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Category: Memoirs

YouTube’d memories: Champs-Elysées

YouTube’d memories: Champs-Elysées

All pretense of being seasoned travelers aside, Natasha and I only started to make regular trips abroad in 20021. Our first voyage was to France, with almost a week in Paris followed by a jaunt around Loire Valley castles and French Riviera destinations. We fell in love with Paris on…

The last time I drank vodka

As I mentioned in 25 things meme and probably elsewhere, I defy stereotypes of a Russian being a hard-drinker. I’m very partial to red wine, I order a screwdriver once in a while, I drink beer under right circumstances (such as when watching sporting events or gathering with friends for…

YouTube’d memories: Tum-Balalaika

YouTube’d memories: Tum-Balalaika

In the last couple of years before my emigration from the USSR, I used to frequent the sole Rostov synagogue. Not out of any sort of religious interest, mind you, but purely for social reasons. Perestroika brought some measure of respite to formerly suppressed ethnic identities within the empire, and…

Jumping off a boat

Even a person who never seeks thrills, always drives under the speed limit and avoids the smallest possibility of appearing adventurous can probably name a few “close calls”, situations that had the potential of ending up with unpleasant consequences where it concerned his life and limb. Off the top of…

YouTube’d memories: Careless Whisper

YouTube’d memories: Careless Whisper

I first heard this song not in its original form but as a Russian language “remix” by Sergej Minaev, whose repertoire in the late 80s consisted largely of jocular takes on popular foreign songs. Not translations to any degree, his numbers normally used only a key refrain or an image…

Musical Tiramisu: Bamboleo

YouTube’d Memories: Bamboleo

Quite a few of my selections in this series do not necessarily constitute a specific memory, but rather simply and unfailingly have a positive effect on my mood when I hear them. Here is one such song. I’ve always been partial to Latin music, with acoustic guitar at the top…

YouTube’d memories: Woodpeckers from Space

YouTube’d memories: Woodpeckers from Space

Around the time that I was entering high school, breakdance was all the rage. The guys my age were always trying to outdo one another and impress the girls with their moves in discotheques. Breakdance carried the aura of rebellion – I don’t think that it was officially prohibited, but…

YouTube’d memories: Midnight Dancer

YouTube’d memories: Midnight Dancer

Back to obscure European pop of the ’70s and the ’80s for this series. I’ve been hearing this particular song fairly regularly over the last couple of years, as it features on the Euro collection disk that we like to play in the car on long drives. I have not…

YouTube’d memories: One Way Ticket

YouTube’d memories: One Way Ticket

One of my camp summers happened after I just turned ten, on the Black Sea coast near Anapa. For reasons not exactly clear to me, the placement committee at the beginning of the camp term assigned me to a “force” of mostly 12-year-olds. Thinking back, I wonder if it was…

YouTube’d memories: Lady In Red

YouTube’d memories: Lady In Red

I’ve only noticed in passing that I am not a very willing dancer. At any given party, when the dancing floor becomes the focus of the celebration, I am still more likely to be found at a seat by the table, hopefully with a similarly-minded friend, spending time in idle…

YouTube’d memories: I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight

YouTube’d memories: I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight

Towards the very end of the 80s, Soviet television started incorporating little bits of Western culture into its late-night programming. Among the teenage crowd, Saturday night MTV hit-parade quickly became a must-see event. I’m pretty sure that the charts were European, rather than American, but the difference mattered little to…

YouTube’d memories: Lambada

YouTube’d memories: Lambada

The other day we went with friends for a dinner at a trendy place in Mayfair. The meal itself was exceptional, the company was extraordinary, and live entertainment – first a virtuoso keyboardist and then a belly dancer – made the evening all the more fun. Among the songs played…

YouTube’d memories: Susanna

YouTube’d memories: Susanna

Back to more obscure stuff for the American-born audience, here is a guy who enjoyed a cult status when I was growing up. Aside from being a pretty good crooner – and he could move too – Adriano Celentano starred in several French and Italian movies that were tremendously popular…

YouTube’d memories: Strangers by night

YouTube’d memories: Strangers by night

Following up on a comment by my good friend Artyom, here is an offshoot of one of my favorite Euro-pop bands, Modern Talking. Dieter Bohlen, the blond “backup” of the duo, was actually the composer of all of their material. He also groomed and wrote songs for CC Catch, among…

YouTube’d memories: Imagine

YouTube’d memories: Imagine

As a professed fan of The Beatles, I am actually quite lukewarm towards anything that the Fab Four produced in their solo careers after their break-up. Lennon’s Imagine is probably the closest a song by a former Beatle comes to being a favorite of mine. My most vivid memory associated…