”Look I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t know where I’m supposed to go. I haven’t known these things for so many years, I can’t even count them anymore. It used to be simple, everything seemed so simple. But that was never meant to last…
Sometimes I wonder if we were ever supposed to get this old. All we are doing is passing time. That’s it. I don’t care where we eat. You decide.”
Picture taken in Groningen, Holland.
”We always talked about having one, but we needed to wait. We first had to finish our studies, then find a job and then start saving. Every month we would see each other. Sometimes a weekend, sometimes a week. It hasn’t been easy to tell you the truth. We waited a long time before this life could start. There was a lot of ‘see you soon,’ and ‘miss you already.’
There’s no secret to this. You just have to be committed, to know what you want. I wanted nothing more in life than to be with her. I’m the luckiest man on earth because she felt the same.
And now we are here, finally. First we are going to start with this little rascal, then, when we are ready, we will create a few rascals of our own…”
Picture taken in Groningen, Holland.
The Fear has returned; the leader of the free world, in his infinite foolishness, has threatened to reign down fire and fury- the subtext being nuclear retaliation- on the little country of North Korea. Instantly, his opposition would condemn his statements. Another clear example that this man should not be president. The media does the rounds, they interview civilians in Guam- the country that was first threatened by North Korea- whether they fear annihilation. The administration quickly comes to his defense, there would be no apology. They state that he was simply speaking the language North Korea would understand. The supreme leader can never do wrong. He doesn’t make mistakes, there’s only damage control.
But open your news-feeds and you can see the fear spreading. Pictures of the horrific aftereffects of nuclear attacks; deformities, mutations. Speculation about what would happen if someone would indeed strike first. Some people look forward to it. An apocalyptic wasteland has always been entertaining in the movies. The desperation will give people an excuse to murder and eat each other. Naturally for many, this will sound extremely cool.
I was born when the nuclear threat had seemingly disappeared. The idea that if a country would be provoked, there would be a chance that one of them would push a button and destroy human civilization. Mutual assured destruction: making sure that everybody gets fucked when they fuck with you. At school they would never teach me to hide under the chair if the alarms would go off. Soon after I was born, they would break down the oppressive wall in Berlin. The people started dreaming about a world without the possibility of nuclear holocaust. The illusion came: we are past that now! We saw the fall of the ultimate evil! Authoritarianism has lost! It was victory for democracy and capitalism. We’re too smart now to consider the apocalypse. The market will create better options. We don’t need to destroy each other. We can instead do business with each other.
But it has always come to this: the creation of the ultimate weapon, warning other empires not to fuck with us. We would always create the bomb, it’s in our DNA. We’ve already used it once, twice even, but the bombs are so much powerful now. It only takes a little madness to destroy mankind. We’ve seen enough coming from our leaders. We’ve seen the kind of people the people vote into office. The madness is already there. It just needs to fester. It just needs a little push…
Now the Fear is making a comeback, all it needed was an improvisational jab against a deluded dictator. Nice going. It’s time to stop worrying and love the bomb again…
And so as these words begin to spin in my mind, I open a window and smoke and light a cigarette. I stopped smoking a long time ago. Once or twice a week I indulge myself. Usually with a beer. I rarely finish a cigarette, they make me too lightheaded.
The sun is going down. I like this time of day.
I notice my tattoo: ”Y sí creo”, it’s a from a film called the Fountain. Its Spanish for: ‘and yes I do believe.’
Right now I like to believe that we won’t be seeing a mushroom cloud anytime soon. It would be a cliché to have humanity end like that. So predictable. I was looking forward to a Robot uprising…
”I encountered another street musician. He was singing folks-songs. I’m too shy to ask people whether I’m allowed to take their photograph. My solution is to just take them, with a safe distance, hoping I’m not going to piss anybody off.
I threw some coins in his guitar-box, a sort of unspoken purchase: ‘a little money for your picture.’
He didn’t thank me. Maybe he wanted me to listen to his music instead…”
Picture taken in Veendam, Groningen.
