The Berlin Diaries – Concrete Boots

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Hello bright eyes. However the devil are you?

[…]

Excellent! I’m glad to hear it old chap. Now, let’s talk about me.

*****

Lately I’ve been feeling an urge to write in a less linear and more Pollock-esque fashion; a tad slapdash. I’m not sure if this is born from literary aspirations and the development of my own unique style (finally), or much more likely, sheer bone idleness. But, also, writing about this fucking weird city in a storytale format doesn’t work so well, because life here doesn’t flow like that. It is strange at the best of times, and at the worst of times it’s utterly incomprehensible, so, meh, whatever, here we go: Step up towards me now, for I am your rotund storymaster stood over my vat of dark tales, and prithee, hold out the gruel bowl of your soul for a ladling of my bewildered glee.

*****

 I occasionally receive emails regarding my website – that is, this website, the site you are perusing now, either because you were searching Google for the location of Heidegluhen and stumbled across the online crack den that is World Hangover, or because you actually know me and like to check these pages for mention of your own name, because everybody likes to read about themselves, let’s be honest.

Now reader, I do request that you dust off your bowler hat, cram it onto your cranium and hold onto it, because things are going to get a little meta. Cue Inception horn blast.

A couple of weeks ago I received a message from a girl called Hannah – she’d found my site while trying to locate Heidegluhen, read a couple of articles, and had presumably found me at least mildly un-boring. She told me she’d enjoyed my writing and that she lived in Berlin too, so I invited her for a beer and a chat. After two attempted meet-ups that crumbled due to poor timing and general illness (everybody in Berlin is a bit ill, always), we met last Wednesday in the immigrant hipster Eden that is Café Luzia near Kottbusser Tor.

I was relieved to find Hannah to be A) an actual human being and not some demented online burglar, and B) a thoroughly funny and pleasant person. We got thoroughly battered together on rounds of Augustiner and flounced away across the city at 9pm to meet JoJo for her birthday.

We found Dave, Louis, Jakob, Line and JoJo along with JoJo’s lovely mum in a bar across the road from Renate, near Treptower Park. I introduced Hannah and we did horrible shots and at a quarter to midnight we headed out to the riverside for a sparkly birthday singsong. We hopped a low-ish wall and traversed a building site, and there our dearest JoJo turned 25 years old, beneath a smiling moon by a glittering river, with a pantheon of hammered morons surrounding her trying to sing happy birthday in five languages.

We walked back after, all squiffed and chirpy, and as Hannah and I wandered homewards across the building site, she pointed out to me that there was a large puddle ahead of us. “Bollocks,” I eloquently replied, “it hasn’t been raining. The floor’s just shiny.” And, with my head thoroughly up my own arse, I marched us both onwards over the shiny ground.

TIMELY AND RELEVANT INTERLUDE: Do you believe in karma? I am inclined to treat all religious matters with a large amount of cynicism, however where karma is concerned, I am routinely forced to deal with the possibility of its existence through various public-shamings and ego-spankings that usually occur in the immediate moments after I’ve been a bit of a, for lack of a better word, (and because I wouldn’t use a better word even if one were readily available) cunt.

So yes, sigh, with all the inevitability of a wailing baby on a Megabus, the shiny floor turned out not to be a shiny floor at all, but a very large expanse of wet cement, into which Hannah and I boldly strolled arm in arm. I don’t know if you’ve ever walked over wet cement before; I rather hope you haven’t, because it is very messy and very silly and exceedingly difficult to remain standing up.

I had been attempting to maintain a vague semblance of cool throughout the evening, which was now shattered in quite a large way by my comedy spider-on-roller-skates tap dance combined with piercing shrieks and gibbering wails. We didn’t fall completely over, thank christ, however we did flap around enough to neatly cover the entirety of our feet and legs in rapidly drying cement.

I mostly shrugged off the fact that I was covered in shite; it happens often. At my most hectic I suppose I’m that kind of drunk that leaves your side for two minutes to pop to the bathroom, never returns, and you find them four hours later draped half-conscious over a nearby dustbin covered in a baffling combination of ranch dressing, glitter and vomit. However, I was less cavalier about Hannah’s shoes, which she informed me were brand new. Arse.

So then, as any right-minded person would do, I poured the contents of my beer over her concreted shoes in order to clean them. The others had walked back to the main road by this point, leaving me and the pretty girl I’d just met stood in a windswept building site where the only sound was the gentle pouring of my beer on her sodden feet.

Why can nothing ever just go well? Why must I be routinely buggered by the cruel gods of fortune? Why, Odin? Why, Ra? Why?

We said goodbye to the others at the S Bahn and headed back to Ostkreuz where I bid Hannah farewell. She left the train and I put my headphones in for the long ride home, gazing down all forlorn at my rapidly stiffening trousers and my whitewashed shoes, thinking about things like how wonderful my friends are and how good life is, and how I am most definitely a massive twat, and how on the whole I am very very happy and tremendously excited for each new sunrise in this silly old place, despite the fact that I am often humiliated and punished and at least once a week I pray for death due to absolutely intolerable levels of awkwardness.

*****

And so it came to be that somebody who idly clicked onto this site in the midst of a hangover haze is now a part of the growing narrative featured therein, which I suppose is the story of a bunch of really quite lovely but also very odd people who stumbled into one another and got along like a cupboard of pandas, proving that, although there’s a lot to be glum about these days, pockets of joy and silliness can still be found here and there – if your eyes are open.

 

 

2 thoughts on “The Berlin Diaries – Concrete Boots

  1. Hmm… I just realized that we could also try to meet sometime…both being in Berlin and all, but I’m not really the type to meet random people offline (even if I feel like I’ve gotten to know you fairly well through your blog and you’re much more than mildly unboring). So let’s raincheck it. But just out of curiosity, how long are you planning on staying in Berlin?

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