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- De missie in Oostende
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Convient parfaitement, Friban. Tu as une femme bien gentille, profiterole Ragondart. Elle travaille dur. Pourvu que quelque chose bouge dans le langage, dans la conscience. Armez ces capteurs, Capagnol. Vous ressemblez au jeune homme sur la toile, en plus jeune.
Que voyez-vous? Je veux la voir. Un livre en gestation prend place entre Ragondart et Capagnol. Un Coca. Pas mal, pas mal. Vous entendez la mer?
Regardez ce petit livre. Deux coquillages et un peu de gravillon. Sur la couverture un grand et un petit coquillage. Abbaye avec majuscule! Il passa les assiettes. Toast maison. Une Kriek! La dame en rose commanda en roucoulant un vin blanc. Cet air. Ces sourcils. Le temps boit puisque sa main droite tient une coupe.
Regardez donc ce biotope. Je vous pense. Il y avait beaucoup de monde. Je suis las, infiniment las. Regardez, ils agissent de concert. Tape, tape, tape. Cet aspect venteux ne cesse de revenir dans les conversations et vous ne prenez pas la moindre note. Une jeune femme enfouit une balle dans la poche de son manteau. Une autre. Ces yeux…. Boule effervescente. Boule de neige. La culture trouve ici une capitale. Une fois sorti, Ragondart se frotta la panse.
Et davantage de vin blanc. On tire dessus, on le secoue, la chose se dresse. Au boulot. Je note, vous traduisez. Trois Irish Coffees plus tard. Pas sombre. Estimez-vous chanceux. Oiseaux bleus! Prenez garde! Quelle mission, Capagnol! Ragondart passa son bras sous celui de Capagnol. Un peu plus loin, Ragondart rendit tripes et boyaux. Rive est, quai Henri Baels. Crabes cuits! Friban tendit un billet de vingt au chauffeur. Rentre, Ragondart. Je ferai suivre ma version de cette mission ostendaise. Traduire et peindre www.
The winter still clung to the flat landscape when Finbar arrived in Ostend and moved into the Hotel du Parc with what time he had left, his head bursting. A benefit gig for the homeless of Haiti for ten drunks at the bar was finally behind him. Three months earlier Finbar, at that time still called Johnnie, injured himself when he slipped in the Ardennes. Johnnie played muscleman and lost his footing pushing it.
Since then, the pain in his elbow shot straight up to his head. Playing the accordion… never again. Room in Hotel du Parc. No internet. He threw his bag full of undecipherable notes into the corner. Naked and covered in itchy spots he looked down at the square like a goldfish gasping for air. Where carriages once stood there were now taxis, carriages from a train waiting for its first journey in the morning mist. Finbar crawled into bed. The rust-coloured sea awaits at the Venetian galleries, he thought. I must be hypersensitive; I even feel the emptiness left by the organ grinder.
His Verbeeck organ with the monkey with outstretched arms. What was that slogan that Finbar had seen that day? An investment that keeps you from having sleepless nights. In his sailor suit he begged for an ice-cream at a gaudy-coloured ice-cream cart. He waved at the shrimp boats and looked at the bathing machines.
He saw himself twenty years later: he had a wild night at Het Witte Paard. Pearl of the Belgian coast, Queen of the bathing resorts. Finbar woke up with a start, listened to the night — nowhere was the silence behind the noises so audible. Wonderful, thought our hero, but it seems years since I had something to eat. Next to him lay an invisible woman with her back turned to him.
Finbar buried his head in her pillow. He whispered a haunting song until he fell asleep as if he was leaving this world behind. Finbar slept. In the surrounding streets skeletons played billiards, marionettes flirted with death. Ostend sunk through its chair of shells.
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When Finbar awoke again he was amazed that he was still alive. His sheets were damp. The flute playing of Fifrelin had given him a headache. And: at the end of May, Adamo is coming to the Kursaal, no Chippendales this year. Ostend breathed softly, the murmur of the sea in her blood. Finbar waited for day to break. Tram after tram, the trams to De Panne droned in his head. He heard a tram ringing its bell. Minnelemming is the name my client gave me for Ostend, he thought.
Minnelemming is just about to board Ostend. He will fraternize with the last sea dragon. Liberate a caged mermaid. Finbar shivered and curled up under the bedclothes. I am an embryo in a mother shell, he fretted, and my head is much too large. Thick, listless snowflakes fell onto the tram rails.
