Archive for July, 2013

Palm Sunday (Aleksei Alyokhin)

July 30, 2013

The Nazarene on a white ass rides into the city through the Yauza gates

and to meet Him
the patriarch

in a mercedes with bodyguards



Назареянин на белом ослике въезжает в город через Яузские ворота

а навстречу Ему

в мерседесе с охраной

‘She took my name away from me…’ (Yuri Kazarin)

July 28, 2013

She took my name away from me
She washed her mirrors thoroughly–
spacious, empty and clean–
air was stretched to a scream.
Like a beast, nameless, around I pace,
I torment my blood changing the place
of whine and silence and whine,
I swallow a crooked sky–
this rope: the height to trail
into my throat from a total fog–
and don’t tell me: you remember, the tail
had a real, living, dog…


Имя моё у меня отняла.

Вымыла бабьи свои зеркала:

чисто, просторно и пусто —

воздух натянут до хруста.

Зверем хожу безымянным окрест,

мучаю кровь переменою мест

воя, молчанья и воя,

небо глотаю кривое —

эту веревку: вползет высота

в горло из полного мрака —

и не сказать мне: была у хвоста,

помнишь, живая собака…

‘Whether in town or at home…’ (Evgeniy Lesin)

July 27, 2013

To Andrei Chemodanov

Whether in town or at home
No tall blocks, no limousine
Only the wind on ulitsa Mira
And the ‘Number One’ canteen.

There are no scars on shaven heads
And only calm is on the face
And on tables the ketchup resides
In enormous bottles by every place.

You, of course, will not understand
You will ask where, wanting to know
And in answer, ‘Oh, you won’t get there..,’
Yet it’s just ten minutes to go.

And again. Even very drunken
When the day has five heads–or worse!–
In the provinces, don’t use bad language
And still less so, bad language in verse.


Андрею Чемоданову

То ли город, а то ли квартира.
Ни высоких домов, ни машин.
Только ветер на улице Мира
И столовая № 1,

Где нет шрамов на бритых затылках,
А спокойствие лишь на челе.
И где кетчуп в огромных бутылках
Проживает на каждом столе.

Вы, наверно, меня не поймете.
Спросишь где, уточняя маршрут,
А в ответ: «Ой, да вы не дойдете…»
Хотя ходу на десять минут.

И еще. Даже очень поддатым,
Когда день о пяти головах,
Не ругайтесь в провинции матом,
А тем более — матом в стихах.

‘Dragonflies, ants, cicadas…’ (Aleksandr Klimov-Yuzhin)

July 24, 2013

Dragonflies, ants, cicadas
And aerial swarms of bees
Under the sun we lived at some time
I am a contemporary of these.

The nervation of leaves and wings
Above your head a thin cocoon
A shared existence
Was our lot beneath the moon.

You are phytophagans and saprobionts
You are devil’s coach-horses and sparlings
You are monarch butterflies and flying squirrels
You are wagtails and starlings.

Both tortoises and mayflies
We were together on the earth
Foxes, the slender stem of foxtail
And you, the rushes with tipsy mirth.

You–the white blood cells
And you–the erythrocytes
Are fully laved with fluids.
I have cherished you by rights.

Perhaps the shrew does not live long
The mayfly has two hours to be
But I value an individual hair
And the oak will outlast me.

Fats, proteins and carbohydrates
And the epidermis so fine
While I’m chewing on a sandwich
You are contemporaries of mine.

Fruits fall from many-coloured flowers
A moment, and matter is pulled apart.
While in the evolution of the poets
My verse will play no great part.


Стрекозы, муравьи, цикады,
И пчёл воздушные рои,
Под солнцем жили мы когда-то,
Вы — современники мои.

Листвы и крыльев жилкованье,
Худая сень над головой,
Совместного существованья
Нам выпал жребий под луной.

Вы — фитофаги, сапрофаги,
Вы — стафилины, плавунцы,
Вы — данаиды и летяги,
Вы — трясогузки и скворцы;

И черепахи, и подёнки,
Мы были вместе на земле:
Лис, лисохвоста стебель тонкий,
И ты — камыш навеселе.

