Csíkszereda Musings

My life in and around Csíkszereda, also known as Miercurea Ciuc.

Archive for the ‘media’ Category

Televisual Feast

Posted by Andy Hockley on 28 May, 2008

This blog is soon, maybe, it is possible, if the stars align correctly, going to go televisual. I have filmed a short piece for Villagunk, a show on Duna TV (that’s the BBC of Hungary). When I say “I have filmed” I mean my neighbour Denes has filmed a short piece in which I appear. There is a possibility that this will turn into a more regular thing.

Anyway, I have no idea when this will appear, and so if I hear in advance I’ll give you a heads up so you can all tune in (if you get Duna) and watch Csikszereda Musings in it’s new format.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to stop writing (I know you must both have been panicked by the thought), but right now I’m in Kazakhstan, and am too busy to write much. So, I’ll do some more when I have time.

Cheers

Posted in media | 2 Comments »

Please the Press in Belgium

Posted by Andy Hockley on 8 January, 2007

Romania’s accession to the EU has thrust the country into the international media spotlight. Well, to be more accurate a few people with metaphorical torches are poking around looking for the latest human interest story / political bombshell / zeitgeist-capturing headline. In so doing, one or two of them have happened upon Csikszereda Musings and have asked for help.

In my role, then, as the Ciuc Depression’s resident media slut, I have been contacted by the following:

  • A journalist for a reputable English national newspaper (there are only two reputable English national newspapers, and it wasn’t the Guardian), who had been asked to write a story on the floods of Romanians heading for the UK and the glorious hopefulness of a new life in Hull or Stoke or somewhere. I told her that it was not much of a story, and if there were floods of migrating Romanians they would almost certainly be going to Spain or Italy. She managed to wangle her way out of doing the story, but pointed me in the direction of the story she probably would have written had her editor not relented. (It’s pretty good and worth the click). It turned out that a grand total of 4 Romanians flew into Heathrow on January 1st – two of whom were students there and the other two of whom had established work contracts. [Later edit: Apparently this is ambiguous and could be interpreted as me saying that the Times is Britain’s other reputable newspaper. As it is owned by Rupert Murdoch, I’d like to refute that right now. OK?]
  • I got interviewed on a podcast! It was only very recently that I worked out what a podcast was, and now I’ve been on one. By the time they’ve been yesterday’s news for about 5 years, I might do one myself. By then you’ll all be blogging with video chips wired into your eyeballs so we can all see exactly what you’ve been seeing. Anyway, Mark from Amsterdam interviewed me and you can listen to it on his website here (and so learn what I actually sound like. I realize that this is such a tempting thought that I must ask you to refrain you all from clicking at the same time in case it buggers up his bandwidth or something. I’ll draw up some kind of rota or something so you can all find a quiet time to go on). I daren’t actually listen to it myself, since my entire recollection of the interview is Mark asking me a question about what Romanians think, or what the reaction has been in Romania, and me egotistically answering with what I think, like that’s more interesting to people.
  • Someone from BBC Radio (Cambridgeshire) might be in touch, I’ve been informed. It’s a mate of my brother’s actually, who may have agreed that talking to me live on air was a good idea at some point on New Year’s Eve (the night of the year when we make all our best decisions), and be now trying to avoid making the call. So, we’ll count that as an unlikely occurrence until further notice.
  • That’s it actually

In the cold light of day, that’s not exactly the world’s media beating a path to my door, I must confess. Still, if anyone else wants to contact me to pick my brains on the EU, Romania and the relationship between Romania and Britain, take this as a come hither look with a saucy wink.

Posted in EU, media, romania | 2 Comments »

Please the Press in Belgium

Posted by Andy Hockley on 8 January, 2007

Romania’s accession to the EU has thrust the country into the international media spotlight. Well, to be more accurate a few people with metaphorical torches are poking around looking for the latest human interest story / political bombshell / zeitgeist-capturing headline. In so doing, one or two of them have happened upon Csikszereda Musings and have asked for help.

