„-T.: OMG! Doherty claims he’s clean. That’s not Doherty anymore. ”Sex, Drugs and rock’n’roll” prince of the 21th (sic) century is now dead to me.
– T. added: He even wants to help other addicts…
– R.: What a terrible thing to do…
– T.: Ja! (wink)
– B. S.: Eh, the last of the English dandies. Grace/Wastelands is superb.”
In the established atmosphere of the classroom this conversation could be interpreted as a subcultural text. From my perspective it simply indicated T. is not an easy case. He appeared with his bike in the school museum in November 2013, while I talked to his class teacher. He wore extremely tight pipe trousers and an oversized pullover. Besides he looked like a hair model. This is how a hipster lived in my imagination beforehand. However his inner world is as extravagant as his appearance. This short guy gave evidence of his waggish, teasing attitude in my lessons too. Today I would compose an entirely different lesson about the 1980’s. In that time I was also learning about them to grasp their worldview, that is why I didn’t always find the best methods, although he is really full with symbolism.
In his profile picture on Facebook he stands at the edge of a show-window that promotes a book. He smokes, he keeps his left hand in his pocket. At first sight of this photo it is quite ordinary, even the twilight makes it blurry, only the show-window is sharp. This show-window promotes Henriks Eliass Zegners’ book, titled ’Elementi’ (Elements). Later I learned Henriks attends the humanities program at our school and we had a few lessons together already. This was a gentle gesture on T.’s part to take a photo of that poster, which might express belonging too. As they belong to the same community and certainly know each other. It is readable and seems to be legitimate that he did this on the street in lieu of the school. And I already arrived to the middle of the problem. Does the school play part in their lives like the studio in Hipstokratija’s video clip, i.e. imitating a little structure? Where does the youth culture blossom, in other words what is a ’grace/wasteland’ for them? And at all, who is legitimate enough to observe it and tell their stories?
Meanwhile hunting for answers, I came to the conclusion that I should let them talk. The narrator will retreat and give the chance to T. and his mates to talk in the first singular form. Of course the reader can suspect I’m behind, but I hope this narrative method also helps to dig deeper in teenage subjectivity rather than simply mediating and interpreting those mental maps, conversations and pictures. For being simple, in these stories I will call T., Talis and the other names are fictional as well.
A flow of thoughts at Kulturas Vasarnica:
Occasionally I feel myself like a lad who sits on the top of a hill and waves to other people to earn their attention. I desire their presence and want to be accepted and respected for who I am. You know what I mean? Other days I’m just tired of this, I’m shocked how superficial and predictable people are. I so damn sorry for those moments what I wasted on gaining their consideration. On those days I just lay down on the top of the hill and think that I don’t need them. I could be whoever I want to be, am I right? I could be even you…, haha. I make myself feel alright, kinda… But then the whole thing is repeated. I catch myself wondering. I keep wondering who she or he is, where they came from? Like, are you that restaurant type, who take a selfie with a piece of meat and think now you are fucking cool? Or do you consume people either as if they were consumption goods? Nobody knows… Before, did you like to lay down on ping pong tables, enjoying the warmth of it, counting the clouds, talking about banal things? Did you like crossing subways? Have you ever seen that saxophonist at Origo? I always give money him, nuja. Did you fear you will end up like him? Gotcha…? Did you enjoy kissing where nobody could see? Other days I just come to this place, at Esplanade and my worries evaporate as things happen naturally. It is my place to be. Peace is here and I could fly away, I’m alive… I just take my headphones, in order to catapult myself to another world, sort of… I pull up my legs to my neck and lean my back against the wood box. Okay, I take a pillow too, (wink), otherwise it would be inconvenient for my butt. Do you see that punk behind the flowers? I don’t like his hair, but I just don’t care. It isn’t my problem. Who is he to me? He might think the same about us. I realize, I don’t like people…. Okay, I like you, but you are different. Maybe I like different people. Why is it so damn hard? Everybody faces dilemmas. Oh, do you hear this song? ”I keep going to the river to pray. ’Cause I need something that can wash out the pain. And at most I’m sleeping all these demons away. But your ghost, the ghost of you. It keeps me awake.” Oh my god she is so hilarious, isn’t she? Ella Henderson rocked the park again. I wanna dance now. I would be in the mood to try that Japanese hot bath at the fountain! To wash away my ghosts, lol. Which would be more unusual to do? Do you need my sunglasses, I see the sun shines into your eyes?! Again… Silly you… This September is something unexpected, good days are coming.
