Sunday March 12th 2023
I have managed to sleep in the house that welcomed me more than one hundred years ago. It is a pleasant feeling to find a safe place that has endured so long, much longer than my Revolution and all of its direct consequences. Perhaps some side effects are still ongoing, since I continue to read my name in the newspapers every time someone mentions the war on the Eastern front. Responsibilities are never so clear, not among children quarreling for a toy; much less among political leaders or the factions of the mob. It is necessary to exploit each gray zone, each uncertainty to be considered on the good side. Yesterday was the anniversary of Stalin’s death. He was such a good disciple, or better to say comrade. His name is still remembered with awe and admiration by a few, selected workers affected by a deep nostalgia of the Soviet Union. What a beautiful scene, to watch on the television such a large mob of old and young people bringing flowers on the burial outside the Kremlin walls. The czars, with all their noble blood and royal relationships, cannot Rest In Peace. Their bodies have never been recovered, despite all the claims of the few surviving monarchists. Even their bones, or any other kind of relics attributed to the last ones of the Romanovs have not been ascertained to be the actual ones. Peasants, outsiders like me and Josef, are on the contrary celebrated and, at least for what concerns me, excellently preserved. I am just considering how to take possession of the apartment that was mine. It looks empty, the furniture has been carefully taken care of and the local Marxist-Leninist has dedicated it to a museum. I would hardly be trusted in case I introduced myself as the original Lenin’s mummy. In the best case a team of doctors would be summoned to discuss how such a phenomenon, “my resurrection” has been possible and my body will probably end up to be the most interesting attraction in a museum. The best solution, given all the circumstances, is to pretend to be an eccentric actor, so well gifted and so convinced of his part, to look actually as the original Lenin. It is not possible to do more. Also my original exile in Zurich, one hundred years ago, had been the fruit of a suffered compromise and it worked so well to success beyond any reasonable expectation. That will perhaps be the case, once again. Meanwhile I can live on the gold coins that every year the secretary of the party deposited in front of my body, in a small bag in which nobody dared to look inside. A pagan ritual that was a true nonsense, but that came out to be so useful. It is perhaps my good chance, as improbable as the war ignited by Gavrilo Princip and whose only true winner was the Revolution.
The art dealer
I am back at home, back in England and Cambridgeshire. I have not grown up here and sometimes I still feel mocked because of my Irish accent. Nobody can tell me I am no Saxon. My dad accomplished his duty to protect England, alongside the good red hand. The accent can however be improved along the years, especially with some proper training and dedication. Also by cutting with my roots. To live in Donaghadee, county Down, it does not make any sense. It can be good for some naval engineers without special ambitions, but not for a greedy art connoisseur who is so well gifted both with accounting and communication skills. London is however too expensive for my budget, at least in the present condition. It does not bring any added value to rent a representative apartment in Chelsea, if I cannot afford to join the most exclusive clubs and compete in liberalities with the average of their members. I cannot expect to find clients there either, since the art collector sometimes avoids status symbols and prefers not to appear. At least those interested in good deals. Those who on the contrary rely on the prestige gained by collecting art, are more prone to overspend on kitschy pieces by galleries and they would not be my target. I am pretty convinced that comfortable pubs in the City, attended by reasonable directors approaching retirement, could provide much higher revenues. They are usually more colloquial towards young professionals and their bank accounts are definitely better looking than those of socialites looking for a triumph wife. Many of them can also open the vaults of their own company. By acquiring an institutional investor, it is much more profitable than to deal with a wannabe who wants to spare the cent because he is already using all of his savings. I have thus settled here, enjoying the countryside and the chance of a nice walk recollecting the style and the traditions of romantic poets and intellectuals. The Cambridgeshire enables me to pose as a gentleman of good heritage, who does not care about status symbols because he does not need either. It also works wonderfully when I introduce myself as a Oxbridge scholar who has entered the market just because of the need to sustain myself and my family properties. Although nothing is left in Donaghadee, if not a big red hand on the wall of the house where I was born.
The most strenuous and unbearable exercise in my profession is to face an empty day. The agenda can be free because it is expected that I dedicate free time to my duties, without pressure from above, or because nobody trusts me anymore. The latter condition is the most unpleasant, because it means that, as soon as the internal line manager discovers it, you will not be terminated. Along the years I have noticed the most dramatic and sudden cuts. Some too self confident consultants are happy to be back on the bench, but in most cases it is just the anti chamber of final termination. It happens, however, during the first days of a new assignment, that the agenda is empty because someone, somewhere, is looking for a specific task apt to you. In most of the cases it is an evaluation mistake, but it is apt for the consultant to be creative enough to survive. Also, while in this limbo, the creative consultant manages not to appear with his or her own hands empty and takes advantage of creating a network within the account. The best way is to spot some buddies, because, like in the U.S. jail movies, not everybody around you is your best friend. Some discussions with the internal management are also profitable, with the disadvantage that some would just desire to terminate you for their own pleasures. To discover the terminator is quite impossible and it is necessary to confide in good self marketing. Overselling is however also something to be avoided, otherwise after a year or two you shall be pointed out as the most incompetent charlatan that the financial industry has ever seen. Not that this world lives without charlatans, but the most experienced ones among them are so clever that they would never reveal their true identity. My first day in the project has been spent with such a mood, a mix of anguish, impatience and desire to survive. To prove myself I will need more time. I have even forgotten about Zurich and what is waiting outside for me. Perhaps a new cafe or a new bar, but I feel so frustrated and frantic that I have got no impulse to explore. Perhaps I will go back to the Odeon Café. It was pleasant last evening. They have got delicious chips and a splendid vegetarian croque monsieur, or something like that, with aubergines instead of ham. Better to hurry up. I am not sure at what time the kitchen closes.