We got a few blank stares when we told people we were picking up our 8-month-old studio and moving it to Sarajevo for a month to make a magazine. We suspected there were a few reasons for the confusion; magazines seem to be a dying art form, moving a brand new business in the middle of a recession is ludicrous, and Sarajevo? Where is Sarajevo? Precisely. As writers, designers, incessant travelers and lovers of magazines, the in-theflesh-paper-between-my-fingers-smell-of-ink-in-my-nose type magazines, we couldn’t think of a better project for our brand new business to take on. Boat Studio is a deliberately small creative studio in the heart of London. We work hard for clients we love year-round. But in the slow months, we need a different challenge to tackle. Like, how can we get people to take notice of amazing but forgotten cities around the world, like Sarajevo? How can we help update people’s views of these places when the only information out there is dated and tied to past events? Our answer to this quandary is what you’re holding in your hand right now. We pulled together the most talented people we know; writers, photographers, illustrators, musicians… gave them a blank canvas, and set them loose on the streets of Sarajevo. We had one goal – to tell a new story. Since the war in the Balkans ended in 1996, the media left and haven’t returned, leaving the images and ideas we have in our heads of Sarajevo dated, war-torn, and depressing. We hope this little publication will inspire you and help you create or update your ideas and images of Sarajevo. It’s a beautiful place with big stories to tell. We hope we did it justice. - Erin Spens
Edited by Erin Spens Designed/Art Directed by Luke Tonge Translations by Milica Vuković & Neno Novaković Printed by Cambrian Printers Published bianually by Boat Studio Ltd. 27 Tile Yard Studios, Tile Yard Road, London, N7 9AH
www.allaboardtheboat.com | twitter.com/boatmagazine ISSN 2046-9721 Acknowledgements... A special thanks to: Tim Hayward at Fire & Knives, Steve Cole at Creators Trust, Quartopiano Atelier Graphique in Paris, Meleća Đečević, our Bosnian mother, and our clients at Boat Studio without whom this wouldn’t have been possible. For contributions, advertising, and stockist enquiries, please contact email@example.com
Conten t s
Dave Eggers When They Learned to Yelp
Lamija Hadžiosmanović The Bosnian Cook
Ziyah Gafić The Empathetic War Photographer
Max Knight Small Trades
Sarah Correia Religion in Sarajevo
Jasmin Brutus The Others
Zoë Barker Weathered Faces
Davey Spens The Balloon Seller
Milomir Kovačević Sarajevo in the Heart of Paris
Danis Tanović The Oscar-Winning City Councillor
Lara Ciarabellini Algae on the Shore: Sarajevo – Belgrade Express
Bernie Gardner The Biggest Boy Band in the World
Enes Zlatar Bure BiH’s answer to Damon Albarn
Jonathan Cherry Manchester City, 4 O’clock
Sam Baldwin Snowboarding Sarajevo
Neno Novaković The Second Largest Tourist Attraction in Sarajevo
Agatha A. Nitecka In Search of Memories Lost
Sophie Cooke The Last of the Bogomils
WHEN THEY L EARNED T O Y E L P
They were older than most when they learned to yelp. Most people, of most generations, in most of the world’s nations, learn to yelp at a young age. Some are born yelping, others learn it when they learn their mother tongue. Yelping, as they say, comes with the territory. But these people, the ones we’re talking about – born in the United States at a certain time – they had not learned to yelp.
you. But you have been proven wrong. You did not want to be proven wrong.
“What is this you mean?” their friends abroad said. “This business about you have not yet learned to yelp? What is this, you are Canadian?”
Yelping cannot be practiced or forced. Yelping will come only when provoked.
To yelp: open your mouth. Convulse your stomach, as you would before a belch, or before vomiting. Now form a word, a thousand words, but emit none. In place of the words you might attempt, make a sound. The sound is a combination of three sounds. Each of these represents a third of your yelp. First: there is the shrieking sound you might make if you hit your head on the bottom edge of an open kitchen-cabinet door. It is sudden, highpitched, angry. It speaks of the stupidity of pain. Second: there is a whining aspect. Imagine that you have not slept for many days, and after those many days, you are punched in the gut. Then you are told to run over that hill yonder and back. When you return you are punched in the sternum. You ask for mercy. They laugh and kill your dog. They break the objects that you care about. This is the whine to keep in mind. This is exhaustion. Third: the last factor in your yelp is the moan. The moan is the moan of powerlessness. The moan is shock in the face of natural horror. A landslide. An avalanche. Brutality. A flood. Machetes. This portion of your yelp says that you did not think you could be surprised or overwhelmed, but you have been proven wrong. You did not think, after seeing some ten thousand or so murders on television, after reading so much history, that anything could stick its fist through
When you combine these three things – the shriek, the whine, the moan – and condense them into a sharp burst that originates in your liver and expels itself from your body via all six to seven different orifices at once, you have yelped.
The yelp is efficient. The yelp says a great deal with great economy. The words, questions and statements which are encompassed in one quick yelp: Fuck! Shit! Piss! How could you? How could you? How do your hands do such things? I won’t believe it. Stop it now. Please stop it now. Oh god. Oh god. Oh god. Motherfuckers! Animals! That poor man. Those poor women. Look at her arms. Look at his face. I cannot believe it. I will not believe it. Those bastards. Those mother-fucking bastards. This is not how it should be. Nothing should ever be like this. Goddamn all this. I give up. No, I will fight. No, I will give up. No, I will fight. But for Americans of a certain age, there had until recently been no yelping. There were many of these words said, and emotions felt, and questions asked, but never had they been concentrated enough – for there must be an overwhelming onslaught of stimuli, gradual and topped off suddenly – to become a yelp. Their parents had yelped, most of them, and certainly their grandparents. But they had not, which made them at once stronger and less strong. Those who have yelped have had their floor removed from them. The floor falls away and the yelper descends between 300 and 1500 feet, down a narrow shaft. Then the yelper must make his or her way back again, to the light. Yelping can be done on cloudless days.
Painting by Alyse Radenovic Yelping can be done in any season. In any place. People yelped in beautiful Sarajevo. People yelped on the sugarwhite beaches of Haiti.
And she yelped. She fell 720 feet and is now many months later, still making her way back to the surface.
Yelping, though, can also be done – is very often done – far away from the source of its yelping. John Lundgren of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, reports having yelped while sitting in the bleachers at his niece’s field hockey game; the man beside him had said, “Can you believe what happened?” and when John heard what had happened, he yelped. Abby Peterson of Cliffside, Idaho, reports yelping while braiding her daughter’s hair as they watched the news. She was stroking her daughter’s smooth rust-colored strands when she saw something on the television and with her hands on her daughter’s head she yelped. Chinaka Hodge of Oakland remembers being at the library, sitting at a white computer, the carpet beneath her quiet and blue. On the screen, when she sat down, was a short grainy film that she watched despite knowing that she should not watch it.
There had been some hope that these people would never know the sound we’re talking about. That they would make it through their years without yelping. But now they and millions of others, Americans of a certain age, have followed the path of their parents and grandparents and billions of others before them. They have learned how to yelp. They cannot forget what it felt like – it burns, it burns – when the sound came out of them, but they can try to help those who have not yet yelped to live a yelping-free life. This is what we want. This is all that we can do.
© Dave Eggers 2005, from How We Are Hungry, first published in United States of America by McSweeney’s Books, 2005. 4/5
Lamija Hadžiosmanović – The Bosnian Cook –
...Words / Erin Spens ...Photographs / Jonathan Cherry
There were a few people we worked pretty hard to track down in Sarajevo but none as hard as Lamija Hadžiosmanović. We found her cookbook ‘Bosnian Cook’ in a bookshop in the city center. It was one of the only books translated into English and it was beautiful, white with a rolled meat pastry called burek smack in the middle of the cover. I knew we had to interview her.
Lamija, like a true Bosnian, fed us constantly with Bosnian coffee, an incredibly sweet rose drink which tasted like liquid Turkish delight and sweet pastries which she of course had made. She assured me the recipes are in the cookbook and that particular one was her grandmother’s.
“I didn’t have any recipes written down when I started writing the cookbook. I wrote the whole thing from memories of watching my mother While planning our magazine about Sarajevo and grandmother cook and some recipes my I thought about what elements of a culture are friends passed on to me. The biggest problem universally important. What ingredients of a with the cookbook was the measurements – we place do people always comment on, ask about, cook with our hands so I had to convert it to or compare to their native version? Those things real measurements so people can recreate it. In had to be represented and food was at the top Bosnia we say ‘just enough flour’ or ‘just enough of the list. So I set out to find Lamija employing sugar’. You can’t make a cookbook like that!” every technique I could think of. Finally one morning I got her on the phone, we set up an Lamija asked me about the food that we had interview which she insisted we did in her home, tried in Sarajevo. She said that most of what and I organized a translator to help us through we’d eaten wasn’t correctly prepared. For the questions. example, the burek we had eaten was most likely made with pastry, which had been rolled It’s rare to be invited into someone’s home out thin instead of stretched which is the proper and so I was intrigued by how quickly she way to make it. She also assured me that the offered her apartment as the best place to most correct way to cook burek is in cow fat meet. I realized why as soon as we entered, it not oil because cow fat goes right through was full of gorgeous Bosnian furniture, dishes, your body without sticking in your veins. I told blankets, and carpets. Every corner had a her my favorite Bosnian soup is called Terhana display meticulously set up and immaculately which is a tomato-based soup made with beef clean. Lamija explained that everything was stock. She ran to her pantry to show me her handmade in Bosnia from the fabrics to the homemade Terhana which are the tiny bits of carved wood furniture. She beamed as I looked ‘pasta’ in the soup made from flour, egg, and a around taking it all in. little tomato paste. Lamija is the real deal. There
wasn’t one item of food I described to her that she hadn’t made herself at some point. I asked Lamija about her motivation to write the cookbook. She is afterall a busy professor of literature, fluent in Turkish which she has used to translate Turkish poetry into Bosnian, a traveling professor to other universities around Bosnia and an all around busy woman. She went on to explain the division of people in Bosnia and that her cookbook is for all Bosnians, not just Bosnian Muslims. “You recognize people by what they eat. Food is very important here, it’s our heritage,” she said. “Though recipes differ a little between people groups, they are very similar. You cannot say this book is just for Bosnian Muslims because I have made it for everyone.”
generations has called Sarajevo home, if she is hopeful for the city and for Bosnia as a whole. I wasn’t prepared for the story she was about to tell. Her voice dropped in seriousness and even the translator’s tone changed as he explained to me what she was saying. I could tell based on his short responses that he wasn’t telling me everything. “I am optimistic for Bosnia, yes. But it is very difficult to forget what happened…”
A while after the war broke out, a Serbian friend of Lamija’s family knocked on her door and told her if she didn’t leave she would be killed. She was so stunned she just stood there staring at him while he yelled at her to run away. She put a few items of clothing and her mother’s Qur’an in a bag, put on some of her mother’s jewelry and ran to a friend’s house. For the duration of the Her favorite tradition with food in Bosnia takes war she moved from friend’s house to friend’s place around the Muslim festival of Ramadan. house. The Serb forces took over Lamija’s People cook huge meals to share with everyone. apartment building and lived there during the Families and neighbors come together, war. She said it was a very difficult time moving especially in the old parts of Sarajevo. They around unable to imagine what was happening make extra food and take it to families who in her own home. don’t have as much, but in order to preserve the pride of that family they cover it so no one sees “Everything you see in my apartment I have what they’re doing. This still happens today, acquired since 1995. When I returned to my admittedly not as much. It still seems a far cry home after the war, it was empty. I still have my from New York and London where neighbors mother’s Qur’an and two photos of my mother live next door in the same apartment building and my father but everything else is new.” and never learn each other’s names. I tried to imagine sleeping that first night after I told her I thought it was admirable that she’d returning home to find it empty. spent two years on this cookbook in order to unite people through food rather than focusing “I kept teaching throughout the war at my on their differences. university. Sometimes I had 35 students turn up to class and other days when the sniper fire “In history we didn’t have this. We all lived and shells were heavy I only had a couple. I together in peace and now there is a separation was too proud to stop teaching because of the between us. There was nothing about asking war. But I didn’t have anything to wear – I only someone’s last name to find out their religion took a couple items of clothing when I left my and what ‘side’ they’re on. I don’t like the home. I was embarrassed because I dressed like separation now. It only hurts us.” my students dressed. The thing that broke my heart the most was coming home to find all of I asked Lamija, whose family for many my books gone. Some of them were very rare
poetry books that I cherished. I will always feel pain from losing my books.” Thinking about how adamant Lamija was that her cookbook is for everyone, not just one people group, I realized what writing it meant to her. Running away from her home which then housed the people who tried to kill her must have felt like defeat. Years after the war ended she chose food, one of the main things that unites these divided people, and she wrote a book about it. By doing so she’s resisting the effects of the war – the walls, the separation, the neighbors who turned on each other after generations of living in peace.
