Walking billboards

Maybe a desirable by-product of the Israel Folau debate will be fewer sponsors for games.

I once saw a baseball game in Yankee stadium and it was a great experience. I was surprised how little advertising was on the jerseys of the players compared to here (see photos below for a footballing comparison)
Someone told me a reason was conflicts between sponsors of the stadium, teams and individual players. In any case it made the whole game more picturesque.

Incidentally, many of the sponsors names on jerseys here represent some of the other reasons in Galatians and other places in the Bible for going to hell. I haven’t seen the names of many alcohol, gambling and usuary institutions written on the shirts of Italian football players. They tend to be manufacturers of things like mineral water, cars, or milk.

Are we becoming the addicts’ country, not the lucky country?

Safe Space Opera: your tiny hand is a bit cool

I came across the attached report in today’s Sydney Morning Herald.

Local directors want to censor or rewrite operas to remove violence towards, and stereotypes of women.
Of course I fully support this, provided the same sensitivity applies to men (eg the hero of Aida who is buried alive, and Don Giovanni who falls down a pit into hell because he is a fornicator…Israel Folau would like that one).
I would especially support this if it resulted in banning Wagner operas, which I regard as conclusive proof that Hell exists. I recently read an advertisement for a 5 hour performance of Die Walkure, which is near enough to eternal punishment for me.
This plan should extend to other branches of the sexist art world, such as Shakespeare and fairy tales. Also any novel by Jane Austen or a Brontë, which are all full of gold digging females looking for a man with a large property portfolio.

The future is looking better and better.



The road to speaking

My ambition is to reach basic conversational level in both Russian and Italian.

In order to do this, the steps have been:

1) learn basic grammar using teach yourself books and tapes, as well as apps such as Duolingo and Babbel

2) Join group classes with a teacher

3) read simplified texts

4) watch videos made by native speakers: (also a YouTube channel “real Russian club”

YouTube channel “be fluent in Russian”

YouTube channel “RU-land club”

YouTube channel “Russian for education”

YouTube channel “Anastasia Semina”

YouTube channel “Italy made easy”

5) make contact with native speakers using
HiNative (also called Lang-8)

Евгений Онегин

Last night I went to a performance of Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin, at the Mikhailovsky theatre, which is conveniently located near a park in the centre of town. I think the facade of the theatre is being renovated and was therefore covered, but the theatre itself give an idea of the magnificence in those non egalitarian days. A treasure.

And a fortifying snack was available during the intervals

 The performance itself was controversial and fairly new, by the Ukrainian Stage Director Andriy Zholdak.

The two ladies next to me did not like it, too eccentric an adaptation.

The staging was certainly entertaining, though I thought some of the symbolism of fate was a little heavy handed: all the stage and costumes were black and white, mostly white at the start, but black in the final act. Lots of spinning tops and bags of marbles. Also a fair bit of water and milk, which I didn’t understand.

I thought the biggest applause was for the good old fashioned bass solo at the start of the last act.

Still, I’m no expert. The words of the director and some video is at this link.


Last night I went to my first live ice hockey game, SKA St Petersburg v Jokerit Helsinki. Unfortunately, my team lost 3 – 5. The stadium, the Ice Palace (ледовый Дворец) was full to its capacity of 12,300 ( they also have concerts: Cher, Sting and others have performed here). It was full on flashing lights and loud music over the PA. Manly supporters would have felt at home with Eagle Rock, but there was some cultural sensitivity, with Kalinka when the home team scored a goal.

At the start, the sponsor’s ballon

Preparing the ice

The match starts

And there are cheer leaders

A mascot

And crazy home supporters

All good fun