Drop Kick

13 October 2008

In any case I claim as my work this week the choreography of all the drunks in Brussels. The backwards and forwards staggering of the guy at the ATM, with its interlaced measure of side-to-side swaying, the guys head leading his body in confusion, his whole frame suspended from time to time in moments of temporary balance and bewildered thought, was pretty much the start of the show. Later, when his money spat from out of the machine, he let it fall, stupid fingers bluntly grabbing as the notes scattered flightless to the pavement  – the green brown of brand new 100/50 Euro notes heading downward to their place at his feet. His comical grasping, blind, flat palmed, was my work, and the trick of the other guy, his friend, with a darting less-drunk motion coming in to help him, crouching and grabbing the fluttering cash was a maybe too clever way to turn a solo into a duet, the two of them gathering notes in hurry that was frightened by the prospect of wind. The way they circled the pavement to the waiting taxi was mine, the more-sober one going round, out and into the road to take the left-hand passenger door after first flinging the other wide open for his friend, who, after collapsing inwards to the darkness of the seat, made great and protracted drama from the action needed to close the door after himself – faint circles of the  hand, conflicted leaning in tension with the seat belt and then finally the gesture of his fingers, straining for the handle, a miniature ballet staged one full half metre short of their mark.

The climax of my work was maybe days later when a different drunk altogether, a veritable Nureyev or Nijinsky of his time, crashed down the stairs of a restaurant, head over heels and then wedged in the curve of the stairs turn, unable to right himself, in unwinding agony of an overturned beetle, legs in slow motion, animal groans. His friend also joined for the duet, the latter trying to right the former, by pulling him upwards, all the while threatening to fall and join him in the almost and painful horizontal. Their exit was the piece de resistance – the drunkest of the two clasping his hands around the neck/shoulders of the other who took him, weaving an unsteady path between the tables, his friend a good natured more-or-less-sentient sack of potatoes at his back declaring good! good ! good!, as they lurched closer to the door then found release to the darkness of the night beyond.

The work I am proudest of though, was my trio for a drunk man, a half empty beer can and a brand new Mercedes Benz taxi. Staged at 1 or two in the morning the lone dancer – in white track suit, sideways baseball cap and rolling stagger – drop-kicked the beer can from his hand and out into the floodlit street, the can moving in a wild unruly arc, towards the parked up taxi, but over it, a beautiful clearance which non-the-less dripped and dashed a curve of lager to its gleaming bonnet and windshield, incurring the wrath of the driver but stunning the crowd with its thrilling, abrupt and unexpected parabola. In the aftermath the dancer almost collapsed, fell back on himself with the recoil, so beautiful.

The rest of my work – all the swaying, blundering of the city's many drunks dispersed across its vast stage, all the missed footsteps, the fumblings, the falls, the yells, extended arms, slumped backs, entangled pas de deuxs, the gyrations, twists, circlings, stumbles and misunderstandings, the sudden motions, the unison chorus of staggerers, subway platform soloists of confusion, argumentative quartets around benches  etc etc I will not recount or describe in full detail here but hope that you have seen them, and appreciate the work. Something about a venture on this scale is suiting me. I will move, in the not too distant future to larger things – the rise and fall of the money markets beckons and I have let the relevant authorities know that I am ready for the job.