“All the books I’ve written are about resistance,” she said. “This one uses food. Others use poetry.” I told Lamija I didn’t know if I could do what she did, teaching through the war, returning back to the apartment which sheltered the very people she had to run from. I didn’t know if I could take two years of my life to write a book in order to unite these people who caused so much pain. Lamija looked around her apartment, at the snow falling outside her window, at the food she’d put in front of us, and then at me. “You can only do what you know. I know food and I know literature so for me it was easy.” 8/9
e m p a thetic
w ar phot o g r a p h e r
How often do you travel? I’m gone for six months out of the year.
It had to happen at least once: a cab ride with a driver who speaks no English, clearly doesn’t know where we need to go and refuses to ask for directions. Ziyah said his flat was a ten-minute walk from the city center but to avoid confusion, ‘Just jump in a cab, tell the driver this address, and you’ll be here in 3 minutes.’ 15 minutes later we’re slipping backwards down an incredibly steep hill on loose gravel. I grab the door handle ready to hurl myself out if we get any nearer to the rusty barricade blocking the cliff behind us. The tires gripped some pavement and we stopped long enough for us to jump out. Ziyah was waving from his porch.
How much of your motivation to photograph other areas of conflict has come from living through the siege here in Sarajevo? I was so frustrated to be living during the war but just a bit too young to photograph professionally or to fight with the rest of my male family members. In a way I’m doing in other areas of the world what I wish I could’ve done here during the war.
You’ve said your family was ‘lucky’ and then went on to describe the horrible things that happened such as your disabled aunt being burned alive in her house, her remains never recovered. How is that lucky? Well there were worse things happening – when you consider the 100,000 people estimated to be killed in Bosnia during the war, thousands We walked up a flight of stairs through a tunnel of of women raped, tens of thousands of people stray cats to get into documentary photographer injured and about 2 million people displaced, Ziyah Gafic’s flat. It’s nice with big windows every single family was impacted and relatively looking down on Sarajevo and across to the mine was lucky. hills on the other side. The view is absolutely stunning with thousands of snow-capped roofs We met with another photographer who said layered on top of one another. Inside it’s a he preferred life during the war, do you agree? bachelor pad through and through complete I definitely agree. In a way life was much better with random furniture and a coffee table made then. It was so much simpler. Everything on top from stacked floor cushions with a piece of of water and food were commodities. It was plywood on top. There’s a lone bed against the very black and white (with an infinite number of wall without bedding on it and a huge table grays, of course). There were two bars in town holding his computer, rows of cameras and stacks to get a drink; there were a couple places to get of photography equipment. Bosnian rock music fresh water and a few places to get food – that playing loudly from a massive stereo in the corner was all we needed. set the scene... Ziyah’s list of credentials is long. He regularly contributes to magazines and newspapers such as: Telegraph Magazine, Newsweek, TIME, Liberation, and La Republica. His work has been widely exhibited around the world and his photo essay about the aftermath of the Bosnian war was published in the book “Tales from a Globalizing World” by Thames & Hudson. He’s been awarded numerous awards and honors such as the Ian Parry Scholarship, Kodak Award for Young Reporters, and several World Press Photo honors. Ziyah’s work mainly focuses on societies in transition; from Bosnia to Rwanda and Chechnya to Iraq. I wanted to find out how a self-taught Sarajevan photographer has made such a dent in the world press and what message he wants to spread about his city.
Are the issues that started the war finished? No definitely not, but they’re political now – I don’t think it could ever escalate into what happened in the 90s because there are too many things in place to channel the problems into politics instead of fighting. We’ve got clearer borders now. Do you see yourself as having a role in preventing or stopping the ethnic violence happening in the places you take photos or are you there just to capture the images? (Laughing) No! I’m not a romantic photographer who thinks I’ll actually make a difference in the world. Actually my profession is pretty useless. There’s value in showing the rest of the world what’s going on in these places but ultimately I really don’t know how much of a difference I’ll make.
Why do you keep going? I’m interested in countries around that world that are going through big transitions and seem to be following similar patterns we did here. The fighting is based on ancient disagreements about land and resources. I really want to show the effects of war in these places – how lonely it is and how determined the locals are to carry on with their lives even when their families and communities have been torn apart. Why do you think you’ve been so successful? My style is very different from traditional photojournalism where the photographs can be very gruesome. My goal in everything I do is to be empathetic and to help the viewer be empathetic with my subjects. I help make these horrible situations a little more bearable for westerners to take in. If they can relate a little to the subject then I’ve done my job.
Where have you photographed that you feel really passionate about? I feel really connected to Lebanon because the situation is so similar to Bosnia. Do you have hope for Sarajevo? You know the locals are very pessimistic about our circumstances but I’ve traveled quite a lot and when I look at where we are, I think we’re doing ok. 15 years after WWII we were still on food rations. Now 15 years after the recent war we don’t need a visa to travel around Europe, we’ve got internet as fast as anyone else, we have freedom of press which is amazing, we have free education and health care. The locals’ only reference to how we’re doing is how much money they have in their pockets, which is fair enough. But when I compare us to Beirut, Kabul, even London and New York, we’re doing really well for a ‘war torn country’. 12/ 13
Max has made a name for himself taking portraits of musicians. When we hung out in Sarajevo, we got talking about ‘band shots’ and how on earth so many come to be shot near train tracks, against brick walls, or in the back of a Cadillac. I couldn’t help feeling as I got to know the city that Sarajevo would almost be the perfect backdrop for a band shot; the grunge and edge, the communist architecture and war-scarred buildings. But Max wasn’t drawn to that. When he arrived he made a beeline for the craftspeople, the skilled tradesmen and women who are the lifeblood of the old town. Over a week he photographed them at work in their work clothes, with the tools of their occupations around. Used to the suspicious nature of most Europeans, Max appreciated how open everyone was to being part of it. It comes across in the images. Looking through the series you can’t help but be moved by their quiet dignity and pride. -Davey Spens
Everyday at noon on the main street in Sarajevo’s historical centre, you can hear at once the call to prayer chanted by the muezzins out the top of the minarets and the ringing of the church bells both at the Catholic Cathedral and at the Orthodox Church. For those who, like me, live in Sarajevo, these sounds very quickly become familiar. The simultaneity reminds me that cultural differences can coexist without annulling each other. Sarajevo is a city where all the religious traditions of Southeast Europe come together.
priests indicated that this tradition of attending the ponoćka was not exclusive to the Muslims. The mass was celebrated by the Cardinal Vinko Puljić, who on his homily made a note of appreciation for the presence of non-Catholics at the Mass. Addressing the Catholics, he exhorted them to recognise Bosnia as their homeland reminding them that ‘this is our land’. The message that Bosnia is also the land of the Catholics was the same message that the nonCatholics sent just by being present at ponoćka that night.
In Sarajevo different religions not only coexist but are part of a common legacy which its citizens cherish. This is expressed in many ways and last December I became familiar with one of them. I decided that instead of going back to my home country Portugal for the Christmas holiday, I should stay and spend it in the place I have chosen to live. I was educated within the Catholic tradition and even though I am not particularly religious, I decided to go to Midnight mass. When I mentioned this to one of my friends, he offered to go with me, even though he is a practicing Muslim. “I always go, every year,” he said. “In Sarajevo everyone goes to the ponoćka, not only the Catholics.” And his mother added that it has always been like that, even during communist rule. When I asked around, everyone confirmed this. People were even surprised when I said that I had never heard of such a thing, believers of a different religion celebrating a holiday that does not belong to their own religion. For the Muslims of Sarajevo, this is an established tradition that has become part of their own identity, while not at all diminishing their attachment and respect to their religious tradition.
This tradition is not to suggest that the coexistence between different national groups is always devoid of tension in Sarajevo. In any society the coexistence among different groups is marked by occasional conflicts and most often by latent tensions. The resilience of a society is most accurately measured not by the presence or absence of tension, but by the everyday events which people do to help manage those differences. Catholic mass at Christmastime is attended by the inhabitants of Sarajevo as an event that is part of their identity as Sarajevans, an identity that transcends the barrier of religious faith.
