Home > Germany, Personal > I Can’t Hear You Over the 3-D Movie Soccer Circus

I Can’t Hear You Over the 3-D Movie Soccer Circus

Sensory overload. My ears are still ringing from M-park this weekend. My eyes sting still from the smoke, and my brain whirls with memories from Saturday night and from this whole last week. Work and other commitments kept me from doing much writing this week so I have a lot to cover, yet I fear I cannot do it all justice. At the same time, I feel almost a little bit of stage fright having spoken to several people (Jack, Stuart etc.) whom I was unaware read the blog at all. I feel more “on the spot” in my writing than I normally do, especially after Jack’s criticism of my “atrocious grammar.” As I explained to him, I have no editor, I post almost immediately after I write, and I deliberately write in a stream-of-consciousness, informal manner suited to the tone and content of the blog. That said, perhaps I will go back and edit my previous entries for grammar errors.  At any rate, some of this may be more highlight reel than in depth analysis (if you’ll pardon the sports analogy from someone notoriously uninterested in sports). And now, on to the week!

Tuesday at Shamrock was a bit odd, even for karaoke night at Shamrock. Not many people showed up. Apart from Lydia, Charne, Adam, and myself it was exclusively Eurocopter’s boy interns there that I knew (plus a nice newcomer from Malaysia). It was fairly quiet as these things go minus a few moments worth mentioning: Melon and Lydia performing “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” from the Lion King, Charne going up to sing and falling flat on her face, splashing beer on the back wall of the stage, and a surprisingly funny and good collection of karaoke songs, especially for Germans, like “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go,” and “Barbie Girl.” I had been looking forward to performing a Bon Jovi song with Melon but alas had to leave before we were called because the whole night was delayed due to the World Cup match between Brazil and North Korea. Everyone was surprised by how well North Korea did against Brazil, it’s soccer though, and so I still didn’t care much.

Thursday’s Toytown was at Substanz bar, a place that I could have sworn I had been to before, but did not recognize at all once I was inside and according to my writing, have not actually been to before this week. It was a disconcerting sort of half déjà vu feeling. On my way there I ran into Jon and (New Zealand) Jack. We were the first to arrive so Jon got a round in and we got a table to watch Mexico thrash France, much to the Germans approval. The place filled up pretty quickly with a mix of new and old Toytowners. Roel was back from his (random) trip to Cuba so it was good to catch up with him. I spoke with Hannah JRS for a while as well, always a pleasure if only because she is a veritable font of hilarious lines (even funnier when taken out of context. As I promised I would, I hereby mention that I saw and spoke with Patrick (of Limerick), discussing our continued disagreements on alliteration, his hatred for the French soccer team, and sundry other topics. The World Cup really does warp people’s lives. Jana told me about how much difficulty she has just getting into work when she spends so many nights out late drinking and watching the game.

Fraser and Jamie showed up near the end of the game, along with Jennie, Olly, and Jamie’s visiting friend Anna (remembered from stories of Jamie’s trips to the Netherlands to see her). Also, to my surprise, Mauritz, Eva, and Morgan came along. As the Scots would say, it was good banter. At this point in the week, most of that night is disjointed memories: Jon dancing, Hannah’s exclamation of “Damn it you’re too slippery!” Charne and her little brother showing up and recapping her Tuesday escapades, Meeting Adam’s little brother as well as his visiting friends (a real weekend for visitors apparently). All in all, a very nice evening.

Friday I was quite excited because Deidre, a new friend Claire and I had met during our trip to Paris while she was there with her friend Ben, came to visit. She’s American, but has spent the past semester studying in Bamberg, just a few hours north of Munich. As she had a weekend free, I invited her down to visit and see first-hand a bit of the Munich weekends I had described to her. She arranged a shared-ride down to Garching, where I met up with her after work. Originally I hadn’t any plans for the evening, thinking we would perhaps go get dinner in town but not much else. I hadn’t counted on the World Cup and my strange (to me) status as “organizer” among certain circles. Jamie called me while Deidre and I were chilling and watching The Office on my computer to let me know that he and Fraser and Anna were going to watch England play Algeria at Open Cuisine because Killian’s was so full and would I please let Jennie, Olly, Barbara, and Casey know about the plans. As I had already started getting questions from several quarters about what the evening plans were, I obliged him and sent out the message. I still was unsure about going but after another call from Jamie decided it would be fun, as well as a good place to get food.

