Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Черная дама

I was the only one in my year doing Russian for General Studies A-Level. Two lessons a week. In the second year of it I started boycotting these lessons. Not because I was bunking off or doing anything especially political: I was dead bored with them so I'd spend my time in the library or in a corridor working on the other stuff. One day the teacher, a dead nice bloke who's name I have shamefully forgotten, bumped into me.

"Can you come along to one of your Russian lessons? I've been telling the Lower Sixth that you exist and they don't believe me."
We got to talking about why I wasn't turning up. I had a bit of a rant:
"I've done five years of Longmans Russian. I'm fed up of Seryozha and Natasha and their jolly Uncle Vanya and his hedgehog joke. I'm sick of Grigor and Tanya and their holidays in Tbilisi and their stopping off at Gum to get half a kilo of sausages and two apples. I can't be doing with it." 
"So you want to read something real then?" 
"You like reading crime stories, don't you?" 
Which is how we got to reading Pushkin's "The Queen of Spades." And even though we struggled a bit with the rules of Faro (we should have watched the film as well) it was a pretty good experience. Sadly, my Russian's rusty beyond measure these days  (I can just about pick out what the Russian characters are saying in the Swedish detective programmes before reading the subtitles).


Gadjo Dilo said...

Hedgehog jokes, potty uncles, popping down the road for a pound of sausages (and sub Blackpool for Tbilisi)..... didn't it all sound cosy and familiar to a Lancashire lad!?

Kevin said...

That was part of the problem: Gum in Moscow looked like the big Woolworths in Manchester on a slow Wednesday.

Pat said...

Gosh! Imagine being able to read 'War and Peace" in it's original form.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Pat: I wish! :)