I got to the Cathedral for Midnight mass around 10:30pm. The doors were still closed, but there was already a small crowd outside waiting and many more were wandering the streets nearby killing time before it started. The crowd gathered in front of the doors was mostly composed of Catholics who were keen on getting a good seat and rather anxious for the doors to open. The more relaxed attitude of the others reflected their desire not to deprive the Catholics of the best available places. When the doors finally opened, the church got full in a matter of minutes creating an overflow crowd outside that followed along thanks to the loudspeakers installed at the square. Up front, in the seats reserved for representatives of other religions, the presence of Orthodox
Muslims, Orthodox Christians, Roman Catholics and Jews have been living in Sarajevo side-byside for five centuries, making multiculturalism an essential feature of the city. A multicultural environment was a common feature of cities throughout the Ottoman Empire, particularly in the Balkans. This was even more so in Bosnia, which was a major crossroads between East and West. Besides Catholics and Eastern Orthodoxes, the Bogomils existed in Bosnia, a Christian church that, lacking in organisation, eventually dissolved itself. Its members either joined the other Christian Churches or converted to Islam. Over time, people from all backgrounds converted to Islam, and a specific Bosnian Islamic culture developed, which included not only the dominant Sunni tradition followed by the Ottoman rulers, but also the establishment of more marginal Sufi mystic orders. The arrival of the Sephardic Jews in the 16th century added further diversity to this already complex mosaic of religions. While in Western Europe religious wars were raging and religious minorities were mercilessly persecuted, in Sarajevo a unique urban culture was emerging, based on religious diversity, acknowledgement and acceptance of differences and strong neighborhood values. 24/ 25
which the Serb nationalists sought to destroy by bombarding the capital city in what was to become the longest siege of modern Religious belonging was, as elsewhere in Europe history. Nevertheless, in besieged Sarajevo at the time, the main criteria of identity, but a this urban culture remained alive in defiance tolerant environment was fostered, in which of its aggressors. While suffering from daily to belong to the urban community meant not shelling, sniper fire and lack of food and water, only to tolerate but also to respect the religious the people of Sarajevo attended cultural events traditions of others. Within a few dozen meters like concerts, plays, exhibitions and religious of the main Mosques, an Orthodox church and services in an attempt not only to preserve their a Synagogue were built aided by the wealthy lives and their dignity, but also to defend the Muslim community who contributed funding spirit of Sarajevo. and land. Overtime, dozens of temples were built during Ottoman rule to fulfill the needs of The siege had a serious impact on the identity the different religious communities. of Sarajevo and its aftermath challenged it As the Ottoman Empire crumbled, the AustroHungarians took over Bosnia-Herzegovina and brought a completely new dynamic to the city. It was in this period that the Catholic Cathedral of the Sacred Heart was built right in the centre of Sarajevo, which is where I attended midnight mass at Christmas. The Austro-Hungarians brought a new, European touch to Sarajevo but there was an even greater change happening in the minds of the locals. Religious-based groups increasingly started to identify themselves also in national terms. The Orthodox became Serbs, and the Catholics became Croats, while for Muslims and Jews their collective identity remained rooted above all in their religious affiliation, though Muslims would eventually refer to themselves as Bosniaks. Thus, religions in the Bosnian context were not only communities of faith, but a much more complex cultural phenomenon which provided the basis for the construction of national identities. The arrival of the 20th century opened an era in which the multicultural character of Sarajevo was severely tested. In the beginning of the century, the city was the stage of the assassination of the Austrian Archduke FranzFerdinand and his wife, which sparked the beginning of the First World War. A decade later, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was created and Bosnia enjoyed a long period of peace and prosperity. When the Second World War came around, the first major attack on the multicultural character of Sarajevo was carried out against the Jewish community. Some Jews escaped deportation by joining the Partisans, the resistance movement led by Tito, others were protected by Muslim families who hid them, but more than 80% perished in Nazi extermination camps. It is now estimated that there are no more than 700 Jewish people living in Sarajevo. After the fall of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, Bosnia-Herzegovina became an independent country, a composite of Serbs, Croats, and Muslims. It was this composite identity and the tolerant urban culture of its capital Sarajevo,
even further. Sarajevo, now the capital of a divided country, has had to reinvent itself as much as it’s had to rescue its multicultural roots. Immediately following the war physical reconstruction of Sarajevo took precedence. Buildings were repaired, new ones were built, and slowly the most visible marks of the war have become less and less prominent in the cityscape, although the scars of the war are still overwhelmingly present to visitors. Among other changes in Sarajevo has been the adoption of a more strict Islamic adherence by some Muslims which you can see in the women who have fairly recently chosen to cover themselves and even in the appearance of previously unknown radical Islamic sects, which the Sarajevan Muslims label as ‘Vehabi’, usually with some disdain. It seems as though the decrease of national diversity in Sarajevo has been paralleled by the increase of diversity among the Muslim Bosniaks, thus keeping up with Sarajevo’s multicultural tradition. It is not uncommon during the summer to see sideby-side a young woman wearing a hijab and another wearing a mini-skirt and short sleeves. They could even be sisters and nobody can safely guess which one is a more pious Muslim. While differences among the religious groups and even between the secular and religious are increasing, a more painful process of reconciliation is taking its first steps. Two weeks after the Catholic Christmas, the Orthodox Christmas was commemorated for the first time in Sarajevo since the beginning of the war with a concert at the National Theatre, organised by the Serb Cultural Society Prosvjeta. Entry to the concert was free and the theatre was packed, with many people standing. Just like what I experienced at ponoćka two weeks earlier, many non-Serbs attended this event celebrating the Orthodox Christmas. It also provided an opportunity for many Serbs to return to Sarajevo, even if just for one evening, and get the chance to feel that they are still part of the centuries-long multicultural tradition that makes Sarajevo such a special city.
OTHERS In Bosnia and Herzegovina you can be one of four things: Serb, Croat, Bosniak or ‘The Others.’ I belong to The Others. The Others are Jews, Roma, Germans, Poles, Bulgarians, Romanians, Hungarians... even Eskimos (Yes, Eskimos). They may have lived in Bosnia and Herzegovina their whole life, speak the local language as a mother tongue, practice traditional customs, but because of a pointless bureaucratic mechanism they are only recognised as ‘The Others’, and as such do not have equal rights. Last year, two men, Dervo Sejdic, a Roma, and Jakov Finci, Jewish, sued the state of Bosnia for breaching human rights. It reached the Strasbourg Court. According to Bosnian state constitution, only a citizen of Serbian, Croatian or Bosniak nationality could become a candidate for a member of the BH presidency. Sejdic and Finci wanted to compete democratically with colleagues of other nationalities, but there was no legal basis for them to stand. The court ruled that it was absolutely necessary to enable everyone to have the same rights in that regard. Outside the European Courts, a celebratory Mr Finci said: “Those who encourage national divisions say that they are doing that to protect their people, but to put it in other words – if you had a toothache you would look for the best dentist not for the dentist of your nationality,
BRUTUS because you are looking for an expert not for a member of a certain nation.” The ruling was not applied, elections took place, a new president was elected. Mr Sejdic and Mr Finci could have asked for the voting to be repeated, they could have fought until their names were on the ballot papers, but, for reasons that are only known to them, they did not. Had they, Bosnia would have lost 12million KM, the expense of holding a voting campaign. It is not easy being one of The Others. Discrimination doesn’t just affect life at a political strata, it filters down to every level of society. When the war was over, politicians talked about reconciliation and equal rights, but little has changed for the ordinary man. In many villages and cities, children cannot sit in the same classroom only because they have different names, nationality and religion. Mixed marriages (unions between members of the different nationalities and religions) have been demonised. What is an ordinary, normal and unremarkable practice in other democratic countries is roundly condemned in the media as unacceptable, filthy, and against God’s laws. Of all The Others, Roma people are singled out for the worst discrimination. Constantly derided, with no jobs and prospects for the future, all the financial help they should receive is diverted to other people. The following essay is made up of photographs I took last year in and around Sarajevo. It documents the lives of some of the Roma people in Bosnia-Herzegovina. I tick The Others’ box out of choice. It’s my message to the government. The politicians will not succeed in repressing the spirit of those who do not think that the nationality and the religion of others are more important than anything else. We are all Herzegovinians and Bosnians. 28/ 29
Zoë Barker – Weathered Faces
One of the greatest gifts we can give to another generation is our experience, our wisdom. -Desmond Tutu
BALLOON S EL L ER PHOTOGRAPHS / MAX KNIGHT
by Davey Spens
The people in this photograph are not the people in the story.
The balloon-seller sat on a low wooden stool in the middle of the main street promenade. He wore waterproofs, though the forecast was clear, and below his wooly hat, deep-set lines ran all over his face. When we first arrived in Sarajevo, the bullet-holes in the buildings and the mortar craters in the pavements knocked the air out of me, but after a couple of days I breezed past them like acne. Yet every time I saw a weathered face, I stopped, as if I had a stitch. On New Years Eve as the street vendors peddled red and blue fireworks from cardboard boxes and shopping trolleys, he was the only one selling balloons. Child-sized eyes went wide at the helium-filled ponies and dinosaurs, footballs and starfish that bobbed and tugged on the handle of a weighted wicker basket onto which they were tied. I hate New Years Eve. I hate the waiting around and the big, sparkly anticlimax. Standing in front of a giant clock, counting backwards from sixty like children who had recently learned to count. The big hand hits twelve and we blast showers of coloured string out of party poppers and find a drunkard to hug. But in Sarajevo it was different; there wasnâ€™t even a clock. We made our way to the square outside the main shopping mall. Five thousand people shoe-horned in. An ABBA tribute band tore through a riot of hits, with sequins and wigs going in different directions, the keyboard player nonchalantly stabbing at the synthesizer. Revelers had been setting fireworks off since
lunchtime, and the air smelt of an English November. At any one time there were a hundred explosions in the streets. Smoking cardboard tubes flew back and forth. Kids detonated them in wheelie bins, setting off car alarms, throwing them at banks. The streets laughed as the rockets BOOMED! overhead and cheered as another KERRACK! sent tourists scuttling for cover. New Year arrived like a stranger slipping in amongst the shadows. We were gathered around an empty stage. There being no countdown, no one knew what the time was when a fat red firework tore open the sky from the top of a building. But five thousand people chose that particular moment to cheer. Heads bobbed down as one by one they reached into their coat pockets and bags for whatever explosives they had managed to hang on to, and lit the blue touch papers of their own New Years Eves. I pressed the button on my digital watch. A green light said 11:53. As we walked back to our apartment, three teenagers came charging towards us. Moments later a banger went off beside a Roma boy who was kneeling on a mat as he played an accordion. He was small and skinny, swimming in his coat as he worked the keys and pumped the bellows. The teenagers whooped and yelled something cold in his direction.
“You okay?” I said, looking down at a mop of black hair. The boy tipped his head and looked blankly at me. I hated that we couldn’t communicate. I reached into my pocket, pushed a twenty-mark note into his hand, as if that would say what I couldn’t. The boy picked himself up like a marionette. He steadied his fingers to play a tune, and juggled the accordion strap on his shoulders, when a man dressed in waterproofs, wooly hat, and weathered face brushed past me. His lips framed a toothy smile. He said something to the boy in Bosnian, and laid a hand across his shoulders. The boy’s eyes opened wide like saucers. He jumped to his feet and looked down the street, scanning above the heads of the crowds. I turned to where they had been pointing, but I didn’t know what I was looking for. The balloonseller turned to me. “Starfish,” he said, in a deep voice, as if he’d dredged his words up from the earth, “I gave them a starfish,” he said, and he chuckled.
It took me a second or two. Not so very far down the road the three teenagers lit a banger and lobbed it over the heads of the crowds. They scuttled to the side to watch the scene unfold, a sea of people parted, cries went up. One of the teenagers doubled over laughing, and there, bobbing above the head of his friend was a yellow starfish-shaped balloon. The balloon-seller brought something out of his pocket, his fingers wrapped tightly around it. Slowly he opened them, stubby finger by finger. On the flat of his palm was a small red firework with a spindly, black fuse. The boy looked from the firework in the open hand to the grin that twisted between the balloonseller’s lips. And that grin spread onto his face too. The balloon-seller raised a single eyebrow, nodding his head in the direction of the teenagers standing under the yellow starfish. And a few minutes later New Year arrived with a CRACK! and a satisfied smile.
