Friday, 11 November 2011

Dangerous Pages

I usually transfix people with the story of John Zorn: his apartment so full of books and records that he took out the kitchen for more space.[i]   Earlier today I heard a story that trumps this.  It left even me speechless.

It is a bungalow filled to the ceiling with books.  They are stacked like bricks, a few volumes wedged in sideways to keep them secure.  There is hardly any space in the house: just a narrow corridor between the front and back doors leading to a small patch of room, big enough for an armchair.

There was no sink or toilet in the place… 

One night the owner went outside to urinate.  The door banged shut behind him; and a wall of books fell down and wedged against the door, so that he could not open it.  This man was an old person.  The bungalow was in the middle of nowhere.  It was a winter’s night.  He died of hypothermia…

[i] Read the interview – it is rather brilliant.  

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