My buddy Moe moved to Germany to get married. He was one of the Warren Street All Starz, our stickball team, which convened every Sunday in a parking lot on Warren Street and Greenwich Street back in the days when nobody lived down there near the World Trade Center.
We all had nicknames. Moe’s was the Name Changer. If you had a nickname and wanted a different one, or if someone thought someone should have a different nickname, Moe had to approve.
Moe sold books and spent a good part of his time traveling around the world, going to book trade events. Moe worked for a book company, Schocken, that had the rights to Franz Kafka’s novels, and we called our parking lot ballfield Kafka Park. When Moe wasn’t in New York on a Sunday he would phone in to the pay phone across the street from Kafka Park. Collect. We always accepted the charges.
Moe fell for a German woman named Julie, and they married. Moe moved to Hamburg, where he learned German by watching TV and going out to eat with Julie’s friends. At some point he sent me a 45 of a record by a group called Trio. It was a goofy bit of catchy electronica, in German, that was utterly lightweight and internationally jaded (read: louche) at the same time.
The chorus translates as I love you not and you don’t love me. Too sexy for my turntable.
A few years later the song popped up in an ad for the Volkswagen Golf.
Will the All Starz get back together?