Andrei Navrozov

Andrei Navrozov

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Wednesday’s Child: The Artist at 60

This is essentially a letter from Munich, where my wife and I flew last week – I to celebrate the composer Vladimir Genin’s sixtieth birthday, Olga to take part in a grosse Jubiläumskonzert in honor of the occasion. This took place on Sunday evening in Munich’s Gasteig, incongruously – for anyone familiar with Genin’s music – a modernist monstrosity along the lines of London’s Barbican and the new Seine Musicale in Paris.

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Wednesday’s Child: Letter from London

They say that truth will always out in the end, but the truth is that awls can be hidden in sackcloth for generations.  Take the ordinary umbrella – the kind without a poisoned tip – and tell me honestly if a more ineffectual contraption has ever existed; and yet no wife, mother, or grandmother ever neglects to remind the man of the house to avail himself of one whenever it looks like rain.  In London, of course, it always does. Rain has a mind of its own, which is called wind, and consequently, however large the umbrella, within ten minutes...

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Wednesday’s Child: Voters in Peril

I met Badri Patarkatsishvili once, in a nightclub where I was taken by Boris Berezovsky.  With Berezovsky himself I’d had a cordial relationship going back to the first days of his flight to Britain.  Sasha Litvinenko I also met once, at the famous press conference he gave in London about his book, banned in Russia in 2003 and since 2015 on the Federal Roster of Extremist Materials

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Wednesday’s Child: Casting the Die

Like a young father who can’t keep himself from telling everyone it’s a boy, or – to put a current events spin on it – like Western politicians who have been shown that the arms control agreements they negotiated were unverifiable and never observed by the other side, I’m still reeling from the news I shared here last week.

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Wednesday’s Child: Stranger Than Fiction

I wrote for Tom Fleming for the better part of thirty years.  In all that time, here as elsewhere, I never asked my editor to bless a sketch or an essay that raised the spectre of self-promotion, or for that matter of any other kind of base interest or material gain.  One might almost think I was biding my time, waiting for the right moment to pounce on my readers.  Well, I’m afraid I have some bad news, ladies and gentlemen. That moment has come.

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Wednesday’s Child: Letter from Rome

On the horror of bad restauration. “The leader of all the devilry is of course the United States, which is clocked at an average of one hour and one minute.  In short, in this whole sad sublunary world, only in France, Italy, Greece, and Spain do people spend more than two hours a day in prandial concourse.”

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Wednesday’s Child: To the Flophouse

To begin with I ought to reassure the gentle reader that any resemblance between the title of this post and Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse is purely coincidental, though a literary charlatan in the audience may well argue that, like the pretentious novel, my post “deals with issues of loss, subjectivity, and the problem of perception.”

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Wednesday’s Child: At the Movies

My impression is that 99.99% of all contemporary cinematic output falls into one of two categories. The first, by far the larger of the two, consists of brazenly exploitative commercial products, the medium’s equivalent of the Twinkie Cake or White Cheddar Cheetos, which are made by Hollywood’s lascivious Shylocks to fleece the common man. The second category is unlike the first in that a commercial return on the products of which it is comprised is somewhat less certain, and the reason for this is that they contain artistic pretension as a separate ingredient rather than the way a particular junk...

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Wednesday’s Child: A Latin Sandwich

In some perverse way I’m hoping that our editor will put up today’s post without reading it, because few things are more irritating to a savant than a layman on the prowl in his field of expertise.  Instinctively he reaches for the shotgun loaded with rock salt to teach the trespasser a lesson. I’ve only ever had a year of Latin in adolescence, but living as I do in a country whose language, in Byron’s phrase, is “that soft bastard Latin, / Which melts like kisses from a female mouth / And sounds as if it should be writ on...

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Wednesday’s Child: Fishingate

I used to mistrust Boris Nemtsov, suspecting him of being a sanctioned opposition figurehead, until he was publicly executed on Putin’s orders. It’s quite amazing what martyrdom does for a man’s reputation.  After the Nemtsov assassination I switched my mistrust to Alexei Navalny, who, gallingly, persisted in living as though to show that he cared nothing for my opinion of him.  Yet a recent investigation published by Navalny’s foundation (FBK, or “Fight Against Corruption”) is so delightfully boisterous – so adventurous in delving into subjects no ordinary politician would touch with a bargepole – it has persuaded me that I...