Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Tex Rubinowitz: Irma

Or: 10 reasons why Tex Rubinowitz would make a good temporary boyfriend and 10 reasons why Tex Rubinowitz would not make a good temporary boyfriend, based mainly on the version of Tex Rubinowitz presented in his book Irma.

1. Tex Rubinowitz is one of those boys who know all the songs. Tex Rubinowitz is one of those boys who can imagine "Hang the DJ" crossed with "Gold" and can make a list of the top three songs called "Angela" and go off on a tangent about Angela Davis and Angela Merkel and postcards and the image of Sweden in Japan. We could have days of entertaining conversations and music-listening sessions together. On the downside, my weakness for DJs is such a cliché.

2. Tex Rubinowitz is a very good storyteller. Tex Rubinowitz can tell stories about the whole class making holes in the classroom walls with the points of their compasses and pretending they were made my Ichneumonidae (which have a much better name in German) and having to fill them up while the teacher read a confiscated comic, but first inserting secret messages into the holes, and he remembers or maybe makes up excellent nicknames for his classmates. On the downside, once I had told him about the two girls we called Woofer and Tweeter at school because one was very tall and sort of rectangular and the other was tiny and round and they always hung out together, and about the slice of tomato stuck for months and months on end to the outside of the window of the portacabin where we had German classes, I would quickly run out of entertaining schooldays incidents and feel quite inferior because my life simply hasn't been as interesting as the life Tex Rubinowitz presents in Irma.

3. Tex Rubinowitz knows that girls like boys who dance, and he knows that girls like kissing. On the downside he claims, like Irma herself, who is probably made up, not to be all that interested in sex.

4. Tex Rubinowitz writes like an amalgam of Jörg Fauser, Clemens Setz, Verena Rossbacher and Jacinta Nandi. On the downside, wouldn't I want a boyfriend who had his own style?

5. Tex Rubinowitz's book Irma is full of drawings of women. I don't know who did them, maybe the artist Max Müller? That's what it says in the book anyway. So probably Tex Rubinowitz likes women quite a lot, and also breasts, which is something I have. On the downside, maybe it's Max Müller who likes women quite a lot and Tex Rubinowitz really did used to sleep in a coffin, like the guy my uncle met when he had a washing-up job in a café in Acton after he moved back from Philadelphia because America was too hot for him, allegedly, or that's what my uncle told his daughter, and anyway the co-washer-upper guy claimed to be a down-on-his-luck aristocrat who couldn't be bothered to go to the House of Lords, which didn't impress my anarchist uncle I assume, but then it turned out he was a confidence trickster with a thing about coffins.

6. Tex Rubinowitz once sent me a friendship request on Facebook. I turned him down because I'd never met him. So maybe Tex Rubinowitz knew somehow that I'm really into Facebook and became aware of my existence, maybe from that time when I went drinking with Thomas Meinecke and wrote about how much we both love Facebook, but didn't know about my rule that I'm only friends with people I've met. Tex Rubinowitz seems to be really fond of Facebook as well, judging by his book Irma and also judging by a tiny weeny bit of internet stalking I did last night, but if he will set his profile to public he ought to expect people to click on that photo of his naked bum. On the downside, I met him for five seconds at the Leipzig book fair and I shook his hand and said my name, but he didn't seem to be pining after me or indeed even recognize me.

7. Tex Rubinowitz doesn't like coffee or tea and neither do I. He particularly objects to those disgusting sock-on-a-wire things that people use to make large amounts of tea in German-speaking countries. This might mean we are soul mates. On the downside, I think all he does like drinking is beer, while I prefer Coke Zero. This one I could be flexible on, I suppose, because I do drink beer too on occasion.

8. Tex Rubinowitz won the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize with a text that is now part of his book Irma, and also apparently won an American literary award many years ago, and it would be really impressive to have a boyfriend with two literary awards to his name, he'd be a total trophy boyfriend among book people in two different languages. I could say, Oh, have you met my boyfriend Tex Rubinowitz, he won that prize, you know the one? And I wouldn't care that people think he can't write just because he's a cartoonist because as he points out, Harrison Ford trained as a carpenter and nobody thinks he can't act because of that. On the downside, I've never won any awards apart from one where you had to translate one page of Wolf Wondratschek and the prize was a month in Berlin, where I live anyway, so I might feel a bit inferior.

9. Tex Rubinowitz is one of those people who hangs out at the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize in Klagenfurt every year and knows all the cool kids there and plays music to make them dance to. I don't know how this is related to his winning the prize last year; I liked the text and I like the book, as you can tell, but I don't know what the other texts the other writers read for the prize were like because I was quite busy at the time, or maybe I did read some of them and his was the only one that stuck in my mind, which would be a good sign, I suppose. On the downside, I have taken a semi-solemn vow never to go to the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize in Klagenfurt because of the horrible mayor and because I would feel pressurized by all the cool kids there hanging out together and going swimming and cycling and stuff and I'm actually really bad at both swimming and cycling, and even if I got over myself and attempted to join in I'd feel like a total fake, although maybe they do too, who knows.

10. Tex Rubinowitz made a film with Ethan Hawkes and I went on tour with the Beastie Boys. On the downside, I met this woman last night who really did go on tour with the Beastie Boys, so I was very glad not to have told my going on tour with the Beastie Boys in 1992 story.

11. Tex Rubinowitz lives in Vienna, which is a very nice place and I have a very nice friend there and keep meeting other nice people from there. On the downside, one of my main motivations for wanting a temporary boyfriend is so he could look after me after I get my wisdom teeth removed, and I don't think my health insurance covers non-emergency dentistry in Austria, although I suppose I could check.

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