Friday, October 24, 2008

Ok so Germany: let me bring you back to the subject...

I was kind of hoarding the delightfulness of the Frankfurt Book Fair for a while, handing out only occasional anecdotal nuggets. Yes, nuggets. But I am now prepared to relate the two most splendid/bewildering events of the fair.

1. Friday night at the Spritzerhaus. A small bar with a stage up front, presided over by a few guys from an American comic book publisher. After a short set, The Best Cover Band ever takes the stage. They do U2, they do the Boss, they do Robbie Williams, they do Green Day, they do Oasis, they do Nirvana. They do every song you never even knew you know the words to. But you DO! Or at least, I did. And my 24 coworkers did. And so, for 4 hours, all of us - American/Japanese/Chinese/French/Italian/German/Scottish - danced like complete maniacs and sang and sweated and had a more fantastic time than I would have thought possible. It was EPIC.

2. Saturday night at a fancy Greek restaurant. A waiter gets on a chair to announce that a delegation from the Chinese Foreign Ministry (or Ministry of Culture? something like that) is in the house, and hosting a star of the Peking Opera. Said opera star dude proceeds to get on a chair and sing, earsplittingly, for a minute or two. The singing style was very traditional, by which I mean, an acquired taste, ahem. The waiter asks if anyone else would like to perform. My entire table, all 20 of my coworkers, pound the table and chant my name. I realize this sounds like the kind of thing I would love, but it is important to note that only a few minutes before, I had poured red wine down my all-white outfit. So singing in front of a restaurant full of people was not on my itinerary.

BUT I am a ham, and I couldn't resist the will of the crowd. Throwing dignity and professionalism to the wind, I got on the chair and rapped a few stanzas of "Shoop." I was too flustered to remember the beginning, so I dove right in with

Let me bring you back to the subject
Pep's on the set
Let me get hot let me work up a sweat
When you skip to my lou my darling
Not falling in love but I'm falling for ya
Uh uh uh...

Etc. And then, THEN, after sitting down, unbelievably humiliated, Opera Star gets back up on the chair! And sings again! I was saved from having to do the chorus of "Gin and Juice" over and over again when my Chinese coworker told me he was just saving face, and I could stay seated and let him feel good about himself. 

But it was pretty thrilling to think that I almost started an opera/rap battle. Singing star vs. drunk American with wine all over herself and little to no rapping ability. International incident? Oops.

Afterward there was cheers-ing all around, and photo-taking, and general merriment between our table and the Chinese Foreign Minister. It was as surreal as it gets.

I have photos, if you are interested.

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