Cigarettes and Mint Tea - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Cigarettes  and Mint Tea

Cigarettes and Mint Tea

Published August 20, 2004

Yeah, we hit Germany rolling and came up shooting, sunglasses on, with a rum bottle in one hand and a hotel key in the other. We immediately went to our room and had some rum. Then the phone rang.
“Would you like to come down to the hotel bar and maybe have some drinks with us?” said a German accent I recognized. It was the girl who drove us here from the airport, of course, and of course we accepted. We quickly finished the rum and rolled back downstairs, using the elevator mirrors to adjust our sunglasses. At the bar we ended up having a discussion with a woman from New Zealand about Ash, Stephen Malkmus and Sean Lennon.
“Do you like Nu-Clear Sounds?” I probed cautiously after inspecting the Berlin Hyatt´s extensive wine selection.
“Yes, but no one else does.”
“I know, but it´s such a great album.”
“I think it´s their best one,” Scanner said, taking a long sip of his beer
Suddenly the beer from the Frankfurt airport, the white wine from the plane, the rum and the wonderfully brewed German beer began clawing at my bladder, and I retreated to the bathroom. When I returned, Scanner was in his element.
“I´m telling you, all of Western, Western – and Eastern! – culture is based on alcohol! The only culture that isn´t is, you know, the Muslims, and that´s because it isn´t allowed!”
I wanted to say “So does that mean their culture is based on cigarettes and mint tea?,” but because I was still pretending I didn´t speak English, I could not.
Shortly thereafter, we accepted an invitation to dinner. We had some more rum, walked around town for a bit, and I came to the conclusion that downtown Berlin looks a lot like old central London.
Dinner was at a mall across a crowded square from the decimated Church of Rememberance. After a drunken march through the mall we decided to a place called Mavenpikken, and grabbed window seats next to a secluded area called the Musician´s Club.
Conversation was heavy, and revolved mainly around how a revolution had to be at hand, not just in music, as the doomsayers keep screaming at us over their beer-stained coffe tables, but in all art, and perhaps the world.
And sitting here, thinking about it now inside this ridiculously overdone hotel room, with Marilyn Manson on at full blast, it seems a painfully pointless and easily ridiculed point to make.

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