Author: veniaminrabinovich

Ben isn't sure if this section is meant to be written in 3rd person. Ben likes to go to the cinema by himself. He also likes seeing famous people but not engaging with them. Ben lives his whole life in regret and nostalgia. If Ben could describe himself in one word it would be 'schadenfreude'. Ben is pretty much a whore for topics and will write about anything. Usually all of Ben's posts will be drenched in his neuroses. Writing will be cathartic for him and hilarious for his reader(s). Ben will aim to post at least once a week so...tune in at least once a week. Also Ben is on twitter in case this blog is way too long: @benjyrabs Enjoy.

10 things that every cyclist in London knows to be true

My words. About things with wheels.

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Friday night, drunk couple fight.

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Now, before you start reading this post, I should emphasise that this purely an opportunistic post. No opinion or moral to be taken from this (as if there is something positive to take away from my other posts.) Anyway, something amusing happened on Friday night and it would’ve been too long a Facebook post so I decided to put it here. But here it probably won’t even look that long, but hey as we all know, size doesn’t matter. Except during sex. You have to have a big dick to do the sex.

Anyway.

It’s 2am on a Friday night. I’ve just finished staring at the computer revising when I heard angry screams outside. I approached the window to investigate. The first thing I see is various items strewn across the pavement; a coat, a scarf, a knee high boot and a woman’s handbag. To the left, leaning against a lamppost, was a woman. She did not look happy. With one hand she was strangling the lamppost and holding her bare foot with the other.

“LOOK AT IT! THAT’S BLOOOOD ON MY HEEL. DO YOU BELIEVE ME NOW?!” I look to the right to see who she was screaming at. Standing at a safe distance, was as it turned out, her boyfriend. He looked scared.

“I TOLD YOU. IT’S BLOOD!” She screamed.

“I believe you darling, I’m getting us a cab, we’re going home.” He sounded tired and genuine.

She didn’t think so.

“WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?”

“What? I just said I’m getting us a cab?”

“SAY THAT AGAIN!”

He had no idea what is happening. I had no idea what was happening. Her reaction made absolutely no sense.

“What did I do? I just said I’m going to book a cab.”

“HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT?!”

The guy looked and sounded like someone just smashed him round the head. Genuinely had no idea what was happening.

“Wha? I’m just getting us a cab.” He was now repeating that as if thinking that if he says it enough times he will realise what exactly is driving her bat-shit crazy. I realised before him that anything he said would just make the situation worse. Poor guy.

“WHY DO YOU SAY THAT?” She was bellowing now. Attracting quite an audience from above. The lights were flashing on now like at a disco.

“WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? I AM IN PAAAAAAAAINN!” The guy moved slowly further back. He started speaking slower as well, as if to a child.

“I know. That is why I am booking us a taxi.” It almost sounded like a question.

“FINE BOOK THE FUCKING CAB. JUST BOOOOOK IT!”

“THAT’S WHAT I’M FUCKING DOING.” Now the guy started bellowing. But not to be outdone by the woman, he accompanied screaming with ferocious jumps. He literally leapt up and down in front of her face whilst screaming “THAT’S WHAT I’M FUCKING DOING!” over and over again.

Surprisingly, the woman did not seem to be phased by that. She just stared at him angrily. Finally she decided that she was a strong, independent woman who did not need no man to take her home.

“WHERE’S YOUR FUCKING CAB? WHERE IS IT? I DON’T FUCKING NEED IT. I’M GOING TO GET MY OWN FUCKING CAB!” Picking up her things she attempted to walk away proudly. Sadly, that was made impossible by the fact that she was only wearing one boot. So every other step, she went up by about 4 inches. She looked like she was on a pogo stick.

The guy stared at her for a bit and then caved in and ran after her. A few seconds later, in the distance I heard a faint bellow

“WHERE’S YOUR FUCKING CAB THEN YOU PRICK? I DON’T EVEN LIKE YOU!”

And so close to Valentine’s Day.

Shame.

Living Alone And Going To The Toilet In The Dark.

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I live alone. Out of choice. Honest. This leads to a much more relaxed approach to home life.  Why waste a clean fork when this one looks clean enough and I was the last and only person to use it? I can eat all the food in the fridge without peeling off an angry postIt telling me to “Back the fuck down!!” I can come home whenever and with whoever I want (like that happens all the time)…or don’t want (that happens sometimes) – but that’s another blogpost. I don’t have to worry about being loud or leaving clothes everywhere – I nearly cooked a shirtsleeve recently because it was so near the pan.

However, living alone also has some drawbacks. If I forget keys inside I am fucked. There will be no one to let me in. I would have to go back the parents’ house to pick up the spare set. Now that is not necessarily too bad considering they live in the same city but it is rubbish when you only realise you forgot them upon returning from whatever you were doing. One time I came back with that week’s food shop and only then realised I was locked out. On the tube to my parents’ house, the eggs got crushed, the juice got smashed, and everything else got drenched in egg and juice.

