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2005-05-09 21:20

By the way

Did I mention my enraptured adoration of Radio P3 from Sveden?

It has no DJs, just infrequent recordnings announcing its own excellence, and its playlist is very far from extensive, but its habitual excellence is such that I am even willing to overlook that it is currently streaming Dido into the chateau vB.

[Update: Her Dreariness has desisted, hoorah!]

2005-05-09 19:19

Oh l l !

I had been wondering, I freely confess, what exackly the Meetnic "tease" facilit does. Ben, il fait comme ci :

A meetic member just crushes on you at this moment!

C'est vraiment seduisant, n'est-ce pas ?

One day some bunch of localisationalistes is going to come round and Engleesh up the interface for Meetic properly, but we, for one, will consider it more of a loss than a gain.

2005-05-07 14:51

On writing in Foreign

I don't really claim to speak or write much Foreign but I find myself, for reasons which do not especially concern my Varied Reader, writing a little French anyway.

Le plus souvent I find myself thinking of a something in English; searching (preferably but not exclusively in my head) for corresponding words in French and stitching them together as Frenchly as I know how.

When this fails - as it often does - I find myself looking (necessarily in my head) for an idiom or a phrasening plus Franais. The most surprising thing has been that I often can indeed find these phrasenings. Mais ce n'est pas facile !




2005-05-06 15:08

Klasswar, slightly Swedish

So, we have been sent Louis "The Loony" Althusser's Filosofi frn proletr klasstndpunkt, and it is the worst produced book we have ever seen. The signatures are uncut and the cut edges are uneven and we have reservations about the bindning.

We love it, of course, all the deeplier for that. Gran Therborn - for it was he! - has done us proud with his urval, too: in addition to "Ideologi and ideological stateapparatuses" (which is what we bought it for) we have "Filosofi as a revolutionary veapon, baby!", which we are hoping will be our favourite thing EVAR when we have read it.

Also we have some more Kalle Anka Pockets, with which we like to upbulk our orders of Svedish books. We are a very glorious Yoorpean intellectual, of course, but even - or even especially! - very glorious Yoorpean intellectuals need their Donald Duck comix. (Is their a more pointed critique of capitalisme than that implicit in the character of Farbror Joakim AKA Scrooge McDuck? Well, yes, probably, but so what?)


2005-05-06 12:14


1. Come for the gravy, stay for the peanuts

The silly new Man Booker International prize is going to allocate some gravy for translators. Which is nice:

The news delighted Dorothy Sym, the secretary of the 7,000-member UK Translators Association. She said publishers often paid literary translators less than the 70 a thousand words that the association recommended.

2. My Will to Democracy, its strength

The constituency I voted in, Bristle East, was always going to stay Labour but we succeeded in relegating the evil Tories into third place, hoorah!

The constituency I actually live in, Bristle West, swung to the Lib-Dems, who have been reinvented (by the voters - their leaders don't have the wit they were born with) as an urban party.

So I actually have a Lib-Dem MP. You may be hearing from me, Stephen Williams (for it is he).

3. Bye Bye, Blair

This is the postelection meme of choice, for sure; our copy is of course via that most excellent of 'bladets, the Aftonblad:

Det blev ingen glansfull avskedsfrestllning fr Tony Blair. Labours stora majoritet p 167 mandat krympte ihop till omkring 70, enligt de frsta prognoserna. Nu undrar alla hur lnge han kan sitta kvar.

It wasn't a brilliant farewellelection for Tony Blair. Labour's large majority of 167 seats krumpled to around 70 according to early predictions. Now everyone is wondering how long he can stay on.

British politics may have become fairly presidential, and Blair certainly connived in the process, but it is still a parliamentary system at heart and quite right too.


2005-05-06 10:22

The Election in Swedish

It is Martin Linton (a t 8:15), a Swedish-speaking Labour MP, interviewed on Swedish radio.

(He's got form, this Linton:

Top of the class of more than 100 MPs who responded to the [langwidge] survey was Martin Linton, the Labour MP for Battersea, who spoke six languages.

These were: English, Italian, Swedish, French, German and Welsh.

Perhaps with those long, light Scandinavian nights during the summer recess in mind, Mr Linton also claimed he could read Norwegian and Danish.

