This is a blog about music, photography, history, and culture.
These are photographs from my collection that tell a story about lost time and forgotten music.

Mike Brubaker
{ Click on the image to expand the photo }

The Big Man's Band

08 December 2018

Music has always been a traditional way to greet guests.
In ancient times a European city would employ
musicians to welcome visitors from afar with a hearty fanfare.
And to make the best impression it was
played outdoorsloud and brassy by a wind band.
No doubt this big man's jovial smile and trumpet salute
was part of his city's famous hospitality.
He is Dicke Fritz ~ Fat Fritz.

Der „Dicke Fritz mit Capelle“
Gruss aus der Messe Frankurt a. M.

The Fat Fritz and Band
Greetings from the Fair Frankfurt on Main

What make's this postcard special is that it is one of the oldest in my collection with a postmark of 12/14 April 1898. It was sent from Frankfurt am Main, Germany to someone in Druten, Holland, a town in the Netherlands, east of Rotterdam.

The Messe is a celebrated trade fair of Frankfurt am Main that had been a feature of this city since medieval times. Now considered the world's largest event center, the Frankfurt Messe is owned by the City of Frankfurt and the German State of Hesse. It has 367,000 m² of exhibition hall area and more than 96,000 m² of free space and annually brings in about €661 million in business sales.

But in 1898 the center of the Messe was still held in Frankfurt's old city hall, the Römer, located in the Altstade. This three-story building complex offered 10,000 m² of exhibition space in nine connected houses that encircle six courtyards. I think Dicke Fritz and his band are standing at the Römer's main entrance.

* * *

Six years later Dicke Fritz and his band
were still welcoming visitors to Frankfurt.
He seems to have lost some weight
as his uniform hangs a bit looser.

Zur Feier der hundertsten Messe vom dicken Fritz
To celebrate the hundredth fair
from the fat Fritz

I'm not entirely sure if the caption means
Fritz is celebrating his 100th fair
or that he is celebrating the fair's 100th anniversary,
which seems strange as the fair had been around
since the 11th century.

In any case his postcard was postmarked
on 27/28 March 1904 to someone in Bern, Switzerland.

This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday
where sometimes life is a balancing act.


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