Every now and then, an event comes along that you think is going to be right up your street. In my case this was “Wine and Words”, which took place last Friday.
It looked fantastic on paper (or on screen, rather):
“Wine lovers and word fanatics, you are in for a treat!”
All good so far…
“Together with Wine Club Berlin you will be able to ask all the questions you have about the magic grape juice while tasting a range of carefully selected treasures.”
Yes to that…
“Followed by brave readers and their stories, there will be live music with a range of ukulele, violin and live-looping combined with soulful harmonies – what better way is there to start your weekend?”
Damned if I could think of one.
I arranged to meet my English friend Bea there, and she brought along her German friend, Gerlinde. We were all set for a wonderful, cultural (if slightly boozy) start to the weekend. The free wine tasting started at 7pm and I don’t think any of us were quite prepared for the scrum that ensued. However, being the hardy Irish chick that I am, I managed to shove my way in. I discovered that there’s also something quite satisfying about hip-checking hipsters.
The barman proceeded to pour a dribble of wine into the glasses of the lucky few who had battled to the bar, all the while extolling the virtues of the drop that had barely wet my mouth. Still, I could taste enough to know that it was awful.
Me: Hmm. I’m sensing undertones of vinegar.
Gerlinde: It smells a bit like pineapple. But the canned kind, not the good stuff.
Me: Hmm. It smells a bit like paint-stripper.
Poor Bea hadn’t had the heart to ram her way through hipster-hell so she missed out.
I managed to taste a drop of rosé and a drop of red before giving up and paying for a proper glass of wine. €4.50 for 125ml – utterly outrageous. I could get 23 bottles at LIDL for the price of one bottle there; it’s debatable which is preferable – dying of shock at the price of one bottle or dying from drinking 23 of them.
We managed to find a table and people-watching commenced. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen so many tossers in one place. I wondered if all of these people who try so hard to look so different from everyone else, with their craaaaaaaazy hair and craaaaaaaazy clothes, realise that they simply look the same as everyone else who’s trying to look so different. Deep, right?
Needless to say, it was a total selfie-fest but special mention has to go to “the wookie in the wife-beater”. First of all, anyone who wears a wife-beater in January can’t have all of their cups in the cupboard (as we say in German). Secondly, any man who aims to draw attention to himself by displaying his mammoth amount of back and shoulder hair in public should be sent to a galaxy far, far away.
It was almost enough to put a girl off her wine, but not quite. I got another glass.
Me: Where are the words? It’s after 8.30 and not one word!
Bea: Hmm, not sure. Maybe they’re getting organised.
Me: Well, I’m not sitting here drinking overpriced plonk all night. There’d better be some words soon.
Bea: We could just leave. Go to a normal bar?
Me: NO! I came to hear words and hear words I will!
Finally, a girl got on stage and introduced the first act – a violinist. Everyone clapped uproariously now that things were finally getting started and we settled in to enjoy the show. After a pretentious nod to the audience, he commenced to play the most mournful dirge I think I’ve ever heard in my life. Way to get the party started.
As I squirmed with boredom, I chanced a look around me at the other guests. Slack-jawed and glassy-eyed would be a fairly accurate description. One guy poured the rest of a bottle into his glass as another fell asleep. After around three minutes, the caterwauling ended and someone started clapping enthusiastically – probably in relief. But no, it was just a brief pause; he played on for another six hours, or maybe it just felt that way.
Bea and Gerlinde: …
The next act was introduced – a reader, finally. Now, I know how hard it is to get up in front of a roomful of people so I’ll be charitable.
I have never, EVER, heard such unadulterated, self-involved drivel in my life.
Me: Right, that’s it. I’m done.
We put on our coats and walked out.
Bea: Never invite me to anything again.
Me: But it sounded so good on paper!
This was actually the inaugural “Wine and Words” evening. Next time, if there is a next time, I’d suggest that they call the event “Self-obsessed twats listening to self-obsessed twats talking twaddle and drinking dribbles of crap wine” – it would save people getting their hopes up.