Last night, at around 1.30am, there was a bit of a commotion outside.
Like many of my neighbours across the street, I twitched my curtains. I was expecting a few drunken lads to just be making a bit of a racket after leaving the awful drunken lads-type bar just down the street (my God, I hate that place, totally dragging the neighbourhood down… he said, signing up for bringing back corporal punishment (joke)). But, no.
I was genuinely shocked by what I saw. From my second floor window I was looking down on a group of about forty – no shit – lads shouting, pushing, arguing, fighting in the middle of the road… well, this was as close to the LA Riots as my life has ever got! It was amazing.
Bathed in the orange street lights, it was a heaving mass of sportswear and fake tans. (An aside: Berlin ‘lads’ seem to have a style of dress quite different to the laddish types in the UK. It’s kinda hip hop seen through the eyes of a 1980s Pet Shop Boys video, but recreated in the sub-H&M; bargain fashion stores of east Germany.) For some reason this mass of boys totally reminded me of seeing a tub of fishermen’s maggots writhing around.
A few lads broke off from the group hear and there; drinking Beck’s, talking on mobile phones. A few were ushered away by screeching girlfriends. Screeching girlfriends were ushered away by screeching boyfriends, too.
And after about ten minutes of this (which seems like a really long time when there’s violence in the air), five police vans turned up. Just in time to see some lads sculk away. Some got stopped by police, some not. Some slinked off and hid silently in souped-up Volkswagens until they could drive off unnoticed. The majority just hung around until the police had shouted and questioned a few of them, and it all ended.
Come morning, the only sign of any action was a nice big pool of vomit right outside the front door to my house.