DAY 79 The Frozen Fiddle

January 24th, 2014 § 2 comments

I’m naturally concerned, as are all lovers of classical music and winter sports, at the news that Vanessa-Mae is to compete (for Thailand) at the Sochi Olympics, under the name Vanessa Vanakorn. (She was disqualified at Salt Lake City, where they demanded she give up her British citizenship; but the Russians aren’t so choosy.) Ms Vanakorn is an accomplished skier as well as a world-class violinist, which recalls the phrase violon d’Ingres, only the other way round._72385363_maeNot because she’d be targeted as gay by the Russians – although according to the gay-o-meter at she is ’69% gay%’, which means she has been voted by the site’s visitors as ‘highly gay’. Rather, one fears that Islamic ‘Black Widow’ suicide bombers will pursue her down the giant slalom, since the idea of unveiled 69% gay women playing the violin and skiing runs contrary to a certain misguided interpretation of Islam which the Saudis and others have been fostering. Her role at the Chechen president’s 2011 birthday celebrations - condemned by Human Rights Watch – won’t help.

Could Nigel Kennedy, with his understanding of the Islamic world, most recently displayed in the ‘Bethlehem Unwrapped’ concert (there’s another chance to mention that) mediate? At the advanced age of 57, it’s too much to expect him to don his skis and fiddle and attempt a Bond-style rescue in the snow;

130215154932-bond-ski-15-02-story-toprather, perhaps, the virtuoso duo could charm the would-be attackers with music, in the style of Tamino. ‘Winter’, from ‘The Four Seasons’, seems an obvious choice, if a bit hackneyed.

This is already shaping up into a promising film scenario with the gay musicians, the terrorists, and the snow; I’d better get a treatment out quickly in case the many rivals who have constantly prevented me from winning international fame steal the idea. ‘Cool Runnings’ is an obvious model – Thailand being no more advanced than Jamaica in the winter sports line. The versatile violinist could surely perform an obbligato with a reggae soundtrack. I can see clearly now.

At which point (what were you waiting for?) I can’t resist interposing the Palestinian hip-hop group DAM (Da Arab Mc’s) and their dynamic track ‘Born Here‘ featuring a confrontation with the Lod police, which has gone about as viral as is possible in the world of Palestinian hip-hop. They deserve inclusion, though I can’t see how.

The Economy

The news here seems to be good; contrary to the moaning minnies from the Labour Party and UKIP, the latest figures have seen a) a dramatic fall in unemployment (167,000), and b) the arrival of a flood of 30 Romanian immigrants. Our economic historian, though, who is obsessed with la longue durée, notes that there were already 141,000 Romano-Bulgarians (we call them A2) working in the UK last year – the closeness of the two figures suggests a connection. (But how, at the rate of thirty a month, can we have arrived at 141,000? They must have been flooding in for 400 years. La longue durée isn’t in it.)  Conjectures:

1. Like previous waves of dodgy immigrants, the A2′s create jobs (start small businesses and employ British layabouts).

2. British unemployed graduates in nuclear physics and media studies are leaving en masse to find better food, climate, etc. in Eastern Europe, while banks, city colleges and call centres are taking on masses of Romanian-speaking staff.

3. Chaos theory, or the butterfly effect, i.e. a small fluctuation in unemployment (2 people, say) in West Didsbury causes a spike of 167,000 nationally.

ButterflyEffect-CreativeCommons-HellispThe butterfly effect

It seems too obvious to go for the usual snow bards (Robert Frost, for example); today’s theme calls for a Russian, so here is a bit of Pasternak – can’t find the original.

Winter Sky


Ice-chips plucked whole from the smoke,

the past week’s stars all frozen in flight,

Head over heels the skater’s club goes,

clinking its rink with the peal of night.


Step slow, slower, slow-er, skater,

pride carving its trace as you race by.

each turn’s a constellation cut there,

scratched by a skate in Norway’s sky.


The air is fettered in frozen iron.

Oh, skaters! There – it’s all the same,

that, like snake’s eyes set in ivory,

night’s on earth, a domino game:


that moon, a numb hound’s tongue

is there, frozen tight: that mouths like

the forgers of coins’ – are stung,

filled with lava of breathtaking ice.


Music; well, there are already two nuggets in this posting. You want more?

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