|Publisher:||New Island Books|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||1 MB|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
There used to be so many fish shops in Cold War East Berlin people fed the cheap fish to their cats.
What you think you know you don’t.
A dead goldfish can be revived with a drop of whiskey or, if that fails, by mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Some of what you know you wish you didn’t.
A barmaid arriving for work here one morning found a goldfish motionless on the floor. She popped it back into the
tank above the bar – no whiskey, no mouth-to-mouth. The goldfish came round, though for days afterwards it would
make sudden dashes towards the surface as though trying to leap out again.
I know a metaphor when I hear one. I know a fishy tale. I know enough not to mix them up. I do. I know I do …
I am on a stool below the fish tank, mid-afternoon, midweek, month of March, my forty-fifth year. The Artist is
behind me somewhere, preoccupied with tiles and tabletops and the ghost of last night’s bums-on-seats. The Owner is at the far end of the counter, looking uncomfortable with the daylight. In the window to my right a twist of yellowed tubing hangs like something intestinal, an appendix maybe, left over with the tiles from the days when this was a kosher butcher’s shop. (Just saying the words ‘kosher butcher’ in Berlin is to flicker-book through a whole century of horror.) At night this tubing gets a neon rocket up its arse and does its best Starry Plough impersonation as if to proclaim it is a country – a universe – unto itself in here.
Last night I sat until the stars blurred, over the shoulders of the Teacher Who Fell Off A Chair and the Diplomat’s Son Who Sat On Che Guevara’s Lap, and one for the road became two, became three, became drink and pray there is still ground beneath you when rise from your seat. This afternoon, though, I am not looking at but beyond, to the crane lowering klieg lights from the penthouse across the way. Prenzlauer Berg – for that is where we are, the Artist, the Owner, the goldfish doo-wopping at the waterline, and me, the Writer – Prenzlauer Berg is the German film industry’s backdrop of choice just now. Prenzlauer Berg is an estate agent’s wet dream. If it is luxury you are after you will find it in spades in Prenzlauer Berg.
Just don’t come looking for it in here.
It is held together by Polyfilla and gaffer tape. You don’t even want to think about the wiring. A bulb blows, that’s it,
gone, and who knows when it will be replaced. If.
It is Warhol. It is Dada. A whole fountain of inverted meaning. It drags luxury down from the penthouses, back through that little twisted tube hanging in the window. Think about this, it says. Think again.