Deidre and I headed into town and walked over to the restaurant. Jamie, Fraser, Anna, Barbara, and Casey were already there, and Jennie joined us soon after. When we first sat down I felt strangely sad and nostalgic and I couldn’t figure out why for a while until I realized it was the same table we had all sat at for Ross’ final dinner the evening before he left. Deidre and I got food (and beer) and sat with the rest of the group to watch the incredibly dull match. There were no goals scored, and not even any particularly good fights to leaven the experience. When the game mercifully ended, we all decided to check out the weekly surprise sneak preview screening at the English cinema. I had never been before but figured it was worth checking out (even with the possibility of a really depressing movie on offer). Casey left to meet other friends, but after a brief stop at Fraser’s, the rest of us headed over to the movie theatre. Fraser had to get money so he and Jennie went off to do that while the rest of us got on the train, planning to meet up again at the theatre.

After getting off the train, we were walking to the theatre when a shape crashed through the bushes to my right, startling me before the figure resolved itself into Oliver, joining us after watching the match at home. It was par for the course in a way. Oliver’s random (and sometimes involuntary) comings and goings are something I look forward to, although I usually don’t find out the whole story on either end until after the fact.

At the theatre, we got our tickets, rendezvousing with Jennie and Fraser inside, and then sat through the usual mix of crap and good previews. When they were over though, the ushers started handing out 3-D glasses. I suspected what was coming and was proven right as the opening image grew two trumpet-like ears. “Shrek Forever,” the fourth Shrek movie was the evening’s entertainment and it was entertaining, if somewhat predictable. It ran much like “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and seemed very much a movie for long-time Shrek fans rather than newcomers to the films. I did like it though and laughed frequently, especially when Jennie would laugh, inducing Anna and Jamie to laugh, which caused our whole row to start giggling and guffawing.

When the movie ended we made our way out and progressed in our splitting up, Oliver first then Jamie and Anna to his place, Jennie and Fraser to his for Jennie to get her things, and Deidre and I back to Garching, luckily catching one of the last trains.

The next day the weather, like it has been for a while now, was gray, crappy and rainy. Still, I went downtown with Deidre so we could walk around a bit, run some errands that I needed to get down, enjoy a delicious Subway lunch, and otherwise do our best to have a good weekend despite the rain. We came back when it started to pour really hard. Deidre was tired so she took a nap while I got some work done and acquired food, including a pizza for our dinner. After she awoke and we ate it was time to go to Amy’s place for her circus themed birthday party.

I had tried to find a costume with my limited time but had ultimately failed. Luckily Deidre had a tiger-striped tie she let me borrow (and a similar headband for herself) so I could feel not quite as lame as I might have otherwise. We arrive a little after six, finding the apartment thanks to Melon’s GPS skills (sticking his head out a window and yelling for our attention). I had timed our arrival to be when people were pretty much done getting ready and were going to be doing drinking games, and other party things. Instead I found that people were mainly still in the middle of getting ready, not because they were late (most of them) but because of the incredibly elaborate costumes many of them were wearing, and indeed making. Whether drawing stripes on a cat costume, painting on elaborate make-up or getting into full-on animal costumes, they were all working hard to really do Amy’s party right.

Amy’s own sexy ringmaster outfit was great, especially paired with Stuart’s (her boyfriend, in town for the birthday) full elephant costume. One might see an elephant handler give an elephant a peck, but it’s much less common to see the ringmaster make out with one of them. There were some other great animal outfits, like Middy’s cat costume, apparently grown out of finding an tail at a store, and Melon’s brilliant rabbit outfit (he supplied his own carrot). I also really liked Andy’s “freak” costume, including a third leg and strange hair shaving, and Jon (of Jon and Ali fame) as the bearded lady. I took a series of pictures of him being pulled out of a hat by a magician too. It was a double birthday weekend actually; Amy’s date of birth was Sunday and Saturday was Charne’s. For their birthdays I got them each a tiny stein (also usable as a giant shot glass) with a painting of Munich on the side. It’s hard to go wrong on a birthday present with something decorative that can also be used for drinking alcohol.

