Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Did I ever tell you that Hotel Fugger was once called The Hotel View Hotel? Yeah, it was. The old name came from the fact that every window in the hotel looked out onto another part of the hotel. The architecture was inspired by Bentham's Panopticon - no matter where you are you can be seen so you better watch what you're doing because someone might be looking. This was originally intended to prevent the theft of towels but the approach soon grew into a philosophy of sorts or, to be more precise, a way of 'being'. The Hotel View Hotel was considered a true escape from the world outside. Once booked in, the guests were encouraged to forget about everything beyond the lobby's revolving doors. House rules requested that conversation solely concern matters pertaining to the hotel: the evening's menu, gossip about other guests, the beige furnishings, the stale aroma, the mangy cat, the lack of toilet rolls and so on. To discuss the world outside the hotel risked inviting disapproving glances, mockery or even being sent to Coventry.

All books and periodicals were confiscated so as to prevent the residents being distracted from the residence. There was only the hotel - the stars and sun and birds and trees, the clouds and continents and constructs of the outside world vanished from the consciousness of the guests. The guests stopped contacting the friends and family they had known before their stay at The Hotel View Hotel. They quit their professions. They earned their keep by working in the hotel.

Soon all the exits to the building were sealed up. The only doors remaining were ones that led back in, which didn't bother anyone because no one ever left. And so things continued for a time and everyone was perfectly happy. Well, not 'happy' maybe but content or at least contentish. Well, they were prepared to pretend they were contentish, let's just put it that way. So, you know, it was as good a life as anyone might expect to live and that was about as good a life as anyone expected. That is until the food shortage. That's right, the kitchen ran out of food. Well, it was bound to happen wasn't it? The guests/staff had even discussed it. A concerned receptionist actually gave a presentation about it in the function room. Our Incommodious Future, that's what she called her lecture. Everyone listened and worried but no one did anything. I mean, what could they do? Well, one guy suggested they leave the hotel and go to the shops but he was dismissed as a crank. 'We'll eat the potted plants instead', they said and they did until there were no plants and then someone proposed that they eat the stationary and they did until that was all gobbled up and finally they decided to eat toothpaste and soap and stuff like that and that's how they were found - curled up, emaciated and blue, gobs afroth with mixed toiletries.

So anyway, I got the place for cheap. No one wanted to buy a sealed off multi-chambered mausoleum so I bought it for next to nothing, renamed it and reopened its doors. There's a weird vibe here I admit. A lot of dead prayers got buried in these walls. Things are heard at night. The mangy cat is sometimes seen. Some of the people that come to stay are purely here in the hopes of experiencing something grim or even spectral – expecting the dead to provide a new perspective on life. Most of my guests are just here for the cheap rooms though. They aren't fussy. They don't notice the heavy atmosphere because similar fugs have enveloped them their entire lives. They are the lost and the wounded. Sometimes they are those that seek to wound the lost. Sometimes they are the lost who unintentionally wound others. Last night a guest jumped to her death from an upper floor window and landed on another guest, a murderer returning from a night's kill. Weird eh? Barely a morning passes when we don't find an auto-asphyxiated onanist dangling in a wardrobe or a broken necked drunk crumpled at the bottom of a stairwell. I'm fair about it. I warn people before they book in. They book in anyway. I think it's the irresistible draw of defeat. A fatalistic surrender to a self-destined doom. Or maybe it's the ultimate protest against the sheer effort required to imagine things turning out some other way. Either way, the guests of Hotel Fugger consider that there's no other way.

You'll find a skull in the minibar and see a corpse in the mirror. The shower curtain is a sheet of human epidermis. The flowers are plastic but they're all dead anyway. A single room is only twelve fifty. Leave a tip near your cold stiff body.

Right so, now that that's done, I think we'll have a bit of a tune will we? We will, we'll have a song...

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