In my role, then, as the Ciuc Depression’s resident media slut, I have been contacted by the following:

  • A journalist for a reputable English national newspaper (there are only two reputable English national newspapers, and it wasn’t the Guardian), who had been asked to write a story on the floods of Romanians heading for the UK and the glorious hopefulness of a new life in Hull or Stoke or somewhere. I told her that it was not much of a story, and if there were floods of migrating Romanians they would almost certainly be going to Spain or Italy. She managed to wangle her way out of doing the story, but pointed me in the direction of the story she probably would have written had her editor not relented. (It’s pretty good and worth the click). It turned out that a grand total of 4 Romanians flew into Heathrow on January 1st – two of whom were students there and the other two of whom had established work contracts. [Later edit: Apparently this is ambiguous and could be interpreted as me saying that the Times is Britain’s other reputable newspaper. As it is owned by Rupert Murdoch, I’d like to refute that right now. OK?]
  • I got interviewed on a podcast! It was only very recently that I worked out what a podcast was, and now I’ve been on one. By the time they’ve been yesterday’s news for about 5 years, I might do one myself. By then you’ll all be blogging with video chips wired into your eyeballs so we can all see exactly what you’ve been seeing. Anyway, Mark from Amsterdam interviewed me and you can listen to it on his website here (and so learn what I actually sound like. I realize that this is such a tempting thought that I must ask you to refrain you all from clicking at the same time in case it buggers up his bandwidth or something. I’ll draw up some kind of rota or something so you can all find a quiet time to go on). I daren’t actually listen to it myself, since my entire recollection of the interview is Mark asking me a question about what Romanians think, or what the reaction has been in Romania, and me egotistically answering with what I think, like that’s more interesting to people.
  • Someone from BBC Radio (Cambridgeshire) might be in touch, I’ve been informed. It’s a mate of my brother’s actually, who may have agreed that talking to me live on air was a good idea at some point on New Year’s Eve (the night of the year when we make all our best decisions), and be now trying to avoid making the call. So, we’ll count that as an unlikely occurrence until further notice.
  • That’s it actually

In the cold light of day, that’s not exactly the world’s media beating a path to my door, I must confess. Still, if anyone else wants to contact me to pick my brains on the EU, Romania and the relationship between Romania and Britain, take this as a come hither look with a saucy wink.

Posted in EU, media, romania | 2 Comments »

Journalists – captive, free, and those who work for Sky.

Posted by Andy Hockley on 24 May, 2005

Big news weekend for Romania. Most importantly the three journalists being held hostage in Iraq were freed on Sunday. Basescu has assured the world that Romania didn’t pay any ransom and nor will it make any foreign policy changes. So, we are being asked to believe that the people who kidnapped them decided out of the goodness of their hearts to just let them go. Right. I’m glad they’re free, and I frankly don’t care if Romania did pay for it, but this myth that they were just let go is a tad far fetched.

The other big news for Romania this weekend was the film “The Death of Mr Lazarescu” winning the “Un Certain Regard” prize at Cannes. I can’t tell you much more about that except what I already have, but I’d like to see it. The clip I saw on Euronews looked pretty interesting.

On the subject of Euronews, some time ago early on in the life of this blog, I gave it a serious panning. Having spent the night in a hotel in Iasi on Friday in which the only English language news channel was Sky, I’d like to retract that panning. It’s not that Euronews has got better. It hasn’t (though I have to confess I have become slightly more fond of it). But, god, Sky. Why, oh why is it shown outside Britain? It’s the most parochial one-eyed bollocks ever committed to “journalism”. You’d think nothing goes on outside the UK, and even what goes on inside my homeland is defined as things that happen to C-list celebrities. “Last year’s Big Brother runner-up breaks nail” wasn’t a story on it on Friday, but that’s the kind of level we’re talking about. With CNN International turning into a mouthpiece for the Bush Administration (how did that happen? CNN in the US has always been a bunch of right wing propaganda, but CNNI used to be good. Did some right wing fundamentalist whackjob actually travel somewhere and see it, and then go back home and whip up some kind of lobbying campaign against “liberal bias”?), and Sky News being “Things that happened today in London of no great importance”, Euronews is most definitely in second place in the “commonly available English language news channels in Europe” category, and with the Beeb slowly going Blairish since the Hutton Report, it still has the chance to go top. Not a comment that ought to fill anyone with pride, even those at Euronews.

Crossing the Carpathians

Driving home from Iasi on Saturday, I got every piece of bad luck going. Every level crossing was down (and in Romania level crossings go down 15 minutes before the train arrives), herds of cows and flocks of sheep wandered across my path seemingly every time I passed a field, trucks, bad roads, everything. But worst of all was getting caught behind “Turul Moldovei”, the “Tour of Moldavia” cycle race. I’m very impressed by how fast cyclists can race, but when you’re in a car behind them travelling at 30 km/h most of the time, it can be a little frustrating. Especially when it goes on for mile after mile (about an hour, for me). Thankfully they took another route when we got to Piatra Neamt, and I didn’t have to follow them up the hill to Bicaz which was my route.

