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Music February 14, 2007

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.

Darlings, first things first. Liukchik turns 30 today so you must go and wish him good tidings… This is becoming a bit of a habit. Now Liukchik always gets things the wrong way round – he’s a university pal whom I naturally assumed was a whoopsy, seeing as his dancing makes Grahame Norton look like Sylvester Stallone, until he started producing girlfriends, whom I grilled just to make sure it wasn’t an elaborate ruse. Anyway, happy to see I wasn’t a million miles off the mark. His mother was just perfecting the gay gene when Lukeski was being gestated nicely and his younger brother bore the full brunt of his mother’s efforts (oh gosh, Lukeski, is this all too indiscreet? Well, I mean I know it’s too indiscreet, but is it so indiscreet that I have to take it down and replace it with, well, nothing instead?) – so in his honour of his birthday – well, not really, but the calendar is playing along conveniently enough – he’s giving away musical presents here. Go and claim your free gift. (Even I’ve heard of some of the artists for once.) Money no object. Postal distance no obstacle. And wish him a Happy Birthday and, if so inclined, feel nicely rebellious at cocking a snook at Valentine’s Day.

Darlings, I’ve got nothing for you really. Too bogged down with busyness and business. Although, every cloud having a silver lining and all that, I have at least worked out the PERFECT recipe for the work-related nervous breakdown. Do job you hate. Earn pittance. Move to country where you don’t know the language with long-term student boyfriend. Don’t work as much as you could, making pittance go even shorter way. Spend money you don’t have as that’s probably a good idea. Get in trouble with people whose money you’ve spent. Borrow money off known human. Breathe sigh of relief. One second later feel redoubled guilt and dread and worry and panic at owing the money to someone you know, who saintlily never, ever mentions it, quadrupling the guilt. Allow to simmer for, say, two years, waking up in sweats in the night six times a week. Decide suddenly you must earn a million pounds in one week and take on according amount of work. Blog instead of work. Have nervous breakdown.

ANYWAY, what about a little bit of music for you from me too to be getting on with? Now why would Michelle Shocked hit the spot at the moment? I’m trying to string analysis of that out for a good few hours a day both not to work and to speed up the onset of the nervous breakdown. Well, I think the song might remind me of a time of full houses and lots of va-et-vient and high spirits. So that’s one thing. And then I like the song starting nicely as a story (and there’s a hint of not majorly intrusive and quite pleasant string) and she’s quite good at enunciating her friend’s feeling of, “Oh fuck, it’s all passed me by.” Which isn’t what I’m feeling at all, actually, and the friend probably thought a couple of years after this whole exchange, “God, thank god I’m not a skateboard punk-rocker, actually. Michelle can keep her skateboard. I’m perfectly happy anchored down in Anchorage with Leroy and Kevin.” But it’s somehow all suitably wistful, with poor old Leroy asking for a picture from the big city. I’ve known that. The woman I first stayed with in Russia, heavily pregnant with her first child in a not enthralling marriage, in the Russian equivalent of Anchorage, asked me to send her photos of London. It almost makes me want to force myself to try and cry. But I haven’t got the time.

Happy Valentine’s Day, if you insist.


1. narrowback - February 14, 2007

if I recall correctly Liukchikhad on his site a video of the pogues/nypd emerald society choir doing “Fairytale of New York” thus I would rashly endorse his taste in music…
pardon but I’m exhausted from dealing with close to three weeks of artic weather here in Chicago…my commute to/from work today in blizzard conditions consumed close to 4 hours.

i’m done and I’m also sure the russian would feel at home

2. pleite - February 14, 2007

4-hour commutes! Eek. As long as you don’t have to translate a single, solitary word, may I recommend working from home?

Yes, Liukchik, that’s the one. Go and get a free CD off him. He’s a proper music buff. I’ve been in record shops with him where I haven’t heard of any of the people he’s raved to me about. But his taste seems to cover all sorts. He made me a compilation once which was so good that even our homosexual university barman asked to borrow it and made, for one occasion only, people dance in our university bar (which was the size of a toilet).

EVERYONE, take Liukchik’s CDs off his hands.

3. redneckarts - February 14, 2007

I insist. Happy Valentines day.

