1:12pm Martin wakes me up. He, Max, and Luci are leaving for Centrum Stocznia Gdanska now. I shower, dress myself and pack my Mac and other tech gear. On my way to the venue along the industrial area near Wa?owa I see a man in his forties in a blue jumpsuit, carrying a plastic bag and Thermos flask. He’s being followed by a black cat throughout his walk along the road – I guess this was the first time ever seeing someone taking a cat for a walk (without using a leash).
3:46pm Get in at CSG. While the sun is shining outside, everybody inside the venue is busy finalizing the place for the following EB festival night. While I set up an improvised office on the outside lawn, Max and Martin are chatting with the guys from Jazzanova. My AiAiAi headphones seam to appeal to Jazzanova’s Daniel W. Best; turns out he just got his hands on the studio version.
5:51pm Only two more hours until the show. Word is being passed around that Lufthansa lost Dillon‘s luggage and instruments during the flight, which means changes for the timetable and extra-stress for everybody involved. I get in touch with the technicians about the live stream; for now everything seems to be running smoothly. A quick dinner at 7:21pm while writing emails at the same time – not very nutritious, I guess.
7:42pm Twitter wall? Check! Facebook photo booth? Check! Production WiFi? Check! Electronic Beats Festival Gdansk 2012, here we go!
9:41pm I’m in a constant rush: from the production office with the live stream moderation to the stage taking pictures, from the bar area to the outside of the venue and back again. Time’s flying, stress levels are rising.
11:05pm Squarepusher is on now. Together with Dillon and Tamer I’m watching parts of the show from the center of the room, but although I dig his new album Ufabulum and the corresponding live show very much, I can’t stay and enjoy this for long. Again I go backstage, always rushing.
2:19am Two minutes of Dillon for me. Am I serious? Yes I am – I’d prefer to be here with friends like all the other people around me, not working, just listening to nice music.
3:15am Finally a moment of calm. I get to watch twenty minutes of James Blake‘s live show. He still has a strong musical stage presence, although he just sits behind his keyboards.
5:32am I grab a nightcap with Tamer and Dillon at their backstage. What a night; so many impressions. I get a taxi with Martin, arrive at the apartment. We take care of Max’s festival review and the leftovers of the backstage while listening to old school hip-hop, The The and Morrissey, dubstep and electronica records. At 9am-ish I fall asleep.
11:16am I wake up all dizzy. We need to clean up the apartment, pack our bags and rush to the train station. TLK56100 brings us in 4 1/2 hours to Poznan where we meet Jakub, one of our Polish colleagues. He leads us to a small restaurant: shawarma during the layover to EC 40 Berlin-Warszawa-Express.
8:31pm Boarding of BWE. We take a seat inside the diner, order soup, cake and beer. Max teaches me the Italian card game Scopa, something that will come handy during the office hours in Berlin, since everybody is playing it during lunch breaks.
00:15am I unlock my frontdoor and think of Channel X. “I love the couch, baby / you’re always there when I need you / to pass on out / so relaxed.”
00:45:33am Last time to fall asleep in travel mode. Day 3. What’s next? Oh, right: office is next!
8:57 am I wake up wrinkled. Time for an espresso and a small breakfast.
11:23 am After a couple of home office hours, I make my way through town. First stop: Cukiernia i Piekarnia Pellowski (a bakery), followed by a stroll around the Mot?awa river. At Targ Rybny I stop by for a Caffè Freddo – it’s gentle 26°C in Gda?sk, perfect weather for sunglasses, shorts and iced coffee. Passing the monument of the Defense of the Polish Post Office, I see a drunk couple fighting over a baby buggy filled with vodka bottles.
12:31 pm On arrival at CSG, the crew is already busy setting up all the stage elements, technical equipment, and lights. Centrum Stocznia Gda?ska manager Bartosz Bernecki tells me a little bit of history about the place: while being used as a submarine shipyard by the Nazis in 1942, it later became a magazine house and the starting point for Solidarno?? in the 1980s, since Gda?sk’s shipyard workers had been printing their flyers at this place.
15:46 pm At Gda?sk G?ówny, Max Dax, Luci Lux, and Martin Hossbach finally arrive. After a short welcome we drive towards the apartment, where rooms are split up, Macs are powered up, and cigarettes are smoked.
