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The Art of Shaking

This is an extract from the film Grand Hotel Excelsior, starring Adriano Celentano as the hotel manager. I thought it would raise our spirits amidst cooking turkeys. I also thought it could provide some inspiration to those who’re short of ideas for their ultimate Xmas cocktail. Or for those who’d want to add that extra something to their cooking routine. Now, unless the kitchen is spacious enough, it may be difficult for a lady to perform her part, but nothing prevents you, gentlemen, exercising your sense of rhythm, stamina, and talent for improvisation. And ladies shall watch in awe…

Many thanks and Happy Xmas to Rivoluzione!

Polnareff’s Holidays (Explanations – Part 2)

I also know that someone was looking for the English translation of this song by Michel Polnareff, called Holidays. The song is beautiful, yet melancholic, and carries a very deep meaning. I can imagine Polnareff writing it while on the plain, but I don’t know if it’s true or not. I didn’t attempt to adapt the English text to the music, though.

Holidays, oh holidays
C’est l’avion qui descend du ciel
Et sous l’ombre de son aile
Une ville passe
Que la terre est basse

Holidays, oh holidays
Des églises et des H.L.M.
Que fait-il le Dieu qu’ils aiment?
Qui vit dans l’espace
Que la terre est basse

Holidays, oh holidays
De l’avion, l’ombre prend la mer
La mer comme une préface
Avant le désert
Que la mer est basse

Holidays, oh holidays
Tant de ciel et tant de nuages
Tu ne sais pas à ton âge
Toi que la vie lasse
Que la mort est basse

Holidays, oh holidays
C’est l’avion qui habite au ciel
Mais n’oublie pas, toi si belle
Les avions se cassent
Et la terre est basse

English translation

Holidays, oh holidays
It’s a plane that comes down from the sky
And the shadow of its wing
Covers a city below
How close is the ground

Holidays, oh holidays
Churches and council flats,
What is their beloved God doing?
He who lives in the space
How close is the ground

Holidays, oh holidays
The plane’s shadow covers the sea
The sea is like a preface
To the desert
How close is the sea

Holidays, oh holidays
So much sky and so many clouds
At your age you don’t know
That life is boring
How close is death

Holidays, oh holidays
It’s a plane that lives in the sky
You’re so beautiful, but don’t forget
That planes crash
And that the ground is close

John Lennon


Yes, it’s yet another anniversary. There is nothing to say, as no words would express everything we feel on this day every year. For me as the fan of both The Beatles and John Lennon it was difficult to gradually realise that this man is no longer here, and that I’ve only got as much as he’d written/drawn/sung/acted, etc., that there will be no more. In fact, there hadn’t been any more for a long while before I even discovered his music.

My history of attending music venues was strangely linked to Lennon and The Beatles. The first *serious* music venue that I attended was a concert dedicated to Paul McCartney’s 50th anniversary. It took place in Moscow, there was no Macca, but before the concert we were treated to a screening of Let It Be. In 1997, when I just entered the University, I saw an announcement on the board about the celebration of John Lennon’s birthday in one of Moscow’s clubs. I went with a few friends. His songs were mixed with some modern performances, of which my memories are still very vivid.

There is his official website, as well as many good fansites across the web. There was recently an appeal to make December 8th The Day of Peace. I think for many people it has already been such for 26 years now (and perhaps even before then) and will remain such for as long as the memory lives. The idea, in the end, is not about commemorating either John Lennon, or peace. It is about making peace happen. And on that there is no-one better to quote, than Lennon himself:

If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.
Sad, but true. As indeed many of Lennon’s songs. I have decided to put up a YouTube video of one of his classics of The Beatles’ period. In part, it is because I did not want to be ‘conventional’ and go for Imagine, which is totally predictable on this occasion. In part, however, I have chosen this song for its utter dramatism in both lyrics and music and – its poignancy. 

Je Suis Une Polnareffienne, and I Am Proud!

This seems to be a very recent addition [and addiCtion] to the world of those who adore Michel Polnareff – a video montage of his photographs. His song ‘Voyages’ is used as a soundtrack. There is also this website about Michel – http://polnarevolution.skyblog.com. It is in French, but has got a page or two in English, particularly the biography page.

As for me, one of my poems is called ‘Listening to Kama Sutra’ (Слушая Kama Sutra/Ecoutant Kama Sutra), and it was inspired by Polnareff’s song under the same name. But I will not post the translation in this post because this post is for the Amiral only!

Many thanks to the YouTube user bbabybat.

A Very Depressing Short Film

Apparently – to judge by some comments on YouTube – this video has affected some people profoundly. So much so that some vowed to never carve a pumpkin again. Of course, it’s very likely they forget their promise by the next Halloween, but in the meantime certain individuals are experiencing frustration and remorse.