4. pleite - February 14, 2007

Redneck, thank you. I will try to have gooey, squishy thoughts as I get piles from sitting at the computer all day. The Russians don’t majorly do St. Valentine’s Day, but there is now something called День всех влюблённых (Den’ vsekh vliubliennykh) (All-Those-in-Love Day), which we might ignore expertly. Or maybe we’ll drink ourselves brain-dead in the evening, which we do anyway, and pretend it’s in honour of February 14th. Thank god we eat late. It keeps the proportion of the day spent in a coma down.

5. bowleserised - February 14, 2007

I will go get myself a CD immediately!

My Valentine’s Day is beginning with a hangover and the slow, awful knowledge that the people who are moving into the flat next door are having it carpetted. There is a lot of hammering and drilling going on.

Just now I’m craving a job and salary. I might join you in the nervous breakdown.

6. Mark Holland - February 14, 2007

As the great Ken Dodd sang:

“I hope when you go to measuring my success
That you don’t count my money count my happiness”

Incidently trivia fans, Michelle Shocked’s Campfire Tapes album, which included Anchored Out in Anchorage, was recorded on a glorified dictaphone. A Sony handheld 4 track professional cassette recorder – it, other makes did similar but not as portable, took a regular cassette tape but which only played in the one direction so as to use the stereo tracks that would have been on the otherside and turned the spools and pulled the tape over the head an awful lot faster than normal in order to get the high quality. There’s no studio fairy dust there, what you hear is what they played. Amazing.

7. BiB - February 14, 2007

B., do you mean your whole house is freshly renovated and all the flats are being reoccupied at once? I’m longing to move. I hate this stupid, shitty, dark flat and this stupid, shitty, dark area. (OK, the area isn’t darker than anywhere else.)

But, yes, perhaps we could go halves on the nervous breakdown. I’m speeding along Nervous Breakdown Avenue without let or hindrance today, let me tell you. We must open that caff the SECOND I finish this absolutely-last-ever translation. As I think I’ve said before, I can bring along my broad gamut of skills which amount to precisely nothing…

8. BiB - February 14, 2007

Mark, hello there, me old chum. I think Ken Dodd was always against anyone counting his money. But I agree with him, like all good grown-ups (I hope), that money doesn’t equal happiness but blow me if money worries don’t equal the worst worries in the world. (Actually, mine aren’t urgent at the mo, because of the saintliness of my creditor.) (And my current on-the-go worry is only meeting this flipping deadline with a holiday – planned earlier, of course – plonked in the middle of it.)

Ha, so Michelle Shocked is the musical equivalent of the Dogme filmmakers. Good on ‘er.

9. Mark Holland - February 14, 2007

Of course, we was poor but we was happy is rubbish. You need a certain amount of money in order to have the luxury of concentrating on the happiness aspect. However, this sort of thing on the other hand is nuts. No thank you. I can’t imagine there’s much fun to be had there.

10. Geoff - February 14, 2007

Actually she wasn’t quite Dogme – the album was recorded by the dictaphone while she sang at a festival and was released without her knowledge in the UK. She wasn’t particularly happy about it, although she did get a record deal out of it.

Michelle Shocked always has fond memories for me – the first gig I ever went to was to see her in Berlin when I was 16, and it was at that gig I saw my first ever real-lofe gay couple kissing and holding hands. I was so shocked I didn’t know whether to watch the gig or stare at them.

11. Mark Holland - February 14, 2007

Recorded off the desk I presume rather than bootlegged?

Still, somewhat different to Thin Lizzy’s Live and Dangerous with its multitude of overdubs.

12. Geoff - February 14, 2007

No, it was actually recorded on the walkman while she sat and played guitar by a campfire (hence the album’s name, the Texas Campfire Tapes). She knew it was being recorded, but thought it was by a fan rather than for release. Meaning the sound quality is horrendous and you can hear crickets and other background noise in various places throughout the recording. Oh, and the tape played back at a faster speed than it recorded, so the released record makes her sound too high-pitched.

13. BiB - February 14, 2007

Cor blimey boys, you two know your stuff!

