Berlin Obsessions #2

IMG_2509 - Arbeitskopie 2 (1)


It’s -2 degrees on a Saturday night and there is a man standing in a car park just over Warschauer Bridge in his underwear. Usually this type of behavior would shock the pants off me but it’s Berlin and I’ve become accustomed to such malarkey. Typically I would not bat two eyelids but my Spanish friend Lola Rodrigo Martinez (don’t worry, she chose the pseudonym, I am no xenophobe) is trying to find an electro swing evening and we thought the gleaming neon lights and ramshackle tent set up around Revaler Strasse might have been the digs. No swinging going on around here, just a tent full of half naked people watching multiple television screens revealing themselves to the world. Irony, yes… Revaler Strasse, reveal…you know…as you do…

People pepper the streets every which way you turn and either you arm yourself with a reliable GPS phone system – maps are like so 1990, and very inconvenient to whip out in public, if you ask me – or you find yourself looking for a needle in a haystack when it’s evident that every which way you turn there are parties and groups of people gathered down laneways and outside clubs.

After walking down a few dead ends, we eventually find our swingers at the Astra Kulturehaus– a huge, amazing warehouse space which isn’t teeming with people at the time we arrive circa 2am, probably because we’re too old and haven’t gotten used to the 4am start times yet. There’s a swing dancing class going on in the main room and it’s a far cry from the atmosphere at Cake bar (where we came from) on Schlesisches Strasse where it’s possible that I witnessed the most bizarre yet interesting DJ set of my life. If you’d also like to hear traditional Turkish music, 50 cent and the Offspring being played in the space of five minutes, I suggest you get a serving here. They also have very nice champagne.

But back to Astra. “Why it does smell funny in here, you think?” Martinez queries. Then I realise that the main room where we are standing is non-smoking. This is actually a very intelligent move because if I were to conduct a swing dancing class, dancing around a thinly veiled layer of smoke would probably get up my nose too. But, alas, cigarette smoke often masks other bodily odours and I explain this to Senorita. Case closed.

Sabine is a writer and electronic music producer from Australia who recently moved to Berlin to experience the different music scene. Now she puts together all her furious adventures in her very own column for Berlin Sessions. You can follow Sabine on Tumblr and Soundcloud