Tallinn ExtremeZone: Danger Level 7
The Tallinn city council recently ordered the production of four promotional videos, at a price of more than €50,000, with the intention of introducing aspects of Tallinn to potential tourists that they may not have previously been aware of. The videos, titled “Design, arts, and crafts in Tallinn”, “Introducing Tallinn”, “A relaxing vacation in Tallinn”, and “Christmas in Tallinn”, will be produced in an effort to attract more tourists to the city.
But if the goal is simply to bring people here, why focus on things that are true? If the Tallinn city council wants to attract more tourists to the city, it needs to sell them a vision of a vacation that they won’t be able to experience anywhere else — even if that vision is a fantasy. So I’ve taken it upon myself to write the script for a fifth promotional video that will hopefully fill the void left by the snoozefests designed to get old grannies excited about visiting a wonderland of handicrafts and Christmas markets. I call it Tallinn ExtremeZone: Danger Level 7.
[Black screen. Foreboding music playing. Scrolling text, ala Star Wars]
In the year 1012, a powerful, evil wizard was apprehended by the peasants he had bedeviled for years and executed in a nondescript patch of woods near the sea. Before the peasants beheaded him, he cast a curse on the spot of land, damning it to a
millennium of chaos, turbulence, and maximum adventure. That spot of land was present-day Tallinn, and the curse expires next year. You’d better hurry if you want to visit…the most dangerous place on Earth.
[30-seconds of extreme guitar solo]
[Camera zoomed in on tower of Town Hall Square, pans down to narrator, standing in Raekoja plats]
Narrator: Welcome to Tallinn, the most dangerous place on Earth. Tallinn has been classified by the World Extreme Society, WES, as having a Danger Level of 7. This means it experiences a constant, imminent threat of wicked partying and getting wasted.
At any moment, I am in danger of spontaneously breaking out into party, getting into a firefight with members of the local resistance, being mortared and/or shelled, or hearing killer music. Please note: I am a trained professional and understand how to react in such situations. Amateurs may want practice on a less extreme city before visiting Tallinn — such as Mogadishu or Kabul.
[Video goes to black. 10-second guitar solo, slightly more extreme than introductory guitar solo]
[Camera zooms in on freedom monument, pans down to narrator, standing in Vabaduse Väljak]
Narrator: This is a town square where extreme behavior can be witnessed at any hour. One example is skateboarding, which you can see taking place behind me. Don’t let the apparent lack of skill or pre-pubescence of these skateboards fool you: they are extreme characters, and they shouldn’t be approached or taunted.
[Skateboarder falls behind narrator, begins to cry]
Narrator: We’d better get out of here. I think this is getting a little too extreme.
[Camera zooms in on Solaris Keskus sign, pans down to narrator, standing in front of entrance]
Narrator: I’m standing outside of the Solaris Keskus, considered the most extreme mall in the world. At any moment, the roof is liable to cave in. You [points to camera] have probably been shopping before, right? [Camera shakes up and down to simulate person nodding] Well, have you ever been…extreme shopping? [Narrator stares into camera while 10-second guitar solo plays] I didn’t think so. Follow me.
[Narrator walks through entrance and continues on, with back toward camera]
Narrator: Keep in mind that the roof might collapse at any moment. This is seriously dangerous, what we’re doing. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a more extreme situation in a retail center. We will be lucky to make it out of this alive. My heart is racing; I think I’m going to need to sit down after this. We’re almost to the exit…just a few more seconds…almost there…[narrator walks through exit] Phew! We made it! That was a close call. Let’s get out of here.
[Camera zooms in on Club Hollywood sign, pans down to narrator, standing near fountain]
Narrator: Welcome to Hell. We’re outside the most extreme nightclub this side of Bangkok, called Club Hollywood. This isn’t for the faint of heart, I can tell you that much. Now, even an experienced extreme tourist like me can’t walk straight in here without some sort of protection: word has it that some STDs have evolved and become
native to Club Hollywood. I’ll be putting this hazmat suit on to talk to some of the patrons here.
[Video cuts to interior of nightclub. Narrator is wearing a full hazmat suit.]
Narrator: [muffled] Now, the music here can supposedly cause dementia after less than 30 minutes of exposure, so we’ll have to be quick. Let me talk to this guy over here. Excuse me, sir. Sir? You have a Australian flag tattooed onto your arm. Are you Australian?
Narrator: What advice would you give to other extreme travelers who wish to visit Tallinn?
Narrator: How are you coping with the dangers of Tallinn?
Man: [projectile vomits onto narrator]
Narrator: Biohazard! Biological attack! Get me out of here! Oh God, it stings! It stings! Help me! Help! I can’t feel my legs! I can’t feel my leeeeeeeeee…
[Narrator flails wildly and knocks camera to ground. Camera catches footage of narrator being hosed down by members of the film crew with what look like fire extinguishers]
[Blank screen. 10-second guitar solo]
[Camera zooms in on foliage of a tree, pans down to narrator, standing in front of Bronze Solider statue]
Narrator: I’m standing here in front of a statue known colloquially as the Bronze Soldier. Think this is some boring, old war monument? Think again. When this statue was moved to this war ceremony in 2007, people literally rioted in the streets for two days. If that’s not extreme, I don’t know what is.
Most people think the London riots were senseless – and those took place because the police killed someone. The Bronze Soldier riot just sort of happened: a statue being moved was reason enough for people to smash storefronts and light stuff on fire.
[Camera zooms in on tower of Town Hall Square, pans down to narrator, standing in Raekoja plats]
Narrator: Thanks for taking this tour with me of the most dangerous place on Earth. Even standing right here — in what would look like a pleasant, European town square to the untrained eye – is practically a death-wish.
[A stag party, all dressed in military fatigues, begins singing drinking songs in the background]
Narrator: Heavily militarized, the troops here in Tallinn are all drunk and apparently extremely horny – a deadly combination that even most adrenaline junkies would shy away from. But not you, the ultimate thrill-seeker. You want to come visit Tallinn because at any second, you could be caught up in a something…extreme.
[A member of the stag party stumbles into the narrator and projectile vomits on him]
Narrator: Biohazard! Biohazard! Get the extinguishers!
[Two members of the film crew begin hosing the narrator down with what look like fire extinguishers. The screen fades to black. 30 seconds of extreme guitar solo]