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Russian fags December 18, 2005

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
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There’s a visually evocative link over at the booksellers’ gaff reminiscent of many a pulmonary incident in Russia. I remember forcing myself to smoke these and these. (Actually, one English visitor was so impressed with the latter, especially the price, that he took however many he legally could back with him to the island.) But as low as coffers and spirits ran, I never smoked these filterless high-speed lung-destroyers, as, I’ve got a feeling, our man in New York may have been known to. (Correct me if I’m wrong.)

But, anyway, Liukchik has been forced into a bit of comfort-smoking by the mere presence/whiff of an eastern bloc fag and, as coincidence would have it, those pretty packets entered my internal world – only psychically. I’m not letting those bastards loose on my internal organs – only yesterday when I went to see yet another Russian film, Okraina, at my Stammkino. Quite an extraordinarily odd film. I’m not sure I’ve seen a Russian piss-take before, and it was very well done, and all shot in the style of old Soviet classics such as Chapaev. (God this linking’s a pain.) It recounts the tale of a few simple folk from somewhere in the Urals defending their land against the wicked oil barons in Moscow. They set off to get to the bottom of who sold them out and wreak revenge on ever bigger fish and with ever greater cruelty along the way, and they get right to the top. There’s a delicious scene at the end of our three heroes spluttering off on their motorbike with sidecar from a Moscow in flames AND with a trophy woman – the oil magnate’s secretary – to take back to the provinces. Hilarious. Well worth a watch.

In a smooth and totally unorchestrated pun, speaking of Russian fags – boom boom – I’m going to my first ever gay Russian disco in Berlin this evening. Today is Sunday, so it could well be empty, but the fact that it’s in one of Berlin’s best-known gay clubs and the party has been going on for some years makes me think it must be something of a success. So I hope to be strutting my stuff to many an AlPu classic this very evening. (I tend to fall asleep in clubs these days, be it said.) Of course gayness is no biggy in Berlin, but when I was in Russia, gayness really had to be tracked down and sniffed out. Obviously I couldn’t ask my colleagues where the local poofters’ joint was and the bit of info I had from a fellow English poof before leaving for St. Petersburg was only half-useful because it turned out that there were 150 Red Army Streets in St. Petersburg. But when I did eventually find the subtly and originally named Club 69 – now sadly no more – it was a surprisingly happy moment. I’d studied in Russia before but had never done anything gay there. There wasn’t anything, to my knowledge. And trips to Moscow and St. Petersburg then had only been short and touristy and didn’t have a gay window. (Plus in Moscow we were always too plastered.) So when I went into Club 69, after, admittedly, only a few weeks back in the closet, it was such a relief to be able to, as it were, let it all hang out again. And Russian gays were so much less uniform than western queens. The club was full of all sorts, including real sailors, going absolutely apeshit to crappy old pop. It was bliss, and I smiled out loud. I beamed from ear to ear. They were recognisably queens, yes; this is when I understood that the language of queendom is truly international. Camp just must be genetic. None of these queens would have been to London or San Francisco or Berlin for queenery lessons, yet there were as expert as any self-respecting Doris on Old Compton St. (Thai queens were just the same.)

But in Russia, of course, Club 69, while not at all hidden down a back alley or anonymous in any way, was a real refuge for people, 99% of whom would have been leading double lives. Thankfully, Piter’s queens have still got Greshniki (Sinners) to go wild in. It’s on the street where I used to live, queerly, is a much nicer club than 69 anyway, which liked to think of itself as cool and enjoy turning folk away at the door, and is wonderfully tacky. I hope DJ Lubovnic will be able to compete tonight…
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Comments»

1. I hate my neighbours - December 20, 2005

Are the Belomorkanal fags the ones that consist of 70% “filter” (hollow tubing) and 30% fuck-off-strong tobacco sweepings, the ones where you twist the said “filter” in order to be able to smoke them without buggering your lungs on the first puff? I think they might have had a red packet though, but I couldn’t find them at that page with all the ciggy packs on it.

