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Bye, Year 2020! Happy New year 2021!

Overall, I’ve had a fantastic year 2020. For the year 2021, I want to wish us all to be patient and flexible. Happy new year!

I’ve been looking through my posts here in which I tried to draw a line under the previous year. It was good to see for myself what experiences got me well prepared for the year 2020.

Back in the Day

There was a marriage break-up in 2006, a loss of job in 2008, yet another one in 2009, lots of travelling in 2010 and various events in 2011, more travelling and events in 2012-2013. In 2013, I started teaching. In 2014 my grandma died, the pound sterling rate doubled, and I found myself in a bit of jeopardy because I couldn’t get my books and academic photocopies back in the next six years. I rarely mentioned my extensive translation work here, except when it was literary translation. At the end of 2015 the neighbour upstairs got everyone below him severely flooded, so until 2018 I had to deal with a complete makeover of my flat. I was also an editor-in-chief, then a head of the department, and I started to perform as a singer. I couldn’t always maintain my blogging, so between 2015 and 2017 LCJ was offline. All these experiences, however unexpected and unwelcome, taught me to stay calm amidst any kind of storm, to be agile and flexible, to rely on myself but also to trust others, and to be patient.

My Year 2020

This explains why in 2020, when people were going mad because of distant work and learning, constant home living, and all sorts of restrictions, I was in the position when I could actually give them advice and provide help. I followed my heart, and it always brought me more good.

Some great things that happened to me in 2020:

  • I translated 4 books, due out in 2021;
  • I had 5 books published, 1 electronic and 4 printed, The Hammock for the Falling Stars I mentioned before;
  • starting from summer 2019, I listened to 9 online courses on finance and psychology;
  • I translated and voiced a course on front-edge technology for aesthetic medicine, orthopedics, dentistry etc.;
  • thanks to the above, and also my friends Adrian and Marco, I was finally able to get all my books and papers back to Moscow (here’s the mention).

I didn’t travel much, but I happily resorted to following a few Instagram accounts of people who live in countries as different as Bali and Italy and tell us about their everyday life.

Thoughts on Year 2020

Overall, I’ve had a fantastic year 2020. I realise this sounds ridiculous to some of you, so I’ll explain. I’ve had my best results in all my life when I took a complete responsibility for every action. I made my own choices, I followed my decisions, and I put myself first. Now, as far as I know, “I” for many people include their relatives, at the least, if not also friends, job, country and mankind. And this is the problem: we cannot be responsible for the mankind. We can be only responsible for ourselves as a part thereof. We cannot be responsible for our relatives, except for how we interact with them. It’s a totally different subject, but basically, if another person is unable to be happy, we cannot and shouldn’t make them happy at the expense of our own happiness.

My Wishes for Year 2021

For the year 2021, I want to wish us all to be patient and flexible. If it’s true that the virus is here to stay until 2023, then the new year will come “equipped” with more instability and danger. There will be more restrictions, more pressure, and more uncertainty. So I pray that we all stay calm and faithful. This storm is also of spiritual nature, it especially hits control freaks who are very fearful deep inside. As it is quite clear that the events are out of our control, please don’t fear what you don’t know. Instead, build on your strengths and find faith. With faith, we are unconquerable.

S Novym Godom! Happy New Year!

May the year 2021 bring you joy, keep you healthy and let you see the good chances!

The First Day of 2012, and A Song about the Fir-Tree

A New Year card from one of my friends – with an MSU ball

My first day of 2012 was a lazy one. After all the accomplishments of 2011 I thought I deserved to sleep for as long as I wanted. The night before we celebrated the New Year to the traditional sound of the Kremlin clock chimes.

In the run-up to Christmas holidays we have seen lengthy playlists of Christmas carols and holiday themed songs. One of them is a song about the fir-tree. The story has it that for a long time the song was considered to be a part of Russian folklore, i.e. without a single known author. Then one day an old lady came to the head of the Soviet Union of Writers; according to one version, it was Maxim Gorky who met her, to another – Alexander Fadeev. The lady asked to be made a member of the Writer’s Union, and this was the first time she openly admitted the authorship of the famous children’s song. Thus Raisa Kudasheva was identified as the author of this very popular song.

A few years ago, while I was in the UK, I found out that my unimates sang this song in Latin at one of their get-togethers. So, below is the video of the song performed by the Moscow children choir, its English translation and – wait for this – the Latin version.

