Saturday, December 9, 2017

speak easy

A new speakeasy has opened up in town, serving delicious cocktails in a warm stony basement. Mostly I see groups of friends and a few couples enjoying the cloistered space. They seem to be having a good time but what I haven't seen is any flirting between the groups over their whiskey sours. In Berlin in the 1920s, there was plenty of nightclub flirting, and pneumatic tubes were central to how love letters would be sent from table to table.

Atlas Obscura called it the Tinder of the 20th Century. Their recent article talks about the Resi and the Femina, the first which I have written about previously on this blog.

Fascinatingly the article discusses how the notes passed by the tubes were first censored in the switchroom, described as an early form of comment moderation, and that among the many gifts that people could send to each other were perfume and cocaine. Atlas Obscura also makes the connection between the tubes and the telephone song in Cabaret, the first song I know about with a pneumatic theme.

Image from Cabaret Berlin.

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