The video has won the Best Short Film and Best Concept at the Chicago Horror Film Festival in October 2006, which you can check out here. The credits for the movie are:

Directed by Aaron Yonda
Voice of Pumpkin…Matt Sloan
Demon 1…Ouisia Whitaker-Devault
Demon 2…Maya Whitaker-Long
Demon 3…Carmen Prater-Bellver
Demon 4…Sara Prater-Bellver
Kidnapper 1…Nick Drake
Kidnapper 2…Aaron Yonda
Disemboweler 1…Matt Sloan
Disembowler 2…Aaron Yonda
Produced by…Erik Gunneson, Aaron Yonda
Cinematographer…Erik Gunneson
Assistant Cinematographer…Doug Chapin
Written by…Aaron Yonda, Benson Gardner
Sound Recordist…Erik Gunneson
Music By…Alpha Consumer-JT Bates, Michael Lewis, Jeremy Ylvisaker
Sound and Video Editor…Aaron Yonda
Set Design and Props…Tona Williams
Grips…Stew Fyfe, Meg Hamel, Nate Matteson, Justin Sprecher
Special Thanks…Julie Whitaker, Hermanson Pumpkin Patch, University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Communication Arts

To find out more about those responsible for making people pumpkin-friendly, visit http://www.splu.net.

…Won’t You Please, Please…

… exactly, HELP ME! Under the workload this is the song that comes to mind, and I found this rare video on YouTube (thanks to modcentric, whose blog you can read). On modcentric’s account on YouTube there is also a wonderful video of the Awesome Four eating fish&chips, while also singing I Feel Fine. The video is called The Beatles Fish & Chips Intertel Video.

Back to HELP, my Irish neighbour, a musician, always says that this song affected him a lot in his youth because it sounded very sincere. As for me, I was introduced to The Beatles by my father, who was (and still is) a huge fan of Paul McCartney. The introduction took place in about 1990, when I didn’t know English half as well as I do now. The first two albums he gave me to listen to were recorded on an audio cassette, A Hard Day’s Night on side A, and Let It Be on side B. And I vividly recall trying to log the lyrics of the song I Me Mine, literally pressing my ear against the tape recorder. Like I said, I knew very little English then, which is why I couldn’t make out most of the song.

Of course, I listened to a lot of music during my school years, but The Beatles have had the decisive influence. I was the best pupil in my year, and everyone thought I spent days and nights studying. Little did they know that I used to do away with my homework as quickly as possible, sometimes even forgetting about it and leaving it until late in the evening. What I did instead was turning the tape recorder on as soon as I’d get home from school. There is no wonder therefore that I knew all Beatles’ albums by heart by the time I went to the University.

However, my favourite Beatle has always been John Lennon. I loved his talent, his music, his lyrics, his appearance, and that has never had anything to do with the fact that I was born on December 9, 1980. [My looking all over Moscow for round specs did, though]. I do regret slightly that Imagine has become so popular because, I think, people occasionally begin to take it as a commonplace. And, yes, there is a lot of idealism about Lennon, but now and again I find myself thinking things many people would not share. So, in his words, ‘you may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one‘.

Anyway, enjoy the movie, and I’ll get back to my work…

Ups and Downs (Researching For Academia And Media)

I love research. I adore it. There is nothing better than to look for something and to find it in the most unexpected place. For example, I’ve been following the fate of the late Sergei Bondarchuk‘s last film, Quiet Flows the Don, for years. I’ve read a lot about it, I’ve seen the trailer, and today I’ve found an absolutely wonderful interview with a famous Russian actor who’d worked on that film. And I’ve never found that interview before, and I never even knew it existed.

Being a media researcher made me realise that I’ve got incredible perseverance. Not that I didn’t know this before. Simply there is a difference between an academic research and a media research. When you’re visiting an archive, it obviously helps if your archivist is a nice accommodating chap (or an equally accommodating lady). But even when the archivist clearly treats you as an intruder or better else, as a hopeless uncultivated individual who’s got no right or chance to lay their eyes on a precious illuminated manuscript, your knowledge and confidence will make them surrender. In addition, there are printed and online catalogues of books and manuscripts, hence you can always catch your Dark Angel off guard by showing them that you know exactly what the library holds.

In media research, it’s a bit different. Being knowledgeable and reliable yourself is not enough if other people are not, especially those who are supposedly assisting you in your task at finding a contact. I’m deeply thankful to all reliable PRs and members of the public who’ve helped me in the past. I’ve managed to secure some wonderful interviewees for the programmes, but it’s only now that I’m exploring the dark side of the job. For the third week running I’ve been trying to find a medical professional to speak about migraine, and, to my huge amazement, still haven’t got anyone, except for a couple of doctors, whose secretaries are difficult to track down. Two organisations that I tried didn’t have a contact, and the third one is showing great deal of relaxation in not getting back with any kind of response. Thankfully, this is not urgent, and I have vowed to get this sorted by Thursday – it’s truly annoying otherwise.

My current mood – perplexed.
Music in my head – Elton John, I’m Still Standing

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