I thought I’d died July 19, 2006Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
…and gone straight to the set of an Emir Kusturica film. Not that I’ve ever watched a Kusturica film, per se, but I imagine it’s all slivovitz, tragedy and accordions. And nothing wrong with a bit of Serbian drama whatever the weather.
Aber in Berlin’s Ruislip?
So there I was, minding my own business, toiling through some paid labour, windows flung open in a concession to the boilingness, when what should start up but an accordion? And not just a youngster languidly playing Bésame Mucho without especial verve or gusto, but beautifully-played, mournful, wistful, baleful and any number of other adjectives ending in -ful, Balkan-sounding (to my utterly inexpert ear) music wafting towards me.
I dashed to the window and then remembered I was only in my pants – STILL boiling – so loitered at a decent distance. It was quite the most excitement B_ Straße has seen since someone flushed their loo at 10.05pm and the police had snipers surrounding the guilty flat within minutes. I think the accordionist might have had a drink. He was in his fifties. Of ruddy complexion. And lingering under balconies in the hope, no doubt, that he’d be thrown a golden taler or two or perhaps be invited in for a hearty fish supper. Unluckily for him, he chose to strike up his one-man show just as he came to rest under the 100%-long-term-unemployment house across the road. Not only couldn’t I go out onto the balcony to tell him of his oversight because I was in my pants, but it would have actually been rude to accompany his music with my hollering about them all being more skint than I am. So I let him perform mournfully on.
Normally, like everyone sane, I loathe the accordion. It reminds me of national costumes, bad teeth, headscarves and dirty fingernails. But it was so beautiful when it started here, in Ruislip, on a boiling hot day, shattering the suburban silence and transporting me to somewhere I’ve never been, like the Sanjak of Novi Pazar. The wandering musician must have smelt my enthusiasm because he caught my eye at the only split second when eye-contact could feasibly have been made. He gave me a big, hearty, rubicund grin. I recoiled a tad so that I wouldn’t have to cross his palm with silver. (Anyway, surely you can’t hurl money out windows at folk? In Ruislip?)
I went back to my paid labour, without paying him for his. I could hear the neighbours huffing and puffing and screeching their plastic balcony chairs and shutting their balcony umbrellas – tossers – in protest and shuffling back indoors to watch whatever is the German equivalent of Bob’s Full House. You think they’d have been happy with a bit of live entertainment. I certainly was.
The strains of the accordionist’s music wafted away into silence. I don’t suppose we’ll be seeing him round these ‘ere parts again. It may well have been before the 10pm watershed, but it was just a little bit too much excitement for B_ Straße to cope with. Damn you, suburban silence.