THE SHITTY GUIDE IS NOW CLOSED

After five years full of lies, exaggerations and massive hangovers we've had enough: the Shitty Guide calls it quits. We give up. So what the fuck happened?

Ancient history

It all started five years ago when Kata and Benni went on a back-packing journey to find themselves.  After a month of travel they ditched the Lonely Planet and ended up in used-panties shops all over the world.

6 months later they were wandering in Belgrade and trying to shake off a hassling gypsy woman who was following them. There and they had another eureka moment. It wasn’t an apple that hit their head but large portion of liquid coming out of the woman’s mouth. The idea of the Shitty Guide was born.

A spiritual journey into the margins. An odyssey to find the raw, the untouched (not talking about the used panties), the real, the authentic places where no tourist - or sometimes even local - would dare to go.

Once in Antwerp they started writing a ‘shitty’ guide. After a year of wandering around Antwerp’s shittiest places (and 1232 cans of cara pils) The Shitty Guide was a fact. A Microsoft doc was sent into cyberspace, which you could download for free. A guide based upon experiences, lies, assumptions, truths, stories, exaggerations and full of spelling errors. An ode to imperfection.

Shitty Guide 2.0

It was an underground success, 5000 downloads! Soon after the release a group of unemployed nobodies started following Benni around everywhere. They always met at the Groenplaats, right under Ruben’s penis, drinking cara pils. Together they shared a love for shitty places and speed.

Using brain power and sheer will, from a simple .doc the Shitty Guide expanded into a shitty website on the world wide web: the Shitty Guide 2.0. All thanks to the hard work of Simonneke, Krokky and Vinny, who had nothing better to do anyway. An incredible moment in internet history.

From that point on, everyone who Googled ‘drugs Brussels’ or ‘drugs Antwerp’ arrived at our humble little website. No Ricardo, we still don’t know where to fix ketamine, fuck off. Since then, we've had 120.394 unique visitors to the website. On average 1900 unique visitors per month! In total our little website had half a million page views.

Even a mobile app was developed. It never made it to the app store, because of “shitty” in the name, but hey, that’s really not the point is it? 

Together with the help of talented low-lifes such as Anne, Ellen, Sam and Bram we threw some incredible, unforgettable parties and expanded the Shitty Guide. We went on shitty expeditions to discover new territory, but mostly found hang-overs and islands of regret.

Shitty Goes Worldwide

World domination was always the shitty goal. We’ve thought long and hard on our international expansion strategy.

First we took Brussels. Our favorite hellhole! We asked a random, unemployed local on the street to write the guide for us. That random local was Coby, who is now no longer unemployed, she “works” with animals now, but don’t worry, she didn't really change, she still has drugs- and mental issues, anyway thank you for everything Coby.

Due to the huge demand, the next logical step for a Shitty Guide was Kiev, Ukraine. A team of young, dedicated Shitty explorers decided to go there in the middle of the winter and join the war. But we don’t talk about it. We can’t, because we don’t remember anything. It was dark, it was cold, there was vodka and bare fistfights in the snow.  We went to Chernobyl and we tried Tinder there. Gave it ⅕ stars on Tripadvisor, the HBO-series were much better.

After Antwerp, Brussels and Kiev there’s really only one place left: Brasschaat. One of our writers, Freddy, grew up there. His psychologist recommended writing about his trauma’s. The nightmares didn't go away, but the Shitty Guide Brasschaat is something that exists now. Sam Gooris became a life-time fan and Jean Marie Pfaff wears our logo on his collar till the end of his days. Less happy was the ex-mayor, who was forced to react in a newspaper that yes, the cops on Segways were a bad and expensive idea. 

Shitty Tours

Building on the success of the paper guide, Benni and Freddy decided in 2016 to give tours. It was a massive success and we had great time. The owners they loved us, and we loved them back. They were delighted to host the tours, and always greeted us with much hospitality. No doubt: every owner of a brown bar or turkish disco venue or tibetan noodle shop or whatever has A LOT more sense of humor than any stupid fuckin’ yuppie owner of a posh hip coffeebar on the Antwerp south.

But unfortunately time, and also bulliness by this city’s government, took its toll. Already 5 (5!) places of the original Shitty Tour™ closed down since we started. The closing down of these places (Ciné Royale, Café Kiebooms, Café Vogelzang, The Turkish Disco , Tipanan karaoke) is a big loss for cultural heritage of Antwerp. The city is changing.

