A PRIPYAT SUMMER


Praise & Dissent for the 1st Edition of A Pripyat Summer

“A bold, thought-provoking, literary masterpiece of indeterminable merit and unparalleled consequence for all mankind… For the scholastically inclined, or for the simply pretentious at heart... Translations are currently pending in Latin, Sanskrit, Aramaic and Danish… ” - New York Post Sunday Supplement

“Seductively beautiful imagery accompanied by a rare insight into the despicable, loathsome, essentially rotten core of contemporary humanity. A highly recommended read.” - Sydney Morning Harold

“Revel in the peoples and the landscapes, the art and architecture, the questionable culture and formidably hazardous cuisine of one of the world’s foremost flea-bitten, back-water, hillbilly shitholes. All this without leaving the comfort of your easy chair... Up, up, and away...” - The Daily Planet

“Confirms everything that we’ve always suspected… Sobering and persuasive intelligence gathered from the Exclusion Zone, presented with style, taste and integrity… A triumph!” - The Milwaukee UFO Digest

“you squeeze you cherry ass out toilet window you think get away all time yes? we are come for you you dead fuck you mother middle in dark night their no place you hide we easy find yes? we cut of you fucking balsack and pressing them long up in you hairy cherry hole in the ass yes?”
- private email correspondence from unknown casino owner to unnamed Belgian photographer

“The pages almost turn by themselves.” - Journal of the Dutch Paranormal Society

“At last! Clear and definitive proof that an infinite number of monkeys typing at random over an infinite amount of time can indeed produce a landmark literary achievement…” - Illustrated Thought

"I didn't know whether to laugh out loud, sob inconsolably into my Guiness, or simply shit my pants to spite myself. So I determined to hazard all three at once, and with some surprising results..." - Irish Times

“Probably the least commercial thing I’ve ever read.” - Gestapo

“Provocational… seditious… tasteless… pretentious... undergraduate… swill…” - Newz of the World

“Lowers the bar to the degree that it’s better just to hop over it and be done.” - Limbo Monthly

“A doorstop in the making.” - American House and Lifestyle

“The publishers had the foresight to print the 1st Edition in a handy roll on soft, perforated, uncoated pages… an invaluable resource when trekking…” - Trailblazer - the North American Wilderness Journal

“Undocumented… historically challenged… factually baseless... scandalous… crap... a free pass to a world of hurt, censure, excommunication, jihad, liable suits, international sanctions, and interminable litigation… even the quotes lifted from supposed reviews are utter bullshit…” - Harvard Literary Digest

“Probably the least commercial thing I’ve ever read.” - Gestapo

“A Pripyat Summer takes a lengthy, traumatic, painful and bloodied post-coffee, morning-dump in mankind’s collective Fountain of Knowledge.” - My Little Pony Review

“you think you fuck us in hole in the ass yes? you think you take fucking food from fucking babys mouth yes? we soon come you fuck you mother middle of cold dark night we come press you piece of whore shit platinum master card long down you fucking throat yes? you eat yes? you shit out we again pressing them up you cherry fucking ass we beet you with iron you fix change car tire you puke you up fucking piece of whore shit platinum master card full with you shit we watch we laugh you cry like little girlie bitch yes?”
- private email correspondence from unknown casino owner to unnamed Belgian photographer



Acknowledgements

Colour grading & layout _ Jah Bozo
Fact-checking _ Sofia Jensen, Dip. Legal Secretary _ Ian Wells, B.A.Media 
_ Dr. Roderick Owen, Med.Gynae. _ Morten Langkilde, bibliotiker DB
Additional Photoshopping, editing & layouts _ Edith Fjäs & Casper Rasmussen
Профессор и член палаты експертов по вопросам русского языка и его примeнения
_ Sofia Jensen
Email hacking, malware production, and other nefarious activities
_ Gottfried & Co. @ the Royal Swedish Beer Squadron
Management @ Mabel The Label _ Morten Langkilde and Jah Bozo
(Mis-)management @ Mabel The Label _ Herman Crash-Bang
Printing (1st Edition) _ Mr.Pogoa’s Custom Photocopy Service, Apia, Samoa

