Nick Hornby: Fudbal te nekako na kraju uvek čini pomalo nesrećnim

U četvrtak 27. aprila u beogradskom Domu omladine prvi put će svirati filadelfijski sastav MARAH. Najveci fan braće Bjelanko među poznatima, Nik Hornbi (Nick Hornby) drage volje je priskočio u pomoć prilikom promocije ovog koncerta.

U nastojanju da nam dočara svoju fasciniranost jednim od “najuzbudljivijih malih bendova na svetu”, odgovorio je ne baš na 31, ali na 22 pitanja o (i oko) Marah… Svetlana Đolović ga je zasula pitanjima, a njegove ‘kratke i slatke’ odgovore pročitajte ovde. 

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PD • Kada si i kako prvi put čuo za Marah?
Nick Hornby • Prijatelj mi je dao kasetu (kasetu!) sa njihovim prvim albumom (Let’s Cut the Crap & Hook Up Later on Tonight ) tik pre nego što je zvanično izašao 1998.

PD • Kako su postali tvoj omiljeni bend? Šta te je tokom godina privlačilo u njihovoj muzici? Da li možeš kritički da govoriš o njima?
NH • Pre svega, taj prvi album je fantastičan. Jedan od najboljih albuma svih vremena, po mom mišljenju. I drugi (Kids In Philly, 2000) bio je podjednako dobar. Mislim da su me konačno kupili 2001, kada sam ih gledao na zapanjujuće dobrom koncertu, i to je bilo to. 

PD • Šta su mane kada si slavni prijatelj nekog benda?
NH • Za mene nema mana. Marah su sjajni ljudi, pišu odlične pesme, tako da sam baš ponosan što ih poznajem. Možda pre za njih ima mana – ponekad ljudi koji hoće da zaskoče mene to rade preko njih, pišući o njihovoj muzici. Nadam se da za njih poznanstvo sa mnom ipak ima više vrlina nego mana. 

PD • Neka tvoja omiljena pesma koju bi oni najbolje obradili? Koja njihova pesma najbolje odslikava ono što su Marah?
NH • Oni na našim zajedničkim nastupima već izvode obradu pesme Debris grupe Faces, i ta verzija je zapravo bolja od originala. Mrzim da biram samo jednu njihovu idealnu pesmu. Pesme The Closer i Walt Whitman Bridge sa novog albuma najbolje prikazuju dva lica benda – žestoko, glasno, punkersko sa jedne i “misaono”, folk sa druge strane.

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PD • U tvojoj imaginarnoj knjizi, muškarac i žena koji nisu ljubitelji benda, slučajno odlaze na koncert grupe Marah. Po završetku svirke satima razgovaraju o tom doživljaju. O čemu su zapravo pričali?
NH • Sećali su se onog vremena u svom životu kada su više osećali i kapirali rock muziku, kada im je ona bila važna. Koncert Marah ih je podsetio na to vreme i to je bilo prvi put da su posle dugo vremena osetili takvu povezanost sa muzikom ili bilo kojim drugim umetničkim izrazom. 

PD • Koji je idealan proizvod koji bi se reklamirao uz njihovu muziku?
NH • Pivo – oni su drinking band. I to ne američko pivo, već tamno, jako – englesko. Posebno što Marah na hebrejskom znači “gorak”. 

PD • Kada bi bio njihov menadžer, šta bi im savetovao?
NH • Da prestanu da se zajebavaju sa engleskim piscima i da prionu na posao. Zamisli paralelni svet u kome su Marah velike zvezde kao što je Bruce Springsteen. 

PD • Ko bi bili njihovi drugari na tronu a ko bi bio najmanje popularan? Šta je najveća mana današnje popularne muzike?
NH • Drugari na tronu bi im bili Drive-By Truckers. A u ovom svetu, svako ko ima veze sa onom pojavom Crazy Frog trebalo bi sam da se prijavi u policiju. 

PD • Zamisli scenario uz koji bi najbolje išla muzika grupe Marah. Ko bi režirao taj film?
NH • Bio bi to neki Scorseseov film iz 70-ih, poput Mean Streets, priča u kojoj bi bilo puno propalica i psiholoških komplikacija. 

PD • Da li Marah vole (ili igraju) fudbal i da li si ih malo uputio u materiju? Šta misliš o odnosu Amerikanci – fudbal?
NH • Marah su učtivi i tolerantni kada je reč o fudbalu – Serge je čak i bio na jednoj utakmici sa mnom. Ali, nijedan Amerikanac ne razume igru u kojoj se poentira samo jednom ili dva puta, a posebno ne mogu da razumeju nerešen rezultat. 

PD • Kada bi muzika grupe Marah personifikovala ženu, kakva bi ona bila?
Slatkiš. 

PD • Oko čega se pisanje i rock ’n’ roll nikako ne slažu? Verovatno oko važnosti strpljenja. Koju osobinu braće Bielanko bi pozajmio na jedan dan?
NH • Jesi videla njihovu sliku? Šta misliš šta bih, zaboga, mogao da pozajmim od njih?! 

