What follows is not a pretty tale. It is a true story however, sprinkled with a smattering of artistic license. A tale with tail so to speak. A story of sex, drugs and rock and roll…with vomit…and more sex. To sprechen in plain Deutsch, it’s a night on the Reeperbahn. So if par chance you are easily offended, or you are blind to the lifestyle to which I refer or you don’t like this type of story…that is to say, if it’s not your cup of tea, brand of digestive biscuit or type of lemon tart, then… piss off and don’t read it. Seriously, I mean, don’t get half way into the third paragraph, see the hookers, smell the vodka, and then realize it’s filled with the things that offend you. I’m telling you in advance…piss off now you silly git.
3:30 – 4:50 – The Reeperbahn Warm Up
The key to any successful night on the Reeperbahn is starting early, like the day before, if at all possible. Failing that, a mid afternoon start the day of is grudgingly acceptable. In order to fully experience all the Reeperbahn has to offer, you will need to learn a few helpful German phrases. Repeat after me: Jägermeister. Well done! Now this: Kleiner Feigling. Very good! Look at you, jabbering away like a proper little Deutschelander!! Kleiner Feigling is a brand of naturally-flavored fig liquor…YUM YUM. Figs…. like fig juice, a breakfast beverage! Jägermeister is a German digestif made with 56 herbs and spices. Now, that will put a little shazzam in yer giddy up!
These two items can be purchased at any street-side newspaper kiosk. Just march on up, ask politely for either one (or both, preferably both… just get both) and proudly shoot them right there in public. Don’t worry about being mistaken for a lush or liquor pig! You’re on vacation and/or doing serious research on….The Reeperbahn! This excludes you from any normal or what is considered to be acceptable human behavior. After you have finished clutching your chest and breathing deeply to stop the bile rising in your throat, buy three packages of St. Pauli instant death cigarettes(I don’t care if you don’t smoke, just try to have a lit cigarette in your hand at all times), also purchase a half dozen airplane bottles of which ever liquid pick me up strikes your fancy. Now head back to your hotel room.
Once safely in your room, you need to limber up. First do a quick shot of Jagger ( you look exhausted after that long walk from the kiosk…poor thing) and then do your pre-game stretches. Two or three deep knee bends and a couple of vigorous hip rotations should do it (rotations, not thrusts, and don’t forget to have a smoke while performing your limber ups). Grab a shower, (preferably with a scrub buddy) put on your party outfit and we are ready to go!
4:50 – 6:20 – Browse The Sex Shops
Let’s go shopping! Everyone loves searching for that “oh so perfect” trinket or souvenir. We’ll use this time wisely and pick up a few gifts for mom and the kids! A purple water-proof battery powered space ship for your nephew perhaps! Or that lovely studded leather knitting frock for grandma! Grab a few handy household items for yourself as well, some lube for that creaky bedroom door hinge or a new electric feather duster. Don’t forget some fishnets…for the crabs.
It’s rather like antique hunting…don’t you think? Only with a slightly stiffer gait. There are many niche and specialty boutiques up and down the Reeperbahn, so take your time and explore them all. Don’t be shy now, dive right on into what each shop has to offer, catch a short film for example or do some light reading, experience dry humping a park bench! Why not!! Just as long as you absorb the culture! Relax, browse and enjoy!
6:20 – 6:30 – Make Friends and Have a Pick Me Up
One never knows when one may need a woolly mammoth in one’s corner. The Reeperbahn can be a tricky place to navigate and it doesn’t hurt to have a large mammal on your side of any potential conflict. So take the time to stop…say hello…introduce yourself to some of the indigenous wildlife or reach out to a fellow explorer. Whatever the case, it’s nice to make friends. Large friends. Having your new found goons’ cell number on speed dial (save as ‘OMFG IM GONNA DIE’) is also a very useful trick! Handy for expedient calls like “Hey Bro, I’m at McDonalds. Do you fancy a burger?” or “ HELP! I’m in the alley behind Große Freiheit and this fu*king pimp is gonna kill me!”
Once you have solidified an adequate number of allies, treat yourself to a little pick me up. You deserve it! The fun is about to begin.
6:30 – 7:15 – Recon the Brothels and Strip Bars
This is only a recon! So, get it back in your pants big fella and sloooow down! If you have timed things correctly and depending on what month it is, it should be getting dusk. This phase is important, later, you will be in no condition to make informed, intelligent decisions. Map out your venue itinerary now! While you are still somewhat capable of distinguishing sweet from sour…if you know what I mean. You don’t? How about hottie from ditch pig? Does that make more sense?
