Monday, December 18, 2006


It was still pitch darkness as I woke him up. We put on our suits and ties, folded the flag into the box, grabbed it and simply left the revolution as it was: papers, flyers, crumbled up chocolate paper, half eaten apples, piles of dirty plates and pots with stiffened spaghettis, sour milk, Iranian plastic sandals scattered over carpets, turned over furniture and dozens of empty water bottles and plastic bags filled with stinking garbage growing out of the kitchen corner towards the fluff and dust mice creeping from the other sides and corners over the floor. Down in the still silent alley we waited for some minutes, and then the taxi arrived. We dumped the box into the trunk, got into the car and the driver took off through the deserted streets and boulevards northwards, the two of us on the back seat, silenced, not a word, sitting side by side on our way out of this, out of Teheran, out of Iran, out of History. At the foot of the mountains in the first grey of day we hired a man with a skinny donkey, we loaded the box on the back of the donkey and started walking up the mountain path, side by side and ever so silent, eyes fixed on the box, the incomprehensible Chinese writing rocking slowly from side to side on the back of that poor animal trying to get hoofhold between stones and rubble, hungry and worn out from twenty seventy years of permanent revolution. Eventually the path would come to an end and so did the donkey, and so we had to take over. I handed the donkeyowner the last few hundreds of thousands of rials, we took hold of the box, and so me and Thomas just started to walk, or rather: climb. The camera couldn't follow us much longer now, or maybe it just wouldn't, used as it was to the urban life with lots of voices, traffic noise and revolutionary rumble, but at least it tried, zooming in on us as we, with growing difficulties, slower and slower, climbed up the grey rock of the mountain, one of us climbing over the other who then handed him the box by pushing it upwards before he himself became the one to climb over the other and so on and so on and on, hands aching and starting to bleed, my ridiculous silver grey sneakers and his excellent black shoes bought in Dubai no longer able to find foothold in this world, sliding, pebbles starting to roll, fall and throw themselves into the abyss as we, in your eyes, through the camera, slowly disintegrate or rather dissolve into the grey of the rock, no longer those perfect Europeans, those classic revolutionaries, those Iran seducers, now just a faint grey movement in the grey of the rock and then, finally, now (but who am I to tell you this?) we are gone.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


I was the one! I have been there, inside Iran, the real Iran, the Iran that Washington does not know, the Iran that CIA hasn’t had any access to for more than thirty years, the Iran that almost no westerner, not even Thomas! has yet discovered. And so, of course the question, the thing that you all want to know, yeah, even you, Thomas, is: How was it? How is it? What is the truth about Iran? Does Iran really have those hidden weapons, that potential danger to the rest of the world and especially the Western civilisation? Is it as president Bush says “a real threat”, or is all it just a game, a game between what is visible and what is invisible, hidden under the red desert dust, hidden behind the black and the coloured scarfs? Is there really something in the behind, something special, something that no one but the Iranians possess, something so strong that it might be the end of your Freedom? Nobody knows but I. I know. I am the one. I have been there, and ... no! I am not gonna tell you, not now ... maybe tomorrow, maybe ... never ...

- I can’t believe it, he hissed, his face still covered under that white sheet, - I just can’t believe it, that it should be you, Nielsen, and not me. I just can’t believe it! Off course he is envious, desperate! He even called in our long-since-fired interpreter, Jaleh. - I want to meet a girl! he said pacing from one end of the apartment to the other, hands on his back, like an ambassador, - I want to meet a girl! She mentioned a few names, - and then there is Pavaneh, she said. - Pavaneh! he cried out and stood still as a statue in the middle of the room, - I love her! I want to meet her! Call her! Now! he cried. And so Jaleh called her and set up a date, and the entire afternoon he was ecstatic, - Pavaneh! he sighed as we sat in the taxi on our way to Vale Asr to meet her at 8 on restaurant BiBi, - Pavaneh, he cried, - my Iranian woman! But as soon as he sat down and she was there, flesh and blood and right in front of him, she was exactly the one she was, particular, real, and no longer the ideal Pavaneh that he had in his mind, and so in the end he had to close his eyes, cause THE IDEAL IS THE ONLY THING THOMAS WANTS TO TOUCH! - Ud! he whispered, - it is time we get out of here! TO THE MOUNTAINS!

