FOR RUSSIA WITH LOVE


I just returned from Moscow again. We were playing at the Golden Mask Theatre Festival – a very wonderful thing and a great pleasure to attend. It was probably one of our best shows – with Jacques back in the saddle and Eyal creating a magical dream world around us. The Berlin artist Jim Avignon joined us on stage for some live action painting and a whole posse of Alex’s friends from the animaiton studio came to hang out.

On Saturday, our friends Marina and Serezha had asked us to play an acoustic show at a hospice for the terminally ill. So we arrived at a very peaceful little building on a quiet street somewhere as the snow started falling. It was an unusual event – no samplers, no projections, no electricity. There was a small audience of patients and staff from the hospice and some little birds in a couple of cages. Some of the patients were in beds and barely concious – one man in particular sounded as if he was about to go at any moment. When Jacques started to play ‘La Bete et La Belle’, the birds joined in too. I felt moved – just to be there at all and have the opportunity to do this sort of thing – although I confess felt some awkwardness at singing these songs, many of which refer to death, in a situation where mortality is very present. There were a couple of kids there and that really tore me up. Afterwards, just before we had tea and biscuits, I completely lost it for a few minutes in the loo. How do you tell children they are dying? – how do they understand that and how can they still smile and be so pleased to see you?

Back on the street, with the city noises and the snow falling more thickly, we wandered back into our lives and that stupid feeling that it couldn’t happen to us – death is for other people right?! Despite everything that has happened, I find it really hard to not imagine I will somehow go on for ever. Anyway it makes you think doesn’t it? – and one of the things I always think is how connections with people matter more than almost anything.

So, hello to all friends – but particularly this time to my Russian ones – old, new and however brief..