He said: "If you're going to spend anything more than a few days in a country, you should make an effort to learn a bit of the language.

"You're more likely to enjoy it. You're less likely to be ripped off. And it's also a matter of courtesy and respect.

"I find it embarrassing when English people assume that they can make themselves understood abroad just by speaking loudly and slowly to waiters."

Consider yourself told, Silly Englishes!)

[radiolink via Birgitte, tack.]


2005-05-06 21:42

Interrogating the tyrrany of narrative, yeah

Man, we love Swedish popradio. Love, love, love. (P3 Star for us - what are your favourite stations for inane Europop, Varied Reader? We wish so very much to hear them!)

Swedish rock band Millencollin, do you have many Husker Du records? We thought so.

We ordered Tjutjsare on Tuesday, and it arrived in the post today! This would be brisk service even domestically; for Sweden it is utterly unprecedented. The future charmedness of chicks in our glorious presence or otherwise (which is not to suggest that we do not express a preference), Oskar Olofsson is to be congratulated.

This is our first election EVAR with hot- and cold-running Interweb installed at the chateau. We are quite capable of staying up all night with only the radio for company on these such occasions, of course, so the Beeb's lush interactive Flash map and the Guardian's promised over-by-over commentary will surely have us glued to our broadband - eat your heart out, Radio Hampstead ("Four (4)"). (Polls are still open as we write.)

It is Swedish band Ark's "Clamour for Glamour"! It is a cross between Roxette and the Hives and we love it dearly! (Stuck inside of Bristle with the Malm blues again, us? Well, yes.)

Did we mention how much we love Swedish popradio, by the way? It is more than somewhat, this love of ours.

We are reading, slightly belated, The Good Soldier S^vejk. We await convincing that it is a work of utterly transcendent genius, but it is excellent bed-time reading - the non-cumulative episodic structure is perfect for drowsily and unsoberly pottering through a couple of avsnitts before sleepybyes kicks in.

We make a pact with you, Folk Music,
We have detested you long enough.
It was you who made incompetence publically exhibitable
And we are old enough -
and untalented enough -
for this to have come to seem a boon.

(We want to get a mini-mac and a microphone and inflict drunken ukulele versions of folk classics like "Barb'ra Allen" and "Scarborough Fair" on the Interweb. Blogging has accustomed us to the idea that you don't have to be competent to write for an audience; why should music be any diff'rent? Huh?)

They don't beep out the rude words of (Engleesh) rap on Swedish popradio, which is slightly disconcerting to the m*th*f*cking Engleesh ear, for sure.

The polls have since closed and it's nearly time for action, so we'll wish you a nice new government, wherever you are, and retire.

2005-05-05 16:51

Dejtning, cosmopolitan-style

We recommend www.meetic in the domain of your choice (the membership is global but the backend is localised). I have recently discovered that I wish only to date wimmins who:

  • speak more than one (1) langwidge (and are therefore probably from Abroadia) and
  • are educated to at least master's standard (because British batchelors degrees apparently no longer even guarantee basic literacy)

and Meetic is the best place (by far) I have found to look for such. Unfortunately, those in the UK tend to in London and not to be interested in persons who don't (and we, for one, can see their point).

As a bonus, the Engleesh localisation is endearingly Frenched in places: "oftenly", "ukrainia" (which we use too, hoorah!) and "indiffrent" all crop up. (We suspect it of being a French site originally.)


2005-05-05 14:17


A8? A8!

It refers not to the French motorway running east from Marseille, but the eight poor countries from Eastern Europe who joined the EU in the largest single expansion since its creation in 1957.

The newbies minus Malta and Cyprus, which is to say.

While A8 nationals have the right to travel in the EU, many European countries close their labour markets to them. Britain decided to allow A8 nationals access to the labour market, under certain conditions.

Which are then enumerated. (Hoorah for the BBC, as usual!)

But we would be more than somewhat intrigued to see a full table of what the situation is in other Old Yoorp countries.


2005-05-05 10:00


"This must be a Thursday," said Arthur to himself, sinking low over his beer. "I never could get the hang of Thursdays."


The Ascension is one of the great feasts in the Christian liturgical calendar, and commemorates the bodily Ascension of Jesus into Heaven forty days after his resurrection from the dead. The event is recorded in the New Testament in Acts Chapter 1. In the Eastern Orthodox Church the Ascension is one of twelve Great Feasts.