19:57 pm Dinner at Brovarnia Gda?sk: herrings, beer goulash, pork roast, and duck are on the menu. And a beer.
22:02 pm Meetup with our Polish colleagues at Bar Kleopatra. I am being introduced to w?ciek?y pies (a shot of vodka, tabasco, and raspberry density juice, translating to furious dog), a very tasty drink.
00:13 am Jarek, Max, Martin, and I make our way to the Fabryka Karabinów, a former rifle factory. This new club space is opening this very night, which is why the venue is packed with people. The DJs are playing house and electronica music, and the location itself has a great industrial look and feel.
4:23 am Taxi to the apartment. Obviously someone was having a late night snack earlier and then forgot to remove the pot from the gas range. Right now it just smells like burned noodles. When I open up the kitchen window, I hear church bells ringing. Day 2. What’s next?
7:57 am Entering RE5800 at Berlin Ostbahnhof. Falling asleep.
9:49 am Changeover at Szczecin train station to TLK 81104/5 towards Gda?sk G?ówny. The sweltering heat inside the six person compartment is already unbearable in the early morning hours, probably thanks to the (at least in Berlin) often discussed continental climate. The following 5-and-a-half hour long train ride is far from comfortable.
I take a seat next to the window, headphones on, listening to the unofficial DOOMSTARKS mixtape, bringing together MF DOOM and Ghostface Killah. Right now DOOM’s and Ghostface’s rap flow seems to blend perfectly with the train’s gentle rattles.
Szczecin G?ówny – Szczecin Dabie – Stargard Szczeci?ski – Chociwel – Runowo Pomorskie – ?obez – ?widwin – Bia?ogard – Koszalin – S?awno – S?upsk – L?bork – Wejherowo – Gdynia G?ówna – Sopot – Gda?ska Oliwa – Gda?sk Wrzeszcz – Gda?sk G?ówny.
Now and then I get company inside my train compartment. A young man in shorts and sweatshirt, an older couple, two middle-aged business men, a heavy man in his fourties, a very fashionable couple of twentysomethings, and Waleria, a 42 year-old sales woman from Wejherowo who’s visiting her family in Gda?sk. I learn that she once visited at Berlin’s old Tresor club in the ’90s, which is a nice coincidence since I just finished reading the techno oral history Der Klang der Familie. She didn’t like it much at Tresor. Waleria is the only person I get to talk to; maybe because we both haven taken off our shoes due to the heat while everybody else was eyeballing me earlier on.
3:27 pm Arriving in Gda?sk. While the old diesel engine is leaving the station, I’m walking towards our AirBNB’ed Electronic Beats homebase in the heart of the old town. The landlord Józef and his German Schnauzer welcome me at the door and show me around. He’s not a man of many words.
Silence. I power up my laptop, put on Bobby Womack‘s new Damon Albarn-produced album, turn on Airport (93 new emails, 13 Facebook notifications, 22 new EB-related tweets), and open up a bottle of Club-Mate. After having conducted the correspondence I leave the apartment for a stroll around the old town. I walk past Dom Ferberów, St. Mary’s Church, Wielka Zbrojownia, but I’m too hungry.
7:51 pm At Tekstylia restaurant: grilled chicken breast with potato rissoles, a warm piece of Szarlotka with freshly whipped cream, an espresso doppio, and a fresh draught pint of ?ywiec, one of my all-time favorite types of beer. I smoke a cigarette, put on my headphones (Jzz & Lyrik by Jacques Palminger & das 440 Hz Trio) and return to the appartment. Twenty-two new emails. Research afterwards. Foursquare.com, search for “nightlife” near you.
11:32 pm Leaving the apartment. Karaoke at Parlament? No! Rock music at Yesterday? No! Strolling around the riverwalk instead, listening to Kassem Mosse‘s Resident Advisor podcast. Finally standing at No to cyk. An Italian recalls his memories of his last Berghain visit: “Naked people everywhere, it’s crazy”, he says. I’m having a couple of beers, the other guests have some schnapps instead. No to cyk is classy, nostalgic and a care of alcoholics at the same time – I like this philosophy very much (note to self: bring the rest of the crew to this place on their arrival).
1:32 am Leaving towards the apartment. Arriving there. Falling asleep. Day 1. What’s next?
Electronic Beats editor and online community manager Walter W. Wacht visits Gda?sk for Electronic Beats Festival Gda?sk 2012. This is his travel blog.