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Having Fun! / Re: are the British imperial days romanticised?
« on: February 25, 2019, 02:27:55 PM »
I guess there is appeal in the image of an Old English summer. Sunshine and the sound of leather on willow, the cask of Crudgington's 4X Bitter, an urn of tea, and cucumber sandwiches.

You always hear about the English and tea and crumpets but why are the English way of them considered special?

Notice that it's the upper-class haunts (and middle-class dreams) of rural Southern England that feature in these romanticisings, not the industrial working-class Northern England.

Regarding cucumber sandwiches Wikipedia says this:
The popularity of the cucumber sandwich reached its upper-class zenith in the Edwardian era, when cheap labour and plentiful coal enabled cucumbers to be produced in hotbeds under glass through most of the year.

During the Edwardian era, the butter used in England (also for cucumber sandwiches) increasingly came from the expanding and export-focused Danish dairy industry, a process which was part of Denmark's economical, political, social and cultural reorientation after the devastating defeat to the Prussians in 1864.

Scandanavian Royal Families / Re: King Carl XVI Gustav and Queen Silvia
« on: February 19, 2019, 03:56:18 PM »
I'm watching a Swedish portrait interview with Queen Silvia (Queen Silvia at 75 looks back, with Claes Elfsberg from STV) with discussion about her background, and I'm getting a more nuanced picture of her family's infamous past:

The factory in Berlin which her father Walther Sommerlath bought very cheaply in an Aryanisation process in the late 1930s, belonged to a Jew called Efim / Ernst Wechsler, who was born as a subject of Alexander III, in the pogrom-ridden Chișinău / Kishinev in Bessarabia, modern Moldovia, and who emigrated to Germany ca. 1900. He was able to emigrate to Brazil before WW2 and escape the Holocaust with his family, perhaps partially because (not Silvia's claim, but my speculation) he was compensated for his factory with Sommerlath's parts in a Brazilean coffee plantation and other land in Brazil. Here is his Swedish Wikipedia page.

Queen Silvia's two homelands, Brazil and Germany, were actually at war during WW2. Her mother's brother served as a surgeon in the Brazilean expeditionary force in Italy, who fought on the Allied side in the Battle of Monte Cassino etc. He survived, but never talked about it. (In general, Silvia's upper middle class family never talked about anything "bad".) Her mother suffered from severe depression during Silvia's childhood and youth, partially from the stresses brought on by WW2, when her land of birth and the adopted homeland she came to live in, were at war.

I saw a clip of him striding down the corridors of the Kremlin, with band music playing and servants opening doors for him as he approached.   I could easily see a Tsar getting the exact same reception.

In a German documentary about the (second) German Empire I heard something interesting about the similar German Ersatz monarchs: Already during the reign of Wilhelm II the deposed Bismarck was the shadow monarch (regarded by many as the more competent statesman), then during WW1 Ludendorff and after the abolition of the monarchy Hindenburg as president. Hitler combined the roles of organic national leader, visionary statesman and official political leader in the role of Führer.

A short while ago I read that Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna Romanova would like the rules of accession altered so that her son Michael can marry for love.
Who is the authority that she could appeal to?

According to the Fundamental Laws of 1906, a change in the Fundamental Laws' rule about Ebenbürtigkeit would require the ratification of both the ruling monarch, the State Duma and the State Council of a restored Russian Empire. So no formally valid way of going about that untill the monarchy is restored. Informally she could probably get away with it if the Orthodox Church gave its blessing, Putin his tacit approval (by attending the wedding) and the bride was a Russian. But allegedly Grand Duke Georgiy Mikhailovitch's girlfriend is an Italian.

Having Fun! / Re: Youtube favourites. (NON-Romanov & Royality videos)
« on: February 05, 2019, 05:24:18 PM »
Soviet nostalgia with wonderful 1980s symphonic movie music ("Concerto de Berlin") by Romanian-French composer Vladimir Cosma:

Fantastic Italian version of the infamous Cabaret song "Tomorrow Belongs To Me" with better lyrics and images from the Lord of the Rings movies: The song is an unofficial anthem of the Italian neo-fascist alt-right.

Scandanavian Royal Families / Re: Swedish Jewels
« on: February 05, 2019, 10:09:19 AM »
The main Swedish crown jewels have not been stolen, but a funerary set of crown jewels from the grave of King Karl IX and his Queen Kristina of Holstein-Gottorp in Strängnäs Cathedral. But they are precious objects of gold, silver etc.
See here for a picture and more information:

The missing crown jewels have reportedly been found in a garbage bin in a Stockholm suburb.

Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill!

Yes. And a way for Greeks, both from the parties in power and the opposition, to make a political show of national pride in a world where Greece has very little control of the circumstances it finds itself in. What I find interesting is the context where the ancient name of Macedonian first was applied to a diverging Bulgarian dialect 200-150 years ago. Several of the Slavicists and philologists engaged in this had links to Russia. The Greeks didn't take too much notice of this in the 19th century, as the area today known as Greek (Southern or Lower) Macedonia didn't become part of the Kingdom of Greece untill 1913. But the way Orthodox South Slavs speaking rather diverging Bulgarian dialects assumed the name of the famous ancient Macedonians parallells how a mixture of Greek-speaking Rhomioi (i.e. Romans, i.e. Byzantine Greeks), Albanian-speaking Arvanites, recent Slavic-speakers and Romance-speaking Vlach Orthodox further south came to define themselves as Greeks / Hellenes and ethnic successors to the Ancient Greeks at the same time.

