Sometimes meeting a new friend is a lot like falling in love, that feeling where you click immediately and you feel like you are beaming whenever you are together, at least that is how it felt when I met Hanin.
I met Hanin at Nicks studio, while she was recording tracks for her next solo Album. The first time I saw her she was sitting a little curled up on the sofa, her shoulders slumped in, holding a cup of tea close her mouth, and I recognized something familiar in her immediately, I had seen this posture in myself only weeks ago, Hanin was woman getting over a heartbreak.
Over the next couple of days we bonded over tea and voice tricks, I brought her some honey and lemons, to sooth the throat, I told her that my stage name was Amber Noir, and she told me that the name of her last album was Future Noir, we laughed and decided that it must be fate, and made plans to meet for coffee the next day. Coffee turned into a walk, which turned into dinner, which turned into a night out on the Reeperbahn, which turned into us curled up and passed out on her guitarist sofa at 4am, which turned into pancakes the next morning.
If you want to know about Hanin Elias you first have to decided which life of hers you want to ask about. Do you want to know about her wild Rock Star life on tour with the Band Atari Teenage Riot, or her successful solo career where she started her own record label and launched several amazing female artist, do you want to know about when she was married and living a life of luxury in German castle, or about the life where she left everything behind for 6 years to grow potatoes, and fish with a tall wild man, who she calls her Tarazan, who caught fish with his bare hands, and and fed it to her in the ocean? In one day I met a woman who had lived at least 6 lives, and was currently shedding her skin, and emerging something new again.
Hanin had just left the sunny French Polynesian Islands, and the man that she had loved there, and had only been living in rainy Berlin for a matter of weeks, she told me that she was having trouble singing because she felt like the sadness was weighing heavy on her chest, I told her that the heartbreak goes a way. She told me that there was a little stuffed polar bear sitting in a window in the stairwell of her guitarist apartment building, and that it looked so lonely that she couldn’t stand it. We laughed about her sympathy for the poor, lonely little toy, and laughed about heartbreak in general, then as we were passing the flea market we decided to buy another stuffed animal to stick up in the window next to the polar beer.
After rescuing a filthy little stuffed elephant with a pink t-shirt that said “do bist der grosste” (you are the greatest) we returned promptly back to the stairwell, and set her up lovingly next to the lonely little polar bear, which made us laugh like two silly schoolgirls, and both feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
After a day of girl talk and a big dinner of comfort food we decided to go out on the Reeperbanh to visit her guitarist Marcle, at the bar where he bartends. Hanin was staying at Marcel’s place while she was finishing up her recording, so we went to his apartment to get ready. When you first come in the door of Marcel’s apartment you will see two barbie dolls hanging from the ceiling dressed in black duct tape, and the carpet in his apartment is red. It was Halloween and neither of us had costumes, so I took a couple of fake flowers that were hanging in abundance from the ceiling in Marcel’s bathroom, and put them in our hair. “Marcel will know we took his things when he sees the toilet flowers in our hair,” Hanin said to me with sincere concern, but I assured her that he most likely would not mind. We decided to take the short cut to the Reeperban, which was through a giant closed down amusement park, and then off we went, arm in arm, weaving through the tilt-a-whirls, and ferris wheels, with toilet flowers in our hair, to celebrate Hallooween on the Reeperbahn.
The Reeperbahn is the red light district/entertainment area of Hamburg. There are casinos, strippers, and off Broadway shows, flashing lights, and hundreds of bars, and the streets are always packed. It’s a little like Vegas, but not as tacky or over the top, and minus the fake Eiffel tower. We bar hopped, went dancing, and spent about a half in hour in what has to be the MOST boring strip club that has ever existed, Hanin found a cape on the ground which she used to enhance her toilet flower costume, and then around 4am went back to Marcels and curled up together on his black foldout sofa.
The next morning we went to breakfast. Hanin told me that she we going to Rome to record a song with the actress Asia Argento, and we decided that I should come to Rome, and that she should come back to Florence with me for a few days. We also decided to write and record a song together when I come back to Germany next year. After coffee, and pancakes, and a big hug, Hanin the the happy polar bear, went back to the studio and rerecorded her songs with a lighter, happier heart.