Navigating my way through this big house, trying to locate the toilet even though I am familiar with the overall layout. The haze and general disorientation produced by layers of alcohol and something that can only be described as ideological confusion. I’ve been in this house before, on many different occasions, I know its permanent residents and even the rotating circle of politicians, artists and other bohemians with money. A curious mixture of left wing opinions and right wing money making, normal state of affairs in the 80s, nothing to be surprised or confused about.
The military overcoat I’m always wearing – childish statement, but also logical, since it is January, a storm is raging outside, and for all its splendour this house is impossible to heat – suddenly feels like a corset, a lie of sorts, appearance without substance. In the background I hear Brecht’s Dreigroschenoper, Seeräuber Jenny (Lotte Lenya’s version of course…), and automatically I begin to mumble the lyrics I know so well:
…Und an diesem Mittag wird es still sein am Hafen
Wenn man fragt, wer wohl sterben muss
Und dann werden Sie mich sagen hören: Alle!
Und wenn dann der Kopf fällt, sag ich: Hoppla!
We die, the past dies, because this party is nothing but an initiation ritual, closure of the past in the presence of a new circle of friends and business partners. For me the song is still a formative classic, I know it by heart because I have fond memories of all the unlikely and inappropriate moments we used to declare it, with or without audience, confident at the time, slightly embarrassed in retrospect.
Is that what I’m supposed to do, shake off my past and start a new phase, is that the initial shock I felt upon arrival, having been transported by the January storm because I was going in the right direction, suddenly surrounded by a combination of bohemianism, old school jazz and a thick layer of cigar smoke. My former friends, university students now, gathering around celebrity writers, painters, politicians, the occasional actor, ready to be initiated like larvae cocooning to become butterflies. I doesn’t nauseate me right now. I will start to feel sick in the immediate future, waiting for the storm to die down, hours of drowning sadness in expensive brandy.
But not yet, now I’m just on my way to the toilet where I will shit myself, forgetting about the delicate position of my overcoat, in between ass and toilet seat. ‘Don’t shit where you eat, my friend’, Ween would sing many years later. Future smile and memory.Tweet