Monday, 31 March 2014

Houseparties in Brno

Of course I am a serious student focusing on long term goals and intellectual development. Though occasionally, I feel a strong need to go out, let go, consume and socialize. It always manages to put things into perspective. It is a universal need, and if you have ever been properly out of the country, you know nightlife is different everywhere. In the past months I have occasionally enjoyed the honor of being a guest at (nearly) fully Czech houseparties. It being my natural instinct combined with an incapability to understand the language I have often gone into “observer mode” at these events. So here is my outsiders perspective on how things go when people gather in Brno.
The parties start earlier, and finish later. The official starting time is 8 or 9 which is already quite early for me, and then to an even bigger surprise, people actually arrive on time. It seems like everyone wants to spend time with each other, and nobody carries the illusion it makes you cooler to be 2 hours late. At 10 a party has well taken off, while in for example the Netherlands, this would be more like 12. Then it lasts for ages and goes through all these different stages that I will describe below (I figured some terminology and ordering would be appropriate for an university magazine).
There is food that is not junkfood and that was actually lovingly prepared and brought along by people. This is amazing for me, and turns every regular houseparty into a food festivity. The first stage of the party is the eating and drinking part. Which might explain why people would come on time, there is the food incentive.
More alcohol, more beer, more self brewed stuff. People like drinking in this country. But apart from consuming, they like producing, which I think balances out both hobbies in perfect harmony. I think you know how these things go, so under the motto of (heavy) drinking the party progresses into the second stage of the night. On a side note, people do not get that drunk, as their full stomachs absorb all the alcohol.
Music. Guitars, people singing, clapping, dancing. YouTube is used as a music source only after people have exhausted their lungs by singing all the folksongs they know. I have observed that it is usually the slightly socially awkward silent kind of guy that comes in late, patiently waits for his moment to shine, and then turns out to be an awesome musician. This is the 3rd stage of the night.
The 4th stage is when people get well drunk and/or stoned, the music has died down and YouTube provides entertainment. Some people are slowly going home, others have fallen asleep among the crowd, but there is always that small core that knows how exceptional it is to have all their friends together in one room and therefore do not want to stop the madness, until the sun is coming up and they remember that in some distant past they had a life with obligations and routine and so on.
Author: Roos Derks

This article originally appeared in HALAS, the magazine of students of the Faculty of Social Studies. The original version is available at

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