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Euro-confusion May 22, 2006

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
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Until the riff-raff family moved into this house on the floor below us, we were undoubtedly the most riff-raff residents to be had. The residents of this house are, bar us and the riff-raff, nuclear families or young couples Blairishly planning to go nuclear ASAP. True, there was a single-mother once but, after she’d moved flats within the house to try and fool us into thinking she was someone else, even she gave up the ghost and moved on. But our crown has well and truly been usurped, and now we don’t even bother to do outrageous things like deliberately mis-sort the rubbish or breathe too loudly after 8pm as we know the riff-raff family will only go and do it better than us.

But I’ve done a hint of social work in my time and I might have to go to the doctor to see if any of my socially-minded genes are still in full working order. Because that family needs re-education and if it doesn’t happen soon, I might get onto the Kinderamt to come and have a word. I can cope with the whispering at 8.01pm. I can even cope with the electric guitar. But you’ll never guess what I heard AND saw – oh god, it’s the Archers. No, not coming from the riff-raff’s flat. On Radio 4 – as I went onto the balcony a few moments ago to rescue the washing from a magnificent Berlin storm. (The best storms I’ve ever seen have been here. And there’s a delicious warm wind today -the first of the year.) Well, to my vague amusement, and even pleasure, the winning Finnish song was blasting loudly out of their flung-open balcony doors (probably to remove the smell of marijuana, I shouldn’t wonder). But what was fluttering in the breeze in accompaniment? What indeed. Only the flipping Brazilian flag. How’s that for a mismatch? I’m half-minded to do another flag-post.

Incidentally, as you are numerously no doubt wondering what the taivas-on-sininen-ja-valkoinen malarkey was, I’ll put you out of your misery. It means, “The sky is blue and white,” i.e. the colours of the Finnish flag, or perhaps it’s just a stunningly banal coincidence that there’s a traditional Finnish folk-song pointing out that the sky is blue and white. But I’m guessing it’s symbolic. Or maybe just a sung truism. (The Finns are a pretty down-to-earth bunch when they’re not dressing up satanically.) And I only always use those Finnish words when I want to write some Finnish in my blog because, well, they’re about the only words of Finnish I know. And they’re not wildly inappropriate here, at least. We can imagine the sky was blue and white that day just because Finland won the Eurovision, as opposed to the German black, yellow and red that it normally is. Perhaps. And, anyway, if it isn’t my taivas-on-sininen-ja-valkoinen, then you’ll have to make do with tottelemattomuudestansa, which means “because of his lack of obedience,” which won’t do nearly as well.

Maybe I should work more.



1. Bowleserised - May 22, 2006

Brazilians! Ooh goody! I want a blow-by-blow account of how the rest of the household reacts and the national stereotypes that get flung about (in both directions). *sits back in her chair and brings out the popcorn*

2. BiB - May 22, 2006

The unexciting thing is that the Brazilians are actually German. As is everyone else in the house. I think we are the only foreigners here, which I’m sure makes everyone in the house – perhaps rightly, I’m not qualified to judge – instantly suspect us when a note goes up – no, really – to say that someone has disposed of their waste in the wrong container.

A flat was once going for rent in our house. The other two flats on our floor, even though peopled by Germans, both displayed foreign surnames. Our doorbell sticker was awash with foreign surnames, obviously. The Russian heard one potential tenant muttering to himself, “Hm, nothing but foreigners.”

3. Bowleserised - May 22, 2006

Ah! I understand… I saw my friend-of-Russian-extraction this weekend, and she said that her mother (the lady who thought that gay men spent all their time jumping up and down naked) frequently complains about immigrants flooding to UK, [in lilting but strong Russian accent] “This country is not what it was! It is being diluted! So terrible!”

4. BiB - May 23, 2006

I have some oldish Irish relatives who occasionally like to do the country-gone-to-the-dogs line. All the foreigners’ fault, you understand. They look at me in disbelief if I ever point out that they are immigrants to our fair kingdom themselves. Between you and me, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was secretly the non-white ones they disliked most.

5. Anonymous - July 7, 2006

Out of curiosity, where did you stumble upon the word tottelemattomuudestansa? That’s a crazy word.

– Loui

6. BiB - July 7, 2006

Hello Loui. Well, I studied Finnish – the world’s most beautiful language – for a while, and that word was given at the beginning of a book to demonstrate the agglutinative nature of Finnish. Have never managed to squeeze it into conversation though, unfortunately!

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