Aleksey Aleksandreev, Private party
Andrei Soroker is a programmer, musician and Russian. He threw these three talents into the scales when, in order to pay off the mortgage of their house, created the genre of virtual street music.

The house stands in the old quarter of San Francisco, a charming Victorian building, and as such, it has a thousand problems, accurately described by Andrei in his blog. The reason of its main problem is, however, not its age but our age, namely that as a consequence of the present crisis, it is worth only half of the mortgage that Andrei still has to pay off on it.

Andrei is obviously irritated by the fact, and he decided that before he would call in the mortgage and abandon the house with all they had hitherto paid, he would try to get some extra money to his programmer’s salary through virtual street music. On the site created for this purpose a couple of weeks ago he performs his own and his friends’ songs as well as those of classical Russian bards and of the heroic age of Russian underground in the 80’s. If you liked them, then by clicking on the house you can throw through PayPal one dollar per pixel into the virtual guitar case.

Andrei Soroker - Boris Grebenshchikov, The man of Kemerovo
About this heroic age wrote Wladimir Kaminer in his first and perhaps most sincere book, the Military music of 2001:

In 1983 I got to know the innermost circles of the Moscow rocker world. This was at that time the most interesting society among all. My friends and I were looking for our heroes and we found them on the street. They were older than us, but they often behaved like children and they all played on the guitar. It was a wonderful time. The heroes of the 80’s simply started off and swept off the mock-heroes of the Soviet Union.

By clicking on the above image of the site you can watch Andrei singing one of the “hymns” of this heroic age, The man from Kemerovo of the legendary Akvarium group. He accompanies himself on guitar from playback, and the following English translation is also from him:

У меня были проблемы;
Я зашел чересчур далеко;
Нижнее днище нижнего ада
Мне казалось не так глубоко,
Я позвонил своей маме,
И мама была права -
Она сказала: "Немедля звони
Человеку из Кемерова".

Он скуп на слова, как де Ниро;
С ним спорит только больной.
Его не проведешь на мякине,
Он знает ходы под землей.
Небо рухнет на землю,
Перестанет расти трава -
Он придет и молча поправит все,
Человек из Кемерова.

Адам стал беженцем,
Авель попал на мобильную связь,
Ной не достроил того, что он строил,
Нажрался и упал лицом в грязь;
История человечества
Была бы не так крива,
Если б они догадались связаться
С человеком из Кемерова.

Мне звонили из Киева,
Звонили из Катманду;
Звонили с открытия пленума -
Я сказал им, что я не приду.
Нужно будет выпить на ночь два литра воды,
Чтоб с утра была цела голова -
Ведь сегодня я собираюсь пить
С человеком из Кемерова.
I had some problems;
I took things a little too far;
The lowest bottom of the most-remote hell
Appeared not terribly far.
I called my mother,
And my mother was right —
She said: "Immediately, you must call
The man from Kemerovo".

He uses words sparingly, like De Niro;
One must be mentally ill to argue with him.
Catch him with chaff, you cannot,
He knows how to move underground.
The sky will collapse on the ground,
The grass will cease to grow —
He will come and silently fix everything,
The man from Kemerovo.

Adam became a refugee,
Abel got caught in a mobile web,
Noah didn't finish what he was building
Got drunk and fell face-first into mud;
The history of humanity
Would not have been as skewed,
Had they had the wisdom to connect
With the man from Kemerovo.

They called me from Kiev,
They called from Kathmandu;
They called from the start of the plenary session —
I told them I will not attend.
It is imperative to drink two liters of water before bed,
So my head remains whole the next day —
Because tonight I'm planning on drinking
With the man from Kemerovo.

White bear consulting his own mirror image
The identity of the man of Kemerovo is unknown even to my Russian friends who lived through this period, but this is exactly the mystery of the thing. Of course you can find the song also in the performance of the original author, the great guru of the Russian underground Boris Grebenshchikov, of whom Kaminer says:

If I listen to him now, I just laugh. Borya still lives and still sings. Sometimes I think he would do better to stop it.

But in the performance of Andrei you can hear exactly that gentle, meditative and absurd metaphysics that one loves so much in things Russian.

Andrei and Boris SorokerAndrei, his son Boris, and the house

The flat was very small, but we already knew the trick how to pack together a hundred persons on ten square meters. The youth of Kiev were even willing to stand in queue in the evenings just to listen to the play of Mammut for three rubles

– writes Kaminer. Follow their example. Shell out those three rubles, or thirty dollars or as much as you like. Or only five, but each time you regularly come back. And write your signature and address on the wall of the house. To leave your memory and to have your own little place in the house. Just like one did it in those good old time house-warming parties.

Julene Harrison’s paper cut on Andrei Soroker’s blog(Julene Harrison’s paper cut from Andrei’s blog)

3 comentarios:

chemiazrit dijo...

You snidely remark that Grebenshchikov should retire, yet this post is actually about one of his more recent compositions: "The Man from Kemerovo" doesn't belong to Akvarium's "heroic age"; BG wrote and released the song in 2003. I call this hypocritical.

Studiolum dijo...

Yes, you are right. It was my misunderstanding to suppose that The Man from Kemerovo was from the “heroic age”. Although I am the proud owner of some of Aquarium’s early albums, I have been well aware that I did not know them all, and as this song was given to me by Russian friends in a home-made compilation which included lots of their early songs, I was convinced that this one also belonged to one of those albums I did not know. Only after the publication of this post I discovered the truth. But I hate to retrospectively change the text of my posts. Perhaps I should have added a comment, and this is what I finally do now.

On the other hand I do maintain that Grebenschikov had his time. I still listen with nostalgy to what he is doing, but it cannot be compared to what he did.

Tereza Anton dijo...

I was inspired by your site.

Tereza Anton - Drastic Plastic