• It’s my neighbourhood…Gheorgheni… it’s a superb neighbourhood. Everything ‘s green there. The most beautiful neighbourhood in the country ! Everybody who comes here says: “How is it possible ? How did they make this here, like that ?’ During communism. Then they weren’t economical about space. In Moscow, I met the architect who had made it. He got a prize for its beauty…because it’s set magnificently!
• ‘Well you really ran away! For good! Cluj swallowed you’; I was sick and tired of the South and I told myself : That’s it, total disconnect ! go as far away as possible from my parents ; so then Cluj was good ; why sick and tired of the South ? I didn’t like life there ; I didn’t like the people ; there were no pubs, no places to go ; and here I was so well inserted that in certain anthologies you can see my name…you know….born on… in Cluj Napoca. That’s a good sign in a way that the city has adopted you ; all sorts of mistakes ; someone used to say that the best condition for an artist is the status of a mongrel; not to belong anywhere in your life ; I would leave Cluj any time provided I find something else like it, I like Timisoara a lot ; I would go to live there as I have a friend there who’s very bohemian, even for me ; it’s beyond me’ ; ‘but what is this leaving thing related to for you ? What are you looking for?’ ‘I think it’s some sort of state of prolonged youth; there’s a cool guy in Timisoara, Serban Foartza, a poet; well, he writes for Dilema to ; he’s considered the best poet from the West [of the country]; a guy who at sixty has no problems finishing 2l of whisky in a day; he’s in great shape, an extraordinary energy and he writes equally gifted poetry in Romanian, Latin, Hungarian, German and French.
THE GASOLINE BOTTLE
• My father sent me to get gasoline. And so I was walking the village road on my way to get the gasoline bottle. Back then they would give gasoline for heating. But they would give it from a big cylinder as there were no pipes. And on my way there I ran into dad. He was sleeping in a ditch covered by crow silk. He said : Take my hat home! I put his hat on my head and went to the store. Frogs were leaking from my hat. They said : You did not stand in the line ! And they beat me up. I went back on the road with the gasoline bottle in my hand and with my dad’s hat on my head. And I’d walk now on the road and now through the ditch. From a child’s story.
THE GAS BILL COLLECTOR
• I worked for three years in the Gas business. DistriGaz. And I went daily to tens, hundreds of people’s homes to read the meters and to get them their invoices. In the beginning, in the first years, we were cashing in the receipts from their homes and this gave us an occasion for entering people’s houses. Manastur and Marasti are workers’ neighbourhoods. They are these neighbourhoods where there’s an exodus in the morning, before daybreak. With tramways and with those buses that seem inflatable they all go and come back in the afternoon, at four, drunk, with their alcoholic daughters and there goes the frying, the smell of fried sausages, in the whole building, with those kids playing outside, the revelries, the scandals…. Andrei Muresan in the high-class neighbourhood, those old-fashion intellectuals, the refined ones, but where you can have very weird experiences. It’s enormously cold-hearted. There all the people will tell you to wait in front of the gate even if it’s – 20 degrees Celsius and you’re crying with cold, your fingers are aching with cold, you’re waiting outside because you’re that dick who’s coming to collect the gas, the water bill…the one they give a tip to. In those neighbourhoods you cry, nobody will ask you in, but you do get a tip. You’re paid for that thing, the humiliation. The humiliation you are submitted to. Whereas, on another hill in Cluj, one that’s called Dambul Rotund, it’s just like the countryside. People are like in the country and they have that kinda mentality. Everyone will ask you in. ‘Oh my dear, come on by the stove!” I knew a few old ladies there who would say: “Oh my! You poor soul you’re all frozen! Come, I’ll adopt you at once!” A kindness to die for. There, if you accepted everything they gave you, you would have stayed for a year.
• It is a popular neighbourhood. It became a neighbourhood in the ‘60’s. In ’48, when the Communists came to power there used to be the city itself, then the beer factory and only beyond it there was a village called Manastur. And those country folk were very proud and they put up a sign post. “Up to here there’s the Romanian popular republic and from here on there’s Manastur!
• How did those people build these buildings? How did they come up with the idea to make them in this way… like matchboxes? There’s also the Match Market. And the little girl with the matches. The Match Factory Girl. Tytto. And these buildings create such an echo. Everything that goes on downstairs seems to be happening in front of your window.
• Before, I had rented a place by a park and a cemetery. It was silent as a grave.
NO 6. GHEORGHIENI
• Cartierul meu unde locuiesc… Gheorghieni… este un cartier superb. Acolo totul e numai verdeata. Cel mai frumos cartier de locuinte din tara asta! Toti care vin zic: “Cum se poate? Cand l-au facut pe asta aici, asa?” In perioada comunista. Atunci se facea risipa de teren. Arhitectul care l-a facut, l-am intalnit atunci la Moscova. A luat premiu pe caiet pentru frumusete… ca e asezat extraordinar!