Monday, December 04, 2006


When I came out the first snow had started to fall over Tehran, it was five thirty, but still dark, the streets all deserted, no sign of life and, oh, so silent. It is all over, I thought and I stopped and just stood there, the snow falling and slowly, silently covering my grey suit. I wait for five, ten, maybe twenty minutes, and finally an old grey-rusty Paykan, the archetype, come creeping, rattling up the hill. This is for me, I thinks, in the end they are coming to pick me up and drive me away. I open the door and look in at the driver, and sure, it is him, hammered right out of the mountain stone, dark and sinister and bent over, his square head almost touching the front screen. I get into the car and he starts driving and he doesn’t even look at me, he just stares out into the darkness and mumbles, curses in that incomprehensible farsi, and during the night the road has been destroyed, it’s all holes now, the car slowly humps and cracks from side to side and I nearly fall over upon him, - sorry, I say and try to get hold of myself, I am cold now, freezing, and so I put my hands between my bony knees, but he sees it and suddenly he turns on the heat and violently takes my hands and put them in front of the heater as if it was a fire, - Iran! he howls, and once of a sudden he turns his head towards me and his eyes are wild and his scull is almost bald and shining, just here and there some remains of hair sticking out, - Mohammad! he howls and takes my hand and shakes it and lets go of the steering wheel and points at me with the other and hammers his finger into my chest, - Nielsen! I twitter, - Nielsen! - Ooooh! he howls, - Neslin! Neslin! and he starts swearing, spit hitting and slowly gliding down the front screen, and he turns towards me and again he lets go of the steering wheel and the car just rolls on its own down into the smog dome of Tehran while he shows me how somebody enter the car and they start fighting and somebody hits him from behind, and he turns the back of his head towards me and it is square like Frankensteins and all scars, as if they had opened the scull and taken the entire humanity out and suddenly he bows down and drags up something from beside his leg and it is a long knife and he stares me wildly in the eyes and passes the knife over his throat and cries, - BAD! IRAN BAD! IRANIAN PEOPLES BAAAD! - Yes, I say, - no! and he drives the knife back down into the darkness and grabs the steering wheel with both hands and holds it tight like a baby, his scull leaning onto the front screen and now it sounds as if he is crying, and I don’t know what to say or to do, so that’s what I do: Nothing, nothing, I just hope, that if this is The End, then please let it end! Suddenly the car has stopped and we are in front of our house, and I apologize and take out the last money we have, the last thousands of Rials, and I hand them to him, but he just pushes them away and shakes his square head and smiles and hammers his finger into my chest, - Neslin! he howls, - Neslin! and takes me into his arms.
When I enter Thomases room the grey light of a new day is already there and it looks like the day after, socks and suit and tie and dirty shirts, cameras, coins and torn up papers, worn out books and Beckett boots upside down and scattered all over, and on the bed just a gaping laptop and that long bony feature hidden under a white sheet. Then a hand appears and removes the white sheet from the face, and he looks at me with his dead eyes. - Nielsen! he says. - I did it! I say, - I went all the way and now it is done. Mission accomplished!

