Part Three: The group grows and changes... and goes to France

Room Service: 21st century concept, 20th century technology

2002: The average age of the group is now distinctly over 30. Journalists have ceased referring to the collective as "young" artists. Group members now live in Hamburg, Nottingham and Berlin. Some have children, some are pregnant and some are in therapy. It seems impossible to draw up a rehearsal schedule which meets everyone's needs. Everyone agrees Room Service will be Gob Squad's make-or-break project. The group asks film/TV actor, Bastian Trost and American performance/video artist Elyce Semenec to collaborate on the project. Sound designer Jeff McGrory also works with Gob Squad for the first time. Rehearsals get underway in an erotic photo-studio in Berlin and despite an outbreak of scarlet fever, group morale is restored and Room Service is judged a great success. Christina Runge leaves the group and is replaced by Eva Hartmann.

2003: Podewil loses both funding and artistic direction and the Gob Squad office moves to a disused perfume shop in central Berlin. As the year planner gradually fills up with Room Service gigs, Gob Squad is sued for 6000€ by a hotel chain after a drop of fake blood is spilled on a carpet. The group spend the two hottest weeks Britain has seen for decades on the vodka, vomit and violence-strewn streets of night-time Nottingham, walking around half-dressed with video cameras making improvised films with passers-by. These exploits were to evolve into Super Night Shot, premiered at the Volksbühne, Berlin in sub-zero December. Bastian Trost joins the group and becomes the first Gob Squad member to have been to drama school.

2004: Oh la la! Having toured Germany, Britain and most of Europe for years, it is now time to conquer the final frontier: France. Festivals all over the country take an interest in the company's work. Those members who got better than grade C at school start learning their French lines ostentatiously in an effort to wind up those who have to stay behind. Backstage at Art Rock in Brittany, Bastian Trost chats to the drummer from Franz Ferdinand's girlfriend just as Jane Birkin walks past. Nina Thielicke joins as assistant administrator. Work begins on Prater-Saga 3: In diesem Kiez ist der Teufel eine Goldmine. During a performance, an outraged audience member heckles Berit Stumpf and shouts "Watch out for your soul! You will pay for this! You will all die!" before walking out. Gob Squad end the year with a 10th birthday party and a huge cake. Admin wage is now 9€ per hour.

to be continued...