Shitty <3 Imagoverlagend

The city is changing, and this is the consequence of an active policy of disneyfication and gentrification. One of these policies was the “imagoverlagende taks”. Since 2015 all nightshops, shisha bars, video library, etc in Antwerp had to pay an additional, medieval tax 'cause the city council apparently gets to decide what is nice and what is not. We, at Shitty Guide, were not pleased with this feodal mindset and decided to fight back.

We threw a party Shitty Party 4(000), made an underground nightshop video song, wrote a petition and gathered 400 signatures and even went to protest together with Murad and the other nightshop owners at the city hall. The city graciously accepted our 400 signatures and threw it in the trash when we were not looking. Today, the imagoverlagende taks is still there. Another great achievement by the Shitty Guide.

This is the end, shitty friends, the end 

The Shitty Guide became a victim of its own success. Too many tourists came, looking for shittyness, but making everything less shitty. The whole city nowadays feels like Disneyland on coke. Very soon the city will go the same way as Venice: too many tourists, too many (sunken) cruiseships and too much water.

That’s why we're leaving Antwerp, for good! We shall return to where we came from: ashes to ashes, dust to dust, shit to shit. The goods news: you're invited to join our ship! A 21th century version of Noah's Ark, but with less beastiality and more tolerance for LGBT. Together, we will survive this great flood of shit.

Join us at the final shitty party. And remember. There may be a terrible climate catastrophe ahead, but while there's moonlight and mdma and love and romance: let's face the music and dance.

A big thank you:

- Benni Booi (our spiritual shitty leader) 
- Katarina for coming with the idea of the Shitty Guide 
- Frederik Van den Bril 
- Vincent Peters
- Koray Sels
- Bram Van Bree 
- Simon Peters 
- Sam Van Loon
- Anne Verbist 
- Ellen Anthoni 
- Sven Mes & Liselotte for making the shitty fashion happen
- Lode Uyterschot for believing in the Shitty Guide (LOL) 
- Armand from Café Strange 
- Dylan from In de stad Aalst 
- The Zomsa family 
- Patsi & Tim for hosting the first shitty party at Mu(i)ltatuli
- Stefan en Sabrina van Cafe De Vogelenzang
- The owner of Cinema Royale although you never wanted to talk to us
- Tipanan family (we never got to say goodbye…)
- Stefan van de Turkse Disco 
- The Bivak crew (Lotte, Zoe, ...) for co-organising the first shitty tour
- Jasper Kuylen & the volunteers at ThisisAntwerp magazine we had a barfight with.
- Serge Muyters
- All the Antwerp drug dealers for the 2+1 promo
- Gestapo Knallmuzik
- Johnny Boy 
- The Ukrainian guy who took off his shirt and yelled at Simon “we fight now” 
- Koen Crucke for running the best instagram account in the world
- All the journalists who didn’t have anything better to write about
- That one newspaper photographer who hates his job and got really pissed at us
- Tanguy Otomer for being our arch-rival  for so many years
- All the volunteers at the Shitty Party
- Everyone who came on the Shitty Tours 

 

Suggest a place ☺

A shitty guide to Kiev



A snowy dark landscape was passing by while we were sitting on a train from Kiev to Lviv in the middle of the night. Packed like sardines in a small coupe were 7 people: one Ukrainian soldier, one Ukrainian girl and 5 Belgians. The traincoupé felt like a sauna but the door had to stay closed ‘cause the ticket inspector kept pacing up and down the alley. 
After some time we (i.e: the 5 Belgians) convinced the Ukrainian girl to open the bottle of vodka she had with her which she bought as a present for a friend. Once the wodka was flowing the conversation went from bad Belgian jokes to discussions about the Maidan revolution. It didn’t take long before the bottle was empty and in the end we were all singing (or rather: shouting) the Ukrainian anthem. We didn’t make good friends with the ticket inspector but in Ukraine vodka always takes the upper hand. Slava Ukraini. Heroyam slava!

