Walking home through back alleys late Monday night, I chanced upon the most encouraging graffiti I've seen since I've been here. Spraypainted across the side of some eight billion year-old mini-mall:
KILGORE TROUT PREZYDENT
I'm not sure how Jean-Jackets-and-Jesus Poland would respond to their first fictitious American pulp sci-fi writer/president, but it is nonetheless heartening to know that at least one person in Krakow possesses something resembling a sense of irony.
Wednesday night, I watched the UEFA Cup final with a cacophony of Brits. Changing the channel here is a kinesthetic art. I've never seen someone play the theremin, but I imagine it looks a lot like a drunk Englishman screwing around with the cable, trying to pick up a football game on his vintage Polish TV. After Barcelona knocked two goals past Arsenal in the last 15 minutes, the urge to riot was palpable - I readied my crowbar - but cooler heads prevailed and the Brits walked home with their coattails tucked between their legs, occasionally stopping to swat sidewalk trash with their umbrellas.
Krakow is the only place I know of where jazz is alive, if only in a semi-vegetative state. Back in the States, jazz exists as a depressing reenactment of something that will never, ever be hip again, and in that sense, it is more dead than ever. Here in Krakow, it's happening for the very first time. Poland has never had jazz before - i.e. they have never had black people before - so it's still new and exciting to them. There are dumpy little jazz clubs all over Krakow. Of course, there's nothing less cool than a tenorman with eight syllables and more than six Zs in his last name, so fat chance you'll ever find me in a Polish jazz hole.
Kod DaVinci is about to make its debut in Poland. I'd like to be far, far away from here when this bombshell hits. I've seen a few previews on TVP1 and, for a film that's supposed to incur the wrath of God upon man, it looks pretty dull. I don't know what Ron Howard was thinking when he decided to overdub the whole thing in Polish, but I guess when you've starred in American Graffiti and More American Graffiti, you're entitled to some artistic liberties.