It also can be really dull. I’m a student with a fairly relaxed timetable which means I have plenty of study free time. However, I am also really lazy and don’t like to plan anything, rather, I prefer to lounge around the flat and spontaneously decide to go do something sociable. However, at that immediate moment there is no one in the flat to go for a pint or catch a film. And it takes time for people to come from wherever they are – which is therefore why people plan. Rubbish.

Living alone also means that things that need to be changed or updated probably won’t. Case in point; lightbulbs. I’ve been living in my flat for exactly a year ( I had a flat party with a cake and a candle, no one was invited) and recently most of the lights have been going out.

Two out of three in the living room; no problem! One still works and combine that with the fact that Camden Council STILL hasn’t taken down the street Christmas lights my flat is literally lit up like a Christmas tree.

One lightbulb went out in the bedroom. No problem! Dim room is a sexy room. Ladies love dim room.

Then the only lightbulb in the bathroom went out. There are no windows…no problem! I live alone so just left the door open and let the light from the hall do the job.

For a week that was fine.

Then the toilet door started to close on its own.

First time it happened I was urinating. I heard the door start squeaking like it was a door out a horror film. Everything began to get dark very quickly. Instinctively I turned around to stop the door. This was mid-stream. Nightmare.

Second time (the same day) I was ready. I approached the door. I knew what I had to do. Door, meet door-stopper.

The door was too high up! What a ridiculous design flaw. Who makes the bathroom a few centimetres lower from the rest of the flat?? By then I really needed to pee so all I could do was steady the door, look at it to check it wasn’t moving and then proceed.

I think the door waited for me to relax and get into the full flow of things.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek.

The room started to go dark all over again. The nightmare returns. All I could think of in that moment was a scene from an episode of Blackadder The Third, ‘Amy and Amiability’ where Baldrick talks about the life of a highwayman “Oh, I can’t help it, Mr B.! His life is so dark and shadowy, and full of fear and trepidation!” to which Blackadder retortsSo is going to the toilet in the middle of the night.”

I had a tough choice to make. Do I stay on course and finish the job blind or do arrest mid-stream and put the door in its place?

I decided to persevere with my original mission. The room got darker. I was being tested to my limits; balance, precision, memory, confidence. The room was nearly completely dark now. I focussed on the sound of the splash so if I went off target I would notice a change in sound. Total darkness. Terror, panic.

Finished. Now time to see the results. Door opened. The look back.

Spotless.

Mission completed.

Never again I told myself. Never. Again. The same day I took out the lightbulb, took a photograph of its details (60W) and went to Tesco. No sign of it. Went to Robert Dyas – Success a 60W! I win toilet. I win!

Back at the flat. I rip open the packaging like a present. Get up onto the chair and insert the lightbulb. But it’s the wrong one! I crumble to the floor. A broken man. I was so close. I did everything right. I looked up at the heavens. Why God? Why? The room started to go dark. Was it shock? Was it because the door was closing again? I couldn’t tell what was real anymore.

When I returned to the land of the light and all that is good I wasn’t the same man. A shell of the man I used to be. Weak, resigned to the fact that I would never find this elusive type of lightbulb.

I probably could but I can’t really be arsed anymore. Just propped a law book against the door to stop it. Sure I slip and trip over the book almost every time but it sure beats trying to find the lightbulb.

Also, the light is controlled by one of those chords and not a switch so I don’t even know if the electricity is on or off. So even if I did find the bulb, there would be a 50% chance that putting it in would kill me.

Fuck those odds I’d rather trip over the book or pee in the dark.

Two Morons Go to Russia: “Russia On Four Wheels”, BBC Two, 9:30PM Mon, 20 Jan 2014

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It’s 1am. I don’t necessarily have an early day tomorrow but still most reasonable people are asleep somewhere by now. I, however, did not feel like sleeping. No, I felt like watching something interesting. Clicked on BBC iPlayer to see if they have uploaded anything worth watching. To my surprise there is a programme about Russia. As a Russian man, not necessarily patriotic but at the same time not necessarily apathetic about its plight, I thought it would be reasonable to spend an hour watching a well made BBC programme about my motherland. I was wrong.  ”Russia On Four Wheels” is one hour and 45 minutes of my life I will not get back. The programme itself is actually 60 minutes, however, I had to rewind many times because I simply could not believe what I was seeing and hearing; moments of levity in gulags, jovial interviews with veterans who fought at Stalingrad, mispronunciation of Russian words and much much worse.

