Yesterday was our first day in Berlin - this time. It was a pretty smooth ride - not counting the bullshit I left behind in Paris. We took off at 1pm, landed a little before 3pm, had to wait for my brother’s luggage at pick up (he took a suitcase for a 4 and a half day trip: don’t ask), got on the bus and off we went to Friedrichshain.
Friedrichshain is a neighborhood I discovered last Christmas when my - then - girlfriend showed it to me. Technically, I’d been there before, but only in passing, in the dark, following someone and probably drunk (those were the days…). But, last Christmas, I was stone sober and we spent a couple of days walking through the area, to the point where I almost decided to get a place there on the spot. I didn’t: the next day, I had another great idea.
Anyway, our airbnb was in Friedrichshain this time - as chosen by my now fiancée, of course - and it was a top floor loft with a huge living room, a mezzanine - and a balcony. After a quick dish of ramen down the street - a Friedrichshain specialty, I assume - off we went to Funkhaus, where we were slated to see a show that my friends paid for as a birthday gift last month (the upside of celebrating your birthday before going to Berlin, obviously).
Because my German sucks, I assumed “funkhaus” meant it was one of those abandonned warehouses that had been turned into a giant concert hall, this one dedicated to funk music. Turns out - it means ‘radio’. In actuality, we were headed to the old East German radio headquarters, where they would record all sorts of things with symphonic orchestras - and an organ. And the show was taking place right there.
I found that out later, though. As we arrived next to the giant building and walked around to find the entrance, we stumbled upon a French friend of ours who happens to be a musician - and play funk music. Imagine my confusion.
Me: Fancy meeting you here, man!
Friend: Yeah! That’s amazing!
Me: Actually, it makes sense to me, this place is called “funk”…
Friend: You mean, “radio”?
Me: Do I?
Friend: Yeah. Nothing to do with Chic.
Me: Who the hell mentioned fashion?
When I finally understood what was what, we talked about the show that was coming: Jeff Mills, one of Detroit’s historic techno DJ’s, together with Tony Allen, non other than Fela Kuti’s drummer, a pioneer of the Afrobeat genre and one of the most important musicians of the 20th century, living, dead or both.
Friend: That’s gonna be some cool funk music, guys!
Me: You mean radio?
Friend: No, I mean Chic.
Me: I thought we cleared that out…
Anyway, an amazing birthday present, once I understood it.