The forest raised a Christmas tree,
‘Twas silent and serene
In winter and in summer
It was slender and so green.

The wind sang it a lullaby:
Sleep Christmas tree, sleep tight!
The snow was making clothes for it:
It was a pretty sight!

A trembling bunny put himself
Beneath its arms so wide;
The hungry wolf just passed him by –
A lovely place to hide!

Some sleigh bells rang throughout the woods,
The snow was crisp and clean,
A horsey brought a forester
To hew that tree so green.

And now it comes to visit us,
With lights and garlands bright,
While all the children dance and sing
To greet it with delight!
(translated by Arthur Durando and Irina Popova)

In silva nata (e)st abies,
In silva crescebat.
Aestate atque hieme
Haec viridis erat.

Cantabat hiemes canticum
Tu dormi, abies!
Tegebat frigus nivibus –
Ne frigeas, cave!

Sub abiete lepores
Saltabant timidi,
Nonnunquam lupi silvestres
Currebant horridi…

…Et nunc ornata abies
Ad festum advenit
Et multa, multa gaudia
Infantibus tulit.

Happy New 2012 Year!

I love writing New Year posts, especially when this post draws the line under such a great year as 2011 was for me.

I wish all of us to have the freedom. The freedom to be what we are. The freedom to be with whom we want to be. The freedom to love, think, and create. The freedom to dream and to make our dreams come true.

I also wish that we find the strength to stand for ourselves. Over the course of 2011 I’ve seen and noticed too many instances of people controlling other people. They create fake profiles in social networks where they write the most ludicrous posts. They break into other people profiles and post alien pictures there. Sadly, the issues of trust and privacy are mostly non-existent in Russian Internet discourse as yet. People whose names are thus jeopardised seem to be quite passive in getting things sorted. I do wonder why on Earth people allow these things to be done to their good name. I guess I should put myself into their shoes in this situation, and I admit: I can’t.

We so often talk about the Big Brother, but the actual Big Bro may not even take the slightest interest in you – your neighbour can, though. The problem is that we tend to trust neighbours more than the Big Brother. Remember the notorious 1930s repressions in the USSR? The Big Brother acted on what he heard from the victim’s neighbours. Nobody ever forced people to report on others. Nobody had to report yet made the choice to do so, and I don’t think Stalin should be made responsible for that.

So, when others intrude on your life, it’s you who has to sort things out. Whoever your offenders are – children, women, elderly, disabled, peers – tell them to get out of your life. The best of them will actually respect you for that.

Back to pleasant things: I finish 2011 as the published author and translator. So the last wish I have for you is to go after your dreams like there’s no tomorrow. And always remember: it’s how good you want to be that matters. If in doubt, consult the Nike advert above.

Happy New Year! S Novym Godom!

In Russian

Дорогие читатели и друзья! Поздравляю вас с Новым Годом! Пусть у вас будут силы и стремление осуществить ваши мечты! Будьте свободны – работать, любить, думать, мечтать и творить! Будьте смелы и мужественны! Не позволяйте кому бы то ни было распоряжаться вашим добрым именем по их усмотрению. Это не вопрос возможности, это вопрос характера. Пусть вас окружают достойные, умные, бескорыстные люди, а со всеми остальными попрощайтесь. Невозможно выйти на первое место, если бояться остаться без второго. Желайте, но делитесь своими желаниями только с теми, кто их поддержит и поможет реализовать! И любите – себя, верных друзей, жизнь – искренне и без обид. Все вам вернется!

С Новым Годом!

Happy New Year – The End of the Decade

It is a great pleasure for me to write this post because none of you (except my mother who reads the blog) knew me 10 years ago, in 1999. In 1999, I finally began to read in Tudor History which was to become my primary subject of research until 2004. I started my studies at the Department of Medieval and Early Modern History at the Lomonosov Moscow State University. And I also wrote a play in verses; it was similar to those Tudor and Jacobean plays that were composed on occasion, and our occasion was New Year and winter holidays. The play was called “A Midwinter Night’s Dream“, in obvious reference to William Shakespeare, and was witty, funny, and involved our entire group (about 13 people). I also directed them, which experience I recently recalled: we had literally one square meter to work with, so it was a challenge. But all went well, and at the end of it I as an author received a huge round of applause.

Next year, in 2000 I went to a conference in St Petersburg, a former Russian imperial capital, where I spent 15 days, insisting that I would return home on my birthday, and not a day earlier. There was something symbolic for me in marking my 20th on the train where nobody knew me. Having always lived with parents, I felt like this would let me break free and break away.