Milomir Kovačević 1\2
Sarajevo in the Heart of Paris
Because of the war that devastated the former Yugoslavia, images of suffering in Sarajevo became natural to everybody. Only a few tried to show another picture, to share a reality that’s more complex than the one the media exposed. I held the Sarajevo in the Heart of Paris project for a long time inside of me. Since the beginning, I knew this could not be fulfilled without the people of Sarajevo who had to leave their city because of the war, or by chance, and who now live in Paris. From there, the idea of taking pictures of the objects those former Sarajevans held in their hearts became obvious. What’s more intimate, dearer to those people than the objects they were given, or took with them, and that reminds them of their past, the city where they grew up, their families, or an unforgettable moment of their life? An Ottoman or Austrian-Hungarian coffee mill, baby shoes, a first toy made of wood, grandmother’s jewelry box, family pictures, a briefcase, a cushion, gloves, a pipe, a school
yearbook and a key holder are amongst the objects I photographed. Showing through each of the objects is the owner’s history as well as the richness and multi-ethnicity of the city of Sarajevo. I first planned to take fifty pictures that would be displayed with a little text written by the owners of the objects. But I realized very soon that the history of Sarajevo was bigger than a few dozen photographs. So I kept on taking pictures and today I have more than a hundred of them. I shall work on this project as long as people have things to say and bring their contribution to this photographic project with their personal object and history. This is also my own personal history, the one I want to share with those who didn’t know Sarajevo before the war. And I share it with all the people that participated and wish to change people’s view of the city and the people of Sarajevo.
Ballet Dancer When I was a little girl I wanted to be a ballet dancer just like my mother. My mother spent all her life at The Sarajevo National Theater, where sheâ€™d often take me to see the rehearsals. I never became a ballet dancer, and I am no longer in Sarajevo, but the picture of my little â€œBallerine Motherâ€? is hanging on the wall of my Parisian apartment. 44/ 45
The Pipe “I will follow you.” She didn’t come. Since then, every time I remember those years I spent in Sarajevo, I light my pipe, and while I see the smoke going up in the air, I think that those are the most beautiful words I’ve heard in my life.
The Heart of Sarajevo Going to a shop in Baščaršija to have a broken necklace repaired, my daughter wanted to buy a pendant, “the heart of Sarajevo,” but as she could not choose after half an hour, between the pendant and a pin of the same type, I lost my temper and decided not to buy anything. “What... You don’t want to buy me the heart of Sarajevo?” she said... All the kids stared at us... “No, I said, no one could ever buy the heart of Sarajevo with money.” Then we left without buying anything, but the owner of the shop ran after us to give my daughter that little heart. “I give you this heart, and I am glad... From now on it’s yours.” Since then, she never takes off her heart of Sarajevo, and dreams of going back there someday.... This is Sarajevo... Since always.
My Grandmotherâ€™s Nested Boxes Always stored too high, unreachable for the little kids, they would make them dream. Those were magic boxes. My grandmother used them, cooking magic food for me. At first, I imagined, looking at the images on the boxes, that the characters would come out to help the magician. Only later would I learn what was inside. Salt, sugar, flour, rice, coffee and paprika powder... All that a house could not go without, neither the boxes nor the ingredients, nor the magic grandmothers of our childhood dreams.
Accordion February 1975, coming back from winter holidays, a surprise awaited me. Mom and Dad offered me a ‘huge’ accordion. My dream had come true. What a pleasure, I never forgot it! I took it everywhere with me - Petrova Gora, Pohorje, Cetinje, Boračko jezero... My brother’s wedding, my sister’s wedding... The war, Autumn 1995... One evening in Paris, this surprise was waiting for me. The same feeling from 20 years before... The same good, old accordion found me. Happiness.
My Treasure What to take when you leave? Only the most precious! So I left home with some books that were very valuable to me. The rest came later, in strange ways. And this is how the river Miljacka met the river Seine!
T-shirt It was my uncle Zvonko Lepetić’s t-shirt, well-known actor in ex-Yugoslavia. He gave it to me as he was playing in a show for Sarajevo’s TV, in 1989. It is the only thing I have left from those days in Sarajevo, and I still wear it, even if my girlfriend says that it doesn’t suit me... Whatever!
DANIS TANOVIĆ THE OSCARWINNING CITY COUNCILLOR words / Davey Spens photographs / Max Knight and stills from No Man’s Land
Danis fiddled with an electronic cigarette. “How old are you?” he asked me. “Thirty,” I replied. He put one end of the cigarette into his mouth, took the smallest drag and blew three perfect smoke rings that hung in the air like something from Disney’s Fantasia and broke just centimeters in front of my face. “When I was one year older I won an Oscar,” he said. In 2002, No Man’s Land won the Best Foreign Language Film at the 74th Academy Awards. It was the first feature Danis had directed. When it comes to directing, Danis Tanović is undoubtedly a natural. When we met for lunch, he chose the venue, led the conversation, told the chef what to cook and me what I was eating - chicken curry, rice, fried potatoes, beef and mushrooms in pumpkin oil, then chocolate cake, and rakjia. I lent forward to chink glasses, unaware that he had already thrown his down his throat. He looked at me over the aluminum frames of his spectacles and smiled.
No Man’s Land is the story of three wounded soldiers: a Bosnian and a Serb meeting in a trench between lines, and a third soldier who comes to, but can’t move a muscle because he’s lying on a mine. It’s an intelligent satire that explores the meaninglessness of war. There are no good guys or bad guys, for Danis they’re merely human beings caught up in an inhuman conflict. I asked him if the image of the soldier lying on the mine was his picture of Bosnia at the end of the conflict. “Not just for then,” he said, “for now.” He said he thought that if nothing changes there will be another war. I hadn’t heard anyone talk like that in Sarajevo before. The interview took an eccentric twist when he interrupted me to take a telephone call from his butcher, and after a debate I wish I could have understood, he settled on chicken for dinner. Danis has a great sense of humour. He asked what restaurants I’d been to, just to laugh at me struggling to pronounce them. He cites his favourite British films as Only Fools and Horses and ‘Allo ‘Allo! Over lunch, just as in his films, he landed punches in between the laughs. He joked about life in the war. “It was a lot of fun,” he said, “You could shag whoever you wanted. But was it better? If you ask me if I would like a grenade landing next to my child, then of course it isn’t.” Danis lived in Paris and Brussels for almost a decade. He returned with his family to Sarajevo a few years ago. “So why did you come back?” I asked. “This is where I was born,” he said, “I was born in this shit-hole. Where were you guys born…? Well you were born it that shit-hole.” He shrugged in a very Bosnian way and then went on to explain that his mother was diagnosed with cancer. Family comes first, he told me, then film, then everything else. He passed me his iPhone and showed me a photograph of his wife and children. When I asked him if he was optimistic about the future, he was already primed with the reply,
“A pessimist says ‘It can’t get worse’ and an optimist says ‘Oh, yes it can!’ Am I an optimist? Well it could be worse, so yes I am.” It was a line from No Man’s Land. Optimism is almost a dirty word in Sarajevo. Sometimes when you look around you can feel the soldier lying on the mine, but then, from time to time you catch these whiffs of optimism. Not so much in words as actions. In 2009 Danis started a tiny political party called Nasa Stranka, or Our Party. It was a reaction to the political situation in BiH with the nationalists on one side and socialists on the other.
Though his film-making is classically story driven, he’s excited by the opportunities of 3D films, and doesn’t think anyone’s used it well to date. Take the man lying on the bomb in No Man’s Land. How much better, he said, if the audience could experience and feel what it’s like to be lying on top of it. We would have banned land mines if people could experience what that felt like. Some years ago, when Danis returned to Sarajevo he was approached by a drunk guy in the street. “I know you,” he said, “you are Danis Tanović. You are Star Wars.” Danis knows that these days he comes from a different world, but recognizes that that is precisely why he is here. He could easily have carved out a nice life in Hollywood, or continue to raise his family
“We look to the West, not to Pakistan. Though don’t get me wrong, you haven’t got it right. You’ve come here to talk about war, and yet your country is at war, you just treat it like a video game.” In 2010 he was elected to the city council. I pictured the Oscar-winning film director opposite me, in unending meetings about refuse collection. I asked why he started the party. He told me because he is a dumb-ass, that it was a stupid thing to do, but Danis is a man who gets excited about what’s possible. “Obama,” he said, “Yes We Can! Yes he rode on this wave of false hope, but as a result of the health care reform, 80 million people have healthcare that didn’t before and that would have been unthinkable ten years ago.” He pulled his iPhone out to reinforce the point. “Twenty years ago this would cost you £1billion and no one would know how to use it.”
in France or Brussels, but he wanted to be in government, because what Sarajevo needs are people on the inside who have seen the outside. “Everyone here does not look out there,” he said, “they believe what the newspapers tell them. If the papers say that the ‘84 Olympics was the greatest Olympics in the world, that is what they’ll believe. Which is why we’re in politics to move the boundaries. Just being here moves the borders a little nearer to France.” Their party spent €50,000 on the election and they’re still paying the debts. The main parties spent millions. I asked him what success looked like. “Survival,” he said, “No really, survival. We’re playing by the rules.” “There goes the optimist again,” I said. He reached across the table and topped up my rakjia.
I was born in Italy near the border of the former Yugoslavia. I watched in the 70s and 80s when Italians exchanged clothes and shoes for Yugoslavian fuel and meat. Then everything changed. The same people who used to come to Italy to shop, returned in the 90s as refugees. During the summer of 2009, I travelled throughout the former Yugoslavia with those memories and a copy of “The Bridge on the Drina” by Ivo Andrić. There was a line in the book that stuck with me, a phrase that Andrić used to describe Bosnian Muslims at the time; “As algae on the shore, cheated and threatened, abandoned to themselves and to their bad destiny”. Inspired by my travels and Andrić’s book, I started the project, “Algae on the Shore: Sarajevo - Belgrade Express” which documents the train that goes between Sarajevo, Bosnia and Belgrade, Serbia. It explores the identity of the Balkans and acts as a homage to Marshal Tito who defined the construction of railways in Yugoslavia as a symbol of “brotherhood and unity.” On this train journey, only recently reopened after the war, you cross three countries divided by their recent past yet united by their Slavic origins and complicated history. Together they wrestle with the uncertainty of
the future and their common desire to avoid isolation and abandonment. Though, however hard they try, the wounds from the war run deep. Zenica, Zavidovici, Zepce, and Doboj are just a few examples of industrial towns along the route that, thanks to the railway, used to be at the heart of the economic success of Yugoslavia. Now they are ghost towns where poverty, unemployment and ethnic division prevent any type of development. Photographing and interviewing people on the train and in the villages along the route proves to me that the age of socialism is far away and the aftermath of the war is still a heavy stone on Bosnian people. Most of the travellers do not cross the border with Croatia or Serbia. They are commuters for studying or working reasons, and use the train only as a cheaper way to move from Sarajevo to their own villages. “Algae on the Shore: Sarajevo - Belgrade Express” is an ongoing project which I will continue to work on, diving deeper into stories about the cities and stations along the route. I believe the Sarajevo – Belgrade Express train is a step towards peace, renewal, collaboration, and future development so that Bosnians will no longer be doomed to the fate Ivo Andrić wrote about.
