Apartment blocks remind me of stacked shelves in supermarkets. Each containing little units full of stuff, and that it all contains a whole bunch of other stuff, and all of it has an expiration date. It’s important to remember, of course: eventually even the supermarket will cease to exist.
My next door neighbour, he has some sort of fetish for Nazi propaganda. He likes to play Adolf Hitler’s speeches through his stereo system. Every day. At noon. On full blast.
At first we didn’t really know what was going on, it just sounded like someone shouting down the hall. Gradually he got more audacious about it, to the point where it was so loud that every word was as clear, and certainly as loud, as the voices in my head. Something had to be done.
I go out and knock on the door of his apartment, which opens with an alarming swiftness, as though he’d been waiting for me. “Come in, come in!”
I had been to this apartment before; all of the walls and everything in it the exact same shade of beige as him. Sometimes, he would blend in quite perfectly, like a chameleon, and I wouldn’t be able to see him in the sea of beige until he shifted position. It was just like an optical illusion.
He takes out his earplugs. “Noise bothering ye?” he asks without waiting for a response. “It’s no problem to turn it down, but I’d recommend you’d be better off just investing in some of these.” He points at the earplugs. “Very useful to have. But I will turn it down as well. Just a little. See, I’m trying to make a point with these people…”
He points to the other apartment blocks out the window, about half a dozen identical to ours.
“I’m seeing if any of them might start turning into nazis. Because I don’t think it was Hitler that made people do bad things, but that they wanted to do these things, and he was conveniently there, you know, telling everyone to do them. Anyone else could have done that job, he was just good at it.”
“That’s the thing about history, we think of all these terrible people in terms of their leaders, but that’s bullshit, right? They all had so much support, so many people believing in their cause; otherwise they never could have done it in the first place.”
I have no idea what he’s talking about, but I’m starting to wish I had a set of ear plugs now. Will definitely take his advice.
The speech is still coming out of the speakers quite loudly. Where do you even buy Hitler’s speeches on vinyl? Is there a section in HMV? Bet you there is…