Archive for April, 2010

Sergei Gandlevsky

April 29, 2010

Сергей Гандлевский

всё разом – вещи в коридоре
отъезд и сборы впопыхах
шесть вялых роз и крематорий
и предсказание в стихах
другие сборы путь неблизок
себя в трюмо а у трюмо
засохший яблока огрызок
се одиночество само
или короткою порою
десятилетие назад
она и он как брат с сестрою
друг другу что-то говорят
обоев клетку голубую
и обязательный хрусталь
семейных праздников любую
подробность каждую деталь
включая освещенье комнат
и мебель тумбочку комод
и лыжи за комодом – вспомнит
проснувшийся и вновь заснёт

Sergei Gandlevsky (b. 1952)

all at once–things in the corridor
preparations and in haste the hearse
six faded roses and the crematorium
and a prediction in verse
other preparations a journey to explore
in the mirror himself–
by the mirror a dried-up apple core
this loneliness itself
or for a short while then
ten years or so earlier
like brother and sister the two of them
she says something to him, him to her
the wallpaper with pale blue squares
and the obligatory cut-glass
of family holidays there’s
every detail each nuance to pass
including the way the light falls
and furniture a bedside table a chest-of-drawers
and the skis behind it–he recalls
all of this wakes up and goes to sleep once more.

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The Tempest (Brockley Jack) 27 April

April 27, 2010

**

Black Square by Kasimir Malevich

The first night of The Faction’s production of The Tempest was announced as lasting for an hour and fifty minutes with no interval; I caught myself looking at my watch several times to check that time was really passing and there were no programmes either.

I had difficulty in working out what the production concept was supposed to be.  There were some indications that it was meant to be set in a brothel: Miranda (Hannah Douglas)  was wearing a man’s shirt as her sole outer garment–and some modesty-preserving trunks–while the Ariel of Kate Sawyer was clad in a black bustier, tight black trousers, and high-heeled shoes.  The disco-style masque certainly added to the house-of-ill-repute atmosphere, and came off very well.  This Ariel could definitely sing, though she did come pretty close to flubbing her lines on more than one occasion (as did other members of the cast).   And how did the Caliban of Robert Fisher have such a neat haircut?

My real problem was with a rather complete lack of colour and visual interest (a very odd thing for The Tempest–surely you need to see some of the colour, fantasy and complete dottiness).  The painting by Malevich above gives the general idea, though the light-coloured border makes it rather too interesting.  Or perhaps I’m overlooking the obvious and it was set in a brothel decorated Malevich-style.

I suppose that the other idea of the production was that the real relationship was between Prospero and Ariel–and Gareth Fordred’s Prospero was really rather impressive, commanding the stage with his sidelong and expressive glances.  Similarly, I enjoyed the Trinculo of  Mark Leipacher.

Apart from the points above, the production did involve rather a lot of the characters addressing their big speeches to the audience from the same spot downstage centre–but it may be difficult to avoid in such a small space.

I don’t really have the energy to work out what the cuts were:  in the absence of programmes, there is a cast list with photos on The Faction’s Facebook page here.

Vladimir Gorokhov

April 27, 2010

Владимир Горохов

Бывает все так классно,
так классно прямо все.
И тут – ба-бах – ужасно,
ужасно стало все.
Но знай, все будет классно.
Пускай пока что все …
ужасно-преужасно,
но будет классно все.
И точно – раз, все классно.
Так классно прямо все.
Но знай – опять ужасно,
ужасно будет все.

Vladimir Gorokhov (b. 1975)

Everything can be so lovely
so lovely it can be
And there–ba-boom–unlovely
unlovely it’s come to be.
But see, it’ll all be lovely.
For a time now it may be
unlovely, most unlovely
but it will lovely be.
And exactly–if all’s lovely
Then all will lovely be.
But see–again unlovely
unlovely all will be.

Andrei Rodionov

April 25, 2010

Андрей Родионов

У запасных путей чужой судьбы,
Среди пятиэтажек шестидесятников,
Стоит старая котельная, и обломком трубы
Глядит на девятиэтажки семидесятников.

Около нее сохранилось железнодорожное полотно –
Двадцать метров рельсов на деревянных шпалах.
Здесь я хотел бы напиться, хотел давно,
Но, понимаешь, всё как-то не получалось.

Рядом притулился и уже лет тридцать стоит гараж
Ржавый, а над ним – ржавая голубятня:
Здесь я хотел бы сторчаться, как Бумбараш, –
Словно какой-нибудь сраный восьмидесятник.

