An Interview With Boris Grebenshikov

I saw interviews with Boris Grebenshikov on TV and read many of them in the press. He always babbles a lot of hardly coherent crap about Buddhism, Jah, Druids, Feng shui, Russian Orthodox Christianity and its wonder-making icons, Harry Potter, higher states of consciousness and the great musical abilities of the new “members” of Aquarium, even though everybody knows that they are just mediocre session players that weren’t even born when BG recorded “Little Big Waterfall” with a handmade amplifier. So, given the amazing opportunity to interview him in person, i prepared a few questions on stuff that really interests me. I mostly wanted to know all the details about Aquarium’s best albums that were recorded in the early 1980’s, when rock music was essentially forbidden in the USSR and recording equipment was impossible to get anywhere.

I was disappointed. He just kept murmuring about his favorite Buddhism stuff and i didn’t understand a word. Plus, midway through the interview i noticed that the minidisc on which i recorded it was write-protected. No big deal – it was completely boring anyway.

The good thing about the whole matter was that i found out that, like me, he doesn’t like to speak seated – he likes to move. So we went for a walk. Then he surprised me even more and proposed to go into the sewer pipes. He promised me that he knows it well. So we went down there.

We walked knee-deep in the water, which was surprisingly clean. He kept babbling, but i didn’t mind, ‘cuz i stopped listening and kept wondering why didn’t i come there earlier. It’s a whole world there underground. Finally it seemed that we have come to a dead end. BG opened another door, which i didn’t even notice, because of the darkness, and then i finally understood what he had in mind.

He brought me all the way to Volga.

As a child i heard a lot about Volga – how it is the greatest Russian river, how much historical events happened around it, how wonderful and clean its waters are, but i’ve never actually been there.

So BG surprised me after all. The most famous Buddhist of Russia didn’t forget his truъ roots. I didn’t even notice how he undressed. I saw him standing there at the opening of the pipe from which water flowed into the great river, half-naked, with Volga in the background and the song from his Russian Album in my head:

Is it Volga in spring or has the Flood just returned?
Or is it the Lord covering his trail?
Well I don’t care at all, I’m almost ready to sing,
From beneath the dark water to tell you my tale.

… He looked thirty years younger than he really is. His long bright hair was waving free. “Don’t be afraid,” he said, “Just follow me” – and jumped in. I followed.

The water was really very clean. Soviet industry couldn’t ruin the great Russian river. A whole lot of water came down from the pipes through which we came. It kept me down and i couldn’t come up for air. I was scared for a moment (Teach us, o Lord, to breathe underwater…), but then found out that i can breathe – the “waterfalls” brought a lot of air bubbles with it. BG swam near me and told me to enjoy. I haven’t seen him any more. I was then that i noticed the two young ladies.

They were naked and they were gorgeous. One of them said – “Underwater sex must be great! I’ll go get Yuri and you can have fun with that guy over there – I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.”

After a few minutes, though, we found out that breathing underwater while making out is too tiring, but we didn’t want to spoil the fun, so i brought her back to my place. When we were getting to the real McCoy, i stopped and said – “OK, let’s be responsible – i’m getting a condom.” Maybe i should have remembered another “Russian Album” song:

She put a finger on my lips
And whispers: “Do what you want,
But be silent, words – they are Death,
They are Death …”
And our bodies will open like doors,
And – up to the sky;
And there, as it is always,
Sunday
And candles, and celebration,
And summer, and laughter
And that which can’t be done …

But i stood up and went to the drawer in which i kept the condoms and began putting one on.

— “Amir! I hate those! Where are the good ones that i like? Forgot them in the car, didn’t you?”

It was only then that i realized that it was Hadar. Good – i’m not cheating on my wife. Bad – i’m not gonna get any today.

At that point the real Hadar woke me up.

P.S. As far as i know, it is not possible to breathe underwater without gills, so don’t try that at home. Moreover, a human being would probably not survive for too long in underground water pipes without proper equipment, but if you still want to try walking knee-deep through underground water pipes, try the Roman aqueduct in Alona.

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