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PD • U svetlu postojanja „lažnih dokumentaraca“ ili “izmišljenih filmskih biografija” a imajući u vidu tvoje interesovanje za muziku i smisao za humor, da li te mami ideja o pisanju izmišljene ili prave biografije rock benda?
NH • Taj žanr me nekako ne zanima. U njemu postoje samo tri priče – ona koja se završava uspehom, ona koja se završava neuspehom i ona koja se završava smrću. Mislim da je piscu potrebno nešto više od toga. 

PD • Da li si ikada pisao tekst za neku pesmu? Kada bi to učinio za Marah, o čemu bi on bio?
NH • Napisao sam pesmu sa Benom Foldsom za Williama Shatnera (“That’s Me Trying” sa albuma “Has Been”, 2004 – prim. aut.). Bez zezanja, grupi Marah nije potrebna moja pomoć ni u čemu. 

PD • Koja je najveća razlika između Marah na CD-u i Marah na koncertu?
NH • Vrlo su bučni uživo! Najvažnije je da su podjednako vešti u studijskom delu posla kao i u onom na bini, i to na potpuno drugačiji način – jer to i jesu dva različita načina izražavanja. Mislim da su oni uživo najbolji bend na svetu, kada su raspoloženi. 

PD • Koji su još tvoji prijatelji u svetu rokenrola?
NH • Ja sam džentlmen – ne pričam o svojim ljubavima. 

PD • Šta te intrigira iz aktuelne muzičke ponude?
NH • Veoma uživam u novom albumu Cat Power “The Greatest”.

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PD • Meni se od Marah jako sviđa pesma “East“. Iako to nije Istok o kom oni pevaju, sasvim nenamerno moram da te pitam kako ti se čini novo ime Arsenalovog stadiona. Izvini, ali Emirates zvuči tako engleski, tako novo, tako u vezi sa fudbalom…
NH • Pa, Emirates su puno platili za takvu privilegiju, i trudim se da razumem realnost te situacije. Ali u idealnom svetu, naravno, niko ne želi da mu se fudbalski stadion zove po avionskoj kompaniji. Na kraju, valjda, svi zaborave. Wrigley Field u Čikagu, jedan od najpoznatijih i najvoljenijih bejzbol stadiona u Americi, dobio je ime po žvakaćoj gumi, ali danas se uopšte više ne čini tako.

PD • Ponekad izgleda da pisac uopšte ne mora da napusti svoju sobu da bi uspostavio odnos sa publikom. Rock muzičar bi, recimo, morao. U našem vremenu, ti si na neki način doneo rock ’n’ roll slavu u književnost, kroz rock ’n’ roll. Kako ti se čini taj odnos pisaca i muzičara prema publici nekad i sad?
NH • Danas više ne važi to da pisac ne mora da napusti svoju sobu. U trenutku kad završimo pisanje knjige, i mi krećemo na turneju, da je u živom kontaktu približimo svojoj publici. Ja sam samo prošle godine proveo tri nedelje u Americi promovišući svoj poslednji roman. Dickens je bio taj koji je uneo rock slavu u književnost, decenijama pre nego što je r’n’r uopšte postojao. On je putovao po celoj Britaniji i Americi čitajući javno svoje knjige pred publikom. 

PD • Pošto si veliki ljubitelj muzike i fudbala, šta misliš, koje su sličnosti i razlike između te dve vrste posvećenosti?
NH • Velika razlika je to što muzika može da bude jedino zadovoljstvo, prijatnost. Postoji, naravno, i tužna muzika, ali i nju slušamo zato što to želimo. Fudbal te nekako na kraju uvek čini pomalo nesrećnim, čak i kada se nadaš nečem drugom. 

PD • Jednom si rekao: “I dalje smatram da je muzika najbolji način da izraziš sebe”. Šta, u tom smislu, nedostaje pisanju? Kakva je to čarolija u muzici?
NH • Konciznost je ono na čemu pisac zavidi muzičaru. Muzika, samim tim, poznaje najdirektniji put do srca.

… Dear Svetlana, I’m happy to do an email interview. These next few days, I don’t think I’m going to be anywhere for long enough to do a phone interview. Best wishes Nick Hornby

PD • When did you first get in touch with Marah music? 
A friend gave me a tape (a tape!) of their very first album, just before it came out in 1998.

PD • How did it happen that they become one of your favourite bands? What drew you to their music throughout the years? Can you be critical about it?
First of all, that first album – it’s fantastic. One of the great first albums of all time, I think. And the second album was just as good. But in I think 2001 I saw them give a stupendously good live show, and then I was really hooked.

