THE GOOD TERRORIST Postcards from London
THE GOOD TERRORIST Postcards from London
Written in a Hungarian housing community, in London, during the hot summer of 2013.
The cemetery where Marx lays is nearby, at the top of the Hill. It must be about a half an hour stroll to reach that, she thinks. And there should be a bookshop on the way. She decides to shoot for the bookshop first. She needs things to read, for those long train rides she is taking to her job each day. On the first days, she was constantly staring, observing – the faces, the buildings, the smells. It was all new and exciting, but after a while she got exhausted to drink the flow of the city. After two days came the exhaustion, simply falling asleep at every moment she sat on the tube. But this is over too - now she needs a book. She gets the good terrorist. It is a nice Sunday. There is a tiny bookshop at the top of the hill and there she is. Not the one she was looking for, but a charity shop in the posh area on the top of the hill, where the cemetery of Marx is located. She loves the cover. She gets excited - it is her first fiction book in years! She only read Blanchot, for many years. In general, she is afraid of fiction and refuses to sink into it. I like to be put stay where I am – she says. No need another space, another time. I have my own time. And my own space, too. But she loves the cover and soon sinks into the book, reading it on the tube, and in the park sometimes, under her favorite tree. She loves, (of course) the slight subversivity of the image – herself, reading it. Very narcissistic, indeed. The good terrorist.
She is looking for a job. She has to do research, how to write a CV for the real world (she only knows the arty type). It looks good at the end - well designed, though kind of hollow. She hesitates for a second, then puts her art degree as education. No big lies there, but it doesnâ€™t bring her too far. They send her off at the first agency. She is an inexperienced cleaning woman and would need training, which they cannot offer. The well dressed lady at the agency takes her data though, and wishes her good luck. She will call, she says. This puts her down, for days coming. Few days later she goes to another agency. This one looks shabbier, no well dressed ladies around. They would put her in training immediately though, and offer a job in a hotel, somewhere in the outsikrts. She could start next day. She turns this down. She wants to work at a luxury hotel. I am an intelligent cleaning lady, after all, and I do speak the language, she thinks.
Later she decides to try to work at charities. She will need a good shoe, she thinks, to be all day on the streets. Her feet hurts badly, after participating at the walking reading group. She gets a camp boot at the flea market, from an old Turkish lady. She is very nice, lots of make up, short hair and a friendly attitude. She is about to mention the occupation at Gezi park in Istambul, but then she keeps shut. The lady welcomes her in London - Budapest is nice, she says. The artist makes a face â€“ it is. Budapest often looks good for visitors, though the locals simply running away, in hundreds, in each month. She is in London for ten days now.
It was a front door, solid and sure of itself. Ten or so red, yellow, and orange bucket stood in the gang, waiting light fell on desolation. Worse, danger: she was looking of electric cables ripped out of the wall.
When entering the room, she never looks at me. She says hi, briefly, but that’s it. The same thing with the others...I enter the kitchen (our room opens to it) and nobody looks at me. But I endure. Keeping calm. I know it is something structural - not much personal. I examine our differences instead (why not the similarities?). Maybe the differences we have, which creates suspicion? I look at myself, to see, what is different. My haircut. I have short hair, an androgynous hipster style, I would say, which is a common in arty and hipster circles, but not beyond. She has long black hair, dyed and straightened, for which she uses some special instrument. I don’t wear pink (except my cardigan, but that is neon). She doesn’t wear cardigans, she has jumpers, light blue and pink. I don’t have blings. No trainee shoe I have (just a leather camper, but left that at home. She wouldn’t wear that, either)
We keep silence for few more days. though â€“ she tries to figure out my did I come here? What do I want to and relaxed. She tells my story to
Sometimes she does ask a few things story. She tries to locate me. Why work? Stuff like that. I keep it nice the others. What is my story?
Now I met everyone in the house. A tall man, he is nice. Calm, and he is smiling too, which the others don’t really do. He talks to me. He dropped out of some college, but doesn’t tell which. He is a waiter at a high end Chinese restaurant at the city center. He despises Chinese food, bringing his Hungarian lunches in huge plastic boxes, every day. There is the bodybuilder guy. He has a shaven head, tattoos, blown up muscles all over his body. He plays cool at the first time but joins the silence soon. There is Zsanett, whom I never seen (except one early morning brief ‘hi’). And someone else, not sure of her name yet. She never smiles. She keeps asking, if I had already found a job? Did I go to an agency? Did I get an NI number? I never talked to her about these things but I assume she gets things from my room mate.
