Welcome to our Fringe Debuts series, where comedians taking their first show to Edinburgh Fringe will give you a little taster of what to expect, an insight into their world, or really super weird musings on something equally bizarre — to be honest, we just let them run with it. If you’re readying yourself for a giant lol injection in August, now’s your chance to find something NEW to add to your list.
Vidura Bandara Rajapaksa is performing Monsoon Season, a show about the journey from leaving Sri Lanka in 1999 to Edinburgh Fringe 2022, via all of life’s main talking points: race, religion and Ratatouille. Here, he gives us the only guide you’ll ever need to surviving in Berlin.
I moved to Berlin in 2017 as an Immigrant. It was the first job I got out of Sri Lanka and I had no idea what I was getting into. Thankfully the city is full of a very friendly and insulated community/cult of Expats to help guide me through this ordeal.
Expats are an interesting breed. An interesting club reserved for those who move from their developed countries to other countries on either a frivolous whim, or on the run from the law, their family; or worst of all and most commonly, taxes. You’ll meet a lot of expats in Berlin. They can sometimes be mistaken for *immigrants*, a group to which I proudly belong. The difference is subtle but crucial. An easy tell is asking how or why they moved from their place of origin. An immigrant will likely go into a self-aggrandising tale of seeking a better life, fleeing some sort of sociopolitical turmoil, boo-hoo, etc. etc. An expat on the other hand will often hit you with a delightfully frivolous turn of phrase like “I heard the vibe was pretty chill”.
Albeit without them, I would have likely never become hip to any of the following basic principles of surviving in this new city:
Don’t get into the pool at The Kit Kat Club. Not even a toe to check the temperature. It will be suspiciously warm and inviting for all the wrong reasons, and considering the likely drug-infused circumstances of how you ended up there, you will not have the wherewithal to resist it.
You’ll be tempted to try to learn German. Don’t bother. Whatever you learn in even half a decade of dedicated study will be laughed off by locals regardless, before they switch to their miraculously flawless English.
Abandon colours. They have no place here. Give in to the conformity of uniform non-conformism that the city has taken on as a personality and let your wardrobe fade to black. The only colour on you should be the yellow stitching of the Vegan Doc Martens you purchased at retail price while in the same breath complaining about how broke you are. Stomp down the streets of Mitte, the business district, on your way home from a night out at 11am like a yuppie vampire judging the suckers in their glass-caged office buildings whose efforts keep things running enough to support the robust social system that makes your exhaustingly hedonistic lifestyle financially sustainable. It is the only way.
Protest. Even if you have no true care about the cause because your life is so violently comfortable that there is nothing you could be genuinely peeved enough about to march the streets for, do it anyway. It’s a great way to get some exercise, listen to DJs that can’t get booked at clubs, and meet new people, all while feeling that you’re making a difference. What for? Whatever. Is. Fashionable. At. The. Time. I assumed that was obvious. Go to Extinction Rebellion demos even though the only time you recycle is when your pedantic but hawk-like German neighbour is at her balcony watching you take out the bins. Frequent every Black Lives Matter event you hear about even though the last 5 conversations you started with a human of the melanated variety began with, “Hey man, do you know where I could score some ___”. You are a hero. A martyr even.
Vidura Bandara Rajapaksa: Monsoon Season runs from Aug 4th-28th, 1:55pm, at Monkey Barrel. Tickets here
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