PD • What are the disadvantages of being a friend / celebrity fan of the band you like?
For me, there are no disadvantages. They’re terrific people, and they write great songs, so I’m always proud to know them. I think maybe there are more disadvantages for them – sometimes people who want to attack me do it through them, in reviews of their music. I hope that for them the advantages of knowing me outweight the disadvantages!

PD • Your favourite song that they would cover best? Which one of their songs is Marah at their best?
They already do a cover of the Faces ‘Debris’ in the shows we perform together, and it’s actually better than the original. I’d hate to choose one song of theirs. From the new album, ‘The Closer’ and ‘Walt Whitman bridge’ illustrate the two sides of Marah, the racous, punky side and the more reflective folk side.

PD • In one of your (imaginary) books, a female and a male character (not fans) went to Marah concert by chance. They talked about ‘the event’ for hours later on. What were they saying?
They would reminisce about times much earlier in their lives when they connected with rock music – the Marah show would be the first time they’d felt that way about music, or maybe about any art form, for a very long time.

PD • An ideal product to advertize with Marah music?
Beer – they’re a drinking band. But not American beer – dark, strong, English bitter (and of course Marah means ‘bitter’ in Hebrew).

PD • If you were their manager what sort of advice you would give them?
To stop messing around with English writers and get on with some work.

PD • Could you imagine a parallel universe where Marah are big stars like Bruce Springsteen is? In that world, who would be their peers at the throne and who would be least popular? What is the biggest flaw of today’s popular music?
Peers: the Drive-By Truckers. And in this world, anyone who owned that Crazy Frog song would have to turn themselves over to the police.

PD • If you could make up a perfect scenario for using their music as a soundtrack to a movie what would it be? Who would direct it?
It would have to be a Seventies Scorsese movie, something like Mean Streets, full of low-life characters with psychological complications.

PD • Do they like / play football (soccer) and did you ‘discuss the matter’ with them? Americans and football – your impressions?
They take a polite and tolerant interest – and Serge has been to see a game with me. But no Americans understand a game with only one or two scores in it, and they certainly can’t understand the concept of a draw.

PD • If Marah music personified a woman what would she be like?
Sweaty.

PD • One thing that writing and rock’n’roll don’t agree upon?
Probably the value of patience.

PD • What feature would you borrow from brothers Bielanko for one day?
Have you seen a picture of them? What could I possibly want from them?

PD • In the manner of mockumentaries or fictional biopics, considering your love of music and sense of humor, are you tempted to write fictional biography of a rock band? Or the real one? Who would it be your hero(s)? 
It’s not something I want to write. There are only three stories – the one that ends with enormous success, the ones that end in failure, and the ones that end with death. I think a writer needs more than that.

PD • Did you ever write lyrics for rock’n’roll song and if you wrote one for Marah what would it be about? I wrote a song with Ben Folds for William Shatner. Really. But Marah don’t need my help with anything.

PD • What is the biggest difference between Marah on CD and Marah live?
They’re very loud, live! But the point is that they know how to put on a show, just as they know how to make an album, so it’s very hard to compare the two things – they’re different art forms. I think they’re the best live band in the world, on their good nights.

PD • What are your other personal rock’n’roll friends among the musicians you love…
I’m a gentleman – I don’t kiss and tell.

PD • What is your latest music thrill?
I’m really enjoying the new Cat Power album, ‘The Greatest’.

PD • I really like Marah song ‘East’ …so quite unintentionally .. not the ‘east’ they had in mind but…the inevitable… Your feelings towards new Arsenal home? Sorry, Emirates – so English, so new and so football-like… please be brutally honest…
Well, the Emirates are paying a lot of money for the privilege, so I understand the reality of it all. But in an ideal world, of course, you wouldn’t want a football stadium named after an airline. In the end, you forget, I suppose. Wrigley Field in Chicago, one of the most famous and most loved baseball stadiums in America, is named after the chewing gum, but it doesn’t seem like that now.

PD • The writer doesn’t actually ever have to leave his room to communicate with his audience. Rock musician supposedly must / should. You, in a way, brought rock’n’roll stardom to literature. Are you aware of that and how do you feel about it? If you had to pick your status-equivalent in music, who would it be?
It’s not true, in this age, that a writer never has to leave his room. The moment we’ve finished a book we’re out on tour, giving readings. I did a three-week tour of the US last year… Dickens was the one who brought rock’n’roll stardom to literature, decades before rock’n’roll was even invented. He gave readings all over the UK and the US.

PD • Being a football and music fan – why is it that music fan can easily be a football fan, but not the other way around? Similarities and differences?
The big difference to me is that music can only be pleasure. Of course, there is sad music, but you listen to it because you want to. Football always makes you unhappy, in the end, even if you hope for something else.

PD • ‘I still maintain that music is the best way of getting the self-expression job done.’ – you once said. What, in that matter, lacks literature in self-expression? What is the magic behind music?
It’s the concision of music that one envies as a writer – that, and its direct route to the heart.

(c) 2006. Svetlana Đolović/POP Depresija

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