Пусть землероек век недолог,
Подёнка в два часа умрёт, —
Мне с индивида волос дорог,
А дуб меня переживёт.

Жиры, белки и углеводы
И эпидермиса слои, —
Пока жую я бутерброды,
Вы — современники мои.

Вы — белых клеток лимфоциты,
Вы — клеток красные тельца, —
Напитками сполна омыты.
Я вас лелеял до конца.

Плоды спадают с разноцветов,
Миг — и разъято вещество,
И в эволюции поэтов
Мой стих не значит ничего.

The clock (Sergei Biryukov)

July 21, 2013


so a clock should go
so it should go in a clock
so it should be inside a clock
just so
tick tock
tick tock
tick tock
tick tock
just so

and suddenly!
not so!
not so
wow inside the clock
it’s not so
wow going in the clock
it’s not so
wow for the clock itself
to go
not so

inside the clock going inside
by way of the springs
and weightily slowing the step
going in the hours themselves
outside the same as inside
but how will the hours go themselves
one o’clock four o’clock three o’clock


in the clock mechanism a little man sits
governing time
a timelordling
a catcher of seconds
a pacifier of minutes
how could it be otherwise?
just give them freedom
and they will run away
from minute to minute
and what’s more
these fleeting seconds–
you won’t hold them back for anything
why hold them back


flight of time said the poetess
but did not say where to
and the main thing where from
that’s the trouble
flight of time






как следует часам идти
как следует идти в часах
как следует внутри часов
вот так
тик так
тик так
тик так
вот так

и вдруг!
не так!
не так
вот это да внутри часов
не так
вот это да идти в часах
не так
вот это да самим часам
не так

не тик не так!

внутри часов идти внутри
пружинами пути
и важно сдерживая шаг
идти уже в самих часах
снаружи как внутри
но как идти самим часам
один четыре три



в механизме часов человечек сидит
управляющий временем
уловитель секунд
усмиритель минут
а иначе бы что?
только дай им свобод
как они побегут
от минут за минут
а тем более
этих летучих секунд
ни за что не удержишь
за что их держать



бег времени сказала поэтесса
но не сказала бег куда
и главное откуда
вот беда
бег времени

I am Nasrine, Stratford Picturehouse 4 July

July 14, 2013



My interest in this film was that I’ve been to Tehran and lived in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. That’s a slightly strange perspective and may explain why I didn’t get on so well with the film.

We follow the story of Nasrine (meant to be about 16 I think) who rides home in Tehran on the back of a boy’s motorbike wearing a coloured headscarf.  She is picked up and (we fear) raped by the Vice Police.  Her father decrees that she and her brother Ali have to go to England.

So they arrive in Newcastle; she goes to school and falls in with a community of travellers which gives her the chance to ride horses and have consensual relations with the brother of her new friend Nichole.  Ali meanwhile takes two illegal jobs and struggles to come to terms with his sexuality…

There seemed to be two main themes here:  the idea that you become an adult by casting off what you were before and the treatment of refugees in the UK.  But they weren’t integrated but rather went on in parallel.  There were other points being made in the contrast between the saturated colours of Tehran and a washed-out Newcastle; between motorbike + bad boyfriend and horses  + good boyfriend;  and how even in going to school Nasrine found herself becoming part of a marginal group, while Ali’s encounter with the normal inhabitants turned out to be fatal…

All in all I didn’t quite get it.

Micsha Sadeghi gave a brilliant performance as the heroine, while still looking even older than Carey Mulligan in An Education.


Bletchley Park, 7 July

July 14, 2013

One of the scenes in That Is All You Need To Know had a new girl journeying there on a crowded wartime train, and our office outing started rather the same way.  I did see what I took took to be our lot waiting in a group at Euston, but I wanted to get a seat and they also looked worryingly like a party of keen young bikers.

