Tuesday, September 6, 2016

stary ale jary *

To my friend Dimi- thank you for the music

Umiłowany dentysto, 
Twe gumowe palce w mych ustach
Twój głos tak miękki, stłumiony
Opuść maskę, drogi dentysto
Opuść maskę

- Hey doc, how's it going?

- Deadpool, really? 

- Why I thought you needed a rest, you know like... country fun after too many nights spent in the city. 

Doc shook his head and pulled up a chair for me. He ordered the usual -gin and tonic, and watched me raising a deadpan eyebrow. I don't think I will ever get to fathom people who drink gin and tonic. I always found it too - I don't know if that's the right way to put it- ... sanitary for an alcoholic beverage. After all, it was invented in the 19th century as a way to stave off malaria during the British occupation of India, because the Brits believed that quinine which gives tonic its bitter flavor was an effective remedy for the disease ...Go figure. People who choose gin and tonic as their favorite drink kind of confuse me, as if they're trying to keep things clean and tidy whereas their hearts tell them otherwise. Alcohol dictates otherwise. You can't be clean and tidy with alcohol, can you? But then again that's only me. 

- And what are you having today? Campari with bitter lemon? Martini? a Twelve-Mile Limit or some other quizzical cocktail the mixologist over there spends about two hours brewing inside a smoking jar filled with chestnut leaves or god knows what? It was the bartender's turn to give Doc a raised eyebrow. I of course laughed at the sight of his tight-lipped reticent illocution and ordered the first of a few shots. 

- So you actually watched it. 

- First half, and the rest ..

- On fast forward ... Jees Doc ...

When it comes to cinematography, over a span of twenty-four years, Doc got me to watch lots of films I probably wouldn't have seen otherwise. Despite the fact that I've watched hundreds of them, as I don't mind going to the cinema all by myself, he would always insist there were a few hidden gems and would act all surprised when I declared I'd missed them. 
Doc was the one who had introduced me to La Reine Margot, back in 1994, when reading Alexander Dumas was definitely not the thing to a fourteen year old girl and which surprisingly enough was his bedtime story at the time (he was thirteen) - as well as Emir Kusturica films like Le Temps des Gitans, Arizona Dream, and Underground , which he found particularly satisfying to discuss with me as if he knew exactly what we were watching.
 Sometimes after watching we'd sit for a while staring at the black-and-white noise, then he'd recommend that we watch it again on fast-forward and debate on whether  the impression was the same. Why this and why that. 
Doc was an inexhaustible pool of pending queries. 
We both reckoned Polanski is a genius if you just ignore the alleged sex-with-a-minor thing, we both hearted the Coen brothers, but lately we have come to completely disagree about all superhero movies (including Batman flicks, even though technically, like Tony Stark in the Iron Man films, he's not a superhero). I say they are brilliant, and he argues that they're brain-rotting rubbish, which  I believe is just mental for a guy who also happened to introduce me to MagicThe Gathering, Lord of The Rings, Vampire the Masquerade, Dungeons and Dragons, Morrowind, Terry Pratchett, and H.P. Lovecraft. 

- I'm sorry to break your heart, dear Sigs, but it was mostly shit. 
Sigs is a name he made up, a compound of my name and cigarettes. He hasn't called me Sigs for ages. That's not the best news. 

- No it wasn't. It was a damn good laugh and I found it really interesting.

- Interesting? Doc sneers as I go for the second shot. That's the best you can come up with, interesting? What's next? Fucking compeling? Clockwork Orange was intresting, I'd go with that, but seriously Deadpool? 

- You know I've fallen asleep five times trying to watch fucking Clockwork Orange... and I've done 2001: A Space Odyssey. But let's call this a tie -you had me watch Kagemusha once, so there you have it. 

- Again, how on earth does Kagemusha have anything to compare with the MTV Hissy Fit Teen Choice Award?

- You used to love comics so much. Had such a vast collection, from Marvel and Dark Horse to fucking Top Cow and Kodansha remember? What the fuck happened to that guy? And ... what the fuck happened to all of his treasure? I mean it just hit me but, have you gin and tonic-ed everything? 