Mark, god, poor bastard. Suicide (presumably) aged 27 from work-related stress. Poor, poor bastard. I’m impressed by the type that can hack that, of course – 16 hours a day, 7 days a week – but I know I couldn’t manage it, although I suppose folk just go onto auto-pilot, or train themsleves to cope with that amount of work. (I have just had an ill-timed – though my eyeballs are now ringing up dollar signs – request from the people I’m already doing enough work for the whole of humanity for to take on some extra stuff. Oj vej.)

Geoff, am now desperately trying to remember my first gay sighting. I suppose it was at a gay bar. I went to one pretty young and I must say it was mesmerisingly exciting in probably the same way your couple at Michelle Shocked were. And it was all nice and friendly and normal and that was such a bloody good feeling. Gay bars in Berlin no longer have the same thrill, of course, though I remember the Russian describing similar butterflies on the first few occasions when we went to some gay places in St. Petersburg.

14. Geoff - February 14, 2007

Soon after that first sighting of gays at the Michelle Shocked gig in Berlin, I went to London on my own for the first time, and saw a male couple holding hands walking towards me on Tottenham Court Road. I was even more shocked (I kind of expected that sort of thing in Berlin, but certainly noy in a still Thatcherite London). Then as they got closer my twinge of excitement disappeared when I realised that actually one of them was a rather androgynous girl.

The disappointment didn’t last, as when they got closer still I realised they were both rather androgynous girls. Hurrah for Lesbians.

15. Mark Holland - February 14, 2007

Thanks for the info Geoff. The background just adds to the atmos though doesn’t it?

BIB, I don’t know if I’m impressed at their work ethic or appalled at their lack of spine in standing up to their slave driver bosses. I can’t think anyone enjoys it. They must just think of it as an endurance test to get through to reach the big bucks. But maybe that’s just me.

16. Geoff - February 14, 2007

Yes, it does add to the atmosphere. Once she escaped from her record contract and regained ownershhip of the masters, she remastered it to run at the right speed and with some of the imperfections removed. It doesn’t sound half as good.

17. pleite - February 14, 2007

Mark, I’m sure that’s it. Endurance test. That poor gent would have gone on to earn a million a year. Insane ambition and drive some have. And just thinking about being a campaigning politician, say, makes me want to have my body cryogenicked. If I was Obama I’d already be ringing in sick.

Geoff, hail again the law of unintended consequences. I wonder if Ms. Shocked has now settled down with her own version of Kevin and Leroy in her version of Anchorage. I don’t think I’ve heard anything more of her since noticing that one song whenever it was and occasionally confusing her with K.D. Lang.

18. Geoff - February 14, 2007

BiB, apparently all the lesbian feminists went off her soon after when she started wearing lipstick and got married to a man. She still going 8 albums later and still touring regularly. She’s still a great storyteller, although she’s got a bit christian lately (although she tones that down quite a bit for her European tours – she clearly knows who her audience are over here!)

19. BiB - February 14, 2007

Lipstick and marrying a man! Traitorous, turncoat bitch! (Is her husband called Leroy and do they have a son called Kevin and has she ever had an 8-month-old baby girl?) (I’ve got a 3-day-old baby nephew!)

20. Geoff - February 14, 2007

Well, the first I ever heard of her was a live radio 1 broadcast from a women-only gig at the London Women’s Centre, so I can see where they got the wrong end of the stick there!

Sadly it was no Leroy and lovely kids, and she didn’t get to be a housewife either. He turned out to be a rather controlling alcoholic.

21. BiB - February 14, 2007

Geoff, without wanting to be too rude – this is a sickly sweet day, after all – do you mean there was no drinking from the furry cup at all where Ms. Shocked is concerned? See, I told you I was mixing her up with K.D. Lang.

22. Geoff - February 14, 2007

Hmm, the whiff of sapphism was so strong I strongly suspect she must have dabbled at the very least, but as far as I know there’s been no confirmation of the fact, and the marriage lasted quite a while, so it’s just speculation. The confusion with kd lang is quite understandable though.

23. BiB - February 14, 2007

…and short hair (or have I invented that?) and being a skateboard punk-rocker. Has there EVER been a sighting of her with a tennis-racquet?

