Arletta and I walked through Haga in Gothenburg today. Even before we turned into Haga Nygata at the street intersection at En Deli, we heard accordion music. Music almost always appeals and attracts, and this was no exception. Accordion music also often makes you want to dance, though this particular music had some different attraction. It was well played, and even before we turned around the corner we heard that this accordion playr knew his thing. It was an elderly man. To the appearance slightly tired and the face with its wrinkles seemed chapped by wind and sun and life’s encounters and resistance.
Precisely this resistance was somehow heard in the music he played. There was a feeling of someone being chased or hunted in the cadences. As we closed our eyes for a while, we saw the image of a threat. Something quite scary, said Arletta as we slowly sauntered on, still listening.
Then, Arletta told me about the old people in Russia who had told her about their meetings with Germans during World War II. How they met and how these encounters took place neither of us can know, but it was the picture of German soldiers in a foreign country. German soldiers playing their music as they paused in their attempt to storm the inferno of Stalingrad, deadly for all.
Whoever knows with near certainty that he will be dead tomorrow plays thus. Knowing that, this is how you play to muster the courage to be fully present when you meet your killer, still having access to your full ability to see what can possibly be done.
The Russian defenders played so. The German besiegers did too. This is how you play to have a chance to resist death. To win? Yes, whatever it means now.
And, what made the accordion player in the corner at Haga Nygata play like this?
At Vasaparken, Arletta and I separated. She went to an important study meeting. I went to spend a few hours preparing for tomorrow’s first event in our project The Green Lamp (which we will return to here later).
Walking along Vasagatan in the direction of the School of Economics, I met two men in their 40s who were in a rather deep conversation. What I heard at the moment we met was the following fragment: ”… is there any fate worse than death …?”
Thoughts in the city’s human rush and murmur.