I’m a ‘non-smoker’ by the way.

And how was Schwuz? And re. “Obviously I couldn’t ask my colleagues where the local poofters’ joint was”…
well, you could have used “gay.ru”, like my one-time-acquaintance and all round fag-hag Lenka did, before she went to Tscheboksary. She only found a park bench though. The report is here:
http://www.antiplaqq.de/12-02/vdb.htm

I must get to Krokodil myself, I’ve only been there for concerts. I came to Berlin to study Slawistik for fuck’s sake. Instead…well. Oh well. Back to London, a place at SSEES and millions in debt? I think the judges are still out on that one.

2. Broke in Berlin - December 20, 2005

I never actually tucked into a Belomorkanal myself as even being within close range of someone smoking one in the open air on a windy day was enough to bring on a spot of pleurisy. But I think you’re spot on with the hollow tubing filter and fuck-off-strong tobacco sweepings. I can heartily recommend a nice pack of Gauloises for the discerning, western non-smoker instead.

Schwuz was pretty poor, it has to be said. When I arrived, there was a gentleman with a guitar on the stage and a barefoot diva singing songs and telling the odd joke. I think it must be my cold English soul but I didn’t think it was quite the thing for a party atmosphere. The disco bit afterwards was OK, but it was pretty empty, although I did manage to throw myself around to a couple of familiar tunes as the Weissbier took greater internal hold and a friend and I had the dancefloor to ourselves (to be quickly joined by the DJ who could dare move away from his turntable – is that the 1974 word? – for the middle third of the songs). Turns out DJ Lubovnic is actually German, but obviously has some connection to Raaaaaasha and spoke the lingo. As we arrived, we were greeted by the obligatory 9-foot drag queen who offered us echter russischer Wodka in what we thought was a fairly convincing russki accent but when I thought I’d initiate a bit of a chat with him/her later on, she couldn’t bloody speak a word. A fake Russian! (Is that also a cocktail?)

Krokodil’s closed now for the festive season but opens again on January 4th or thereabouts with I don’t know what.

And SSEES! Both I and the disenfranchised bookseller went there and can highly recommend it. Is this for a Russian degree?

And why have you stopped blogging? Not spending all your time looking for coal, I hope.

3. I hate my neighbours - December 21, 2005

I haven’t spent any (more) time looking for coal as yet, instead I’ve been chopping up wood in the cellar – and despite this it remains too cold to type in this flat…

More will follow though – maybe tonight.

4. I hate my neighbours - December 21, 2005

And 9 foot drag queens? Do you mean black-New-York-9-foot-drag-queens?
NYC? Surely I mean “BGC”.

5. BiB - December 21, 2005

What’s the G for? Too dim to think laterally. (I’m guessing the B and C stand for Berlin and City.)

Happy to hear your hands will have warmed up enough for you to get typing again this evening. Bloggers have gone very silent for the festive season. It’s like a bloody monastery round here.

No, the fake Russian was a 9-foot white drag queen, in spangly silver dress, massive fuck-off white high-heels and a wig that any 85-year-old woman would have been proud of. She did, a tiny bit amusingly, if I may be allowed to mock the afflicted, take a rather spectacular tumble at one point. It was shortly after this that I decided to initiate my chat, with a mumbled, “Are you hurt?” or something like that, aber po-russki, and when it turned out she was a fake Russian, and I was there with an Engish-speaking (aber German) friend so had been babbling in my native tongue all evening, it took me about another half an hour to splutter out something containing the words ‘getan’ and ‘Weh’. She insisted that not, until we then both realised she was bleeding. All very dramatic.

Speaking of huge fuck-off drag queens, I remember being told by a Danish pal that one of the best-known drag queens in Copenhagen was called OTB. “What does that stand for?” I asked. “One Tall Bitch”. Marvellous.

6. I hate my neighbours - December 22, 2005

By “BGC” I meant this lot, or in particular “Fräulein Paisley Dalton”.

7. BiB - October 16, 2006

Don’t know them. Have you seen them do their thang? Are they good?


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