24. IAF - February 14, 2007

No, BiB. Short hair it was, at least when I saw her – in one of the most bizarre concerts I’ve ever attended; Off Sauchihall Street at 3p.m. on a Tuesday afternoon in a club where I was both the most male and yet the least masculine (if you know what I’m saying – and I think you do).
No skateboard punk-rocking, more, “Let’s pretend we’re sitting ’round a campfire in West Texas and I’ll play my acoustic guitar and take any requests from all you ladies in the audience.”
Very good, just different. And the rest of the audience scared me.

25. pleite - February 14, 2007

That sounds a tad like when an acquaintance and his pal queued up to get into a lesbian club, not realising (perhaps a tad dimly) that it was lesbian, and only got in having been defended by some queueing lesbians when they were told by the doorwoman, “Sorry guys. No guys.” He said they were like Beavis and Butthead when they got inside, and all the more so when the act said, “Liberate your breasts, sisters,” (or something like that) and everyone got topless. (I’ve probably blogged this before. Oh dear.)

I hope Ms. Shocked didn’t light a campfire indoors. There are health and safety regulations to think about, you know. Texas in Glasgow indeed!

26. Annie - February 15, 2007

Liberate your breasts sisters hahaha! The lesbians have all the fun.

I hope your work eases up soon. I tip my hat to you, I could never make myself do actual work at home, at least not with an internet connection.

27. Blonde at Heart - February 15, 2007

It seems as though everyone turn 30 these days.

My Valentine’s Day consisted upon watching a romantic flick by myself (have not done that in ages) and eating chocolate while writing my exam in Islam.

I hope yours was as an ordinary day as possible. All those pink hearts, roses and chocolates make me nauseous.

28. pleite - February 15, 2007

Annie, the thing is, I am so hopelessly undisciplined. It would be good to turn off the internet, if I knew how to, but I use online dictionaries, so that’s a no-no. Which means I am way behind schedule, and now, at half twelve, contemplating a little siesta having translated about four words, rather than the ninety million I should have. By the time you visit Berlin, it will have eased up, I hope.

29. pleite - February 15, 2007

BaH, but why alone? No Canadian to keep you company? Mine was ordinary, though, having not worked enough, the Russian and I drank wine with dinner AND THEN GIN TOO and watched Blue Velvet, which is the first clever film I ever watched, aged about 16.

30. Blonde at Heart - February 15, 2007

The Canadian does not like romantic flicks and I did not want him to suffer by dragging him with me.
I am glad you had fun.

31. Arabella - February 15, 2007

The debt thing – you know that Twelve Step program (I’m sure you don’t) when an alcoholic has to make a list of the people they’ve let down, and make it right? Well, sometimes I wake up in the night wondering if I owe money; it’s worried me so much I’ve even considered writing to people and asking if I do.

32. Arabella - February 15, 2007

Oh dear. Was that too much information?

33. MountPenguin - February 15, 2007

Arabella, I wouldn’t worry, BiB’s probably sleeping off dinner.

Recently I insisted on buying lunch for someone I’d borrowed 5 DM off years ago; it was still resting on my conscience, although the other person had forgotten all about it.

34. BiB - February 15, 2007

Arabella, darling, no infomation is too much information on this blog. The more information the better, I say. (Although I cringe myself at half the stuff I’ve written though I’ve only rarely allowed myself to go the whole hog and delete a post.) I haven’t done the 12 steps yet but I’d be amazed if I make it to the grave without become more familiar with it, unless I die, say, today, which would be disappointing, as I haven’t finished the job that will help me pay off part of one of my many debts.

…and it was fun, BaH, but I worry that wine+gin is a new instant tradition and has us both on the fast track to 12 steps. I need to go to a health farm. Life at the moment is just work, sleep, no exercise, booze and fags. No good at all.

Penguin, I would normally be dozing drunkenly just about now, you’re right, but I had to have a 4pm-8pm siesta – can a siesta be that late? – and we haven’t even (over-)eaten yet this evening and I did suggest to the Russian that it might be an idea to have a whole booze-free day today but I wouldn’t be surprised if the gin came out of storage. And I have translated twelve words. Oj veeeeeeeeeeeej.

