Take Me Back To Old Plovdiv

Key's Cupboard

The borders are open and the Bulgarians are coming – so here’s some appropriate literature…

I am suffering from a spiritual malaise. I am soul sick. I have not eaten any breakfast. I need to darn a hole in the sleeve of my jumper, but I have no further wool that matches. I feel inconsequential and abandoned and remote. My cheeks blush furiously with an embarrassment born of pity. Every last pencil I have is blunt. I am being driven crackers by my landlord’s drooling hound. My senses are atrophied, like a muscle unexercised. Pots and pans are strewn haphazardly in my kitchen. My legs have given way. I have an evil taste in my mouth. Hope is something for other people, not for me. My teapot is cracked and the cosy is stained and threadbare. Nervous spasms contort my features. I keep to the shadows if I have to move in the street. Do you hear that sound? It is my groan of despair. I have extinguished all the lanterns and I know in my cold, base heart that they will never be lit again. The air is heavy with menace and all I can hear is the screaming of desolation and ruin. Insects swarm about my face but I cannot summon the energy to swat them away. I have sprained my ankle. Dust lies everywhere, ashes and dust. Desire, ah, desire for me is not even a memory. Feral cats hiss at me and extend their claws. Even my poultry is contaminated. All sense of urgency is lost and yet I cannot relax. My head is swimming. My shoes let in rainwater and my socks are soaking wet. The washbasin is cracked. The taps no longer work. Even the most innocent and cherubic children spit at me. I gag on my own wretchedness.

And then with a mighty effort, I pull myself up, and I trudge across Bulgaria like a whipped cur, and I go the Central Post Office building in Plovdiv, and I look at Georgi Bozhilov’s mural. Yes, that Georgi Bozhilov, whose nickname was Slona, or Elephant, a member of the so-called Plovdiv Fivesome. I gaze at the post office mural and somehow I am pulled back from the brink, and I embrace life again, wholeheartedly, blissfully. Here… here is a photograph of the mural, so you too can gaze upon it, and experience revelation!


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About Author Profile: Frank Key

Frank Key is a London-based writer, blogger and broadcaster best known for his Hooting Yard blog, short-story collections and his long-running radio series Hooting Yard on the Air, which has been broadcast weekly on Resonance FM since April 2004. By Aerostat to Hooting Yard - A Frank Key Reader, an ideal introduction to his fiction, is published for Kindle by Dabbler Editions. Mr Key's Shorter Potted Brief, Brief Lives was published in October 2015 by Constable and is available to buy online and in all good bookshops.

4 thoughts on “Take Me Back To Old Plovdiv

  1. johngjobling@googlemail.com'
    February 8, 2013 at 10:49

    Well, OK, let them in, so long as they leave the feral cats behind, the mural looks suspiciously like the Cornish pottery that blended so well with G-Plan sideboards.
    I see from the wiki that pebble dash is called the city of seven hills, possible twinning with Konigswinter?

    Somebody should phone the council and order in more houses.

  2. Worm
    February 8, 2013 at 13:19

    Ah Plovdiv, is there a name more likely to conjour up images of beauty and romance?

  3. bensix@live.co.uk'
    February 8, 2013 at 13:42

    As an art critic of formidable distinction I can say that this looks like a flock of birds attacking a bemused gazelle as it is on the phone.

    • alasguinns@me.com'
      Hey Skipper
      February 10, 2013 at 01:16

      Okay, that was funny.

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