Those old men around
She keeps bumping into them all the time. Wilhelm Reich, for example, the freaky old Austrian. He is dead, and she never heard of him before. She should have had, though. He was an Austrian psychologist, a disciple of Freud, who died in a CIA prison during the cold war. He might have been mixed up with the owner of a leftist bookshop, who had the same name. There might have been a few other things too, which irked them about the weird old guy. He invented weird machines, researching the female orgasm, for example. He built something, called the Orgone accumulator –it was made of plywood lined with rock wool and sheet iron, and had a chair inside and a small window. The boxes had multiple layers of these materials so that they were, in effect, boxes within boxes; this caused the orgone concentration inside the box to be three to five times stronger than in the air, Reich said. Patients were expected to sit inside them naked. And Marx, of course. She lives quite close to his grave. She makes several attempts to visit the grave, first on a nice, sunny afternoon. She tries to buy his books too – for the long train drives, or for sitting in the parks and reading – all the things to do in a good life. At the end, she never goes to the grave. They charge 4 pounds, which she is not willing to pay.
There was someone else too, who looked like Engels. It was intentional, it seemed. He wore a red scarf and he talked about workers, artists and Silvio Berlusconi â€“ in an artist talk and book launch in an art place, somewhere in East London. It was dark in the room, crowded, full of people, sweating. The lecture is slow paced, almost contemplative. The man, and his girlfriend, who wears a red costume and talks about her communist grandpa with a thick Italian accent, both coming from Berlin. They speak slow, in long sentences, in a somehow circulating fashion. German idealism fills the room, images changing behind his back, Berlusconi followed by Chaplin, and Hitler, of course. The lady in the red costume suggests we should free red, the colour, from its connotations, symbolic, historical and what not. All it just comes too heavy at the end and somehow fading into silence. Which turns her thoughts back to the orgasmatic machine. It doesnâ€™t mean though, that the spirit of German idealism had left the room. It is still lingering around, indeed, she thinks. Later on the British woman in the panel discussion rases the stakes. She wants to talk about the law. She seems tough. Her name is Power. Nina Power.
My roommate works six days a week, 10 hours daily. Her name is Sue. She calls herself Sue, avoiding her Hungarian name. She arrived to London some ten years ago. One day she has a day off. She disappears. When she comes back (a day later), her face, her whole body is sunburnt. She starts to talk to me. She went to the seaside with the bodybuilder. Her face and her body got burnt there, at the seaside. She talks about it, and I listen to her. She is small, like me, has a bubbly voice. She loves laughing. She does it loudly and often, when in the kitchen with the others.
I think she is ok. Though, sometimes, she reminds me of Beate Zatschke, that far right terrorist woman who was captured recently in Germany. She looks a bit like her - quiet a bit. She doesn’t seem to be hateful, though. Am I projecting something here? I had worked once, back in Budapest, with real fascists. We were selling hats at the Christmas market. They told jokes, all day long – sending the jews to the gas chamber, and so on. I can’t remember the jokes. They thought that I am a jew. But that was then, and this is different (though she really looks like Beate Zatschke). So, now, we talk, slipping back to silence occasionally. This is ok though – I don’t force conversations. I don’t want to be too personal, after all.
It’s a Holiday. All the excitement and stress looms around the room, and I am happy to share this, to give my ears and to listen to - the stress, the excitement. She tends to repeat herself, looping in circles around things. To book a hotel, to find out baggage weight, transportation – endless loops of problems. A friend cancelled her invitation (she is working in Malta, a former room-mate, who left London because of the climate, and maybe of stress. An other Hungarian woman). And the excitement: this is the first time traveling alone! That’s a surprise…I thought of her to be more independent – she is in London, alone, after all. She came twelve years ago , with a boyfriend. I sense she doesn’t really want me to ask her about it. Then all the other excitements…Finding out which sexy clothes to bring, for example. She is constantly on the phone with friends, talking about the trip…She is inventing a story for her workplace – she works illegally, no paid leaves or Holidays she has.. She makes up a story about losing her passport, and the need to go home to Budapest for administration. She is practicing her lines, developing new details, just to be more authentic. She practices it by telling it to us in the house, several times. She works at a Turkish kebab place, down the road. One day I ask what she thinks about the riots in Istanbul and the Occupy Gezi park movement. Does her colleagues mentioning it? What is their opinion? She is not indifferent and not supportive either. She just leaving these things out of her life.
