And the tour is underway...
We start off in Cologne, or i should say that i start off in Cologne. I am separated from my fellow travelers right off the plane. Lee and Tyler continue on to Berlin while i have to navigate myself through the bowels of the Frankfurt airport to board a train... all with almost no sleep. There is a festival in Cologne happening at the same time as the festival in Berlin. I am there to teach a bunch of workshops and then Lee will meet up with me and we will do a show. The festival is run by a group called Clamotta, whom I met on tour in 2006.
Cologne is one of those town that has several names, you know, the places that are called something different in english. I don't fully understand this kind of thing. but in German, the city is called Koeln (pronounced Co-Lne).
Cologne also had some unfortunate events occur in the last few weeks, well actually just one unfortunate event. They had a building collapse. The building housed the archives for the city, which of course had one of a kind documents and priceless history within it. The collapse also caused two deaths and could have caused a whole lot more. Here is how the stories go as they were told to me.
First, the casualties:
Both casualties were asleep at the time of the collapse (at around 2pm) because the building was attached to some apartments. The first was a baker and worked at 4 or 5 in the morning and had just returned home to recharge the bread making batteries. The second was at work earlier in the day and was feeling sick, in fact, the young man's boss had noticed that he was looking sick and he was sent home early by her. He was probably relieved to get home to bed, but what bad timing. It will be a while until that boss sends someone home again I am sure.
Second, the people who escaped:
There was a woman who was in the building just finishing up her book about the history of Cologne. She had here laptop there and a memory stick with the only back up. The book was now done really and represented years of work. The building was evacuated, which at the time seemed like a routine fire drill, so she left all her stuff right there (yes the only copies of her book). As everyone was leaving the building it became more and more apparent that this was not a drill and people were being hurried out. The building collapsed one minute after exiting the building, all on top of her book. Now, after a couple of days of clean up, they did find her laptop, which means that her book on Cologne history will no doubt be a famous book.
There was a bus that was scheduled to pass right onto the street were the building fell. But at the stop before, the doors were stuck open and the driver had to try and fix the jam. I am sure he was frustrated, i know that I would be. But then he did get to have a nice view of the building topple instead of have the feeling of stone meet bus.
Finally, there was the fact that the week before there was a huge celebration on the street right where the building collapsed into. Beer gardens, open stage, stands filled with hundreds of people. It would have been hard to evacuate all those partying people, heck its even hard to get partying people to stop fighting each other, let alone pay attention to anyone trying to say anything.
All this happened as Cologne was making some new tunnels for their subway system. There was water that had leaked in to the tunnels and had compromised the integrity of the foundation of the archive building. They were approved for three pumps, they put in fourteen. They thought that had done enough, they hadn't. Even the world class engineering of Germany are infallible. You never know when the ground beneath you will give out. I also heard that Cologne is known for its corruption, so who knows what really has gone on here. All I know is that I will take care what buildings I walk into.
Oh yeah, and the show went well. Even though the story did have some time travel (which in an improv show can be hell on earth) we did also have a squirrel story. If you ever have a chance to meet a German, please have them say the word squirrel, you will not regret it.