Algae on the Shore :
Sarajevo â€“ Belgrade Express
Ciarabellini La r a
Dvadesetorica: The biggest boy band in the world
words / Bernie Gardner photos / Max Knight 62/ 63
I’d never considered what Sarajevo sounded like other than the sounds of war. As I’m driven into the city from the airport, there’s rather depressing graffiti on the buildings: ‘U2 Rule,’ ‘AC/DC,’ and ‘Manic Street Preachers’. As if he had an inkling why I might be here, with a flight case and recording equipment, the taxi driver turns on the radio and smiles in the rear view mirror as the sounds of gypsybased Sevdah folk blast out. I was in Sarajevo to unearth homegrown sounds, the music of the markets and the streets, to find new sounds from traditional instruments, younger vocalists singing old folk songs and the new generation discovering punk. And though I found all of that, and met some incredibly talented people, the thing that left the single biggest impression on me was perhaps the most surprising. On my final night, I was invited to meet a group known only as ‘The Twenty’ (or ‘Dvadesetorica’ in Bosnian). It’s a band of twenty members, all men and mostly in their thirties. The Twenty has been together for nearly two decades. They are all life-long friends who lived through the siege, and they’re committed to making music together, albeit in quite an unusual way. The Twenty formed in a bar called So.ba on the outskirts of the centre. So.ba, which means ‘a room’, a beautifully accurate moniker, is where they still get together. Rehearsals consist of alternating bursts of drinking, laughter, and arguments. By day they are video editors, architects, radio dj’s, bartenders and food-industry workers, but like a league of superheroes, when they enter So.ba every member of The Twenty assumes a new identity. The drummer, Nedo is ‘Kameni Spavac’ (meaning ‘The Stone
Sleeper’), the bald bassist is ‘Sexi Tikvan’ (‘Sexy Pumpkinhead’) and the bartender becomes ‘Tersaski Rendzer’ (‘The Texas Ranger’). It all sounds quite fun, but it just isn’t what I expected to find in Sarajevo from a group of guys in their thirties. The Stone-Sleeper met me in the square in front of the Cathedral and within minutes had invited me back to his house to hear some of their recordings. I was struck by how open he was, he didn’t know me from Adam, but seemed genuinely happy to hang out and keep me stocked with beers. He explained that that was the ethos behind The Twenty, there was no Machiavellian master plan to rule the radio-waves or make it onto Eurovision, the guys loved hanging out together and, as Nedo put it, escaping from the women in their lives. Typically The Twenty take famous songs and change the lyrics to something funny in Bosnian. Nedo couldn’t help but smile as he played me a song about Facebook, with a chorus about friend requests. He showed me Youtube videos that looked like a football squad shouting down microphones in sunglasses, like the very last act of a karaoke night before the venue HAS to turn everything off. It’s a sweaty, terrible, passionate stag night mess of music and bodies, and it’s quite, quite, brilliant. It was obvious that the war had gathered these guys in a way that nothing else could, it had created a community of survivors. Music was just one of the ways this was worked out. I was struck by how much it meant to them. The Twenty is political, not in a revolution kind-of-way, but in parody, fun, and in men being boys again. As I’m watching one performance, the instrumental break comes and The Twenty dance as if they have no inhibitions. One guy is jumping madly on the spot, another
is doing the twist, several are ‘finger dancing’ across the stage. We watch another video. Nedo explains that they wanted to record a live performance but couldn’t agree on a location, until one of The Twenty suggested going to their favourite roadside lamb grill. It was several hours outside Sarajevo, towards Mostar, but that didn’t matter. The footage is of the road-trip in the coach, much like a travelling football team, building to an extraordinary performance outside the best roadside lamb grill in BiH. The more I saw, the more it started to make sense, the food dictated the video, not the music. I can’t think I’ve ever seen a group of thirty-something men so free and uninhibited. But one thing was really bugging me, how was it possible to keep a band together for over fifteen years, let alone one of twenty people? “We had some problems with one guy who hated another in the band,” said Nedo, “After some meetings, he was fired. We couldn’t play for a while, as the band is called The Twenty, so we added a new guy. It’s ok now, though we do have to keep some people apart.” Nedo looked at me and laughed. “Come on,” he said, “we love getting together, we always will, I think. To drink, to laugh and to escape our women!” In my brief time in Sarajevo, I’d been inspired by traditional instruments and timeless voices, but it was these twenty guys, this peculiar boy-band of Sarajevo, that seemed to be firmly grabbing the past and
the future at the same time. I was touched by the strength of their friendship. Despite having been through the darkest times together, they were brought closer, be it through drinking in the corners of the ‘So. ba’ and making music together or going on a road-trip to a lamb grill in a coach. The Twenty have a life that so many ‘boybands’ of the West have never had. And if these guys can get together and sing, if they can dance like embarrassing dads-ata-wedding and show the world they don’t have a care in the world, well then that says something special. At first I wondered if The Twenty were slightly abusing music by being so shamelessly comedy, but scratching beneath the surface has shown the life within, it actually seems to be where music means something again. They’re not the right age, they don’t sound right and definitely don’t look right, but we can all learn something from Dvadesetorica, the biggest boy band in the world. Watch their videos online at: www.allaboardtheboat.com/boat-magazine
words / Davey Spens photos / Max Knight
ENES ZLATAR BURE BIH’s ANSWER TO DAMON ALBARN
We filed into the Youth Theatre fifteen minutes before Validna Legitimacja, Enes Zlatar Bure’s latest project, was due to take to the stage and found a couple of the few remaining seats in a row of hipsters. They were decked out in dungarees and a-symmetrical haircuts, big plastic jewelry and check shirts. We could have been in Hackney or Brooklyn. I’d met Enes a number of times. We had had a few brandies when I first arrived in the city. He’d driven me around in his Peugeot 306, Richard Hawley was playing on the stereo. I’d been to a band rehearsal, I was the eighth fully-grown man in a cramped space no bigger than a teenager’s bedroom. Every time we met up he told me a new story about a different band, a different project, film, exhibition or scheme that he’d run, was running, or intended to start, and over the course of a month my picture of him pieced together like a sort of never-ending jigsaw. Enes was the lead singer of Sikter, a Sarajevan band that formed before the war in 1990. Their name comes from a curse word the band shouted at another group as they stormed the stage and cleared them off before playing their first gig. They were the first Bosnian band to be played on MTV. They’ve played the San Siro Stadium, supported U2 in 1997, and worked with Brian Eno.
I caught Enes before the rehearsal. We huddled around a five bar electric heater, sipping some sort of spirit from a hip flask.
It doesn’t seem to have held him back. Aside from fronting Sikter, Enes is also one of the founders of the Sarajevo video production house Pro.ba. He has scored a number of films including the Grbavica, a movie made by Jasmila Žbanić that won a Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. He is an accomplished video artist and has directed a number of documentaries, including Two Schools Under One Roof – the story of a segregated school in BiH where Bosniak and Croat school children are educated separately, though they live side-by-side and speak the same language.
The curtain lifted on the show in the Youth Theatre with a five-minute film shot in an outdoor market. The soundtrack was heavy, and other-wordly. Then three men in paintsplattered dungarees, black rubber capes and white pointed bird beaks took to the stage. They looked like giant crows at a Super Mario Brothers convention. Over the course of the evening they were joined by a basketball player, a man in Speedos in a cage, a bunch of football hooligans, and a giThe war fostered experimentalism. They ant frog with the face of a famous folk singer. made do with what they could find, and evThe music was challenging, the lyrics punchy eryone had something to say. Enes started to and political, the stage-craft like a lo-fi Bosexperiment with video. His girlfriend at the nian Gorillaz. The hipster crowd laughed and time lived in Sweden and he shot a series of head-banged. As the show closed the three video diaries, the first of which was a film of crows took bags of banknotes and threw him skiing down a street to a soundtrack of them out into the audience. The theatre Van Halen’s Jump. When the war ended, that erupted. energy quickly evaporated. “There was this energy during the seige. Everyone was an artist. You’d rehearse with acoustic instruments during the day, plug in to gas generators, and then at night, everyone would go to Obala Art Center. The place was alive. It was the only way you could feel like a normal person,” Enes told me, “but then the war ended and within one year it was gone.”
“There was this lethargy. You could feel it. There used to be hundreds and hundreds of bands. We were living for the moment. It was the pure spirit of art. Then boom! The war ended.” Sikter had calls to play in Europe. They lived in Brixton, London for a while, moved to Amsterdam, toured Italy.
Enes Zlatar Bure bemoans the state of music in Sarajevo these days. The city used to be full of bands, but the members would turn twenty-one and stop. You can’t live on music anymore. He counts himself lucky that he is one of a handful of people who can make a living from it. It’s a world away from the state of British music, with all our manufactured pop acts with nothing to say. I can’t help but wish we had an Enes or two.
“Sometimes I regret coming back,” said Enes, “I mean I don’t. But I do think sometimes I should have stayed. But I didn’t want to make music for people in Amsterdam. We came back because we thought we had something to say.” Enes had always wrestled with that idea. He wants to have his voice heard, but doubts it can really alter anything. He took another swig of his hipflask. “When I was twenty-two I was rebellious. I wanted to change things, then I realized I can’t.” 66/ 67
MANCHESTER CITY, 4 O’CLOCK When we arrived in Sarajevo, Alija, the owner of the flat we were renting, drove us into the city. He was white-haired and short-sighted, with big ski gloves and one of those hats that flops down over your ears. His kids were scattered across the globe – a son in Australia, a daughter in Sweden. He’d worked all over the States as an engineer so had a rusty grasp of English that slowly returned the more he spoke. He didn’t say an awful lot but there was one thing he was keen for us to see. “You here to see Olympic stadium?” said Alija. I lent forward between the headrests. “Er, yes,” I said, enthusiastically. He nodded, as if there couldn’t possibly be any other reason for us being there. “It’s very nice. Very impressive. You will be satisfied.” In 1984 Sarajevo hosted the Winter Olympic Games. It was the year Jane Torvill and Christopher Dean earned across-the-board perfect scores in figure skating. In 2011 The ’84 Olympics is still big business. You can buy Olympic merchandise in the markets, the orange logo is still embedded in the pavements, and Vucko the little wolf mascot smiles back from public murals. In the history of the city, 1984 was a moment for pride, when the world tuned in, sat back and watched. A decade later, when the media returned, the world sat back and watched for very different reasons.
stories served up to tourists are dominated by the past – either tired shots of ‘84, or images of the siege. And though the residents are happy to answer the questions, you can hear a silent groan. A longing for another Winter Olympics or some other event to complete the circle, to put Sarajevo back on the map, and to puff out its chest once again. As we were walking back to our apartment, we ran into a hairdresser outside her salon in our neighbourhood. “Melly!” I said, “You’re not working?” I have a habit of talking too fast, and Melly would often ask me to repeat myself. She looked at me with a blank expression, but then the penny dropped. “No. Not working,” she said, “I close early. Manchester City. Four o’ clock.” It was my turn to look confused. “Manchester City?” “Yes, Manchester City,” she said, “Edin Džeko.” She took my hand and unlocked the salon, pulling us all inside. We stood around as she rummaged in the stack of glossy magazines. “Here,” she said, pulling out one and flicking through the pages, “Edin Džeko.” She tapped a picture of a man with a big smile.
