If I had the use of my body, I would throw it out the window.
There is no sign above the door, and a heavy black curtain lies immediately behind the plate glass. In the middle of the window, a portrait of Samuel Beckett is suspended. The door is ajar, exhaling Cuban tobacco, and affording a glimpse of blood-red leather. The passer-by passes by. There is no contrivance of attraction; no desire for passing trade to cease its passing.
The curious can find out. Behind the door lies a body, fibrous and bloody, moving to the syncopation of a Coltrane beat. There is black bile here, but there is also passion. Cigars circulate in the lungs, and the blood is thinned by the spirits. We sink into muscular arm chairs, feeling inside out.
A server appears and hands us a book of Beckett criticism. Bound at intervals between the leaves is the cocktail menu of a late-modern imagination. Behind the bar, the mixologist cracks eggs, sprays vapours, and tastes his work. He is the engine room of the senses, creating enchantments to dazzle the eye, mystify the nose, numb the finger, and invigorate the palate. The shaking and stirring of his chemistry is a Pavlovian stimulus to the salivary gland. We lean back, go with the flow.
We are in Beckett’s Kopf, Prenzlauer Berg’s most refined cocktail bar. We are reluctant ever to leave. Floating on ten-euro martinis, the room embodies us. We are essential, internal organs. We are the je ne sais quoi of character in a physiological environment. The elegance of strong alcohol strips the paint of our exterior and leaves us – artifice exposed – the men we were supposed to be.