FIFTEEN years ago, at the 2000 Fuckparade in Germany, a legend was born in the form of a topless raver nicknamed The Techno Viking. Little was known about the muscle-bound man filmed in the 4-minute video, but one thing is for certain; he didn’t like women being pushed around, or being made famous.
The original clip shot by experimental video artist Matthias Fritsch has since been removed from YouTube after a court order, which later saw Fritsch sued by the anonymous figure in 2013, costing him €23,000 in damages and legal fees, rendering him bankrupt.
After a six months of research and hundreds of thousands of euros in detective fees, WWN is proud to exclusively bring you the full story of the mysterious man behind the iconic images that changed the way we viewed the internet forever.
Our journey began in Berlin. The agreement was to meet our guide Gunther at the airport and then he would drive us directly to Techno Viking’s home on the outskirts of the city. Which we did. Gunther was softly spoken with fluent English. He told us that he worked as a biologist and too be honest, he was kind of boring, so myself and my fellow reporter John found ourselves zoning out through much of his one-way dialogue.
“So how far to his house?” I interrupted Gunther, who was now showing off, naming all the trees in Latin or some bullshit language we didn’t really understand nor care about.
“Not too far now. We should be there in five minutes actually,” he replied, before rambling on again. “Did you know, the oldest living organism on Earth is believed to be the Pando tree colony of Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides) in America, also known as the Trembling Giant”.
Enough with his brainy talk, both myself and John put on our headphones to give him the hint.
Following several turn offs and byroads, we finally arrived at our destination.
“Boring house he’s got,” John exclaimed, pointing at the grey bungalow. “You German lads aren’t much for aesthetics”.
“Well, it suits me down to the ground,” Gunther replied, revealing his true identity.
“You’re Techno Viking!” I gasped, scanning his rather slim frame and effeminate jumper. “No. There’s no way. What?”
“Yes. I am the one you call Techno Viking. My name is Gunther Ackerman and I want to tell you my story,” he replied, leaving us both gobsmacked on his pebble driveway.
“But you look so normal, and…am…normal!” I said in disbelief, now confirming his claim with that familiar frown.
“Jesus, you are him!”
Mr. Ackerman led us inside to his living area and began to tell his story.
“I never wanted to be famous. It was all a mistake. A terrible, drug induced mistake,” he started, now clipping a pink plant of some sort. “I hope you don’t mind me pruning while I talk. It helps me relax.”
Gunther explained he was working as a lumberjack at the time of the video, and had many colleagues that “loved to party”.
“We would buy an ounce of base speed between us every weekend and head to free parties around Germany. Man, the comedown off that shit was hell”.
He said he had been awake for four days straight before the historic footage was taken and that he had no idea he was being filmed by Fritsch.
“The fucking snake had the camera resting on his lap. If I had to have known at the time I would have crushed him like a flower,” he explained, caressing the plant he was holding, whispering to it. “Not you honey, I would never crush you. Mwah!”
“Some young fella was acting the maggot and pushed one of the girls, Jessica. He was off his chuck so I left him off with a warning and a good point. Pointing is always good when lads are off their faces. You can’t beat a good point”.
Explaining his dance moves he said: “I just got in the flow I guess. My adrenaline was rushing. I remember grinding my teeth for a good week after that festival. In bits I was; like Lego”.
Gunther said he left the lumberjack business in 2002, after being fired for misconduct.
“Yeah, I got angry at one of the lads and I punched a tree. But the tree fell on top of my supervisor and broke his leg. They don’t make speed like that any more,” he laughed.
The then 26-year-old began studying to be a biologist in Berlin and later secured a job as head researcher for the University he attended.
“It’s a long cry from chomping down bags of base speed, necking pills and maintaining order at dance festivals, but I love it, you know?”
Gunther then went into introducing his long-time partner Steven, showing us a picture from his mantelpiece.
“That’s Stevie plums there. Isn’t he a catch?” he asked, now pointing at us for a positive reply.
“Oh yes! Yes, he’s gorgeous. You’re a very lucky man,” I replied, scared shitless. “Does Steve know about your past as the Techno Viking?”
“Well, yes. Steve is the guy wearing the black vest in the video – the guy I threatened. That night we hooked up and had the best sex of our lives. We got married last year”.
Realising our earlier misjudgement, I apologised to Gunther about our initial shock when he first revealed himself to us.
“Oh, that’s okay. I’m a right nerd at the back of it all. I hope I didn’t bore you to tears here.”
“Not at all,” John replied, hinting at me to make moves home. “Thanks for having us”.
With that, Gunther drove us back to the city. This time we gave him our full attention, listening to every single syllable of his roadside plant lecture, obeying with nods and gestures, pretending to be interested in his stunning ability to bore people to death.