35. Arabella - February 15, 2007

I bought a painting from a friend years and years ago and I get this nagging feeling that I didn’t pay him all the money. Don’t know where he is now, can’t remember his full name and haven’t a clue where the painting is either.
And I’m not an alcoholic. Makes it worse really! Maybe I’m just an ageing bimbette.

36. MountPenguin - February 15, 2007

And I’m not an alcoholic

Is that Shiners as tasty as it looks?

37. BiB - February 16, 2007

Arabella, Penguin, I’ve got a ludicrous Bierbauch – it doesn’t sound quite as bad in German as English – at the moment, and I don’t think it’s even from beer, so just a lazy-slob-and-overeating-Bauch which is repulsive, repulsive, repulsive. And the Russian likes to remind me that doing sit-ups won’t help. I’ve got a feeling my posh medical insurance might cover Fettabsaugung (yep, liposuction).

I’m going off beer. Red wine and gin (with lemon, ice and umbrella) in one glass will soon be my new tipple, no doubt. I don’t think I’m officially an alcoholic (yet), but it’s in my genes. And AA meetings would get me out of the house and be good for my German. Any day now…

38. MountPenguin - February 16, 2007

A nice generic term for “Bierbauch” is “Wampe“, should you ever need it.

And a neat fitness trick is to live up five storeys of Altbau stairs; I suspect it’s all that’s keeping me fit (or at least not too unfit) and away from the temptations of the nearby Imbisses, especially at times like now when I’m suffering pangs of the munches and the fridge is empty of edibles: at this time of night the stairs extend at least another 5 storeys in each direction.

39. BiB - February 16, 2007

Yes, damn, we’re only on the second floor, although at least further from the U-Bahn and tram than we used to live.

Ring for food. I think I’ve only ever done it once here, for, no doubt, almost inedible faux-Indian or faux-Chinese food. I should really dial a fitness-trainer, but the neighbours would complain if I thunderously leapt around on our floors.

Worry’s a good slimming option. I mustn’t have quite enough to worry about just yet. Maybe I’ll become addicted to gambling.

40. narrowback - February 16, 2007

hhhmmm..AA meetings as a venue for improving my conversational german. I wonder if there are any such meetings up in the old german neighborhood where I currently take my lessons. it’d save me the $180 a quarter i’m currently laying out. the “classmates” may even prove to be a wee bit more interesting. Do the meetings run the same way ? “hallo. ich heisse padraig. ich bin ein alkoholiker. hallo padraig.”

The only city where I felt that the delivery option guranteed more than bad food that you hadn’t cooked was NYC. even here in Chicago in the heart of the city center its faux chinese, faux mexican & bad pizza (sorry – the only real pizza is nyc pizza)

41. BiB - February 16, 2007

Narrowback, I think the religion of AA is uniform worldwide. I once went to some social work conference in St. Petersburg being run by American born-agains and even they managed to incorporate the 12 steps somehow. (It was quite an experience. It was where I witnessed my first real group hug and first genuine shriek of, ‘Praise the Lord!’)

I suppose the number of Padraigs here would be fairly low ABER it reminds me of a pal of mine who has been to AA. In London. Quite a hefty smattering of Irish men at the meetings. And he said that just about ALL (or maybe even actually all) of them had been educated at schools run by Christian Brothers back in Ireland. I don’t really know anything about these Christian Brothers, if they are lay or quasi-clergy or what, but their cruelty was legendary.

Mmm, pizza. (Though probably not for breakfast.) (Mmm, yesterday’s stale pizza for breakfast.)

42. Mark Holland - February 16, 2007

Blimey, it’s all gone very Brideshead Revisited round these parts. Bib as Sebastian Flyte, swap Berlin for Tangier and The Russian for the German ex-legionaire and it’d work!

Incidently, a s follow up on the city lawyers and their bastard bosses in The Times today. What a miserable and pointless existence. They’ve got it right in Madrid by the sounds of it. Count your blessings one and all.

43. MountPenguin - February 16, 2007

Ring for food

That is a slippery path down which I do not even dare contemplate to tread.

44. MountPenguin - February 16, 2007

@Mark: that was an interesting read. I was feeling a little morose about things but that put them nicely into perspective. (Sounds like there’s demand for a Lawyers Anonymous therapy group).

