Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The joy of not knowing where

(Pater Noster Square)

I have an appointment in a part of Stockholm which I don't know. I find it very exciting, in an ambiguous way, that there is a part of town which I don't know. I am taking a particular bus, from a terminal I know, and will go only one stop, yet end up somewhere completely unknown to me. The terminal appears to be Jarlaplan (a bus terminal in northeastern part of inner Stockholm which was abandoned and destroyed in the 70s) and thus the unknown part of town must be in the eastern parts (the quiet and upperclass parts).

During the short busride I am flirting with an ugly yet very attractive woman who is leading a crowd of little old ladies with walking difficulties.

My appointment is at Fadervårtorget (Pater Noster Square). Fascinated by the existence of this unknown square I walk back and forth, pondering the environments, wondering which one of the strange pedestrians who might be the person I am supposed to meet. Most people seem to be small women in raincoats. Like a happy child I enjoy my disorientation; since I haven't seen a map, and the sky is overcast, and there are no natural landforms, I can't even tell which direction is which! At the neighboring streets there are all kinds of small stores and some big restaurants or bars, particularly fish restaurants.

Half-awake, I start hypnagogically rationalising this remarkable dream. I'm trying to stick to the subject matter, but it seems elusive as I have to edit two volumes of Kafka stories, with all the emotional strain it involves to empathise with them in order to reconstruct their inner sequence. But Kafka always lived and wrote his stories in this tiny apartment in Helsinki, in an old building which is now accessible in the exotic eastern parts of Stockholm. I'm trying to write my signature on some applications, but all I can produce is Kafka's.

It seems like I have several times hypothethised unknown parts of Stockholm and usually in the eastern parts. I get an image of explaining the Fadervårtorget to other people, claiming that it is one of the many swiss-cheese-holes in the otherwise socially homogenous eastern parts, this one specifically being a square around which the specifically degenerate branches of the upperclass families accumulated, those branches who were declassed, badly alcoholised or just perpetually sidestepped, who all turned small-shop-owners, bike-repairers, day-laborers or public square winos; still refusing to live in any other parts than their traditional eastern ones. And then recently, there had been some preliminary attempts to gentrify this exotic piece of land, hence the big bars-restaurants.

Later fully awake, I seem to remember that whenever I postulate unknown parts of Stockholm they are always in Östermalm, the eastern parts. Indeed the quietness and often ghost-town-feeling of these parts as well as the alienation before its very distinct class character might be a good breeding ground for such ideas. In the few dreams I vaguely remember about this, there is always some larger north-south-street which marks the sharp boundary between the common central Stockholm and the Östermalm wilderness. Sometimes this border has been Birger Jarlsgatan (fits with this dream, since this streets starts at Jarlaplan where the old bus terminal was) and the unknown east is then often like a chaotic big city with old buildings, similar to parts of Paris perhaps. Sometimes it has been further west and has been Sveavägen. I remember standing at Sveaplan looking south, and the Vanadislunden hill to the left has been a "hic sunt leones" wilderness, where I have dared venture only briefly; it has always been abandoned, dry and overgrown.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

why not:)