So, Greece has finally agreed to a compromize with Macedonia in the Macedonian naming dispute. Macedonia, which previously was forced to call itself FYROM (Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia) will now be allowed to call itself Northern Macedonia, provided they change all signs, money etc. at great cost and stop referring to Thessaloniki as Solun. I think it's so small-minded and ridiculous on Greece's part that we should refer to the Greek Republic as FOEMPYVS - the Former Ottoman Eyalet of Morea, Pashalik of Yanina and Vilayet of Salonica.

Having Fun! / Re: Youtube favourites. (NON-Romanov & Royality videos)
« on: December 17, 2018, 01:21:58 PM »
Enticing campfire rendition from some right-wing summer camp in the 1970s:

BTW while researching this I happened upon this recent German TV report about a so-called 'Anastasia cult' from Russia that had adherents in Germany: Basically eco-fascism worshipping a blond goddess called Anastasia:

Having Fun! / Re: Youtube favourites. (NON-Romanov & Royality videos)
« on: December 17, 2018, 12:40:56 PM »
Catchy anthem of the emerging right-wing populist movement in Europe?

Marching song of the Greek Chrysi Avgi - Golden Dawn party: Οι τελευταίοι πιστοί - The Last Faithful Ones:

(The song as meme culture:

I became very enamoured with this song and wondered where it came from? Turns out it's an adaption of an Italian hommage to the heroes of the anti-Communist uprising in Hungary in 1956: (Avanti) ragazzi di Buda - (Forward) Boys of Buda:

Apparently it was written by the broadcaster Pier Francesco Pingitore in 1966 and has been in use by various neo-fascist football hooligan groups, most notably supporters of Lazio. Rocked-up version:

Fascinating how a hommage to the anti-Communist resistance in Eastern Europe now becomes a rallying song for those who align themselves with the stance on mass immigration of these countries of the Visegrád Group.

Having Fun! / Re: The Enid Blyton Thread
« on: December 11, 2018, 02:57:19 PM »
(Whereas the British have had so many: Lewis Carrol, Charles Dickens, A.E. Milne, C.S. Lewis, Rudyard Kipling, Beatrix Potter, Roald Dahl etc.)

Can't believe I forgot J.K. Rowling for that list!

Having Fun! / Re: The Enid Blyton Thread
« on: December 11, 2018, 06:07:09 AM »
In Germany, Enid Blyton is HUGE, and they continued some of her series with German writers.

Which is ironic, considering that Ms. Blyton was British.

British culture is in its basics a unique blend of German (Germanic) and French (Romance) culture, just like the English language. Besides, there is in Blyton's work, as I've noted earlier in this thread, a perverse whiff of proto-fascism, the Übermensch and a rigid caste system. I'm not saying that Germans were deliberately seeking this out, rather that they in the postwar years came upon a popular writer of children's literature whom they trusted, as a Briton, to have "sound and democratic" values. But the reason why she appealed to them, besides writing a children's equivalent of mass-produced orgy porn, might have been her decidedly right-wing perspectives. Something she, as a writer on the victorious Allied side could be allowed to, but German writers couldn't, so their books were boring. (Read Siegfried Lenz's Deutschstunde, The German Lesson, for an entertaining discussion of this pedagogic issue.)

Do note I write this as someone whose political ideas some people would brand right-wing and right-radical. Besides not wanting to kill people and abolish democracy it's one of the ways I know I'm not a fascist: That I love many of the books the fascists burned. But it takes a better writer than Enid Blyton to write things that are good, true and beautiful. Thomas Mann is a great German example, but the Germans have had very few such writers of children's literature after the Brothers Grimm. (Whereas the British have had so many: Lewis Carrol, Charles Dickens, A.E. Milne, C.S. Lewis, Rudyard Kipling, Beatrix Potter, Roald Dahl etc.)

I'm more amazed she was popular in France. But there are a lot of hidden, unexpected strains in French society, among them a very rigid class system which parallells British society as featured in Blyton's books very well.

Having Fun! / Re: The Enid Blyton Thread
« on: December 11, 2018, 10:53:32 AM »
In Germany, Enid Blyton is HUGE, and they continued some of her series with German writers.

I find it interesting to compare her work (which I'm only familiar with through the Famous Five series) with Ehm Welk's contemporary "Die Heiden von Kummerow", which I only know from the BRD-DDR co-production movie: Even though Welk's novel and the movie focuses on a whole community (seen through children's eyes) and Blyton only on a group of children, both seem strangely exotic today: The children's world as sharply divided from the adults' world, an adventurous, unsupervized free-range outdoors world (where expensive toys count for very little), violent and proto-fascist but also staunchly oppositional and unculturedly barbaric - most poignantly expressed in how die Heiden, the heathens (i.e. children) of the Pomeranian village recreate the traditional spring bath whereby the original Slavic inhabitants of the village resisted Christianisation.

Before 1968, perhaps "childhood" was that "strange land" / other place which youth / teens later became and still is.

Having Fun! / Re: Russian Music
« on: November 23, 2018, 06:26:33 PM »
The haunting theme song Прекрасное далеко (Beautiful far-away) from the Soviet children's science-fiction TV series Гостья из будущего (Visitor from the Future) from 1985:
I suppose time travel had somewhat other connotations in the Soviet Union than in the West. As you can see from the stills in the beginning of the video the mysterious woman from the future looks eerily similar to Grand Duchess Olga Nikolayevna in the 1914 official portrait. The boy protagonists even follow her to the basement of an abandoned house, where there is a door to the future....

Having Fun! / Re: Russian Music
« on: November 22, 2018, 07:53:21 PM »
Soviet singer Igor Sklyar, who looks like a young Leonardo DiCaprio, singing about going to Komarovo, a seaside resort on the Karelian Isthmus outside St. Petersburg where Peter Carl Fabergé, Mathilda Kschessinska and Anna Vyrubova had dachas before the Revolution, when it was Finnish and known as Kellomäki / Келломяки:

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