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muenchen, maeuschen


The first 8 hours of a new country is always a bit of a write-off for me and Germany was no exception. Stupidly, I embarked on my new adventure having had only 3 hours sleep. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I did it. I spoke to Marcus at some stage, totally off my face with tiredness and in there somewhere completely chewed up any credit I had on my phone. Palaver, i tell you.

Skip to after I had a shower and a nap and then meeting Marcus at Hauptbahnof. Hugs all round, as usual.

We went off to find me a German sim card, which you just can’t do – I have my opinion on that, but I’ve shaken my head enough times in disbelief, that I’m going to leave it. Anyway, that didn’t work out, so we went off to try and get me a ticket to see The Gossip and The Crips. Sold Out. Completely, like no tickets, not even on the door – gutted.

SO Marcus and I went wandering, he gave me a brief walking tour of Munich while we went to find a place to have a beer (the non-alcoholic beer here is fucking brilliant!). And we spent most of the evening catching up, having a natter, and drinking beer. Good times indeed.

On the way home, I grabbed a lovely gelato and went back to the gig to see, if by some small chance, there would be someone with an available ticket, or something might have changed – not just because I’m a stubborn loser, but because if I hadn’t at least tried my hardest to get into that gig, then I would have had to shoot myself if I had have been able to get in.
So, sold out still being sold out, I walked back to Reichenbachstraße and hung out at Fur Freunde – this cool little club playing indie-type toons, on my own! It was kind of strange and I only stayed for a ginger ale, but I had a good time. The music was great and I strung my bad german together enough to ask the DJ who sung a particular song and solved the major quandary of who was responsible for the coolest lyric in pop music: I’ll do graffiti if you sing to me in French [Maximo Park].

Fur Freunde, [Photographic Manoeuvres in the Dark]

And so, after day 1, my top 5 first impressions of Munich (and Germany as a whole, ha!) are:

1. Cigarettes – Tabak. There are cigarette machines on almost every corner, everybody smokes and the Tabak Stand at Hauptbahnof not only takes pride of place, but is has an amazing display and range of the stuff.

2. Dogs. Everyone has one! They go on buses, in the art gallery, in restaurants, on the street, in the market – everywhere.

3. Bicycles. Like the dogs, everyone has one and they’re everywhere. You go anywhere decent and there are 50 of them all just sitting there. Initially I thought they weren’t chained up either. They are, but it’s not Fort Knox like the bikes in London.

4. Window Displays. There are the coolest window displays here. I took photos of loads of them, my favourite being not technically a window display, but a little cage, mounted onto a wall, with a beautiful hand-made leather brogue and a hand-drawn cardboard cut out of an old wireless radio, which also kind of looks like a handbag. And it has a sign in ornate script, Hand-Made Shoes from €250! Bloody gorgeous!

5. Beer. I know, cliché. It was going to be cars, because they also take pride of place here (with the big guns like Benz, VW, Porsche and BMW as the local wunderkind, why wouldn’t it), but the final place does have to go to beer. It’s good and absolutely everywhere.

UPDATE: I wanted to add in ‘Kissing in Public’, but couldn’t really squeeze it in – couples here just stop in the middle of the street and snog each other! It’s great (or a pain in the arse if you’re lonely at all)! I saw one older couple doing it that reminded me of my folks – how sweet!

ZK Max on Maximilianstraße

So, after a great night’s sleep, Saturday was officially the day of the most embarrassing thing that I have ever, ever done. Now, to put this into perspective, I’m not easily embarrassed, really. I’ve spoken to over 2000 people in public before without batting an eyelid and I’ll happily get up on a dancefloor and make a fool of myself, so that gives you a bit of an idea. And although I’m pretty aware most of the time, I do so some dumb shit sometimes. And this one, I file under in prime position Incredibly Dumb Shit I’ve Done and easily Most Embarrassing Moment.

I’m swanning around town, pretty pleased with myself, I’m communicating OK in German with various people, but a few times, got some seriously filthy looks from people. I thought it might have been the usual shit and I felt a little self-conscious, but nothing really to fuck my day up. I wandered around the HypoKunsthalle most of the afternoon, which was absolutely ace. (more on that in a minute), leave there, go to meet Marcus and Eva and plonk myself down on the ground on Marienplatz. Marienplatz is the centre of the universe as far as Munchen citylife goes – it’s the main plaza, the one with the stupid gold statue mime, the overpriced souvenirs and the Civic Building.
So, anyway, sitting there, see Marcus, big hugs again, meet Eva, it’s all wonderful and Marcus starts laughing and saying ‘and here’s Lauren, wearing the best jacket for where she his, well done love’… and I start wondering what the fuck he’s talking about – thinking ‘yeah, it’s cold, but that’s not it.. the ramones, my badg… oh, fuck.’ then I remember the very first patch I put on this jacket..

Yes kids, that’s right, in downtown Munich, Germany, home of the Nationalist-Socialist Party, with a huge fucking social wound about Hitler and gang, Lauren is sitting bold as brass, oblivious as hell, wearing an anti-nazi badge. FUCK!!! FUCK, FUCK, FUCK.

I was so fucking embarrassed I cried. Literally. I went a serious shade of red and wanted the ground to open up not just for me to disappear, but the whole of the day to be wiped.

I felt like the most ignorant and insensitive fucker on the face of the planet. Wearing an anti-nazi patch is important in the punk scene in Australia because there are still a few neo-nazi skinhead punks kicking around, and it not only sends a message to them about their beliefs, but it also clearly shows to them and the general public that I am not part of that sub-subculture. And sending out a message against Nazism is important, but really, I’m playing with fucking fire.


