what’s the use (extract)


Gabriel Josipovici’s HOTEL ANDROMEDA p. 47

– It’s my job to show the world, he says. But I cannot do it. Not really. I can photograph this man with the table on his head. But you must listen to him. You must see him every day. Not one picture in a magazine. Not twenty seconds on TV. And smell the smell of the rubbish and of the smoke and the dust. And then perhaps you begin to understand something.

She goes to the window and stands, looking out.

He says:

– But what does it mean, understand something? I was there a long time and I understand nothing.

She stands.

– You know what I mean? he says.

– When I go to sleep at night I think of her there, she says. When I wake up in the morning the first thing I think about is her. I sometimes feel, she says, that I’m not living in London but over there. In those bombed-out streets and collapsed houses. With the fear and the cold and the hunger. And then I tell myself: You pampered idiot. What do you know about it? What do you know?

She turns round.

She says:

– After that it’s hard to get through the day.

He has broken the cigarette in two and is picking at the tobacco that has fallen on the table.

She says: – It seems absurd to be here in my comfortable flat trying to write a book about a dead artist hardly anyone has heard of when all that is happening over there.

He sweeps the tobacco off the table with his hand.

– Absurd, she says, but what else is there to do?


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