45. narrowback - February 16, 2007

A combination of 12 steps AND fundementalism!? My heartfelt stmpathies… and to think those folks may be the only examples of my countrymen that some russians have encountered.

I wouldn’t expact to meet but a few fellow paddys (the odd leftover construction worker or embassy personnel) at AA meetings in Berlin. that was just my impression of me intoning the classic phrase albeit in halting mispronounced german

The notorious ICB’s… they are (or were) full clergy although only some were priests. the notoriety is well desrved. luckily, unlike some of my friends, i escaped the experience of direct contact. During my early teen years the parents did, however, threatened several times to banish me to a military academy boarding school run by them. It was said (tho I can’t confirm) that the Somoza (Nicaragua) and Marcos (Philippines) families had their sons educated there… indicative of the midset of the order and the school.

oh my god…I just googled the school name and lo and behold there’s an actual web page that links Anastasio Somoza’s “cruelty” as a dictator to his attendance at the school! not that you can believe everything/anything you find on the web – but.

just google “LaSalle Military Academy” and Somoza I’m sure you’d find it

46. pleite - February 17, 2007

Buggery fuck. Just accidentally deleted a getting-on-for-hefty comment.

So Mark, I won’t bother repeating my grippingly deep comments on Brideshead Revisited. But, yes, that Times thing makes interestingly depressing reading. I can’t understand that level of motivation or wilful enslavement. Perhaps it has to be drummed in very, very early. Apart from in very rare bursts of activity (like now), I would never want to prioritise work over sleep. Well, unless I was doing something I loved much more than I love what I actually do, which I don’t love at all.

Penguin, you sound like the type who rather likes what he does, to me, so don’t make the mistake, which you were probably just about to do, of abandoning your comfortable Berlin life and dashing off to become a magic-circle lawyer in London. Or was your moroseness about work after all? Or did you accidentally order a delivery deep-fried Mars bar?

Narrowback, while the words ‘military academy boarding school’ sort of conjure up vaguely titillating images, I’m sure the establishment must be one of the most miserable on earth. Well, or would have been for me, at least. Of course American boot-camps are fairly regular TV-meat on minor channels around Europe at 2 in the morning. I know a (sort of) nice couple in London AND THEY SENT THEIR NAUGHTY SON TO ONE OF THOSE BOOTCAMPS. Doesn’t sound like a recipe for getting your wayward son to love you. Don’t know if he’s since gone on to become a serial-killer or magic circle lawyer or what.

By the way, the Russians at the social work thing were mostly born-agains themselves. For some reason, only my colleague and I didn’t seem to be aware of the fact that it was seriously goddy. Though it was interesting. We had to do some wanky workshop about loss. One (Russian) participant put up his hand and said he’d lost his brother. “Poor him,” I thought. “His brother must only have been young.” Until I realised he meant he’d lost him when he stopped speaking to him because of their different views on God. The (American) wanky-workshop taker was sympathetic. “I’ve lost my twin brother too. He REFUSES to believe that Jesus Christ is the son of god.” There didn’t seem to be much interfaith dialogue going on here. (Actually, at the 12-steps bit, there was an entertaining moment when one of the Russians asked about how to deal with ‘white fever’. “White fever?” asked the experts. “Yes, you know, white fever. When you’ve had such a long drinking session that you actually GO MAD.” Fantastic.)

47. MountPenguin - February 17, 2007

No, ‘fraid haven’t been able to source any purveyors of deep-fried Mars Bars; the nearest I could get was deep-fried Mozart Balls with currywurst sauce. Fear not, neither wild horses or mad cows could get me anywhere near London, though I may have to start looking for some real work again.

48. BiB - February 17, 2007

What, you mean a regular, 9-5-type affair? Can’t you just nicely carry on being a nocturnal computery-type? Or you’ve just discovered that your wife is pregnant with sextuplets and you need to top up your earnings?

I’ve been trying to tot up the amount of translation I’ve got to do and I can’t believe I’ll ever finish it, but when I do, I’m going to take a couple of days off, think seriously about what I want to do – yes, they’ll be a magic couple of days. In those couple of days, all the answers which have been avoiding me for 36 years will fall out of the sky – …and then start the next translation. Oj + vej to the power of 127.