Sunday, December 03, 2006


- Boob, she sighed and kissed me and from then on: let the car roll. As we slowly ascended the mountain, from Boulevard Darya to the “roof of Tehran” where the rich and innocent live, the rain gradually turned into, almost, snow. She had taken off her scarf and instead she was wearing a fur coat with a soft and brown hood covering her head. There was no camera now, so instead I had turned on the mp-3 recorder, the microphones stuck into my ears like earphones, and so I wanted to say something, something significant, Bobbish ... But without Thomas, I just don’t know what to say, I am alone now, lost, if I had had a god, I would have asked him to save me, Inshallah! I don’t. And so what? The darkness has long since swallowed the mountains and deep below us the endless chaotic Tehran is glittering, as if it was all there is, - this, Ghita says, - is the house of my husband, and there, she points to the other side of the street, - my mother lives, and here, she stops in front of a marblewhite, posh, but already dirty new block, - is my house.
It was vodka, off course, Absolute, but pure this time, no Mandarin, Lemon or Cranberry flavours, in the end it is Absolute pure. She took off her hood, lit one of those long Fine cigarettes, held it between her beautiful teeth, emptied the bottle and mixed it with orange juice. - Drink! she said. But the thing is: I can’t. Thomas can drink, holy Mission! he drinks like a Greek god, he could conquer the world just through drinking, but me ... if I drink I just want to die, fast and violent, or fight somebody, yeah, fight & die. - The women! Thomas said, the new revolution goes through the women! - But... I said, - no no, he said, the men are completely under control by the regime, the men are paranoid chickens afraid of each other, - but the women! he said, they are untouchable, inaccessible, and so, - Nielsen! he said from under his white sheet, - off you go, all the way through, touch the untouchable, unveil the most secret, enter the inaccessible, go, we’ll revolutionize this country from the inside!
And now it is all up to me, - drink, Bob! Ghita says and empties her glass and disappears into her bedroom. And immediately I empty my glass into hers and instead fill it op with orange juice, pure, and when she reappears, she is not just unveiled, oh no, her neck and shoulders are all naked, white, like the skin of virgins in Greek mythology. - I want kiss! she says, and so I take out the camera. - No! she says and puts on a scarf. And while she goes for her glass, I take off my jacket (for the first time in one and a half months I take off my jacket in front of a native) and hang it over a chair next to the sofa, where - I suppose, I fear! - the Mission must be completed, the microphones hanging casually from the inner pocket.
It went on for hours, and the night was so silent, it was as if the entire population, the ten millions of Tehran, were holding their breaths, just waiting for me to come through. And then every second minute a sound from behind a concrete wall, a crack from far down a corridor, and for a moment, minutes, she would be stiff as a corpse, waiting, listening, holding back all signs of life, as if neighbours in Tehran weren’t neighbours, but just yet another form of - even more secret - police.
I know, I’ve said it before, but I really didn’t want to do it. I am the wrong man on the right mission, I’d rather meet the Evil (regime) face to face in the middle of Revolution Square, but Thomas lay in his bed and he pointed at me, there was no other, and so I just had to do it. - Kiss me! she says, and so I take a sip of her vodka and juice, and do it! But then she starts to take off my tie! This is it! I think, now there is no way back. And suddenly I know I can do it, let’s go Bob! I think, - just a moment, I says. - What? she says. - I ... I have to go to the toilet! And off I went. Why? It could have been the one fatal step that ended our Mission. It almost turned me completely off, I had no Idea that the holy shrine of Iran could be so profane: The bathroom of Ghita Noerby, it wasn’t a bathroom, oh, no, it was just a third world hole in the ground. I stood there, defenseless, no tie to hold on to me, and stared into the stinking dark of that hole, and I tried not to think, but I couldn’t help it, I’m too European: How does SHE do it, how the hell does Ghita Noerby manage to relieve herself into this primitive hole in the ground, what unthinkable position does she have to degrade her self down into?! I couldn’t bear it. How in the world are we going to revolutionize this country, this nation, this people, when even their prima donna, the seemingly most aristocratic and excellent, the absolute first lady of Iran, in The End, when all the veils have been torn down and aside and she stands naked before the Revolution, is nothing but a squatting animal.
- I want fuck! she said as she lay in the sofa, and so what could I do. It was a conspiracy, two against one. - Booob, she sighed in the final crescendo, - Boob Booob Boooob!

Saturday, December 02, 2006


I really didn’t want to do it, and I even told Thomas, - okay, I says to her, - eleven pm in your house, and, - bye bye! and I turn of the phone and I go straight to his room, he lies in his bed, a white sheet over his head, - Thomas, I says and he removes the sheet and he looks at me, - hvad saa? he says. - I’m NOT gonna do it! - Af sted med dig, Nielsen! he says and recovers his face. And so I just had to do it. Anyway it might be my last chance to try it, not just in this country, in this world, I mean, in my life. Tonight we are going to end our mission, to stage that “decisive event”, that “event which will lead to a new revolution, signal the advent of a New Era, the arrival of the New”. And not just anywhere, but right in the middle of Revolution Square, the centre of Tehran and Iranian history. Me and Thomas, no Iranians, this time we are going to carry the action out all by ourselves. “The Iranians, and not only the Iranians, but every people need leaders!” said Mohammad in Yazd. Okay, we says, then we are going to be those leaders. No Iranians in this revolution, just me and Thomas, the two Europeans. You can’t trust them anyway, these Iranians, they just want a good life, a good wife and a career on national television. As soon as something is about to happen, exactly in the right (wrong!) moment, they turn of the camera. And without pictures there’ll be no revolution. This morning we still had our Iranian camera man, we had gotten up very early and gone to the mountains to make some filming, in the mountains, yeah, that’s where they prefer to take us, to the mountains or to Persepolis, far away from Today, far away from any potential revolutionary event. We had hired a donkey to carry the box the first couple of miles until the point where we would definitely take over, and while we were walking, hands in our pockets and the sun rising over the mountain brim, we talked about Ghita and me and this Ashrar Hemmat.- I love you, Boob! Thomas sighed, and we laughed. - Oh no, Meysam said, - they married! He looked at us in innocent horror, - they two childrens! he said, - they very very happy family, to all Iranians, in the cinema, they is picture of happy Iranian family! And so we all laughed. - I love you, Boob! And that was it. When we came back from the mountain we fired him. Or rather: We met in the apartment to plan the decisive Event, but Meysam only wanted to talk about money. The thing is, you can’t pay people to participate in a revolution, The Revolution is not a job, and paid people won’t risk their life for anything anyways, not even a better world, not even The New World Order, paid people just want their money, their lap top (my little baby! says Meysam), their car and a new pair of sunglasses. And so, in the end we told him to go. We are on our own now, in the End it is just me and Thomas and the Revolution. No one else really wants it. And so, tonight on Revolution Square we are going to carry it out by ourselves, that decisive Event. We just need some hands to take hold of the two cameras, hands without money, free hands, hands that don’t shiver, hands that don’t press the Stop-button at the moment when History starts. And we are going to find those hands, in fact we already have: Iranian 1 and Iranian 2, the first looking like the young Coppola, the second one a little more nervous, but trusty. And we ain’t gonna pay them. Oh, no. And while they stand hidden somewhere in the moving crowds with the cameras, me and Thomas are going to go all the way, and then that little “decisive” step further which is the step into the fatal, the point of no return. And that’s okay with me. In the End I’d rather die for The Revolution than getting so close to a woman that I might get lost in her. Don’t touch me, please: shoot! At nine thirty pm she called me and asked if I had any “drink”, - you have drink in your house? she said, - I’m not sure I have enough drink! - I am NOT gonna do it! I said to Thomas. He didn’t even look at me. - Go buy some flowers! he said. But that was to late, all the flower sellers had long since disappeared from the dark streets. At eleven ten pm she called me again and said she was waiting in the car in front of our house, - you have something for rain? she said. - No, I said. I have nothing, nothing but my suit and tie, my grey shoes and, off course, The Mission. Thomas picked up the camera and followed me down to at least get a picture of my disappearance, the last.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


