Tuesday, October 19, 2010
From Russia with love or curiosity?
I have no clue who is hitting me up or if it’s from Russia with love
And curiously the most viewed entry is an old blog about Twiglets.
I can only deduce that out there somewhere in the pitted, treeless wastes of Siberia or on the monotonous steppes, there’s an individual in a lonely abode harboring a Twiglet fixation, his computer flicking a blue light across the chilly grasslands.
Maybe he or she once took a visit to Britain or someone left a packet of Twiglets on the roadside. Maybe Twiglets are an ideal riposte to vodka. Perhaps he goes to bed every night in a humble place hoping for peace but knowing that at some time around 2 a.m. the visions of delicious, savory Twiglets will return to haunt him and he will flail his arms around wildly, only to grasp large voids of chilly air.
I’ll never really know. It’s one of the quirks of the blogisphere that you can get multiple visits from a far flung location and never know why, unless you are followed or messaged. A week ago there was a run on my blog from Iran. I am still trying to explain that away.
This would have been more explicable if the blog had been about something vaguely Iranian; Zoroastrianism – 10 top stores to buy your fire tower from, for instance.
But there has been nothing even vaguely Middle Eastern about my recent blog entries.
Now that nice big spike on my blog stats has got me thinking about Russia and realizing I can only think of the place in terms of stereotypes; of menacing Russian bears and hairy woman-man shot putters, of Joseph Stalin with his sinister moustache and even more sinister persecution complex, of rotting statutes of Lenin and those austere BBC shots of the freezing Kremlin.
And then there’s all those missiles being driven past a leader who is actually a corpse being propped up in Red Square and the beautiful female spies who will put a dart in your back the moment it’s turned.
My brother-in-law lived in Moscow for a time. He described it as a curious place where you’d wait for two hours to get your computer repaired, only to be snarled at and mocked by an acne ridden assistant.
Russia fascinates us because it’s so big and inhospitable but also so remotely beautiful. It’s steeped in history and so much blood and degradation. It gave us the horror of Stalingrad, Napoleon's retreat from Moscow and the gulags. It also gave us the beauty of Swan Lake and Tolstoy and the Winter Palace.
It’s out there tonight in a freezing blue darkness of antiquity and unimaginable distance. And a very small part of it is reading my blog and thinking fondly of Twiglets.