Saturday, May 16, 2009

Schneller und schneller

Höchste Eisenbahn was sandwiched between dinner en famille with Cédric, Sandra and the children, and a very enjoyable post-show beer in a ‘gentlemen’s bar’, Heile Welt, just off the Nollendorfplatz. I don’t think I have ever spent more than five minutes in a so-called gay bar. ‘Not my scene’ I always insisted. Well, there are bars and bars and this one is an elegant and comfortable winner. Made to order for a reserved gentleman like me. Even the background (?) music was at a penetratable level. You should have seen me – sixty-three and 1 metre 78 – perched on a bar stool surrounded by Horst, Carl and Kevin – all decades younger, fifteen to twenty centimetres taller, and dishy and delightful to boot ... well, who wouldn’t feel that life was pretty agreeable? The beer was good too.

The Producers was prefaced by my debut on the U-Bahn. I am a tragic traveller. ‘Unaccustomed as I am to public transport’ should be my devise. Or ‘World champion of misorienteering’. Given two options I will inevitably go the wrong way. Or get off at the wrong stop. But I did it. On my ear. Bus-change-tube-change-tube. Because it’s all so brilliantly labelled and announced (and clean and punctual and etc) that even I couldn’t go wrong.
My reason for daring bus and underground train was a morning tea date with … yes! no less a vedette than Montmorensy: Earl Grey and (excellent) carrot cake on a shabby square called the Rosenthaler Platz, at the selfsame Café Sankt Oberholz immortalised by the said star in song the other night. It was like sipping coffee with Edith Piaf at Pigalle. Well, maybe not quite … perhaps Jacques Brel in the Port of Amsterdam?

The Producers didn’t come down until after 11pm (I said it was too long, didn’t I? ), but of course here one doesn’t go home after the theatre. Kevin, Geerd and I adjourned to the Schiffbauerdamm where wrapped in blankets (them) under the blaze of a gas lantern, we sipped black beer and nibbled bruschetta, and gossiped about opera and musicals and the other things gentlemen chat about, until 1am was only a memory.

I’ve certainly got around in Berlin, haven’t I? From opera and Operette to basement revue and the Broadway musical, from fashionable night spots to riverside cafés, via motor-scooter pillion, chauffered limo and even the U-Bahn…
But best of all, what a grand bunch of people I‘ve met …
Until next year, Berlin?

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