I had chosen this slow route (as opposed to my “normal” route down the Csango Valley) because I wanted again to see the Bicaz Gorge road. This is one of the most dramatic roads I have ever seen. It runs through the upper stretch of the Bicaz river valley – the river cuts through huge rocks and the road follows along the path it has carved. It’s well over 1000m up and it really has to be seen to be believed. Amazingly it may not even be the most dramatic road in Romania. I have never travelled on it but it seems to be commonly accepted that the Trans-Fagaras Highway is even more stunning. The Trans-Fagaras runs from near Sibiu to Arges across the highest part of the Carpathians. I think it was one of those monuments to power beloved of dictators [Old Nic: I want you to build a road here (draws line on map with finger). Engineer: But that’s a ridiculous place to build a road, it’s the highest mountain range in Romania. Old Nic: And how are your children doing at school these days?]

Once you make it through the gorge the road continues to climb, although now, as you have entered Hargita County (ie the county in which I live) the road surface is absolutely shocking. This time around I knew I was fully settled in here as my reaction on driving along this pockmarked disaster was no longer one of amusement or annoyance but of embarrassment at my own home county. The gorge had been full of tourists and I imagined them continuing on over into Transylvania and wondering what the hell they had let themselves in for. The road finally peaks at 1256m, which is, I believe higher than any mountain in the UK [Edit: I’ve just looked it up and it’s not, coming in at 87m lower than Ben Nevis]. For those nostalgia buffs still living in the British empire, that’s approximately 4120 feet. (The Trans-Fagaras peaks at 2034m. Two thousand and bastard thirty four! 6,673 feet!).

Finally, after a few more livestock delays I made it home. 6 hours on the road when it had taken me less than 4½ to go the other way the day before. I was knackered. But still, I made it back in time to see the FA Cup final for the first time since 1996. I don’t think I’ve missed much in those years. God it was rubbish. I could have been drumming my fingers behind the wheel while all the farm animals in Romania crossed in front of me and it would have been more interesting.

[More on the Trans-Fagaras: An article from the Guardian, and a blog post from Halfway Down The Danube.]


Bicaz gorge pics

stalls selling cheap tat


note car and children specifically placed here for scale


view from the top down into Transylvania

Posted in media, pictures, travel | 3 Comments »

Journalists – captive, free, and those who work for Sky.

Posted by Andy Hockley on 24 May, 2005

Big news weekend for Romania. Most importantly the three journalists being held hostage in Iraq were freed on Sunday. Basescu has assured the world that Romania didn’t pay any ransom and nor will it make any foreign policy changes. So, we are being asked to believe that the people who kidnapped them decided out of the goodness of their hearts to just let them go. Right. I’m glad they’re free, and I frankly don’t care if Romania did pay for it, but this myth that they were just let go is a tad far fetched.

The other big news for Romania this weekend was the film “The Death of Mr Lazarescu” winning the “Un Certain Regard” prize at Cannes. I can’t tell you much more about that except what I already have, but I’d like to see it. The clip I saw on Euronews looked pretty interesting.

On the subject of Euronews, some time ago early on in the life of this blog, I gave it a serious panning. Having spent the night in a hotel in Iasi on Friday in which the only English language news channel was Sky, I’d like to retract that panning. It’s not that Euronews has got better. It hasn’t (though I have to confess I have become slightly more fond of it). But, god, Sky. Why, oh why is it shown outside Britain? It’s the most parochial one-eyed bollocks ever committed to “journalism”. You’d think nothing goes on outside the UK, and even what goes on inside my homeland is defined as things that happen to C-list celebrities. “Last year’s Big Brother runner-up breaks nail” wasn’t a story on it on Friday, but that’s the kind of level we’re talking about. With CNN International turning into a mouthpiece for the Bush Administration (how did that happen? CNN in the US has always been a bunch of right wing propaganda, but CNNI used to be good. Did some right wing fundamentalist whackjob actually travel somewhere and see it, and then go back home and whip up some kind of lobbying campaign against “liberal bias”?), and Sky News being “Things that happened today in London of no great importance”, Euronews is most definitely in second place in the “commonly available English language news channels in Europe” category, and with the Beeb slowly going Blairish since the Hutton Report, it still has the chance to go top. Not a comment that ought to fill anyone with pride, even those at Euronews.

