Sunday, February 18, 2007


These are the stories of Edgar Allan Poe
not exactly the boy next door
He'll tell you tales of horror
then he'll play with your mind
if you haven't heard of him
you must be deaf or blind
(Lou Reed: Edgar Allan Poe)

I have some friends that are big fans of Edgar Allan Poe. This post I address to them: here is a recommendation for Poe's admirers. During the past days, I have been listening to Lou Reed a lot. First, I gather here some very brief info on Reed (1942); though I expect many people know much more about this American musician than I do. Hei, do you know Walk On The Wild Side, Perfect Day, Satelite Of Love? Reed's thingies. However, he expanded the vocabulary of rock & roll lyrics into the previously forbidden territory of kinky sex, drug use (and abuse), decadence, transvestites, homosexuality, and suicidal depression. As has been pointed out less often, he remained (and remains) committed to using rock & roll as a forum for literary, mature expression well into middle age, without growing lyrically soft or musically complacent. By and large, he's taken on these challenging duties with uncompromising honesty and a high degree of realism. For these reasons, he's often cited as punk's most important ancestor. Thus, he is also called ''the father of punk'' (protopunk). It's often overlooked, though, that he's equally skilled at celebrating romantic joy, and rock & roll itself, as he is at depicting harrowing urban realities. Although Reed achieved his greatest success as a solo artist, his most enduring accomplishments were as the leader of The Velvet Underground in the '60s.

Lou Reed is by all means among those that write very good lyrics. Sometimes, he even reminds me on Tom Waits (indeed they are a bit similar). However, as Tom Waits, Reed too collaborated with my favorite theatre director Robert Wilson. I have already been writing on this crazy yet fascinating theatre guy, so I will not repeat myself. For Wilson, Reed composed music for production POE-try. The production took place in 2003 at Thalia Theater, Hamburg, Germany. The production was dedicate to one particular person - Edgar Allan Poe. Yeah, that's why the production was called POE-try...

Wilson is a legend, Reed is a legend, Poe is a legend by all means... they all together made a nice and commercial cocktail... okay, but I will not tackle this fact now. Nice trick to get all sorts of people into theatre, though. I dare to speculate some keen metal fans might have come to the theatre on behalf of good old Poe... Alright, finally, I was able to download Lou Reed's double album The Raven. Which includes the music Reed did for POE-try.

You can imagine this big album is all about Edgar Allan Poe. Lots of his words spoken; theatrical, and actually quite good. Of course, there is Poe's Raven. The whole of its story, beware, interpreted by Willem Dafoe. Okay, the story is slighlty changed... you'll hear, how. There is also almost 9 minutes long spoken piece The Fall of the House of Usher, there is Hop Frog's story (featuring David Bowie)... and so on.

Well, perhaps one cannot write totally objective review/recommendation here if this one is also a fan of Wilson, Reed and Poe... but still. As far as I have been listening to the album, I can say it is special, different... and pretty much artsy. Or at least it tries to be. There are pieces that at first ''glance'' reminded me even on Sun O))), especially when considering spoken interpretation underlined with gloomy soundscape, yet on the other hand, there are also classical rock pieces. Here, I can expose the piece Edgar Allan Poe which is funny and very rocky thingie. So all in all, this album is quite colorful and quite attention dragging. And yes, there are Poe and his attributes pretty much everywhere...

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Här kommer Pippi Långstrump,
tjolahopp tjolahej tjolahoppsan-sa
Här kommer Pippi Långstrump,
ja, här kommer faktisk jag.

So far, I have not written anything on one fact. I have been given a job. As most of the jobs in my artsy professional field, it is a temporary project; yet the fee seems quite nice. And what is my task? I have to travel within Ljubljana-region (which is pretty big) and visit regional meetings of children's theatre groups. Kids as actors, teachers as their theatre directors and so on. I have to sit in the auditorium and watch a row of children's production. Then, I have to talk to keen teacher what they could do better, how the theatre is actually done, what are the basics when creating theatre...

First working trip happened last Wednesday. And yes, it seems already the task will be serious. There is this row of productions to watch; the observation needs to be precise since I am also entitled to do final selection for one bigger regional meeting. Second, I have to teach very keen teachers. Errr... here, some older ladies can prove quite special handle-with-care case when it comes to discussion. Okay, understandable. But it also looks like older grammar-school teachers have not change at all within the last twenty years. All in all, first working day took seven hours. Some time of watching, some time of discussing. And I was tired at the end. Such collaboration whit people, concentration on the words said, discussion... it actually requires lots of special energy. One feels empty at the end. Exhaustion is one charm of working life.

One thing is that I do not work every day. This trip was the only in February. However, in March, those trips will be more frequent, even following one after the other, and I will have to switch various places. It is also okay the work has actually something to do with the thingie I have studied. Well, I would also not mind doing something which does not include dramaturgy... but still. This was offered to me and I accepted the thing; there are not additonal exams required, and my BA is enough.