Deidre and I had fun talking with everyone and watching people bring the circus to life. There were quite a few people I didn’t know there, mainly Eurocopter people I believe, but also plenty of people I knew and hadn’t seen in a while like Chan and others I had briefly met whom I could now talk to more, like Jack (the one who so disapproved of my grammar).  I also rather enjoyed the singing of Happy Birthday because the English way included three shouts of “Hip Hip Hooray!” like a flashback to a very different time. The only thing that would have improved it was if they had actually shouted hurrah instead. The costumes made it even funnier of course.

Though the ringmaster tried to chivvy her circus along, it wasn’t until about nine or so that most people were ready. After a short drinking game and plenty of pictures, we headed out the door. On the train, Deidre and I chatted with Amy and Stu. It was interesting for me to talk to him in person and compare that (including the elephant costume) to the many stories, anecdotes and sundry other bits Amy had told me about him. The circus group was going to Beach 38, but I decided on the spur of the moment when the train stopped at Marienplatz that it would be better to leave now to meet with the Saturday night crew since Beach 38 was a good forty-minute train ride from where we were to go later. I made a hurried farewell and Deidre and I got off the train, and headed over to Die Bank.

While at Amy’s I had been fielding calls and texts from various people about meeting times and places because our normal deal of meeting at Fraser’s was not workable due to recent noise complaints. Because of those Fraser and his roommates were going low-key for a little while, so no pre-gaming at the apartment.

Die Bank was really crowded when Deidre and I walked in, so it took us a few minutes to find the first arrivals, Jennie and Oliver, in the back sitting on the stairs. Oliver swore he would retain his self-control that night and not have a repeat of his time at Backstage, so he was just drinking beer. Jennie wasn’t drinking anything at all yet since she is a lightweight and gets really drunk really quickly and wanted to save that up for when we actually went to M-Park. Fraser, Jamie, Anna, Barbara, Casey, Mauritz, Klaus, and Sven all came in at approximately the same time while we were talking. The Germans (plus Casey) were going to some electronic music thing later, which naturally generated good-natured ribbing about choices in music. Jennie also told me about the reality show concept she had come up with the previous week where poor people would be given makeovers and judged on whether they were hot or not by luminaries like Heidi Klum. The point was to find something for poor people to do that would also earn money. Fraser and I each got a round of Strongbow to ease our way into the evening, although I personally a not a fan of ice when the cider is already cold, it just dilutes it and it’s not particularly strongly-flavored to begin with.

Oana called me to get help finding the place, and I went outside to get her. Luckily she’s really tall so it’s easy to spot her even in a big crowd. Pretty much as soon as she arrived, the consensus was it was time to go to M-Park. We split up into cabs for the usual avoiding too many guys in one group or having too big a group reasons, and Between Deidre, Oana, and I, we managed to get our taxi driver to M-Park without much trouble.

The club itself was much as I remembered, perhaps even louder than my memories. Those who hadn’t been there before and thought I was exaggerating didn’t think I was overstating it anymore at least. I didn’t get the spend thirty Euros get sixty Euros of drink tokens deal, but a smaller one. I know my limits and if I drank sixty Euros of alcohol in one night I would have a lot of trouble having fun. Fraser, Jamie, Oliver and Anna got it though and bought the special platter with a bottle of vodka and a bunch of Red Bull. Barbara and I did a shot together, and we all drank and got ready in the (slightly) quieter middle lounge/dance room. Soon enough it was time to move to the main dance room. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that in purely descriptive terms, a nightclub dance floor sounds like some sort of medieval punishment. It’s a room where the sound is so loud it can actually hurt your ears if you get too close to the speakers, where lights flash and change in disquieting was, it’s hot and sweaty and people keep bumping and rubbing against you, the floor is literally covered in broken glass and you yourself have imbibed a great quantity of disorienting and occasionally nauseating fluids. Oh yeah and you have to pay to spend hours moving rhythmically in this room too.

