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the nothing of May 2002
   a story about trying to differ between what is real and what is not

fetal faceearlier this year, a man whom I´d never met before, approached me in a pub in Hampstead. he wanted to talk and I let him talk.

he told me he was the result of a one night stand between two people in the back of a car. he told how he, as an unwanted child, never had had the possibilitiy to meet his own father and that he only had met his mother once in New York. he had actually tried to move to NY once for the sake of his mother. he even got a job in an office close to the Twin Towers. unfortunately, he lost his job after six weeks for sleeping at work

and here he was, 46 years old, stuck in a rented flat in Primrose Hill, with six cats, whereas one was as he told, "genetical" mutated. now, he was even on the brink of loosing his flat. long story, he said.

he told me he worked in a band and that he had started to play el-guitar a couple of years ago. he had made a couple of demos but had never succeeded to gain any contract with a record company.

he asked me if I was living in London as well. I told him that I lived in a quiet, residential area of London, close to Brixton. oh yeah, Brixton he repeated. he remembered how he, while working as a light designer, once had had the responsibility to design the lights for Brixton Academy.

he wanted to tell me about his upbringing but was afraid I would start to laugh. I said no, I am not going to laugh, I promise. why should I laugh anyway.

-because everyone laughed when he told them about it.

he wanted to check my reaction anyway and said-: "my father forced me to attend a rabbi school in Jerusalem from the age of twelve to eighteen. luckily, he continued, I was able to escape to England were I settled down".

-my life is a wreck , he then said.

through all these stories, I never suspected him of lying, or more truly; I didn´t even care about whether it was true or not. I just liked listening to his stories. it wasn´t before he told me about his degree in physcis and medicin that I started to react, especially when he asked me to guess what kind of researches he had done as a medical scientist.

-no, I said, I don´t know, pretty bored by the whole situation;

then he squezzed his eyes and said: -the HIV-virus.

I overdosed. he started to get drunk and his narrations started to fade.


when going home the same night, I felt puzzled. I don´t know why, but I felt a strong urge to find out about his stories. I knew he had lied to me. but how could I know how to separate truth from lies when I had no access to personal details about him.

is it for instance true that he was an unwanted child, does he really work as a musician, does he live in wealthy Primrose Hill and is it true that he was forced by his own father to attend a rabbi school in Jerusalem?

I started to do some research the next day on the internet and began on the word "rabbi school" . I looked up several pages and found out that if you want to become a rabbi, you have to feel a strong personal and religious urge as well as having a broad and deep understanding of Judaism. as such, you attend the school by your own free will and not at least your own skills. and further on, most people attending has already started or even completed their university degree.

there was another flaw in his story here. he told me that it was his father who had forced him to attend the school. but earlier on, he told me that he was unwanted and that he had never seen his father. this story was clearly falsified.

then I made a search on Brixton Academy. I tried to find his name among the light designers who had been appointed by this music venue. I couldn´t find it.

I searched his name, but couldn´t find anything.

then I started to search on lying. I didn´t find much of interest. I searched on ´notorious liers´. I found less. I started to search on a more psychological basis. I found a concept that I didn´t particularly like; pathological liar. I read that a typical feature of a pathological liar was that they lied for the sake of lying, not because they wanted to achieve something. one article mentioned a particularly extreme example from Russia who even lied about where he´d placed a box of Kleenex.

on a normal basis, people lie either because they want to hide something or because they want to achieve something. one can also lie because one wants to get away with something, not wanting to be confronted with ones own action etc.

what did he want to achieve by telling me all these stories? was it only for the sake of lying? I don´t know, the only thing I know is that he was a very good storyteller.

C. Constantinus



| rabbi school | ~ | Brixton Academy | ~ | Henry James James | ~ | lying | ~ | notorious liers | ~ | pathological liers | ~ | truth | ~ | fact | ~ | reality | ~ | story | ~ | I |


former featured nothings :

feature the right not to be born - the French parliament has passed a bill that states that "nobody can claim to have been harmed simply by being born". the extraordinary bill was a response to a conviction by the French supreme court that is said to have established the right not to be born ... (April-02)

feature the 11,202,803 children - who were born out of nothing during the 31 days of Mars 2002 ... (Mars-02)

feature Nothing I Know / Something I Donít Know - by Graham Gussin ... (February-02)

feature the potent nothing of cyberspace - this virtual reality in which we now are taking part ... (January-02)

feature the active nothing of terror and response on terror; - the World Trade Center - Afghanistan and on ... (December-01)

feature Nothing at ROOSEUM, Malmö's Center for Contemporary Art, 3 November - 16 December, 2001. works by 35 artists exploring notions of invisibility, imagination and dematerialisation (November-01)

for every tent; the other!
- consisting of two Irish green, empty tents, one raised outside Atelier 35 in Bucharest, and one inside the gallery space (October-01)

the hyper-metaphor; UK, raising tents
- containing, among other things, a motorway, ten tents, a text discussion and an internet diary (September-01)


- suggestions is gratefully accepted!

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