So, if you've been on the internet recently, you might have seen this.
That is a link to an absolutely hilarious review left on Yelp by a lost and confused American tourist—named Kyle W—who found himself in Berghain on a recent trip. Our plucky patriot hadn't planned on braving the dark corridors of Berlin's techno mecca, but ended up talking to a pair of English tourists in a bar, who convinced him that Berghain was 'the' nightlife spot worth knowing about. Kyle W sorted out his dress-code, took the relevant advice with regards to keeping his phone in his pocket, and managed to make it past the tattooed, pierced bouncer we of course recognise as Sven Marquardt. From there on, he's in, and Kyle W's nightmare begins.
"On the way to grab a beer, I pass in disbelief, a bearded guy butt fucking the crap out of another bearded dude. You could smell feces and sweat. I take my eyes off of that situation and it only gets worse. There's another guy, and I kid you not...he's got his arm, almost to his elbow, up another guys ass! I thought it was a magic trick or an illusion. It WASN'T! The guy that's basically getting impaled is enjoying it!"
Oh, and this...
"As I'm saying "NO!"...a loud siren/whistle starts blowing and the whole club starts going bananas! I ask this guy who looks like a vampire..."What the hell is that? Is there a fire or terrorist or something?"...He does this weird giggle and say's the siren means it's "Slip and Slide time!"...100's of guys, the ones that aren't already naked, drop there pants and start masturbating on the dance floor. Evidently, you are supposed to ejaculate on the floor and make it slippy and then naked guys go sliding through it! WTF!"
Except maybe: not LOL? Not LOL, because this isn't actually the panicked ramblings of a conservative America who accidentally ended up in Berghain. No, this is nothing more than a sub-par, Wunderground-ready, improv-comedy-class skit. That's obvious enough simply from the clunkiness of the set-up, and the Will Ferrell dialogue that runs throughout—most notably a bunch of German dudes shouting "Balles Tief!" "Balles Tief!"—y'know, German for balls deep.
Yet the total fakeness of the whole thing is obvious for a number of other reasons. I've been to Berghain, and I know plenty of people who have been, and while it is a dark, cavernous, mysterious place, it's nothing like the aircraft hangar full of jizz this hilarious review would have you believe it is. There are a tonne of details in the review that are clearly untrue—it's unlikely Kyle W would have gone past Sven at the door, who normally only works two nights a week, if at all. Then there are the sex acts that are continuing inside. Kyle W explains how the "whole club was the gay section". He illustrates orgiastic scenes. Blatant and explicit sex acts being performed as soon as he walks into the club including "butt-fucking", tag-teaming, fisting and the aforementioned slip and slide. If you think that a trip to Berghain means a front row seat to that sort of action throughout the club, then you'll be sorely disappointed. That's not to say sex acts don't occur there—the club has its roots in the Snax sex parties of 20 years ago—but the idea that Berghain is nothing but dildos and buttplugs from the second you enter is a complete delusion.
Okay, so it's fake, it's obviously fake. But why does it matter that some bored university student took it upon himself to write a broadly unfunny false account wandering round the fictional Berghain of his imagination? On one level, it doesn't matter at all. This is just a bad joke, but it does speak to a phenomenon that's recently come to curse the Berlin club. Writing for Mixmag last week, Patrick Hinton published an article describing Berghain as "dance music's biggest meme"—and he's absolutely right. From the Lego Berghain to the Berghain simulation game that everybody was playing a couple of months ago, the techno institution has, like it or not, become a punchline. This Yelp review is no different. It spread across the internet precisely because the word 'Berghain' has become synonymous with a clumsy approximation of counter-culture. It allows people who know nothing about techno a by-word, a catch-all reference point, with which they can then cook-up 'hilarious' jokes just like this one. It also encourages a deeply shallow impression of LGBT clubbing.
I'm sure some people will have already cried "SJW!! TRIGGERED!!" at the title of this piece, but fuck it, it's true. This fake Yelp review is homophobic. Like, really homophobic! It turns gay sex into nothing but a shocking cartoon—a gratuitous punchline, the foil for the uptight yank telling the story. Yes, the joke is in theory on this Kyle W character, but seriously, descriptions of 100s of dudes ejaculating on the floor in order to slide through it, and forcing syringes on each other, presents the LGBT community as nothing but deviants. It's that simple. This hilarious 1 star Yelp review is basically little more than: lol, gay people huh?
Oh, and if you need any further proof that this is fake, Kyle W's Yelp profile picture? That, weirdly enough, is a photo of British comedian Ronnie Barker's son.
One star for effort.