Monday, September 11, 2017

PPKS

(new Russian)


This strange abbreviation has been surfacing in Russian online discussions for some time now.

ППКС (peh-peh-kah-es or pehpex) simply means 'I sign under every word of it' — 'подписываюсь под каждым словом'. Alternatively, it may mean 'I totally agree with what is said' — 'полностью присоединяюсь к сказанному'.

As Lurkmore notes with their usual sarcasm, it is used mostly by people who haven't much to say but are itching to say something. Lurkmore, though not your usual dictionary or Wikipedia, should be recommended as a lively and usually reliable source on modern Russian idioms.

It's not clear how and when exactly the acronym appeared. It may be suggested that it was a side-effect of the popularity of the qualifying IMHO (in my humble opinion, ИМХО in Russian). Someone may have decided to invent an opposite, something short and assertive instead of the wobbly IMHO. 

Friday, September 01, 2017

Writing in Longhand.

Ye olde goode Parker.

Me, my parker and J K Rowling. 


My writing friends and I were talking the other day about writing techniques. Someone asked, incredulously, if anyone was still writing in longhand.

I do, and a few others, older people, said they did.

There is something in longhand writing that opens up the creative corners in your brain. No matter how stressed, depressed or blocked you are, you start scribbling with your old stylo plume, fountain pen, the ink is flowing and glistening on the paper, and then, suddenly, the words start coming out of you and form into phrases, you start concentrating, you can hardly keep up with the train of thought, you cross out, rewrite, write again, and it all stays in front of you and stimulates more and more and more.

I have three Parker pens and several others. One Amercian-made Parker was given to me for my 20th by my father, ages ago, and I still use it. It has a 'Fine' tip that you can only find in specialist shops, in supermarkets it's mostly 'Medium' which I don't like much. The Parker always reminds me of the junior school teacher who was so appalled by my hand-writing that she made me write pages of exercises on what was called 'clean-writing' — чистописание. My handwriting improved but I got into the habit of chewing on the plastic tip of the Parker.

After having had to replace two relatively expensive pens my mother was desperate, and secretly smothered the tip in mustard! It was a shock, but then I rather liked it, so it didn't work. What did work was when my Parker was replaced with a ghastly open-tipped Sheaffer pen. Its wide plastic top wasn't chewable at all, I hated it. And ever since then I have hated open-tipped pens, even Parkers.

Oh well, at least I don't chew my pens anymore.

Just today, a Russian friend on Facebook, a well-known writer, was complaining that some cafes in Moscow are limiting the time you can spend sitting at a table without another order. She got used to using one for working on her laptop and for meetings while waiting to collect children from their activities. One commenter wrote that he couldn't understand people with laptops or ipads in cafes, thought it was just showing off.

Everybody in the thread remembered Hemingway and others, who wrote in cafes. The writer poster also quipped that JK Rowling used to write in an Edinburgh cafe. Yes, she did! I remembered. And she did write in longhand, partly because she couldn't afford a type-writer or a laptop and partly because she liked it. (See here and here.)

iPads or not, should literature survive the cafes must allow people limitlessly to sit and think, and write. Preferably with ink on paper. (Kick out the smartphone users, if you must!)


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Le déjeuner des troglodytes.

Photo: A.Anichkin

Le déjeuner des troglodytes.

La nourriture des dieux! On a flânent à Paris avec un vieil ami, qui est habitué du Quartier Latin et connaisseur de ses charmes. Tout d'abord on a bu généreusement du bon Sancerre avec deux douzaines d’huîtres au café à Saint-Severin, juste en face de Notre-Dame. Puis on s’e promené et on avait étudié le nez ébréchée de Voltaire.

Après cela, bien sûr, on avait encore faim! Et voila, le moment glorieux du jour, mon ami m'a révélé le plus délicieux secret du quartier — l’os a moëlle cuit au four. Ils est servi avec de bâtonnets de pain de campagne grillée, coupé de la longueur des os. Pas de condiments, sauces, garniture ou autres excès et bigoteries culinaires. Ca marche comme ça: vous plongez le pain dans les os, récupérez de möelle et puis ramasser la graisse.

