Richard Warren

"Clearly I tap to you clearly along the plumbing of the world" (W S Graham)

Tag Archives: Steve Schapiro

Nico, Beckett, Keaton and the not-self

Curious sometimes how people and things one has put in quite discrete boxes seem to slide into unexpected overlap. Or at least approach each other, moving into relation:

Nico does some mod modelling in Times Square, autumn 1964. Photo by Steve Schapiro.

“I do not read biographs. They are full of lies, in fact, because they say life has a beginning, a middle and an end. I do not believe in the middle.

You can only say one thing at the end – Nico has survived these indignities. Biographs tell you that somebody moves through life. I am saying that my life moves after me. Do you follow me?

Well, I would like a novel about me because it will come from the imagination and so it will explain my mind, not my life. My mind and my life are two different things. My mind is called Christa. My life is Nico. Christa had made Nico, and now she is bored with Nico because Nico is bored with herself. Nico has been to the top of life and to the bottom. Both places are empty; she has discovered this. But Nico does not want to be in the middle either, where people turn their back on each other. To avoid these places of unhappiness it is better to be nowhere, and drift.”

Nico, c 1981.

Buster Keaton as "O" on the set of Samuel Beckett's 'Film', near Brooklyn Bridge,  July 1964. Photo by Steve Schapiro.

Buster Keaton as “O” on the set of Samuel Beckett’s ‘Film’, near Brooklyn Bridge, July 1964. Photo by Steve Schapiro.


“After the fiasco, the solace, the repose, I began again, to try and live, cause to live, be another, in myself, in another. How false all this is. No time now to explain. I began again. But little by little with a different aim, no longer in order to succeed, but in order to fail.

My concern is not with me, but with another, far beneath me and whom I try to envy, of whose crass adventures I can now tell at last, I don’t know how. Of myself I could never tell …

To show myself now, on the point of vanishing, at the same time as the stranger, and by the same grace, that would be no ordinary last straw. Then live, long enough to feel behind my closed eyes, other eyes close. What an end.”

Samuel Beckett, Malone Dies, 1951.

(For previous – unrelated – posts on both Nico and Beckett, use the tabs below.)