Living in a city like Cologne has its perks. Aside from the obvious accessibility of your local supermarket, the more popular shopping areas or this particular place you start your weekend almost every Friday, a city needs to be discovered. Even if you are born there. Or exactly because you are born there. Make it your obligation to find interesting quarters, places and corners in your town because who would call you a local if you didn’t have at least one or two secret places up your sleeve? I spent the last one and a half years doing exactly this and I’m trying to broaden my perspective all the time, while of course sharing my collected experience with you guys.
What I am talking about is “nachtkonsum” (translated: night consumption), and while thinking of tobacco smoke in a sleazy bar at two in the morning or wild party excesses – stop right there. Although having nothing to do with this line of thought it certainly doesn’t mean less fun.
I am most confident that the majority of you have been to flea markets, now let me paint you a picture: The long aisles of shaking folding tables, covered with what seems to be mothy drapes or some sort of pre-war tablecloths and of course the precious goods presented in the hopefully best way possible. Old video games if you’re lucky, piles of trashy novels with worn covers (read so many times one could recite the cheesiest passages over and over) or that crocheted little place mat you swear you have seen in your grandma’s house somewhere. The dusty air fills your lungs while going through a rag of oversized, earth-coloured blouses and coats, and the chitchat of this particular kind of women (a bit aged, a bit whacky) from left and right makes it hard to concentrate on the things you actually consider to buy.
Don’t get me wrong; there is a chance that you might truly find something, especially if you like old-ish things (or as they say nowadays: vintage or retro) like me. However, as you might have noticed, the whole atmosphere of such an event always seems a bit desperate and tedious to me.
Nachtkonsum seems to have erased this memory out of my head for good. You see, flea markets have that dusty, grandmotherly image that normally keeps people
like me from going there in the first place. But this is different. Nachtkonsum has converted the dowdy image into this fresh, new and exciting concept drawing in not only hardcore vintage fans but also the student generation, teens and twens. Located in an abandoned factory building of the former freight area in Ehrenfeld (Jack-in-the-Box) this event has developed to the go-to happening over the last two years. And there is a good reason behind this: nachtkonsum starts at 5pm and stays open until 12pm or later, connecting live entertainment in terms of local indie and rock bands with catering (crêpes, falafel, stew, beer, wine, coffee etc.) and the actual flea market experience. Here only the real stuff is allowed: Antiques, second-hand clothing and cute knick-knack is found alongside self-made jewellery and converted vinyl records, ensuring that you won’t go home barehanded. As a visitor you are good to go with a 3 Euro admission and access to the whole area, if you want sell things yourself you have to pay a charge of 10 Euros.
The concept of nachtkonsum goes back to organizer Florian Liss, trying his luck with three fellow students at LMU’s business start-up competition „5-Euro-Business“ in 2007. They scored the second place. Henceforward the idea has expanded notably, and after Munich and Berlin Cologne has been included into the student’s initiative (Wuppertal and Bonn offer similar events), now completely drawing on Florian Liss and his partner Stefan Schmidl.
For me a stopover at nachtkonsum belongs to the start of a good Saturday evening, and it seems to me I am not the only one with this idea. Taking place two times a month it is totally worth a visit, if not for shopping then for enjoying the live performances, talking to interesting people or simply launching into the range of treats waiting for you outside the venue.
Visit their website now: http://www.nachtkonsum.com/