If you happen to visit the British capital at the height of summer, then find the opportunity to come in the evening after eight o'clock in the square at the statue of Eros in Piccadilly Circus. Even not the most attentive tourist's eye will catch there a company with hairstyles in the form of a purple comb or a red crown of the Statue of Liberty. Young people notice neither the flashes of cameras illuminating their meeting nor the tourists standing nearby staring at them. Of course, punks are pleased with such active attention of the curious. They are glad to see each other and are excited about the opportunity to discuss some things that only they know.
From the outside, it looks very funny because of the fancy designs on the heads and defiant clothes. Punks look like cats, who came under the window to a choral lesson and carefully stretch out the notes, not paying attention to the housewife who seriously asks them: "Why are you yelling like that?" "Disco party!" - flashing with wit, her husband answers, looking up from the TV.
Closer to nine in the evening, when it gets dark, almost bald young ladies and funny guys with green hair join this company with a businesslike appearance. Looking at them, I wanted to dye my hair red too but preferred to abandon this captivating idea. "We should better refrain," I said to myself in the words of Gorbachev, who was offered at one exhibition to sit behind the wheel of a wheat harvester that caught his attention.
Near to a group of punks, a heap of rubbish heaved. It was especially surprising that no one thought to clean up the mountain of beer cans, bottles and Big Mac boxes that had accumulated in central London. What a contrast this picture was with Moscow, which was being prepared for the 850th anniversary, scraped beyond recognition! I could not even believe it. True, a grinning black janitor once rode a lunar rover with spinning flat brushes that only drove cigarette butts thrown from the steps to their feet, and after a minute left on a strange machine, full of feeling of superiority over the idle multilingual audience which he led to considerable amazement with his unexpected appearance.
One evening, I noticed on the steps under Eros two punk girls nice talking about something. I saw one of them before, the other for the first time. "Excuse me!" - applied I to the "old acquaintance" in stockings with leopard spots, crookedly cropped above the knees. "Yes?" - both turned to me. "May I have a photo with you?" - overcoming shyness, I asked. "One pound!," "The Leopard Stocking" replied unexpectedly quickly and passionlessly.
But I thought that she would refuse, wonder, mind! But it's for you, not a Moscow co-ed who has read a lot of Chernyshevsky, with dreams of rebuilding the world in her head. Here it is, the very European pragmatism, sobering with a cold shower castle-builders soaring in the clouds.
I only had nine pence left from five hundred dollars taken for six days. The next morning, our tour group was returning to Moscow. Therefore, I mumbled something inarticulate about a lack of funds, and "The Leopard Stocking" began to speak quickly and indignantly in response, but from all of her monologue I managed to make out only one last sentence: "Sorry, no pictures without money!"
After such a fiasco, it was inconvenient for me to sit next to the punk girls, contemplating the world-famous colorful neon sign dancing on the corner of the house, crowned by a panel with the number of days until the year 2000. Therefore, I got up and went along the London's Old Arbat, that is, along either Picadilly or Regent street, accelerating my pace.
Crowds of tourists were already loitering. With open mouths, they stared at the luminous signs and screamed in excitement to each other something in Italian, German, Dutch. What about me the thought warmed me that the next morning I would go home.
The first time I came across this, just entering one of the Moscow institutes. My classmate met me in the subway and asked for one ruble. I helped with pleasure. And so I would have forgotten about my favor if the next day the unknown girl who smiled sweetly and said that she hadn’t money to buy ice-cream, would not have addressed this request to me. “They are asking,” my friend waved his hand, “they knock money down.”
Now it is more or less dying, but on the streets and in the crossings you can see decent-looking young guys who apologize through every word, explaining the reason for such an uncomfortable situation. And you, remembering the dense past, give the last coin and almost cry from tenderness. This is, for you, not to beat the faces - this is Culture!
My interest knew no bounds, and finally, I tried. At first, I thought my intelligent appearance, golden glasses, and a fashionable T-shirt would interfere with me in such a difficult matter, but my friend assured me that this was right what I needed and that my contingent comprised young couples in love. A friend himself threw on a dirty denim shirt, a backpack and approached only the burnt-out hanging out youth, telling that he had arrived in Moscow from Konigsberg.
Legend is the foundation of asking for money enterprise. The legend needs to be selected according to the beggar’s image, otherwise, if I, for example, go into the company of Alisa group fans and start loading their already loaded heads with the fact that I arrived at a concert of their favorite group, they would, to put it mildly, misunderstand me.
