oliver craner

Friday, September 01, 2006


Bloomberg TV dispenses figures, charts, graphs, without pause, from the moment I arrive, and all night (a 24-hour data passion): I know this in advance, I know this from experience. But I won't stick around, I know that too. A hotel room two minutes from Zurich airport. Blood pressure: 186/95, and rising. Flight paths not quite drowned out by automatic shower, TV glare, lamp buzz, satellite drone.

Wash down aspirin, to thin the blood, with two Martinis, one Marlboro. Do not feel aspirin do anything because there is no physical pain, but it saves you, serves you, discretely. The nightcaps are quite heavy, still. TV, to quell it: Bloomberg, Sky News.

On a table, under wan discs of light, this morning's WSJ, one Nokia, a sprawl of memos, appointments, personal notes. My scrawl: fluid, assured, busy. Scramble, vaguely happy, damn eyes dilated, down dire, cold corridors ("air-conditioned," flowing flu) into a cavernous mirrored lift, my face multiplied, quite harsh and contorted. The swift stomach-swallowing descent cut off by smooth termination; a dizzying shift, seen off with swagger, very smooth, and just, and good.

Five fat, sterile men in the lobby, devoured by deep padded chairs, leather cases, US broadsheets; hideous husks marooned and neutered, on dangerous marble floors. This is the route to the bar. In minutes, across a marble slab, lit by stainless steel neo-Lalique lamps, a sly, blonde, dry girl hands over one great gleaming glass of Courvoisier. It holds mystery and promise within, quite certainly:

Constituent parts swim into place, glass shards, black marble, low light (aspirin effect). Wary eyes steer through guarded conversation and sickly smoke-wraiths. Low light. Exhaustion. Of limbs, of soul. (Nicotine inhaled, with relief.)

There's a bit of a love affair in a drab corner (light lower) - it chimes. Outside Zurich, it chimes. Is incomprehensible: too tender, too animal. Outside Zurich, from the slow ice of international flights, the low light of hotel bars, and Bloomberg TV (data passion, endless) I internalise rules, tactics, strategy, distance.

And forgive me though, I like her diffidence; I like it as it contrasts with the candor of her smile. I like the sincerity - of her eyes, as I read them, with no codes to crack. This is a brave thing. I know she won't take me: I have too many people to serve, yet.

I am an analyst; I collect, quantify, chew up, shred, swallow, spew out market indices, interest rates, coroporate mergers, infrastructure projects, pipeline routes, the Federal Reserve, and the Libson Agenda. Intersections and intrigues at Konstantinovsky Palace, St. Petersburg. EUROPE: the corridors of this labyrinth; "capital", in torrents. The price of Brent Crude and lure of Caspian oil. Oligarchs, still, control armies.

I make patterns out of this: tipping points, terminations, ellipses, and so on. Drink Alsace cognac, Burgundy wine, Jamaican rum, Pilsen beers. Keep receipts, send them to companies. Via these beautiful angels I aid other beautiful angels: my think tanks, my private investors, my stock market gamblers.

So I'm here again, eyes woozy, with this Zurich barmaid who despises me, my existence on expenses. It no longer a novelty, but still has some effect. I smoke twenty a day, despite dire warnings. I smoke twenty a day, yet lost liberty. I serve, still, and rules crowd around me. Be grateful, get in love.

It could be possible. I mean, I have a tenderness for her; when she speaks, smiles, dispenses, my body moves, it reacts. I cannot contest her kindness, even now; or defy simple, violent grace. Or those eyes, as they go wide, with joy and generosity.

The barmaid, sleek-eyed, incorruptible, not one word from her, just direct, angular stabs, coins slammed onto a silver tray with a bill and a paper napkin. I want change and she serves insults. (Could be joyful, like a game.) Head awash, with this creepy lack of walls, this sense of strange danger, in this international hotel bar. With mirrors, glass shards, low light, and love in the corner.

Her with the adder eyes, sleek eyes, sick eyes. Skin dry, febrile, I can feel it. Conducive to air vent chills. (Vision again; as if sinking. Nape subject to intense pressure. Low-lights mere stains, do not illuminate.) It's serious: a hint of sudden seduction through the murk, a mild ambience, otherwise, a ripple of debauchery, above rage, below range, on air.

The sleek, sick eyes, splendour with grossness. Mischa Barton prowl, teeth about to be unleashed. I've known her. Cheekbones like sheer blades, a septic bitch with no core and well-stocked hair, handling crystal glass.

I've known her, in her hundreds. All indestructible, ethically sure, amoral. 48-hour freshness, like VX gas. Always a good view too (sandstorms overwhelm nighttime irrigation).

It's rote, it's choreography, recital. LOVE: the No. 1 enemy (KENSINGTON HOTEL DEATH LEAP). "Love" said N______ (soon to fall in love) " - our number one enemy." After this Rubicon, the scene of desire. Moribund, at an obscene apotheosis. "LUST IS A FORCE" wrote Valentine de Saint-Point. And desire

IT'S A RACKET. Picture this: In LA's wildest hotel, looming

over the grid - that's the city, under us. Light tedious, pungent, shot through with spurts of Pucci-esque aquamarine, thick with flies, fumes, humidity. Fluted pillars and ivy-covered arches frame the veranda. Koi ponds ring the perimeter; bougainullea and eucalyptus decorate marble spas. And the rooms, hung with ruched-silk awnings, have antique Persian rugs (smoke-stained, singed).

