mardi 10 mars 2009

Germany – 19 January 2008 – the place of firsts

Cologne is the last Roman city before the eastern plans, and on the same bank of the Rhine as Strasbourg. I stop to consider the itinerary: where to cross the Rhine? Cologne or Strasbourg? Argentorate or Colonia?

Cologne is important for me, symbolically. It’s in Cologne that I entered a sauna for the first time, for the Christopher Street day, a local pride event named after the New York protest.

Generally speaking, Germany has been important for my homosexual self-awareness. It was at Baden Baden that as a youngster I visited the Roman baths; I can remember, among the mists of confused memories, seeing naked men there, perhaps for the first time, in the corridors of the sauna. And there was Berlin – Germany is a place of firsts – Berlin, where I bought my first pornographic magazine from a station kiosk, the summer of '97, while working for a Franco-German institution in the castle of Genshagen. Then Body Art, exhibited next-door to my own apartment in a building on Neuköln square, where for the first time I saw a man’s penis on the stage, a stripper who performed a full strip – elsewhere, there were workshops of tattoo-artists and body-piercers, plus a blond hiker and nudist who ran a “tantric massage” group and performed a naked massage on the stage.

But I never responded to the newspaper ad from the man who presented himself as a Lohengrin in search of his cygnet.

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