John Grundeken, Happy New Year

It took me another 3 years to finally break away, but boy, did I break! In six years I have never been back, and not quite because I did not want to.

This is one lesson of the decade: “be careful what you wish for” is very true. However, in my case I do not feel I can – or should – complain.

I’ve just looked at the “Happy New Year” posts I wrote previously, in 2006, in 2007, and in 2008. Every single of those years I was looking forward to meeting great, interesting people, which I did. Every single year I wanted to travel more, and in 2009 I outdid myself, having taken 21 trips, the last one on Dec. 29th. I wanted to write better, to work harder, and I am pleased that I enter 2010 with two photos published in print, and a Blog of Note nod from Google. Once again, what you passionately want absolutely does come true, so I have no doubt that 2010 is going to be brilliant, spectacular, and happy – simply because that’s how I want it to be.

One thing I will not be doing this year is drawing a list of resolutions, things to do, and goals to achieve. The idea I found on Chris Brogan’s blog last year is very inspirational, and I will be sharing plans and goals (needless to say, I always make them). But in the last 2-3 months I have noticed an unhealthy interest in certain quarters towards what I do, as well as some other things. This is not going to make me “cautious” because caution has never got anyone anywhere. Yet I am listening to my inner Tiger, so here goes. No resolutions or goals in this post.

As always, my huge thankyous and sincere greetings go to you, dear readers. Without going too far into details, a lot of success I have had since 2005 with my online endeavours I owe to you, to your searches, to your interest, and to your comments and emails. This I say both as a person and a blogger. And as a person only, I have lit candles in Sheffield for all of us and for those few close people who, to various degrees, support, inspire, teach, and comfort me. It was the first time I ever did any such thing, and Sheffield was simply the place where I found myself at the end of 2009. But maybe it wasn’t all that coincidental after all, for I don’t think I’d do the same if I stayed in Manchester.

The post is illustrated with postcards by John Grundeken and Arthur Tserikh, and a handful of Russian postcards (one of them features the work by Anne Geddes). I bet that you’d love to see more, though. If yes, check out this blog after 00:00 GMT on January 1st, 2010. I’m sure you will not be disappointed.

Last but not least… a massive thankyou, commendation, and lots of love to my parents, and all the more to my mother who since 2008 has scanned a lot of images upon my request. Some of the posts on this blog, including this and the one you are about to see on Jan. 1st, would not be possible without her help.

Anne Geddes, Christmas postcard


Happy New Year!

Christmas Self 2Leather Trousers, Sweater, and Hat This year has been anything but uneventful. For me it was perhaps a great example of the ‘not all that glistens is gold’. It couldn’t start better: I spent the turn of 2007/2008 in Wales, surveying castles. I started a new job in March; I went to see Slavoj Zizek (yes, it is ‘an affair to remember’!) in Leeds; I relocated to Central Manchester in May; I attended a number of fantastic events in June-July, including Beck’s Canvas 2008 in London… and then I fell on my way to work and broke my ankle, my contract was terminated, and as the year 2008 draws to the close I still have not found a job (although there is a good chance that I will very soon). It was hard, and I am thankful to those who gave their support. Still, as Dr Johnson teaches us about sorrow, “all beyond the bursts of passion, or the forms of solemnity, is not only useless, but culpable; for we have no right to sacrifice, to the vain longings of affection, that time which providence allows us for the task of our station“. I decided to put everything that happened in July-August behind me, as, in the end, ‘what goes round, comes round’. I moved on. In September I travelled to York, which was a long-term dream, and in December – to Birmingham, which was another long-term dream. I started experimenting with advertising on the blog and different affiliate programs; I began to explore TypePad; I moved Los Cuadernos de Julia to its own domain; and I am still replying to a long trail of comments about the picture at the top of the post of me in leather trousers and the sweater and hat I knitted. Oh, of course, between August and December I was knitting that massive throw on my couch. And another self-portrait was made on Christmas Day, after I cooked that wonderful gammon – a proof that food is indeed inspiring. This also proves I can work with a tripod – although I’d only got it in November.

Yes, it was an eventful year, and the entire experience stands for my capability of ‘working under pressure’. This is a quality that many employers seek in their staff, whatever type of contract they have, so my resilience is well and truly proved after 2008.

