Pierced is post-modernistic true account of Svetlana and Sasha Ivanovic, two young people growing up in repressive world of communist Serbia. Drawn into drugs and punk rock in their rebellious teen years, they unwittingly trade their childhood dream for life of addiction and desperation, Pierced take us on an incredible journey from their home in Novi Sad, to the punk rock world of London, to the cost of Malta and back to Serbia.
We follow Svetlana and Sasha into the hellish depths of addiction
LONDON, HOLLOWAY ROAD, 1987
A dirty sun slowly left the sky over the city of London, as the first shadows of twilight descended on the streets. The streetlights had not yet come on, only car headlamps and the lights of shop fronts provided uneven illumination. It was nearly five o’clock in the afternoon. The noise of the red buses signaled the end of the working day. A river of commuters flowed out of Holloway Underground station, a mass of suits, people hurrying. We stood there in front of the station. I felt a cold breeze on my face, there was the occasional drop of rain, and my fingers irritably indicated that this situation was not quite as everyday as it seemed. I looked at part of the broken mirror at the station entrance. Did I stand out just a little? A black leather miniskirt, long legs thin and smooth like silk threads. Never mind, my childish face covered up for me. I hoped that it did not reveal all that I wanted to hide.
Outside the station stretched the long Holloway Road, a road full of cars and illuminated advertisements, a landscape extending infinitely into the depths of the city. In that moment, faced with a simple dilemma—whether to turn left or right—it seemed to me to be the longest road in the world. Especially when you had to walk. Which way was better? Such a simple, yet impossible choice. It seemed that if I could only answer this question, I could answer the fundamental questions of destiny. Both were daunting and I fearfully concluded that there was no solution. I remained trapped in an inescapable situation.
I looked around me and surveyed the faces of the people standing outside the station at the bus stop. They seemed somehow content after their hard work, I suppose because someone was waiting for them at home, perhaps with a smile, hot food, or a warm embrace. They were perfectly normal and ordinary, and it was just this that irritated me. The thought occurred to me that there was nothing more pleasant than returning home. They looked so carefree compared to me that I envied them. For someone in my situation, to be free of care was such an unreal notion.
I unzipped my jacket and put my hand in my pocket. I had no money, nor the key to a hotel room, nor any other key. Come to think of it, I had nothing whatsoever. The unfamiliar city and its unfamiliar people no longer seemed like an opportunity for adventure. Quite the opposite. The cruelty of the moment, and the reality of the monstrously huge city now seemed menacing, a major challenge to the way I had lived my life until then.
The rain was beginning to fall harder. My throat tensed in desperation. At that moment I felt two firm, warm hands on my shoulders, familiar hands which tugged at me, reminding me that I was not alone in my predicament. I looked to one side and then in front of me again at the mirror. My tall boyfriend, his face so familiar to me, long crimped hair with its split ends, black leather jacket, put his arm around me and pulled me toward the station entrance.
He held me firmly and took me to the metal steps which led to the lower part of the station. I knew this was a sign that we would not be leaving Holloway yet. We were going down in order to find shelter from the rain and from curious gazes. In appearance we stood out sharply from the typical London rush-hour crowd. It made me more than a little uncomfortable. It was good to hide out of sight of ordinary people for a while. We would certainly appear suspicious to them, looking the way we did and loitering by the entrance to the underground station at that time of day. It was enough to look at the right lapel of Sasha’s leather jacket, glistening with innumerable little metal badges, to realize how much we stood out.
Nobody stopped for long at stations. Faces passed by and rarely reappeared. Those that did were usually there on some illegal business such as drug dealing or theft. I was sure that our own faces indicated something similar. I looked around to check if there were any police who might come to the same conclusion. Then we would really be in trouble. But maybe that was the solution. Maybe…
Once down the steps, we looked for an area where there were no passersby. At the very end of the corridor we found a secluded spot under a stairwell. It was fifty yards from the busy walkway, giving us an artificial sense of intimacy, a place where we could talk about all that had happened to us. Once there, we flopped dejectedly down onto the concrete stairway. I looked at the floor, which was black with dirt. I wondered, did they ever clean this area? I was disgusted at the thought of all the saliva—and who knows what else?—that was under our feet in this corridor ."I don’t wanna holiday in the sun!” went round and round in my head It had seemed so romantic not so long ago—London, punk, life on the street…
I shivered with the cold, so we moved to the metal container across the way. We had nowhere else to go. There was no bed waiting for us in this city, and every subsequent moment in Sasha’s life and mine was completely undetermined. We had all the time in the world.
Sasha seemed to read my thoughts. “You know,” he said, “we have to face the facts. We’re on our own in a city we don’t know, there’s no one we can call, we’ve got no money. I don’t know what to do.”
I could see my own thoughts as I looked into his eyes. The life we had wanted to live for so long, that we had done everything in our power to achieve, had become the greatest challenge of our lives.
We’d wanted a life without boundaries where we were invincible. We thought we could make our way through anything: through any culture and any city. The streets of the 20th century were a “Matrix” that only we could understand. And that is what we had gotten.
At last, here was our opportunity to experience life on our terms. We’d been given the chance to show our worth. Just then I thought of something George Orwell said: “Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.” We were about to put this theory to the test. But how this mess we’d gotten ourselves into was going to end, we couldn’t begin to imagine. Nothing was certain, everything was as fragile as glass, and yet at the same time, enormously real, romantically suicidal, and ultimately ironic.
While I was thinking about the perfect learning experience that this moment in life provided, I could not possibly have guessed that this very day would be the greatest turning point of my life. I could not have imagined the radical course of events which would follow just a few hours later, let alone that my whole life would be drastically changed from that very day.
A series of strange and crazy circumstances had led up to this strangest of all days. The years piled up, one on top of another, each revealing a piece of the puzzle that was my life. Now I stood with all those pieces in my hands, torn and tired from searching, on a damp London evening, thinking that this was the end of it all. I could not have dreamed of the surprises and discoveries which waited just around the corner. This wasn’t the end. It was the beginning of a fascinating adventure to come.