Identify your sanctuaries of seduction with pinpoint accuracy, look at landmarks; write it down, for God’s sake; make it easily locatable for stumbling, blurry, (or being chased) in the dark travel techniques. A quick check of venue menu is also a good idea at this point. Nothing elaborate, just a rough outline of items and cost; this will come in useful later while selecting harbors of refuge as your resources start to dwindle, but you just wanna keep goin’!
7:15 – 8:00 – Sight Seeing on Große Freiheit and Beatles Platz
Congratu-fuckin-lations! We have arrived at the meat and potatoes part of the tour! By this point, you should be through at least one package of cigarettes and have a fairly healthy Jagger/ Feigling buzz going. Top that buzz off if it’s waning; it’s about to get ugly and this is no time for sobriety! I strongly suggest you start your sightseeing at Beatles Platz, for two reasons actually,
- The Beatles put Hamburg on the map! (well, okay, it was on the map, but the Beatles put a red circle around it)
- You should endeavor to do at least one bit of sightseeing that isn’t disgusting. Take a picture to show your mom here
Right, with that done (Don’t you feel better? Who doesn’t love the Beatles), dive into Große Freiheit. Go on, get in there. What’s your fancy? Live Music? Live Naked Music? Live Naked No Music? It’s all here. Laugh, love (with a condom only) and live large! There is plenty to keep you entertained; do some dancing (preferably, but not mandatory at a dance club)and shake what the good lord gave ya! Now is the time to start drinking with a little less moderation; a beer, a shot, a mixed drink, and a few more beer. Try not to stay too long in any one venue, you don’t want to be recognized later. Take in the attractions, have a refreshment, a shot, and another refreshment, then move along; there is plenty left to do. You can relax later…when just walking is a problematic endeavor all on it’s own.
8:00 – 8:30 – Liquid Dinner
Do I really need to explain? Basically, conduct the same activities as you did during the 7:15 time slot, only now in a restaurant! Eating is optional, but not recommended, highly discouraged actually. But if you must eat, stay away from any grain or bread foodstuffs; rice also… anything that may soak up the precious alcohol in your stomach. We need all that in your bloodstream, not wasted in a piece of pumpernickel! Additionally, avoid anything too chunky that may cause undue dis-comfort on the way back out…or up. Best to stick to wine for dinner…or a Rum and Fritz…..ya, Rum and Fritz
8:30 – 8:40 – Post Dinner Drink at Gaststätte Gretel & Alfons
An apéritif is an alcoholic beverage usually served before a meal, but as we are trend setters, we will be indulging in a post dinner apéritif. No need to mollycoddle; get it in ya! The venue choice is obvious. Sit at the same table as Rory Storm, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Jerry Lee Lewis or Ray Charles. Take your pick man…the point being, have a nosh in the same place as one of your rock and roll heroes. Have a gander at the amazing photos and paraphernalia that line the walls (Don’t touch anything for God’s sake) and revel in this slice of music history. Don’t pull a McCartney and skip out without paying the bill, it’s rude….. and he came back twenty some odd years later to settle up. We don’t even know if you are going to make it through the night.
8:40 – 9:00 – Various Activities
Free time, do as you will. Whether it be in an alley behind a dumpster, in a washroom stall or right out there in the spotlight as John Q Public, let your freak flag fly. But frankly…I don’t wanna know.
9:00 – 10:00 – The Famous Indra Musik Club Gig.
For you Beatle freaks, this is hallowed ground; for the rest of you, it’s still a pretty sizable chunk of rock and roll history, world history even. Now granted, if you are actually a musician or if you have in fact made some prior arrangement, say like having a legitimate gig here, that will help things along splendidly! If not, well, try your powers of persuasion to wangle your way on to the sacred alter of rock and roll and bash out a tune or two. Start with the bartender, then the doorman, maybe the waitress, the guy in the toilet, the girl in the toilet, the guy at the end of the bar… “Say sailor, wanna hear me sing?”…no luck?
Then just sit, drink and listen to whoever is on stage…then finish your drink, and get another. Try to remember where you are and take close look at the historic photos on the wall. Do your best to commit them to memory; go on, burn those images into what’s left of the soft tissue of your brain. This would be an awesome tale to retell at some point, if you could remember it.