One of my resolutions for the past few years has been to travel more. I still haven’t gone to the Continent (I had a good chance before that fatal fall) and I haven’t visited my home country. I haven’t been back in all time since September 2003, and I certainly wish myself to finally have time and resources to go there. If anything, I want to photograph my native city, post those pics to Flickr and tell you about them!

This is my recurring resolution. Another is to meet new people, far and wide, to work or to make friends. There are a few more such resolutions, but I somehow feel better if I keep them under wraps until I am sure they have stopped being a vague idea in my head. I will say, though, that there will be a regular feature on this blog next year, and I hope you find it interesting.

Last but not least, as I said above, I’m open to collaboration and/or any work projects in the Media, Arts and Humanities sectors, particularly involving research, writing, and foreign languages.

This year I decided not to draw the ‘Top 10 Posts and Categories’ list, but, as in previous years, I will post a traditional Russian New Year postcard. So, here is the Russian Father Frost bringing you a plenty of wonderful presents and gifts, taking away the woes of 2008, and giving you ‘the strength of a raging bull’ to use in 2009. Let it be a happy, prosperous, healthy and memorable (for all good things) New Year to you all! And thanks for being with me :-).

Happy New Year!

And so, I’ve been in Llandudno since December 28th, and at this very moment I’m sitting at my hotel’s lounge, occasionally looking at Great Orme and the lights along the Promenade, but mostly typing and sending greeting letters and messages to my Russian friends. I spent a wonderful weekend, strolling up and down the streets in Llandudno, but for some reason I found easier this time to jot down my impressions in Russian first. Whereas with my trip to Carmarthen in June I first wrote my memories in English and then in Russian, this time Llandudno Diaries are first appearing in my Russian LiveJournal.So, the turn of the year is the time to look back and to see if one has kept up with their yesteryear’s resolutions. Last year I said I’d be looking to find more ways to express my creativity – and indeed I learnt to make slide shows and eventually accompanied the latest of them with my own narration. I wanted to keep writing great content – and this apparently has happened, as by the end of 2007 I have had my blog written about, shortlisted at the Manchester Blog Awards, and now included in the Open Directory Project. I wanted to travel, and I’ll say a few words on the subject later on, but in general this has been achieved, as well. I wanted to keep on meeting interesting and talented people and to continue to know those whom I already knew. This has happened, too, and I can particularly single out one such person who is fascinating enough to be lurking here and there on this blog, when it is appropriate. I’ve been following this person’s work for a number of years, this year I had the chance to attend a meeting with them, and what doesn’t stop amazing me is the amount of new things this person can tell every time they give an interview. I can only say that I’m looking forward to more in 2008.

One thing that I never did was visiting Moscow. Needless to say, this becomes my 2008 resolution #1. It must really be astonishing – and quite frustrating, too – that every time I say to myself “I must go to Moscow” something creeps up and I have to postpone the visit. I think the surest way to get me back to my native shores is by buying myself a ticket, as that way I’ll feel obliged to just drop everything and go.

So, in 2008 I resolve to continue with both blogs, hopefully by making the content more wide-ranging, since now I can produce short slide shows and animated stories. I’m planning to travel more. I don’t mention that I’m planning to write more, as this is what I’ve always been doing.

I’m looking forward to more inspiring meetings, trips, events. I hope that the inspiration I get from other people’s work, from nature etc. will be the inspiration for you. Which is where I want to thank once again all of you who have been leaving comments and emailing me to thank me for blogging and to encourage me to keep on with my enterprise. And I would like to thank everyone who wrote about and linked to me this year, this was a joy, a surprise, and always an honour to me.

Two things I can note about 2007. First concerns the travels: it’s all been about Wales. In June I went to South Wales; in December I went to North Wales. I don’t know what it tells (if it’s supposed to tell anything), but so it goes. The second thing concerns music. On a couple of my profiles elsewhere I noted my huge interest in music, since I love singing. 2007 has been entirely Italian in this respect. It started with me making great friends with an Italian colleague who began to send me YouTube links to such artists as Mia Martini, Mina Mazzini, Lucio Battisti. It continued with me going on my own for some time, when I discovered Patti Pravo. And it culminated in my making friends via LiveJournal with a few Russian aficionados of Italian music of the 1960-70s. I’m yet to see where it all takes me in 2008, but the start has been compelling enough to carry on in this direction.

As my circle of friends and acquaintances has grown considerably this year, I shall not repeat the last year’s personalised greetings. Instead I shall wish all of you, my friends, readers and occasional visitors, a very Happy New Year! Let all of you know that you are very dear to me for all your talent, wisdom, creativity, sense of humour and the simple fact that you are!

