Saturday, 30 June 2012

Knights of Argoth

by Timur Kulikov

Knights of Argoth is a video game that is being developed endlessly discussed by Timur and Yuri. If/when it is eventually realised as a game, it will be awesome. Or so I think. I know nothing of video games, I just look at Timur’s graphics.

I especially like this drawing of a rather menacing dude in wizard’s hat and trench coat. It looks like the cover art for a yet-to-be-recorded prog-rock album.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Двенадцать стульев

by Ильф и Петров

I don’t think there is anybody who was born in the USSR and never read this book. I thought I knew it rather well. I was wrong. Re-reading it recently, I came across the passage from which I only remembered the famous slogan #3.

Старухи, неся впереди себя в обеих руках жестяные мисочки с кашей, осторожно выходили из кухни и садились обедать зa общий стол, стараясь не глядеть на развешанные в столовой лозунги, сочиненные лично Александром Яковлевичем и художественно выполненные Александрой Яковлевной. Лозунги были такие:

«ПИЩА — ИСТОЧНИК ЗДОРОВЬЯ»
«ОДНО ЯЙЦО СОДЕРЖИТ СТОЛЬКО ЖЕ ЖИРОВ, СКОЛЬКО ½ ФУНТА МЯСА»
«ТЩАТЕЛЬНО ПЕРЕЖЕВЫВАЯ ПИЩУ, ТЫ ПОМОГАЕШЬ ОБЩЕСТВУ»
и
«МЯСО — ВРЕДНО»

Все эти святые слова будили в старухах воспоминания об исчезнувших еще до революции зубах, о яйцах, пропавших приблизительно в ту же пору, о мясе, уступающем в смысле жиров яйцам, а может быть, и об обществе, которому они были лишены возможности помогать, тщательно пережевывая пищу.

Holding iron bowls full of porridge in front of them with both hands, the old women cautiously emerged from the kitchen and sat down at a large table, trying not to look at the refectory slogans, composed by Alexander Yakolevich and painted by his wife. The slogans read:

FOOD IS THE SOURCE OF HEALTH
ONE EGG CONTAINS AS MUCH FAT AS A HALF-POUND OF MEAT
BY CAREFULLY MASTICATING YOUR FOOD YOU HELP SOCIETY
MEAT IS BAD FOR YOU

These sacred words aroused in the old ladies memories of teeth that had disappeared before the revolution, eggs that had been lost at approximately the same time, meat that was inferior to eggs in fat, and perhaps even the society that they were prevented from helping by careful mastication.


According to Wikipedia, there were no less than twenty adaptations of this novel. For me, the one and only Ostap Bender is Andrei Mironov in 1976 film directed by Mark Zakharov.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Windswept Tree

by Tamara Kulikova

Canvas, acrylic paints.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Fetén Fetén

A few days ago, a rather mundane act of flipping through the Spanish TV channels was rewarded by a discovery. I never heard of Fetén Fetén (Jorge Arribas and Diego Galaz) before. The music is original and surprising yet sounds intimately familiar. Street party? Cabaret? Soundtrack of Fellini movie? It is nostalgia purified but it’s bound to make you smile. Waltz, tarantella, foxtrot, bolero, tango, csárdás; something Celtic, something Balkan, and something unmistakeably Spanish: “música para sonreír, para bailar o para emocionarse”. Thanks to RTVE, one can watch this program online in its entirety.

So do it already!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The Best of Harry Belafonte

by Harry Belafonte

This rather misleadingly named two-CD set in fact includes two early Belafonte albums, Calypso (1956) and Belafonte Sings of the Caribbean (1957), in their entirety, plus several bonus tracks, some of which could be better left out. In a way, this compilation continues the tradition of misleading names started by Calypso, which is not a calypso but mento album. To add even more confusion, the CDs themselves are labelled The Best of Harry Belafonte — Calypso — Disc 1 and The Best of Harry Belafonte — Calypso — Disc 2. But who cares! Calypso became the first LP ever to sell over one million copies. According to the liner notes,

<Irving> Burgie was credited with the majority of the songs, which had been well rehearsed before Belafonte entered the studio... Ironically, then, it was the one piece of improvisation, Day-O, that would give the album its opening signature track and inspire a plethora of imitators.
Even if it is not really “the best of” Harry Belafonte (thank goodness for that! I can’t stand “the best of” albums), it is worth having for the sake of Day-O alone. Other highlights include Love, Love Alone and Scratch, Scratch.