But Munich has definitely taught me how to enjoy the experience a lot more than I used to and I had a lot of fun dancing the night away. I was absolutely thrilled to discover that Anna dances much the way Jamie and Fraser do. It was a truly transcendent moment to watch her do the finger-pointing with eyes rolled heavenward, the twisting the body without moving the feet, and of course the fabulous semi-sensual and totally hilarious hand waving/hip gyration (a particular Jamie specialty). Not that she was the only one to dance memorably of course. Jennie did her patented Toronto Two-Step, somehow always ending up in the middle of her circle. “We are the flower, you are the blossom,” was my not-entirely-sober comment to her on the subject. Oana is actually a rather good dancer, do I felt it added something to our group to have her there, even if she did keep getting guys trying to dance rather close to her and need an occasional tug away from them, indicated by a grimace, a shake of the head to they guy behind her, and a widening of eyes at me.

Anna also had a lot of fun spinning Oliver in dances. I don’t know if that contributed to his growing drunkenness or not but he wandered off and we lost track of him the rest of the night. We found out the next day from his very English and very funny message to us that he had been resting in a chair outside the dance room when a bouncer came over and actually escorted him out of the club, leaving him confused, and with a bunch of drink tokens in his pocket to make his way home. So much for his earlier vow, a temptation to the gods of chance and clubbing that they couldn’t resist. Either that or too much Red Bull I suppose.

The worst part of M-Park is the bathrooms. As I wrote last time: “Rather than traditional urinals, or even the trough seen at some sports stadiums and other places, there was a room set with tile and a metal grate about a foot above the floor that people would walk on, using the sides of the room for their business. Not the best experience, especially considering the drunken state of many of the people using it.” That pretty much says it all, except that it seemed even worse this time somehow.

On one of my trips to that terrible place, I spotted Jennie and Fraser in the hall. I waved but I don’t think they noticed me, as they were very focused on improving Canadian/Scottish relations via a cultural exchange of saliva. When I left the bathroom, I saw Fraser open his eyes long enough to nod at my thumbs-up, and that was the last I saw of those two the rest of the night.

Still, the rest of us kept dancing. Barbara slipped and fell at one point, cutting her hand quite badly on the previously mentioned broken glass, but she got it bandaged somewhere and kept going like the trooper she is. Oana, taking a break at the bar for a bit, ended up dancing with a few guys, including a nineteen-year-old whom she said was very good, despite his age.

The five of us went outside at one point so Barbara could have a cigarette and the rest of us could make her feel bad about it. Jamie declared that Oana’s nickname would be “One of a Kind” while we were out there, which seemed a good note to go back in and dance more. As the night wore on Jamie’s dancing got kind of strange, he kept trying to make me feel his chest and did a snake-charmer routine for what must have been a good twenty minutes. I suspect that it was partially due to the lack of Fraser to counterbalance those dance instincts, although Anna said he dances the same in Glasgow as he does in Munich.

The night wore on as it tends to do and soon it was past five in the morning and I was well and truly ready to go. Deidre, who had been dancing up a storm all night agreed and by some strange telepathy everyone else had the same idea at the same time, so we collected our coats and made our way into the morning air.

Anna and Jamie headed off after saying their goodbyes. Anna was leaving the next day but we made plans to meet up in Scotland when I go there. Oana, Deidre, Barbara and I took a cab to Marienplatz, where Barbara caught her bus and the rest of us luckily didn’t have too long to wait for a train to Garching. Oana and I discussed viral videos on the way, she knew the song but had not seen the “Numa Numa” guy video so I promised to show it to her soon. When we got back to my apartment, Deidre quickly fell asleep but I was too awake to sleep much so I got some packing done before also falling asleep. Deidre left to get the train back to Bamberg around ten while I spent the rest of the day relaxing and working on various things, including this entry.

Today at work my ears do still ring but we have a new science writing intern, so I will spend a while in the next few weeks training him informally in how to do this often-ridiculous job. Still there’s a lot to look forward to, especially as my post-Munich plans start to solidify. Now if I could just recover my hearing…

Categories: Germany, Personal
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