I read several works by Dostoevsky in the summer of 2009, and when I arrived in the city it immediately became apparent that not many people smiled (at least in my neighborhood). I watched from the steps of my hotel on Vladimirsky Prospekt, which was down the block from the building where Dostoevsky literally wrote Poor Folk (his first novel) one-hundred sixty-five years prior.
Kitty-korner from the Poor Folk building was an underground market where I would buy a few brews from time to time. It was blazing hot, and there was typically a dozen people lined up to get their drink on. The clerk would actually crack my beer for me in the store.
When I returned home, I came across “Southampton Dock” by Pink Floyd, and the lyrics reminded me of my Saint-Petersburg experience:
And no-one spoke and no-one smiled
There were too many spaces in the line
I looked through all my video that I shot, began editing and came up with a seven-minute cut. I trimmed it down to 2:11 after discovering that it wasn’t quite the greatest piece of art.
Here is the result from late 2009: Poor Folk.
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