When I was in primary school, I had a friend. We spent a lot of time together. Outside school, because we weren’t in the same class. We talked about all sorts of things, we were digging in the ground outside, we played the “knife game”, we rode bikes, we threw toy cars down from the sixth floor to see which one would fall apart faster. Sometimes we walked to school together, when our schedules just happened to match. At some point, in fourth or fifth grade, a boy from a higher class, eighth, I think, set out after us. For a while, whenever he met us on the way to school, he’d catch up with us and bully us. He would call us names and beat us. He was particularly fond of hitting us on the back of our heads with his fist, from up high. He would also kick us, sometimes, too. We did not resist, we continued walking despite his attacks. We might have been walking a bit faster than normal, but we would not run, we would not speak up. I don’t remember an individual attack happening; he probably only tormented us when he met the two of us together. We called him an asshole when he was no longer in sight. We were afraid of him. We were never seriously injured, this was not what we were afraid of. We were terrified of his absolute superiority and the fact that he was ready to exploit it, who knows how. Eventually we stopped meeting him. He probably graduated. The shadow of the asshole gradually faded away.

At a similar time, whenever I walked to school alone, I would sometimes meet two girls from a lower class. One was shy, the other the opposite. Wheneber the bolder one spotted me, she would immediately start shouting that I had pretty eyes and that her friend was in love with me and that I should come by and say hello. When I did not react, they followed me and the bolder one asked where I lived, if I had a girlfriend, if I liked the other girl and why I did not say anything. I was no less afraid of meeting the girls than of meeting the asshole.

This week I took a trip in yet another direction – to Vienna for the Mask rehearsals with Agata Zubel, Johannes Kalitzke and Klangforum Wien. The rehearsals were very good. Concise and effective. The piece quickly emerged and took shape. Whether and how it is working, we will see - the premiere is in less than three weeks, if the situation in the world allows it.

Outside of rehearsals, intense work on Pokora. I’ve reached the halfway point of the intended one hour length. Alojs is hit in the head with a shrapnel and loses consciousness. In a moment, he will no longer be at the front, but at a place nobody knows where, in the conversation with Agnes. I will perhaps talk about the music later on.

But for now, for a short while, the coast. A lot of people; strange.