Crossing the Carpathians

Driving home from Iasi on Saturday, I got every piece of bad luck going. Every level crossing was down (and in Romania level crossings go down 15 minutes before the train arrives), herds of cows and flocks of sheep wandered across my path seemingly every time I passed a field, trucks, bad roads, everything. But worst of all was getting caught behind “Turul Moldovei”, the “Tour of Moldavia” cycle race. I’m very impressed by how fast cyclists can race, but when you’re in a car behind them travelling at 30 km/h most of the time, it can be a little frustrating. Especially when it goes on for mile after mile (about an hour, for me). Thankfully they took another route when we got to Piatra Neamt, and I didn’t have to follow them up the hill to Bicaz which was my route.

I had chosen this slow route (as opposed to my “normal” route down the Csango Valley) because I wanted again to see the Bicaz Gorge road. This is one of the most dramatic roads I have ever seen. It runs through the upper stretch of the Bicaz river valley – the river cuts through huge rocks and the road follows along the path it has carved. It’s well over 1000m up and it really has to be seen to be believed. Amazingly it may not even be the most dramatic road in Romania. I have never travelled on it but it seems to be commonly accepted that the Trans-Fagaras Highway is even more stunning. The Trans-Fagaras runs from near Sibiu to Arges across the highest part of the Carpathians. I think it was one of those monuments to power beloved of dictators [Old Nic: I want you to build a road here (draws line on map with finger). Engineer: But that’s a ridiculous place to build a road, it’s the highest mountain range in Romania. Old Nic: And how are your children doing at school these days?]

Once you make it through the gorge the road continues to climb, although now, as you have entered Hargita County (ie the county in which I live) the road surface is absolutely shocking. This time around I knew I was fully settled in here as my reaction on driving along this pockmarked disaster was no longer one of amusement or annoyance but of embarrassment at my own home county. The gorge had been full of tourists and I imagined them continuing on over into Transylvania and wondering what the hell they had let themselves in for. The road finally peaks at 1256m, which is, I believe higher than any mountain in the UK [Edit: I’ve just looked it up and it’s not, coming in at 87m lower than Ben Nevis]. For those nostalgia buffs still living in the British empire, that’s approximately 4120 feet. (The Trans-Fagaras peaks at 2034m. Two thousand and bastard thirty four! 6,673 feet!).

Finally, after a few more livestock delays I made it home. 6 hours on the road when it had taken me less than 4½ to go the other way the day before. I was knackered. But still, I made it back in time to see the FA Cup final for the first time since 1996. I don’t think I’ve missed much in those years. God it was rubbish. I could have been drumming my fingers behind the wheel while all the farm animals in Romania crossed in front of me and it would have been more interesting.

[More on the Trans-Fagaras: An article from the Guardian, and a blog post from Halfway Down The Danube.]


Bicaz gorge pics

stalls selling cheap tat


note car and children specifically placed here for scale


view from the top down into Transylvania

Posted in media, pictures, travel | 3 Comments »

Boldog Husvet

Posted by Andy Hockley on 23 March, 2005

More Cartoons

Bogi is now into the Japanese cartoons that come in after 8.30pm. These are bizarrely fascinating. Her favourite is “Yu-Gi-Oh”, who is this big-eyed spiky-haired kid of indeterminate age (frankly all Japanese cartoon characters are big-eyed spiky-haired kids of indeterminate age) who, every episode, plays top trumps with someone. Yes, that’s right, the cartoon depicts a game of what is essentially top trumps. Strangely, it’s absorbing watching two exaggerated animated characters playing a game of top trumps, even when you can’t understand the dialogue (something which I’m sure doesn’t detract from the experience) – sadly it’s top trumps monsters rather than test cricketers or something genuinely interesting, but still. [Good god. I’ve just googled “Yu-Gi-Oh”. It’s frigging terrifying. Makes Dungeons and Dragons look like a pleasant hobby for the well-adjusted kid about the school yard]

Going for a Halliburton

I have been discovering more about Gigi Becali, the president of Steaua Bucharest, who I suggested looked like a gangster. Well, his money apparently came legally. In as much as he has basically made it by buying things and selling them to the army, or somehow otherwise getting cash from the Romanian army. So, basically, not a gangster but a legitimate businessman – like a Balkan Dick Cheney.