There lies Finbar. Finbar dreams of Rubens who paints underwater, above him the sound of the boats. Nets in the water spontaneously give structure to his paintings. How old are you? No juicy lady. Go to Ostend then, your mistress. Feel the sea on your bones. They become copper green again, turquoise in the evening, the stones emitting light. Who still looks upwards? Camera surveillance everywhere. Back to Mother Earth. Western Europe. In , during a heavy autumn storm, the mill went crazy. White mill, black mill. Finbar knows: a fly likes nothing better than to sit on a red cow.
Hs sees a nice one. He flies under her hoofs with the sparrows. He hears Pier Komiek in the wind. Camiel de Basser, now he could bark like a dog. At last the sea, thinks Finbar. Just as the sea should look. Only a painter like Spilliaert could catch this interplay of lines. Finbar navigates the grey-black clouds. Time goes backwards. A boiler explodes in the waves. Now forwards, from the Gay Twenties to the Atlantic Wall. The casino of Ostend razed to the ground, machine-gun nests set up. Hotel du Parc, the occupiers take it over as their command post.
Are you a Walloon in the depths of your heart and do you want to work on the breakwaters? Report to the Brasserie. Flee from the Gestapo, Romain, flee if you can. Sand flies up, then settles. Finbar lands back in his bed and gets Ensor on the line. Mister Bones. Where is my paint? Molrat here. Brasserie du Parc is right under your lazy ass. Our mission is about to begin. Every voyage of discovery with Molrat began with the same ritual. Molrat would be waiting for Finbar at a table. Grey cap. No newspaper or magazine in his hand, nothing that made one think of the passing of time.
Molrat would always be reading a book at least forty years old, which was the rule. Molrat was all ready to go, because he had the ritual coffee complete with silver filter before him. Finbar looked at the frayed eyebrows of the professor: black as coffee. Molrat never asked questions. They met each other every season in the tension between professionalism and friendship. The expeditions, paid by Molrat, investigated the core of language and brought time to a standstill.
Sentences were torn open, words sprang away like fleas. Molrat lived at the Flemish-French language border; he suffered from language schizophrenia. You look pretty rough. You know that well enough, my friend, Minnelemming. Fits you perfectly, Finbar. You have a nice wife, profiterole Molrat. She works hard. And you lead a healthy and balanced life. You restore old books, which is very noble. The Vossenplein in the heart of the Marollen district, now that was a treasure. As long as something happens to the language, to the consciousness. Get the sensors ready. Take a look at that painting in the corner of this room, it has a magical, realistic tint to it.
You look like the young man in the painting, a younger version. Dark tones. A mysterious female figure. Is she going to suffocate you? Halo, with one l, an aureole around your head.
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What do you see? Are you Gestapo saint or a bruised catamite? History is alive in this Brasserie, my friend. And the two waiters: what a delight, what a spectacle. They really enjoy the part they play. I want to see it. To have them. In the other room Anne and Sandrina are giggling at the two explorers, yet Molrat points at the floor. A book in the making takes its place between Molrat and Minnelemming.
A heavily-built man in a large mink coat came in, looked angrily at Molrat and Minnelemming. Seven taps, but if you ask me there are only five different beers on tap.
If i say if by Archivo Groenlandés Publicaciones Digitales - Issuu
A less well-known book from a writer who is disappearing into obscurity. Not bad, not bad. Listen, put your hands over your ears. Can you hear the sea? It washes up words, grinds the spinning top of language. Look, this little book is a Marnix paperback from A story by Johan Daisne, just 67 slender pages. Look at the back flap, at the signature. The years that pass by. Abbey beer with a capital A. He saw a raven-haired sunbed woman with a little white dog on her lap. A little pussy licker, he thought, a cross between a poodle and a vacuum cleaner.
Customers in fur coats with strings of pearls read newspapers on sticks. More people came in. The owner, who up until then had done nothing except stare at the two waiters, stood up and also started working. He passed the plates to them. Brie de Meaux, hot on white bread. And a Kriek! The tall waiter knelt in front of the poodle dog. The lady in pink cooingly ordered a glass of white wine. She still had a full glass in her hand.
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De missie in Oostende
So, he does smoke. Time is drinking because he has a beaker in his right hand. Look at this biotope. What a colourful affair. That couple who are trying to speak French. What would you like to drink? Here, look, here it is: Milk was ordered once again, but even before the cows had been milked — 'What do you want to drink, Minnelemming?
I get to play the sixth note. They are all dancing.
