Xaver raises his eyes from the screen of his laptop and watches for a few seconds, without really seeing, a scene that would be astounding if it wasn’t what he sees everyday – since he established his office in the backstage of the cabaret. A tall and spidery dancer with blue hair is stringing a violin while chatting with an old guy with a low and booming voice – both are naked but for a long white wig worn by the man (a famous Australian actor seeking a fresh kick in the European underground scene) and a rope tied in karada style around the torso of the woman (a Canadian ballet-trained yogi with an impressive Internet visibility).

As the computer chimes, Xaver quickly reads the message that just arrived on his IM, types a few words for an answer, closes the laptop while standing up and goes to the door, interrupting the conversation as he has to pass between the two chatting at the door.

 In the next room, a girl in fuchsia bathrobe and cleansing mask brushes one of three black wigs resting on Styrofoam display heads. He addresses her with a strained voice: ‘Here we are, I have my appointment with Johanna right now! I’m on my way!’ Without turning her head, she retorts: ‘Good for you…’ Clearly expecting no better, he heads to the exit door when she ask him: ‘Was it Aika I saw the other day in Amsterdam, what was she doing there? - No it wasn’t, if it had been her, she’d be all around D’s new double-neck Telecaster, you know her, she’s the only female guitar geek in Europe’ – even in a hurry, Xaver cannot help telling stories – ‘I guess you saw Yu, this Chinese-something dancer who came to audition. I was ready to sign her up right away, but I haven’t heard of her since… Must go now, ciao-ciao!

Xaver doesn’t know yet that, in spite of her successful audition, Yu suddenly decided to fly to Jakarta in a desperate quest for meaning about her life and imminent death - he will learn it from Skullface much later, once Yu’s comatose body is brought back to Amsterdam, and won’t get all the details. But he will never forget her bizarre mix of violence and indifference, the troubled but vibrant sexuality expressed in her dance, and above all the vertiginous blankness of her Buddha face, even as she was rolling on the floor tearing off her clothes as if they were burning her skin (her personal idea of strip-tease it seemed).

For now, Xaver drives his coupé (he has a indulgence for sport cars and managed to keep this one through the last decade of financial ups and downs) on the way to finally meet Johanna, after weeks of almost humiliating negotiations with an endless chain of in-betweens. How she achieved in half a year what he’s been trying to do for more than twenty years could not only be the result of the money invested, or the professionalism of her communication staff! He has to know more, to find out how he can use this knowledge for his own agenda – or maybe join her cause.