Monday 30 December 2019

ALS: 'De parallele wereld'

The parallel world

Yesterday I drove past the ice-rink in Almen, which had not only been hosed with water – there was also ice on it. I hadn’t seen this here for years: ice on the ice rink. A couple of weeks ago, to my amazement, I saw Kenzo Kusuda dance in the Bimhuis. He’s Japanese. With three metal crutches he danced among the tightly packed audience. I was deeply impressed and hoped he would go on dancing for hours, but he didn’t, I was very disappointed. On the way home I thought that perhaps the time had come for me from time to time to make the acquaintance of a parallel world. I once read short stories aloud in a pine wood on Terschelling, along with two musicians who I didn’t know. I had been invited as a talking substitute – the third musician had suddenly fallen ill. They made music on a prepared piano and with countless, impossible sounds. On that occasion too I was impressed and I suggested to them not to take the ferry back to the mainland, but to board the freighter that lay ready to sail to Japan the following day. We could then perform in seaports on the quay so as to earn some money and never return to our mother country again. They agreed, but the following day were not on board, on closer consideration their previous obligations had been given priority. I got bad-tempered and surly on the ship – after a month I got off at an African port and hitchhiked back home. I was not dissatisfied with my role in how things had turned out, I began to understand something about living on the fringe. My knowledge fell into place behind me when there were rumours that in the wood I often walked in an artist worked who nobody had ever seen. I kept a look-out, but never found any trace of him. I had forgotten all about this when I happened to meet him in a café in Almen. I knew that it was him, but he just told me about it when we talked about painting outdoors. He lived in a room in Zutphen, 12 kilometres away. He would cycle to the wood every day, to a spot where there were no paths and no people who walked near there. Two large pieces of sailcloth lay there between which he protected his gear from the wind. He had been doing this for years, no one had ever seen him, he came there every day. I suspected that I was beginning to understand the parallel world. When I later see that there is skatable ice on the ice rink, I have reached my goal.

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