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Berlin Nightlife: Guardians of The Gates

After living here for three years I can say that I have gone through a fair bit of what this city can throw at a person. From midnight Polizei raids at my first WG in Neukolln, to being blown up by a rocket on Silvester to dealing with schizophrenic managers who forgot the weekend ended two days before coming into work, there is very little that still passes me. Apart from a bouncer.

There has been so much said about Sven; Berlins very own Techno Santa, that I won't go into talking about him or his kingdom again. Because despite the constant talk there is more than one door to walk through for your weekend. My encounters with the men and women who mind these gates run from the great, to the daft, to the absurd.

Here are a few of my own experiences.

I have walked to my favorite summer spot far far east of Ostkreuz (no names will be mentioned) in 30+ heat alone to meet friends inside. With my extraordinarily bad Deutsch I fully expected to be turned away, only to be drenched with a super soaker then welcomed in with open arms.

Before Christmas while waiting in line with a friend by the Spree, we stood watching while three Germans pleaded to be let in after they were told that it wasn't their party. After they had went away dejected we walked up and in English asked the doorman how his night was going. After the usual grilling of where had we been before that, he waves us in.

My only single sour moment was inside an over crowded warehouse near Frankfurter Allee. I was using a toilet cubical for its actual intended purpose. The next thing I know I am being frogmarched through the floor without my glasses and left outside in the rain, wondering what hell just happened.

Deal with them or loath them their job can be as important as any booker, DJ or venue in making a night. Not letting you in may or might be a power trip but letting you in might just be because you suit that party or space at that given moment.

The best advice that has been given to me in regards to getting in anywhere; is that when you walk up to the guardians of the gate, just be yourself and look not like you want to be there, but that you should be.

And maybe smile. But not too much.

Francis T. Spurling

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