[...] Ascension Day is always a Thursday;

In Blighty we celebrate this great and glorious liturgical feast by not noticing that it has occurred, of course.

But in Blighty we're celebrating another glorious if not especially liturgical Thursday-flavoured feast: a general election. John von Timber asks or enquires:

If the British government wants to increase voter turnout, why don't they hold elections on Saturdays instead of Thursdays?

Our Will to Democracy is strong, of course, but the thought of giving up my actual weekend to this nonsense rather than staying up all night on a Thursday and being bleary-eyed and generally bleargh at work on Friday does not especially appeal, we're afraid.

(We have exercised our Will to Democracy, of course, and we will probably stay up to hear the results, but this is an election where none of the possible results is satisfactory: Labour has governed reasonably well for the most part and the alternatives are unthinkably bad, but Tony "Baloney" Blair is a lying warmonger who will undoubtedly interpret victory of his party as vindication - he has explicitly denied it, so go figure - to the soundtrack of a National Grinding of Teeth.)


2005-05-04 15:45

Domestic Politics is Foreign News Abroad

It is lah-di-dah DN on the election in Blighty:

Den brittiska politikens karta kan vara p vg att ritas om. Infr valet i morgon har stdet fr det nst strsta partiet, konservativa Tories, krympt till rekordlga 27 procent. Och Liberaldemokraterna nafsar med sina 23 Tories i hlarna.

The British political map may be on the way to being redrawn. Ahead of tomorrow's election the support for the main opposition party, the conservative Tories, crumpled to a record-low 27% [which is no more than they deserve - DvB]. And the Liberaldemocrats are nipping at their heels with 23%.

It is not that simple by a country mile, as DN acknowledges, but if the Tories really do get the marmalising that suggests it'll be a happy day in the Chteau von Bladet, for sure.


2005-05-04 12:39


1. Porkies

It is Cockerney rhyming slang (from "pork pie") for "lies".

Like those for which President Blair is famous, hence the 'toon.

2. Danmark play cricket; cricket wins.

Northamptonshire debutant Charl Pietersen took 7-10 as Denmark, bowled out for 56 in the C&G Trophy, lost by eight wickets in Brondby.

Bad luck, Danmark!

3. An endorsening!

It is Srgin' Jrgen et al. giving the Frenchy-French some timely advice:

German intellectuals have joined forces in speaking out in favour of the European Constitution ahead of France's vote on the document in just over three weeks time.

Jrgen Habermas, Gnter Grass and Wolf Biermann were among a group of intellectuals appealing for a yes vote in a letter printed in today's Le Monde.

Assuming the Frenchy-French come round, we'll need to start lobbying ASAP for German intellectuals not to appeal to the silly British, when their turn comes.


2005-05-04 09:41

Bad reds, no biscuit!

Our big sister, whose birthday it is today, is a Liverpool supporter by marriage.

Luis Garcia fired Liverpool past Chelsea and into the European Cup final for the first time in 20 years.

Happy birthday, Big Sis!

(We will be cheering on Milan AC in the final, though but, and don't think we won't.)


2005-05-03 14:52


1. Pie!

It is the Melton Mowbray pie of porkiness and its struggle for geographical designatedness:

But producers from outside the area, including Northern Foods, who have a 25 per cent slice of the market, say that is unfair.

Last year they forced the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to suspend an application to the European Commission for "protected geographical" status for the term "Melton Mowbray" by starting judicial review proceedings.

It irritates us more than somewhat that we can only effectively follow this story by intermittently searching Google News. (And no, their updates by email feature is not the answer.)

2. Will think for tanks for gravy

The gravy is the hard part: it isn't hard to find unpaid internships (although it may be hard to get even those), but actual gravy is another matter.

3. Good riddance to bad rubbish

Die Welt, stalking Michael "Something of the Night" Howard around his constituency, opts for the headline:

Grande-Bretagne, le crpuscule des tories

Great Britain, the twilight of the Tories

His manifesto is predictably anti-immigration:

En huit ans, affirme en substance ce texte, le soutien aux demandeurs d'asile a cot l'quivalent de 380 millions d'euros au comt de Kent. "C'est un mensonge scandaleux, lance le libral-dmocrate Michael Howard, cet argent a t totalement rembours aux autorits locales par le gouvernement." Rponse du chef tory : "Il n'y a pas un mot changer ce texte."

