Friday, 15 February 2008

Madonna in Kaffee Burger Shock!

Read all about it! Madonna pisses off fans by spending the night at the "Burger Bar". I think this is hilarious news. Who'd expect to find Madonna in the rancid old Kaffee Burger front room, eh? I don't think there were any German books involved, but you never know... The venue is a hotbed of literary activity, after all. Just think, I've used the same toilet as Madonna now. In fact I probably haven't, because there's always a queue so I tend to go to the disabled one, but maybe La Ciccone did too. Or do people let you go first if you're famous?

Anyway, I'm posting a recycled report of my most recent visit to the Kaff - which afficionados pronounce "Kaffe Burger" in the good old East Berlin way - back in April of last year. Enjoy.

Accidental Poetry

Doh! Why does this happen to me? I gone and done it again - a darned poetry reading, yikes!
It really was an accident this time. My lovely little girl's best friend's mum's sister-in-law's old friend from art college was "reading" at Kaffee Burger down the road. There was no indication of what he would be reading, but I naively assumed it would be mildly amusing prose. Ooops!
I arrived to find a bevy of attractive ladies in their mid-to-late 30s doubling the percentage of women in the place (that was us - a girls' night out as it transpired). The rest of the meagre audience was male and over 40, wearing black. This man introduced the first two readers and my heart sank: he uttered the p-word. But he did also utter the c-word, as in "critical of society" - which sounds much better in German. Try it for size: GESELLSCHAFTSKRITISCH. Nice, eh?
Anyway the first part passed fairly quickly and harmlessly. I did try to listen but was distracted by, well, by almost everything actually. I know one of the poets said something about sticking some modern gadget up your arse though, as that captured my attention again. And then it was over.
But then this man mounted the stage, in his trademark leather waistcoat and camouflage trews, with flowing greasy hair. He proceeded to talk about some anthropologist's book from 1922 listing words from a purported "astral" language, which he and his "comrade" and former Stasi informer Sascha had made into poetry. He added that it might be a bit of a "strenuous experience", at which my mate said loudly "Yeah, but for who?" prompting titters and admiring glances from the black-clad over-40s. He then launched into the first of 5 "poems" made up of unintelligible rows of syllables, entirely devoid of meaning. It went something like this:
Hoobeddy doobeddy troobeddy har
Vargasa stargasa jargasa tree
Doala troala koala beding
and so on for about 2 minutes - for each poem.
You have to realise that the guy is a big famous poet who can afford to wear leather waistcoats in public. What you also need to know is that he is co-owner of the venue. So for most of the time, the audience put on a collective "hmmmm, interesting" face until we ladies collapsed into giggles. I admit I was the first to crack. It was so incredibly pseud-y that I couldn't work out whether he was having a laugh or not. I'm still not sure to be honest. I think he might have got a bit peeved towards the end, when one of our number (not me!) started talking loudly about the price of babysitters.
But we hadn't paid to get in so it was just about bearable. I'm still laughing at the utter cheek of it all, and at the way everyone was trying to explain it to each other afterwards. Someone once told me a friend of theirs regularly placed small ads looking for "scabs" - as in that crusty stuff you get on wounds, not strike-breakers. I think this was in that same league of craziness for the sake of it, or schoolboyish pranks as an excuse to drink beer afterwards or whatever. So next week you'll catch me reading the ingredients lists from my bathroom cabinet at Wembley Stadium, for one night only.

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