Friday, 20 January 2012

Moselstrasse, Bahnhofsviertel

A man was walking along Taunusstrasse, one of the Boulevardes in the Station Quarter, on a Tuesday at about about nine in the evening. He had earlier joined a friend at an event at the Schauspielhaus, with the 93 year old feminist psychoanalyst Margarete Mitchalek in interview. A young architect friend had joined the two of them at the square there, near the Occupy Frankfurt camp, beneath the giant Euro sign. They had stopped for a snack at the MacDonalds in Tausstrasse, and while eating, he had noticed among the customers a woman pacing back and forth slightly too close. She seemed intoxicated, he thought, or using drugs, and he gathered from her dress, smell, appearance and behaviour, that she might one of the local sex workers.

He had visited Frankfurt a number of times for research in this extremely diverse inner city area, where he had studied the streets in detail. It was on the final day of an intensive field research visit in the area, looking at urban design and street design, and conducting many hours of detailed interviews about the area, and seeing junkies, red-light tourists, shopkeepers, business people and creatives in the street, building on his understanding of the area's diversity. His friends, a local guide working at a university and a young architect in a Frankfurt office, had agreed to accompany him to visit Pik Dame, a famous old cabaret club in Bahnhofsviertel, as part of his night life research. He remembered passing by the oft-photographed Pik Dame club on a few occasions before, but had not written down the exact address, thinking the place was either in Moselstrase or Elbestrasse, two smaller streets perpendicular to the main boulevardes. These smaller perpendicular streets were lined with clubs, cafes and the famous sex shops, brothels, hourly hotels and other ambigous red-light establishments.

He suggested briefly locating the club while his two friends were at a cash machine on the corner of Taunustrasse and Moselstrasse, and he walked northwards along the west side pavement of Moselstrasse. Soon, a spruiker standing in front of a club approached to recommend and welcome him into the club. Two ladies with the spruiker asked him to come in and enjoy the club, one a large lady dressed in black like a dominatrix. Declining to enter, he said thanks, he had an appointment. Asking the spruiker "Wo ist der klub, Pik Dame", came the jocular reply "Da sind Sie richtig, hier sind Sie".

The man crossed the street, passing a few other mostly male revellers alone and in groups and parked and double parked cars in the street to continue his search on the east side going south. Soon he asked another spruiker for directions and he was approached by an attractive young woman. Come inside for a drink, she said. He looked at her, as she kept him talking, and she seemed sober, clean, well-dressed and well groomed, with only a hint of an eastern European accent. Could she be a trafficked sex worker, he thought? Her long hair was carefully kept, and her eyes were decorated very subtly with contact lenses and/or glistening eyedrops, it seemed. Her makeup was almost unnoticably subtle, and she seemed no younger than twenty-five. "Please just have a look at our club out of interest"  she said, politely leading him by the arm through the curtains. He looked around in trepidation at the interior, which was red and velvety, but more tasteful than expected. The video screen on the wall was playing MTV, not porn as he had feared. They were apparently alone. She guided him to a bar stool and said "Nimm platz, ich lade Dich auf ein bierchen ein. Spater gehen wir oben und..." He hesitated, and said he had an appointment to meet his friends. She reassured him, "Bitte, du bist eingeladen..."

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