DAY 48 – Buy!

June 24th, 2013 § 2 comments

Well, you heard it here first, readers (did you?); Mohammed Assaf, the golden-voiced fence-jumping singer from Gaza

Assafhas won ‘Arab Idol’. (sorry about lengthy ad in the Guardian’s video.) We’re all celebrating down here; shocked to find that Spotify seems not to know of Assaf,though there’s plenty on Youtube. Getting out the Taybeh, dancing the dabka.

So what’s this in the heading about shopping? I just discovered (via the bibliography to a book by Ruth Parkin-Gounelas, which contained an article by Mandy Merck, which – do I have to go on?) that it’s now official that blogs influence purchases more than social media. I can’t think of any time I’ve been heavily influenced by either, but you can see that this opened up the dizzying prospect of influencing my dozens of readers to buy something – what?

HarrodsNot my book, which would be too obvious, and if they (readers) don’t have it already, why are they reading this? Not sofas, or televisions (you can pick them up at the next riot), or second homes in Croatia.  I think, I hope, I have already promoted the benefits of Zaytoun olive oil – in London, you can get it at Friend’s house in Euston Road; and even Istak Iranian pomegranate-flavoured beer. Alison Bechdel‘s lesbian comic strips? Goats for African villages? Perhaps I should be more modest about my influence; e.g. don’t buy £5 watches from the little stall at the Nag’s Head – they don’t work, where £10 watches do, sort of. Watch this space, or its friends.

More from Lou Reed

Having given the Velvet Underground star space in my last posting (via a Farsi translation), I was pleased to find him surfacing in a Guardian interview, shocked at Edward Snowden’s revelations. You’d think he’d be, like the rest of us, sufficiently paranoid to find them simply proof of what we knew all along. And he’s looking just as wrecked as you’d hope an Andy Warhol associate would be by now.

loureedBranching out (no new para heading to indicate a refusal of formalist restrictions), I have been told that the blog should include subjects it has hitherto avoided; recipes, horoscopes, gardening tips,… Indeed, as a mathematician, I should be an ace at casting horoscopes; but I know – like you, readers, but unlike the readers of the Metro – that a horoscope based on your sun sign alone is worthless, and readers can hardly expect me to cast their complete nativity without a) complete information on their hour and place of birth and b) some intervention by PayPal.

As for recipes,… There are too many other sources available. Here’s Holly Warah’s one for mujaddara; do leave out the carrots, which are quite inauthentic and only there, as she says, for colour. (Which is unnecessary, you might as well add beetroot or red cabbage.) Otherwise, how could I do better? I’ll tell you how my grandmother taught me to cook bacon and eggs. But not today. And do supply your own recipes, and advice for shopping, and getting round London or Warsaw or Katowice (this for my Polish readers – I know you’re there, I’ve been watching the number of ‘.pl’ addresses building up among my followers, ludzie. Is it because of my soft spot for Conrad, Chopin, Wajda, Cybulski, Szymborska? ). Anyway, send stuff in; let’s get interactive, and forget that every character we type is being fed into a giant reader at GCHQ and scanned for terrorism and narcotics.

Come to think of it , the Poles (to return to them, hopefully for the last time) have been decidedly overexposed in these pages. Why so little on the Greeks, the Italians – who have tended, as usual, to be mainly represented by ‘art’. And what about the Rumanians – no mention even though they publish a magazine which is sold at Archway under the alluring title of ‘Diaspora’? – I expect Homi Bhabha is a regular contributor. So many nations, so little time.


I have, indeed, been searching for a chance to make any useful statement in a situation where (as once in former Yugoslavia) the best solution seemed to be to condemn everyone. Desperately late, I caught up with Jonathan Steele’s account of a small local peace initiative. It was back in February, and I can’t find any evidence that it still exists. I’d welcome an update.

So. Searching, naturally, for Rumanian poets, I find Mariana Codrut, posed against a blackboard seemingly covered in equations;

250px-Mariana4another discovery. For years she’s been writing a much more interesting and creative blog than mine, from which I take this brief poem:


noiembrie 7, 2012 de marianacodrut

revoluţia a eliberat

un sex analfabet.

i-a pus ghiozdanul în spate

şi l-a trimis la şcoala vieţii.


singur, singur, singur

It would obviously be wrong to run the poem (which more or less speaks for itself) through Google Translate to see if I agree with it. Is that the point – to promote censorship? No, my pages are open to the world’s revolutionary analfabetic sex poets. If other poets, of whatever languages, want to comment, let them do so.

While in contrast, here are Georges Enescu and Dinu Lipatti playing the first movement of Enescu’s sonata. Rough justice for the Rumanian diaspora.

§ 2 Responses to DAY 48 – Buy!"

  • KateH says:

    ‘It would obviously be wrong’?? I struggled through the German poem in the previous post thinking guiltily that of course one should know German, but I draw the line at Romanian. I accordingly put it through Google Translate, and realised that in fact you are probably right to say it speaks for itself. Here is the translation:

    Revolution issued
    an illiterate sex.
    put back bag
    and sent to school life..

    alone, alone, alone …

    Yes, better untranslated.

    (But how do you know that her blog is better and more creative, when it’s in Romanian?)

    • admin says:

      Well of course, I did then use Google Translate and found that agreeing wasn’t exactly the point. (Do I agree with the ‘Ode to a Nightingale’?) When I said the blog was better, on the other hand, this was based on no translation, but the fact that it seemed to contain mostly original poems, pictures, and what not. It’s a language which – unlike, say, Turkish – I can fool myself into thinking I understand.

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