One day a fitness machine arrives. A rather hastily made decision was taken, and I am not even sure how the whole thing started. The machine had arrived within a day upon ordering . When it is put together, it suddenly fills our tiny room. It looks quite absurd, cramped into our small room, taking most of the space. Soon a frantic rearrangement starts. She is talking fast, moving stuff around the room fast, changing her mind fast. After a while she suddenly just gets fed up. The amazing machine turns ugly. I can hardly follow how this all develops, she talks constantly, telling her stories. Apparently there is another machine, in the room of the bodybuilder upstairs. This other machine also belongs to her, a heritage of her ex (maybe another body builder?). I am not sure, how this whole hassle started . She is anxious sometimes, even with her bright, loud attitude, which is the most refreshing thing about her. She maybe feels the need to be resilient? She had mentioned it recently. And she went to Malta to think about her life, she says. She is 28 after all. Few days later she is at home, sitting on her bed when I get home from work. She just lost her job.
The city and the stories around
She keeps coming to the same corner of Green Park, the one which is always crowded, tourists and yuppies laying on the grass at every inch. She goes a bit further, and sits under a tree, pushing her back against it. A good spot â€“ it is sunny till around 7.30, and she can easily observe the crowd, passing bye toward the Buckingham Palace. After 7.30pm
the shadow moves in, and it becomes chilly. A good spot though.
The encounter with the British Bureaucracy happens first when she gets her NI number. This is something everyone should have, she has been told so she gets it too. She does everything as told. An interview time is set up. She enters the building, she cues the line, she fills the forms, she answers the questions. A large room takes the whole floor upstairs. The front part is set up for the people to wait patiently. The bureaucrats have their tables all around the place. They walk around constantly; holding stuck of papers and displaying worried faces. They wear their importance all over their bodies. They all look like freaks, their office fights erupting in small bursts, in front of the people waiting. The people try to ignore it and display respectfully uninterested faces – a la British style. The system is simple. You get a number; they call you – the usual stuff. They still operating with paper though. A man from downstairs puts the numbers in a cardboard box. This box sits on a pedestal, right opposite to the entrance in the middle of the space. When a bureaucrat finishes with a client, he or she slowly walks to the cardboard box on the pedestal, pulls a number, and shouts it. The box, which holds the numbers, is torn down – probably had seen a lot in its life. The situation is awkward, slightly entertaining, and she enjoys it a lot. The small acts of walking down to the cardboard box and calling the numbers – it is a theater. Or a TV lottery show, sans Barbie dolls. The whole place is a freakshow. She gets a large, African American woman assigned to her. Her NI number is sent in a few weeks by post – it all goes as it should.
She constantly finds things on the streets. Mostly flowers. She finds a large bucket of dasies, near the bank station, without wrapping paper. It was just left on the side of a house. A huge bucket it is, but she decides to carry it home. She finds other stuff too. A white rose, on the pavement, on a rainy day. She always picks up things, which annoys her roommate â€“ she is afraid of getting bugs, and considering them a bit dirty too.
She bumps into petitions too â€“ mostly petitions against closures. The closure of the post office. The closure of the fire station. The closure of the NHS services, the closure of the Archway Hospital. She thinks: it is always the usual story. It happens everywhere. It feels like the whole world became a desolated house. The walls crumble. The pipes leaking. The roof falls apart. The windows are broken and electric cables ripped out of the wall. The post office is sold out to a retail company, who wants to open its retail shops on the high streets. The workers of the post office go on strike. They close on Saturdays, setting up stalls in front of the post office to collect signatures. They all look well dressed, low middle class style. They have loudspeakers, stickers, flyers, all what is needed. There are private protests around, too. The man, living above the local Sainsbury store suffers from the noise of the ventilation system. He collects signatures in front of the shop, near to the bus stop. He has a protest board, which he holds patiently, with a slightly angry but victimized impression on his face. He doesnâ€™t approach people, but tells his story when you ask him. When he talks, his face become angry and agitated. Got no much sleep, probably. She signs his petition too, on a sunny day. They talk briefly. After that day he will smile at her, every time she passes by. Later he disappears. He got enough signatures, hopefully. After few weeks he appears again, the same expression he has on the face, waiting patently, angrily. She asks about the signatures he got. He has 2000, but he wants 10 000.