49. MountPenguin - February 22, 2007

No, no sextuplets or any other kind of tuplet, or even singlet. It seemed all my best-laid plans were going astray due to a bizarre combination of people paying me for work I haven’t yet done, and other people being reluctant to accept my hard cash for a certain investment item, leaving me with a gaping hole in the time / income spreadsheet for the next couple of months. Grrr.

50. pleite - February 22, 2007

I very much like the sound of being paid for work not yet done. Can I (not) work for those people too? Are they taking any new (non-)employees on? I’d even happily (not) translate for them, if they so wish. And I’m much better at non-translating than actual translating. I can non-translate into Farsi, for example, and from Telugu to Malayalam. Simultaneously!

Anyway, you say ‘it seemed’ so I hope that means things are back in order.

I was down around your neck of the woods today and looked out for an Anglo-Japanese couple wheeling a cat in a pram and I did actually see about seven couples that fitted the description and approached them all but none was you. Extraordinary.

51. MountPenguin - February 22, 2007

Problem is, the work is going to be have to be done, only the accursed people at the other end can’t make their minds up exactly what or when. And when they do they’ll probably want it by yesterday, just when I’m super-busy with something else. Still, shouldn’t complain, it’ll be a while before we have to sell the cat for spare parts.

52. pleite - February 22, 2007

I just had to go and have a calming slice of toast to help me worry less about my deadline, which I can’t possibly meet. I SO shouldn’t be going to Poland. But, yes, I suppose worrying about having too much to do is better than worrying about having not enough. But I’m awfully bored of this regime. The unpaid-invoice wars are a very unwelcome distraction too. I hate everything. Do you need a live-in cat-looker-after? (Mind you, I’m fairly allergic to cats.) (Well, they set my asthma off.)

53. MountPenguin - February 23, 2007

Can you supply your own pram?

54. pleite - March 1, 2007

I’m willing to splash out on one on e-bay if you’re willing to help me out with translations. I’m sure you should be able to learn Russian in a day or two…

55. mir stinkt's - March 6, 2007

Sorry, I have a genetic defect which prevents me from learning languages with more than four grammatical cases. Ask the people who tried to teach me Latin at school. Anyway, isn’t Russian that language where you just hold the page up to a mirror and it becomes readable?

56. MountPenguin - March 6, 2007

Ups, that last comment was by me, wordpress seems to have its wires crossed.

57. pleite - March 6, 2007

I think I enjoyed Latin, but would rather have been doing living languages at the time as it was when I still believed in speaking to people as a hobby. Could never get majorly enthusiastic about Greek though, although I think it only has four cases, if you fancy spreading your wings. I think backwardsiness only works for couple of Russian letters: я, и and э (sort of), though you can turn another couple upside down: ь and г. But even without a mirror, you still have all the joy of ж, ц, щ, д and ч.

Have you ACTUALLY got 11 blogs/sites?

58. leon - March 6, 2007

I love alphabets. I think that was the impetus behind my (largely failed) attempts to learn Arabic and Farsi.

59. pleite - March 6, 2007

Leon, been longing to tell you, someone found the blog by searching for ‘Homosexual animal Leon’. Babyish, but true. And MORE laughter inducement over at D&F. Thank you, thank you.

I had Greek at school and Russian at university, and decided, here in Berlin, that I needed to up my alphabet-count to 4 and went for Hebrew classes. I was the thickest person there and I had flashbacks to the dim mature students when we were just starting Russian. “Why can’t they remember the alphabet?” I would think, youngly, impatiently and scoffingly, to myself. 15 years later in a grim, East Berlin school building, I understood all too well. Mind you, Hebrew’s probably a piece of cake compared to Arabic, at least to read and write. So spake our teacher. (Mind you, the class was in German so I probably missed half of what he was saying, though I did have the amusing moment of having to translate from German into Hebrew at one moment, or perhaps vice versa, and I thought that was just too queer. And one very babyishly amusing moment was when a gent (almost as dim as me, actually) got all his Hebrew letters muddled up and read the word ‘poel’ (worker) as ‘fotze’ (German for cunt). How I laughed (internally)!)

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