So we were in Antwerp discussing where we wanted to spend our NYE abroad. Perhaps Berlin? Or Warschau? But maybe it was time for something radically different. ‘What about Kiev?’ said someone. A few things immediately came to mind:

  1. The Maidan revolution, which ended up in a war against pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country. Which resulted in a severe economic crisis and a divided country. .
  2. The Chernobyl disaster in '86. 
  3. A lot of desperate European men go buy themselves a Ukrainian bride over there. (Google Kiev Nightlife and you know why)

Sooo… sounds like our perfect holiday, right?
We booked our tickets and 2 months later we were sitting on a plane heading for Kiev.

Checkin' out our tindergame in Chernobyl. Read more about our trip to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone here

The Kiev Underground

When we asked some Belgians who've been to Ukraine, if they knew some shitty places they all just told us: ‘Don’t worry it’s everywhere!’. And they were right! So If you’re going, prepare yourself for an overdose of kitsch. It is literally everywhere. Yup, we loved it! Especially in the underground, mini shops all over the place stuffed with socks, hats, clothes and future shitty souvenirs for your loved ones. One of our favorites: toilet paper with Putin’s face on it. Who doesn’t want to wipe his dirty ass with Putin’s face? Putin’s probably the second most hated man in Ukraine. After Yanukovich on number one, their ex-president.

Talking about kitsch, there are shopping malls everywhere! Read more about our time at Dreamtown here.

At the end of 2013 a wave of protest started at the Maidan Square after president Yanukovich refused to sign a pro-European treaty. What started as peaceful protests pretty soon became violent clashes between riot police and protesters. Yanukovich eventually fled to Russia, because he’s BFF with Putin, and an interim government was formed. Russia didn’t want to recognise this new government. As a response Russia invaded and annexed the Crimea which eventually sparked a civil war between pro-Russian Ukrainian separatists and (anti-Russian) Ukraine in the East of the country. TL;DR: shit escalated quickly, and badly.


A brief intro to Ukrainain politics. Best list of the year by far.


The destroyed hospital at the Maidan Square after the revolution 

In Kiev there’s no war going on but you’ll see a lot of people walking around in their uniforms and military propaganda posters are everywhere. But in general as a tourist you won’t notice that much of the crisis and the war. The city is bustling and daily life goes on. Everybody wants to move on and make the best out of it.


This is not picture of one of us! Never done a Nazi partyline before. It's a photo by our friendly guide Sasha Kurmaz. Def. check out his work. Good shit.

In Kiev we met Sasha, he's a street- and performance artist we’ve met through Tinder. He told us how the country is changing little by little. There’s a new pro-European government and they are trying to tackle corruption on a low level. But the state in its core stays corrupted. After 15 years of rule of Yanuckovich, their ex-president, corruption is deeply rooted in the Ukrainian bureaucracy. When we brought a visit to Yanuckovich's 5000m2 terrain with a villa full of marble, a private zoo with emoes, a garage full of Rolls Royces we almost couldn’t believe all this was bought just with the tax payers money. It will take years to win the fight against corruption, but most young people stay optimistic and believe in a better future for Ukraine.


Santa and Miss Santa at Yannukovich's mansion built with Ukrainian tax money, 30km outside Kiev. Read more about our visit here

It was interesting meeting Sasha, since most (older) people’s knowledge of the English language is non-existent and he actually wanted to talk to us. And if people have the slightest notion of the English language in Ukraine it is usually the word ‘No’. "Where can we buy a ticket for the bus to Kiev?", I asked at the airport information desk. ‘No’. End of conversation. Or if you’re lost somewhere in the city and ask for directions: ‘No’. End of conversation. ‘Can I change my Hrivnas (the Ukrainian currency) to Euros?’ asking a bank clerk: ‘No’. End of conversation.

After watching a full episode of Friends on Ukrainian TV it became clear why English is ‘a problem’. You could compare it to watching a bad teleshopping commercial where you still hear a bit of English through the dub. And even better, or worse, there was one voice-over for all women and one voice-over for all men. Imagine Putin and his wife reading Friends' jokes out loud. Monotone as hell.

Prepare to feel lost in Ukraine. Everything is written down in Cyrillic. It’s definitely one of the hardest countries to get around we’ve ever travelled. But it definitely adds up to the adventure!