After some faffing about and waiting we had a guided tour of the Bletchley Park site by a MOD bloke who looked worried on being told that most of the party comprised mathematicians.  He hurriedly said that he wasn’t going to go into technicalities.  In the picture below he is talking of the hardships endured by the Wrens who had joined up in the hope of seeing young men or the sea and ended up doing eight-hour shifts of painstaking monotony; well of course it depends on the alternatives they had–not all were debutantes.


One idea of the trip was to generate pictures for recruitment purposes, and below we see the typical money shot of young people picnicking in the sunshine with some romantic old pile in the background.


And here we see a model of part of a bombe receiving eager attention–one (in fact the only) complaint about the day was that there was too much WWII stuff and not enough about how codebreaking was actually done.


In the afternoon, we had another tour, this time of the National Museum of Computing, which started off with the famous Colossus machine, also used for codebreaking of course (and very hot around the back with all those valves).


Then the group oohed and aahed at the Harwell (Dekatron) Computer or WITCH below; it represented something of a technical regression from the super-secret Colossus but won favour by clicking its relays sympathetically. Our guide was keen to emphasise the educational value of the exhibit–children came to realise that their magic devices in fact relied on someone producing instructions–many, many, many instructions…

And after a nostalgic tour round the home computers of their childhood, our group departed well pleased with its day out. And Murray won Wimbledon on the train back to London too…

STELLA, Greenwich Theatre 11 July

July 14, 2013



…or STELLA, a story of women and astronomy by Siobhan Nicholas, who also played Caroline Herschel.  So this was the story of how William Herschel, musician and astronomer, made his sister into a singer and astronomical assistant so that at the end she became an important astronomer in her own right, at the expense of any possibility of a personal life.  On top of that was overlaid the story of a modern-day radio astronomer (not quite called Jocelyn Bell Burnell)  who is writing an article about Caroline and resents the implication that she will follow her musician husband to Germany.

Some parts of this were very nice:  the pictures of stars projected on the backdrop of course and the further use of projections as Jessica communicated with her husband and daughter in distant parts.  And the circular carpet and circular table around which Caroline and William orbited and argued while Jessica followed along like a satellite; also the refusal to glamorise or prettify Caroline.

But there was also a certain amount of extraneous matter forced into the eighty-minute running time:  Caroline was permitted to foresee radio astronomy and the  Herschels between them adumbrated relativity, though it would be hard to say whether it was the Special or the General theory that was referred to.  Then there was the subplot of Jessica’s daughter Eve going to Alexandria on her gap year to form a human chain round the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina (which is in my recollection built like a bunker–a wise precaution in Alexandria) and drag Hypatia into the proceedings.

Then there were some bizarre errors:  Caroline calling her brother ‘Sie’ in German, and Jessica’s student allegedly being engaged in the hunt for the Higgs boson.  Not as mad as the idea of the gap year daughter in Alexandria IMHO, assuming her parents ever wanted to see her again…

This is not just pedantry:  one of the points made was Caroline’s records were detailed and accurate (and so useful) while William’s weren’t.

But as ever the main point for me was that you need to get what you want to say into your characters and their relationships and the actions that spring from their relationships, not paste it on in the form of a lecture.

Stella is funded by Arts Council England, Science and Technology and Facilities Council and The Institute of Physics–some of those excellent bodies may have wanted a lecture of course.  As far as I can see, if you have £ 700 (or negotiable) to spare, Take the Space will also come and do this show for you…

cyanide (Denis Beznosov)

July 10, 2013

it looks like a feather with broken teeth
–h. s. davies

birds clatter in cyanide the buttons from within
nerves brows in trousers stop it shh…
…strike slippers heels flop down into not
entirely decayed lice whisper of birds

they are forbidden to loaf around in their socks
rather their throats will be cut so they do not argue
wet barefoot hoarse they skip
with knees a priori
into the bathyscaphe

a pair for the pair as a gang they boiled in the wig march

with slippers the buttons nerves they flopped down whisper
decayed birds in trousers clatter barefoot
with knees they are forbidden in only they shuffle
in not a priori they mispronounce nod highly
it knocks how much

nerves in the throat to the end cyanide brows
lower at the desk

on capri he combed it pours on tiptoe he is faded
wearing spectacles in unison washed his face hush!
surroundings with those milky names flay
buttons in cyanide they clatter on tip-

