Excerpt from the fourth chapter, ‘Deep Poland’

“I was very excited, when I first arrived and walked out of Wschodnia many years ago. I liked the little stores in the hall and the transparent architecture of the station. The light inside and the look reminded of a kodachrome postcard from the 1950s. I even liked the empty road in front of the station, that seemed to follow a straight line that would lead directly to Moscow. It gave the impression that the future was on its way, and that it would arrive from the East. We know it didn’t. It came from the West. And this process went very fast. The station got refurnished, lost its character and got filled with bars and shops that belonged to a brand. With every new visit I saw how the Berlinisation seeped into the streets in the immediate surroundings of the new metro station near your flat in Praga. This change only affected the interior of some places. The facades still showed a history in motion. What once was solid and a sign of wealth changed character thanks to long years of neglect. The result was a different kind of beauty: the beauty of decay. If you walked down to the river, to the wastelands, you saw a new skyline behind the old town. A new Jerusalem had appeared on the same place where once the ghetto stood. The colourful signs of Samsung and T-Mobile replaced the starry nights.”
You can order the book here.

Excerpt from the second chapter, ‘One Beautiful Summer’

 

“Yes, it was a typical fine street for the world citizens of tomorrow. There would be shops with restored country furniture and shops where you could buy herbs, tea and coffee. People would sit outside and talk leisurely, while they had an ice cream or a pumpkin soup. There would be little galleries and small boutiques, a record shop and of course a beer brewery where a former hairdresser who had experience in developing all kinds of lotions, would do the same with beer. In short, the street would be full of shops and stores, galleries and boutiques that would take care of your opinions and morals and offer an attitude in return. We walked back into a nondescript street with hardly any traffic, where we had spotted a Vietnamese restaurant. We sat at an old table. We could see the interior of the kitchen where the cook juggled with a frying pan filled with noodles and vegetables. He sprayed liquid on it from yellow or red plastic bottles. Fumes and sizzles. In Berlin, health inspectors might have given the guy a hard time. We loved it. The restaurant was as basic as it could get. Probably it would disappear in the next years, together with the old market place behind it. But now we were here. Everything was okay. It was a beautiful day. ”

You can get the ePub here