The Metro By Berlin

It sounds corny, but I relate to this song back from 1982, The Metro. It was done by a group named Berlin.

I remember making a point of playing it when I rode the subway from West Berlin into East Berlin to visit the East German capital—it made it easy to stay on the subway till the terminal. There were soldiers everywhere. Everything was stark and regimented in 1986.

My friend, Andrea, in 1991, turned to me when we were on the Hungarian subway on one of those crazy, rapid, steep-drop escalators that would give you a nosebleed if you thought about it, and started singing the song to me as we were pulled deeper into the Soviet era built subway.

I hear the music and I remember my Mom and I walking to an imbiss to buy pretzels in Munich. I shouldn’t remember this because I never listened to music in front of my parents.

I listen to The Metro and I think of how guilty I felt buying Hitler era stamps in a small shop in Vienna’s Mitt Banhoff subway station arcade and how I had to use those auto stamp machines to get to the train.

When I am in Tokyo, I think of those nights in Roppongi coming back from a disco and hearing that music while trying not to sleep past my station. Another flashback of mine is waiting for the first trains to go home so I could crawl into bed. My ears would ring and echo from the base line.

When I hear the song now on the train I sort of jump and part of me glances around the carriage—Vienna, Munich, Budapest, Berlin or Tokyo?

*Imbiss: “snack food stall” in German