Monday, November 23, 2015

Nurse the Hate: Euro Tour Diary 2015 Day 9 Berlin

I get up early and walk around Wilhelmshaven.  There isn’t much to see.  Sure, I could maybe put in a good walk and go to a naval museum, but let’s not lose our minds.  It’s a long drive to Berlin.  I walk to a café to sit by myself for awhile.  A hillbilly family with crying child sit next to me and the mood is ruined.  Hillbilly single mothers in sweatpants with no control over their children is no longer just an Ohio thing.  It's gone global.  I go back to the Kling Klang to load out, and grab a quick breakfast.  I learn that I do not have the technique all Euros possess for hard boiled eggs.  I am sternly scolded for not knowing how to effortlessly remove the shell from my egg and eat it without leaving shell fragments all over the area.  Despite my defense of this being very un-American, the Roths do not care.  I will point out that I learned rather quickly while Sugar’s egg looks like it was torn apart by raccoons.  In the future I will insist on scrambled and avoid this whole debacle.

We drive forever and pull over at an Autobahn rest stop.  An abandoned guard tower sits next to the highway, a reminder of the divide between East and West Germany.  This was the line.  Right here.  The bland Soviet style tower should have been enough to convince the East that things couldn’t possibly end well in that Communist worker’s paradise.  The Soviet era lack of style was really amazing.  Even now you can instantly spot travelers from Eastern Europe by their awful clothes and ugly shoes.  

One of the real issues faced by Berlin as a city is that the old Western portion was essentially an island.  The best way in was via air.  The unified Germany brought the highway system together, but a ring of highway surrounding the city for easy access was never planned and executed.  Therefore the highway essentially dumps you into Berlin and you drive local streets to get where you need to go.  It is very common to spend an hour driving to something just a couple miles away.  We are crawling our way through the city, which is one of the planet’s great places.  It really resembles a long shambling East Village in New York that sprawls and sprawls.  It’s a city of neighborhoods.

We pull in by the club where we essentially abandon the giant van outside of a bodega.  There is nowhere to park in Berlin.  Don’t even try.  Standing on the sidewalk is our friend Tobi, aka “Dirty Schatzman”.  Tobi is a treat.  He is easily the most extroverted man in all of Germany, quick with a joke and a laugh.  This is always explained away in complete seriousness with a “He is half Spanish” by all his German friends.  Tobi has a child with our friend Mirjana that he shares custody with in his home city, and is now having another child with his girlfriend Steffi.  I have the sneaking suspicion he drives both of these women crazy, and I instantly see a major opportunity for a reality show.  The show will be called “4+1=Fun”.  We will place Tobi, his girl Steffi, his ex Mirjana, and his son Milo in a too small apartment, add in his infant and maybe even a sexy nanny if ratings are sluggish.  The resulting fighting and tension will be TV gold!  Tobi and Steffi’s friends instantly sign on.  I am now in development talks.  I expect to be a major German TV producer within 6 months.  

I sit outside with Tobi, Steffi, Tobi’s lawyer, and their friends at a long table drinking local beer.  It’s a nice night.  Soundcheck goes smoothly though I’m cranky from lack of sleep.  The people at Wild At Heart know us from years of playing there.  It is good to be back in Berlin.  We get a meal next door at the Tiki themed restaurant.  I really want to drink a Berliner Weisse style beer, a particular old sour style of beer that has recently been revived.  The waitress has no idea what I am talking about, and everyone local thinks I am talking about an awful concoction of beer and sour mix that pours electric green.  I am assured this is what I am requesting.  It isn’t.  I drink it anyway.

Antje, Sugar, Leo and I go for a walk in the Kreuzberg neighborhood of Berlin.  We stumble into a craft beer store where I finally find my Berliner Weisse.  Once again Europe shows the way to the good life by allowing drinking on the streets.  I open my Berliner Weisse.  Sugar buys something called "monkey gin".  There is a very good chance she might go blind after drinking that.  We walk past a St. Pauli team shop, unfortunately closed.  I'm disappointed I can't get any St. Pauli gear.  I have no real clue as to how to club has played this season, but their graphics are amongst the best in all sports.  Add in that they are the unofficial official team of the counterculture, and this is really the only must-have sports apparel in Europe.  I wish we had more time here.  There is a real energy on the streets.  We head back to the club.