The house is rotten. Holes, cracks, mold everywhere and I keep thinking of the squatted house in The Good Terrorist, that rotten feeling which was described so well. It is the middle of the summer now, and our house and the whole city is sinking into the heat wave; the smell gets unbearable. The red carpet, which covers the stairs spitting out a sweat, decaying smell. Mice are running everywhere - in the kitchen, probably in the rooms too. My room mate is frightened of them. She doesn’t let the windows open for the night, and the door of our room should be shut too – the mouse could stroll in from the kitchen! She is leaving her reading lights on for the nights – she is too scared. It is hot, stinking, no much sleeping we get during those nights.
We will soon have fights, over mice, or over spiders, I think. The food is left over at the kitchen table, which obviously attracts mice. The bodybuilder (and Dj, as it turned out) often gets annoyed (and aggressive) over spiders too. Mabe he s afraid of spiders. He locks the windows in the kitchen and shouts. It is well over 35 degrees outside when he decides to bake some chips in the owen. The windows are locked. The central heating is on too â€“ right next to my bed. If they switch it off, the hot water shuts. They choose the hot water.
Cleaning is the other thing to hassle over. The woman from upstairs (who never smiles) asks me to clean the house, which I refuse. She is asking it not so nicely â€“ she is the woman who never says hi, and is just kind of rude. I suggest to make a schedule instead, to make it a communal thing. I know that she cleans the house most of the time, which is not fair, indeed. But we need a schedule, I wont do it myself.. I am fed up with these rude people.
The city and the stories around
Kan is from Afghanistan. He looks handsome and somewhat smart, selling fruits and veggies on a nearby street corner. She is passing him every other day, buying this and that. He is flirtatious and she tries to keep up with it. Not for long though. He asks things. From where are you? When? He constantly asks about family. Does she only have one child? People have 5 or 6 children...yes, people. She slowly fades after that. She would like to know him more, but this seems like a silly idea. She still tries to keep with it though. She is thinking of her russian ex-husband. His mum told once, some twenty years ago back in the nineties, how she feared that her only son will end up in Afghanistan - being short, he will be placed in a tank. Fighting in a tank was a sure death in Afghanistan. He went on to study at a secret military academy in Leningrad â€“ to avoid that. As time passes, Kan keeps asking her about her children, and this far it goes.
She went back home two days ago – a summer holiday, three weeks, to visit her family. That is what most people do here, at this house, as a holiday. She is excited. Stressed. Talks a lot. She jumps on the fitness machine (the old one, which was brought down in the meanwhile from the body builder’s room). She goes to the park everyday, to get tanned. After the park, she goes to the Solarium too, everyday. She wants to be fit and tanned when she gets home. She buys new clothes, visits the hairdresser. She tells that her sisters doing the same things, back in Hungary, in the small city they live: they buy new clothes, they go to the hairdresser, maybe to the fitness center too. She is coming from a small place, from the south part of the country – a small town or small village it is. I cannot recall how is it called.
It happens during one of those hot nights. She enters the room, loudly, waking me up at the middle of the night. I do say something in English, half asleep. I hear rude laughter from the kitchen soon - her and the bodybuilder having a good time. She said, she would like to sleep, and she said it in English! I am just too weird to them, I understand, and no time spending together will change that. I cannot fit in, and probably I gave up on it myself as well, a while ago. It is a failure, maybe. It is the failure of my ethnographic research. I have the feeling, that the whole situation is a bit ‘big brother’ like, with all its rudeness, all the bitching. I realize that this might be the appropriate model of the whole situation – not the squatted house from the book. The efforts and desires to put things together, to share, to make things better, is missing here. Nobody cares in this house, things are falling apart – stress and tension is the only thing which is building up, and hatred, occasionally.
The good terrorist
Her name is not really made public. Maybe it was mentioned here or there, but she is just the woman found in a suitcase. She was found in a derelict park area of North London. When first reading about it in the Guardian, I checked the map, if she died nearby? Next day I read about her again in the news. She was a Hungarian woman, killed and crammed into a suitcase. A Hungarian man killed her, as it turned out. This doesnâ€™t surprise me at all. Why? They found him easily, in two days, and the story disappeared from the media.
I am still not sure of her name, and I refuse to follow the facebook group which is collecting money for transporting her dead body back to Hungary. She has a weird presence in the house though. Her best friend is a coworker of one of our housemate. She (her housemate) updates frequently about the situation, if they ask. Mostly me - it is true - asking. Sometimes they make jokes too. That any of them could be a killer. Or a victim. They despise the Hungarian government, which gives no support or assistance to the mother, who is a housekeeper somewhere in the deep Hungarian countryside â€“ low income, no English. Her daughter came to London to make it all happen, to have a good life, and to support them (her mother and a younger brother). Sometimes I do wonder, how long her story will stalk around in this house.
