The Baltic Notebooks of Anthony Blunt
Clifford Irving Show
It soon became obvious that there was no way to rush this man. He seemed to have a time of his own. I was sitting in an armchair in front of him, watching him smoking a cigarette. I could not determine the man's age. He was definitely not younger than eighty, but could have been hundred and twenty just as well. I observed his large mustache which occupied almost all of the space between the two ears. This mustache had a kind of strange liveliness, even some expressive quality which the rest of his inanimate body was lacking. It was because of this mustache that I started feeling more at ease. I felt it was welcoming me on behalf of the silent old man and his tiny room.
'Mr. Perkins, I am sorry to bother you, but you are the only person who was in the Clifford Irving show and...'
I stopped mid-sentence as I realized that the man was not listening. For a couple of seconds it looked as if he was about to sneeze, but then his eyelids slowly closed and he comfortably dozed off with the cigarette still burning between his fingers.
Fuck this, I thought to myself. I came all the way to Paris to interview this guy and now I am lucky if he doesn't die on my hands.
Still I could do nothing but wait. And look.
The man's room was a mess. It was hard to discern the shapes of things. It seemed as if they had melted into one another over millions of years losing their original forms and functions. I started feeling a bit nauseous. The more I tried to concentrate my gaze, the more distorted the objects appeared. An old worn-out hat was hammered to the wall with a nail. Next to it, a round clock with a missing pointer. I could hear the mechanism ticking, but there was no way to tell if it was indicating hours or minutes. Then there was an aquarium not bigger than a shoebox placed in the middle of a writing table. I think there was a fish inside.
When I turned my head back the old man slowly opened one eye and smiled in a calm and forgiving way.
'Young man, do you realize you are in the wrong room?'
, 2010