Шестнадцатиэтажки восьмидесятников отсюда видны
И двадцатичетырёхэтажки девяностников, сраных уродов.
Здесь я хотел бы съесть таблеток, из тех, что для мозга вредны,
Но даже с этим всё что-то никак не выходит.

И хочется плакать, глядя на эти места.
Внутри бывшей котельной – зловонная куча отбросов.
И здесь я, наверное, просто покурить не смогу никогда
Смогу ли я даже поссать здесь – и то под вопросом.

И дальше, где за пустырём сверкает на солнце река,
И торчат недостроенные дома десятников новых,
Я иду мимо старой котельной, убитый слегка,
Подубитый чуть-чуть, недобитый немного.

Andrei Rodionov (b. 1971)

At the by-roads of other people’s luck
Amongst the five-storey blocks of sixties people
Stands an old boiler house, and with a broken pipe it looks
At the nine-storey blocks of the seventies people.

Near it there is preserved a railway track–
Twenty metres of rails on wooden sleepers
Here I wanted to get drunk, a long time back
But, you understand, somehow it never happened.

Beside it a garage has stood for thirty years, sheltering like a skiver,
Rusty, and over it a rusty pigeon-loft:
Here I would like to overdose and die, like an unwanted survivor,
Just like some kind of shitty eighties person.

From there the sixteen-storey blocks of the eighties people are plain
And the twenty-four-storey blocks of the nineties people, shitty bastards.
Here I would like to take tablets, the kind that harm the brain
But even with this somehow nothing happens.

And looking at these places you would want to weep.
There’s a heap of refuse inside the old boiler-house.
And, most likely, I won’t even manage to smoke here
Whether I can even piss here–is open to doubt.

And further, where the river sparkles beyond ground gone to waste,
And the unfinished buildings of the new twenty-tens-people stick up
I go past the old boiler-house, slightly abased
A little worked over, not-quite-entirely-beaten.

Vsevolod Emelin

April 24, 2010

Всеволод Емелин

Уж не придёт весна, я знаю.
Навеки осень надо мной.
И даже улица родная
Совсем мне стала не родной.

Среди моих пятиэтажек,
Где я прожил недолгий век,
Стоят мудилы в камуфляже
И сторожат какой-то Bank.

Как поздней осенью поганки
Мелькают шляпками в траве,
Повырастали эти банки
По затаившейся Москве.

Сбылися планы Тель-Авива.
Мы пережили тяжкий шок.
И где была палатка “Пиво”,
Там вырос магазин “Night Shop”.

И пусть теснятся на витрине
Различных водок до фига,
Мне водка в этом магазине
В любое время дорога.

Смотрю в блестящие витрины
На этикетки, ярлычки.
Сильнее, чем от атропина,
Мои расширены зрачки.

Глаза б мои на вас ослепли,
Обида скулы мне свела,
Зато стучат в соседней церкви,
Как по башке, в колокола.

И я спрошу тебя, Спаситель,
Висящий в храме на стене:
“По ком вы в колокол звоните?
Звоните в колокол по мне!”

По мне невеста не заплачет,
Пора кончать эту фигню.
так или иначе,Не знаю
Но скоро адрес я сменю.

Зарежут пьяные подростки,
Иммунодефицит заест,
И здесь на этом перекрёстке
Задавит белый мерседес.

На окровавленном асфальте
Размажусь я, красив и юн,
Но вы меня не отпевайте,
Не тычьте свечки на канун.

Без сожаленья, без усилья,
Не взяв за это ни рубля,
Меня своей епитрахилью
Накроет мать сыра земля.

Кончаю так – идите в жопу,
Владейте улицей моей,
Пооткрывайте здесь найт-шопов,
Секс-шопов, банков и церквей.

Vsevolod Emelin (b. 1959)

I know that spring will never come
It’s forever autumn over me
And even the street where I was born
Is not mine, like it used to be.

Amongst my five-storey low-rises
Where I lived my time–not too much–
Stand idiots in camouflage trousers
And guard some new Bank branch, or such

As late in the autumn throughout
Caps of toadstools appear in the green
There banks  began to sprout
In a Moscow that was best left unseen

Our plans for Tel Aviv came through
We lived through a terible shock
And where they sold beer in a booth
They’ve built what they call a Night Shop.

