Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Lowell, Brodsky, Tillman & Co.
Next: according to a piece in the St. Petersburg Times (via Bookslut), there's a plan afoot to transform Joseph Brodsky's diminutive boyhood apartment into a museum. The problem is that the current tenants are reluctant to leave. A mother and daughter in one room fear that they won't be able to find other lodgings. And the guy living in Brodsky's old bedroom--a twelve-meter-square cubbyhole!--is behaving "as if he had struck oil," says Alexander Kobak, a member of the St. Petersburg City Hall's Cultural Heritage Council. We're talking about the same apartment Brodsky described in his classic essay "In a Room and a Half" (reprinted in Less Than One), and this sentence makes me hope they'll eventually find the funds to restore the sanitary facilities as well: "As for the bathroom, Russian hygienic habits are such that eleven people would seldom overlap when either taking a bath or doing their basic laundry. The latter hung in two long corridors that connected the rooms to the kitchen, and one knew the underwear of one's neighbors by heart."
Finally, I got one of those funny pangs the other day when you simply must hear a specific song, so I hastened to the iTunes store and put my 99 cents on the barrelhead for Floyd Tillman's "This Cold War With You." I've always loved the lugubrious melody and the Eisenhower-era conceit of the lyrics:
The sun goes down and leaves me sad and blue.
The Iron Curtain falls on this Cold War with you.