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Bon Journal

Dance like no one's watching

A year later, we meet again. He doesn't dance. But he's been invited to a party that I didn't know about. So he spends all afternoon trying to get me a ticket. I don't mind if I don't go. What's the big fuss? He smokes. I don't. I dance. He doesn't.

Yet, for old time's sake, he wants me to go with him. We try three different guys, three different ways. Sorry, the party is overbooked. What if we just get on the coach? Surely they won't turn us away!

At last, he manages to get me a ticket. We're on our way, on the relatively empty coach.

It's a long journey to the outskirts of Essen. A coal mine that's been closed. We get off the coach and walk into a big building which used to be the place where coal miners showered and changed.

It's a seventies theme party. Young girls with spaghetti straps are there waiting for us. They have been hired by a local agency to help create the mood. Part of the seventies prop I guess. The inflated multi-coloured transparent plastic sofas and couches are lit from below. A video of an aquarium is projected on one wall, while that of a roaring fire is projected on the opposite.

Waiters walk around with free cocktails and beers. Then we start to queue for dinner. As soon as my trader friend finds his buddies, he disappears. I talk to one of the young girls who speaks English. She's planning a trip to Hong Kong.

Before the music begins, I'm in a stranger in a foreign country. Once the music begins, I'm at home. I dance to the 70's, to the Blues Brothers, the 80's, the 90's, and finally techno. I dance like I don't care about tomorrow. Some men see this, and they start dancing with me. Soon it's me in the centre, surrounded by five men all trying to show off their moves.

Four hours later, the coaches return to take us back to our hotels. My friend still wants to smoke and talk to his friends. I thank him for getting me here.

14 February 2002 Thursday