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Cyberabad - May 25th, 2005 [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
ianmcdonald

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May 25th, 2005

The Great Game [May. 25th, 2005|10:06 am]
ianmcdonald
[music |Flower Kings: I am the Sun (yes, I know)]

Top story from today's Indie, and rightly so: http://news.independent.co.uk/world/asia/story.jsp?story=641172

The opening of the Tran-Caucasus pipeline radically shifts geopolitics and is the sacrament (in the sense of an 'outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible change' of US foreign policy. Of course Afghanistan had to be freed from the Taliban (justifying US military bases in neighbouring central Asia). Of course the Georgian Rose Revolution had to be supported (and we got the spectacle of the President who put the George in Georgia on the streets of Tbilisi).

But is it Game Over in the Great Game (the 19th century geopolitical face-off between the rival Empires: Russia and the Raj --one of history's most interesting and under-visited periods, played out in some of the planet's most fabulous landscape --I've had a back-burner idea on this for years) or is the game just beginning? It's a very long, very thin pipe, and that fabulous terrain is very open...

Got my list of panels through from Worldcon, which gives you a handy snapshot of how you're perceived as a writer. Get used to me, dear people. You're going to be seeing a lot of me. Must endeavour to get a different shirt for each panel. (It's a Television thing). Must also endeavour not to shoot my entire repertoire on the first day ( a perennial Con problem).

Former DDR: Stralsund is a rather lovely old Hanseatic city tucked in under the island of Rugen (where Hitler built his Holiday camp at Prora), preserved under concrete by the Socialist government, and with a shit-load (and I mean a shit-load) of money, being peeled open to the light again. The old Nicolaikirche has some of the most stunning interior woodwork and wall-painting (more like a Hindu temple than a house of Yahweh) that I have ever seen, from the early medieval (there's a fantastic Old Norse carving form Viking Novgorod) to High Baroque.

Germany does not muck around with redevelopment: the old roads are rather odd flat concrete cobbles about the side of the palm of yer hand: simply won't do for Mercs and Beamers, so they just slap a two-lane black top beside the old, and that's yer cycle way. There are hundreds of kilometres of new roads, new housing developments: the feeling seems to be (from the Westies at least) we've rebuild this country twice already in a century, we can do it again, so if we have five million unemployed and Blair is gloating about weak Germany and the might of the UK economy (really? What has it done for me lately?, Germany will always bounce back.

Stayed in Nisdorf --a tiny little hamlet with a pleasing amount of Old Ossie agricultural debris in Big Reinforced Concrete. Semtex won't shift this stuff. The old schloss (under the DDR, a shop and school) has been turned into a very nice, very spacious, very bright and welcoming semi-self-catering centre (nice bike hire too). Just a spit from the Ostsee (as the Baltic is locally known). And people bike everywhere --it's so flat and the weather is pretty reliable. Some of the old roads have been closed to vehicular traffic and are only open for foot, bike and horse and cart (saw a couple). On some of the islands, cars are forbidden altogether and we proceed at a more 19th century pace.. and I rather like that). Sort of like Sark. Or Ireland fifty years ago --like Ireland, the people here stop and say good morning to you. Everyone's got their garden vegetable patch. The deer leap through the fields, the eagles soar, the hares bound and overhead the wind turbines turn. It's like the day after the last drip comes through the BTC Trans-Caucasus pipeline.

German breakfasts: hooray! A nation on the Atkins diet. Not liking sweet food (sugar is predominantly the flavour of UK breakfasts) and cereals, how nice is to have meat! Cheese! Fish!

(Okay, it'll be a month working it off...)
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You'll never walk alone [May. 25th, 2005|09:51 pm]
ianmcdonald
David the uber-boss at Extreme on Monday did declare to al lin the office, 'God wants me to go to Istanbul'. (God being a scouser.) Picked up an Turkish Airlines flight, then blags a ticket off a Liverpool fan in Istanbul, and the jammy bastard has just had one of the greatest night's footie (whatever happens) in the history of the game.

Sometime, you get so lonely, supporting Man City... (but it's character forming)
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Norren Iron humour [May. 25th, 2005|11:08 pm]
ianmcdonald
Knock knock

Who's There?

David

David Who?

Ach, politics is such a hard game...
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