THE HOTEL AND THE GUEST: a story of sebaldian malaise and an essay in psychogeography

He was woken at 6.00 am, unaccountably, but with a vague sense of malaise and restlessness. He walked out into the Rose Garden; the sun had not yet risen; and the restaurant was not yet open.

Suddenly, he realized he was at the cliff edge; but he had walked barely twenty metres. This seemed unfamiliar; had he taken a different route than his usual one in his somnolence?He looked around him. No;he had come to the cliff-edge about fifty metres BEFORE he should have done so.

Looking through the indistinctness below,as the moon still shone on the  cliff and the beach and sea beneath him,he saw, with a growing sense of unease, that a great proportion of the Rose Garden was falling down the  cliff face, towards the beach. It was merely a heap of soil sliding gradually but relentlessly downwards.

……………………………………………….

The guest walked quickly back into the hotel. The night concierge was still on duty. The man did not believe the guest’s account and offered him a cup of coffee, “to wake you up, sir”.

The guest remonstrated and asked for the Manageress. Reluctantly, the concierge went and awoke the Manageress. Together she and the guest walked into the Rose Garden.

She was lovingly proud of her hotel; and she knew every inch of it and its grounds. She realized confusedly-in shock-that two thirds of the Rose Garden had indeed disappeared.

She did not immediately evacuate the hotel, as the hotel building itelf was intact; but commented that yesterday cracks had been found in nearby cliff-paths and the authorities had merely filled them in. This town was well-known for land slippage;  a dark, dim thought began to seep into her conscious mind.

She waited till 9.00 am, and then rang the authorities to inform them what had occurred. They merely advised her to monitor the situation and that there was currently no need to evacuate the guests.

……………………………………………………………………………………

Life went on in the hotel: the mainly ageing guest ambled desultorily around the slightly and insidiously decaying town. A relic of an earlier grander age.

The guest had breakfast and then walked into the town centre; travelled on the decrepit funicular railway; but still could not shift this sense of free-floating anxiety and ineffable sense of doom.

He wandered into the atrium of the Great Hotel, itself perched precariously on the very edge of another cliff; this increased his sense of subconscious foreboding. From the outside, “The Great” was imposing, with a high, turreted rooftop. But , inside, it was shabby, and time seemed to have stopped here, as people moved around hesitantly and slowly, like wraiths. A once beautifully ornate ballroom was now bastardized into a “conference room”,; and a Coca Cola machine stood awkwardly besides  the grand, sweeping staircase. The restaurant was more like a canteen. The guest felt very uncomfortable and uneasy; so he left to explore the town further.

……………………………………………………………….

At lunchtime, he returned to his hotel;and there was a further change: the hotel building itself was now on the very cliffedge. He watched. He thought he was imagining it  but it seemed like the hotel conservatory was moving very very slightly and almost imperceptibly.He walked quickly into the hotel; no-one was inside; it was deathly still; it was already its own ghost. He heard a siren: a few fire engines and the police arrived. The manageress apeared from around the side of the hotel.

She was exclaiming,”the hotel is slipping down into the sea!”; she said, “Everyone has been evacuated. You cannot go back into the hotel”. The police began to put a cordon around the hotel.

Some of the guests, mainly elderly again,sat around on the roadside, on the land side of the hotel,listlessly, in a state of shock.

In an hour or so, a TV crew arrived and a lot of locals and sightseers. What was happening was gradually becoming apparent to people: the only fourstar hotel in this slighly decaying seaside town was falling slowly but inexorably into the sea below.

They all watched… Very gradually the Conservatory , on the cliff edge moved; this time perceptibly. And then, the roof of the hotel began to split the building into two semi-seperate parts,just as the Titanic is alleged to have done before finally sinking; so that each wing of the hotel was lower than the middle. Massive fissures began to appear and the windows and frames started to fall out. Curtains billowed in the wind through now broken windows. The manageress shrieked, “I chose those curtains”: the bathos of this remark only  increased the poignancy and horror of the situation.

………………………………………………………….

Over the next 24 hours, the whole hotel cracked apart, and slipped gradually onto the beach and then into the sea below.

…………………………………………………………….

Within two days-during which time an icecream van had stationed itself on the road on the land side-the whole hotel was at the bottom of the cliff. It was mainly indistinguishable from the cliff-soil

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

The guest panicked: the semi-derelict air of the whole town, the memories of the eerie, half-desuetudinous nature of the Great Hotel, seemed to mirror  his own sense of INNER dereliction and self-splitting. He felt he was collapsing, within himself. He RAN towards the railway station: more decayed splendour. He never came back to that town.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

{Inspired by the true “story” of the WHOLE of the Holbeck Hall Hotel, Scarborough,falling into the sea beneath, during a few days in june 1993; caused , allegedly, by soil creep}http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49z5Oou00GI

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Published by: decayetude

ENTHUSIASMS: CLASSICAL MUSIC, ESPECIALLY OBSCURE ROMANTIC COMPOSERS; BACH/HANDEL LITERATURE, ESPECIALLY THOUGHTFUL, WELL-WRITTEN(STYLISTICALLY)NOVELS W G SEBALD WALTER BENJAMIN THEODOR ADORNO(JUST BEGINNING!) AESTHETIC PHILOSOPHY GAY MEN'S WRITING;QUEER THEORY STIMULATING DISCUSSIONS(EMOTIONALLY AND INTELLECTUALLY) GOOD RICH THICK ESPRESSO MICHAEL PONTI SPRITUALITY/LIFE'S "AURA"(BENJAMIN), WHATEVER TRANSCENDENTAL THING YOU WANT TO CALL THIS MEMORY-the elusiveness thereof. LOST TIME AND AN ATTEMPT AT ITS REDEMPTION(NON THEISTICALLY/RELIGIOUSLY)

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