What a bunch of jerks! Are they dancing for the music, to get the girls, or just for the sake of it? The colonel is still rubbing up against her. They are not worth the effort. Make do with the rest. I have to agree with her. I like the ordinary soldiers better. The officers are even more full of themselves than the young French cadets. I am sitting on a rustic, hand-stitched chair from the Middle Ages that is damned hard on the backside.
If I stand up, I have to watch out for the hole in my pants. The brunette comes back over. Another discussion with Martin. Dirty old bastard. I know why. Time is going slowly tonight. And this music is a drag. We play another two songs and Come on. And off we go. We go back across the foyer. We turn left. A small sitting room. Wall-to-wall Aubusson carpet. Hung with Aubusson tapestries. Oak panelling. On the couch are the colonel and his fondling female. She is wearing a black suit and sheer stockings that are a little too pink.
She is blonde and her mouth is moist. We go past without looking at them. They are not doing anything, just expressing their feelings. We go through another room, a bar, and a dining room. Mountains of cakes. Two dozen or so people of both sexes, about a quarter of them women, smoking and drinking white coffee. There are plates and more plates. We make for it, trying not to be too obvious, but make for it we do.
Currant buns filled with peanut butter, I love them. Little currant biscuits, I love them too. Apple tart with a two-centimetre layer of marmalade cream under the apples, and mouthwatering pastry. I eat until there is no room left, and then I eat some more, just to be sure I have no regrets later. I down my cup of white coffee, about half a litre of it, and a few more cakes. Martin and Heinz both take an apple. Not me. It bothers me taking things while those idiots are watching.
But the Dutch are like dogs. They have no sense of decency. About the only thing they are sensitive to is a kick up the backside. We hang around for a while. I have my back to the wall because of the hole. We go back into the main auditorium. We start up again. The brunette is there. She wants I Dream of You.
I know that one! He suggests Dream, but we have already played it. I rather like that one because of the middle part, where you make a lovely change of key from F major to B flat, without making it obvious. And so we play, and we stop, and we play again, and we have a bit of a snooze. Two new girls have turned up. They are filthy. Must be French. Huge heads of hair. They both look like something of a cross between an intellectual typist and a maid. They immediately feel this need to come over and ask us to play a musette. To give them something to complain about, we play Le Petit Vin blanc in swing.
What idiots. Yes they do, right at the end, and then they pull a face. They like anything lousy. I think things are winding down. I pour a Coca-Cola into a large glass. Martin has just been handed our pay in a thick envelope. They have paid for four musicians, though we were only three. That means there are three thousand francs in the envelope. Martin goes and takes a piss, and when he comes back, puts out his hand for a packet of Chesterfields.
Thanks a lot! A tall red-headed guy comes over and asks me something about a set of drums. He wants one for tomorrow. I give him two addresses, and then another guy comes over and explains things better. He wanted to hire a set of drums.
He offers a cigarette as well. We close with Good Night Sweetheart. Time to get out of here. Just one more… We play Sentimental Journey again. They are upset this is the last one. Now we have to think about leaving. We go and get changed. I put on my raincoat. Martin signals to me. He is with Heinz. He slips me seven hundred francs. I get it. It would give me great pleasure to punch you in the face. But why the hell would I care?
I am not as dumb as you are, and you are fifty years old. I hope you drop dead. You are really sly, both of you. The floor in the hallway is tiled.
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I would really like to know whose house this is. Heinz and I go into raptures. He really likes it too. We go back into the foyer. Martin goes and takes a piss. He has pinched a copy of Yank from somewhere and gives it to me to look after. We are near the phone. So I phone the hotel on behalf of Mr Romberg to find out if his key is hanging on the board. You can always go and get off in front of a pin-up girl. We go back into the lobby, then over to the Packard. I sit down. Heinz is sounding off, in gibberish, just for a change.
Martin is deep in conversation with Doublemetre. Really nice. He finds us a car, but Martin has to take a shit, so we wait. I go back into the lobby. After all that, Heinz has just given twenty francs to one of the stewards. They were here, of course. He had a friend, someone he had known for six years, and he lost him. I condole and we shake hands. Thank you. Heinz and Martin finally arrive.
We go outside. The car is in a laneway. I take a piss against a tree. The two maid-typists and an American turn up. The three of us are in the back. They complain because they are too squashed. I have plenty of room. They turn on the radio. The engine starts. The car lurches forward. We are following another car.
The music helps pass the time. I am next. Heinz is furious. We have done the grand tour. We are at Gare du Nord and he has to go back to Neuilly. Let him sort it out with the driver. Goodbye, kids. Good night. And just before I fall asleep, I turn over and let out an almighty quack. I wanted to check out the women and, to tell the truth, I had a good chance of getting by unnoticed.