Since my goal was not so much money as the satisfaction of curiosity, I chose a fairy tale that I came to the park with a childhood girlfriend, I forgot my wallet at home, and I want to present her at least flowers today!
Refueling myself with beer, I went into business. It was MK newspaper’s birthday, and next to the main scene is just my audience. I’m coming up. A flurry of magic words comes from dry in an instant throat, but judging by the faces of people, these inarticulate sounds can only be mistaken for idiotic delirium or a perfect abusive swearing.
Finally, someone understands that I have a tragedy, and I desperately need money. So I get ten roubles. Further on everything went much easier and calmer. Someone sympathizes, I start a conversation with someone about devastation for the sake of a pleasant matter, others call for a drink with a “childhood girlfriend”, etc.
Even with such a ridiculous legend, in an hour I got about a hundred roubles, which was enough for expensive cigarettes, a bottle of beer, ice cream, a pack of pasta, a loaf and inexpensive little book by Sologub. The main thing is to act without doubts and gladly!
Shetook his last book with the firm intention of taking an autograph from him. Of course, I frowned and called him an eccentric considering him an immoral person, but I still had to read his poems under her pressure. What can I say, there were a couple of good poems, and I continued to grimace expecting him in the audience of one unique institute. Rumors about his arrival were mined in portions - he turns out to be tall, he is in a denim long coat, like a gay.
I sat with her at the last desk and thought about how to somewhat quicker get out on the boulevard and drink beer. From heavy thoughts, I laid my head on her knees, and meanwhile, she tasted his beautiful words. She is beautiful and smart, but not yet used to the close distance from the "classics".
Yevtushenko looks like Hitler without a little mustache, and this cunning smile kills on the spot. The only joy from all that was happening around during that significant meeting was her disappointment in him as in a person. He said something about his outstanding work, about one iconic verse. Maybe the verse was really significant, but don't talk about it every five minutes. I felt like that Buddhist who comprehended nirvana from the frequent repetition of the same phrase that loses its meaning. He seemed to not understand. Something else he said about the anthem, he seemed to refuse to write the text to music. And all this with wide gestures and with an open soul - look at my genius.
Once again, I say I wanted a beer and nothing more.
After the meeting, I went out for a smoke, but she nevertheless went to get an autograph for the parents who are fans of him somewhere in the Russian outback.
To tell the truth, I’m jealous, up to the clouding of reason. She smoked nervously: “Imagine, I’m standing in line for autographs with girls, I’m waiting. He calmly signs, listens to him being flattered, and then I come - you should see how he looked at me as if at some beautiful thing, roused himself, like a rooster, a nasty man. The old one, but all the same - and what’s your name, how beautiful you are, and so on.” Each look at her for me is like a stab in the back, okay there are teens, but a Poet.
She already wanted to throw out the book, but changed her mind, decided to make a gift to her mother.
To tell the truth, I do not understand these iconic figures. Well, they are famous, well, they are proud of themselves for some merits, but why show off? I drank beer to the accompaniment of her offended remarks - "here the goats, they want the same thing".
And then it jerked us to go to the Museum of Cinema for the good movie “Sky above Berlin.” We didn’t get any tickets and the five of us stood in search of the extra ticket. We stood frozen and already wanted to go for a walk when saw a familiar tall figure in a long black coat. He walked with his head raised as if searching for something ahead. A companion in a shabby coat respectfully led him to the ticket office and took the booked tickets. Yes, we were not mistaken - it was Yevtushenko, the pillar and power of Russian poetry, who recently received a diploma from the Literary Institute, which in his time he did not finish.
He passed, smiling indulgently in response to the enthusiastic words of my friends saying hat they recognized the famous poet. She stood waiting for one thing - would he recognize her or not. He said something as condescending and standard as his gaze, he wanted to leave the cinema's dressing room as he saw her. He stopped, looked in surprise and interest in her eyes, and even opened his mouth, but my chest protected her from his lascivious gaze. Yevtushenko wriggled out - he smiled broadly and said: "So, I have gunpowder in the powder flasks, as you are hiding!"
Yevtushenko left, friends laughed for a long time, and I thought - for such things two centuries ago, they challenged to a duel. It's a pity that this is the 21st century... It's a pity that Pushkin perished.