Richard Warren

20thc British art and poetry (mainly), plus bits of my own – "Clearly I tap to you clearly along the plumbing of the world" (W S Graham)

Beyond the border: nostalgia for the Communist world

The other day I came across some long forgotten colour slides from a visit to the Soviet Union in 1967, and tried scanning half a dozen that I had snapped while wandering around the bleak streets of northern Leningrad. The colours didn’t scan well, but greyscale suits these, and I like the flyspeck wear and tear too. They sit quite nicely alongside an unfinished short story that I once attempted in response to a disturbing dream of Eastern bloc nostalgia. Images and a bit of text are on a page here, or via the “Beyond the border” tab at the top.

With the historical collapse of state communism, the world of these images became inaccessible. It can never be reconstructed. Nostalgia for it is then all the more acute and urgent, as if for some vanished childhood, when we were poor but secure. It has receded into an Audenesque landscape of the soul, forever fascinating and comforting in its drab otherness. It is the world of our common innocence.

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