Since I am dealing with children's theatre, I was also warned that I would soon see many variations on Pippi Långstrump (Pika Nogavička). Too many. Well, Pippi was one of my favorite books when I was even more childish than today and I am happy that she, rebel and feminist role model, is immortal (literally), but nevertheless... Yep, within my first working day, I have already seen one...

Thursday, February 15, 2007


The radio where I occasionally work in Arts and Culture Department has come up with a project on European languages. It seems I will be involved into the project as well; but more on it when there will be actually done something. However, today, a jingle for the project has had to be recorded; kind of advertisement which will try to attract the listener's attention. This is an alternative radio station, so things are always done in a special and by all means recognizable way. Same goes for today's jingle.

Quite some of us radio-collaborators were called, and we all had one thing in common: at least some basic knowledge of one particular European language. More rare as well as more common languages we represented. And we were there only to... curse.

It was very interesting to hear this cursing set of languages, from Serbian, Bulgarian and Hungarian, to Italian and Spanish. Oh, again I found out how Finnish and Hungarian are so very different, despite sharing Fenno-Ugric roots. Anyway, when I uttered my Finnish line, the Spanish representative (non-native speaker) burst out laughing, and asking what the Hell that had been. ''It is beautiful. It sounds like there would not be cursing at all.''

Well, it was also very interesting for me to hear the record of myself while speaking Finnish. Huh, perhaps I should fetch my dictaphone and start practicing this recording? Oh my... and oh my again. I just hope there are not many Finns listening to this radio. When I returned from Helsinki in September, my spoken Finnish was much better, I think. More softer, more proper. Now I mainly read and write. Okay, and I do listen to quite some Finnish-singing bands. Sometimes, I also meet Finnish native speakers that live here in Ljubljana, I do talk, but still... as the overall environment would be the one giving that more proper sound. Ljubljana's Finnish is different that the one I was speaking or trying to speak in Helsinki and elsewhere in Finland.

Here is my cursing contribution. I won't explain the whole jingle-story behind it, since I was only the actor. But I am happy my very basic Finnish skills are slowely getting useful; at least somehow and in some way. Just do not be offended on behalf of the words below... this task was all about languages - and having some fun.

Voi vittu, sä oot yks mulkku jätkä, ihan typerä äpärä, mene ja opiskele suomea, perkele!
Fuck this (oh cunt), you're one fuckin' scumbag, totally stupid bastard, go and study Finnish, devil!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Some days ago, I have had my driving lesson. Thus I have happened to drive by a board. When passing it, I have spotted this big advertisement suggesting people to buy fancy gold jewellery as Valentine's Day gift for their so loved ones. I mean, the design was what disturbed me, the way how it spoke to the potential custumer. Alright, goddamn commercialism. As British punky playwright Mark Ravenhill has found out, life nowdays is all about Shopping and Fucking. And where has true love gone, eh?

First, mind this Andy Warhol here (I like him in general). Second, I won't write much on Valentine's Day; it is imported holiday that has not been celebrated in Slovenia until a few, perhaps ten years ago. Now it is here in all its Western glory. And kitch. But I do not intend to write that I feel pretty much punky about Valentine's Day. Yeah, this Valentine's thingie totally sucks... errr... okay, no fallouts. The board I have seen made me think about gifts. General thoughts I could post at other commercial holidays too. Giving gifts. And getting them.

In a way, yes, I like giving gifts to people. If there is a birthday occasion, or if I travel to somewhere for a visit, or if I return from a trip. Sometimes I give gifts to thank for various nice favours. And sometimes I give small gifts almost... out of the blue. Chocolates, for instance. When buying gifts for birthdays, there is this shop in Ljubljana I like. Fair Trade shop; with the purchase there, one supports poor craftsmen and women from allover the world whereas ecology is also involved. Almost all gifts I have given to my friends within last couple of years where bought from that shop.

Well, I can also give gifts that appear too big. Like more things together. Which could turn embarrassing, sometimes, or it could even be wrongly understood. Hei, I do not want to buy anyone's friendship. It is like... a concept of a present I have in my mind at that particular moment when seeking for it. Then, some things fit together so nicely, for instance. Perhaps difficult to explain.

Still I would agree that less can be much more. It can be only a stone. A letter. A walk. It is the meaning behind the gift that counts; not the gift itself. Depends who, how and why has given the gift, right?

For the end, a bit of some more Valentine-like classics. It seems I just cannot resist posting lyrics lately, but this song totally rules.

Lepa prijateljstva - Happy Valentine's Day - Hyvää ystäväpäivää.

Taste the whip, in love not given lightly
Taste the whip, now plead for me.

I am tired, I am weary
I could sleep for a thousand years
A thousand dreams that would awake me
Different colors made of tears.

