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Cees van Hoore ~ Peril 1993

Onraad C. v. Hoore

 

Rain, rain… a whole day of rain. It’s as if a set of glass railings have been lowered between you and the road. Drops fall on your cheeks. Weeping clouds. The pavement’s dark. There are shadows in rainwater. Lots of shadows. And then they say that tears don’t stain.

Trudging into Leiden. A city that you know (you’re not a bloody tourist after all). In a lingerie shop, women are looking through the silk underwear collection. You see one woman ask herself, “Shall I do it? Will I get lucky with this? Or will he be like before?”

After leaving that melancholy shop, you decide to drink a cup of coffee in NOROC in the Diefsteeg. And look, there is Constantine, one of Leiden’s princes; in an alley which is named after a thief. A beautiful sight, that lad, he really is! He’s accompanied by two security men, two boys who look like they’ve just escaped from the disco. Constantine is wearing a hunter-green sweater over a red polo shirt.

Seeing that trio in NOROC makes you wonder whether you are living out a set of coincidences. Just before you entered the coffee shop, you saw onesuch in a gallery in the Breestraat, in a painting by Rob Steenhorst. He’d painted three men standing in front of the revolving door of Hotel Terminus. It looked like a macabre, hopeless scene at the terminus. One of the men was listening to a transistor radio which he held close to his heart. A dog was barking angrily. Next to the revolving door there was a carton, containing a lamp and some household goods. Are these three men on the run? And why you should you bump into three men similarly engaged in NOROC?

“You’re crazy”, said someone in a cafe in the Beschuitsteeg . “You’re about to become the director of Endegeest. And I should know because I have been director at the Rhijnhof cemetery and I had 300 men under me. And there was very little chatter there.”

“We’re totally buggered”’ said one of the clients. He is a yacht painter. That is, he paints images on yachts. “If I have a steady hand on the day, I can, in one sitting, paint ‘La Folie de Grandeur’ on a yacht. Find me someone who can do that. I am the king. I make a good living, so I don’t have to complain. But otherwise this country’s gone to the dogs. If you see that people get 3,300 guilders holiday pay (gross, not net, mark you) and then only get 1,800 guilders after tax, then there’s something wrong.

Ach come on, what is beating here except our hearts. We are all standing in front of the revolving door of Hotel Terminus; in front of the terminus! And we can grab a beer inside. And another. Actually we can do anything. We can save the world. Or we can leave in case there’s trouble. Yes, we are on fire. Our hearts blaze on and on. “And,” as one colleague put it, “who extinguishes the fire at the fire station?”

CEES VAN HOORE

Leids Dagblad, 22 juli 1993

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