The first Easter of the year

We’re off on a tour of Saxon Transylvania for the next few days on an Easter break. It’s actually not the national Easter, but what is known here as “Catholic Easter” as the Orthodox church celebrates Easter later, and the country is mostly Orthodox. However the Hungarian community is mostly Catholic or Reform, so Csikszereda is having a long weekend. Perhaps we’ll get another one when Easter II rolls around. Tomorrow, we head to Sibiu for a couple of nights (meeting up with some friends from Budapest). Sibiu is supposed to be gorgeous and I’m really looking forward to seeing it. From there on Saturday we’ll head to Sighisoara via a number of fortified Saxon churches many of which appear to be on the UNESCO world heritage site list. Should be good. Sunday we’re doing some family thing in Targu Mures, and then Monday back here. On Monday there is some curious Transylvanian tradition in which men chuck water on women, and get eggs in return. I’ll investigate and let you know what it’s all about.

Posted in media, transylvania | Leave a Comment »

Boldog Husvet

Posted by Andy Hockley on 23 March, 2005

More Cartoons

Bogi is now into the Japanese cartoons that come in after 8.30pm. These are bizarrely fascinating. Her favourite is “Yu-Gi-Oh”, who is this big-eyed spiky-haired kid of indeterminate age (frankly all Japanese cartoon characters are big-eyed spiky-haired kids of indeterminate age) who, every episode, plays top trumps with someone. Yes, that’s right, the cartoon depicts a game of what is essentially top trumps. Strangely, it’s absorbing watching two exaggerated animated characters playing a game of top trumps, even when you can’t understand the dialogue (something which I’m sure doesn’t detract from the experience) – sadly it’s top trumps monsters rather than test cricketers or something genuinely interesting, but still. [Good god. I’ve just googled “Yu-Gi-Oh”. It’s frigging terrifying. Makes Dungeons and Dragons look like a pleasant hobby for the well-adjusted kid about the school yard]

Going for a Halliburton

I have been discovering more about Gigi Becali, the president of Steaua Bucharest, who I suggested looked like a gangster. Well, his money apparently came legally. In as much as he has basically made it by buying things and selling them to the army, or somehow otherwise getting cash from the Romanian army. So, basically, not a gangster but a legitimate businessman – like a Balkan Dick Cheney.

The first Easter of the year

We’re off on a tour of Saxon Transylvania for the next few days on an Easter break. It’s actually not the national Easter, but what is known here as “Catholic Easter” as the Orthodox church celebrates Easter later, and the country is mostly Orthodox. However the Hungarian community is mostly Catholic or Reform, so Csikszereda is having a long weekend. Perhaps we’ll get another one when Easter II rolls around. Tomorrow, we head to Sibiu for a couple of nights (meeting up with some friends from Budapest). Sibiu is supposed to be gorgeous and I’m really looking forward to seeing it. From there on Saturday we’ll head to Sighisoara via a number of fortified Saxon churches many of which appear to be on the UNESCO world heritage site list. Should be good. Sunday we’re doing some family thing in Targu Mures, and then Monday back here. On Monday there is some curious Transylvanian tradition in which men chuck water on women, and get eggs in return. I’ll investigate and let you know what it’s all about.

Posted in media, transylvania | Leave a Comment »

Cartoons

Posted by Andy Hockley on 7 September, 2004

It’s been a while since I watched cartoons. I still don’t really watch them as such, but they do flit past my consciousness more often than they have for years.

We have two cartoon channels here: Minimax, which is Hungarian (or at least this version of it is), and Cartoon Network in Romanian. As Cartoon Network is filled with fairly violent and over the top animated gore fests, Erika has removed it from the list of available channels. One day Bogi will have enough English and be literate enough to read this and murder us both in our beds with a carefully sharpened powerpuff girl doll. So, we really have one that tends to get a lot of airtime. I don’t really understand much of the dialogue (or none of it really), but that’s not desperately important as I can understand the gist of the storylines.

Here is a run down of some of the cartoons that exist these days, for those of you without children:

Marsupilami: A large hyena like creature with a spectacularly prehensile tail rescues his jabbering offspring from various poachers, scientists and assorted humans. Every epsiode is the same. Marsupilami says “Hupa” a lot.

