Saturday, 4 February 2006

Yvonne Studer 2006

Dear Krakenistas

As I have been feeling a little melancholy and middle-aged lately, my SA4QE quotes all had to do with time and they were left in places which reflected or recorded the passing of time in one way or another. I invited my husband Dani to come with me because he knows the best second-hand shops in town. There were two on our way, in case the first one, Brocki Land, a huge shop for antiques, knick-knacks, junk and second-hand records and books in a former basement car park didn't offer a suitable spot for 4qating. But it turned out to be marvellous.

You enter by walking down the spiral driveway that once led down into the car park. There are two levels. On the upper one you can get candlesticks, scales, baskets, toys, golf clubs, tennis rackets, chess boards, vinyl records, video cassettes, cameras and kitchenware, gratings for your fireplace (if you have one) as well as furniture. To go further down, you follow the spiral driveway along picture frames, framed and unframed kitsch paintings hanging on the walls or standing on the floor and chairs of all kinds, light, heavy, made of wood or of metal. On the lower level, there are clothes, shoes, flower pots, demijohns, bottles, wine, water, sherry and schnapps glasses, silver cutlery, china crockery and books, countless shelves of books. I put the first quotation on a shelf with English books which were beckoning and evoking London and Russ at the same time. To be more precise, I placed the folded yellow sheet between a book on Westminster and another one on Russian Icons, in the gap left by a fascinating book titled Secrets of the Inner Mind: Journey Through the Mind and Body, which I bought.

The world is full of ghosts: not the kind who groan and clank their chains, not even people ghosts, but the ghosts of the touches of hands on what has been used, worn, handled. Might be a kind of metaphysical DNA, so that from the touch of a woman's hand on a necklace, a man's hand on a knife, the whole person might be called into being?"
from The Bat Tattoo


After leaving Brocki Land, a place teeming with ghosts, we went on to Buecher Brocki, another second-hand bookshop, and even though I had already used up my quotation and had therefore nothing to "give" to the place, I made an amazing find - my own book on one of the shelves side by side with that of a friend who had published a dissertation on texts by early African-American women writers! I guess they were orphans from one of the many local bookshops which have had to close down recently. The books looked new and untouched, and of course I was grateful for this special Russmas Day coincidence and didn't fail to buy them, too.

Then we went into the heart of Zurich to leave a second quotation on a bench on one of the historically most interesting spots in Zurich, Lindenhof.


 Roman ruins, medieval ramparts and the rubble of buildings from all the centuries since Zurich was first settled form an architectural palimpsest underneath a square planted with lime trees. In summer, when their blossoms perfume the air, it's one of the loveliest places in town to spend an evening talking to friends, drinking a bottle of wine, eating food from a takeaway place and looking at the old town and the Grossmunster on the far-side bank of the River Limmat in the twilight. Even now that Zurich is chilly and foggy and utterly uninviting, Lindenhof is the place which preserves flavours and smells of other times attainable only through the mind as well as stories and secrets told long ago in the dusk.

There are flavours that one tastes not with the mouth but with the mind.
from Linger Awhile


The last quotation found its place at the foot of Sankt Peter, the church whose spire contains the clock with the largest face in Europe.

The moment will not stay. We seek out places where the sorrow will be lessened, places where there is heart's ease in the sorrow, heart's comfort amidst the pain. For good or ill the moment will not stay. How fast the world flees in all directions from us! (...) We must find in ourselves the shapes of letting go because we're not free to become what we're going to be next until we let go of what we are now.

from Mnemosyne, Teen Taals, and Tottenham Court Road
(The Moment under the Moment)


You can't possibly ignore the passing of time there, the huge clock face is too imposing. It would be nice to think that Goethe was inspired by it to create in Faust a restless character to whom it is forbidden to linger in a place, for the clock in fact already told the time in 1775, when the German poet visited Zurich and stayed with Lavater, whose vicarage was right opposite the church. The clock was made by Hans Luterer in 1538.



Whether or not it influenced Goethe, it certainly did its duty with me and, after remembering the Some Poasyum and meeting Russ last year, Dani and I put the yellow A4 sheet on a low wall, placed a stone on it so the icy north wind couldn't carry it away and then we left the place, looking forward to a nice hot cup of chocolate at home.

Love and best wishes to all of you, and the very best of best wishes to Russ,

Yvonne x

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