- Bob! says Ghita. There’s an empty seat at her side, the stage is min now, but still I’m here in the back. - Bob! she sighs and stretches her hand into my darkness. I look at Thomas, but that is a dead end, he is the last person in the world for me to turn to. Thomas he hates me. - Come on, Nielsen! he whispers. And so I take her hand as we roll down the hill towards Boulevard Darya. This society is full of rules and laws, but no one respects them, not really. Each moment, each encounter is a tabula rasa, no one knows what is going to happen. You just walk right out into the heavy traffic, Inshallah, look the first one in the eyes, and the next, will he push the brake, or if not, you’d better do it. The same melancholic voice is singing his Iranian song of rain in a bad world filled with bad people, and what do we care? At the roundabout Ghita takes the left way round, off course, it is shorter, and proceeds right into the left lane of the boulevard. We are against all odds now, driving fast and right into the front lights of the closing in others. - Please! I say and let go of her hand and tap her shoulder, - please, I think we are in the wrong lane, this is a one-way and we are going the other, please! But she doesn’t really get it, and I don’t really know how we finally made it: The Iranian U-turn and back towards the roundabout, the wrong way round, but then at least down the right lane. We stop in the street next to ours, and I really don’t want to let him go, without the camera I don’t know what to do, on my own I am no one. Thomas gets out of the car, but he goes on filming and I am wearing a microport so at least he is able to hear me. I change into the vacant seat at the front, I am Him now, and so I take her hand. - Let’s go! I says, soft, but loud enough to be heard. - Bob! she says, - I don’t understand? - Why? I says, - what is wrong, I thought you asked me if I wanted to go to your home. So let’s go! But she just stares out into the darkness. - Why is he filming? she says almost whining, - whyy?! - Oh, that, I says and laugh, - that’s just Thomas, you know, Thomas loves his camera, he’s always filming, don’t worry! - Nooo, she says, - here, in this society, we don’t like that, you know, please! And so I open the door, and Thomas is just two meters away staring into the screen of the camera, - Thomas, for helvede! I says, - gaa lige lidt vaek, rundt om hjoernet, men bliv ved med at filme! I shout as he disappears round the corner. - So! I says to the microphone, - off he went! Come on, kiss me! And she kisses me, and it sounds almost too good, to real, like a “kiss”. - Let’s go, I say. - Nooo, she says. - Why? I says. - My son, she says, - my son in my house, my husband told him to go there.