Petyke: An actual Hungarian cartoon. Patyke is a policeman with a dog who does all the work for him. It’s basically a more innocent and pleasing version of Hong Kong Phooey.

Pamukli: A German carpenter lives with a cartoon boy who only he can see. The boy goes around breaking people’s wooden furniture so that they have to go to the carpenter. each week he gets mad at the boy and criticises him severely for being so bad, but lives handsomely off the profits that he brings in.

Fair Play: I’m not exactly sure what the title of this one is but it centres around the FIFA Fair Play handbook. Seriously. Each week two teams of stereotypes come together to play a game of football. One of them is usually a team of hardened criminals, who race into an early lead through cheating or being dirty. Like Chelsea or Arsenal, maybe. Unlike in real life, the appearance of the FIFA Fair Play guy with his manual saves the day, and eventually the dirty London bastards are beaten by fair play. The production crew all have Spanish names so it’s either from Spain or somewhere in South America.

Power Puff Girls: This is on Cartoon Network, so I’m not really sure of the plot, but I do know that there are three grisl with amazing superpowers who do loads of cool stuff. They were created by their “dad” who is known as “The Professor”. the reason I am aware of this one is because one of the girls is called Buttercup and Boglarka (Bogi’s full name) is Buttercup in Hungarian, so she identifies strongly with the character. Occasionally we have stilted English converstaions in which I am The Professor. (These go – without fail- “Hello Professor, how are you?” “I’m fine thanks Buttercup, and you?” “I’m fine thanks. What are you doing?” “I’m smoking/watching TV/trying to sleep” – at which point the conversation is more or less over as we have exhausted Buttercup’s English.)

Rescue Heroes: A group of rugged firefighters, policemen and other agents of good, live together inside a mountain. They are paged regularly by their flashing belts and go and save lives soemwhere in the world (from natural or man made disasters).

Bogi’s favourite cartoons are actually Donald Duck (who she refers to as “Dodo”) and Tom and Jerry, so I don’t feel too much like and an old fogey. Donald Duck is so much better than that squeaky little bastard Mickey.

Posted in media | 3 Comments »

Cartoons

Posted by Andy Hockley on 7 September, 2004

It’s been a while since I watched cartoons. I still don’t really watch them as such, but they do flit past my consciousness more often than they have for years.

We have two cartoon channels here: Minimax, which is Hungarian (or at least this version of it is), and Cartoon Network in Romanian. As Cartoon Network is filled with fairly violent and over the top animated gore fests, Erika has removed it from the list of available channels. One day Bogi will have enough English and be literate enough to read this and murder us both in our beds with a carefully sharpened powerpuff girl doll. So, we really have one that tends to get a lot of airtime. I don’t really understand much of the dialogue (or none of it really), but that’s not desperately important as I can understand the gist of the storylines.

Here is a run down of some of the cartoons that exist these days, for those of you without children:

Marsupilami: A large hyena like creature with a spectacularly prehensile tail rescues his jabbering offspring from various poachers, scientists and assorted humans. Every epsiode is the same. Marsupilami says “Hupa” a lot.

Petyke: An actual Hungarian cartoon. Patyke is a policeman with a dog who does all the work for him. It’s basically a more innocent and pleasing version of Hong Kong Phooey.

Pamukli: A German carpenter lives with a cartoon boy who only he can see. The boy goes around breaking people’s wooden furniture so that they have to go to the carpenter. each week he gets mad at the boy and criticises him severely for being so bad, but lives handsomely off the profits that he brings in.

Fair Play: I’m not exactly sure what the title of this one is but it centres around the FIFA Fair Play handbook. Seriously. Each week two teams of stereotypes come together to play a game of football. One of them is usually a team of hardened criminals, who race into an early lead through cheating or being dirty. Like Chelsea or Arsenal, maybe. Unlike in real life, the appearance of the FIFA Fair Play guy with his manual saves the day, and eventually the dirty London bastards are beaten by fair play. The production crew all have Spanish names so it’s either from Spain or somewhere in South America.

Power Puff Girls: This is on Cartoon Network, so I’m not really sure of the plot, but I do know that there are three grisl with amazing superpowers who do loads of cool stuff. They were created by their “dad” who is known as “The Professor”. the reason I am aware of this one is because one of the girls is called Buttercup and Boglarka (Bogi’s full name) is Buttercup in Hungarian, so she identifies strongly with the character. Occasionally we have stilted English converstaions in which I am The Professor. (These go – without fail- “Hello Professor, how are you?” “I’m fine thanks Buttercup, and you?” “I’m fine thanks. What are you doing?” “I’m smoking/watching TV/trying to sleep” – at which point the conversation is more or less over as we have exhausted Buttercup’s English.)

