A friend who spent his adolescence in a city near the Pyrenees told me that there, sex was not a sin, but a miracle. In St. Petersburg the sun is a miracle and a curse: so elusive during the gray months of the ‘Slavic monsoon’, now it appears like a bloody tattoo in the sky, perennial during the white nights that keep the picky eater to sleep.
The ‘hipsterism’ of old Petrograd is taking over these days in Sevkabel Port, which gives its name to a project aimed at renovating old facilities and historic buildings to turn them into “a modern multifunctional creative space on the seafront.” And that’s what happens in this little concrete miracle on Vasilevskiy Island.
The pending issue is not to leave behind the cats that populated that industrial landscape: the former employees have asked the residents of the old imperial capital to adopt one, because in those demolition workshops there are no workers left to feed the cat heirs of Leningrad.
On the other side of the Neva, in the Hermitage Museum, other felines already glossed in this column have keepers and even a press secretary. The cat nobility overshadows these ‘cats’ of industrial reconversion, who have neither a union nor a Ken Loach to make a film about them. They walk skinny in the rust unaware of the ‘cool’ era that opens before the Gulf of Finland.
The Sevkabel factory is the investor in this ‘terrace’ and skating paradise: it was the first cable factory in Russia in 1879. Now, with so many planes moored on the ground, the Russians have invented a concrete beach there. Squinting at the shore, if you get drunk enough, in the distance you can almost see the boulevard de la Croisette in Cannes.