HOTEL:WHAT IS IT? A FREE EXTEMPORIZATION. BY STEVEN BENSON.

CATALYST: WAYNE KOESTENBAUM: HOTEL THEORY(2007)

Hotel liminal

Hotel du Lac

Hotel de la Spinster

Hotel Brookner.

Anita Brookner’s protagonists LIVE in hotels; women (occasionally men) of “private means”, they can afford to, economically that is. Psychologically, they inhabit the inner (psychogeographically mirrored by the OUTER{hotel} carapace) space of the spectral self, wandering and waiting… what for?: the man {IS it a man; or is it a woman?}to rescue them from their liminal “spinster” state… he/she comes but he/she goes. This is their self-fulfilling melancholic fate.

Visually, I think “Last Year at Marienbad”(Resnais); the invisibilized gay couple, Ambros and Cosmo(Sebald “The Emmigrants”), the Flying Dutchmen, fated to linger, forever, in the interminable hinterlands of (semi) desuetudinous (spa) hotels, gambling their selves and lives away, as society (as it does with the Brookner women) invisibilizes and chameleonizes them (as the abject subjects which were homosexual men of the era); the Deauville hotel(Sebald, again; semi-defunct hotels are a recurring, dark motif) sinking gradually into the sand, “transformed” into apartments (cf Zetland hotel at the eerie half-built Durham “resort” of Saltburn-by -the- Sea);the former Great Eastern hotel (now Almaz) at Liverpool St station, where both the sebaldian narrator and myself sojourned, when it was half shut off, and next to the empty shell of the remnants of Broad St station.

Dereliction, a sort of antique subtopia; a motorway through (a) life which is unstable, unfixed, in-between and apart(and thus queer, in its wider sense, of difference/non-hegemonic); a world where you move BETWEEN identities, you MEDIATE your selfhood, at odds with society’s straightjacketing norms and policing (cf a a hospital in this sense).


Conversely, hotels can be safe(r) spaces, from the hotel of the body we temporarily inhabit (if it is problematic); from the systemic longeurs of the NHS {I write this in the middle of the worst January crisis yet, and as a user of crumbling, overstretched and under-resourced services}; from the incompetences of Sanctuary{sic} housing association. My bookshop stories, obviously, to an extent, inhabit these places and spaces, eg https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/bookshop-stories-part-2-re-invention-a-meditation-by-steven-benson/

They are a place APART from place, inner and outer; they are sanctuaries in the true (not the bastardized, bankrupt “sanctuary” housing association) sense; retreats; havens. Cafés (“Café”))have/has always been metaphorical hotels and sanctums for me; though, like the actual hotel, they can be insecure and transitory (“Greendays” got new owners and was not the same again). My (current ) favourite café becomes a gay/queer café (space) once a month for 90 minutes, hewn out of the hard rock of heteronormativity.

Ryder, in Ishiguro’s mesmeric “The Unconsoled”(1997, a classic spectre of a book about many things, including dementia, alienation, lostness, a hotel space in itself; he also LIVES in hotels) constantly chases himself and others’ expectations of himself(as we all do, looking for meanings and self-definitions in this absurdist existence). Fritz-a scary, unlikeable character (not that that matters; it is fiction)-in Reve’s absurdist, dark work “The Evenings”(translation), 1947, is in a peripatetic wander around a Dutch city, aimlessly attempting to fill the evenings(the days do not exist as he has a meaningless job where he LITERALLY pushes paper about!); his life is a hotel, as he briefly and repeatedly(in that merry-go-round that is insecure hotel life, and existence itself) sojourns with friends, is unpleasant for the sake of it, and comments, phlegmatically, on his parents’ moribund relationship. His temporal body disgusts him (especially his anus). In fact, the whole absurdist/existential lit tradition of Camus et al is a development of the hotel (life is transitory and meaningless, so let us create our OWN individual/collective meanings, even if they are sublimated, recherché hotel/”hotel” life).

This subject, like the ailing Grand Hotel in Scarborough, (https://decayetude.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/a-photo-collection-of-abandoned-and-decaying-buildings/)

is endless in its labyrinthine passageways, its metaphorical arcades of faded glitz (of language, as much as of hotel content);so much so that Koestenbaum(as do I, in this fragment)relates the hotel symbol to more or less tout le monde……

 

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About decayetude

ENTHUSIASMS: CLASSICAL MUSIC, ESPECIALLY OBSCURE ROMANTIC COMPOSERS; BACH/HANDEL LITERATURE, ESPECIALLY THOUGHTFUL, WELL-WRITTEN(STYLISTICALLY)NOVELS W G SEBALD WALTER BENJAMIN THEODOR ADORNO(JUST BEGINNING!) AESTHETIC PHILOSOPHY GAY MEN'S WRITING;QUEER THEORY STIMULATING DISCUSSIONS(EMOTIONALLY AND INTELLECTUALLY) GOOD RICH THICK ESPRESSO MICHAEL PONTI SPRITUALITY/LIFE'S "AURA"(BENJAMIN), WHATEVER TRANSCENDENTAL THING YOU WANT TO CALL THIS MEMORY-the elusiveness thereof. LOST TIME AND AN ATTEMPT AT ITS REDEMPTION(NON THEISTICALLY/RELIGIOUSLY)
This entry was posted in alterity, blurred captures, Cafe, cafes, ecriture cuir, Hauntology, heteronormativity, Hotel, life mirrors art, other, parlous loftiness, Phenomenology, psychogeography, queer, Queer wrting, Quirky captures, Rememberances, safer spaces(guidelines), safety for marginalised groups, Sebald, Self-actualisation, SPECTRAL PSYCHOGEOGRAPHY, Stream-of-consciousness, uncanny other, Uncategorized, working outside hegemonies. Bookmark the permalink.

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