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drunk_bishkek

Noticeable, that if you start doing anything seriously, soon you will realize that problems of any contemporary occupation arise mostly at promotion level. If you cannot market yourself, you can do nothing. In such arts, as cinematography and photography, the more gifted you are the less chances you have to maneuver smoothly through troublesome process of advertising. Artistic talent is often about creative originality and helplessness in practical things. Contemporary society is one absurd limitless marketplace. Wherever you go, you turn to be potential buyer with whom they talk in terms of sale. Internet is paranoia store of advertising spam and initiated purchases, not mentioning already radio and TV. You cannot reach the end of your own street without being asked for money. Beggars trade you their humiliation; prostitutes trade their body orifices for temporary use. Post box exists exclusively to devour tremendous quantity of commercials and bills. You are not human; you are consumer of water, shelter, cloth, food, entertainment and even your accidental death – all is article of trade and must be paid for. In this world of sales, the first thing you know about yourself is that you are nonentity in buy-and sell hierarchy.Your overall human value drops down until mark Mr. Nobody or rises like pole of thermometer measuring potential buy ability of your bank account.

If your sad fate is to be an artist, first thing you better do is dismiss old-fashioned ideas about high value of hard labor and talent over mercantile mediocrity.

Today it is not essential to be genial, even better for your own sake not to be so; you must be moderately industrious-moderately gifted useful member of society with good management skills. In this civilization not creativeness, but management plays most important role. Establishing photography as profession sorrowfully connected with your potential buy capacity. One cannot even start in photography without certain professional purchases. Newcomer must compete at the market with those who invest thousands in their photo arsenal. New technologies demand involvement of modern equipment and software, which costs.

What about photo models who are not picture pretty and young, they can market themselves with certain profit in the field of porno. Beauty and youth are not sufficient conditions for success in non-sex-industry either. A few photographers in Graz, with whom I came in contact searching possibility to earn as model in previous years, confessed they could hardly ever sell anything, and offered me to pose for them nude free of charge.

Before emigration to Austria, I would often visit Moscow Cinema House (Dom Kino) and enjoyed circulation among film producers, actors and camera operators.

Sometimes I was accompanied by film producer Sergey. He was man over 50 with snow-white beard. Rather well known in documentary cinematography, Sergey came to Moscow from province with hope to market his films. He had two grown-up children and ex-wife, who could not bare life of financial insecurity with him anymore.
He sold all his property in native town to have resources enough to buy only summerhouse in Moscow district.

It is meaningful point in Russian high society to live within or outside of Moscow city ring highway that signifies level of person’s prosperity. Sergey’s lodgings occurred to be far beyond ring highway, and to reach Cinema House he was to take suburban and metro trains for overall 4 hours per day.

He was discreet person with traditional gallantries of Russian intelligentsia, which

let him touch my elbow exclusively descending steep staircase. Only once he told dreamily that he was fond of horses and that my angular movements
reminded him of young, not completely adult horse once he took care of being a boy.

Unfortunately, like anywhere in the world, one needs not only excellent product such as ready documentary to find buyers, most of all one needs to know right people.

Day after day passed, but Sergey could neither sell his work nor find new projects.
It was not rare case among Russian men of art and letters that he started to drink and drank heavily.

According to national tradition, within a few years he descended from champagne to technical alcohol consumption in environment of dark gateway.
I declined his invitations, because he used to fall asleep in the chairs of watch rooms, when possible promoters were invited, and he would slide under the table in restaurants and spread their, which gave pains to transport him out.

I stopped visiting Cinema House. Being deeply frustrated, I existed in state of inner emigration and intended to leave Russia.
Already in Graz, once I got message that Sergey died.
Being drunk as usual, he tried to get back to his lodgings and missed last train. It was frosty night. Instead of waiting in railway station, where he would probably be in hands of police who hunted for tipsy wanderers, he started for a walk.
Then he lay down in the snow to give himself a break.
The white bed was soft and warm.

He fell asleep.
Perhaps he saw vast green fields of his native land. Young red horse with black hair tentatively approached him.
He held out crust of bread with salt and murmured:
– Come here, my silky beauty!

It snowed heavily that night. There was turmoil of wind and snowdrifts. Nobody could disturb Serggey’s sleep.

Galina Toktalieva

Kyrgyzstan-born author residing in Graz, Austria

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