Sunday, 29 April 2012

What’s Virgin Mean?

a film by Michael Davies

A short featuring Kate Isitt and Rebecca Duffy.

One can say a lot in two and a half minutes.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Leonardo Chianti DOCG 2010

It is not easy to find a good bottle of Chianti in Corralejo. Once again, Marumba to the rescue. This wine from Cantine Leonardo da Vinci comes in a traditional straw-covered fiasco and is made of 85% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot and 5% “other red grapes”. On a pricey side (about €11) but thoroughly enjoyable.

According to Wikipedia, there was no wine area called Chianti until 1716, and the recipe of the tipple as we know it did not exist until 1872. (It was created by Baron Bettino Ricàsoli, the future Prime Minister of Italy, who recommended 70% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo and 15% Malvasia bianca.) That means, it is unlikely that Leonardo ever tried it. I think he would approve.

More photos of red wine @ Shutterstock.

Friday, 20 April 2012


by Timur Kulikov

This is Timur’s tribute to Red Dwarf.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Cardio Samba Workout

with Quenia Ribeiro
First published 13 April 2012 @ zumbafuerteventura

I loved The Samba Reggae Workout so much that I decided to get another one by Quenia Ribeiro. Perhaps inevitably, I kept comparing this DVD with SRW.

Here, Quenia introduces samba no pe (Rio-style samba). She breaks down the basic steps — and then not-so basic steps — in the tutorial section, and there are enough repeats to get at least some hang of them. If not, go to the beginning.

The warm-up, just like in SRW, is more like cool-down. But here it is extra-long: 27 minutes! This is like a workout on its own. During the cardio workout proper, we are going through all the steps and moves from the tutorial, first slow, then at the “real samba tempo”. Which means, fast. Really fast. At least for me. Unless you know the choreographies from the tutorial real well, it’s almost impossible to follow the fast bits. The good news is, that the first four sections of cardio workout exactly correspond to the sections of tutorial, so you can work, say, on section 3 only. The last part of the cardio workout combines all four choreos at the full speed.

The cooldown is surprisingly short (under three minutes!) but, as it utilises some of the warmup moves, I guess one could freely borrow from that section to pad it up.

SRW features the live samba band playing on the same stage as the dancers. Alas, no such luxury here. The backing track is very repetitive, even by samba standards. But I guess you were not going to use it anyway.

Cardio Samba Workout

Learn Basic Samba Steps01:44
Step-by-step Tutorial
     Workout Section 113:11
     Workout Section 218:25
     Workout Section 322:51
     Workout Section 429:26
     Basic samba steps between segments40:11
     Workout 11:08:23
     Workout 21:16:42
     Workout 31:20:26
     Workout 41:24:19
     Full workout fast1:28:46

Total time


Sunday, 8 April 2012

Ночные мечты

by Квадро

Квадро (Quadro) was the first jazz-rock band I ever heard live. Also, it was the band I heard live more times than any other, back in my student days. Now, at long last, I have this music on a CD, once again thanks to now defunct label Boheme Music.

The CD entitled Ночные мечты (Night Dreams) is a compilation. Tracks 1 through 8 were recorded in 1987 and previously appeared on a vinyl LP (Мелодия, 1989), which was also named Ночные мечты. The line-up consisted of Vyacheslav Gorsky (keyboards), Dmitri Chetvergov (guitar), Eugene Maystrovsky (drums) and Sergey Nikolayev (bass). In the characteristic Boheme Music style, the CD includes eight of nine original LP tracks; why Прелюдия (Prelude) was left out, is anyone’s guess. The rest of the tracks feature Anatoli Kulikov on bass, which means that they were recorded prior to his 1986 return to the Alexey Kozlov’s band Арсенал (Arsenal). (The liner notes say Kulikov plays on tracks 8—17 but I strongly suspect this is a mistake; it has to be 9—17.)

Now Kulikov is one of my electric jazz bass heroes. I was lucky enough to see him performing with both Quadro and Arsenal. In my view, this second half of the CD is the best material Quadro ever recorded. It includes two compositions by Kulikov, Робот and Воспоминание о рок-н-ролле; the latter used to be Kulikov’s showcase: slap, harmonics, even a little dance. Obviously, one can’t get the dancing from the audio CD, you just have to believe me: it was great.

Quarter of a century after it was recorded (and leaving aside the cheap synths sound favoured by Gorsky at the time), the music still sounds fresh, funky and optimistic. The country was a-changing. We were young. The future was bright.

Квадро — Ночные мечты

  1. Цитадель
  2. Песня без слов
  3. Импульс
  4. Восход солнца
  5. Ночной экспресс
  6. Электромобиль
  7. Музыка из затакта
  8. Приглашение
  9. Северное сияние
  10. Вальс-гротеск
  11. Робот
  12. Прогулка у моря
  13. Берег надежды
  14. Пейзаж
  15. Воспоминание о рок-н-ролле
  16. Обвести вокруг пальца
  17. Рондо
Вячеслав Горский — клавишные
Анатолий Куликов — бас-гитара (9—17)
Сергей Николаев — бас-гитара (1—8)
Евгений Майстровский — ударные
Дмитрий Четвергов — гитара

Saturday, 7 April 2012

One Hundred Years of Solitude

by Gabriel García Márquez

Many years later, he will remember that rainy day when a ten-year old boy, who was spending his Summer holiday in solitary daydreaming, opened a book by the author whose name did not ring any bells. The boy lived in a village which was connected with the rest of the world by a railway, although trains did not stop there very often. He did not think that the world around him was more interesting than the book which he was holding in his hands. The first sentence went like this:

Пройдёт много лет, и полковник Аурелиано Буэндиа, стоя у стены в ожидании расстрела, вспомнит тот далекий вечер, когда отец взял его с собой посмотреть на лёд.
He read the first paragraph and could not stop until he finished the book; then he started again from the beginning. Since then, his dream was to read this book in Spanish. That will eventually happen much later than “many years later”. But simply many years later he read it in English and was somewhat disappointed with the translation. In the meantime, he began discovering, or rather inventing, connections between himself and the far away country he did not even know existed until that rainy Summer day.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

The Shadow of Your Smile

by Vadim Eilenkrig

Vadim Eilenkrig is a really cool Russian jazz trumpetist. I never heard about him before I got that stack of CDs two weeks ago. So more fun it was to discover his music. On this recording, he plays with Igor Butman (sax), Hiram Bullock (guitar), David Garfield (keyboards), Will Lee (bass) and Chris Parker (drums).

I loved Groove, Promise, Syndrome and This is Love, all composed by Nick Levinovsky of Аллегро fame. The title track(s), also arranged by Levinovsky, could have been the best — if they were not destroyed by rap. Worse than that: getting Randy Brecker to rap? He ain’t a rapper. Why didn’t they ask him to play trumpet instead? Not content with that, the band recorded that second version of this song with... rap in Russian. Double yuck!