Now you may think I’m a bit harsh with the mispronunciation. You’ll exclaim ‘Oh it’s a Cyrillic alphabet and it’s hard to master.’ And I agree with you. In fact, that was my first thought at the 30 second mark, as part of a taster of what was coming up in the series,  Justin Rowlatt (not twat, I checked) looks at the ‘CCCP’ stamp on a car engine and, without a hint of sarcasm, says ‘Cee-Cee-Cee-Pee’ ‘USSR’.

That was the first time I rewound back. 59 minutes and 30 seconds left. At the 5.30 mark this moment is expanded on. Again I hear the excited voice of Justin Rowlatt; ‘Cee-Cee-Cee-Pee’. But now; ‘Cee-Cee-Cee-Pee’, Justin looks up at the camera and says knowingly ‘USSR, USSR’.

He just translated it.

That is when all my polite hesitations turned into disbelief.  Justin, as he was reading out ‘Cee-Cee-Cee-Pee’, clearly thought to himself that he was reading out the acronym in Russian and therefore needed to translate it, for the benefit of the idiots at home. I couldn’t believe it. ‘No!’ I thought to myself, surely it was said so to humorously highlight how people from different countries impose their linguistic presumptions.

But then why would you translate it?

Why would you not go on to say ‘S-S-S-ER’ and THEN translate it?

Now, I had no idea who Justin Rowlatt was until this programme, but I was very quickly beginning to realise that he may have been just about the worst person to ask to do a programme about a country which is so physically, socially scarred and repressed. His jovial attitude, while of course a prerequisite of presenting a television programme, is completely at odds with the content. The man simply has no register.

As he walks into Stalin’s ominously green Villa in Sochi, his own voiceover ticks off Stalin’s atrocities. ‘Under his rule millions died, many of them executed as enemies of State.’  Then once in Stalin’s office he points at a waxwork of Stalin and, like a child in M&M’s world, gleefully says ‘there’s uncle Joe himself.’ Whilst the voiceover continues to narrate Stalin’s reign of terror, skipping over Collectivisation, Justin, being a bit ‘naughty’, goes and puts on Stalin’s coat. As he parades around the office he remarks with a grin ‘makes me feel like a great dictator’. His voiceover just finished stating how tens of millions of people died.

The fact that I have focussed so much upon Justin just shows you how the other presenter’s contribution, the perpetually astounded Anita Rani, is completely forgettable. Having watched the programme twice all I remember about Anita’s half is that she was in a shiny car, kept saying how everything was really big and then went shopping.

In the second half of the programme, the tone of moves from ignorance to pure offensive.

Justin, having travelled to a gulag in Perm, has grown a beard. The cynical in me assumes it is to appear more haggard so as to better blend in with his surroundings and content of narration. His voice again ticks off the   atrocities committed ‘dissidents, human rights activists and journalists…were sent here’.

Cut to:

Justin lying on a bare wooden bench inside camp. For that second (literally a second) he looks pensive, perhaps thinking of something to say which may sound profound or even merely reflecting on the truly awful circumstances  the camp’s involuntary occupiers were in. And then…

“Tired, hungry, and a bit unshaven, I felt a bit like an inmate myself.”

More rewinding. More disbelief. I was speechless. I thought it couldn’t get worse. I thought this programme couldn’t get more crass, more insensitive or offensive. You see where I’m going…

As buildup to the grand finale of inanity, Anita interviews one of the member’s of Pussy Riot. Having concluded the ‘interview’, Anita leans against a wall to reflect upon the encounter.  This is 56 minutes into a 60 minute programme and Anita says ‘For the first time on my journey I am hearing the voice of dissent…from that I take it she means that far from this country moving towards democracy, it’s actually going back!”

Last four minutes and she decides to glaze over what is essentially the most important point in today’s Russia. But as I said, that’s just the build up.

57 minutes into a 60 minute programme Justin thinks it’s a good time to call Anita and see how she is doing. He decides that the best place to call Anita is from a ‘punishment cell’ inside a gulag. I’ll repeat that: He decides that the best place to call Anita is from a ‘punishment cell’ inside a gulag. Amusingly, Anita picks up the phone in a massive shopping centre with a massive chocolate cake in front of her.  Whilst it is obvious this is an editorial attempt to highlight the polarity of Russian history and culture it is done so with the panache of an 11 year old who is convinced he has learnt all that can be learnt about Russia from a tweet.

Before you ask, yes, of course it get’s worse. Anita, having crassly stated she is sitting in the ‘lap of luxury’ and ‘couldn’t be better’ asks Justin where he is. When he replies he is in a punishment cell in a gulag, with the level of excitement someone might have having just bedded a model, Anita in turn smiles and giggles as if Justin just explained to her why the chickens crossed the road.

In the end the telephone exchange perfectly crystallised the tone this programme took; a lighthearted reaction to human