Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tenei Te Tangata Puhuruhuru

On the train to London today, I finished reading “War and Peace”. I should clarify that I did not begin to read it on the same journey. That would have been a very long journey. Or a very fast read. It wasn’t either of those. Oh no.

It is over 35 years since I last read this book. I remember being very impressed with it at that time. This time I have to confess to a sense of disappointment. I rationalise this by having read many more books in the intervening period (at least 3), some of which I judge to be more enjoyable than Mr Tolstoy’s epic. This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, rather than I was much less impressed than I had expected to be.

In addition to “W&P” I have read Anna Karenina, most of Dostoevski, and “Fathers and sons”. I read “Crime and Punishment” for the second time a couple of years ago.

Like my comments on the scripture writers, I find the great Russian writers to be a fairly dour lot. There ain’t many belly laughs in “Crime and Punishment”, and Anna Karenina does not live happily ever after. I loved “C&P” both times that I read it (but still didn’t have much occasion to titter). I seem to remember (years ago) that “F&S” had much more warmth than the others.

Anyway, I was particularly unimpressed by Tolstoy’s banging on about the forces determining historical events. Almost as dull as those ubiquitous bloggers about whom we read so much.

In case anyone is wondering what happens in “W&P”, I can tell you that Napoleon loses. This is just as well. Had he not embarked on his campaign to annexe Russia, he would probably have conquered Europe, including Britain, and our culture would be very different today. Our high streets would be populated by shops selling “croissants” and “baguettes”, and “coffee shops”, instead of the traditional English Tea Room – hard to imagine, isn’t it?


I was particularly fortunate to be on the railway network today. Someone had organised a “Guess the Twat” competition. I later found out that most of the competitors were on their way to Ascot, to watch a lot of other twats pretend to have some interest in midgets engaged in bizarre equestrian perversions. Twats. Later in the day I read an account by Alan Davies of visiting Lord’s during the Test match this summer. More twats. I can only think of one sporting tradition that I enjoy.


On the way back, I began reading a book by one of my current favourite authors, James Lee Burke. Try reading the first two paragraphs of one of his books (not you, Tom, you fucking philistine) and see if you can see why.

If any of you had any hopes of becoming a successful author, then reading that will probably put paid to those ambitions. There are very few around who can use language like that. I love it.

I was also listening to Beethoven’s 4th piano concerto. I recommend this as an antidote to atheism. By the time I got to Brookwood, I wasn’t half a million strong, but the memories of the twats in hats had vanished, to be replaced by much more mellow feelings. I should also mention that I also listened to Janis Joplin, just so that Tom knows where to start reading this little entry again.


Chris said...

You're full of surprises, aren't you Vicus? Just when I think you're a grumpy English bugger, you start titling posts in Te Reo.

War and Peace is currently making me look educated on my bookshelf. I suppose I'd look more edumacated if I actually read it.

Donn said...

Oh yeah?

Well I'll have you know that I nearly died laughing after reading Alexandr Soldierztitsyn's the Gulash Archipelicango, what hoot!

Though not nearly as f*cking funny as One Day in the Wife of Ivan Sonofabich...DAMN!
Now that is whack.

MJ said...

Funny...I'd pictured you swathed in a peignoir, reading Barbara Cartland.

Dave said...

My conclusion, when I finished W&P, was that it could do with some severe editing. And a less predictable conclusion.

Still, it's good to come across a blog with a bit of culture in it. I may return.

Rol said...

I have only read Anna Karenina (probably not a book to read on a train if you're feeling down with the world) so bow to your superior stamina. I have read some James Lee Burke though. A longish time ago, so don't ask me what.

Should 'Guess That Twat' not more accurately be called 'Spot The Twat'? I doubt there's a great deal of guesswork involved.

Vicus Scurra said...

Chris. I doubt whether reading it would alter your appearance. Unless you read it in Russian, in which case your furrowed brow may cause others to alter their opinion of you.
Yes, Donn, old Alex was a laugh riot wasn't he?
MJ. I know that you lust after me, but please behave with some decorum.
Dave. I am so pleased you are returning, you will be as welcome as the French army in Smolensk. Yes, if old Leo submitted his text today, he would be told to cut 1000 pages and add a bit of smut.
Rol, had you taken the time to read "The Possessed" you would have realised that "Guess the Twat" has far more literary merit than your suggestion.

tom909 said...

Ah yes, Tolstoy and Jamie lee Curtis - two of my favourite authors. I particularly enjoyed the scene in Anna Karenina where they were having the threesome and one of the guys momentarily stopped discussing the fucking war.

Richard said...

She was good, Uhuhuhuru.

"She cannae take it, Cap'n"

I, like the view, still said...

Ka mate! Ka mate! Ka ora! Ka ora!
Ka mate! Ka mate! Ka ora! Ka ora!
Tenei te tangata puhuru huru
Nana nei i tiki mai, Whakawhiti te ra
A upane! ka upane!
A upane! ka upane!
Whiti te ra! Hi!!

ho hum. . .


I, like the view, still said...

(oh yeah, obviously I read AK many many years ago, and W&P)(but I prefer thinking about rugby players' thighs, to be perfectly honest)(altho I was in love with Stuart Wilson as Vronsky. . . in the beeb's 1977 production of AK)

Vicus Scurra said...

ILTV thank you for raising the tone (albeit only slightly) from that established by the previous commentators.

I, like the view, still said...

well, no point raising the bar too high now, is there dear sweet vicus. . .

tene korutea'


MJ said...

*farts and exits, thus lowering the tone once more*

Vicus Scurra said...

ILTV. You are quite correct.
MJ. Your departure negates the lowering.

Pamela said...

vicus reading the classics..... what's next? Tommy getting a corporate job?

Dave said...

I rather fancied Morag Hood, who played Natasha Rostova in the 1972 BBC version of W&P.

I see from Wikki that she died six years ago.

Vicus Scurra said...

Dave. Thank you for that, I am sure that there is someone out there who may find it interesting.

Donn said...

Another Classic Vicus Moment..
"I am sure that there is someone out there who may find it interesting"...
Gawd you kill me

Leni Qinan said...

Hm. Yes, slightly abrasive. And very Vicusish, haha! ;)

Btw, have you noticed Donn's new glasses? Very Donnish, haha! ;)

About Russian classics... i bet you've seen Woody Allen's "Love and death"; that Boris Gruschenko will give you his personal view about "War and Peace", hahaha.

Dave said...

I've just remembered, you asked to be informed when i had finished writing about interior decoration on my blog.

I finished a week ago.

Don't miss today's cricket post. I seem to have had fewer readers than normal (or do I mean less? I can never remember).

Vicus Scurra said...

Dave! You have a blog? The whole world must be rejoicing.
Please don't ask me to tell you what you mean, some things are beyond even my capabilities.

I, like the view, still said...

sometimes, vicus, you might be just the teensyiest bit nicer to the good reverend, don't you think?

well, I know you don't think (in that way at least) and all I can do for my outrageousness is blame my medication

which probably means that I shouldn't press "PUBLISH THIS COMMENT"

I, like the view, still said...


Vicus Scurra said...

ILTV, for once you are wrong. It's all very good for him.

I, like the view, still said...

*waves cheerfully*

(thank the medication)

ziggi said...

I've read the Hobbit - similar plot