R I TAM SRBI JE RHYTHM OF SERBIA 82 | Moj Niš » My Niš to move to Belgrade over the last ten years, as many of my friends from Niš have left. I then realised over time that everything in Niš is, mostly, just right, and that it is in fact a city that’s tailored to me, as it’s not too big and isn’t small either, while it has a history, an urban culture and is beautiful for life. Belgrade is too fast and tense for me, I often say that a day in Belgrade is like three in Niš, it simply leaks away... Although Belgrade has many things that I love and that I experience asmy own. However, if I were to move, I would go to Manchester, Dublin or New York.” When you are spoken about, it is usually said that you are - a Niš-based writer, which isn’t actually something that stands out in a geographical sense. Does that seem to be important in your case? It’s important primarilydue to two things:mentality and language.Mentality is somethingyou’rebornwith, it isn’t like character that canbe shaped. e southernmentality is specific. e people of Niš arewarmand hospitable people, but they are also grouchy, impatient, noisy... Particularly specific is our humour, which simultaneously shapes our outlook on life. Niš folk have an answer to everythingandknoweverything, and they communicate that to you in a very vivid language that was immortalised by Sremac in his works, and I tried to follow that up with my book Left Side of the Road, which presents a modern urban slang of Niš. Niš isn’t only a location for the stories of your novels to unfold, rather it is an hero, becoming a city that we want to get acquainted with, where we want to come. Was that your goal, or do you just write about what you know? e latter. at’s because themost important rule in writing is: write about what you know. Many writers fall at that hurdle. I write about my city and its history. So, I findmyself at the very source of inspiration and themes. Niš isoneof theoldest cities intheBalkans, it is thebirthplace of one of the most important rulers and reformers in the history of civilisation, it was the second capital, the seat of industry that was the first in this part of Europe to make TVs and computers... So I write about what I know, which at the same time iswhat I love. at’s a nice combination. While we’re discussing that love, what does Niš have that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world? Niš is, first and foremost, its people. Andhere I don’t mean onlyNiš natives. e citywas built on a crossroads and has always been a place where people came from all over the world. And that remains so today. Niš is specific in that it is constantly changing and yet basically remains the same. If I had to choose things that are unique to it andaren’t foundanywhere else, then thatwould certainly be the women, cuisine, taverns, humour and the aforementioned language and mentality. How did you become interested in old Niš and that bygone time in which Kalča and Sremac lived, when the Marger tavern existed, where Jedna jeMerilin Zašto vas istorija toliko provocira i sa kimbiste najradije uradili intervju kada bistemogli da uskočite u vremenskumašinu? –Osimšto je učiteljica života, istorija kao nauka o prošlosti pruža nammogućnost da učimo na tuđimgreškama, a vrlo često su stvarni događaji fascinantniji od izmaštanih. Kada bih imao polovni vremeplov, uradio bih intervju saMerilinMonro. U stvari, ona bi pričala, a ja bih je gledao. THERE’SONLYONEMARILYN Why are you so provoked by history andwhowould youmost like to do an interview with if you could jump into a timemachine? - Apart frombeing a teacher of life, history – as the science of the past – provides us with an opportunity to learn from themistakes of others. And real-life events are very often more fascinating than imaginary ones. If I had a secondhand timemachine, I would do an interviewwithMarilyn Monroe. Actually, that wouldn’t even be an interview: she would talk and I wouldwatch her.