10:00 – 11:00 – Post Gig Activities
Any guesses? That’s right! HAVE A DRINK, while telling your life story!! Even the dull bits; recount it to anyone who will listen and even to some who won’t. Volume is crucial at this juncture (especially if a new band is playing); we don’t want the people in the back to miss out, so speak up! Pay very close attention to any brushes with celebrity or substantial monetary gains you may have had. Feel free to embellish, extrapolate or even lie. Regale them with spicy narratives of your first true love in the back of your Dads car, ply them with amusing anecdotes explaining how you ended up in Hamburg in the first place…! Relive every detail in full technicolor. People will not mind; you are a fascinating individual!
11:00 – 11:05 – Indra Step Rescue
This condition may or may not come to fruition during the graceful exit stage at the Indra Musik Club. If it does, the important thing here is not to panic! Whether it be you or a member of your entourage, remember, they are just steps! You can do it, one…step…at…a…time. Hey!.. You!… There! Sitting on the curb with your head between your knees, help a comrade out, man! Launch a rescue operation promptly, get the effected personnel to street level and continue on your quest!
11:05 – 12:00 -Various Reeperbahn Venues
Safe to say you are now officially on the loose! So have at it mate! Lose your bloody mind! Remember the list we made during the recon phase? No?..Fuck it then, wander aimlessly into any flashing light, thumpy music, open door you pass. Remember before entering any new establishment, to do a quick hit check list. Fly up? Slobber or vomit on chin? Shirt buttoned? Both shoes on? Hair good? How’s the breath? Oh,… have a mint. Now in ya go Mr. Charming! They will let you know soon enough if you’re welcome.
12:00 – 12:15 – Prostitute Negotiation
Answering the age-old question, “How much for a Rusty Trombone and what is it anyway?” can be a highlight of the evening. However, these young Men and Women are at work, so keep it professional. They don’t have the time nor inkling to waste precious sack minutes with the feeble minded. Refrain from the stale queries they hear time and time again like, “How much for my friend?” Let him do his own flipping negotiation. This trade is legal in Hamburg, it is a business. Keep that in mind bucko. I mean your local BMW dealer ain’t gonna let you bomb a Z4 around the block unless he figures you’re gonna buy it…right?!
12:15 – 12:25 – Shout at the Police Station that Arrested the Beatles
Damn right! They deserve it. Those four nice clean cut lads did not burn down a porno theater! Stand out in front and let them know. “Bullshit I say!”…or maybe they did. It was the early 60’s, everyone was drunk and speeding on amphetamines…who the hell knows what happened. Just keep shouting till they open the door, then run like hell.
12:25 – 1:30 – More Music
Look, I didn’t want to have to tell you this, but you’re drunk. And in all likelihood, are tripping on some kind of drug… and have a socially transmitted disease. You need to chill Palooka. Good God man, have you taken complete leave of your senses? You’re arguing with hookers about the cost of a Dirty Sanchez for Christ’s sake. Get a grip! Find a club, something with a folk/hippy vibe, preferably with some dude on an acoustic guitar and try to regain control of your bodily functions. That odour is outrageous my friend. Stay there until you spill something or they toss you out.
1:30 – 2ish – Dunno
Can’t help you, Bromandingo…you is lost on Das Reeperbahn…I have no idea where you are or what you’re doing. I lost track of you after you told the acoustic guitar guy to grow a pair cos he sang like Joni Mitchell and Hans the doorman helped you onto the street with a thud.
2:3? – Find Hotel
Flag a taxi, somehow, try using your pants. Overcome the temptation to lay in the street. Dump whatever is left in your wallet or pockets onto his front seat (no, not the condom, you putz) and mumble the name of your hotel repeatedly until he figures it out. Try singing it. Also try singing Danke Schoën by Wayne Newton…awesome song that.
Get to your room as quickly as possible, ask directions from the desk clerk if necessary. In extreme cases, a night porter may be available to assist (lets assume this means you). As you have dumped all your liquid cash on the front seat of the taxi, you have nothing to tip him with but smiles…good luck with that. If you see a chamber maid or light in the windows, that means the sun is coming up and you have been successful in your mission!! So get in your room, order some porn on the TV, position yourself over the toilet bowl (so you can still see the porn) and congratulate yourself!! Because you, oh pal-o-mine, you are a bona-fide Reeperbahn Veteran! .