toe spectacles he is faded combed from out of
sneezes to the end soapy moon
ok bottom legs he swallows crawled out from within downwards
with decayed knees the lice shuffle name-

ly cawing mispronouncing noise flock
in their socks they are forbidden in a wig of birds
simply let down with heels tongue into cyanide
and smoke it

at the end a lump the dwarf
let down there follows
behind him his march
blind wooden cat!
he sings



it looks like a feather with broken teeth

птицы цокают в цианистом пуговицы извне
(не)рвы брови в брюках прекрати тссс…
…сстукай тапками пятками плюхнулись в не
до конца сгнивший вши шепот птиц

им запрещают шляться в одних носках
скорее им перережут горла чтобы не спорили
мокрые босиком сиплые переска-
кивают коленками a priori
в батискаф

паре по паре сворой сварили в парике март

тапками пуговицы нервы плюхнулись шепот
сгнившие птицы в брюках цокают босиком
коленками им запрещают в одних шлепают
в не a priori картавят кивают высоко
стукает сколько
нервы в горле до конца цианистый брови
опусти за столиком

на капри причесал льется на цыпочках чах
в очках хором умыл лицо цыц!
окружность с теми молочными именами моча-
лить пуговицы в цианистом цокают на цы-

почках очках чах причесал льется из
чихает до конца мыльная луна
ладно дно ноги глотает вылез извне вниз
сгнившими коленками вши шлепают имена-

(ми)мо каркая картавя тарарам стая
в носках запрещают сколько в парике птиц
просто опусти пятками язык в цианистый
и копти

на кончике ком кар-
лик опустил сле-
дует за ним мар-
товский его сле-
пой деревянный кот!

Little Russian (Evgeniy Chigrin)

July 1, 2013

…in the day’s money-box: on the edge of a sigh
Slow haze is woven
Foliage rustles in the palms of God’s hands,
Merry with green fire.
On the edge of the past: behind a stone
Two nymphs squeeze the one
Who is goat-legged and famed for his fur…
And so beneath the vaults you can easily

Stare wide-eyed at games
That create myths and prayer:
Needles sparkle on the hides of beasts
And the spirit smells foul of a love
Such that will not light the way for us…
The baby moon carries out
A slice of yellowness, he means to sit
Sideways in the canoes by the riverbank.

And the gills breathe imperceptibly
Of a river that runs a stone’s-throw away,
And the reeds–those taut Moors–
On the edge of a sigh…In the bushes
There flows out that which was
Behind a boulder…the winged god
Of love has lain down like Buratino,
Swallowing delicate rapture.

It flows out…somewhere an angel
Hurries to the aid of Hamster, but…
But the lethal torch is already burning
In this kind of Mosfilm picture.
…a crawling sound, someone in the low ground?
Everything is interrogative, everything is so
Uncertain…the sail of heaven’s vault…
The flies’ ruler has spurred on the darkness.



…в копилке дня: на грани вздоха
Соткалась медленная мгла,
Шумит листва в ладонях Бога,
Огнём зелёным весела.
На грани прошлого: за камнем
Две нимфы тискают того,
Кто козлоног и шерстью славен…
И так под сводами легко

Смотреть во все глаза на игры
Созданий мифов и молвы:
Блестят на шкурах тварей иглы
И пахнет мерзким дух любви
Такой, с которой нам не светит…
Выносит ломтик желтизны
Младенец месяц, боком метит
Присесть в прибрежные челны,

И неприметно дышат жабры
Реки, текущей в трёх шагах,
И камыши — тугие мавры —
На грани выдоха… В кустах
Проистекает то, что было
За валуном… Крылатый бог
Любви залёг, как Буратино,
Глотая лакомый восторг.

Проистекает… где-то ангел
Спешит Хоме на помощь, но…
Уже горит летальный факел
В таком “мосфильмовском” кино.
…Ползущий звук, в низинах кто-то?
Всё вопросительно, всё так
Нетвёрдо… парус небосвода…
Правитель мух пришпорил мрак.