Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Daultingly Delightful Dresden Day

Today was a day of waking up, trying to get into the good shower before it was taken – failing – and then waiting. Sure there were four other showers but, you know – I'm North American and we're not down with the group lovin' unless, I'm told, it's at a gym. But I do my best to stay away from such things. Feel free to go yourself, “but it has television!” well so does my house.

So after the shower, I was about to head out – when I asked one of the guys in my room, if he wanted to wander down to try and find Slaughterhouse 5 with me. As he was a fan of the book (I really should read it, I know – I know,) he decided that, yes, that would be a fantastic use of time. So off we went. We didn't really have all that much to go on. We had the little bits of information I posted in the previous post about how to successfully get there. But it was enough. It just, you know, took a bit longer than it should have.

Wandering down across the bridge to the other side of the Elbe I came across a sign advertising an “Erotic Car Wash.” I do not know what this is. I did not check the web link. But, this is Germany, and I assume that it's exactly what you think it is – whatever you may think it is.

I found myself looking at yet another Ampelmann, this one has a bicycle. And then we were nearly at the Slaughterhouse. We thought. Well according to the directions I had.

Now, when we got to the area we started to search for the medallion that the Let's Go website told us marked the spot. We came up with nothing. Not a single thing. So we kept walking, searching, kicking leaves out of the way, and cursing the man in the security booth who we assumed would not be happy with our furthered exploration within the barred off zones.

So continue to search we did.

I went around the side of the building, and discovered that people in East Germany do not speak English as many of their west German counterparts do. This did not aid the search.

“I found it! I found it! I think...” came a call, drawing me back to where we had begun our search. The sign with historical information about the slaughterhouse on one side, and a quote from Vonnegut's classic novel on the other was discovered. On this sign there was also a picture of the slaughterhouse. And there, in front of us, was said building, mostly blocked off by the sports academy and conference centre today.

But there it was.

And I thought just one thing: “Time to get closer.”

This is a common thought of mine, and one that bothers a number of my fellow travellers. Especially when we end up, conceivably, trespassing in foreign countries. But, hey, when would we be back this way again? So through the Sports Academy we wandered, to the back of the track ring. There was a fence blocking us from the actual building – and while I still wanted to get closer, that would have only been to touch it. We were in the area best suited for photographs, so why risk ripping my only pair of pants, in an attempt to jump the fence?

Pictures taken, it was time to leave. Still – we'd not seen the medallion. Perhaps it was just the sign that they meant? Perhaps one replaced the other?

There would be time to look into this later. So back to the hotel we headed, taking only one moment to grab a delicious durum doner.

Back at the hostel I was told about a show tonight by the Silversun Pickups. I'd never really heard of them before, but youtube provided me with a sample or two, and I figured, why not go see a show in Germany – what else do I have going on tonight? Torchwood?

So my next stop was off to Sax Tickets where thirteen thirty euro would get me into the show. It's nice buying tickets in a place where the full cost is less than what Ticket Master would charge for a service fee back home. They need to be stopped. Someone do something! But not me, I'm lazy.

And then it was just a matter of filling time before we headed out at seven thirty. This was done with a pizza purchased at Lidl. It turned out to be a tuna pizza. A German favourite. Suffice to say – mistakes were made.

Fast forward past the thirty minutes it took to have directions to the venue explained, and then the process of actually missing a tram by less than a second (my hand was on the door.) The next one would arrive fifteen minutes later.

Inside the club:
Red lights illuminate a raised stage, void of everything save for empty instruments. Rows of high school students stream in the open doors, smelling slightly of the cigarettes they just finished outside. Their empty beer bottles line brick walls, purchased cheaply at the gas station down the street – money for the collecting homeless.

Brick walls are traded for bar tables cramped for space as bottle after empty bottle clogs all available space. People stream in and out of bathrooms, mull around in cliques that form quickly, and break apart just as fast, and seem void of purpose, ambition, and direction.

Houselights fall. Elyjah takes the stage, a small German band with only a myspace page to their name. A myspace page without any music on it.

And to be honest? They sound a lot better than I thought they would. Blue lights illuminate, as they rip into music that comes hard, heavy, and fast. Three people in the crowd start to get amped up and move around. A few heads bang. But not enough.

I watch from the back of the crowd, staying far away from the gathered youth. It was a decade ago when I used to look with distrust at the late twenty somethings that made their way to the shows. What were they doing there? They didn't belong.

And so I stayed back.

The music rose and fell – everything in purple under a set up of only blue and red.

And then the music stopped. The opening act was at and end. Silversun Pickups would be out in a few minutes we were told. And against all odds, they were. Set up between acts took hardly any time at all, and just as I was starting to think I should check my watch – which I don't have – the headliners took to the stage.

And in a matter of minutes I was sixteen again, for the second time in a week. Wandering through the crowds to get closer, I let the music hit me and gave over to the head banging, stomping, and spastic movement that was beginning to surround me. A mosh pit opened up in front of me, but once more I stayed back. Tiny little creatures, these German youths.

Sweat straightened hair whipped back and forth, not nearly as much as in years past, t-shirts started to stick, and the concert was fully underway. Eyes closed, everything was considered from people I'd known, to those I'd missed, and conversations never had. The night became a moment in time, and for a matter of minutes there was only a woman playing bass on stage, despite the full band. And at times, that's all that matters. Especially when it's a Gibson Thunderbird in her hands.

Blue, Red, Yellow – flash. A bottle pressed into my hands.

As conversations never explored came to an end, I could feel the music winding down. One more big push. And into the pit I went, allowing myself to be thrown around with the older crowd that had made their way to the front for this moment. Shoes nearly lost, I remembered why we used to duct tape them on back at Warped Tour.

Encores flowed with awkward on stage banter, trying to decide if they'd ever played in Dresden before, and the night drew to a close.

Within two minutes I aged ten years; coats were grabbed, and buses were navigated.

We checked out the after party, free entry with barcode stamp on the botton of our wrist, only to find it void of life, and anyone from the show. Cards in kitchens were played. Specifically a game called [expletive that starts with an 'S']head.

I inquired to the rules, and was assured they were simple. I then had the following explained, where, until we started to play, I distrusted the assurance of simplicity.

Each player gets three cards played face down, one face up on top of each, three in their hand.

The idea is to play all your cards. But you can only play from your hand to begin with, picking up a card to replace whatever you played from your hand. When the pile of cards is gone, the real game begins.

You can only play a card that is higher than the last one played, with the following exceptions – a ten, a three, and a two can always be played. But there's more to it than that. Let us now go over the rules:

two: can always be played, and is the lowest number.
three: an invisible card – the next player must play on the card below it
seven: you must play a card lower or equal to a seven, rather than higher
eight: skip a turn
ten: clears the pile, all are discarded. You play again.
queen: reverses the playing order

Whenever you clear the deck you go again.

The deck is also cleared when all four of the same card are played in order. You can always play more than one of the same card at a time.

You can only play out of order if you can make the pile have all four of the same cards in a row, after at least one of them was played.

Your bottom three cards have to be played blind.

Last rule: before play starts, you can swap any face up card in your piles, with any card from your hand.

Yup – that's the game. And it's a good one. Play continues until there is only one loser. S/he becomes the [expletive that starts with 'S']head.


  1. "But I do my best to stay away from such things."
    Bathhouses or gyms?

    a profile with music on it!


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