I demand Invisibility to protect myself I demand Visibility
I support Ignorance, as the continuous source of Human Imagination I support Ignorance as a continuous source of Freedom I demand Attention Knowledge is a Human Right! Ignorance is a Human Right! Down with Total Policing!
The good terrorist
In reality, she is called Beate Zschape. But she cannot pronounce this name, so she tends to make it up this way, or the other. She is the last member alive of the far right terror cell operated in Germany , during the last decade. They killed shop owners of mostly Turkish origin, across the country. They killed some 10 people in 10 years. Her image was all over the media, at least in Germany. Is she a terrorist?
The media speculates: maybe she is just a petite woman, who had no clue what was going on, and was used as a cover (and housekeeper). Is she a good terrorist? For some people she is, indeed. For her, the most striking is the aerie resemblance her roommate is sharing with her. She has to doublecheck this from time to time – it just seems to be an absurd thought. She searches for images of the trial, which makes her feel even more uncomfortable. But I am not making this up – she thinks. The pale eyes, the long, dyed dark hair, the unassuming expression of the face, it is all there. Maybe there are a few years of age difference. She appeared just as normal and everyday as my roommate is – she thinks. She did slap a punk woman on a bus though, because she looked weird, as an article tells.
The city and its stories around (Sundays)
She comes to the park one day. She comes here often, on most of her offdays. She has a tree, she sits in the grass, if no one is around there. She has other spots too, more quiet ones, with long grass, wilderness, all around. This time it is a weekend, a sunny day, a crowded one. Maybe it is a Sunday afternoon. She lays in the grass - a random spot, scattered attention. Sunshine. She notices a man and a woman, both a bit shabby, looking slightly overweight. The man has a beer belly, the woman looks curvy, like those women on Rembrandtâ€™s paintings. The man is clapping; the woman is running around the trees. Each time he claps, she squats. Some sort of drilling it might be, she thinks. It feels military, reminding her of her school years. She did hate those drillings so much! They do speak Hungarian, as he realizes after a while. Hungarians, in the middle of London, drilling in the park. Maybe it is just a training to survive in the big city, to survive capitalism, she thinks. Soon she leaves the spot, terrified.
Now she sits in a nice community garden at Dalston, right in the middle of the Hipster land. Among the flowerbeds, raspberry bushes, Bobo families playing in the grass with their kids. A Danish artist showed the place to her, after some artist talk on the other side of town. She decides to come back, which happens to be on a Sunday. A nice, sunny afternoon it is, and the place is full blown idyllic. She comes here to finish some scripting. She sits with her laptop at a table, assiduously writing her text. She fits in well. She wears a dotted polka dress today, sits right in the middle of the garden, at a wooden table. Babies and children, all around. An older man, with a smile on his face, waters the plants. He is the temporary gardener, helping out the place. An old black lady is sleeping nearby, under a cherry tree, on a cozy looking mattress. The temporary gardener does his duty and smiles on the children. A local band plays music â€“ a benefit for a street carnival happening soon in the neighborhood. The mood flies high. People dancing under the roof area where the band plays, next to the open Owen where a man bakes pizza with herbs picked in the garden.
A girl, around 8, rocks with her father – she is the queen of the dance floor, no doubts about that. The crowd gets more mixed as time passes, probably because of the Congolese charity thing. An exhausted mother sits next to her at the table. Friendly glances exchanged, though she continues her writing. At some point she is asking the mother: sorry, could you tell me how to spell bureaucracy? The spellcheck only recognizes autocracy…She tries her iphone but there is nothing. She tries to remember but nothing really comes up. Her husband would surely know – he sits in front of his laptop all day. He is writing a book. She cares for the kids. They smile, friendly glances exchanged… A bit further in the garden she notices a couple. They are in their fifties, having a dinner: champagne glasses, silverware - all looks very posh from a distance. The band sings about Africa. They sing country names. Zambia, Nigeria, Congo, Somalia, Angola, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania. They sing Michael Jackson too. The little girl shouts , daddy come dance with me! She keeps thinking if they are still shooting in Egypt? She has a friend there. This morning there was about 625 people killed by the military, and a few thousand people injured.