I should not forget to list the Top Ten posts in Los Cuadernos de Julia, as seen from Google Anaylitcs profile:

Barbra Streisand in Manchester

Lonely Shepherd (James Last and Georghe Zamfir)

Sonnet no. 3 (Edna St Vincent Millay)

My Fair Cabbage

If I Could Tell You (W. H. Auden)

Histoire de Melody Nelson (Serge Gainsbourg)

O Felici Occhi Miei, Arcadelt, and the Lute-Player

Women and Beauty in Art

Love Me (Michel Polnareff)

Matthew Barney in Manchester

I should note that this is the stats for the entire year, and they don’t entirely correspond to the most recent interest.

Last but not least, to carry on with the last year’s tradition of uploading some Russian New Year postcards, here is something many of you will no doubt cherish. This postcard comes from my family archive, it says Happy New Year in Russian (which is “s nOvym gOdom”) and – wait for this – is 100 years old!

Happy New Year!!!

Although I didn’t write every single day in December, I managed to make it look like I spent entire December blogging about anything from James Last to shoe sizes. So, this is my post #31, and, naturally, it is about the New Year.

New Year is always about dotting the ‘i’. 2006 has definitely made me stronger, as within the first six months I had experienced two losses in the manner more direct than ever before. This has also made me more empathic and appreciative of every moment we spend with those who are dear to us.
2006 was also an amazing year. I’ve met and spoken to many interesting and talented people, the connection with some of whom, I hope, won’t disappear in 2007. I’ve been involved in many different projects, acquired tons of experience, and am looking forward to make it all ever more applicable after 1 January. I also began to publish my poems, and the reviews prove that I didn’t spend time in vain, trying to find my way of putting my thoughts and emotions across.
And in August I began to blog. I noticed some advanced authors have examined the most visited/searched items on their blogs. I must be honest, I cannot always understand, whether I’m creating the interest, or whether I’m accommodating it. But these are the top labels and articles on my blog, some of which, I admit, I expected to be more of an interest to myself. Instead, like with Auden’s villanelle or Last/Zamfir’s Lonely Shepherd, people constantly visit these pages. May I also thank The Independent and Ogonyok for keeping the online copies of the articles, to which I linked in one of the posts on Bondarchuk’s film.
Various keyword combinations leading to Prévert’s poem Cortège
Most wonderfully, someone has been searching for my Russian nom de plume, obviously landing here. I’m very surprised, intrigued, but kind of happy, after all.
Hence here are some of my resolutions:
  • To keep creating/accommodating interest of my visitors
  • To go and see my parents in Moscow. I don’t know, when I go and for how long, but this must happen. I even vowed to blog about my visiting Moscow. I’m being told certain things have changed considerably. I’ve also changed considerably. So, it will probably be too considerable an experience to miss.
  • To travel
  • To find further ways and means to express my creativity
  • To meet interesting and talented people and to continue to know those whom I already met
Although I’m not generally superstitious, there are certain things I prefer to do or to make happen, instead of to talk about. This is why my resolutions end here. However, if any of my unannounced resolutions come true, I promise to let you know.
I’d love to send my New Year wishes to my parents, to my
University in Moscow, to CSV Media Clubhouse and QT Radio, to the BBC Radio Manchester, to Cornerhouse, and to the IWM North. I’m wishing to every single person I met, spoke, wrote to and worked with a very Happy New Year. In particular, the wishes go to: Richard F, Robin H, Linda K, Steve B, Paul R, Andrei R, Victor G, Ian C, Ian H, Daniel J, Constantine C, Manchizzle (who was the first to link to me), Mancubist, and the anonymous American who lives in Moscow and who was the first person to leave a comment on my blog. Happy New Year also to Tony Richards at Lakelandcam, to Ian and Minako at Art in Liverpool, and to everyone who’s been clicking through Notebooks since August.
In Russia, people normally go with a long list of wishes, which include health, wealth, love, success, etc, etc. For many years, I’ve been wishing peace. Let us have peace, let us give it a chance, let us be dreamers, and let us prove that we can make our dreams come true.
Happy New Year! С Новым Годом!
(the Russian phrase reads as ‘s novym godom‘)

PS – The images used are Soviet postcards. They all say ‘Happy New Year’ in Russian and are courtesy of www.davno.ru
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