2007-12-11

Q and A with East Ethnia

So, did you finally get your phone service?

Amazingly enough, I was ready to give up, to send a note to my friends at BT saying thanks for your effort but they were not sufficient to overcome your compulsion to constant repeated failure and let's drop it, I don't want to be your customer after all. Then I got back from my weekend away, and lo and behold, there was a working phone line in my flat! On a Sunday night, which means somebody worked after 5 on a Friday! Not a drop of the promised internet, but a working phone line, yes.

A weekend away? You did not simply stew in your misery?

Stew in my misery indeed. Friends from Leicester came to London where we watched a thoroughly mediocre theatre performance with friends from Canada, followed by a fine Turkish dinner. Then I made my first trip out of London to spend the weekend with them. Many gastropubs were sampled. The castle of Lady Jane was visited. There were places Azra would have enjoyed and places Lajoš would have enjoyed. Wine was drunk. Conversations were dragged out. It was delightful. A boy cannot do battle with bureaucracy day in and day out, you know. Harumph.

Gastropubs, you say?

It's some sort of English cultural thing. They're pubs, but they are operated by gastroenterologists. The effect on the customer is strangely reassuring.

You are getting a reputation as a battler with bureaucracy. Is this deserved?

It is undesired. What can I say, normal people get smacked with a hammer in the head, they fall unconscious. In me it awakens this nagon of persistence that must always be lurking behind my usual sybaritic laziness. This is probably a personality defect. Pure laziness would doubtless make me a more attractive human being. But then, without it, I would not have spent ages trying to figure out turbofolk, or three days making cassoulet, or most of the other things that are in the end sources of pleasure.

Dismissive of so many victories?

As my grandmother would say, victories schmictories, maybe it would kill them to do their job right.

So, is this it? Are your bureaucratic sagas done with, and can we hope that at some point you will give us something interesting to read?

This bureaucratic saga is not done with yet , sadly. I have a phone but no broadband. Then there is the whole matter of my seething dissatisfaction with Barclays bank. But I do sense an end to it, indeed. And this may do it for a while, but there will be additional bureaucratic treats for faithful viewers of Eastethnienders in the near future, including:

  • Getting visas and entry clearance for the rest of the family, and a nice British job for one distinctly non-British worker
  • Bringing a doggie onto this island which proudly claims (on the Defra web site, no less) to have been "rabies-free for a thousand years" (q.v. Miroslav Krleža)
  • Enrolling one brilliant girl into one excellent secondary school

But yes, indeed, I will promise you more material on Balkan politics. Heaven knows it is more fun to be known for writing about that than for whining about feckless agencies and corporations.

So, all this complaining, do you even like the UK?

Like it? The pubs have "guest ales." There is fresh salmon on every corner. The halal butchers have delicious lamb (shanks! get shanks!) and the posh ones have tasty critters every day. The comical radio broadcasts leave me delighted on a regular basis. There are dramatic radio broadcasts based on the Russian revolution in which the proletarian characters are given Northern accents ("Ere come the effin Mensheviks, blimey!"). There are fascinating things to read over people's shoulders on the Tube. How could I possibly fail to like the UK?

Well, all right then. Hope you will do.

Appy to do. Cheers, mate.

2 comments:

Owen said...

"So, all this complaining, do you even like the UK?" You're clearly one of us already, and you haven't even got started on the banks!

Yakima_Gulag said...

ere come the bleeding Menševiks! ROTFL, now they are DEFINATELY kicking me out of this internet club !