Thanks to:

The staff of the Ministry Of Ukraine Of Emergencies And Affairs Of Population Protection From 
The Consequences Of The Chernobyl Catastrophe’s 
State Enterprise Agency of Information, International Co-operation and Development
Pripyat Visitor’s Hostel
Queen Daenerys Targaryen @ Pripyat Provisional Store and Café Bar
The Ibah Chrezmerno-kozloobladateli Victim Fan-base Committee
The Ibah Menkov Heritage Foundation
Loy’s Platinum Master Card™ (actually his dad’s, but what the fuck...)
Bogdan and Varvara Khanenko, curators of the Makar Ustinov Collection
@ The Museum of Western and Oriental Art, Kiev

Special thanks to: 

Natacha & Boris and the Department of Tourism of the 
Independent Democratic Republic of the Ukraine
Sus & Ea
The Chernopripezd of Lake Bostok, whatever you may be...
The Belgians (Jolly good sports!)

Extra special thanks to: 

Søren, Tea, Michel, Jan Emil, Morten Umpff, and Sandra Bullock

Dedicated to our fellow Bezkozlie

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Forward to the 1st Edition

Well, heir it is!

Herman Crash-Bang, 
Label Manager @ Mabel the Label,
Apia, Samoa

Forward to the 2nd Edition

By way of explanation, it is worth mentioning that our label manager - Herman “I have a Ferrari?!” Crash-Bang - is a notoriously difficult individual to track down. Or contact... Herman tends to divide his time between his Hamburg office (soon relocating to the Caymans), the international Formula 1 circuit, and his down-time summer-house in Apia, Samoa.

During his most recent sojourn to the Pacific, a lo-res PDF of the unfinished draft of this work from Mabel the Label’s Copenhagen office snailed its way through Herman’s 64k modem. We thought it perfectly clear that we sought merely to update him on the current, miserable state of the publication. As well as to secure some considerable financial assistance towards its publication and printing. Oh... and for small things like an actual layout, and colour-grading. He misunderstood. Of course. 100 copies were run off at the Apia Custom Photocopy Service. These he more or less stapled together, then mailed to a curious hodge-podge of reviewers across the globe.

Mr. Pogoa (proprietor of the photocopy store and, by his own admission, a decent, upright, Christian gentleman) took offence at some of the volume’s content and made a special edition on soft, perforated rolls of un-coated, 3-ply, recyclable paper. Some of these, too, found their way to reviewer’s desks.

Sadly, the original “published” draft was not without its fair share of inaccuracies. Some personal notes and research were lost on the night prior to our departure from the Ukraine, in a frenzied leave-taking through a dodgy Kiev casino’s toilet window. (But that’s another story.) It was therefore necessary to reconstruct these notes from memories ravaged by excesses that only a “borrowed” Platinum Master Card™ can enable. Admittedly, our first attempts achieved only a modicum of success.

However, we have striven assiduously in this the second edition (as such) to ensure the veracity of the basic information herein and to present a true and factual insight into the fascinating culture, history and traditions of the environs in and around the ancient, more-or-less abandoned city of Pripyat. 
The adventures which produced A Pripyat Summer (as well as its exquisite sequel, A Pripyat Winter) have been a significant growing and learning experience for both author, and esteemed photographer alike. (The Ukraine actually lies south-west of Russia, not east!!! Whoever would have thought...?!?!) We sincerely trust that our unpresuming, literary offering will likewise educate, enlighten, and inspire.

Jah Bozo, 
Urbex Shit-kicker @ Mabel the Label
Copenhagen, Denmark


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День первый – В зоне отчуждения
Den’ pervyy – V zone otchuzhdeniya
Day 1 – Into the Exclusion Zone

Пересечение в зоне отчуждения
Peresecheniye v zone otchuzhdeniya
Crossing into the Exclusion Zone

Bathed in the fresh, bright glow of early summer, the borderlands of the Exclusion Zone are about an hours journey north from the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, by express coach. Or under 20 minutes with our heavy-footed, state-certified driver, who seems to regard every chance traffic encounter as tantamount to a Lauda-Hunt face-off. We arrive mid-morning, and well ahead of schedule.

