March 23rd, 2007 | Posted by Shannon
It is Friday afternoon and I have been here almost a week. Once again, it is raining outside, but it is not very cold, and the sun even managed to come out today for a few hours. Unfortunately I slept through most of that, due to an insane night last night. I remember when I was in Venice for a month back in 2000, and sometimes I would stay out all night and sleep all day. If I could do that in Venice, where there is not a hell of a lot going on at night, imagine the trouble I can get into in Berlin. I don´t think it is possible that there is any one thing you might want to do at any time of the day or night and not find a place to do it, here in Berlin.
Last night Kasch worked at the Cafe Gerbaty, the bar where she and Tom met last summer when the Mudsharks played there. So, after a day that included a solo trip to the Film Museum and then a killer pizza with Tom at a cavernous, chaotic restaurant called Il Due Forni, we got on the UBahn to Pankow and the bar. We got there at nine and it was already pretty crowded. First we were sitting at a little table in the back but I hated it so I was like, let´s go stand at the bar. We then proceeded to the bar where we hung out for hours and listened to music and watched Kasch bartend. Cafe Gerbaty is an interesting place – it reminds me of a blues club or cafe in North Beach in San Francisco. In fact if you picked the whole place up, complete with the clientele and dropped it on Grant and Green, it would fit right in, except for the German speaking, the cigarette smoke, and the cheap wine and beer. The place is full of aging hippies and other assorted characters and they are there to see the blues and to get totally hammered.
Kasch was working with one other girl, and I forget her name but Tom says everyone calls her “the machine.” Well, you´ve got to be a machine, the way the Berliners can drink. Mi dio, they are incredible. Both of the girls were running, one minute taking out four ginormous beers and always returning with a tray heaving with empty glasses. It was like The Vine on steroids. Actually it was like The Vine on a Friday afternoon in summer during happy hour, TIMES INFINITY. They must go through something like eight kegs and two cases of wine on a Thursday night, and there were only something like a hundred people there.
I was very impressed, as you can tell. I managed to do my best to keep up. When I saw all the wine I saw a reserve Jumilla and I was thinking how I would love to have some of that but it was not open, so I figured I´d just get a plain old Rioja. However when I asked for red wine Kasch immediately went for the Jumilla. I love Kasch! I did not even have to ask. I think I drank the whole bottle, maybe more. No, I think definitely more because we were there until 3 AM. I was pretty hammered by the end there, but so was everyone else. Hence, my exhaustion and the missing of the sun.
The band last night was some dude named Tom Blacksmith and then there was a jam after. During the Tom Blacksmith set a drummer my brother knows came in, a Dutch guy named Marcel van Cleef or somethingorother, who looks kind of like David Thewlis. He hung out with us which was good because my brother has a tendancy to wander off and at one point, this older dude who had been staring at me (at first I could not tell if it was me or someone else he was staring at, I think he was staring at everybody} came over and started talking to me, and I was unable to even tell him I wasn´t much of a German speaker. At which point Marcel told him I was American. The dude then got this sort of disgusted look on his face and said something about Bush, which Marcel translated as, “it is OK you are American, but he does not like Bush.” Well! How fucking original! I never heard that one before! I was sort of irritated to be honest but that could have been the wine talking. No one wants to be reminded of what an asshole their president is while in a room full of drunk East Germans. Anyhow. It goes on.
After Tom Blacksmith played there was a jam that anyone could get in on, and my brother sat in for a couple of songs which thrilled me to no end. Then Marcel sat in, and he really is an incredible drummer. That and the fact that he looks like David Thewlis was a bit of a double whammy there. Later I was talking to him and telling him what an awesome drummer he was and he said something like he would like to “see what life is on the other side.” As in, maybe do something besides being a drummer.
“Are you fucking crazy.” I said. It was a statement not a question. You should have seen this guys face when he played – it was lit up from joy. I was like, dude, you get to do what you want, something that makes you happy, do you know how lucky you are? But he went on about it for a bit, I think he was laughing at my vehemence.
It was quite a night and today I walked around recovering via some enchilada suizas and a glass of white Rioja. Tonight we are meeting a musician from Orange County, David Pedroza, that I found when I was googling my address to see what else is on Kopenhagener Strasse. One thing I have noticed is, despite exhaustion, I am always able to go the distance once again.
Whew. And it´s a Friday…