Rescue Heroes: A group of rugged firefighters, policemen and other agents of good, live together inside a mountain. They are paged regularly by their flashing belts and go and save lives soemwhere in the world (from natural or man made disasters).

Bogi’s favourite cartoons are actually Donald Duck (who she refers to as “Dodo”) and Tom and Jerry, so I don’t feel too much like and an old fogey. Donald Duck is so much better than that squeaky little bastard Mickey.

Posted in media | 2 Comments »

Chels, Mutes, and Becks

Posted by Andy Hockley on 4 September, 2004

Pro Sport TV, one of two sport channels we have here have clearly bought up the rights to air “Chelsea TV”, which as you might imagine is a feast of Chelsea related boredom. One of the shows most often used to fill time between real sporting events is something called “Classic Chelsea” featuring old games. Now clearly any normal person watching “Classic Chelsea” would expect to see highlights of comedy cup defeats to lower league teams or similar, but not on this version. Here we see matches that Chelsea actually win (note to younger readers – Chelsea used to be crap, shuttling back and forth between the first and second divisions – that’s the premiership and championship to you lot- like West Brom), so there ought to be lots of material to fill up a true “Classic Chelsea” show.

The reason for this Romanian interest in Chelsea of course is the presence on their team of Adrian Mutu. Mutu is Romania’s footballing heartthrob, the idol of young pubescent girls across the nation. I’d compare him to David Beckham in this regard, but as far as I can tell he hasn’t yet taken on the mantle of cultural icon as “Becks’ has. I suspect Romanians have far too much sense than to award leader of the nation status to a pretty boy footballer. Why the English have come to do this is beyond me, but it does make for some comic moments, I think, as intellectuals and cultural commentators rush to jump on the Becks bandwagon.

We begin tonight’s edition of the South Bank Show with the news this morning from Madrid that David Beckham had a mild case of diarrhoea. I’m joined by a distinguished panel of critics and thinkers to discuss the implication of this event on Britain. If I may begin with you, Anthony?”

“Well, Melvyn, what I think we are seeing here is once again a reflection of Tony Blair’s Britain. We are a nation moving forward and attempting to rid ourselves of the waste and detritus of the past, but things at the moment are not terribly solid. Once again we see here Becks as the cultural barometer of the nation”

“Interesting point, Anthony. Lucinda?”

“Melvyn, again I see the issue here being a nation uneasy with being an integral part of the “great European adventure” [makes quotation marks with fingers, smiles knowingly. Nods of agreement from panel]. We’ve all been to Spain and all suffered from tummy troubles as our English guts struggle to cope with the shift from hearty and solid fare – I’m thinking here of beans on toast, sausages and mash, meat and potato pie – to the more exotic and less palatable ingredients of the Castilian diet –[fakes strong Spanish accent] Calamares a la Romana, Gambas ajillo, etc. As the permanent and widely accepted anthropomorphisation of modern England, I think what Becks’ insides are reflecting is a widely held English disquiet with ceding sovereignty to the mainland of Europe.”

Yes, I see what you’re getting at that, Lucinda. Perhaps you’d care to comment, Frank?”

“Well, perhaps it was something he ate?”

“If I could ask you to keep your comments to the idea of Beckham as metaphor rather than as a human being, Frank.”

“Ah yes, my apologies. Errrm maybe it’s something to do with Gibraltar?”

“No, no, no. You’re missing the point entirely. Think Princess Di. You need to come up with something pithy and semi-ironic regarding Beckham’s role as representative of modern Britain, spouting intellectual truisms while keeping a knowingly ironic tone to your voice to let everyone know that you’re aware of his iconic status but don’t quite subscribe to the celebrity cult beloved of the “Hello!” reader.

“But won’t that mean I’m actually behaving with less integrity than things like “hello!” magazine or suchlike? I mean I’ll be fuelling this rubbish and feeding off it while pretending that I’m not. That sounds like crap to me.”

[South Bank Show, The Guardian’s G2 supplement and all other artifices of post-modern celebrity worship implode in a puff of realism]

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