Monday, March 02, 2009

(----) In Russia Vol.15

You know you're in Russia when you are awakened at 6:30am by the smell of burning plastic, and you frantically wonder, "Oh shit, did one of my voltage converters blow up again?", which is followed by the thought that maybe your apartment is on fire, so you investigate and find nothing amiss inside and then realize, "well, fuck, it IS Moscow, who knows what the fuck that smell is?" and go back to bed, then learn after you wake up that a building next to yours caught on fire at 4am, and it's all over the news, and you don't think it will really affect you until you attempt to take a shower and nothing but fire-retardant chemicals come flooding out of the shower head, potentially removing years from your life and hair from your body, and then when you finally leave the apartment, the road outside your building is pure fucking chaos: 25 fire trucks, hoses everywhere and huge piles of said fire-retardant foam. See above.

More chaos. There was water pouring out of buildings and broken hoses alike; the fire had been out for FIVE FUCKING HOURS at this point. Don't question why the water was still on. Although it does explain why our apartment was only spewing foamy chemicals.

Yet more; note the amount of water pouring out of the side of this hose. The result of all this is that our water has been completely cut off since the chemicals got into our water supply (and onto my person). What year are we living in when a fire in one building means no one in the next building gets to use the water?

Last week was a holiday: "Day of the Defender of the Homeland", aka "Man's Day." The billboards around the city, which at this point are usually empty because of the financial crisis (no one has money to advertise), were full of ads like this one, which reads, roughly, "What a profession! To defend the homeland!"

Another one, this time with a dude hiding in the snow. What I want to know is, who is trying to invade Russia? What is here that is worth invading for? If you wanted to take over something that was smelly and falling apart, then by all means, it can be found here.

As promised. Dog in a hoodie in the metro. I had to be sneaky with this one, so it's a little blurry, but it looks just like Spuds Mackenzie.

Keeping with the animal theme, here are some Valentines' Day decorations from a friend's place.

Detail of "SEXY" banner. Notice how: A. The kitten's body is way disproportionate to his head. B. He is wearing heart-patterned boxers. C. He is holding those boxers open. D. Heart-shaped pheromones are wafting out of his boxers upwards towards the lady kitten, who is too fucking scary to mention further.

The Toby Keith of cats advertising March 8, which is another national holiday in Russia, Women's Day.

Natural refrigeration.

Destruction: Lincoln Hancock's new band.

The ubiquitous lemons that come with vodka shots to trick your mouth into thinking you didn't just consume chilled rubbing alcohol.

At a club called Squat Cafe, DJ Aloof checks his Blackberry while his partner, Volodya the Sleeve, keeps the wheel of steel turning.

The dance floor of Squat Cafe.

I have no idea what this band was called, but they were pretty amazing. Sort of like The Infectious Blues Band after perestroika and Putin.

More. Check the cowbell technique.

Ilya Byelorukov, Crowmeat Bob's Slavic doppleganger, skronks away at a club called Dom for a weekend of "experimental" music.

Here he is playing with a really strange, Big Black-type band from Moscow called Perth. They all just got up there and made noise. Somewhere, a few hairs on the back of Crowmeat Bob's muting hand just stood up.

I concur.

This is the door in a fancy restaurant that leads to the room devoted to "staff."

This douchebag is Bogdan Titomir, a pop artist in Russia whose newest single is "Krizis Menya Ne Kasaetsa," which roughly translates into, "The [financial] crisis has no effect on me." So while millions of Russians watch their salaries shrink, their population wither and their government bail out only the most wealthy citizens, at least they can take comfort in this song, which is most likely meant to placate the oncoming revolution.

Before he was a goateed Putin crony, Titomir's biggest influence was C + C Music Factory. Peep this video from the early 90s, "Delai Kak Ya" ("Do it like me"), in which he swipes signifiers from everyone from Janet Jackson to Warrant (indicated by the woman working under the hood of the car, but minus a bikini or any quantity of cherry pie). Give it til at least the 3:10 mark, when he starts to play air Jew's harp.

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