Who Was Meeting Where?!?

So, some years ago, (like, twenty-five*) I was in Cologne, Germany. The small, family-owned hotel, sat three blocks from the train station and cathedral. It was nice, relatively quiet (backed up to the switching yard, so no wild parties back there) and was convenient. As is my usual habit, I got up very early and went strolling. I got a bite to eat at a stehcafe, a bakery-cafe with shelves for eating off of, but no tables. The name is “standing cafe,” and it was for commuters and working men. I didn’t quite blend in, but everyone ignored me, which was fine. The tea was hot and black and the pastries were fresh.

As I wandered back toward my hotel, I saw a couple guys in leather jackets and pants. Now, the hour being early and Cologne being Cologne, I shrugged. Far me it from me to say anything about people who close the club, then go to a diner until dawn. A few minutes later, some construction guys went by, grumbling about thus and such.

After official breakfast, I heard a mild commotion outside the hotel, and eased my window open and leaned out. In addition to the leather-clad guys, who now numbered well over a score, and construction workers, there were guys in full American Indian regalia, some in US enlisted sailor suits, a few US highway cops, and cowboys. What on earth?

Then the first chords of very familiar music started, and realization dawned. “Young man, there’s no need to feel down, I said/ Young man, pick yourself off the ground . . .”

And of course, everyone danced along with the chorus.

It was a convention of the German Village People Fan Club. The guys were having a grand old time dancing in the street, the rest of us were having fun watching and cheering, and the locals shrugged. Cologne has always been more mellow than other parts of Germany.

I had no idea that there was an international association for Village People fans. There was, might still be, and the members there finished their opening and headed off to the indoor venue. I went back to museum-prowling, art viewing, and history basking.

I’d forgotten about that until the other night, when I was chaperoning a school dance. One of the songs the kids played was a re-mixed version of “Y.M.C.A.” Another teacher and I grinned, and I called, “Backwards skate!” That brought even more memories, because the song was a staple at skating rinks when I was a kid.

*I do not want to believe that it’s been that long, but it has. SIGH. I miss that Germany.

11 thoughts on “Who Was Meeting Where?!?

  1. I’m sure it was authorized under club rules, moved, seconded, and approved by acclamation. One must follow the proper procedures to get incredibly silly. My mind boggles!

  2. I miss the America of 25 years ago. I just wish I’d been about 5 years further along in maturity and earning power at the time.

    In some ways, I miss the Internet of a quarter century ago, too – before centralization on platforms, before spam was so bad, back when newsgroups and web forums and mailing lists were the thing, and a web browser didn’t take 2 GB of RAM. Not that I wouldn’t miss blogs or online ordering, but the modern Internet is a bloated dog.

      • I suspect the first troll appeared the day after ENIAC was powered up. (The delay only because it took that long to find the right wire to latch on to.)

        • Thank you, that made me laugh. More seriously, given how ENIAC was a plug-programmed number cruncher, it was probably a bit later. I’d guess sometime in the 60’s, when there were more capable computers with interactive terminals, like the GE mainframes used for Project MAC and at Dartmouth for BASIC and DTSS, or DEC’s line of minicomputers. If not by then, certainly by the mid 70’s, by which time UNIX, networked workstations, ARPANET, microcomputers, and BBS’s were all a thing, if not yet particularly widespread.

  3. “You know that you’re old when the books/movies/music you loved are labeled classical.” [Crazy Grin]

  4. The Germany I miss is even further th the past. — the 1980s. And roller-scating inn the late 1950s. Both were fun, and very pleasant memories.

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