And different vodkas can fight for space
In the shop window, or form a tower
For me the vodka in that bloody place
Is too fucking dear at any hour.

I look in the dazzling window displays
At the labels and tags to be seen
And then my pupils more widely dilate
Than they would from your bloody atropine.

You could have made my eyes go blind
And anger’s pursed my lips as well
But then there’s a noise in the church nearby
And like in my head, they’re ringing a bell.

And I will ask you, oh my Lord
Who hangs in the church on a wall
‘Who is it they ring the bell for?
They should ring it for me, is all.’

My bride will never weep for me
It’s time to make an end of that mess
I don’t know how–however may be
But I’ll soon be changing address.

Youths will stab me with no compunction
And I’ll be eaten up with HIV
And here at this very junction
A white Mercedes will do for me.

All over the bloodied road’s surface
I’ll be spread out, so fine and so new
But don’t go and hold any service
I want no mourning candles from you.

Without pity, and with total control
Not taking any money or its worth
I’ll be covered by the damp stole
Of our general mother, the earth.

I’ll finish this way–fuck off
And take over my street with your purchase
Here you can open your night shops
Your sex shops, banks, and your churches.

Dina Gatina

April 24, 2010

Дина Гатина

некто в блокноте в Питере,
куплен за 9-10,
вот именно что.
а кто и в Питер
из блокнота вползает
сладко
в какой руке
теоретически
в спичечном коробке
возле кого лечь.
одна нога взрослая,
одна ещё пяткой на пятаке
держит ли меня кто, нет не держит
выдержит, нет потонет
подержи пока я хотя б
или сам языком
sorry-sorry-sorrinka,
скорее напала,
попала в плен
не той ногой
долгая
прогулка
в пельменную,
поскольку щепотка
на глаз
по вкусу –
нереально.

Dina Gatina (b. 1981)

someone in a notebook in Piter
bought for 9 or 10
that’s what it is.
and who in Piter
creeps sweetly in from the notebook
in which hand
theoretically
in a matchbox
who to lie near.
one foot grown up
one still rubbing a heel on a five-kopek piece
is someone holding me no they aren’t
he’ll hold out, no he’s sinking
hold on while I at least
or with your tongue
sorry-sorry-sorrinka
rather I attacked,
was taken prisoner
with the wrong foot
a long
stroll
to the noodle bar
since a pinch
in the eye
by taste-
unreal.

Aleksandr Pereverzin

April 23, 2010

Александр Переверзин

стало холодно совсем зябко
не люблю октябрь непогоду
говорила так моя бабка
причитала только б не в воду

не погост у нас а болото
торфяная дождь пройдет жижа
только бы не в воду не в воду
на пригорке там посуше повыше

все бессвязней говорила все глуше
на пригорке там повыше посуше
он зеленым станет ранней весною
там сосна еще стоит под сосною

Aleksandr Pereverzin (b. 1974)

it’s got chilly quite cold
i don’t like october inclement
so my granny used to scold
only not in water her lament

not a churchyard we’ve got marshy water
peaty water goes by, a mire
only not in water only not in water
on the hillock it’s a bit drier and higher

she spoke ever more softly more haywire
on the hillock it’s a bit higher and drier
it will become green early in spring
there a pine under a pine-tree still standing

Antigone (Riverside Studios) 22 April

April 22, 2010

****

A Thursday matinee of Antigone started unpromisingly: Antigione was running backwards and forwards and throwing stones at birds represented by offstage squawkings, while the Greek schoolkids behind me were chattering noisily.  Eurgh, I thought to myself, Antigone as a family dispute or, equally mistaken, Antigone as Sophie Scholl.

But things improved:  the play began to bite about the famous nothing so wonderful as man chorus, and the confrontations between Antigone and Creon came off well, each as adamantine as the other in the true Sophoclean fashion.  George Siena’s depiction of Creon in the guise of a  giant black crow was striking and rather overshadowed the Antigone of Lisa Stuart, which doesn’t often happen.  The physical theatre conventions also began to exert a pull, with Creon being reduced to a helplessly crawling  thing by the rushing vatic force of the accusatory speech by Tiresias (Johan Buckingham).