Modra had posted on Facebook that she and Dana are ”In search of the poppy fields with Depeche Mode and marshmallows.” Well, Talis and his friends – Mikus and Davis – , were also in search of something on Krisjana Barona street, on the 4th floor of a building which was built in 1912. Barona street is in the center, one of the arteries of the city. You can get to anywhere, get transformed and feel becoming, if you go with the traffic flow on this street. Get ready:
Last week Mikus had a morning shift again at the cafe. Usually I let him stay for these evenings in my rent. Once or twice Davis also joined us. We are good friends, they just attend another program in the ”smart kids” school, so we have time to meet up only on these evenings. We just hang out… In addition last time we bought some stuff from Rimi. Galleria Riga’s got all sort of shops and it is close, so I prefer that mall. We had to buy for Davis pomegranate flavored CIDO juice, (grimaces). He is a maniac of these silly drinks, but he argued ”There is a discount, we have to buy it. Don’t you want to taste?” It was nothing special for me. In a shopping mall I always recognize someone familiar, mostly classmates, haha. But really, I wonder how could I avoid them, especially those drama queens who work for H&M. (Sorry girls… hehe.) So I didn’t take it as a miracle when we met there Janis. I invited him to join us, but he was about to catch tram no. 6 and go to Andrejsala. It would have been good though. It’s up to him, we had a fun time without him nevertheless.
At home we entertained ourselves with watching vintage Youtube vids, Mikus was drinking vodka with water while offering it over and over again. ”Common, take a sip of vodka from the plastic cup! Don’t be a sissy! Take it with water as we do it in Barona… haha”, Mikus argued. He drinks vodka with water indeed. Oh, man, how much it burnt my stomach, but everybody is used to this feeling. It was like a merry-go-round, you feel dizzy and get relaxed. In the end he invented stupid dancing choreographies for Zodiac vids and for Elton John’s ’Part Time Love’. Where did he pick up these outdated music vids, I dunno. Zodiac, can you imagine? He looked so ”amusing” and that gayish movements… lol. I couldn’t stop laughing. This guy is totally crazy, I thought. However he is a self-made showman or something. Cannot imagine why he wants to be a lawyer… (In my opinion his father wants it more than he does.) After drinking he made his mind up, he said we should go to Vecriga (Old Town), to the DEPO bar. He cannot stay inside anymore and wants to check out what’s going on with the other folks. We hang out over there all the time. Davis agreed and it was the first warm evening of the year. At times it is just good to go with the flow, I believe.
At Brivibas Piemeneklis (Freedom Monument) we picked up Ilva too. She is an 11th grader at our school and after school we usually hop to Costa cafe to prepare for lessons, this evening she wanted to party too. She was in a good mood, as she hustled on the streets of Vecriga. She found a good partner in Mikus for this. She was screaming and laughing loudly every time when she fell to the pavement. Nuja, some never grow up, haha. At the entrance of the bar some folks were gathering in a circle, some were smoking. We greeted each other. I have known them for a while, they have a rock band, sometimes they play here. I think they study at Agenskalns. They were about to leave and go to ALA folkbar, ”we want to chill and talk”, they said. In the basement of DEPO the Hipstokratija gave a concert, so Mikus and Ilva could continue their cheeky hustling game or dance? It was wild (wink). Ilva was too busy with Mikus, – of course I’m not jealous or anything with that dude, before you misinterpret – . So me and Davis took seats, plus ordered beers. Meanwhile Davis left to go and smoke, I recognized two pretty girls in front of our table. I wore this Latvian claret colored pullover and thanks to the infrared light every single fluff got visible on my pullover. I was annoyed, how one can flirt like that, haha? (Why are you laughing?)
Despite this, they asked me to if they can join our table… (wink). We don’t treat each other like strangers here, you know. They were also from Agenskalns. I dunno if I was their type of boy… I wonder how could I be certain? Mikus hit on the girls more openly than me, he just yaks it up. However in the end me, Mikus, Davis, Ilva, and the girls, Sabine and Linda were one big company.
Sabine recommended to go to Kanapes Kulturas Centrs on Skolas street. She got bored of DEPO. After arriving I was thrilled by a girl, she was playing a guitar in a small room, she was very alternative. The place was overcrowded this time, you never know when it is closed or overcrowded, nothing in between. All in all the night ended at 2 am, when the six of us were sitting at the entrance talking, smoking and drinking beer. It was really time to go home and catch some z’s. But I think we will meet again.
This Saturday I took my regular coffee at Costa cafe, behind Brivibas Piemeneklis. Gazing out the window and listening to a Paolo Nutini hit which reminded me how much I loved coffee. Mikus works here… Mikus, how can I get on the WI-FI?