Doc's face grew wan for a moment. I had touched a nerve, not exactly readable. On one hand he had already heard me theorise on gin and tonic drinkers, or switchers-to (the latter in his case as he used to drink practically everything, with a mild preference to no-particular-type-of-beer - when broke, and a very-specific-type-of-vodka - when comfortable), and on the other hand ... well, that was the unreadable part. 

- Who cares? his tired expression gave way to a well-rehearsed, wannabe-perky stunt "Let's order some mussels, shall we? For he is the King mussel, doomed to be a mussel so long as that wretch lived." 

- Nice try, but apparently, paraphrasing Edith Nesbit * won't get you anywhere with me. It's one thing to be hungry and another to dodge ... and FYI ... You should care .... I fucking care , I added. 

- .... she added using fuck for the thousandth time that day.. 

-  No need to get condescending, at least not in such lackluster way, my using fuck and its derivatives is no news. 

- No it isn't.. just reminds me of somebody, he sighed and ordered a second to my fourth shot. 

- Somebody that you used to know ? I tried to Gotye-humor Doc but he was in no mood to allow for the joke to sit. He shrugged his shoulders and lit a cigarette, jogged the lighter among his fingers. 

- It's just that... I dunno.. I guess comics seem to be part of another me, they belong to the past and despite the fact they have served a certain -undeniably pleasing- purpose, I've outgrown them, you know? I'm interested in deeper, more sensible, rooted things now. I've just lost the will to ... own them. 

Now? Undeniably pleasing? I had to smother my snicker. Clearly Doc was not referring to comics, but asking what or ... who exactly the analogy stood for wouldn't do any good; when openly asked about something that pains him a greater deal than he cares to digest, my thoroughly frank, fully open king-mussel mate clams up. 

- You and I have watched abysmally shitty films, I mean, apart from the good, and the great ones. We've watched Highlander 2, The fucking - oh shit I'm using fuck again- Hottie and the Nottie. We've watched practically every kind of messed up, melancholic, lowest i.q. requiring, embarassing, wretched film possible. My guess is superhero movies is not something you need to ... struggle against ... let alone comics... 

- Comic book collections take up a lot of space, time and patience, you know? 

- I know ... hence the pricelessness.. I said and ventured for my own analogy. You see lad, you will find that sticking with something you really, honestly enjoy, is because it is ...  demanding. There is a voice that says you should not give it up. And by voice I don't mean your rationale, but a deeper, older one, coming from your bones. And yeah you have listened to both ...  fighting ... one wins, the other gets stifled. Do you think that anyone really changes so much as to become two different people ? I don't , and you've  been a superhero movie, comic book buff for too long. 

I pulled a 50 euro bill from my pocket, paid for the drinks, got 30 euro change. Doc was just smoking and looking outside the large windowpane at a teen boy hobbling across the pavement, his arm wrapped around the shoulders of a girl. He let her go, and as she walked away he stumbled. It was a modestly blue night, with the right amount of cloud above the city. They both looked a little drunk, their voices were muffled. 

- Can't seem to pick up the Wi-Fi here , said Doc probably listening to his own voice trail away.

- No need lad. Besides it's time for me to get goin'.

- You've done that so many times,  get goin', I mean. 

- You know I have.  

- Hey, thanks for the drinks, he said. 

I made for the door. Turned back. "Do yourself a favor... go get that comic book". I patted my old mate on the back and left my 30 euro on the counter beside him. 

-  It's been sometime now, but a comic book  doesn't cost 30, you're leaving me with too much, you know? he gruffly mumbled behind my back. 

- I know, I said, but -experience speaking- a long distance phone call does. 


* old but gold 

* The Magic World is an influential collection of twelve short stories by E. Nesbit. It was first published in book form in 1912 by Macmillan and Co. Ltd., with illustrations by H. R. Millar and Gerald Spencer Pryse. The stories, previously printed in magazines (like Blackie's Children's Annual), are typical of Nesbit's arch, ironic, clever fantasies for children, The phrase is from "The Magician's Heart". 

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