Monday, 1 December 2008

how not to spend your per dium

Quickly discovered that Hamburg to be the sex capital of Germany. Every second building was a sex shop; with most buildings in between selling batteries…and it was win’s birthday tomorrow.

It’s not impossible to have a family weekend Hamburg, so long as you remember: the toy shops are not for children; the video shops, despite advertising “Sex and the City” and “Animal Farm” will not have the same as in blockbuster ; and if you’re shopping for winter jackets, steer clear of “The Leather Dungeon” ,as it may be hard to explain to airport security why your feet are chained to your nipples, especially with a rubber ball in your mouth.

First day included good food, great beer, and window shopping on Hamburg’s oxford street of smut, two hours at a fun fair, live music in the night, an exotic dance bar, and Burger King. A lesson on how not to spend your per dium.

“Sommerfest”, our venue was incredible. The Germans know how to put the “art” in “farty” and they know how to look after their guests. We had a Ping Pong table in the wings… best warm up I ever did. Might request one from now on.
This was the last show we were to have with Ming, the company savoir who flew in from Switzerland at last minute, learned both pieces in the time Hofesh went to get a coffee, and allowed us to start the tour in Amsterdam. After blessing us with this short period it was time for him to go back to his studies. He gave me a friendship bracelet and a pat on the back. If you know Ming, you know this to be the Elliot and E.T of tender goodbyes, and I was deeply touched. That was until I realised he’d given a friendship bracelet to everyone in the company, Mr bloody nice guy.

Both nights of the show were really well received and even if they hadn’t been, its hard to feel upset when there’s a back garden BBQ with bar; a famous DJ playing until two; an indoor garden, a sound exhibition, a French hip hip group, a famous Cabana band, a fake-snow forest, and a man vacuum packed in a plastic bag. What better way to mark an occasion than a man vacuum packed in a plastic bag?

Good shows, great after shows. Bring on Budapest
High point: My girlfriend came to visit me…she must have known what Hamburg was like.

Exotic dance bar: She danced “Hey Macarena” with as much rhythm as she had clothes.
“Amazing German beard” spotting. Most men over the age of thirty keep a moustache instead of keeping a garden.

Low point: Ming goes back to his super-human planet. We will miss you.

Budapest: A few hours of fun.

Sziget, a week long rock festival on an island off Budapest. Featuring; REM, Jose Gonzalez, Alaniss Moressette, The killerz, and The Hofesh Shecter Dance Company. I don’t know what typo in the programme landed us this gig, but we were bloody happy for it.

We were slotted into the last part of the last day of the festival. All the divas and rock gods had been a gone, leaving us with an audience who hadn’t washed or slept for a week. We were expecting a passive evening…

Threw bags into the hotel and threw dirty costumes at Helen. After being bus-loaded to the festival, we were fed and abandoned. During the five hours until the tech, most of the company slept save a few hardcore adventurers. Since I’d left my phone in Hamburg, had two hours sleep and not a penny in my pocket, I figured a festival was the best place for me.

“The triple bill” is a black word within the company, and refers to one dancer of a possible three having to perform in all three pieces of “deGeneration”. Of the three possible people, one was back in the UK with a broken heel, owing to his hobby of jumping off high things onto hard things (amateur free-runner); one was the choreographer who had the power to nominate the other; and the other was me.
No problem, this wasn’t the first time I’ve triple billed, but because this was a festival and not a theatre, there were no intervals. Why would you sit on a hill staring at a black stage for twenty minutes when you could be watching “The Killers” or swallowing your own tongue somewhere in a bush?

So removing the interval did keep things moving, although after each piece I had just enough time to pull my knickers out of my bum, re-costume, curse the day Hofesh was born and fluster back on-stage to the audience, who at this point probably couldn’t tell my arse from my elbow.

The speakers were as big as the stage; the music so loud that my molecular structure is now permanently altered; “deGeneraton” however slipped into festival mode very nicely.

Apprentice James was yet again thrown into “Uprising” with little more than a pat on the back and some directions written on his hand. If “Uprising” were an actual war, he’d be lucky to have his gun the right way around. Crash course wasn’t the word for it. Well done mate.

People clapped and cheered then got up to see something else, and we joined them. Luckily, Gavin is a walking map and led us to “The chillout Garden”, and tent with ambient music and no shoes allowed. Amongst the smell of feet and incense, we collapsed into a puppy pile somewhere in a sea of festival corpses, and that was the last memory I have of Budapest.

High Point: Being utterly drunk from one can of larger, one of the few merits of putting your body through a triple bill.

Low Point: Missing Jose Gonzalez by five minutes. Too short a visit.