NYE blitzing in Berlin
Of all the places you'd expect to find an educational experience, a New Year's rave in a former power plant probably isn't it.
Berlin is synonymous with dance music, and Tresor - all three floors, plus basement, of it - is the mecca of the city's dance music. (Ibiza who?)
It's also known for hosting some fairly loose parties to celebrate the arrival of each new year.
My memory might be slightly hazy, but here is some of what I learned as I rang in 2014.
The Germans are really into fireworks. Really, really, really into fireworks.
Remain alert at all times. That's not just a not- quite-extinguished cig languishing on the footpath beneath your feet.
It is never too dark for sunglasses(?)
There were plenty of people who clearly subscribed to this particular school of thought.
Not me, but diff'rent strokes, I guess.
The labyrinthine building was pitch black - I had to grope about to make sure I didn't twist an ankle on the way in.
(If you're going to sustain rave-related injuries, you'd at least want to get your money's worth on the dance-floor first.)
Sunglasses just seemed hazardous - and, let's be real here, douchey.
There's no room for self-consciousness.
Whether you're being shunted by the crowd against two people having a full-throttle, last- ditch pash at The Shack, or you're surrounded by shoulder shufflers at your second cousin's wedding, dance-floors can be pretty hairy.
How many of us are guilty of finding these situations so awkward, in fact, that the prospect of dancing has us fleeing for the nearest open bar, eager for some social lubrication? (Right now, I have put my hands up for Detroit.)
But when you're engulfed in some dirty doof- doof and a sea of people who are definitely spending the night with some Class As, all that goes out the window.
Largely because everybody's dancing is nuts - from the vantage point of the bar, the dance-floor resembled a dusty yard full of enthused chickens, all pecking and flailing limbs.
There's no room for self-consciousness.
(Literally no room. It was packed.)
If you have a lighter, you are everybody's best friend.
This rule is applicable in many situations.
If you can do the running man non-stop for an hour, you are also everybody's best friend.
Again, applicable in many situations.
This isn't for the faint-hearted.
With 20 DJs and a running time of 10pm to (purportedly) midnight on January 1, spending New Year's Eve at Tresor is not for you if you're looking for a chilled NYE listening to some Fat Freds.
(Because I am An Old not to mention A Responsible Aware of My Morning Flight Gaahhhh Whyyy, I didn't last past 4am and therefore cannot verify this. I could do some more-than-cursory Googling, but I can't speak German - beyond knowing random words including and almost limited to "eins zwei drei", big ups Cool Runnings, and "flughafen", which means airport, because that is a seriously hilarious word and is a lot of fun to say.)
But you crazy kids go for it. Have fun. Stay safe.
It doesn't matter if you don't really dig the people you're with.
It's dark. It's loud. You're not going to talk to them anyway.
People go to a lot of effort, to look as if they haven't gone to any effort at all.
That messy top-knot sure does look laissez- faire. Pretty sure you spent as much time getting each strand just so as I did hanging out with my GHDs, though.
Dance music is like abstract art.
Some people might really dig it. Some people might make a wrinkly face and just be all like, my kid could draw that.
Yes, yes, I know there are all different strands of dance music - I don't necessarily know what they are, but at least I know they exist. The stuff being spun at Tresor, though, was the kind that was just the same constant sound for 10 minutes, before morphing into another sound that lasted another 10 minutes, before morphing into another sound that . . . You get the idea.
Getting the underground home is a sobering experience.
No matter how much you drank, you are still way more high on life than the girl you had to help onto the platform, whose boyfriend had spent the entire train ride slapping her face and splashing her with water in a bid to keep her awake/conscious.
To the people who work for the police, fire service, St John et al. on December 31 - respect.
Despite all of the strange sights, sounds and smells, spending New Year's Eve, at a dance club in Berlin, is a pretty cool way to step out of your comfort zone.
But my God, I am tired.