Some Nicole Ritchie waif says to me (ineffable nothings and): "I'm a work in progress. I'm not really 'there' yet. One day I'll be 'there'." That was my holiday. Quite exotic; the land haunted; clouds like tarred lily pads. The planes did their curves, did eject sublime trails, vapor sharp, then fanning out. Vitality is back. "Over my city is shining all!" The stars hold me. Can I be more lucid than this? Under flight routes (on occasion, diverted) and other streams:

trade, exploitation, terror, romance. Over Europe; Aarhus to Rennes. This pit of art, famed throughout the world, enjoyed by millions. Earn a wage on its collapse, or suicide, but not directly. Quantify pipeline routes and all that; gas exports, flow of goods and luxury items, geometry on Parisian catwalks, grubby pox of delis and bars, default nostalgia in neutral patches.

Exposed to loose, louche airwaves; a specious toxicity, ingesting, alongside me, us, we, gut-routing alcohol, GM modulations, excessive heavy metals. The fake-fox fur with red heels and lingerie, spotlight bright hot by trash and a hardware store. Suburban molls expose hidden, unbidden sensuality for the glare, its glaze, the mag rack strip and roll-call - irony heavy, heartless, exposed. Flashing alive dilated smiles and queer grins; ice-white teeth biting into Max Factor layers, but not drawing blood at all; gums receding with teeth loose due to chain smoking, bad diet. Every taxi a rape option.

To be more lucid, again. Light along glasses lined up on immaculate black marble. Her toothy clench: wine and brandy, fresh, and in the wake of it, waiting for wisdom. Even more of it! Thank you, as learned, sunk in a repository of grace, a comedy of manners. Such illusions I remain determined to defend, to keep, to cherish - like, as I mentioned, love.

This was my holiday, a few months ago, and the stains remain: "I learned the power of manipulation early," she said, addled, intoxicated, warm, "I was very free to come and go as I pleased. I don't really blame anybody for it. Everyone wanted to make me happy. Their way of making me happy was to say yes to everything."

She was hungry, but not desperate; that was attractive. There was the super-luxe aspect, definitely an angle: feather hold, well in place; tattoo-bruise under skin graft; turquoise inside each eye. Cut through with dignity verging on dementia. Gazpacho was warm and I was kicking up a fuss. It was my holiday.

At that point where anything is possible, I recall. "I always push myself. If I don't have anything to do, I always feel like I'm going to do something wrong." In that insane, poisonous, humming heat, it was like she spoke to my sordid soul; hence the sense of being soiled. We were above LA and I'd laid out a lot of money. Apparently, I came to see a friend. That was my holiday.

Kept receipts, like a dirty diary. Watched America's economy hyperventilate (data passion; "fiscal policy a wild card"), added my own appetites to the torpid, lax lay out. Coming back was like a tipping point disguised as renewal. I felt well. Afire under cover of conservatism. Knew my place: a split heir! (Nobody's protégé.)

Stopped for a drink at Heathrow; was there four hours after landing. Without deadlines: a brief but liberating moment. That was tranquility, poise: watching lovers disentangle and depart. Sheet-walls and windows contained the hard drama of torn tenderness: a most beautiful and versatile arena of expression.

In Zurich hotel bars, I see, the tendency is reversed: love in the corner, in low light, a mute tragedy. Slack over black marble, there are room-length windows behind me, with trace reflections of us stragglers, and the road outside bathed in halogen mire, stars smeared out and striated by passenger jets. This has a bleak loveliness, I concur. I'll spend one morning, one lunch, and a few hours of afternoon in the city, with its fragrant alleys. Then back to the brittle embrace of Canary Wharf; all effusive, with steely, gentle glamour. Touch down in London City Airport; rattle back to the flat (that, apparently, I almost own) along the DLR.

Switch on TV, and drink some more, and ingest more print, and probably feel content, once ingested. File findings, with due creative license, which will be brought. My lay out: almost complete.

"I'm a very anxious person," she told me, and it hardly registered at the time, I couldn't relate or take her seriously, however hard her lips sparkled, "and when I got into Xanax and Valium and Klonopin, I absolutely loved it." Seriously: I thought she was joking.

To follow the assassination of Paris, I reckon up, in this sheer, icy bar outside Zurich airport, the erasure of London. This secretly tied up in those torrents, I conclude from high wage work. I do some good just knowing this - through internal resistance to bureaucracy, vandalism, cynically enacted by engorged elites, and oligarchs with armies, and the parasites that pay me.


Yes black makes a comeback with catwalk elites, as if to concur, collude (this left on some ES scrap on my person: "Erin O'Connor looked so ravishing in Matthew Williamson, as did Matthew in his antique Polish frock").

Someone I'm looking for again, and I can clarify it. Her generosity would jar; it would be all sorts of mistakes and wrong moves. I know she won't take me: too many people to serve, that simple. And I no longer have energy to move, in this sheer black, glassy bar, fraught with new class claustrophobia, that won't shut down, that will let me drink quietly, undisturbed, possibly despised. Exacerbate the worst in the world: and learn, and earn. Concur, conclude; can hide, dynamically. Can, still, hold some seconds dear. Can, still, give romance a run for some money.

An interesting life is the extreme concept of dullards.
Mr. Sammler

posted by oc  # 2:24 PM

citta vecchio

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