I was woken up by the Beatles this morning. A wad of English People came into my room around 3pm and started disembarking, chattering merrily away in English, and more distressed by my presence than I was by theirs. They looked exactly like someone had taken the Beatles and time-warped them into 2001, complete with funny clothes and stupid haircuts. Apparently a bowl and a pair of scissors are still high style in The Isles.
I quickly realized that I was supposed to have moved that morning to a room downstairs, but had forgotten due to having partied and danced myself into a coma the night (morning) before. As I got my act together (I’d been laying down semi-clothed) the Beatles went downstairs and reported my presence to the front desk. When I went down to get my new key, the woman at the front desk said “Oh, you’re the naked guy of 107!”
I had ended up at this ignominious juncture because I’d attended a Dutch Rave the night before. It was a ‘Trance’ rave, which meant really weird music, drugs and alcohol and a lot of strange dancing. About 300-400 people, day-glow paintings on the walls. DJ is a dreadlocked Jamaican on the stage dancing as much as he’s spinning. Crowd is mixed; a lot of Dutch, some Americans, Spanish, German, Aussies, etc. Mostly these people are dressed in neon or bright colors, clean-cut and dreadlocks, but very little long hair otherwise. Thog sticks out wearing his customary blacks like a penguin amongst peacocks. All ages as well: the drinking age for beer is 16, and that’s about the age you can get into these clubs or parties. It was a very exciting evening. The height of Dutch Trance dancing involved stooping into a semi-crouch, extending your arms in front of you and waving them up and down like antennae. Maybe this is common elsewhere, but made this Seattle pseudo-Goth stand out as I cavorted about using arm movements that hinted that I was about to eat someone.
Nonetheless, most of these people could do what they did pretty well. The night before (Friday) I had gone to a couple of clubs suggested by locals. One had been suggested as an alternative club with some Goth, Industrial and EBM venue, and was called the Korsakov. The atmosphere in terms of people was cool and I got on well with the bartender, but the music was erratic. For the uninitiated there are a number of different levels of ‘DJ.’ Some completely manufacture music or rework existing music beyond recognition. Others will enhance the beat, tone and tempo of a track into something that’s more fun to dance to. The lowest rung just picks a set of tracks and hits “Play”. This latter was what I was dealing with, but rather than choosing a series of related songs as a 30 minute set or so, this yahoo seemed to randomly be switching between hip-hop, rap, techno and ‘80s with no regard to the sanity of the listener.
And let me tell you, there were some non-dancing Hippopotami in this crowd.
They did end up with a mosh pit, with the more energetic morons running into the crowd and getting tossed around like a hackey sack. You can imagine how I reacted the first time some joker came hurtling at me out of the mists. Bounce, bounce, Fling! RoooaaaaRRRRWWWW!!!
So I got to fling Dutch people. It was fun. Pretty much made the evening.
After the Kosokov I’d gone to the Paridiso and encountered a Jungle Techno crowd (take heavy drums and ‘jungle’ rhythms and put it to techno). It was well done but not my scene, since the crowd was kind of the Dutch version of the Pioneer Square crowd (frats and trendy types). For the most part they weren’t any better as dancers, with a lot of bobbing in place and poking at the air with their hands.
The Dutch Can’t Dance ™
But leaving the Rave I was feeling pretty damned good. Amsterdam is a beautiful city at any time, and in the early dawn it’s just stunning. The sun was well up as we walked to the train station (around 5:30am. The sun rises at 3 or 4am around here this time of year). The train had taken us here in 10 minutes from Amsterdam central the night before, at a cost of about $3. There were about a hundred of the dancing crowd lounging around the station enjoying the morning and chatting quietly. Eventually the train arrived and we all piled in (I was with some of the crowd from The Pig who had also attended). When we got out at Amsterdam Central it was a pleasant walk back to The Pig, interrupted only by a junkie on a stolen bicycle trying to sell it for 25 Dutch Gonads. I only caught a quick look at it and was to tired to care, but it was a decent mountain bike, black with extra’s, and clearly not being ridden by it’s original owner. Bike theft is worse here than anywhere in Western Europe, mostly because of junkies. Violent crime is next to non-existent, but the tax is in the form of theft.
So after my run in with The Beatles I spent the rest of the day vegetating and relaxing, chatting with an attractive Aussie girl who’d just spent 18 months in SE Asia, the cool and cute Canadian (Toronto) Asian chick who’d just started work at The Pig, the 19 year old Aussie guy who looked like Marwag The Troll but had a really friendly personality, and another attractive Aussie, this one the bartender, who had shown me how to get to the party and reminded me a lot of some of the people back home.
There are -a lot- of Australians here. They come in exactly two flavors; Cool and Toxic. And when they do toxic, they do it with flare. But the same goes for ‘cool.’ I think what’s happening is that the Aussies have a definite “I don’t care what you think of me” attitude, which means you get it with both barrels, whatever they happen to be loaded with. The American tourons are better only in that they come in more flavors; Frat, Fart and Flake. The Frats are extremely annoying. The Farts are the subset (and sadly, majority) of older folks who wander around being demanding and dreadfully annoyed that isn’t Santa Monica, and the Flakes are perpetually stoned. Frankly I haven’t met many of my fellow countrymen that I’ve wanted anything to do with, though that may be because, like me, the cool Americans are avoiding anyone who looks American.
Traveling is an interesting study in social dynamics. So far I’ve gotten on best with one French couple (Parisian, and totally cool, thereby blowing one of my preconceptions right out of the water), the Good Aussies, the Canadians, the Brits and some of the Dutch. There’s this adorable red-haired Dutch bartender named Jade whom I….
Ah, what? Distracted again. Sorry.
Anyway, Sunday night was basically mellow, and by the end of the evening I was crashed out listening to my headphones and drifting, tired and feeling good about that….
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