Issue #15/96, August 3 - 17, 2000   smlogo.gif

Moscow babylon
Book Review
Other Shite


By Edward Limonov

I have a madness to believe that I am Very Important Person.

When you live longer than 50 years old, some certain laws of life becoming visible. Most of them are not very surprising, they seems obvious enough, but only with necessary repetition each becoming a LAW, not some guess, but a full-blooded Law.

Every person have its own peak of activity, usually it coincides with a youth age and lasts between age of 20 and 30. Then it is age of routine what lasts between 30 and 50. Then coming an old age from 50 to 80. Not because person is really old, it is too early to be old at 50, but because a cultural tradition of simple folks states it is. Afterwards it is unavoidable death.

Prime goal of individual who wants to become a VIP is do not obey to cultural tradition of a simple folks. Observing my classmates on our mutual picture taken in 1960, when we graduated from our School No. 8 of Kharkov, I am thinking... Why? Why my classmates didnít made something big of their lives? That is no VIP amongst them, no famous persons, even some prosperity never been earned by them. At least three are dead in the most banal way. No criminals, no killers, just simple crowd.

Why they never arrived to anything, to success, to prosperity, to celebrity, or at least did shock with a crime? OK, they been born in the Soviet Union in suburbia of provincial, but a very big city of Kharkov, kind of Soviet Detroit. They have had some chances in the beginning, because to be born in a small village is worst. Kharkov was 1.5 million strong industrial city with a huge student population. One had a choice in Kharkov. To say that my schoolfriends and classmates were stupid and talentless would be distortion of truth. No, amongst them I remember few boys who were more gifted than I was. Victor Golovashov was more gifted in literature, he knew more than me about writers, about books. Another guy, Vladimir Zolotarenko, was writing stories at age of 14, he was then accomplished writer! Viktor Proutorov was talented musician, he played accordion and guitar. Okay, Proutorov is special cause, because he died at 28 of heart disease. But Golovashov lived until about 50, then he committed suicide. To put it shortly, his life was not a total failure. After high school he went to an Army tank school, he climbed in military hierarchy to the grade of major. But two problems troubled his life: alcohol and infidelity of his wife. Those two, working in tandem, succeeded in firing Golovashov out of Army. He went to work at tractor plant, then he committed suicide. When a boy, Golovashov promised more than I promised, but he accomplished nothing. Why? I guess he chose a wrong destiny, Army wasnít his destiny, very probably that he went to tank school because his friend Korovin went to tank school. Only because of that.

Zolotarenko was accomplished writer, he wrote a short historical stories about medieval life of Zaporozhsky Cossacks at age of 14. But he was from a big working class family, his father was a welder, construction worker. By itself, the fact to be from a working class family is not positive, not a negative. Boy from a working class family in the Soviet Union theoretically was able to go to any university that he chooses. But a family tradition forced Vladimir to join his father at his work. In the beginning it was announced as temporary job, until young children of family will grow little bit, to aid father and mother. But he never got out of construction jobs, that poor idiot, friend of mine. A welder is good-paid profession. Every time he wanted to go, he would consider how much money he will loose, so he would stay. He didnít want to take a risk.

So, if I was asked about a formula for becoming a VERY IMPORTANT PERSON I would include an ability to take a risk. Perfect ability again and again to take a risk. Also I will add to my formula perfect disregard for cultural traditions: be young when you wish, not when they tell you so. At 54 Chaplin have married 17 years old girl, Oona, she gave him a bunch of children, they lived happily until he died at 91. But a Russian worker at 54 usually very old man, he has a difficulties to live, not marrying young girls.

When, as a young man, I decided to go to Moscow, I followed my instinct. Actually, I didnít know what I will do in Moscow. But it was important to be in Moscow. Thirty years later, friend of mine Gennady Goncharenko called to my mother to express his admiration for my instinct. Because that evening he wanted to go with me but had an attack of cowardice, and stayed at Kharkovís railroad station. So, his life turned out to be an ordinary shit, he acknowledged that. Thus, in my formula I have: an ability to take a risk, good, fine instinct, disregard for cultural traditions.

What else? Ability to work hard is very important. AS to famous luck, I believe that luck is a matter of organization of life. Luck could and should be organized. When I received 35 refusals from American publishers, 35 ďNo Thanks!Ē, I left the United States for France. That was my luck, I organized it. But I also was taking enormous risk: Jean-Jacques Panvert, French publisher who bought my manuscript, went bankrupt. So, when I took a plane to Paris, I didnít have a publisher, I didnít know French language, I even didnít have a passport! That was in May. In December, I had about 50 articles in French press glorifying my book, published in November.

One who is dreaming about becoming VIP should be also deadly serious about himself. Serious and cruel, as a wolf. One should explode as much troubles during his life, as he can. I would explode that fucking planet if I will near an atomic bomb, or some other such device. Because a universe is very unfair to us humans. So, why continue to keep that existence, soft as a shit. Millions of unborn babies, unborn Golovashovs, Zolotarenkos, Goncharenkos or Proutorovs will say ďthanksĒ to me. Somebody should stop that machine. That somebody will be ultimately great: Last Hero of Mankind.

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