NO 7. PLECARI
• Pai ai fugit bine! De tot! Te-a-nghitit Clujul; aveam o disperare pe Sud si-am zis: Tai tot!; la cea mai mare distanta de parinti; si atunci Clujul era bine; De ce disperare pe Sud?; nu-mi placea viata; nu-mi placeau oamenii; n-aveai carciumi, n-aveai locuri; si aici m-au inghitit atat de tare ca in antologii apare numele meu, stii… nascut la data de… in Cluj Napoca. Asta-i semn bun pe undeva ca te-a adoptat orasul; tot felul de greseli; zicea cineva ca cea mai misto conditie pentru un artist e statutul de corcitura; sa n-apartii unui loc in viata; as pleca oricand din Cluj, dar sa gasesc o chestie de-asta; in Timisoara imi place mult; acolo m-as muta ca am un prieten care e foarte boem chiar si pentru mine; ma depasesc; da’ la tine de ce e legata chestia asta cu plecatu’?; Ce cauti?’ cred ca e o stare din asta de tinerete prelungita; i-un tip fain in timisoara, Serban Foartza, poet; ma rog scrie si-n dilemma; e considerat cel mai mare poet din Vest; un tip care la 60 de ani rezolva lejer 2l de whisky pe zi; e intr-o forma, intr-o verva anormala si scrie poezie cu egal talent in romana, latina, maghiara, germana, franceza.
NO 11. BUTELCA DE GAZ
• M-a trimis taica-meu dupa gaz. Si am mers pe drumul communal catre butelie. Pe vremea aia se dadea gaz pentru incalzire. Dar se dadea de la un mare cilindru ca nu erau conducte. Si-n drum am dat peste tata. Dormea intr-un sant, acoperit de matasea broastei. Mi-a zis: Ia-mi palaria si du-mi-o acasa! Mi-am pus palaria pe cap si am mers la magazin. Imi curgeau broastele de sub palarie. Mi-au zis: Tu n-ai stat la rand! Si m-au batut. M-am intors pe drum, in mana cu sticla de gaz si cu palaria lu’ tata pe cap. Si o luam ba prin sant, ba pe ulita. Din relatarea unui copil.
NO 12. OMUL DE LA GAZE
• Am lucrat trei ani la Gaz. DistriGaz. Si mergeam zilnic la zeci, sute de oameni ca sa citesc contoarele si sa le duc facturile. La inceput, in primii ani, se incasau facturile pe teren si asta era un motiv sa intri in casa omului. Manasturul si Marastiul sunt cartiere muncitoresti. Sunt cartierele alea unde se intampla un exod dimineata, inainte sa se lumineze. Cu tramvaie si cu autobuzele alea care par gonflabile se duc toti si revin dupa-masa, la patru, beti, cu fete alcolice si-ncepe prajala, mirosul de carnati fripti, la bloc, cu copiii aia care se joaca afara, betiile, scandalurile… Andrei Muresanu e cartierul high-class. Al intelectualitatii aleia, de moda veche, rafinatii, dar unde ai parte de experiente foarte ciudate. E o raceala enorma. Acolo toata lumea iti spune sa-astepti la poarta chiar daca sunt minus 20 de grade si tie iti curg lacrimile, te dor degetele de frig, astepti la poarta pentru ca tu esti pula ala care vine cu gazul, cu apa, cu… caruia-i dau bacsis. In cartierele alea plangi, nu te cheama nimeni in casa, da’ primesti bacsis. Ti se plateste chestia aia, umilinta. Umilinta la care esti supus. Pe cand, in alt deal din Cluj, care se numeste Dambul Rotund, e exact ca la tara. Oamenii traiesc exact ca la tara si au aceeasi mentalitate. Toata lumea te cheama in casa. “Vai dragule, da’ hai langa soba!” Eu aveam babele mele acolo care: “Vai! Tucut-as ochii ai inghetat! Hai ca te-nfiez acuma!” Mori acolo. Acolo, daca ai fi acceptat tot ce ti se ofera ai fi ramas si-un an.
NO 13. MANASTUR
• E un cartier popular. A devenit cartier in anii 60. Prin 48 cand au venit comunistii la putere era orasul oras, era fabrica de bere, dupa care incepea un sat, numit Manastur. Si satenii aia, foarte mandrii, au pus o pancarda: “Pana aici Republica Populara Romana, de aici incolo Manastur!
• Cum au construit astia blocurile astea? Cum s-au gandit ei sa le faca asa… ca niste cutii de chibrituri? Exista si piata Chibrit. Si fetita cu chibriturile. The Match Factory Girl. Tytto. Si blocurile astea au asa un ecou. Tot ce se intampla jos, pare ca e in fata geamului.
• Inainte am stat cu chirie langa un parc si un cimitir. Era o liniste mormantala.