Sunday, 28 October 2012

Shameless Self Promotion

As pretty much all of my friends will tell you subtly is not my strong point. So it is with very little guilt or shame that I am using this post to shamelessly self promote three things relating to myself.

This week Voices launched it's first e-magazine. This  issue is the Party Conference Special! Featuring reviews of the Green, Labour, Lib Dem, and Conservative Party conferences, as well as my culture review of the Writing Britain exhibition at the British Library. To download your free copy click here.

This one very much links in with the first one, as we at Voices are now looking for more people who may be interested in writing for us. Either for the website in general or for our new e-magazine. If you are interested in this then drop us a line to

The chances are that if you are reading this then you are mostly likely interested in Russia, Politics or myself. If it is the first two then I have a treat for you! With the US Election hotting up on Tuesday October 30th Conservative Friends of Russia will be hosting a debate about how the US election could impact upon Russo-American relations. The debate will be from 7pm in Swedenborg House, London. To purchase tickets for the event and for more details click here.

Friday, 26 October 2012


Being sick sucks. Fact. Ever since last week I have not felt great and it would appear that being that almost everyone I know is either ill, or just been ill, it would appear that I have caught whatever it is that is going around. Those of a more conspiracy theory bent would note the correlation between the fog descending and sickness beginning, but I just think this is coincidence.
Like I said, being sick sucks, I have now been ill for most of this week, had to phone in sick to work, cancel going to a party I had been looking forward to since September, and basically stay in bed resting. By now I have exhausted everything on iPlayer, Sidereel and 4OD. So bored and lacking distraction am I that I am almost considering braving the educational sections of these sites. The worst bit is I feel so rough that not even a nice depressing Russian film can cheer me up. 
I am an active person and am used to rushing round and always having somewhere to be, so being too ill to stand properly and unable to talk with out coughing like a Dickensian street urchin is not something I am overly enjoying. Yes, admittedly, at first having a valid excuse to sleep until noon was fun, but even that has lost its charm. 
The one joy in all of this is that the literary side to myself is beginning to understand the works of some of my favourite authors through the crazy, fever enduced dreams I have had. My personally favourite so far being one where a bunch of flowers I bought at the supermarket magically transformed into three purple cats who then attacked me, Master and Margarita anyone? 
I have also discovered one delightful recipe for a drink that can be used as a daytime alternative to my Saunders family solution (equal measures of lemon juice, honey, brandy and hot water in a mug - great for inducing sleep not so great if you need to work). In a pan warm OJ, honey and lemon juice, pour into a mug and drink. 
Hopefully drinking my weight in OJ, combined with enough drugs to start a pharmacy, will put me right, as enforced bedrest is slowly making me more and more like Sheldon when he is sick. As my mother would say 'better in the morning', let's hope so because boredom is not something I take to well.Suggestion for entertainment or tricks for getting better both welcome!

Monday, 22 October 2012

A Foggy Day in London Town

Today, as you may well have heard or gathered, was a foggy day in London Town (and the surrounding area for that matter too!). Flights were grounded, hair styles ruined, and while waiting for my bus to work I almost flagged down a lorry that from a murky distance looked very like the 210.
The fog, apart from shedding a very Dickensian air on London, was the cause of two events today. The first being that Michael Buble's song 'A Foggy Day in London Town' was near perpetually stuck in my head from about 7:15am until about 5 minutes ago when I decided to try and drive it out with My Chemical Romance, Cradle of Filth, and, to my abject shame, One Direction. Sadly even the dulcet tones of Gerrard Way or Harry Styles could not remove Michael Buble from my head and it looks like he is there to stay. Much in all as I do love a bit of Buble some variety would be nice.
The second, that it meant the postponement of my planned walk on Hampstead Heath. Since finishing University I have been near constantly asked 'so what now?', a question that takes some working out. Especially as I have now gotten bored of answerring either sensibly (Translator etc), sarcastically (dole queue), or creatively (Spearmint Rhino).  While anyone who knows me will tell you just how vehemently I hate walking, after a childhood spent in the West Country a walk can be a good way to clear the head and a chance to do some thinking undisturbed. For those of you not familiar with The Heath there are two things you need to know. One. It is utterly beautiful and is the one place in London where you can feeling like you are not in London but in the Country. Two. It is also a hot spot for crime, rape and other illicit activities. 
While perfectly safe during the day, at night it is very different. After several hours of hoping that the fog might burn off, it didn't and said walk was cancelled. This decision was also re-enforced once one of my co-workers pointed out that it probably was not a good idea to venture there during the fog as I may end up getting chased by people of ill repute and my walk could turn into a scene from the Russian horror film Gruz 200. 
So instead I opted for tea, Downton Abbey and PJs. Thinking on The Heath postponed until tomorrow when hopefully the fog will have disappeared and London can return to normal. Now, back to trying to get Buble out of my head and make some kind of logical life plan that does not hinge on me winning the Lotto or finding out I am the secret love child of a millionaire. Suggestions for either very welcome.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Why Study Russian?

I began studying Russian at school when I was thirteen years old and ever since I have constantly be asked the question; 'Why do you study Russian?' Depending on who my audience is depends slightly on what my answer is. 

A typical conversation will go a little something like this;
Conversant: So, what do you do?
Me: I've just finished doing an MA at UCL.
C: Oh, in what?
Me: Russian.
C: OH MY GOD! YOU SPEAK RUSSIAN?! Why did you choose that?
Me: Yes I do, my school had it as a language option. I took it, did it to GCSE, enjoy it, then A-Level, enjoyed it, decided to do it for BA Degree, loved it, so decided to do it for MA.
C: So, like, are you Russian?
Me: No, I'm from the West Country.
C: Oh, so not Russian then?
Me: No.
C: But, like, so why did you do it for Degree?
Me: (usualy reply) because I find the language a challenge, I love the literature, especially Tolstoy, and the cinema, and the culture, and well every thing about it is just interesting to me.
C: You must like Vodka then?
Me: Yes.
C: So you're been there?
Me: Yes, I lived in Moscow etc etc
C: Are you a Communist? You must be if you study Russian?
Me: ha! No! I'm a Conservative.
C: oh, *slightly stunned silence* but you speak Russian? Tell me some Russian!

So after about 10 years of this, or other very similar conversations, I have decided to change my answer. From now on if I am asked why it is that I study Russian I shall simply reply; 'Because I have a massive vodka addiction, I love snow, and Russian pop stars like Sergei Lazarev are really attractive.' In short, alcohol, snow and hot men. I will then direct their attention, should this conversation take place near my iPhone, to this video, although those of a sensative disposition may want to look away now;

Disclaimer: If you are a potential future employer then my answer to why I study Russian will be a much more sensible, educated and professional answer. Also if you are a potential future employer please hire me!

Mitt Romney Style

In a few weeks the US will go to the polls to vote for who will be the next President. Previously I have offered my views Mitt Romney and his bid to be President. It would seem that I am not alone in my feelings towards him as this parody of the Korean track Gangnam Style has appeared; 

If you have had a long day at work and need a laugh or just want to see a Romney look a like doing 'the saddle' then this is a video for you! Be warned the track is very catchy!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Conservative Friends of Russia

Earlier in the summer I attended the launch of Conservative Friends of Russia in the Russian Embassy in London. Yesterday a promotional video for the organisation was released. Look carefully and you can spot me in it.

Conservative Friends of Russia - Official Launch Party from Video Invasion on Vimeo.