Tuesday, 28 April 2009


1) Last week I went to a series of lectures about Iceland. God I know so much about Iceland. It's literally bursting out of me. I go around boring people with facts, figures, trivia and the like. Literally I am an Icelandic machine.

For example did you know that due to the highly unstable geographical situation of Iceland, the roads that cross through the centre of it are only open during the summer?
Or, did you know that Iceland has been under the rule of Norway, Sweden and Denmark during the past 1000 years?

And better yet, that its isolation from the rest of Scandinavia has resulted in a strange language that is fairly unchanged from the Old Norse that they spoke there when they first arrived in 870 AD? (Although that original figure is now about to be revised to around 700-750AD, everyone agrees it'll just take a few more years for everyone to recognise it.)

2) My hair is really long. I went to a barber's the other day but I got scared and chickened out. So now my friend Michaela has said she'll do it. She claims that she can cut hair, I don't believe her. Especially the other night when she said 'No, I've never actually cut anybody's hair before.'

3) On Friday night I got so drunk I couldn't put my shoes on. Literally, they had to be put on for me. Also drank alot in the courtyard which is overlooked by the State Prison. Mistake.

4) We were on telly the other day. This is the latest in the series of recent press events which we've been having. My mate Tom lives with a television lady (she works on the telly) and she did a program about him (day in the life sort of). I was also there. But my clip consisted of me laughing outrageously as it was explained to me what was going on. Doesn't quite rival my appearance in the local newspaper (which everybody knows about now).

5) Overslept this morning, missed Old Church Slavonic at 8am. Oh dear.

6) Hopefully going to the Sauna this Friday. Am going to try and be sensible but I just can't help myself when I get dehydrated and drunk and go swimming.

7) Last week went for a few beers with a guy called 'Dzhek'/'Jack', we went and had a drink at his work which is essentially a Youth Centre with lots of computers. Quite cool. Picked up some new words (I won't type them they're too rude.)

8) Have just read Herzog by Saul Bellow. It was amazing. Sort of annoying in parts when the narrator's letters go into scholarly discussions of Nietzche and Romanticism and Kierkegaard and all that stuff I am not into at all. But at the same time that had the effect of bringing the protagonist's know-it-allness right into my mind. God Saul Bellow is amazing.

I got defeated by Bleak House. Very early on. To be fair, it's my own fault. I read Oliver Twist, Hard Times and Great Expectations. I overdid the Victorian prose and I ended up crashing and burning. Which is a shame because I need to read Bleak House for next year I think. Although it does look good. Maybe I'll just get the BBC adaptation instead.

Currently reading 'Life of Insects'/'Babylon' in Russian (I think it's called that in English) by Victor Pelevin. It's really good, and alot more satisfying/useful/easy than reading Gogol' in the original Russian (literally spirit-crushingly hard). I've been reading it for about 3 weeks, maybe a month and I've done 50 pages so far. I'm fairly proud of myself in that sense but also not so because I should really be able to read a book by now without taking 3 weeks to read 50 pages.

9) Two big holidays coming up this week or so - 1st of May (standard) and Victory Day (9th May). Victory Day is celebrated a day later in Russia than in Europe because of the time difference when they were signing the treaties. It's one of the most important holidays in Russia apparently.
10) Another postcard has been sent out. Who it's to? Not saying.
11) Back in 8 and a bit weeks.

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