It was pleasant out on the timber deck. Pauwels, he scared me off about the bleach. And then there were women to see. But luck must have been against me, nothing but ugly ones. I lay down on my back, closed my eyes and waited to turn black all over. And then, just as I was going to have to roll over to hide the tent pole, along comes some guy who trips right over the top of me. He was reading while walking, and he was reading a prayer book.
Now that the ice had been broken, I was going to kill him, but I change my mind. But, blow me down, no more tent pole. No more man. No more anything. Anyway, too bad, I am going to begin. Like a sucker, I was about to follow suit, and I start to join my hands together, but a bra strap snaps right under my nose, and I can feel it coming back.
It is putting me back on track. Are you an anarcho-masochist, social democrat, barrister, member of the Constituent Assembly, Israelite, big landowner, or trafficker of religious artefacts? Sometimes Christian Witness, although it does tend to promote immorality. Are you a champion sprinter or a pelota player? Do you like Picasso? Do you give lectures on religious sentiment in the works of Rimbaud?
Are you one of those people who, like Kierkegaard, believe that the way you look at things depends on your situation? Have you published a critical edition of the Hundred and Twenty Days of Sodom? I repaint my church every two years, and I hear the confessions of my parishioners.
I was starting to lose my temper. How long are you planning to keep this up? You lead a ridiculous existence! No social life? No hidden vices? No black masses? No satanic rituals? You are too much. You may be right. I watched him turn pale, and his skin became transparent. Take hold of yourself! You still have time to write a volume of verse! I believe in God, and that is all there is to it. He was becoming more and more transparent, and then he disappeared into thin air. Gee, I was uncomfortable. No more priest. I took the prayer book as a keepsake. I read it a little every night.
I found his address inside. From time to time, I go to the place in the presbytery where he used to live. His maid has overcome her grief, and she likes me now. I It was another day in Marseille. Metal grated against metal, but the terrible noise it made was not loud enough to drown out his whistling. Next, he lifted the three-tiered metal grille that sealed off the bottom half of the shop and folded it into place. Once this task had been completed, he swept into a pile the sawdust that had been scattered over the floor at the end of the previous shift and stood there twiddling his thumbs.
He had just bought a beautiful brand new knife the day before. He raced over to where he had left it and feverishly set to work putting an edge on the blade with a sharpening steel. In the meantime, his boss was approaching, clearing his throat in the same disgusting way he did every morning. He was a tall, dark-haired man, as strong as an ox, and a little frightening. And yet he came from Nogent. His short blonde hair and pug nose made him look like a little pig.
The butcher took the knife, and ran the cutting edge across his fingernail to test it. I bet you I could! He had spoken too soon. The butcher gave him an ominous look. The boy, feeling a bit confused, timidly tried to get back on the front foot. He cleared his throat one last time. II Mr Mackinley, deep in thought, struck a match on the leather sole of his left shoe.
He had both feet on his desk, and had to lean a long way forward, which reactivated his old Iwo Jima lumbago pains. In actual fact, Mr Mackinley was not his real name, and this export company served as a cover for one of the most active agents of ASS, the American Secret Service. The wrinkles etched deep in his animated face made it quite clear that Mr Mackinley was able to make the tough decisions when he had to.
His hand hit a buzzer, and a secretary appeared. Mr Mackinley winced every time he heard that grating voice which reminded him of Brooklyn. Nevertheless, he managed Shortly afterwards a woman entered the office. There was an air of mystery about her. She was buxom and had a certain mystique; she had blue eyes and brown hair; her curvaceous body was enticing; she was the perfect agent for a delicate mission. She answered him in the same language. What follows is a transcript of their conversation.
He had lowered his voice. It has to do with the Gromiline Report. Mackinley was still smiling, but his jaws suddenly clenched. He picked up the cigarette case and handed it back to Pelagia. She exploded into a fit of rage. When you engaged my services, it was agreed that my loyalty to Georges would not be compromised in any way. He bowed gallantly. She shuddered and stood up. The department would like to be seen as being rather generous on this occasion. It was an old Vivaquatre whose driver was half-deaf. His name was Pulaski. You remind me of him.
The taxi was approaching the hotel where they went for their trysts. I will be happy to. He grabbed the sharpening steel and began enthusiastically to run the blade back and forth across the surface. The tip of his tongue protruded from between his lips. The butcher sniggered, then spat in the pile of sawdust, right on top of a big green fly. He did as he was told. She threw two one-thousand-franc notes in his direction and got out of the car.