Package tours to the area draw bus-loads of the morbidly curious from around the globe, and today is no exception.  A gaggle of inebriated Irish tourists saunter and stagger around by their bus in the exceptional weather, chattering buoyantly but incomprehensibly, and snapping pictures of the guards, the indigenous guides, and each other.

A unique festive atmosphere dominates here at the gateway to the contaminated lands surrounding Pripyat and Chernobyl. Perhaps it is the exhilaration and anticipation of entering an area so infamous, perilous, and haunted by its historical and cultural demons. Perhaps it is the warm weather and the vast expanse of the blue Ukrainian heavens. 


More likely than not, though, it’s the samples of Nonicca beers and chocolates, which have  been surreptitiously distributed throughout the crowd by the entrepreneurial guides and bus chauffeurs. Extracted from the rich blue and yellow flowers of the Nonicca bush, numerous local foodstuffs are traditionally infused with the powerful narcotic. Although an indispensible part of any tourist’s itinerary, Nonicca consumption can exact a heavy toll on the unwary.

By the time we have arrive, the Irish are already half assholed, sucking down the deliciously refreshing Nonicca-infused beers like there will be no tomorrow. And, sadly for them, this will probably be the case. A serious Nonicca binge will typically culminate in a deep, death-like coma lasting 24 hours or more. Hotel proprietors in Kiev, and other nearby towns and hamlets, are naturally delighted to accommodate the bus-loads of bug-eyed disaster voyeurs on day-trips to the Exclusion Zone. The guests tend not to create a disturbance (usually returning to their rooms on stretchers), and almost always stay at least a day or two longer than originally anticipated…

However, common sense dictates that you are at the mercies of your tour guide or coach driver (or members of their extended families...) when in such a state. In Kiev,  tales are told in hushed whispers of theft, rape, and other unmentionable atrocities committed on the persons of the inebriated.
Even the pimping of the comatose to the Bezkozlie (the so-called “Goatless”) for small change is not unheard of, despite it being a capital offence throughout the Ukraine. 

Understandably, we’ve chosen an accredited state-run tour with a friendly, reliable driver with Formula 1 aspirations, and an informative, forthright and charming guide - Boris and Natasha respectively.





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Музей техники подверженной радиоактивному излучению
    Muzey tekhniki podverzhennoy radioaktivnomu izlucheniyu
Borderlands Radiated Vehicles Museum

We have some time to kill while we wait our turn for the final visas, stamps and signatures on our paperwork before entering the Exclusion Zone. We peel off from the rest of the throng to wander through the Borderlands Radiated Vehicles Museum, just a short walk from the Ministry of Ukraine of Emergencies and Affairs of Population Protection from the Consequences of the Chernobyl Catastrophe’s State Enterprise Agency of Information, International Co-operation and Development building. (No, really…!! I kid you not! I mean, who the fuck makes this shit up…? Goddam!!!)

The Museum stands on the grave of dozens of hazardously irradiated military and civil automobiles, said to have been buried and sealed here in lead and concrete during the lengthy “clean-up” of the worst of the Chernobyl disaster. However, in the wake of the systematic looting of the area that followed, the fate of anything not already fastened firmly in its place can be at best uncertain.  For all we know the vehicles reputedly entombed here could be transporting people, wares, livestock, and foodstuffs anywhere within the borders of the old Soviet Union.



Our driver, Boris, takes regular radiation readings and appears fascinated by the sometimes startling fluctuations. And maybe more than a little nervous, at times.  Although exposure to the vehicular gravestones on this quiet resting place is not specially life-threatening, collecting souvenirs (let alone hot-wiring them and driving them home) is most ill-advised.



The Department of Tourism  of the Independent Democratic Republic of the Ukraine is not particularly choosy as to whom they allow on their tours. To our mounting chagrin we were forced to share our ride with two young, Belgian gentlemen - Edme van der Lort (below) and his cousin, Loy.