Star Wars written in Cyrllic

On the other hand you can also meet some very helpful and warm people. Especially the young people, if they speak some English. Prepare yourself for some wodka binging! One night we got lost in a ‘ghetto’ in Lviv and ended up in a bar with some locals. Before even entering the place, our wodka shots where already served. We made friends with two students and a Russian gangster. We were even invited to come shoot with Kalashnikov at the gangster’s place, which we wisely rejected since we were way too drunk to even hold a gun. The two students had a better idea and we went playing basketball at their university campus with a roll of toilet paper. It felt like we were friends since childhood. The alcohol did the job there for sure but still… language doesn’t always have to barrier.

During the night train to Kiev we met an old Ukrainian couple who only knew like two words of English. With pen and paper we told each others stories and had some laughs. It just takes some time and effort to hit the right spot. 


Freddy and our lovely Ukrainian neighbours on the night train to Lviv

It’s all or nothing in Ukraine. People want to drink with you till dawn or you just get a plain ‘no’. The wodka bottle is empty or it stays full. In winter it can get minus 20 degrees or in summer you can go the beach in your swimming pants.

We were in Ukraine at its coldest. Minus 21 degrees and a bit of snow. In Belgium it would be equivalent to just a total rampage and a shutdown of all public facilities. For Ukrainian standards this was an average winter. There wasn’t even 50cm of snow this year. We were lucky according the locals.

Still everyone was walking around in their fur coats and wore the typical fur caps. 

Ukrainian singers in the underground

The food in general was really shitty. A lot of places offered western food but most of the time it was awful. Pizza and sushi was a common combination. If you wanted some decent food you better pick a traditional Ukrainian restaurant with a buffet. The cheapest one in Kiev is “Puzata Hata”. Sounds like Pizza Hut but it's not. It's food chain with different locations all over Ukraine. They have great Borscht, a traditional Ukrainian soup with sour cream and meat was definitely a winner. The other dishes consisted of the usual salad, meat and dumplings. Loads of dough. It wasn’t that bad but definitely not our favorite kitchen.

For drinks you had choice out of the many bars in Kiev. Most of them have a specific theme and also really bad names like ‘N1 pub’ or just ‘Pub’. Most of the time there was awful Ukrainian pop music playing on a big LCD tv (in the bars: tv’s everywhere) but the beer was ok. In a lot of bars you could even get Belgian beers. No cara though unfortunately. There were some cool bars though, but you really had to know where to find them. Good Luck and Nazdrovje!


One of the few pictures I found of us in a bar.

Congratulations if you made it all the way to here reading this shit. There’s a whole lot more to do in Kiev and Lviv! For a mini shitty guide of shitty things you should do in Ukraine click here or scroll down!

 

Dream Town

The mother of all shopping malls in Kiev

Chernobyl

A visit to Kiev without visiting Chernobyl is like going to India without visiting the Taj Mahal. Not entirely true but you get the point, right? Shitty Guide paid a visit to one of the world's most shitty places, the nuclear rampage of Chernobyl!

Kachalka Gym

An outdoor hardcore Ukranian gym

Mini Ukraine

A mini version of Ukraine for the lazy traveller

Cxema

An underground techno rave concept

Mother Land Statue

An immense soviet World War II memorial

President Yannukovich's Residency

The ex-president's immense residency

Closer

This is thé techno club in Kiev. The only ‘real’ techno club in Kiev actually. Local talent and Dj’s from all over Europe come play here. But first you’ll have to pass face control and this has to be taken very serious. The first night we got rejected by the girl at the entrance. “Your situation is not good”, she told us, while making hand gestures atour faces. Our situation was more than good, maybe a bit too much gin tonic but c’mon! Next time we went back, we just tried to act 'Berlin cool' and everything was OK. They don’t like big groups and obnoxious foreigners who spoil the atmosphere. Not talking about us by the way. Inside, the atmosphere was relaxed and it had sort of a summer vibe. Even though it was -20 degrees outside.In total we ended up two times in this place, so it was definitely a nice spot. One time was after NYE in Cxema and although it was already early in the morning dance the club was still full house. The parties even go on till 4 o clock in the afternoon for the real diehards. And don’t bother those diehards too much with conversation on the dance floor everyone comes here to dance till their legs fall of. It’s almost a sport. If you want to have a conversation go to their lounge and outside you can find a smoking area which is the perfect place to chata bit. Entry fee can vary from 5-10 euro and the drinks aren’t too expensive either, for West-European standards. If you’re into techno probably one of the better spotsin Kiev.

Masoch Bar

A themed SM bar in the touristy Lviv.

Qué?

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