In eight (8) years, the text claims, benefits to exile seekers have cost the county of Kent the equivalent of 380 million Euros. "That's a scandalous lie", remarks the Liberal Democrat to Howard, "All that money was reimbursed by the government." The Tory boss responded "There's not a word to change in the text."

While Howard is (justly) unpopular, he is also (unjustly) considered relatively honest.

If you read French, as we do, and you haven't been following the election at all closely, as we haven't, this is a good way to get briefed. Executive summary: the Tories are going to lose badly, but they need to lose really badly if we're to salvage our national honour from their savage and repulsive bigotry.


2005-05-03 12:18

On orthographies, hegemonic and otherwise

It is of course beyond any possible doubt or question that Aftonbladet is the finest 'bladet that there is, and today offers further proof: in a long (and critical) review of a book on the celebrated Italian Marxiste Gramsci, sa Linderborg doesn't take much for granted:

Gramsci (uttalas med mjukt sj-ljud) fddes 1891 p Sardinien.

Gramsci (pronounced with a "sh"-sound) was born in Sardinia in 1891.

(We know how Italian orthography works, of course, but there was a time when we didn't, and our new understanding has not been retrofitted in all cases, dont celui. But that's between you and me and the Interweb, if you please, Varied Reader: think of the damage to our reputation as an intellectual were it widely known.)


2005-05-03 10:20

Monday Review of Stuff

It is Seduire coupe sr, by Leil Lowndes!

It did not improve our mood to discover that this is a translation of a 'Murkan book, and while it claims to be based on an abundance of social scientifique evidence, it perpetrates "logic" like:

Il n'y a pas deux flocons de neiges pareils. De mme, il n'y a pas deux sexualits pareilles.

No two (2) snflakes are the same. Similarly, there are no two (2) sexualits the same.

If this is a synthesis of the collected insights of reputable social scientistes into the practices of romantique love then we are the late Pierre "The Basketweaver" Bourdieu.

We think on balance that we'd prefer Oskar Olofsson's aforementioned Tjejtjusare ("Chickcharmer") but it isn't even available in Swedish shops. In a deeply un-Swedish outbreak of rampant capitalisme, it can be caused to be sent to Abroad, and since it is our dearest wish to encourage such sendnings, we feel we have no alternative but to cause such a causening.


2005-05-02 23:35

Tact, slightly puckish

7-0, Danishes?

We look forward to hearing that ishockeyfoopball isn't really very big in Danmark anyway, actually.

2005-05-02 20:49

Why I am so very streaming

It is Sveden vs. Danmark at ishockeyfoopball!

(This audio over Interweb thing is a something and a half, isn't it?

We struggle with real-time Svedish, having been taught mostly at a gentle pedagogically-accented trot, but we figure our ear will improve if we just keep listening. We tried Danish radio, too, and we are much less convinced the same strategy will work there.)

2005-05-02 15:31

Meet the new era, same as the old era

It is blogging from home, which is where we are!

And if we happen currently to be listening to Billie Holiday and reading Aftonbladet's dejtning school, we wouldn't recommend reading too much into that, we're just synergising our serendipidies, and let's face it, they don't synergise themselves:

The snow is snowing and the wind is blowing
But I can weather the storm!
What do I care how much it may storm?
For I've got my love to keep me warm

Allt r mycket svrare p vintern! Vem vill ta en promenad nr det r 20 minus och snstorm?

Everything is much harder in the vinter! Who wants to take a stroll when there's snstorm and it's minus 20?

Funnily enough, the advice is to have your love keep you warm, but inside for preference:

Fr att eliminera risken att relationen fortstter att trampa vatten krvs sedan en s kallad vernattning. Ingenting kan frvandla ett fikatrsk till en spnnande krlekskarusell s framgngsrikt som en natt under ett och samma tcke.

For to eliminate the risk that relationshionship continues to tread water, a so-called overnightning is required. Nothing can change a coffeebreakswamp into an exciting love-carousel as successfully as a night under one and the same roof or ceiling.

(Is it a person of maleness giving this such advice, you ask or enquire? It is, it is!)

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