The night of November 9th 1989, in Berlin, fellow citizens who have never met each other can finally share their lives by taking the Wall down. They do it with all the historical background of their individual existences. From East to West. And conversely. With all their stories of solitude and ordinary happiness, frustration and optimism, curiosity and cynicism, tiredness and activism.
The party started that day with all these traits. The never-ending techno party which still enlights the long night of ’89. Wild because it knows what freedom is. Polite because it knows the opposite, too.
Today it sounds like a cliché: Berlin and techno music. But it is not.
Now I am sure: all that relaxed energy which surrounds the city comes mostly from clubbing.
I have spent the last two years trying to understand this city. How it is so human and glam, chill and productive, vanguard and suburb. Now I know that Berlin and its manifold humanity are shaped also by the freedom released by techno parties. That respectful freedom which ends where freedom of others begins. In the middle are sex, drugs, drinks. And a lot of good old fellows you have never met before. There are sweat and piss. And the smell of Santal.
Such contradictions make the mood. They create this kind of altering-rooms: safe space where the ordinary world with its religious, moral, cultural and political bias, does not have access. They are places for bodies; naked not just by their clothes, bodies aware of their nakedness as much as their vulnerability and for this reason so dignified. And music is the train of thought which never stops.
Two years ago, when I went to a Berlin club for the first time, I was surprised by the kindness of such clubbers. Even in these Dyonisian rituals where free sex and drugs apparently seem to be the potential paradigm for chaos, nobody loses their respect for others. Conversely, it is like all that thoroughly connects people.
This is the cultural legacy of the first techno parties in Berlin celebrated at the end of the cold war. They glorified the opportunity to get together after a long period of political and social division. They glorified diversity, too: as a cultural reaction to the darkest pages of recent history. And they do the same to this day. Because other walls still exist and new ones are going to be built.
These are real and virtual walls breaking the western world up. Clubbing is to resist them. It is not just parties. It makes people used to concepts useful for daily life in a better world: respect, solidarity, curiosity. No prejudices about skin colour, religion, origin, sexual orientation, look. It is what makes Berlin so open-minded and progressive, not only inside its clubs but on the streets as well as in the offices and shops, on the subway, in taxis, in the parks: under all the aspects of its public life, Berlin is the result of such an openness which has its core in clubbing.
This is a cultural consequence of history. It is also a guiding light for the future. Indeed, clubbing is the Berlin’s core as the Capital in itself is the core of Europe. Protecting and promoting the club culture means to save an experience which can contribute, with its own outlooks, to fight the conservative and populist ghost going through our community.
Things can change for the better. And these changes start with individual stories which, little by little, become collective. I can see it in myself: two years ago I would never have thought to go dancing to techno music. Today, after a long period of surprising transformations in my life, I am a fan of that rubbery kick in four bars. Because it contains values.