06 May 2014

Happy birthday, Orson!

We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we're not alone.

Orson Welles

03 May 2014

Aubade by Philip Larkin


I work all day, and get half-drunk at night.   
Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.   
In time the curtain-edges will grow light.   
Till then I see what’s really always there:   
Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,   
Making all thought impossible but how   
And where and when I shall myself die.   
Arid interrogation: yet the dread
Of dying, and being dead,
Flashes afresh to hold and horrify.

The mind blanks at the glare. Not in remorse   
—The good not done, the love not given, time   
Torn off unused—nor wretchedly because   
An only life can take so long to climb
Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never;   
But at the total emptiness for ever,
The sure extinction that we travel to
And shall be lost in always. Not to be here,   
Not to be anywhere,
And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true.

This is a special way of being afraid
No trick dispels. Religion used to try,
That vast moth-eaten musical brocade
Created to pretend we never die,
And specious stuff that says No rational being
Can fear a thing it will not feel, not seeing
That this is what we fear—no sight, no sound,   
No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,   
Nothing to love or link with,
The anaesthetic from which none come round.

And so it stays just on the edge of vision,   
A small unfocused blur, a standing chill   
That slows each impulse down to indecision.   
Most things may never happen: this one will,   
And realisation of it rages out
In furnace-fear when we are caught without   
People or drink. Courage is no good:
It means not scaring others. Being brave   
Lets no one off the grave.
Death is no different whined at than withstood.

Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.   
It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,   
Have always known, know that we can’t escape,   
Yet can’t accept. One side will have to go.
Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring   
In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring
Intricate rented world begins to rouse.
The sky is white as clay, with no sun.
Work has to be done.
Postmen like doctors go from house to house.

Source: Collected Poems (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2001)

28 April 2014

Cyrano de Bergerac - Le nez

via M. Caza.

Is there any great role in French that Depardieu hasn't gobbled up, dominated and glorified with his gargantuan appetite? Dantés, Porthos, Cyrano, Danton, even Tartuffe. 

From a street punk hassling a pregnant woman on a train in Les valseuses to the suffering lover of La femme à côté he has a range that spans the whole of what a man can do, feel, and suffer.

Even if he's a large as barn and the butt of jokes of his pinched and pathetic inferiors, he's a monstre sacré, a throw back to the 19th century, a grand soul who's too large for our times.

Zorba the Greek - Zorbas Dance (Anthony Quinn)

Even though this is also the soundtrack to a million bad plates of Souvlaki, it still has magic.

27 April 2014

Three things I hate about business

I’ve put in time at companies small and large, mostly writing and working on web sites. I’ve also done time in retail, food service, automotive, surveying, and so on. That’s just to say these observations don’t just apply to one place, or even the current place. But to just about every place. These aren't the only things I find annoying; that list would be too long. These are merely the largest hypocrisies that people seem to swallow without noticing.

1. When people pretend it’s not about the money.

That’s all it’s about. Money. Sure, business can be about quality, innovation, personal enrichment (hmm) or whatever other pop psychology blather is fashionable this week.

image via

But it’s about making money. And if you don’t believe me, here’s how you can tell: Wait until there isn’t enough money coming in. Then even the most laid back, shorts-and-hoodie wearing dude with a sleek new age job title reverts to form.

2. When people pretend it’s not about power.

They’re not bosses. Nope. Boss is hardly a word you hear these days. They’re coaches, entrepreneurs, or even worse – leaders.

And they’re your friend, too, ready to crack a joke or pop open a beer with you. Just chill. Hang out. Open doors! Or no offices at all!! Just a spot on the floor with the rest of the team.

This is another pretense that is easy to explode. Just disagree about an issue that matters. The response may be temperate, modulated, well reasoned, but it will boil down to this: I’m the boss. You’re not. We’ll do it my way.

3. When people pretend business is cool.

Business is not cool. Figuring out to sell industrial hose, researching wiper blade effectiveness under stringent weather conditions or selling suburban real estate is not cool. It’s necessary and even important. But not cool.

photo by Jan Persson

Cool is Miles Davis, Hunter S. Thompson and Jeanne Moreau walking down rain swept Parisian streets in the night.

