Monday, August 23, 2010

In Fact, I Went On Holiday A Month Ago. That's How Much I Suck


Two and a half months?!

I just don't know what's happened.

Well, I do. Firstly: I have been furiously writing elsewhere. Secondly: I have been redefining the word "furiously" to mean "oh, I dunno, once a week or so, if I can be bothered" purely to make a nonsense of all those films where the cars are fast and oh I dunno once a week or so if they can be bothered. Thirdly: I have been developing a oh I dunno once a week or so if I can be bothered obsession with an internet nemesis which is playing out entirely within my own head without their knowledge because that is what a crazy cat I am and that is how I roll straight into a fetid soup of burning self-hatred. Ah ha ha ha!

Oh hell yeah!

And fourthly: I have been on holiday.

Ah, Berlin! Beautiful dreariness, chaotic order, the schizophrenic, formally cleaved city of many faces, minimum two! Is what I thought would be echoing poetically round my mind as I wandered the streets in a blissed-out haze of beer and sausage. Of course, that didn't happen. In fact, reflecting on our four days in the wurst capital of the world (no, that's harsh. It was all right really. HA! That gag, incidentally, made up 86% of myself and MrJRME's conversation over the holiday), me and MrJ concluded that our ingested footage of sausage fell way below what are, and if there are none, there should be, EU standards of sausage consumption for visitors to Germany. That was a disappointment, I'll admit. I quite wanted to return home having metamorphosed into a hybrid sausage/human creature; looking like a tube of flesh nipped at random intervals into bulging quadrants of delicious, pearled, shining meat. But then I realised I look like that already, so my wishes were moot.

I'm only kidding, those who know me and get annoyed by my constant and wilful self-depreciation! Calm down, yer buggers.

Berlin then: Thoughts? Well, it's in Germany... Oh, you want more? Well, that's reasonable.

1. Hungry birds
Bloomin' hot over there, it was. So we took the opportunity to square up to fruhstuck every morning and growl "Hey, pal. Wanna take it outside?" And there were many, many al-fresco boiled eggs, served inexplicably in a glass for the two-gulp chugged egg experience, and along with those, beautiful seeded rolls. And where there's beautiful seeded rolls, there's Berlin's population of very cute, very brave and very opportunistic sparrows. Sorry, sparras. They seem to have cornered the winged rat market in the city, and they're a darn site more adorable than London's scabrous and peg-legged pigeons. Though if you are sitting under a parasol to shield your delicate British dermis from the uber-power of the German sun, and they get on top and you hear the skitch-skitch-skitch and see the little forks of their feet hopping menacingly across the plastic like miniature Hitchcock villains... Those sweet little sparra bastards will haunt my dreams.

2. No Shops

Day 1
Mr JRME: We need cigarettes.
Me: Oh. I haven't noticed any shops or anything. No worries, there's a machine over there.
Mr JRME: Cool.

Day 2
Mr JRME: Huh, this is weird. I still haven't seen any little shops. Or newsagents, or supermarkets, or anything like that.
Me: Well, we're staying right in the centre of town. It's like Mayfair or something. People don't live here, or they're too rich to need to ever buy anything. They'd pop out for a sports car, not a sports drink. Heh! Yeah? Yeah?
Mr JRME: I hate you.
Me: That's fair.

Day 3
Me: OK, this is getting stupid now. We've been walking the streets of Berlin for three days, been all round the city, and we still haven't found anywhere to buy a banana or a pint of milk.
Mr JRME: (techy) I know.
Me: I mean, what's the deal?! This is crazy! They can't all go to huge out-of-town supermarkets. It's lunacy.
Mr JRME: (beyond techy) I know.
Me: What if they wanted to make a spag bol? Where would they buy a tin of tomatoes? Where? Where?! ..Ed? ... ..Ed...?
*eyes tiny Mr JRME-shaped dot running down street*
Me: ..if you find a shop, will you buy me a banana...?

