DE I met with Ivan Okhlobystin during a night shoot for director Ginsberg’s adaptation of Pelevin’s cult novel ‘Generation P’. In between takes, actor and priest Ioann shares his musings while trying not to snooze off in his fake beard and a black mask marked with a cross…
OKHLOBYSTIN ON TIME
Watches are in a sense one of the indirect symbols of Christianity measuring something that doesn't materially exist but which, like love and friendship, is very important to us. My passion for watches starts with Breguet, then there are the sure winners for me where the most important thing is not the design, not the charisma, not mechanism, but everything combined - Ulysse Nardin, Patek Phillipe, Baume & Mercier. The most convenient watches are electronic ones, Diesel for example - they're not only comfortable, but they're attractive, and you don't have to wind them. But my favourite watches are mechanical. They can't continue living without you. The fact that you have to wind them up is almost mystical. A watch can stop at any moment. Once my watch stopped just as I was starting a journey. I ignored the sign and the journey was a bad one, one disaster after another. Once I pulled out of my safe a dusty old box and in it was a watch with a kinetic mechanism which I never would up. The safe didn't shake, so it should have stopped, but it was still going showing the wrong time. Who wound up that watch? Watches are from another, astral world or something which brings us closer to it.
Not so long ago an awful lot of smells passed through me in a very short time. The thing is that I couldn’t smell anything for ages, but a year and a half ago I went for my black belt in karate. At the end of the bout, I got hit in the head and lost consciousness for a few seconds. A week later, I was walking by the useless Arbat Prestige at Sokol and decided to go in. I could sense even how the aluminium shelves smelled through the layer of perfumes. For about a month this new ‘gift’ continued in an extreme form and, being a practical person, I used it to select the ideal perfume for myself. I really like Heliotrope – it smells of incense. It conjures up images of Zagorsk!
Discovery by Ralph Lauren isn’t half bad. You can give to men as a present and they will be judged by it together with their watch, shoes and suit. For the wife – Amouage Dia – especially if theirs is some kind of very important, show-off-y do or you have to go to the Kremlin, then it’s irreplaceable. Having said that, you can smell of rotten fish, but if you are pleasant and intelligent, they’ll get used to the smell, and it might even start to create pleasant associations for people.
My tattoos are connected with travel and being drunk. This one I had done quickly in Tibet after talking to some Lamas and other miracles workers. They were telling me strange Chinese proverbs, and I was tired and spent the rest of the day in a little pub, reflecting on these proverbs, and nice and drunk I went to a tattoo salon. Here I had a naked woman, but when I got married, it became a little awkward for me. So it was burnt off with a laser…Oh, it ever I would be burnt at the state, God protect me, at least I know what I smell like when I’m on fire. And this tattoo me and my wife Oxana got done together for our wedding. It’s a unicorn – the symbol of purity. According to legend, a unicorn can be broken in only by a virgin. And here we have some ruins from Ireland. I have a friend who is an electrician and turned out to be a great wizard. He’s full of Chinese proverbs too, only in their Irish form, but as it turned out he just wanted to get drunk for free. So he said, let’s tattoo a spell on you and everything after that will like in your wildest dreams. Well, you could have tattooed ‘Commersant Daily’ with as much effect as it turned out. And this skull I got tattooed when I bid farewell to my last motorcycle. I’ve too many children now to be riding around on two wheels. This is one of two versions the bikers use when they’re passing on – a skull where the teeth have set root in the earth and flowers begin to grow. And I never got on a motorcycle again…
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© DE I / DESILLUSIONIST ¹16-17. "IVAN OKHLOBYSTIN: LIFE OVER THE EDGE"