Edin Džeko was the Bosnian Footballer of the year in 2009 and 2010. He’s known locally as the ‘Bosnian Diamond.’ On the 3rd of January Whenever our photographers came out, the 2011 he moved to Manchester City for £27 first place we took them was the stadium. These million pounds making him the 6th highest days it’s the home of FK Sarajevo, one of the transfer in Premiership history. city’s two professional teams. It was a Sunday “He a nice boy,” said Melly, “Very nice. He gave at the start of pre-season, and the lads were his taxi driver a new Mercedes.” out on the training pitches playing five-a-side She looked up at the clock. with bibs and cones. A handful of locals had “Come on! It’s nearly time!” turned out to watch. Fifty metres away was the She bundled us out of the shop. Olympic tower, a smokestack adorned with the Then she was off down the street, talking as she trademark rings, that marked the perimeter went. of the Olympic site. From there on it was “Manchester City,” we heard her say, “Edin cemeteries. As I stood to watch the football, Džeko. Very proud.” I couldn’t help but feel frustrated that the
Jahorinaâ€™s Olympic Odyssey
words / Sam Baldwin of SnowSphere.com photographs / Ben Capewell
Mention Sarajevo to most Brits and one thing comes to mind. The name of the Bosnian Herzegovinian capital is synonymous with bombs and bullets. Having watched the siege of the city played out on the 9 o’clock news during the early ‘90s, the legacy of war is found not just in the pockmarked buildings, but in people’s perception of the place. Even though the fighting ceased over 15 years ago, the stigma lives on and few Brits care to make the three hour flight. It’s an inconvenient truth for much of the former Yugoslavia; misconceptions still abound about the safety, service and serenity of the region. But having heard intriguing tales of a beautiful city, friendly locals and good food, I wanted to see through my own goggles, what Sarajevo had to offer the snowboarder. So, in February 2010, my team of eight British snowboarders wedged our boards and bags into a van in Belgrade and set off on a two week, 2000km road trip around Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia Herzegovina. Our mission? To sample the snow, the cities and the sights; to distinguish fact from fiction, and to bring the truth back to base. Entering Sarajevo It was early afternoon as we rolled into the outskirts of Sarajevo in our minibus which
had brought us up and over the mountains from Montenegro. The city is just how we had imagined it might be; grim tower blocks bare down on the road and as we move closer to the centre, we begin to notice the bullet holes. Almost every building seems scarred, from high rise flats to ground level buildings, where hot lead had penetrated. There’s no escaping the reminder of the city’s siege when it sustained serious damage with ongoing attack from motors and sniper fire from the surrounding hills. But as we near the centre, the architecture begins to change. The menacing tower blocks disappear and a charming hillside city rises up, sliced down the middle by the slow-flowing Miljacka River. Trams zip past ferrying shoppers in and out of the suburbs; trendy couples smoke cigarettes over coffee in tiny cafes and old men queue to buy bread from ‘hole in the wall’ bakeries. We find our accommodation with little difficulty, the slightly quirky, yet modern, clean and comfortable Hotel Hecco. As we shift our gear to our rooms, we notice a “No Handguns Please” sign outside. It’s a little reminder that this is Bosnia not Switzerland, but it all adds to the exotic allure of the place. The young woman on reception speaks excellent English, is friendly, helpful and seems happy to see us.
Jahorina Ski Resort The following morning, after a breakfast of bread rolls, cheese and ham, we jump into our minibus and head out of town, up and into the hills. Jahorina is a thirty minute drive from the centre, making it a popular weekend escape for the city’s locals. Sarajevo hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics (Jahorina was the venue for several alpine skiing events) and has no intention of letting anyone forget the fact. Although much of the sporting infrastructure was destroyed during the fighting, Bosnians remain immensely proud of their Olympic heritage, which has become all the more important considering the turmoil the city has been through since. We pull in to the car park, gear up, and head off to buy lift passes, eventually managing to decipher the language and purchase the right tickets. Although it seems that some of the lifts are relics of the Olympic era, Jahorina has seen new investment in the form of brand new, sixman high-speed lifts, which were installed just a few days before our arrival. The ‘Security Wolf’ lift operators are an interesting and unfamiliar sight; dressed in shin-high army boots, black jumpsuits and SWAT team caps, they look more like members of the SAS elite than your average lifty. Are the freeloading skiers of Sarajevo really such a big problem here? A soft mist hangs over the mountain as we ascend on the comfortable red-cushioned lift. The weather was warmed slightly bringing a thaw, along with some rain, so it’s spring snow conditions for us, but despite the less than ideal weather, we set off to explore. The white stuff is wet and the powder like porridge off piste, but the terrain itself exceeds our expectations. One big fun park, it’s a mixture of trees, steeps, cat-tracks, and open faces that would make Jahorina great fun on a powder day. We spend a couple of hours cruising the ‘sugar-snow’ slopes, popping off little jumps, and trying not to get stuck on the sticky flats. We stop for lunch at a small bar and restaurant at the base and order a succession of pizzas. The food is tasty enough, but the bill isn’t. The staff attempt to overcharge us, leaving us an illegible handwritten bill. If you’re paying in Euros rather than BAM, the local currency, it pays to scrutinise. However, I’m pleased to report that this was the only place in Sarajevo
where we had such an experience. We head back up high on the mountain and cruise for a little while longer. There’s certainly plenty of potential here, and in better conditions, if you were happy to hike, there’s some great lines to be found. Light rain continues for most of the day, and we decide to pull up for an afternoon beer at a little wooden bar that is pumping out Balkan-techno beats. We order a round of Sarajevsko beers, and retire by the circular fire that crackles in the centre of the room, offering some welcome warmth and the chance to dry off. After a couple of beers, we make our way back down to base, but there is one last incident. One of our team, Chris, loses control momentarily and collides with a female skier, leaving both of them on the ground and poles strewn around. As they lie in tangled heap, he offers the thumbs up and the only word of Bosnian he knows: “Dobra?” It roughly translates as “good” and is completely inappropriate for the situation, so it’s no wonder that the dazed women looks at him in puzzlement, before righting herself and skiing away. Sarajevo by Night Despite Sarajevo’s bullet-holed buildings, the centre is a pretty place. A maze of one and two storey wooden shops wind around roughcut, flagstone lanes. Here you’ll find, petite cafes, bars and souvenir shops, and the heavy use of wood in the architecture reminds me of some parts of Japan. Could Sarajevo be the Kyoto of Europe? That night, we eat in an excellent little resultant called ‘Mala Kuhinja’ meaning ‘Little Kitchen’. Run by a Bosnian celebrity chef, he cooks his Balkan-Asian fusion food before our eyes. Our waiter and host is equally entertaining, regaling stories of how he went to school in underground bunkers during the siege. It’s a great end to our stay, and the warmth and friendliness of the people really comes through. I leave Sarajevo knowing that I will return. The city has impressed us all and the snowboarding was good enough for me to want a second helping. Jahorina will never be able to rival the big ski resorts in the French or Austrian Alps for size - but as a city and ski break combined – the charm of Sarajevo with its nearby mountains makes a very welcome change from the well skied resorts of the West.
Neno Novaković : The Second Largest Tourist Attraction in Sarajevo words /
We first met Neno outside the National Museum on one of the coldest days of our time in Sarajevo. We found his ‘Free Sarajevo Walking Tours’ listed number two on Tripadvisor’s recommendations for Sarajevo and he wasn’t what I expected. He was younger than I pictured and he looked more Turkish than Bosnian to me. His eyes were big and friendly and he looked significantly warmer than I felt. “This is nothing. Wait until we’re deep into January. Then it gets cold,” he said with a smile as I stood there shivering under my layers. Standing on ‘Sniper Alley’ we were instantly drawn in by his stories of being seven when the war broke out. He took us through the different historic periods of the city and how it was once the gateway between the East and the West. He told us about the ancient Bosnian people group called the Bogomils believed to be the ‘original’ Bosnian people. And he showed us the architectural influences of the Austro-Hungarian times juxtaposed with the traditional Turkish architecture of the Ottoman times. He told us about traditional Bosnian food and even some dishes that are specific to Sarajevo. And he answered all of our hundreds of questions. We stayed in touch with Neno after the tour and he helped us a lot throughout our time in Sarajevo. He translated for some of our interviews and told us about restaurants that we mustn’t miss. After meeting so many people there, we realized how unique Neno is. We found ourselves inspired by his positive but realistic point of view and determination to make something out of very little. Without a doubt, Neno helped us fall in love with Sarajevo, which I guess at the end of the day is his job.
photos / Jonathan Cherry Why did you start your free Sarajevo walking tours? I just needed something to do and a way to make some money. I don’t make a lot of money because it’s all tips-based, but enough to buy books, clothes, and shoes when I need them. I got a scholarship for my master’s degree which is in Diplomacy and International Relations. It means I’m paying very little but I still need to buy my books. How did living through the war effect your decision to study politics? I’ve always been interested in other countries and politics. I think a lot of that has to do with living through the war and living with the effects of war after it finished. But I am still too young to get into the politics and I believe that I could not give 100% of myself like I’m giving now when I’m with tourists on my walking tours. Also as one famous Voltaire quote says, “Politics is the art of lying at the right time,” and I really don’t like to lie. What effects of the war are you still living with? Our daily lives are still affected by the war because of the constitution and government that has been set up as a result of it. We have to declare on all documents what religion we are. Many times that determines if we get the job or not. My father is Serbian and my mother is Bosnian so I don’t know which box to tick. I usually tick the ‘Other’ box which stands for Jews and Roma people, which I’m neither, but I don’t agree with needing to tick the box, so it’s a little bit of a protest. Your parents are different nationalities? That seems rare these days… Mixed marriages are very rare. If I am out in 78/ 79
Sarajevo and I start talking to a girl, the first question they ask me is usually about my religion. They’ll stop talking to me if they find out I’m not the same religion as them. Actually, I’m not religious at all. And my last name is Serbian from my father, so I get dismissed quite a lot when people hear it.
is an undiscovered gem of Europe. We need to show that the war has not managed to ruin the attractions scattered throughout the country. Sarajevo, Travnik, Banja Luka and Mostar are cities of an incredible beauty. Bosnia and Herzegovina is also home to a number of national parks and beautiful mountains.
So would your dream job be to work in government and help bridge these divides? No, my biggest dream right now is to help tourism in Sarajevo and Bosnia. I really believe it could be better than it is – it’s such a beautiful country. We get a lot of ‘war tourists’ but I think Sarajevo has a lot more to offer. Of course, I share stories on my tours about the war because you can’t separate the war from this city, but there is a long and interesting history here that deserves to be told as well.
Are you optimistic about Sarajevo’s future? Yes I am optimistic. That’s why I am still here.
Do you think tourism is the answer to putting Bosnia on the map again? Yes, tourism is very important for Bosnia and Herzegovina because it will help rebuild our reputation and re-establish us on an international scale. Bosnia and Herzegovina is not very well known for tourism, but I think it
What’s your biggest dream? I want to visit every country in the world before I die. But I will always live in Sarajevo.
