Monday, January 26, 2009

Listened to Vysotsky on papa's birthday, went to Vagankovskoe Cemetery today (Jan. 25), on Vysotsky's birthday. It wasn't the same as last year, but it wasn't the birthday then, I went a few days earlier, when few people were there. I made it there somewhat late today, and there were too many drunks around by then, and the scene reminded me of a train station a bit, a crazy balagan, and the weather was ugly, and the cemetery is having some repairs and is messy - but still, it was a moving experience. Though not as moving as on July 25, 2005, the 25th anniversary of Vysotsky's death. And not as comforting as last year.


And here's the balagan part...


There was one guy in the crowd I wish I had some footage of, but I don't. A tiny guy with Down syndrome, who stood just outside Vysotsky's plot and recited Vysotsky's songs as if they were his own poetry, one after another, in a voice that had nothing in common with Vysotsky's, except for the pained intensity.


Here's some real Vysotsky:


And here's a Russian-language piece on Vysotsky's Kyiv roots (I've doubts about some of the dates mentioned in this piece, but it's an interesting read anyway).


Because of all the construction, it was hard to get through to Rufina Nifontova's grave this year, but I did succeed eventually:

Nifontova was my father's very dear friend, and there are many good things I can write about her. She was one of the two people who called us right after Chernobyl and told my parents to bring me over to Moscow - which they did - and for this I'm forever grateful to her. Here's a picture of her and my mother (taken sometime in the early 1970s):

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this report, Veronica!

    He was a great actor and a great bard!

    He was probably the only "independent artist" in the USSR whom the system wouldn't lock up, mindful of his immense popularity.