Kiss the boot of shiny, shiny leather
Shiny leather in the dark
Tongue of thongs, the belt that does await you
Strike, dear mistress, and cure his heart.
(The Velvet Underground: Venus In Furs)

Friday, February 09, 2007


If you are in the mood, listen to the music of the words below.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Today it was Slovenian Cultural Holiday. Gray, rainy and sleepy. Slightly sad, as Slovenian poets can be. The Holiday is deducated to our gratest poet France Prešeren as he died on this day back in 1849. His heart was broken since he was in love with some fancy girl that did not care about him at all. Well, I guess I understand him. Alright, but for the Cultural Day I will contribute one of my translations from the archive, not to waste it (Kaneli translator wannabie). The poem is a lyrics from the band Verenpisara (Drop of Blood). I like it as I am attracted to the image of water. There must be a strong stroy behind. So I went deeper into the poem. Indeed it was slightly odd, but nevertheless. The lyrics confused me at first... but after consulting some native speakers I happened to met, my assumptions were confirmed. Translating such poems with some very basic knowledge of Finnish is an interesting practice. Poems do use language differently; that makes things even more tricky... and yes, perhaps I will try to translate some genuine Slovenian poetry into Finnish next time.

Sinun tyyneytesi vie voiton kaikesta
Your calmness defeats all
Tvoj mir premaga vse

piirrän eteesi viivan, älä astu sen yli
I draw a line infront of you, do not step over it
Narišem črto predte, ne stopi čez
piirrän eteesi veteen viivan, älä astu sen yli
I draw a line infront of you on the water, do not step over it
Narišem črto predte v vodo, ne stopi čez
kuljetan sinut pintaan, imen vapaaksi ilmasta
I carry you into the surface, I suck free from the air
Popeljem te v gladino, svoboden zajamem zrak
vesi on tyyni, sinun tyyneytesi vie voiton kaikesta
Water is calm, your calmness defeats all
Voda je mirna, tvoj mir premaga vse

puhun sinulle kosketan hiuksiasi
I speak to you I touch your hair
Govorim ti, dotikam se tvojih las
kuljetan sinut pintaan, imen vapaaksi ilmasta
I carry you into the surface, I suck free from the air
Popeljem te v gladino, svoboden zajamem zrak
vesi on tyyni, sinun tyyneytesi vie voiton kaikesta
Water is calm, your calmness defeats all
Voda je mirna, tvoj mir premaga vse

minun kuivakukkani umpeutui, värinä kädestä reidelleni
My dried up flower closed, shivering from the hand to my thighs
Moja suha roža se je zaprla, drget z roke na moja stegna
ruususuu etääntyi tyhjän vihani ympäriltä
Rosey mouth drew away from the soroundings of my empty anger
Rožnata usta so se odmaknila iz okolice moje prazne jeze
tuhkan kevytkenkäiseen tanssiin
Into the loose dance of ashes
V lahkotni ples pepela

Sunday, February 04, 2007


...elin aamuja kun kuuntelin yksin, odotin sumua...
(Verenpisara: Aamunodottaja)

I have had quite an active weekend: there was no proper time to pay serious attention to the Internet until now. On Saturday and today I was cleaning up my room and the living room. A must to do since rats and snakes were about to invade that dust soon. However, I was pretty busy on Friday too... short but nice trip has happened.

So, Friday. There is an errand for me in one small village in Dolenjska-region; Southern Slovenia. Two-hour drive with a bus from Ljubljana. Early morning bus. Oh, I have had to get up very early. I buy the ticket, I buy some fresh pastry, I find my bus. Slightly sleepy. The drive starts. Yet I do not fall asleep; the coffee I drank is strong. I put on the headphones. Listening to my mp3-player's music I stare into the gloomy grayness. Foggy Ljubljana. Yuck, I am so fed up with it. As the bus gets out of the city, sun starts to show its shiny circle through disappearing curtains of the fog. Forests and villages, villages and forests. All of a sudden, change happens. Totally different atmosphere. Feeling of the city is gone. When I put my mp3-player off, I notice the driver has switched the radio station: there is now this goveja muska, Slovenian pop-folk music playing. The last city people get off the bus. I see old village ladies and their husbands entering. I hear the dialect spoken. As the bus would drive some years back in time. When passing another forest, there is hoar-frost. Glittering, so glittering. The bus crosses the river. Wide and slow river in clear morning sun. Mists rising from the water. Dancing mists. Glittering, so glittering. Blissful sunny day is about to begin.

The bus reaches the village where I have to get off. The air is fresh. Cold. I still have some time to wait, so I go for a cup of green tea. To the village bar. In the bar, there is the waitress and one older man. I get my tea; cheaper than in Ljubljana. I think the people in the bar probably wonder a bit where I came from. For some moments, I feel as in Conor MacPherson's play The Weir. Like that I would be somewhere in Ireland, entering sleepy village pub, young stranger from the capital disturbing the locals. Then, another man enters. ''I have seen two wolves on the road,'' the man says. ''I stopped my car and watched them.'' And the people in the bar start to discuss about sheep.

Later that day and after the errand I happen to have a quick sauna. In one nice and fancy SPA nearby the village where those wolves were seen. And when I got home, I just fell asleep.

Some images I have taken...