The voices I hear (she)
She did hear those voices often, while here. Sometimes it was a mistake, of languages she mistakenly took, maybe because of exhaustion. Or maybe the cacophony of languages surrounding her every day, tricked her sometimes. Not that she was particularly searching for that – there are no real emotional ties to her mother tongue, which would make this search plausible. It is not really a search, either. When it happens, mostly just sounds (and feels) weird. No nostalgia, no feelings of familiarity or commonality. Maybe some discomfort, of being recognized as one of them. A slight stiffness in the neck, an intentionally neutral expression on the face, which appears suddenly, when hearing the language she was born into. Not very nice feelings, indeed, and she is aware of that. The Hungarian ‘szozat’ claims – you must live and die here… (they mean there, in Hungary) The ideological basis, which questions nationality as a basic foundation of one’s identity and creates some forced and artificial sense of belonging, is ‘out of fashion’. She grew up in the communist times , learned the Internationale at school. This discrepancy (of being ‘out of fashion’ or maybe just ‘out of time (space?), leaves her slightly stressed. Sometimes this is something she wants to leave behind, something she wants to get rid of. Other times she is ok, though. She wants to forget about language, at all. But it comes back, time to time. The language she was born into develops
this slightly vampiric tone.
The people who speak it, become vampiric too, like ghosts. The cleaners she passes bye at Kings Cross station. The old couple at the store, in front of the vegetable stalls, arguing about cauliflowers. The woman in an Islamic garb talking to her son in native Hungarian. A bunch of young men, crossing Green Park, talking about ‘sluts’. Women on the local bus, talking to their phones, probably to other women talking on another buses. Families at the Natural History Museum, criticizing the display. The group of young men at the park, assessing a tree if it would fit for a film shoot… Maybe it is all right though. She is having this distress, because coming from a small country where people speak a ‘weird’ language. No much traveling they do, only in periods of stress, which push people away. They tend to go only when they must, when they feel the tension to grow. For ‘normal’ countries, it is all just weird. They do adventures, explorations, re and de-locations. Others have hopelessness, war; all kinds of bad stuff.
I hate flags
The British stripes cover nearly everything. T-shirts and hats, umbrellas, shoes, underwear, bags of all kinds, pencils, rubber gums, tin openers, key rings, fridge magnets, socks, napkins, baseball hats. In the supermarket it covers everything too â€“ it is Real British Food! British Milk, British Cheese, British Sausage, British Cabbage, in a British Plastic Bag. The loo paper is British too, supposedly, though it is covered with puppies of all kinds. I ask British friends â€“ was it always like this? They are not sure, when all this started. Or was it always like this?
About the project This book project explores different aspects of emigration in a context of a Hungarian housing community in London. The title refers to Doris Lessing book, written about a squatting community during the 80’s, in London. The parallel dynamics of the two housing community set in different contexts becomes apparent in the project, whereas the (female) figure of ‘the good terrorist’ is not fixed, but floating around the different characters in the migrant house and beyond. In Lessing book, the good terrorist is a woman, who tries to create a community among the squatters, organize renovation, cleans, and by the end of the novel participates in a car bomb action of the group, blowing up a car in central London, sometime during the 80’s. The plot is based on a diary written during the stay. Different characters of the house intermingle with fictional or mass media figures. Marx, Engels, Wilhelm Reich also have brief appearances. Appropriating methodologies of the social Sciences, the project is set up as an embedded research - the author/artist embeds herself in the immigrant community without revealing her identity of an artist. Concealing her interest in the situation, she is just another migrant, searching for a job in the big city. In the plot the character of the artist and the narrator is divided, leaving space for reflecting the social dynamic (and the partly privileged position of the artist) in the situation. The text is a document, a report, which refers to the medium of postcards – the different locations and characters kept in loose connection, without being straightened into a definite fictional narrative.
The decaying house, where the migrant community live is explored in relation with the squatted house of Doris Lessing’s book, ‘The Good Terrorist’. Similarly banal issues arising in both cases: ‘who cleans’, who is responsible for what’, ‘ who fixes what’. In the immigrant house no one really cares – it is left to rot, even though it is the main source of profit for the company, which is catering to the floods of Hungarians trying to settle down in London. In the migrant house, the roommate of the artist/narrator strongly resembles of a recently captured German far right terrorist woman, some of the male visitors and residents have nationalist and far right tattoos. Another resident of the house, a woman who cleans and cares the most about the house, happens to be a negative character, occasionally stealing, and bitching around constantly. A crime happens in the city – a corpse of a Hungarian woman found in a suitcase who was killed in another migrant house.
Andrea Schneemeier 2014
Published on Feb 19, 2014
This book project explores different aspects of emigration in a context of a Hungarian housing community in London. The title refers to...