SWISS 'BIG BANG THEORY' DIGS
FORGET THE BARGES AND HOTELS, ITS ALL ABOUT GOING UNDERGROUND IN BASEL. EXCEPT ON A ROOF.
When I visit Basel for the watch fair, I stay in a Swiss version of the Big Bang Theory US sit com (click). Seen the Big Bang? (also click). Not one to readily admit to. Three nerds live with a sexy-but-dim all American girl in an apartment, and the clash of their nerd worlds with reality leads to all manner of 'hilarity'. Being installed in your own trippy version of the scenario is endlessly better fun than the doom and gloom of the corporate prison barges moored on the banks of the Rhine . Or hanging about tawdry Hotels at inflated tariffs, often in nearby Germany or France. Instead, I stay in a massive roof top apartment in an industrial area, that is home to the crew I’ve named Swiss Big Bangers.
Steffi is the bucksome, lovely (and not remotely thick) local girl, and the three eccentric nerds are an Indian bloke called Heman, David the German and a Sri Lankan named Theeb. They specialise in IT, engineering and physics much like the TV programme. Unlike the show, they enjoy what you might call an ‘alternative lifestyle’. Trips to Thailand and India and a serious immersion in music are a big part of their scene. They are all quite mental, naturally warm hosts and very funny indeed. One ends up quite tangibly ‘weighed in’ not long after entering the building. One rolls with it. I get picked up at the airport by Steffi and led off while the other watch tourists queue for cabs like badly suited zombies.
The apartment is totally wired for technology, sound and vision. There are huge speakers, screens and plants everywhere. I stay in the spacious living room. On advance request I am given three coat hangers for my suits and cashmere overcoat. My host Steffi had been on Style&Error already. Now she was playing video footage of St.Ives with my Mum and Soho with Stretch over the massive system . Trying to explain the term ‘Croc of Shite’ to these nationalities was testing my communication skills no end. ‘An amount of shite’ I settled for. They are very inquisitive as to what I ‘do’. I find it hard to elaborate without them all falling about laughing. We drink rum and we smoke. They teach me a ton of stuff in a short while. For example, Dussoldoph bars are smoking again, after so many businesses went bust. Also, ten percent of Swiss people speak another totally different language called Romansk. Theeb hacks my web site and immediately makes the video run better. David demonstrates techniques of time lapse video/photo editing that make his travel snaps of India come to life with a musical sound track. This stuff is heavyweight nerd culture cross over material, and I dig it.
I spot a nonchalantly discarded microphone and enquired who the singer is. Transpires they love the Wii rock band game. They perform on drums, guitars and vocals. With little coercion they play. Their set is very entertaining as they clearly indulge in this guilty pleasure regularly. They’re most committed to getting it right .The Bangers wouldn’t allow me to record them though as not satisfied set is tight enough to broadcast. The whole thing is projected digitally onto a massive wall and so the performance takes on all encompassing proportions. Try and imagine an intimate Jefferson Airplane gig in someone’s apartment, with The Ramones vs. University Challenge playing as the warm up act.
Not only are the catering facilities far more specialised than down the Radisson or the Swiss Hotel, but you definitely can't get this sort of spectacle as part of your in room entertainment. Nor will it show up on your bill. Big love to the Swiss Big Bang Theory Crew and can't wait for the next session, sorry, watch fair.
Check in, log on, tune in, and good night.
Stubbs out (of it).