S e a r c h o f
M e m o r i e s Agatha A. Nitecka
L o s t
Sophie Cooke The Last of the Bogomils Ilena was sitting by the window of the student cafeteria when Salko caught sight of her. He saw the backs of her bare shoulders pressed against the glass, a sliver of her sharp profile. He turned back towards the Academy entrance, although he had been planning on going to buy a new log book from the stationers and a fresh pack of polo shirts from the market. They came in a two-pack, the polo shirts, one black and one white. Ilena wasn’t just an ex-girlfriend: she was Salko’s oldest friend. They had kicked balls around in the concrete yard of their apartment block in the suburb of Hrasno; had gone to school together, borrowed bikes and cycled the towpath together; smoked their first spliff together under the cherry trees up on the hill, aged fourteen: lain back, high on Salko’s brother’s Turkish hash, and argued about the film Silent Gunpowder, despite the fact neither of them had actually seen it. It hadn’t been a real argument: just a play fight, punctuated with snorts of laughter. It was late Spring. The blossom had rustled in tissue clouds above them; the air had smelled of new grass, and yeast from the old brewery below, just by the monastery. They had known it all with their eyes closed. They had sat in the basement together when the trees were gone and the canal was full of tank shells, when the bullets sank their teeth into the walls of the Hrasno apartment blocks. The bullets spat out concrete as if it were sand, it sprayed in a kind of powder around them. Everything was sand; all the things that had been real, fell apart. People, buildings, dogs. Curtains blew from sawn-off rooms, as if bricks and mortar were nothing more than dolls’ houses.
illustrations / Zoë Barker
After the war, Salko rented a car from one of the Internationals, a man from Brussels with an electric shaver. Salko ran the car as a taxi. When the Belgian’s contract moved him on to some new crisis zone, Salko was able to buy the Citroën from him outright. It was good in the beginning. There were fewer customers, though, once the other Internationals had also gone. The streets were quiet now without all the high foreign salaries. Salko had maybe been in love with Ilena all his life. He had the feeling Ilena had entertained him as an option, back at the time when she was trying to decide which way her life should go. She could have married him - they both knew this, without ever discussing it - and that was why she had let him begin the love affair. To see how she might like being the wife of a taxi driver who loved her. When she had said that she did not want to be his ‘romantic partner’ (that was how she had phrased it), that she was going back to high school, and would like to try for a place at the ASU and learn how to make films, and would find it easier to do this ‘if I can be completely committed to it’, Salko had driven off by himself and had not come back for a week. When he had finally returned, Ilena had come round to the apartment where he lived with his family and shouted at him for twenty minutes in the bathroom, which was the only private room. Her face was red with tears. She had pushed him against the basin, her fine white hands surprisingly tough and hard; he could still feel the ghosts of her palms slamming into his collarbones. ‘I thought you had killed yourself!’ she had yelled. ‘You can’t just disappear like that! You can’t do that!’ ‘Killed myself? Over you? Get real.’ Salko had pushed her off him, and she had fallen into the
space where he had been. He had looked at the back of her dark head in the cracked plasticframed mirror that hung above the basin, because he had not wanted to look at her face. He had stared at the reflection of the back of her head, the way her blackish hair curved round the back of her skull, licked her neck with spiky tongues. He had tilted his head back and swallowed. They had both been twenty-one then, but Ilena went and sat in classrooms alongside the fifteen-year-olds while Salko carried on earning wages like a thirty-five-year-old. A year or so later, they had begun speaking to each other again. The distance between them was obvious. Only Ilena seemed annoyed by it, as if Salko had agreed to something that denied both their childhoods. Sometimes, when she looked at him, she thought she had never been young. Ilena was sitting by herself with her legs bent up on the cafeteria bench, staring at the other students. It was the last day before the summer break. Trainee actors and producers, trainee directors and technicians, bunched and unbunched in a changing ball of noise and bags and laughter that seemed like it might go on forever, all its parts were so completely interchangeable. 2006 haircuts, green and yellow T-shirts, came and went, replaced one another in the satisfied huddle of plans and promises. Ilena saw Salko, and looked away. ‘I don’t want to talk to anyone,’ said Ilena. She was still pointedly looking away. One hand in the sunlight, where it rested on the tabletop. Her sharp blackish fringe, and her sharp dark eyes beneath it, in the shadow. Salko looked out of the window. A yellow tram
slid past. When he looked back, Ilena was staring at him. ‘The Last of the Bogomils isn’t happening,’ she said. ‘They’re not making the film?’ Ilena started sweeping her hand over the tabletop as if she were cleaning it. ‘It turns out the executive producer was only interested in getting into Emir’s pants. I hope she gave him good head.’ ‘They’re not making it?’ ‘I thought really hard about whether to work with a big company like that, rather than doing my own thing. You know, it was a really hard choice to make. I could have done my own thing. I could have set up my own project.’ Salko lifted Ilena’s white trilby off the stool at the end of the table, slipped the hat onto the bench next to her, and sat down on the stool. ‘You haven’t got the internship any more?’ he asked. ‘That fucking stupid cow.’ Ilena pulled out a battered packet of Drina Lights from her bag. ‘If she didn’t actually want me on the film, why didn’t she just say so in the first place? Why pretend?’ She flicked a lighter. ‘No,’ she answered, absent-mindedly, the word deadened by the cigarette she had rammed against her teeth. In the end, Salko persuaded Ilena to come for a walk with him. She was still cursing as they made their way up the cobbled lane. ‘So much for friends!’ she kept saying. ‘Emir is still going ahead and working on the fucking Bogomils! But why should we expect actors to have integrity? I must be completely naive. You are lucky,’ she said, ‘with your job. I wish I could work by myself. I wish I didn’t have to rely on other people.’ Salko laughed. ‘You would hate doing my job,’ he said, as they passed through the newlyplanted trees on the hillside, between the tall gravestones. ‘You would hate to always drive where people tell you. You - you would always be wanting to take them on a tour.’ He smiled at Ilena, and she smiled back, in spite of her mood.
Salko walked off across the grass, between the old poles of stone with their tops carved like turbans, the white dazzle of the newer stones, packed so close together; the long shadows they cast. He looked out across the terracotta rooftops below. The Miljacka River shone silver in the sun, a great gleaming tap root through the city, the hazy minarets and spires. The mountains cradled Sarajevo like hands trying to hold water, that was what it looked like, the way the whole city was misting and glinting after the earlier rain. In among those knuckled folds of rock and tree. Like the hills were trying to hold onto the light, and it was glittering. ‘The dead have the best view,’ said Salko, looking out across the city. ‘I forgot to ask you,’ said Ilena. ‘How was Neum?’ Salko turned around and looked at her. She was still standing on the footpath, between two of the linden trees that lined it. The trees were the same height as her: under the white splash of the trilby, her dark brown hair flickered sideways against their brilliant green. Her dress was the same blue as the sky. Salko remembered when the graveyard had held tall oaks and fewer stones. ‘It was good,’ he said. ‘Thank you.’ ‘Did you have a holiday romance?’ ‘I had ten.’ Ilena smiled again. ‘I think I would like you to be in a film for me,’ she said. ‘I’m not an actor.’ ‘I don’t want an actor. I am sick of actors.’ She stood there looking at him. ‘I want it to be you,’ she said, with a look that was long and cool. She tossed her head. ‘Wait though. I will need to think this through. Let me think about it, and then we will talk.’ She turned and walked off, back down the hillside. Salko watched her go. Salko looked in the rear-view mirror a few weeks later. It was true, what Ilena had told him, he would not have known there was a camera behind it. She had not even let him watch her fit it. He looked at his eyes in the mirror; the hard narrow bridge of his nose. He blinked
and looked down at his phone, mounted on the dash. The phone was switched off, but according to Ilena it was recording all the time. She had uploaded a programme onto it, just by sending it a text message, and now the microphone was permanently activated and transmitting automatically to a phone wired into her voice recorder. She had explained the whole thing to him. ‘Hi,’ said Salko. He carried on looking at his phone but there was no answer. ‘I know,’ he said. ‘It’s not a walkie-talkie, is it. You can’t talk back to me.’ He pulled out into the streets of Hrasno, from the car park outside his family’s apartment block. ‘Maybe I’ll call you later,’ he said. ‘This feels weird.’ He coughed, and switched the radio on, with the volume very low. The address was in a nice district, one of the old lanes high on the slopes above the Old Town. It was not far from where he had been walking with Ilena that afternoon when she had first had her idea. All the old houses in this part of Sarajevo had been built very carefully, so as not to block their neighbours’ sightlines. Each one was angled and crouched so as not to disturb the others. Each one, as a result, had perfect views from its balconies. Salko had always liked the fact that his city’s masonry could show such consideration. He stopped outside a villa that had been destroyed in the war and then rebuilt in the same shape, newly plastered, newly painted. Its walls shone a smooth pale pink in the dusk. There was something strange about seeing a brand new building in the old shape. Salko got out to go and ring the doorbell. He walked through the open gate, and stopped. There were classical style statues in the garden: white plaster gods and goddesses, also shining very brightly in the dusk. The couple came tumbling out of the front door while Salko was still standing by the gate. He stepped backwards, to the car. ‘This is my taxi,’ he said, as they approached. ‘It’s not a proper taxi.’ The woman smiled at him. She must have been about fifty, but when she smiled she looked
much younger. ‘We would like to go to the restaurant Noovi,’ she said, as her husband opened the door of the old Citroën for her. ‘So,’ said Salko, once he had let the handbrake off, glancing at the phone. ‘You want to go to Noovi.’ ‘Yes,’ said the man. No-one said anything else. They were rattling back down the hill. Light from the headlamps washed up the stone walls either side of the cobbles, caught the tendrils of geraniums. Inside the car it was silent. ‘Noovi is a very nice restaurant,’ said Salko. ‘Yes,’ said the woman. ‘It is my favourite.’ ‘Are you going there for a special occasion?’ ‘Life is a special occasion,’ said the woman. Salko glanced at her in the rear-view mirror. Her round face was tilted downwards. He imagined her squeezing the fingers of one hand with the fingers of the other. A slight smile played on her face as streetlight washed across her. Salko looked back at the road, but in his mind he was still seeing the woman’s fingers in her lap. The man was saying something and now they were both laughing. Salko began to relax. He thought this was probably the sort of thing that Ilena wanted for her film. It will be a slice of life, she had said. A Sarajevo taxi driver and the people in the back of his cab. No fucking actors. Parked outside Noovi, Salko told them the fare. The man reached for his wallet. He stopped. ‘Actually,’ he said, ‘can you wait for us while we dine?’ ‘What?’ ‘Can you wait here, and then take us home again afterwards?’ ‘No, that isn’t good,’ said Salko. ‘I won’t be able to take any other passengers if I do that.’ ‘We will pay you for your time. We will pay you fifty marka if you will wait here until we finish. It will not be later than ten o’clock.’ ‘Fifty marka.’ ‘Is it enough?’ ‘Sure.’