Some attempts at singing in Modern Greek met with a mixed reception from the Greek schoolkids behind me–Anne Malone (Musician) was allowed to escape unscathed, while the contribution from one of the three chorus members (Chris Gunter, I think) was adjudged terribly funny.  Actually those children weren’t bad critics–they stayed silent during the parts I really wanted to hear…

So at the end the curse of naturalism had been averted and while the conventions of physical theatre are not would I have chosen to keep it away they were pretty effective.  I suppose everyone went home convinced that Sophocles had penned a ringing justification of individual liberty, but that’s a modern audience for you…

Media partners

The programme contained a copy of a fax to the producer, Anastasia Revi, from the Greek Government–it took me a very long time to notice that there was a translation on the other side.  The Riverside online booking page has a link to the Oxford Classics Outreach site, while the play is also promoted on euGreeka (devoted to Greek events in London and elsewhere–looked jolly interesting to me).

Ulyana Zavorotinskaya

April 21, 2010

Ульяна Заворотинская

Кольцевая

По кольцу едет женщина без кольца,
я, как с листа, читаю с лица –
она не верит, а ей 32,
она в Москве, но где же Москва?!
Дома – газета, тиви и чай,
нет детей, чтобы их встречать,
что-то было – а было ли?!
Все цветы дарили – не выебли…
И она, такая красивая,
собравшись с последними силами,
плачет и мастурбирует.
Кажется ей – достигает оргазма.
Ошибается. Это – спазмы.

Ulyana Zavorotinskaya (b. 1981)

Ring road

Around in a circle drives a woman without a ring
from her face, as from a page, I see her suffering
she doesn’t believe it, but she’s 32
she’s in Moscow, but where’s that Moscow?
At home there’s the telly, newspaper and tea,
there aren’t any children for her to meet,
there was something–or was there, in truth?
All gave her flowers–none stayed to screw
And she, so good-looking,
at the end of her tether,
weeps and masturbates.
It seems to her she reaches orgasm
But she’s wrong–it’s only spasms.

Note

Video clip here.

Human Traces (Sebastian Faulks)

April 20, 2010

**

This book is rather long. It’s also rather unclear what it is. Or to put it another was: it is clearly a history of psychiatry, so why is there a novel superimposed?

The basis is that in the middle of the 19th century we have two friends: Jacques (French) and Thomas (English) who want to discover how the human mind works. To aid them in this, Thomas masters French instantaneously and Jacques marries Thomas’s sister Sonia (was the name Sonia really used in deepest Lincolnshire back then?) Thomas doesn’t marry Jacques’s brother Olivier because the latter is mad (and maybe other reasons).

So they practise psychiatry in different places, and then together, and we see interesting vignettes of how it was done then. But the exposition of the plot in between these sketches is extremely dull, and for some reason I started thinking of musical parallels.

There’s Bruckner, who starts off with material of profound banality and then makes it into something interesting: and Mahler, who puts passages of extreme and arbitrary banality in amongst the good stuff, But they do add something least by contrast. Maybe the best analogy is with opera seria, where you start off wondering how you are ever going to survive such tedium, but after a while you get used to the small-scale emotions, unending banality and excessive length, and it all seems quite tolerable in its own way.

The local amateur orchestra gives a concert of Brahms, Beethoven and Mahler in provincial Austria in what I suppose must be about 1905. It it likely–indeed possible–that an amateur orchestra would have essayed Mahler then, given how difficult and unpleasant his music was thought to be? This is an example of the portentous foreshadowing or anachronism typical of the book–the savants and theories mentioned are essentially those that have some currency nowadays, whereas in reality the characters would have spent a lot of their time engaged with people and issues now forgotten (the First World War is similarly foreshadowed as starting in Serbia, and there are many many other examples…)

So Jacques becomes attached to what are essentially Freud’s theories (and we get what looks like a pastiche of a Freud case), while Thomas tries to develop what we would call a modern evolutionary-genetic approach without the necessary basis of for instance genetics.

Olivier has schizophrenia and Thomas (now tended by a woman he rescued from an asylum several hundred pages ago) develops Alzheimer’s disease–so far, so schematic.  At different places,  Faulks lays the Maupassant of Une vie and the Balzac of Le père Goriot under contribution, presumably to show that he has read something besides histories of psychiatry.

At the end, Sonia visits the dilapidated properties Jacques has inherited and reflects on her memories and that the day-to-day lived experience is what being human *is*, and that’s rather touching.  But in general the novel is like a group of pleasant enough people walking round an art gallery, looking at pictures showing various aspects of psychiatric illness and research into it, and having a low-key discussion about them.

If you want to write a novel about something, then that something has to be in your characters and their relationships  and the actions that flow naturally from them; it has to be inside, not painted on.