She was wearing a black skirt and a white blouse with a plunging neckline. The driver clicked his tongue as he watched her disappear. She strode towards the beach. She occasionally looked back over her shoulder. Two men stopped when they saw her walk past. Night was falling quickly. Pelagia was walking on Palavas beach. She was now alone. She was almost at the meeting point. She was early. She dropped down onto the sand and waited. From out of the shadows, he suddenly loomed up behind her. She became aware of his presence. He was agitated. Get it over with, Goloubtchik. At the same time his natural love of cleanliness gave him an idea.
He turned her around roughly, stuck his thumb under her nose and tilted her head back. He plunged the knife into her throat. Blood was coming from the lifeless body floating in the dark water at his feet. A heavy object struck him on the side of the head, causing him to collapse in a heap.
Agent F-5 whistled softly. A dinghy approached. He searched the body. The wound was no longer bleeding. He picked up the knife and hurled it out to sea. The wallet and belt, he would dispose of later. He dragged the body towards the beach. He needed to be sure that the body was found. F-5 knew that he needed to cover his tracks when dealing with Mackinley.
The motor of the small dinghy was ticking over quietly. F-5 climbed in. The flimsy hull sank lower in the water under the extra weight. The silhouette of the boat disappeared into the dark of night. They got me. I am going to the chair tomorrow. But I am going to write this anyway, because I want to explain. If only Slacks had been able to pull herself from the car. If only she had been able to come and tell everyone what happened. Nothing can be done about it. Nothing on earth. The trouble with being a cab driver is that you get yourself into routines. You spend all day driving around, so you end up knowing all the different neighbourhoods.
There are some you prefer to others. I know drivers, for example, who would sooner let themselves be slashed with a knife than take a fare to Brooklyn. Me, I am happy to. One time, I dropped a customer there. He was as drunk as a skunk and he wanted me to go in with him. When I came back out, I knew what kind of girls you could find inside.
Every night around five to one, five past one, I would drive by. She was just leaving. They often had singers at Deuces, and I knew who she was. They also said in the papers that she was a lesbian. They would play a gig somewhere else and then come back to Deuces to finish off the night. I found that out later. I never stayed there long. She punched the piano player in the face. That girl could pack a mean punch. She knocked him down like a real pro.
The only thing was, because he was so drunk, he stayed down. The other guy tried bringing him around by slapping him hard enough to knock his block off. Then she lit a cigarette lighter and had a close look at me. I drove off. The meter was ticking. So I kept driving straight ahead. The streets are deserted.
A few cars, and every now and then some guy by himself. I looked across at her. She had black hair down to her shoulders and a complexion that was so pale it made her look unhealthy. The lipstick she was wearing was almost black and it made her mouth look like a dark hole. We were still driving. She decided to speak. I decided not to object. I was about to get out of the car, when she grabbed my arm.
Move over. She sat on my knee and slid into place on my left. Her body was as firm as a chunk of frozen meat, only not the same temperature. She realised that something had stirred in me and started to laugh, but not in a nasty sort of way. She almost seemed happy. When she started up my old heap, I thought the gearbox was going to blow up. When she took off, the sudden jolt pushed us right back in our seats. After crossing the Harlem River, we arrived in the Bronx.
She was driving like a maniac. When I was called up, I saw the way they drive in France. The French are simply dangerous. She was a complete disaster. Still, I said nothing. Oh, so you think this is funny! Deathly white, and that black hole… I gave her a sideways glance and said nothing. All the while, I was keeping a look out. But you can take my word for it. She kept turning down streets. You could go for whole blocks without seeing a soul. A bum, sometimes a woman, people returning home from work.
She would slow down a little and then hit the accelerator as soon as she passed them. She looked at me. She punched me hard on the back of the hand with her right fist, without missing a beat. It felt as if a horse had kicked me. I swore and she laughed again. I was looking around for something to hang on to, for when she hit the brakes. But instead of slowing down, she accelerated and I heard a thud against the front of the car.
I felt the sudden impact. She had a vague look in her eyes. The car was veering all over the road. This is a very broad title of course, and the disc encompasses many different kinds of amorous music; in this procession of songs we hear the full range of emotional engagement, from light-hearted frivolity to the intensity of love at its most radiantly idealistic. It is the breadth of these journeys, and the variegated terrain through which they pass, that underlines the greatness of this particular composer and his genius for continual metamorphosis.
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