Anyway, briefly back to the Hypo-Kunsthalle for a minute.
Man, it was amazing! A really beautifully designed art gallery – the hallways, entrances and resting places were fantastic. They had really comfortable (gemütlicher) beanbag type things in the main entrance and the lights were cool, there was a great combination of inside/outside stuff and the toilets were ace! I didn’t take a sticker, but I might tomorrow.

Hypo-kunsthalle Kafe

The show was Von Rembrandt bis Picasso and technically it was earlier, let’s not quibble over terms. The art was a.fucking.mazing. Mostly drawings collected by two dutch collectors and featuring works from masters like Bellini, Picasso (obviously), Gericault, Delacroix, Giacometti, Degas, El Greco, Matisse, Basquiat, Bacon - you name it, the big guns were there. It was such a fantastic exhibition. What started off as a quick pop in for an hour before a nap, turned out to be 3 hours of looking, thinking, drawing. It was pretty intense, but oh so fantastic.

Then we had the realization of the stupid tourist moment..

And then that being sorted (I took my damned jacket of pretty soon after that), we went on to have a great evening. A snooty restaurant that made beautiful Spinatgnocchi, with nightmare service, and then bier at this really fucking cool rockin’ club near Marcus’ place – good times.

While I wanted to head out to Backstage, the reality of the situation is that I was exhausted and went back to the hotel to write and read, getting an early night before some more gallery hopping the next day.

Today (Sunday) has been a really, really lazy day. I got up early-ish to get my breakfast (best breakfast ever), with all the intentions of heading into town early. Then I got back to my room and decided that, actually, I just wanted to lie about, finish my book and have a nap again, like everyone else does on Sunday. Considering most of the shops are closed, I’m fine with that.

After some writing, I finally got my shit together and headed to the Haus der Kunst to see Gilbert and George with Marcus, Eva and their friends. Marcus and I had made an agreement to see this show way back in fucking June I think! And it was easily worth the wait.

It showed at the Tate Modern earlier this year and while I was a little bummed I missed it there, I’m so glad that I saw it here instead. The gallery was absolutely perfect for it – huge halls of open space, which easily accommodated the large grid works. I personally enjoyed the correlation between the grids of the works and the grids of the ceilings in the gallery (I’m like that, you know). The works they showed were amazing – their early stuff, right up until the late eighties/early nineties was fantastic – my favourite Gilbert & George actually being the one that’s in the Barbican at the moment, but best of this work was the video, Gordon’s Makes Us Drunk and the beautifully bound Red Sculpture Album, which I wished I could get into for a proper look at.

I felt quite awed by the intensity and sharpness of wit from these guys and realised how much my work and method was reflected back to me today, although way better executed that mine. I got inspired to create a large body of work in some form. And, like Marcus, I really liked the card/mail art works and am thinking about paper again.

All up, Gilbert & George, two thumbs up.

On the way to the Hausderkunst, I got to see the surfers on the river (wha’!) and after the show, we checked them out again There’s a killr swell, which after checking it out again post-exhibition, I’m pretty sure is man-made, but awesome nonetheless

Then we wandered leisurely through the Englisch Garten, which did resemble Hyde Park/Hampstead Heath-ish, but reminded me more of the kinds of gardens Dostoyevsky’s Idiot would roam through. We went to the Chinesischer Taum beergarden which was straight out of a goddamn postcard – it was great! Huge Steine of Bier, O’batzen – Pretzel with a cheese and onion dip, but better. And the trad Bavarian band who played polka-type toons, and Don’t Cry For Me Argentina. So, after spending a lovely time there, chatting, making a fool of myself and having a great time with Marcus and Eva, who were avoiding ‘We have to go to work tomorrow’ as much as possible, it was time to leave.

Eva and Marcus

And so, that, my dear friends, has been München.

To Marcus and the wonderful Eva, thank you so, so much for the lovely times we had – next time it’s Australia, please. And now, it’s off to Hamburg and probably Berlin, where you’ll probably hear from me again.

In the words of G&G, cheerio,

PS. I’ve uploaded most of my flicks to flickr, so for more pics, check them out there…



At 02 September, 2007 22:29, Blogger Will said...

Nice - good account.

Can't believe I didn't play you any Maximo Park..look for the song 'Going Missing' on www.deezer.com.. it's class.

At 03 September, 2007 07:25, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was great having you over. And doesn't Eva look lovely. Ben will be pleased.

At 03 September, 2007 12:41, Blogger Charles Edward Frith said...

Lets cut to the chase. The Nazi badge faux pas is outta control. What next? A suicide bomber jacket for New York?

Great post.

At 03 September, 2007 19:25, Blogger lauren said...

well, actually, i'm going for total faux pas - suicide bomber jacket on the west bank, kamikaze flight jacket in new york and clubbed seal fur jacket on the runways of paris.

At 03 September, 2007 19:44, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the planned rollout of inappropriate clothing, look forward to reading about the responses be it hear or in the newspapers...

Safe travelling.

At 04 September, 2007 11:09, Blogger Tim said...

If you fancy a nice cold and refreshing "Alsterwasser" while you are in Hamburg let me know.

At 04 September, 2007 17:48, Blogger lauren said...

hey tim! sounds great - i'm up to mischief tonight, but if you're free tomorrow night, let's catch up after you've finished work then.. email me lauren [at] sheseesred.com.

At 05 September, 2007 10:31, Blogger Adsurd said...

Are you coming in Athens???
email me i need to give you tips


At 17 September, 2007 01:05, Blogger Age said...

This post was awesome, Munchen was one of the best places I visited in Europe. So lovely. The Nazi badge fashion slip is hilarious, you'll look back and laugh at it one day.

At 17 September, 2007 18:26, Blogger lauren said...

thanks age,
i'm in italy now and you keep coming to mind! munich was awesome, although i think it's only the company i kept that made it so. unfortunately it has been superceeded by several other far cooler places :)


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