Zuzanna Sobkiewicz is a Katowice-born Polish Berliner, with boundless enthusiasm and zest for life – be careful though, it’s contagious; even I caught it. She’s capable of bringing cheer to the most miserable of souls, in the depressing darkness of a Northern European Winter, with her wacky brand of humour.
We met at a swanky party, one of those über-chic soirées; where all, us, beautiful young things go to see and be seen.
She hosted me when I had nowhere else to go. We listened to bleak English music, The Cure mainly.
This culture vulture par excellence, perhaps Berlin’s (still living) answer to Susan Sontag, took me for a walk in the park, to an art gallery in X-berg, and an Elvis party – thankyouverymuch. At this gathering, I was introduced to a whole host of colourful characters and friends in her Bohemian clique; and experienced the unique, scathingly critical authenticity of the Berlin szene life. This subculture is typified by its irreverent and liberal attitude towards booing at performers on stage. On subjects subcultural, she is a fount of knowledge: helpfully explaining how to decode a so-called good skinhead from a bad one, by studying the subtle semiotic nuances of their bootlace colours.
Zuz helped me immeasurably to remain vertical during my well-intended but ill-conceived and masochistic decision to accompany a group of cherubs to go ice-skating. Had she not offered her gliding guidance upon the ice, I probably wouldn’t be writing this now (without the aid of a wheelchair), as I’d either be dead, or paralysed by that foppish opposition to my predetermined fate never to glide upon the ice as only Polish ladies can.
Alfredo (our mutual friend) and I were always changing the subject upon her arrival, pretending we were talking about suicide, death, and depression, when we were only ever talking of her.
She has continued to be an invaluable help to me, especially by liaising with a Berlin Travel agent to assist me in changing my return flight date. This was imperative because, while travelling in Brazil, a gang of gun wielding favela thieves hijacked the bus, robbed me penniless at gunpoint, and left me broken and traumatised.
Zuz even tried to help me fulfil my raison d'être: to live secluded, in a small desolate mountain hut, hidden away amidst sublime wilderness, shadowed by the Bieszczady Mountains of South-Eastern Poland. Alas, it was not to be.