Friday, 8 May 2009

Sun, Soldiers and Motorcycles

Summer has finally hit the streets Bulgakov once strolled, and with it the Russian character changes dramatically from the cold, gruff exterior, to just a gruff exterior with an occasional smile. It's entirely welcoming, given that the winter was not-cold-enough-to-be-inhospitable but just-cold-enough-to-depress-you, except for the fact that my flat is west facing, meaning the place now turns into a greenhouse. Swings and roundabouts.

Tomorrow is Victory Day (День Победы - Dyen Pobedi) so lots of St. George's ribbons have been handed out via young volunteers forced to sit in blazing heat wearing hazard vests, which everyone wears happily on whatever they can attach them to, yours truly included. There has already been a practice parade for the military, which meant that nearly all of Moscow traffic yesterday was brought to a standstill because they closed off the main road in the centre (Тверская Улица - Tverskaya) so the tanks could trundle down and ruin the roads, like they did last time. Pundits in the Western media will likely bitch about how it's a provocating show of military strength and how the whole Medvedev-Obama reset relationship blah blah blah...

Anyway, because the weather has defrosted the roads, many Russians, who were pedestrian bound beforehand, have suited up and mounted several CCs of unnecessary engine power. It's kinda fun watching them drive by, because it shows that they're actually enjoying themselves, throwing the whole stereotype of Russians having no emotion out the window. My balcony affords me a view of one of the major roads, and yesterday some bold maniac sped off from the lights and pulled off an insane wheelie over several yards with his biker friends on either side.

In other news - To nobody's surprise Moscow is due to host the Eurovision Song Contest, following 2008's abysmal performance by Dima Bilan. Russian's are not known for being particularly tolerant of gays or non-European Russians - European Russians are called Русь ('Roose' pronounced like the word 'moose') - so it's interesting that Bilan (a combination of both) has become so popular with the masses. Some kind soul (me) has arranged all the 2009 entries on YouTube into a playlist.

Germany's entry Alex Swings Oscar Sings will have Dita Von Teese dancing alongside them during the final. It's already the best song out of the lot, and, combined with Marilyn Manson's ex, this can only be seen as Western Europe's last-ditch attempt at wrestling the Eurovision title out of the grimy hands of Eastern Europe Bloc voting. Bookies are saying 2-1 Norway, tho.


  1. I have a book of First Russian Words.

  2. Victory day was the first time I saw gnashing of teeth. Pretty gnarly.

    Michael the Kharkov