear or fetishwear, and €9 if you go in bollock naked. You don’t have to have to play along if you don’t want to – you can just party. But, let’s be real, if you just want to party you’ll go somewhere else, and save yourself the sight of a jiggling cock forest.
People get up to all sorts in the dark. I’ve not been, but Michelle has, and I’ve sat wide eyed and listened to her tales of sitting casually in the smoking area chatting to a mate while a threeway unfolds a metre away. Naturally, we were all curious about this night. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see it? I’m in Berlin to be challenged. I want to see all of the Strangeness, get right to the heart of it and learn whatever there is to be learned.
Victoria’s mates from home were not quite as keen as we were. They’d just been fleeced of a shiny new iPhone 7, which I suppose put a downer on their already fairly low desire to watch leather clad strangers do weird things to each other. I left Victoria’s and headed to Neukölln for Flossie’s party.
I arrived around midnight, and within 5 minutes was waist deep in the usual conversations that occur with people you’ve just met. Where you from, how long you been here, where you going? I wasn’t particularly on form, constantly running out of things to say and drifting away to the next person, with all the grace of a plastic bag in the North Sea. Usually enthusiasm comes genuine and effortless when meeting new people, but I was tired and a bit glum.
Michelle left the party around 2am to head to Pornceptual, along with a few others from the party. They had opted for the fetishwear – Michelle was wearing a giant fur coat with a black lace top underneath. They invited me along and I nearly went, but for once in my life common sense took hold – I had my worldly wealth in my wallet in the form of a couple of notes. Probably best not to blow it all on a sex club.
The party quietened down after, with maybe 10 people left. Flossie herself was passed out on her bed, even as people danced around her. A few of us sat on the floor in the kitchen talking. One girl that I’d met a couple of times had a henna pen on her, for some reason, and was dishing our tattoos. I got this big flower thing on my wrist, and immediately realised after that I have a job interview on Monday. Clean trousers, combed hair, ironed shirt, giant ink flower. Oh goody.
I made a dick of myself at one point by trying to start a conversation about art. What I said can be interpreted in many ways, but the general gist was ‘art is for wankers’. Obviously, obviously Dan, you dick, this went down about as well as a fart in a lift. Everyone in Berlin is a bloody artist Dan, you fool. I received a fair bit of frost thereafter. I didn’t actually mean it, I was just trying to start a lively discussion. Ugh. Try backtracking from loudly declaring literally everyone in the room is a massive wanker. I was stumbling over my words and awkwardly chuckling like a mad gibbon.
Then the henna session got weird. I don’t know when it happened, but a guy and a girl started kissing. This is fine. This is normal. However, after a couple of minutes, another girl joined in. And another. I was sat watching this unfold with an English guy who’s been here about as long as I have. We were clearly both shocked, but not wanting to admit it and thereby reveal our secret uncoolness. I watched this mass kissing session unfold in front of me, sitting idly with a near empty wine bottle, hand shoved deep into a bag of Doritos, munching away in confusion. I left them to fondle each other and went to sit in the bedroom with Thomas, Flossie’s boyfriend. She was still comatose and he was sitting quietly next to her.
Thomas is a really cool guy. I’ve met him a few times, but never really chatted to him. He was refreshingly down to earth. Yes, wild arty people are interesting, but it’s nice to meet a guy lacking any pretensions – someone who wouldn’t immediately dub me a Neanderthalic boob for not understanding modern art. The party was practically empty by now, and the only ones left were entwined in the kitchen. While Thomas and I were talking, the kissing gang shuffled their way into the room to dance. The English guy I’d been talking to had apparently wiggled his way into the fray now, and necking partners were now being exchanged like ill-fitting birthday jumpers. They ended up in a softly moaning heap on the sofa, tongues everywhere.
Thomas and I sat watching this from the sidelines. I asked him if this was normal, and he said it wasn’t particularly, which was kind of a relief, for some reason. At 6am I shook hands with Thomas and stood up to leave. I found some gin and filled an empty Club Mate bottle, mixing it with fruit juice. I considered saying goodbye to the slowly but surely unfolding orgy in the corner of the room, but I decided to leave them be. I left Thomas sat on his girlfriend’s bed, calmly looking after her, no doubt soon to be witness to his own private Pornceptual, courtesy of the rampantly canoodling crowd on the sofa.
I got the U Bahn home, fighting to stay awake all the away. A few pissed kids spoke to me in German and I shrugged. It’s fairly common that drunken German youths say things to me I don’t understand, and laugh. There’s nothing you can do but raise a tired eyebrow and ignore it.
I was craving food, and popped into a nearby kebab shop. I came out five minutes later lovingly cradling a huge, hot chicken kebab, packed with veg and sauce, wrapped in a pitta. I was filled with glee at the thought of getting all cosy in bed and chowing down. So, in order to get home before it went cold (despite living just 50 metres away) I ran home, kebab in one hand, gin in the other. And, with all the inevitability of rain at an English music festival, I slipped. On a wet leaf. To describe accurately the fall, I have transcribed the audio of the incident for you below:
Swoop, thud, splat, smash, fuck, oh my god, ow.
I landed hard on my elbow – bear in mind I was running full pelt moments prior – and it was blindingly painful. My bottle smashed and glass exploded everywhere, soaking me in gin and fruit juice. The sky was raining kebab meat. I fell so hard I practically bounced back up, on my feet not a second after I fell. I stood in the street groaning quietly. My kebab was kaput, hollowed out of all its once promising processed meaty awful deliciousness. My phone was thankfully unscathed. If I hadn’t had been wearing my denim jacket I would surely have been cut to ribbons by the bottle shards. I limped back up the stairs to my flat, taking about ten minutes, and slumped on my bed eating the miserable remains of my should-have-been banquet.
I have a job interview tomorrow morning. My left hand is stained with a giant brown flower pattern. My right arm has an ugly friction burn down the length of it and won’t bend. I look like an utter, utter bell end. Which, to be fair, is entirely accurate!