i miss my plattenbau

In a dream I was walking back from someplace where I did not want to be, when I suddenly found myself in the entrance hall of the Shell Centre building in London. People were bringing their lunches from somewhere and sat down on wooden benches around me. I recognized some, who I hadn’t seen in a long time. One man in particular, he was little and wore glasses, touched me. I hugged him and we both cried tears because we were so happy to see each other again. But despite the friendliness I felt like a stranger and I was getting hungry. I followed a group of workers to a nearby pub where evidently the food was prepared. First I had to queue for a drink for a really long time. Then I came to another restaurant which smelled like fish and chips, which is what I wanted. A group of young people moved a little ahead of me and I was afraid that they would cut in before me. But strangely enough, only one of them did and ended up in front of me, the others filed in behind me.

This reminds me of the situation yesterday in front of a cash machine where three teenagers were hogging, or so it seemed to me, access to the machine while charging their prepaids and exchanging life stories, looking over their shoulder at me furtively at times, whereupon I put a severe expression on my face, almost an instinctive reaction to the bustle of youths. But being in the presence of business people produces the same effect: I’m no longer myself, I don’t see people for what they are, I’m more concerned about my place in the queue, as if I’m suddenly dominated by food envy.

Do you know what I mean? As if my reflection in the eye of the other had redrawn the outline of my personality. I can’t remember the precise end of the dream.


Image: street art by El Bocho, Kollwitzstraße, Berlin. The German word “Plattenbau” means a building made of prefabricated concrete slabs. It stands for a  whole world of industrial aesthetics which is now commonly identified with Eastern bloc socio-economics. “Plattenbau” is also the new name of my Tumblr blog formerly called “1000 ship wrecked Penguins”. Tumblr is a vibrant, young blogosphere based on exchange of cool media. Tumblr is also the home of Alt Lit Gossip and my readers of the next thirty years…

4 thoughts on “i miss my plattenbau

    • I had fish and chips the other day, and even though everything was formally right (the grease, the vinegar, the batter etc) it just wasn’t the same thing as eating it on a grimy English high street… Posts like these make me want to write about food. I wish I was more interested in food: but there’s only so much time, and eating could easily absorb all my writing libido…

    • Chris, thank you for properly spelling “naiveté”–I can never find the accents when I need them for my French… also I think you must be the first reader of this blog who admits that my posts induce synesthesia! But about that naïveté, I first took the photograph of the graffiti (which actually is made of colored paper), then I had the dream, and I think the picture must exude some magic. The work of this artist is all over the neighborhood, especially on the walls of abandoned buildings.

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