Hysterical Literature: Session Twelve: Fette (Official, en français, English subtitles)

My name is Fette I will be reading from Thomas Bernhard’s The Loser More than anyone else Our Glenn Gould was capable of that kind of irrepressible laughter I thought And so, more than anyone else, he was to be taken most seriously Whoever is unable to laugh Doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously, I thought And whoever cannot laugh like Glenn Doesn’t deserve to be taken as seriously as Glenn Around three in the morning, his Goldberg Variations in hand He was crouching, completely exhausted, at Caesar’s feet I thought Again and again, this vision, Glenn pressed against Caesar’s calf, staring at the ground He was not to be spoken to At this early morning hour He was being born again, as he put it Every day I put on a new head, so he said Yet the rest of the world only sees the old one. Every two days, at 5 in the morning, Wertheimer would run to Untersberg And run back Luckily he had found an asphalt road leading up to the Untersberg, As for me, I walked all around the house, before breakfast Just once, not regularly, completely undressed and before washing. Glenn only came out of the house to see Horowitz, and come back. Deep down, I hate nature, he said again and again I had made that sentence mine, and I still repeat it to myself And I believe I’ll always repeat it, I thought. Nature is against me, said Glenn, adopting my own views As for me, I still repeat this sentence, I thought Does our existence consist in being always against nature? And to operate against nature, said Glenn Setting to work against nature, until we give up Because nature is stronger than us We who, in our presumptuousness Have made ourselves a product of art We are not men We are products of art The man at the piano is a product of art Something disgusting He said in conclusion. We are the ones who continually want to escape nature But we never succeed, naturally, he said I thought We get stuck. Deep down We want to be the piano He said Not men but the piano All our lives, we want to be the piano, not a human being We flee the man that we are to become the piano entirely And yet, necessarily, we fail And yet, we don’t want to believe it That’s him talking The man at the piano (he never said pianist!) Is the man who wants to be the piano And every day upon waking up, I tell myself That I want to be the Steinway Not the man playing the Steinway I want to be the Steinway itself Sometimes we come close to this ideal, he said Very close Especially when we embrace the idea that we are already mad Almost entirely on the path of that madness Which we fear above all things. He hated the idea of being a mere musical mediator between Bach and the Steinway And to find himself one day crushed between Bach and the Steinway One day (that’s him talking) I will be crushed between Bach on one side And the Steinway on the other, he said I thought All my life I have dreaded being crushed between Bach and Steinway And I exert myself tremendously to evade this horror, he said. In the ideal, I would be Steinway I could, I… I could do without Glenn Gould, he said By being Steinway I could make Glenn Gould redundant But to this day not a single man playing the piano Has succeeded in making himself redundant by being Steinway That’s Glenn talking To wake up one day and be Steinway and Glenn as one He said I thought Glenn Steinway, Steinway Glenn, all for Bach Wertheimer probably hated Glenn And he probably hated me as well, I thought This thought rested on thousands, if not tens of thousands, of observations Concerning Wertheimer himself But to Glenn and me as well And I, myself, wasn’t free of hatred for Glenn I thought I hated Glenn all the time And at the same time, I loved him with utmost consistency Indeed, there is nothing more terrifying Than to meet so great a man, that his greatness destroys us entirely And to have to witness that process To be subjected to it And finally, ultimately, also accept it Even though we don’t really believe such a process could exist Far from it Until it has imposed itself to us As an undeniable fact I thought At this moment it’s already too late for us We had been necessary Wertheimer and me We had been only been needed, Wertheimer and me For Glenn’s development And as with everything else Glenn misused us, did I think in the dining room. The arrogance that characterized Glenn in all matters, Wertheimer’s awful perplexity regarding that, And my own hesitations concerning this and that, I thought And suddenly Glenn was Glenn Gould Everyone, including Wertheimer and me, Had overlooked the moment where, as I would put it He had effectively become Glenn Gould. For months, Glenn had drawn us into this collective thinning process I thought Into his obsession for Horowitz It was indeed possible that, on my own I wouldn’t have lasted two month in Salzburg, with Horowitz And Wertheimer even less That, without Glenn, I would have given up. Horowitz himself wouldn’t have been this Horowitz If Glenn had been missing, One was the condition of the other and vice versa It was a Horowitz class for Glenn, I thought, there Standing in this inn Nothing else. I just, I just read… My name is Fette, and I’ve just read from Thomas Bernhard’s The Loser Or… And I’m very warm God, I’m so sweaty I’m so sweaty Oh my oh my god Don’t say oh my god.

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