”Sometimes I wonder why I even take pictures. I take a bunch of them for weeks, months. When look back at them, I realize none of them are any good. ‘Listen you don’t have what it takes,’ I tell myself, ‘you need to stop fooling yourself. There’s a life you need to lead. There’s nothing wrong with this life. It’s just not the life of an artist, about finding or expressing yourself. Most of them are miserable anyway. You are miserable and you are not even a real one. They say there’s nobility in the man chasing the impossible dream. But there’s nothing sadder than the man chasing a dream that doesn’t even belong to him. This doesn’t to you. This is not you. Go home.’
It’s then that I encounter this street musician. I’ve seen him before. He moves from place to place. You live in the city you can’t miss him. And it’s not the music that fascinates me about him, it’s how he plays it. Every time, he’s standing there, for hours with a big smile on his face. For a long he has realized he never play an arena, the crowd will always be small. Most people even ignore him. But so what? There he is, singing his heart out for a few pennies people have to spare! You realize that that this is a man that has found himself a long time ago. And that’s all I want to be. I want to be authentic. I just want to know who I am, to be good at something. In the infinite book of human expression, I will be in one of those pages. Like so many, there was something I wanted to say. Before it all ends, there was something I needed to leave behind- even if nobody will pay attention to it. Like the street musician, I will be ignored, yet I smile and play my heart out anyway. Maybe I’m asking too much, but I can’t let this go. I don’t care if this dream doesn’t belong to me, I’m chasing it anyway.”
Photograph taken in Groningen, Holland.
”I’m not really here. All I want to be is to be present, right here, with you. But I can’t. I tried. I just keep going back. Every time I think I’m on my way back, I realize I haven’t moved an inch. At times It’s worse when I’m with other people. They tried to make me feel like I’m part of them and I pretend I am, but I quickly realize this is impossible. The people are here. They flutter now and then but most of them stay where they need to be. They stay in this world. I’m trapped in my own world, I created it without my blessing. I just wish I could be here. I wish I could feel like I should, like you deserve. I wish I could experience joy without this nagging feeling that things are not alright. This consciousness knowledge that the moment is lost. You can never experience it fully. Things are not alright and they will never be alright. It happens to people sometimes. Along the way something happens to them or they make a mistake and it damages them for life. Sometimes they just happen to be born with it. This alienation was always there, it just needed time to grow….
I just wish I was more like you. The things I could do if I was more like you. Maybe someday you’ll teach me. Maybe someday you’ll make me dream it’s possible. The people can escape hell when they fool themselves its possible. I like that idea. I like that idea a lot.”
Photograph taken in Katowice, Poland.
”It was a small village, packed with farmers. The days were predicable. If you wanted fancy stuff you had to drive for an hour to the mall or to the city. The people live here for the silence….
They hadn’t seen him before. It was obvious he came from a different place. Cars would stop, doors would open. He’d tell the driver he was fine, ‘don’t worry, it looks worse than it is,’ he’d said, ‘I live close by from here. I’ll be fine.’ He would put pressure on his wound as he walked ahead. It wasn’t far from here, he believed this, though sometimes he forgot where he was supposed to go. He would think of home, but he wasn’t sure whether he still lived there, whether these people still lived there with him.
Things get so blurry. When you’re hurt, things become a blur. You get these images of the past. Streets. Roads. Houses. Buildings. Fields. You remember them so clearly. You feel your ghost still there.
He found a pathway under the bridge. It seemed so familiar to him. He went off the road and ventured into that pathway. They had been doing some construction there. There was nothing there, no houses. Only graffiti, evidence of youthful parties. If he made it far enough, he would find himself on the highway. Eye-witnesses said that he had a smile on his face, as if he was looking forward to something.
Sometimes you remember things so clearly and places become so meaningful to you, you need to be there. No matter how far it is, no matter if these places even still exist, there has to be a way.”
Photography taken somewhere in Poland.