These two travelling companions became a constant source of unintentional and (more often than not) unwelcome entertainment during our first day in the Exclusion Zone, with their disparaging, snooty remarks about the quality of our digital photographic equipment and the unquestionable superiority of high-quality emulsion film (like theirs) versus stinky digital photography (like ours); their brainless, pointless banter and asinine jokes; their suspect tales of sexual conquests with compliant, damp-thighed nannies, and other rather less wholesome, zoo-curious fantasies acted out in the course of summer holidays on their grandfather’s state-of-the-art pig farm in the Rühr; Loy’s faux-heavy-metal pretensions and posturing, and Edme’s stupid, fucking cap and baggy jeans; their propensity to flashing their impressive, fucking top-of-the-line cameras in the face of whomsoever in desperate attempts to gain admiration and respect; oh! and lets not forget to mention Loy’s dad’s massive fortune, accrued in the 1970’s & ‘80’s through his ruthless stewardship of Belgium’s most notorious child pornography and snuff-film empire - evidently a well-guarded family secret (...until now...); their surreptitious, greedy consumption of unseemly quantities of smuggled Belgian chocolates and abbey ale, sweets, and pork rinds; their hopelessly short spans of attention; and did I mention their insanely expensive, fucking photographic equipment (Loy Senior is now a successful publisher in Antwerp, thank you very fucking much, and is evidently footing the bills. Hell! The bastard’s probably writing their whole expedition off as some kind of goddammed tax deduction. It must be nice for some, hey...?!?); their ceaseless questioning about town and country, art, culture, local gastronomy, history, the infamous insurgency of the the terrorist brotherhood, the BPH during April 1986, and its wanton, orgiastic partying at the Chernobyl Reactor complex that culminated in one of the 20th century’s most scandalous, nuclear disas… huh?!? ...w-wh-wha-whaaaaaat??!!??

Hey…! Wait just a goddam second!

Yes, indeed, it is on this first day that it dawns on us that cousins Edme & Loy - the Twerp Twins from Antwerp - are similarly engaged in “an epic and awesome, totally ground-breaking, photo-journalistic book project,” (to quote an enthusiastic, but eminantly over-extended, young Loy van der Lort) apparently identical to our own project in virtually every way. Hmm… Well, something would have to be done about that... Well, yes... Yes, indeed...



In the meantime, in the midst of this automobile graveyard (as strange, silent, and unnerving by day as any haunted potter’s field in the dead of night) one of our travelling companions, Edme, seems to have been distracted from the gravity of the moment by a dandelion.
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Министерство Украины по вопросам чрезвычайных ситуаций и защиты населения от последствий Чернобыльской катастрофы. Государственное предприятие, Агентство информации международного сотрудничества и Чернобыль ИнтерИнформ агентства развития.
Ministerstvo Ukrainy po voprosam chrezvychaynykh situatsiy i zashchity naseleniya ot posledstviy Chernobyl’skoy katastrofy. Gosudarstvennoye predpriyatiye, Agentstvo informatsii mezhdunarodnogo sotrudnichestva i Chernobyl’InterInform agentstva razvitiya.
The Ministry Of Ukraine Of Emergencies And Affairs Of Population Protection from the Consequences of the Chernobyl Catastrophe’s State Enterprise Agency of Information, International Cooperation and Development’s “Chernobyl Interinform Agency”

(Above: Look! See? I’m not kidding! That’s actually what they call the place. Goddam!!!
And you probably thought I was just making all this shit up, didn’t you…?
And they’ve even mis-spelled “Chernobyl”! I mean, like... Hel-looooooooooo...!!!)



Back from the museum, we enter the Ministry Of Ukraine Of Emergencies And Affairs Of Population Protection from the Consequences of the Chernobyl Catastrophe’s State Enterprise Agency of Information, International Cooperation and Development’s Chernobyl Interinform Agency office to get our papers stamped, and are immediately struck by its warm, rustic style.

But the office is empty of officials except for a young woman chatting on her cell phone, clad in her traditional peasant dress. She doesn’t turn when we announce our presence. Instead she begins to toy with the hilt of a dagger in its ivory scabbard which lies on the table before her.

Oh shit!

Our photographer manages to snaps off a quick pic as we make a hasty retreat back to the minibus.

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