Not cool. (But you probably knew that).

And no matter how hard you try to weave in your crappy ass top 40s rock-and-roll into the equation, it’s still business. No matter how hip your logo, how au courant your service, it still won’t be cool. It might be valuable. It could change lives, make the world a better place, or give clients and employees opportunities they’d never dreamed of. 

That’s all more substantial than being a rock star or measuring up to some middle school notion of what's important. 

23 April 2014

How to be Mad and Happy at 55

(this essay is by Edward Limonov and originally appeared in the Exile.)

image via

Considering subject for my column for present issue I have asked Mark Ames what he wants me to write. Mark suggested to me to write a piece on the subject of health care, something sounding like "How to stay fit at 55," written by Frank Sinatra or Jane Fonda. I laughed. Then I thought, "Why not, as tomorrow is my birthday, I am going to be a fifty-five, and I feel as mad and crazy as ever, as at thirty-five, so why not?"

So I will attempt to create something like "way to a good health," or, "How to stay fit," or, "How to be mad and happy at fifty-five," or "Doctor's Limonov advices to a middle-aged men."

First requirement to fulfill is: the man of fifty-five should go to bed only with young girls. For its religious orgies Tantrism have recommended usage of only very young girls, not older than twenty, as it said in a sacred book "Makhmudra-Tilaka." Jut recently I heard on Radio Liberty that scientists made an astonishing discovery: longevity of a male's life depends on quantity of orgasms he gets during his life. Man who experience many orgasms during his entire life, including old age, live longer and stay younger.

So, in order to stay young, throw away your old wife, never even look at overweight, wrinkled woman. Find yourself a pretty teenage girl and fuck her as often as you can. Don't let a complex of inferiority to overcome you. Contrary to all rules of bourgeois society, in reality young girls like to get an attention of older man, it flatters them. Many girls would be proud to go to bed with you, it will give them enormous sexual thrill that they lack in relationship with partners of their own age. Besides, some girls dream of sexual relationships with their fathers. You will be welcome as a thrilling substitute, believe me, or either I am not Doctor Limonov. Young girls will excite you better. Young girls have a tight, hot pussies, their love juice is a boiling one, on the contrary, love juice of an older woman is glue-like. Young laugh, their freshness, even their naive stupidity will have a rejuvenating effect on you. Listen to stupid hit songs with them, get them drunk, fuck them and be happy.

Don't be upset by your age, don't let social pressure on you to become so strong that you will be choked by numbers of your age. Psychological victory over your age will open you a way to pleasurable and easy life. However, don't stay with a same girl for a long time. Change them.

Take care of your look. It's easy. Just don't eat too much. Russian middle-aged man usually overweight, American man also, as both countries have a bad eating habits. Don't eat three times a day-eat twice a day. Me, for at least twenty years now I never eat breakfast. In the morning I drink few cups of a very strong coffee, or a very strong tea. I never eat before 2pm, or even before 4pm. Second meal I eat between 8 and 9pm. I never limited myself in food consuming, I eat a lot. But for last few years I eat very little of bread, or no bread at all. I like meat, especially pork meat. From a Serbian wars I brought a habit of eating tons of raw onions. My weight now is 67 kilograms. I consume alcohol with pleasure, but sometimes I don't drink during a week or so. I never drink before 6 pm.

As to sport, I have in my apartment my dumb-bells and a weight of 16 kilos. From time to time I do some exercises with weights.

To conclude I must again underline the importance of getting rid of psychological burden of your age, of those silly numbers. Behave yourself as if you don't know your age. As you don't know what behavior is required by society from a man of your age.

Transgress all taboos, be mad. That is the key to a happiness of a man of fifty-five.

22 April 2014

My magic spell

When you're feeling blue, try this.

Lift some weights.  Work up a real sweat.

Take a cold shower afterwards. During the cold shower, which should last at least three minutes, you have to yell loudly:

"I am a killer." Several times.

Yeah, I know. It sounds stupid. 

But it works.