Nous nous sommes assis sur la terrasse avec ce miracle, bien nourris et heureux.

Des passants se sont arrêtés pour regarder le dîner de troglodytes, certains nous montrant même du doigts. Une Italienne arrêtée, est venait vers nous et me demandé ce quoi ça, quel est le nom de ce plat. L’os a moëlle, delicieux, dis-je. Elle cria: osso bucco! molto bene! Il me semblait qu’elle à se preparait à me “sauter au cou”, mais son mari l’a retenu.

Non, tout ce que vous dites, c'est l'aliment le plus naturel, le cholestérol primordial et propre, rien d'autre.

Maintenant, je demande toujours des os à la boucherie et je le cuis à la maison moi-même.

Recette:

un ou deux os a moëlle par personne (saupoudréz la moëlle à chaque section avec un peau du sel)

bâtonnets de pain

à cuisiner au four prechauffé à 230ºC pendant 35 minutes et manger tout suite! 

L’os est bon pour votre chiens après vous.

Lire aussi la version russe ici.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Fishing, Putin style.


The press and social networks are awash with images of topless Vladimir Putin fishing in Siberia with his Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu, a native of Tywa, the republic where they went on a holiday trip.

But why do Putin's image-makers persist with this particular bit, the fishing? This time, including the underwater chase after a pike? One explanation could be that they have in mind the macho man James Bond fighting the baddies underwater in the 1965 'Thunderball' with Sean Connery. (wiki on the film)

To the giggling Russians, the idea of going on a fishing trip inevitably evokes the cult 1960s comedy 'The Diamond Hand' with a staged fishing episode, when one crook is scuba-diving with a net full of live fish that he puts on the hook and the second is on shore supposedly ready to knock out the 'target.' It all backfires. (wiki on the film)

The phrase, that every Russian knows, 'клёв будет такой, что он забудет обо всём на светe' — 'the fish will be biting so often that he will forget about everything' is also from  that film.

Here is the episode —



And here is the 'Thunderball' sequence —

Friday, June 30, 2017

Porque te vas vs The Last Time


The happy times when cover versions freely roamed the world!

Here is the Soviet version of the international hit Porque te vas - Because You Go. It was released in the late 1970s (1978) by the group called Jolly Fellows (Весёлые ребята). The soloist is Lyudmilla Barykina (Людмила Барыкина).

In its time it was the hottest, sexiest number all over the vast Soviet Union. And those who, like myself, remember those times will have misty eyes while listening.

I put here two versions of the song. One, for the value of the contemporary film footage of young people dancing away, and the second, for the photos of Barykina, who sports an Angela Davis afro in some.

The lyrics in Russian, by Vladimir Lugovoy (Владимир Луговой) run, roughly, as follows: 'Time will pass, and you'll forget all that was between us, that last time, that last time. No, I am no longer waiting for you, but know that I was in love then for the last time, the last time — posledniy raz.'





And here is the original hit by Jeanette (1976) — Porque te vas



Saturday, April 01, 2017

Yevtushenko.


Evgeny Yevtushenko, a leading Russian poet of the 60-s generation, died on 1 April 2017, aged 84.

He was a prominent voice of his generation and a controversial, much spoken of figure of later years. Much is being said about his personality and political face. Tetradki want to let you simply listen to him reciting his own poetry.

Here he is, in the 1965 film "I am Twenty" by Marlen Khutsiev (Wikipedia about the film). It is a long semi-documentary sequence of a poetry reading in the Moscow Polytechnic Museum lecture hall, a popular venue for intelligentsia gatherings at the time. (Yevtushenko is the first reader in the episode)

Sunday, February 07, 2016

'War and Peace' coming to Broadway.


'War and Peace' dénouement tonight as the BBC broadcasts the final episode of their new television adaptation of the Tolstoy epic. (Script by Andrew Davies, directed by Tom Harper, wikipedia here)


Meanwhile, the Broadway is preparing a pop opera version to open this Autumn. The New York Times reports that a pop opera 'Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812' is to open this Autumn. 

Hats off, ladies and gentlemen! 

Tchaikovsky's no 35 D Major —



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