There is that cult Joe Cocker song that contains a lyrically inspired, unadulterated depiction of what the summer in the city feels like. It is scorching hot, slow, noisy, and seductive. The beauty of the summer days lies precisely in the same things that makes them hard to endure–the early sunrises, the heat of the asphalt, the sluggish footsteps and the slow-moving shadows, closed blinds and drawn curtains. Although at times exhausting, the summer is a painting full of life, and no matter how much one complains of the terror of its temperatures, everyone eagerly awaits it and there are few who will spend it behind closed doors.
For soon the summer night will come. Brief and furious. Quick and against all rules. At least in cities such as Belgrade. Belgrade nights are those described in the chorus of Cocker’s “Summer in the City”.
They start with the slightest delay, as the summer charm of its endless days and late sunsets gives in. The first beats of the summer night in a metropolis are calm, but quickly accelerate and run off into the unknown. A tourist described it best on a well-known globally popular web site–a Belgrade night is inseparable from the sunrise. It starts by the river or in a club or in a pub or on a friend’s terrace. It can start anywhere. It ends at dawn, in just-opened coffee shops that smell of freshly baked pastries.
Summers are there so that we can flee the city, and there is nothing wrong with that. But if we were to stay, we can rest assured that we will not be bored. Quite on the contrary. Even if we set aside all the events that Belgrade has to offer during these hot months (the Belef, the summer stages, various concerts and exhibitions in the open, the Beer Fest…), just being there is a special experience on its own. Because what is summer in its essence? It is about releasing your breaks, relinquishing control, letting go… When someone asks you if you’ve made the most of the summer, they often, sometimes unconsciously, mean only one thing – did you feel that freedom and did you truly enjoy it.
When you don’t need to get up at a certain time, that only means that you are free to go to bed whenever you want. That you are not in a hurry. That you can take the time to hear your favourite song on your phone or take a photo of something that caught your eye. That you can go anywhere. At any time. With whomever you want and for as long as you want. One day after the other. This is what freedom looks like. When time is your servant and your inspiration roams free. This is the magic of the bond between the summer and the city.