The Baltic Notebooks of Anthony Blunt
Oh, My Darling & Other Rants
Autocorrection, street performers, earworms and migration are to be blamed for the inception of this textile.
The person who invented autocorrection should go to hello. This is how I moved to Münster instead of Munich. You almost know the whole story now.
But I will tell you more. Münster is famous for, among other things, Skulptur Projekte (est. 1977). I was told by one of the curators of Skulptur Projekte that there are three Münsters in Germany. Once they were expecting an artist to arrive and this Münster was only the third one that the guest visited.
I’d love to introduce you to Rajah Rajasingham who is a street musician. Rajah has sung the single line “Oh my darling” for hours and years in the same streets of the same Münster. Originally from Sri Lanka he repeats the same line as if it was a mantra or a techno track.
I will not surprise you by confessing that as a writer I’m always looking for characters and themes. Naturally, Rajah Rajasingham is one such discovery. However, realising how concise his choice of lyrics is, I was looking for someone of wordier multitudes.
I also mentioned migrants. As a migrant myself I was looking for writers to meet as soon as I arrived. At Bremer Platz, near to the central train station, I noticed quite a crowd of Russian speakers who were enjoying a rare spell of sun and drinking Gorbachev vodka. With due respect to Russian literary and political traditions I asked if they knew of any Russian writers living in exile in Münster. My new acquaintances were not aware of anyone. We started to chat in Russian and evidently most of my new friends were Volga Germans who moved to Germany from the USSR in the late 80s or early 90s, some even later. Almost daily they meet in that small park to chat and drink vodka as if it were some late Soviet reservoir enriched with the excesses of a new capitalist life that include almost unlimited amounts of alcohol and drugs. While I’m writing, Bremer Platz is closed and being renovated with the intention of making the Platz more representational and safer.
There were many more meetings, of course, with the old and new waves of migrants from Afghanistan, Ireland, Latvia, Syria, South Africa, and other numerous places. The city where the Peace of Westphalia was signed in 1648 — which is the principle in international law that each nation state has exclusive sovereignty over its territory — became just another city of the new post-Westphalian world order.
Watching today’s scandal-seeking mass media and scrolling through rather hysterical social networks, one may easily be reminded of the Greek Chorus in classical Greek theatre. The function of the Chorus is to explain the context and represent society. Thus it is hybrid, programmed by its antagonistic opinions, as any given society is, but also, as any other multitude, it affects the main character and causes irreversible group dynamics. In today’s society the Chorus represents and refers to the whole mixed landscape of a/anti/post/sub/super-humans — AI, eco sentient, clones, consumers, migrants, narcissistic capitalists, Nazis, populist politicians, precariat, tax payers, etc. Think of all the people you have ever met, passed by on the street and online.
Where were we? We have the protagonist, we have the Chorus, we have the autocorrection function and virtual assistants to help us write and read this text further.
Meanwhile, the protagonist already has two rattles in his hands and is endlessly repeating a single line:
Oh my darling
Oh my darling
Oh my darling