The Wild At Heart stage is in the very back of the club.  I remember a Cowslingers show here that was packed to the gills.  Every single person in the room was a heavy smoker.  When I stepped up on the stage I recall my lungs almost giving out.  It wasn’t a “performance” so much as “survival” that had my focus.  Tonight it’s really crowded in the back as well.  Those cigarette warnings must be having some effect as it is at least bearable.  We are on muscle memory at this point and crank through a well played set.  The crowd really likes it, and we keep playing after the set was supposed to finish.  I think I recognize a guy from Mad Sin, who I saw a long time ago at the Beachland.  There’s a bunch of vaguely familiar people in the room.  Maybe it’s just that look of the scene?  It’s hard to be sure.  

I head to the dressing room to hang out with Mosh and his female companion who speaks little English.  I feel really badly for her as she has to stare at an unintelligible American cowboy talk to her boyfriend for an hour.  There’s only so many cigarettes a girl can smoke.  Christoph and I finish up the tour finances.  One of the bar owners brings back a tray of shots.  It feels bittersweet to be at the end of this tour.  There are so many more places I’d like to go.  

The issue we have now is time.  Specifically too much time.  Our flight leaves at 945am from the Berlin Airport.  It is currently 4am.  We made the decision to forgo the hotel as it made no sense to check into a hotel at 445am to check out at 7am.  This leaves no other logical course of action than to head to the #1 late night spot in Berlin, the doner shop.  For those of you unfamiliar with this late night treat, a doner is a Euro version of the gyro.  These shops are always run by Turks.  Always.  If you are drunk and hungry and the sun is about to come up, Berlin has two options which are available at every turn.  The doner or currywurst.  Currywurst is a sausage chopped into pieces and smothered in a spicy curry based ketchup.  As a man about to step into an airplane for 9 hours, a paper plate of spicy sausage seems like an irresponsible choice.  I go chicken doner.  It’s 445 am.  We head to the airport to be dropped off like livestock.

Christoph has a hell drive ahead of him as he will need to take the gear back to Wurzberg, drop the van off, get his car, and drive back to his Swabian Wonderland.   At this point I have no empathy for him as I now have five hours to kill in an airport with almost no amenities.  We try to figure a way to sleep on the steel seats in the lobby.  At one point I crawl under the benches to see if I can make a comfortable nest on the cold tile.  Nothing works.  I am awake.  It’s 630am.  I try to talk us into the Lufthansa Admiral’s Lounge when I notice the desk clerk’s AC/DC tour laminate and say “I see you like AC/DC.  You know we are a rock band on tour…”.  It works.  The Lufthansa Admiral’s Lounge is where high income white collar travelers relax to avoid the Great Unwashed in the common areas.  They must all be wondering why an evil looking leprechaun is sleeping with his mouth open in their special area.

Security is a hassle.  Boarding takes forever.  I watch crappy movies and try to fall asleep.  I just can’t sleep on planes.  I smell like a combination of stale smoke, sweat, and tour funk.  I almost feel sorry for the woman sitting next to me, but I’m too tired to care.  We land in Newark.  Security is a hassle.  Boarding takes forever.  We land back at CLE.  I finally go to sleep at 845pm on Sunday, which is really 245am Monday German time.  I had been awake for 42 consecutive hours.  When I wake up I have to go to a sales meeting at 830am.  Shortly afterwards I am doing makegoods for commercials in the Merideth Viera Show.   
What the hell happened?    


At November 23, 2015 at 9:46:00 PM EST , Blogger Bobdontgiveaf#ck said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At November 29, 2015 at 9:19:00 AM EST , Blogger Tung Nguyen said...

Thanks for share.

biet thu dep
biet thu dep 3 tang
giuong ngu gia re

At December 7, 2015 at 12:32:00 AM EST , Blogger AZ said...

No idea how I have to wait for 2016.

At December 9, 2015 at 10:49:00 PM EST , Blogger Greg Miller said...

I question Tung Nguyen's interest in the Whiskey Daredevils.


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