- Fuck! I says, as I enter the apartment, and Thomas has sunk deep into the sofa, a bottle of milk in his hand, while he takes a look at the recordings, - fuck! It was the last thing in the world that I wanted to do, but now that I didn’t, it is even worse, yeah, this nothing, this being left over in this dirty apartment, this RAF cell filled with empty milk bottles, beer cans, old bread, stinking socks, dust midgets copulating into grey piles along every wall, this is definitely worse than the worst. At least I keep my shoes on, against all Iranian indoor rules, as I cross the living room to invade the sacred corner where all the wannabeoldEuropean furniture has been covered with white sheets. I enter the sofa and put my feet on the table and call her number as Thomas turns on the camera to get the right decadent framing of the failed revolution. - Bob! she sighs, and so, at three thirty the night between holy Friday and Saturday morning I get her entire (love me, doesn’t love me) story: “We lived like happy family, twenty four years”, and but “then Ashrar Hemmat and one student, you know, a bad girl, a bad bad girl”. And so in this dead end everything is the same as back home in Europe, same old story, that I don’t want to be part of, never! I says. But Thomas just laughs. And so I have to go on and I tell her to call me tomorrow when she is alone. And so, at the end of the scene at least, I get what I wanted, and this time on tape: - I love you, Bob!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


On the way all the actors of course have gotten lost in the Tehran traffic and each car has had to call the other over the mobile phone to get the directions, and when finally we enter the apartment all the female actors have taken of their scarf and they are no longer the slightly veiled Norén characters they were on stage, no, now they are exactly the usual “actors at the opening night party” me and Thomas hate more than anything. - No camera, please! says the lady of the house, - everybody here are very famous! she says and waves her hand towards all the to me completely unknown replicas of European actors, - known by every Iranian, so please, no filming in this situation, without scarf and drinking alcohol! - No problem, says Thomas and just goes on filming, - this film is not about you or Iran, this film is just about Nielsen, prost! he says and turns the camera towards me as I take a tour de la apartment, and yeah, someone here really has made some money, a huge flat screen TV on the wall, laptops, fine arts, “Wallpaper”, tonights buffet includes French cheese and not just wannabebaguette, but real faked German style bread with “Sonnenblumenkern”, even the kitchen is hi-tech, but when it comes to an end, and it does: the bar has no whisky, not even a sour white wine, just two tin cans of Heineken and the usual Absolute (Mandarin), - cheers! I say as I go to the loo, - you want me to follow? says Thomas, - no, I says, but I wish he had: this is gorgeous: no hole in the ground, but a shining white almostmarble throne, and on top of it, and in Scandinavian style, the house owners demand: - don’t stand up while doing your deed, please sit! I read, standing. Out again Ghita is waiting, so I try to stand in the light when she kisses me and asks me if I want to go home with her in her car. - And Thomas? I says and look into the camera. - Nooo! she says and goes to the sofa and I am ready to follow, but before I get there, her not very former husband, the notorious Ashrar Hemmat, lion of Iran, has taken my place, and so we are three: me and her, face to face and him in between. (I really don’t know what to say, but don’t worry, he has taken over the scene,) in his broken and scattered English he tells me about his glorious career, all the big parts he has played, Macbeth, Othello, even Richard the Third. And what about me? I think, who am I (supposed to be). The atmosphere is quite low in this corner, but all around us the actors are performing their fame: every time someone enters the apartment the hall of fame rises up in standing applaud. Only once in a while the lion leaves the cage and circles around my camera man who has lost his faith and turned off to instead turn up the level of alcohol. - Thomas! I says, but he doesn’t seem to (dare to) listen. Ghita caresses me cheek, and maybe I’m just their son, their longlost Oedipus, I don’t know, and I don’t really want to. The rest is silence, the lion sits down and violently sucks out the juice of a pommesgranate, and then we are off.
String quartet, every one playing his, walking his string all the way out, a strange but perfect disharmony: the (no longer?) married couple in front whispering to each other in poisoned Farsi and me, the innocent (but curious!) sonny boy on the backseat, (no will of my own, but) ready to do whatever they want. They lion does not, but Ghita she wants, to show him, the lion, that she is in charge. In the dead angle Thomas, almost covered in darkness, but the red light is on now, recording, he’s had his beer, his vodka and juice, and so he is ready for the next revolution. This recording might be the end of their career, not just on stage and on film, no, the end of their life in Tehranian freedom, but they don’t stop it, the lion is too proud, and Ghita wants to show him, that she is free to do anything, even to share her bed with a Westerner, their longlost son. Slowly (but with high speed) we rise from the smog of central Tehran, through deserted dark streets, miles of spiralling expressways to the clear air right under the mountains, where the richest Iranians live their life above Islamic rules. In front of a large new housing covered in white marble the String Quartet has come to a halt. And now? No one knows? The maybe (maybe not!) former husband turns towards the two foreigners and stare at the camera as if to destroy it. But the camera just turns towards him. Silence. Is this game over? He opens the door and slide out of the quartet and walks towards the white light of the house entrance while the camera zooms.