Salko called Ilena while he was waiting. He explained the situation. ‘Is it okay?’ he asked her. ‘Yes, of course,’ said Ilena. ‘Do whatever you think is best.’ ‘Will you edit this bit out?’ asked Salko. ‘Probably,’ she said, and hung up.
among the dark hills. Ivo and Tatjana giggled and murmured endearments to each other all the way. They seemed so fond of each other that Salko wondered if they really were married after all. It was a thing he had simply assumed, because of collecting them from the house together at the start of the evening. He looked The passengers had further plans. ‘To tell you in the mirror but could glimpse no wedding the truth,’ said the man, flushed with the wine rings, for their hands were out of view. Their from dinner, leaning forwards into the space hands were rustling in each other’s clothing. between the two front seats, ‘Tatjana’s sister has He looked back at the road. The next time just rung and invited us to her house in Tarcin. he glanced in the mirror, Ivo was working his You are to take us wherever we want to go, isn’t mouth on Tatjana’s ear lobe. Tatjana’s head was that right?’ tilted back and she was smiling at the vinyl Salko twisted around to face the man. roof lining as Ivo made love to her ear. She let ‘Wherever you would normally ask a taxi driver out a satisfied murmur, and something else to take you,’ he said. rustled; it sounded like her thighs inside her ‘Okay,’ said the woman Tatjana. She was skirt. It was as if she and Ivo were the only two laughing like a twenty-year-old. Salko wondered people in the world. It was as if no-one could how Ilena knew her. ‘Okay,’ said the woman, ‘so see them at all. The way that Ivo’s whole body Ivo and I would like you to take us to Tarcin.’ was swivelled around towards Tatjana, the ‘It is only a few kilometres,’ said her husband. way he was cowered down and reaching up to ‘Twenty,’ said Salko. her: the powerlessness of him: all of it there, in ‘But first we must go home to get some the mirror. Salko looked back at the road. He overnight things,’ said Tatjana. glanced at the phone, and chewed his lip. ‘It is thirty-five marka for me to take you to There was an ex-International jeep parked in the Tarcin.’ farmyard, and a few family cars with roof-racks ‘No problem,’ said Ivo, clapping his hand on the and foreign number-plates. A dog that barked, shoulder of the driver’s seat as if it were Salko’s rattling its claws against chain-link fencing own shoulder. somewhere. Salko switched off the lights. He was glad to get out of the car. He walked Ivo and Tatjana invited Salko to come into around to the trunk, and carried all three of the the house while they packed their overnight holdalls towards the house: trust a woman to bags, but he declined. He waited in the garden need two bags for one night. It was pitch dark instead. Having grown up in an apartment block in the farmyard. He heard the rear doors of his with communal grounds, private gardens had Citroën slam shut as Ivo and Tatjana got out. always seemed strange and exotic to him. A He knew it was them walking across the yard light went on in the house, upstairs. One of behind him, but their voices had changed. They the statues in the garden was floodlit by this, no longer sounded remotely drunk. They were her breasts and hips suddenly dazzling among talking in voices that were low and calm and bleached-out begonias. Salko moved away from even. Perhaps the drive had sobered them up, her and ambled between the statues in the dark or the cold night air. Salko put the bags down instead, knew he could smell roses but could on the doorstep. The door opened. not find these. The woman was in her seventies, her face hacked by hard winters. Still, the hair that The farmhouse lay a few miles outside Tarcin, escaped from her headscarf was jet black, no
hint of grey. ‘You must be Tatjana’s sister,’ said Salko, and immediately regretted it. He had made it sound as if he and this woman Tatjana were old friends. ‘No,’ said Tatjana, from close behind him. She was brushing some imaginary lint from the front of her blazer. Salko looked for Tatjana’s ring finger, but it was her right hand that was brushing over her chest. He looked away. ‘This is Aunt Aida,’ Tatjana was saying. Aida’s brown eyes were still widened with amused disbelief. ‘Your sister!’ she said. ‘Sh,’ whispered Tatjana, leaning closer, brushing against Salko as she did so. ‘Your guests,’ she said. The old woman let Ivo offer her his arm, and the two of them went in: she was saying something about tea. Tatjana stood for a moment in the doorway, about to follow them. Her left hand rested on the doorpost. On her fourth finger, digging into the skin, shone a gold wedding ring. The scent of mint and yarrow reached Salko’s nostrils from the kitchen, over the smell of roses that came from Tatjana’s hair. ‘The money,’ said Salko. Tatjana’s hand fell away. She turned around and smiled at him. ‘Ivo has it,’ she said. ‘Come in and have some tea anyway.’ ‘Look,’ said Salko, with the phone pressed to his ear, pacing the length of the bedroom. It was really a laundry room with a single bed against one wall, from which piles of linen had hastily been removed. All the other rooms are taken, Tatjana had explained, folding back the bedspread. He reached the ironing board; turned and paced in the other direction. ‘They are offering me a lot of money,’ he said. ‘They want me to take them to visit some villages tomorrow. Don’t they have jobs to go to? They live in a nice house. They must have jobs.’ ‘Why don’t you ask them?’ said Ilena. ‘I thought they were friends of yours.’ ‘So you thought you couldn’t ask them questions?’ ‘Why don’t they drive themselves?’
‘Why don’t you ask them?’ Salko smiled. He saw himself smile in the old mirror that hung on the wall. ‘And the money,’ he said, still looking at his reflection. ‘You don’t mind that? How much it’s going to cost. The fare.’ ‘No,’ said Ilena. She sighed lightly; Salko could almost feel the puff of her breath on his ear. ‘You know,’ she said, ‘it will be better if you don’t keep calling me. Just do whatever you think is best. I want it to be natural.’ ‘What did you tell them? Did you tell them I would take them anywhere?’ ‘I told them you would drive them wherever they liked, yes.’ ‘And they know they are in a film? ‘Of course!’ Salko ran his other hand through his thick dark hair. ‘Okay,’ he said. ‘Yes, of course. They seemed to have forgotten. Earlier.’ He turned away from his reflection. ‘And everything is working fine for you, technically?’ he asked. ‘And the material - it’s okay?’ ‘Yes,’ she said. ‘Bye, Salko.’ Salko said ‘Okay’ instead of goodbye, like always, and put the phone down on the ironing board. He pulled his baggy white polo shirt off over his head; unbuckled his belt. Laid his jeans and shirt on the ironing board when he had finished undressing. He crossed to the door and turned out the light at the switch on the wall. In the blackness, he edged his way back towards the bed. He climbed in beneath the thin duvet. Ilena’s film would not be able to show how the room felt. ‘It is dark in the countryside,’ he said, for the benefit of the phone. For Ilena. ‘Good night,’ he said, and rolled over, into the unfamiliar silence.
Sam Baldwin is a snow sports writer and founder of SnowSphere.com a website featuring snow stories on ‘off the beaten piste locations’, from India to Iceland. He has sampled snow in 15 different countries and written for The Guardian, The Times and The Scotsman.
Zoë Barker is an illustrator living and working in London. She was featured in the very first Creative Review Illustration Annual and has worked with clients such as The National Trust, Harper Collins, howies, Amelia’s Magazine, EMI Music and Bobbin Bicycles. She has a keen interest in graphite-based goods, bicycles and British wildlife and enjoys hanging out in stationery shops. www.zoebarkerdraws.com
Jasmin Brutus is a photographer living and working in Sarajevo. He works for major Bosnian newspapers and magazines and pursues personal stories and projects of his own. Jasmin has received several grants for his photography including Ex-changes, sponsored by the German government, and SEE New Perspectives supported by World Press Photo and Robert Bosch Stiftung. www.jasminbrutus.com
Jonathan Cherry spent his younger years wearing speedos but now is fascinated with shorts. Since graduating from University College Falmouth he continues to work on both personal and commissioned projects. In 2009 he founded MULL IT OVER - a series of webbased interviews with innovative contemporary photographers. He now spends most of his days cycling and occasionally wearing trousers. www.jonathancherry.net
Lara Ciarabellini is a photographer from Grado, Italy. She is a 2011 finalist in The Aftermath Project for her series ‘Bosnia i Herzegovina: If Chaos Awakens the Madness’ and lives between Sarajevo, Grado, and Rome. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography from the London College of Communication. www. laraciarabellini.com
Sophie Cooke is a novelist, short story writer, poet, and travel writer. She is the author of the novels The Glass House and Under The Mountain, both set in the Scottish Highlands. She is currently completing her third novel The Three Lives of Dragana Savic, set in Bosnia and Serbia. She was runner-up for the MacAllan/Scotland on Sunday Short Story Prize in 2000, was shortlisted for the Saltire First Book of the Year Award in 2004, and won the Genomics Forum Poetry Prize in 2011. She has travelled in Bosnia for The Guardian and lives in Edinburgh.
Sarah Correia lives and works in Sarajevo. She is a researcher in Political Science and studies the impact of the war in the collective memory, national identity and political demands of the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. She’s been studying the Balkans since 2005, and is fluent in Bosnian/ Croatian/Serbian. Sarah blogs at http://cafeturco.wordpress.com
Dave Eggers is the author of seven books. His most recent, Zeitoun, has been awarded the American Book Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, LA Times Book Award, Northern California Book Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Distinguished Honor, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council’s Media Award. Eggers is the founder and editor of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing house, and the co-founder of 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center for youth in the Mission District of San Francisco. Eggers lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two children. www.mcsweeneys.net
Bernie Gardner is a musician/ composer based in London. He plays drums in many different musical projects and has scored for film, including most recently ‘African United’ for Pathé and BBC films. Bernie enjoys road-trips, reading, meeting people and playing homemade instruments. www. berniegardnermusic.com
Max Knight is a photographer and video-maker. His still, composed, colourful work is popular in the music industry, having recently worked on large-scale Brit-Award winning campaigns for Mumford & Sons, Ellie Goulding, Laura Marling and many more. He enjoys large-scale pizzas, large-scale cats and unsuccessfully entering large-scale photography competitions. www.maxknightphoto.com
Milomir Kovačević took over 30,000 pictures during the siege of Sarajevo. He has been a member of the Association of Professional Journalists since 1986, and a member of the photography section of the Artist Association since 1989. He has published and exhibited extensively in the former Yugoslavia, as well as abroad. In 1998, Kovacevic received an award from the Crédit Commercial de France (CCF) Foundation for Photography. Today he lives and works as a photographer in Paris.
Agatha A. Nitecka is a London-based fine art photographer and a fashion editor at Oh Comely magazine. She recently finished working with Andrea Arnold on her adaptation of Wuthering Heights to be released late 2011. She greatly misses walking her dog on the Yorkshire moors; Kensington Gardens are hardly that thrilling. She is seriously addicted to cream tea and publishes her own fine art newspapers. www.lettresalou.com
Neno Novaković has a Bachelor of Science degree in political science and is currently working on his Master’s degree in diplomacy and international relations. A native Sarajevan, he is passionate about making a new name for the city and has started free walking tours around Sarajevo to educate and entertain tourists. He has interest in low budget travelling, backpacking and tourism in general. www.sarajevowalkingtours.com
‘Boat Magazine wouldn’t be possible without the kind donations of all our contributors.’
Alyse Radenovic is an American fine artist born in 1973. Having lived and worked in the Balkans, subjects from that region make up the majority of her work in painting. She now lives and works in Arlington, Virginia. www.alyseradenovic.com
Davey Spens is a creative who runs Boat Studio with his wife Erin. In 2007 he was named one of Marketing Week’s Rising Stars, and resigned two months later. Some say he couldn’t take the pressure. He was Costa Coffee’s Writer-in-Residence, has ghost-written a memoir for a TV Vet and is still tinkering around with a novel.
Erin Spens is an American writer, editor, and creative. She cofounded Boat Studio with her husband Davey, a small creative studio based in the heart of London. She writes for other magazines, works for lots of cool brands, and spends an unhealthy amount of time dreaming about travel.
Luke Tonge is a creative (and Falmouth graduate) currently living and working in Birmingham, UK. As part of the influential FormFiftyFive his voice in the industry continues to grow. A lover of ice-cream floats, all things typographic, and Bill & Ted – he wears shorts all year round. Google ‘Luke Tonge’ to know more.
Milica Vuković is a Belgrade-born Montenegrin and a happy resident of London since 2009. She works as a Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian language teacher, translator and a proofreader. Apart from cooking Bosnian food, she enjoys exploring the linguistic ambiguities of the Balkan region and immersing herself into everything London has to offer.
Boat Magazine is a nomdaic publication that temporarily anchors in different cities with big stories to tell.