Day 4
Me: *sinks to her knees, crying, wailing, randomly grappling at the legs of passing horrified Berliners*
Mr JRME: Entschuldigen! Entschuldigen! Bitte müssen Sie erklären mir! Ich gehe geisteskrank! Wo kaufen Sie Bananen? Wo sind die Supermärkte? Wie sind Sie nicht zum Tod oder Bankrott gemachtem zu in den Gaststätten, Sie GeistesGeman verhungert? Hören Sie auf mich! Warum ignorieren Sie mich? Helfen Sie mir!
Me: Ed?
Mr JRME: Ja?
Me: You don't speak German.
Mr JRME: No.
Me: I think we need to go home.
Mr JRME: I think you're right.
*walk off arm-in-arm into sunset, past nearby unnoticed Lidl*

Something like that, anyway.

3. Mr Tie and Mr Skull
So as is traditional for every place where more than ten people have gathered since the beginning of time, 1% of the population of Berlin have set up a small market to flog their idea of homely crafts to the other 99%, who will buy it whilst drunk on the raw creativity enemating from the simple canvas stalls, only to get it home half an hour later and realise it's absolute unmitigated shite. Every city has a market like this, always has, and always will, and they are all identical. Thus most houses around the world will contain the same three identical items bought from as far afield as Peru and Poole; a roughly-hewn ceramic "fertility god", an unidentified gizmo made from polished steel wire, and a GCSE-standard painting of a sad girl.

Anyway, the Berlin craft market was unremarkable apart from one little anomaly. Most stalls were manned by stony-faced individuals, grimacing at all potential buyers, burning through cigarettes with the intensity of those who believe being wreathed with smoke is a good shortcut to demonstrating artistic endeavour. Natural salesmen one and all, but all hermetically sealed in their own little craftworlds, apart from one twosome, sharing a double-berthed stall; one selling smart neckware, one selling gothic paraphernalia. One looking exactly like someone who would sell smart neckware, and one looking exactly like someone who would sell gothic paraphernalia. Mr Tie and Mr Skull.

I loved it. It was a sitcom in motion. Mr Tie and Mr Skull not only work in the same canvas booth, where they share an uneasy bonhomie based on the fact that the venn diagram of their clientèle has no intersection whatsoever, but of course, they also share a duplex apartment somewhere on the outskirts of the city. And of course, one floor is anally neat and tidy, and one floor is a riot of dribbling candles and Iron Maiden t-shirts. And of course, they have a variety of hilarious misunderstandings based on their disparate personalities. And of course, Mr Skull will meet a goth-looking girl, and Mr Tie will fall for her too, and Mr Tie and Mr Skull will fall out over this raven beauty, and it will look like it could be the end for our adventurers, until the goth-looking girl will one day reveal that underneath her black velvet basque, she is secretly wearing a paisley tie, and Mr Tie and Mr Skull will look at each other and laugh and freezeframe and in the epilogue back at the stall, as the credits roll, they will discuss what could have been with goth-looking-tie-wearing girl had she not tragically choked on an over-curried and under-chewed currywurst, and then a smartly-dressed prudish-looking woman will walk past and smile at Mr Tie and Mr Tie will smile back but then as she walks away no-one will notice, glinting on her hand, a tiny little skull ring. OF COURSE!

Mr Tie and Mr Skull. Two conflicting halves shoved together in a strangely wonderful balance. That's basically Berlin, baby.

And you thought that story was going nowhere!

So in conclusion: four days, a shedload of beer and food, one classy entrance into my 30th year which definitely involved me reclining in a beautifully opulent cocktail bar, supping on a cosmopolitan, swishing my salon-perfect hair about the place while Mr JRME loosened his tie into a position of sexy dishevellment, and definitely didn't involve both me and Mr JRME being giddy and ravenous on many pints of Pils, eating Big Macs in our pants and watching Girls Of The Playboy Mansion dubbed into German.

There's that then. Sorry I've been away for so bloody long. It is everyone's fault but mine.

See you in another few months then, my darlings...

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