When I started getting into the techno and clubbing scene, the infamous club, Berghain became my ultimate goal. Not that I knew what it actually meant, but everyone talked about it. If you had been inside, you had something. Only around 3% of the people who try, actually get in, like NYUAD’s acceptance rate. I thought I was ready but thank God the bouncers didn’t the first two times I tried.
Don’t use your phone, don’t smile, wear black, and look like you don’t care. That’s the typical advice anyone will give you when trying to enter Berghain. There are even online simulations and an Instagram filter to see whether you’d be rejected or not (I think it always rejects you).
And that’s exactly what we did the first time we tried with Gena and Åsa in a freezing, dark November Sunday night in our first year of Berlin. We waited for 3 hours, frozen – in my mind I had frostbite, – unable to talk because of the norms, giving too many fucks.
Heute leider nicht (Unfortunately not today)
The second time, I tried it with 4 other friends after a long rave. The bouncers just showed us the exit.
I decided I’d never try again unless someone who always went took me. I started hating on it and the bouncers. So stupid, so pretentious. Why would anyone have to dress in black and not smile to get in? I thought everything was fake and superficial. Why wouldn’t they let ME in? I was over Berghain. It didn’t deserve me.
1.5 years later, Michelle, a wild Chilean Lebanese friend of my friend Åsa visited her in Berlin. We had a beautiful day in Treptower Park swimming in the water fountain with kids like kids, eating arepas, and talking, talking, talking.
At night we went to Süss war Gestern, which used to be truly süss (sweet) but the year before. That day and the last times I went, it sucked, perhaps it was that I got older, and more pretentiously Berliner, and there it felt like it was all teenagers and tourists. We stayed for a bit and then told Michelle, “Whatever! let’s go to Berghain so that you get the experience of being rejected.”
We jumped on the tram, joking around, planning our entrance. We’d get there, go directly to the bouncer and ask to get in. In the tram there was a guy sitting by himself. We told him we were on our way to Berghain and asked if him too, jokingly. He said he was also going, and I didn’t believe it till he got off the tram, took the S-bahn to Ostbahnhof, and walked with us to the line. It all felt like a game, like everything in Berlin.
We got there and the line was huge, at least 3 hours. For sure we were not going to wait. It was obvious we weren’t getting in, as we broke all the rules. We dressed like this,
were loud, laughing, sometimes EVEN smiling. Although we didn’t have the guts to go directly to the bouncers, we did cut the line shamelessly, apologizing to the ones behind, making it clear we weren’t getting in and we just wanted to make a joke. As we came closer to the bouncers, all I could think of was the melted, cheesy, pizza I’d get immediately after being rejected. Michelle was falling asleep. A group of 3 guys cut behind us, and told us they were 40, Berliners, and they were trying Berghain for the first time. I thought obviously none of us would make it, if they hadn’t in 40 years…
We got to the front.
Sven was there,
zu dritt? we nodded.
I was about to start walking to the exit, pizza in mind…. Until unexpectedly, he showed us the way in with his hands,
Adrenaline rush. We were entering the techno palace, turned left into security. It felt like when you are at the airport getting checked, butterflies in your stomach, excited of the trip ahead.
Hell. Darkness. Industrialness. Our hearts pounding from an adrenaline rush running through all our bodies. Once inside, it all made sense. The rejections, the attitudes in line, who gets in who doesn’t. Calling Berghain “Church”. Inside you realize how well curated the people who get in are. It’s like the people who are there should be there. I felt high just from the way we’d gotten in. Nothing like getting in by own “merits”.
Berghain has the best sound system in the world.
Everyone is free to do whatever they want at Berghain.
As I walked up the stairs to the Berghain floor I remembered these words. The music got louder after each step, and my body started moving without me even trying. The sound. The people. Como se mueven, como se visten. The yelling. The energy. And when we reached the floor, it felt like all time stopped but everyone was still moving. I understood what the real party was.
My enigma had always been, how the hell do you get in? This time, as a girl I met in the garden put it, “everyone is always asking how to get in, but the real question is HOW DO YOU GET OUT!?” Took me 20 hours… No wonder the entry stamp they gave me said “Don’t forget to go home”.
The next weekend I went again, actually dressed in Berghain typical attire. A guy in the bathroom told me, hey you, I couldn’t believe you made it in last weekend with those pants, and now you know how to dress for Berghain!
**Disclaimer, I went in 4 more times, and the last times I didn’t love it. Also, the bouncers reject a lot of people who should get in, so they are not as wise as I thought they were when they let me in. The music is not always great. This is what Berlin does to you, it gets you used to only the highest standards.