Archive for March 31st, 2009

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Sex Sells – Russian & Ukrainian Pop Music

March 31, 2009

Ahhh – where to begin?

Well, I suppose I should begin with a Parental Warning…..this blog and it’s links will contain some scenes of nudity…..almost to the point of Soft Porn, provocative language……if you understand the Russian lyrics……and has a highly sexual nature to it……..although nothing explicit……..well they are pop videos after all.

Yes, I can hear you know…..WTF??????

Ok…..we all know sex sells…..well sex sells everything except safe sex…..and Russian and Ukrainian pop have mastered this in no uncertain terms.

To be a female pop star, or in a female pop group in either Russia or Ukraine you have to look sexier than the sexiest thing you ever saw that looked sexy!!

You have to wear as little as possible…..if indeed anything……and make love to the camera at any given opportunity.

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A backgound of vocal training or choir membership is completely and utterly irrelevant……but a few years experience of pole dancing will certainly help you in your career.  The ability to dance slightly better than someone being brought back from the dead via a defibrillator on maximum voltage, or being zapped by the entire New York SWAT team with their Tazar’s simultaneously,  is only a slight advantage and in no way can compensate for the looks and actions of a Soft Porn Star.

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Now of course, there are some “serious” pop stars here who do not act like yours is the last spare prick at a very drunken wedding…….and therefore it must be teased to the point where you want to buy their wares…….but they are few and far between.

In fact, dear UK taxpayer……if our very own Home Secretary, Jaquie Smith’s husband could get Russian music channels, your hard earned tax money would not have been used to pay for his porn addiction……and Jaquie Smith’s subsequent expense claim for this from the public purse would never have been made!!!

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Yes…..Ok, if you were married to our Home Secretary, Mrs Smith MP……you’d be watching porn as well.  I can accept that……but to submit your TV porn bill as an expense to be paid by me?……When I didn’t even get to see the damned film?…..

Anyway, returning to Russian and Ukrainian Pop Music, what do I mean?………

Here is a clip from one of the most popular……well I guess the closest category would be, Russian R’n’B acts about at the moment……..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aXr0wesAxQ

That is Potap, featuring Nastia Kamenski…….who unsurprisingly features in all Potap songs…….and videos……of which there are many!!!! 

I actually have to admit I do like Potap……..and certainly like Nastia, even when she has her clothes on!!!

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Well……she’s got some clothes on……unlike the video!!!

What?……..Oh no…….that is not a one off…….here is Army……

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRIr6rIxWg4

……and the very unnecessarily named Via-Gra……

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGXuNksr7ww

So, you can then add the likes of Ani Lorak…….who came second in the Eurovision?????? – Why she entered I have no idea, she is extremely popular here…….but then, for some extremely bizarre reason, the Slavic nations adore the Eurovision Song Contest……maybe dear old Terry Wogan translated well……..I don’t know, but they certainly adore the Eruo-trash of the Eurovision.

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So, as you can see, even if the music is not to your taste, Russian and Ukrainian music channels, even with the sound turned off……is very……um……stimulating for most!!

Eh?……..Oh, yes, of course they have male pop stars and groups….but as normal, it is about brilliant white teeth, a Donny Osmand smile……..no thankfully I don’t remember him…..being masculine and physically fit. 

What?……..Oh sorry girls, here’s Dmitry Koldun…….um……well…..”Working His Magic”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MpfwTAnLTI

Yeh, I know it’s not too bad………did I say it was shit?

Then of course, there is the Russian equivalents of Tom Jones……of which there are a few, like Valerie Meladze……..

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……who like our Tom, is still banging out the tunes!!!

There is something for everyone in Slavic modern music scene……which mirrors that in the west…….even down to the slightly more……eccentric with Verka Serduchka.  Now this star gets a pic and a link……….

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………and not forgetting the link……..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlf6n7IzZYk

What?……..why does Verka get a pic and a link?…………..I know him, that’s why!

Yes, I know it’s favouritism but it’s MY blog….alright!!!

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Banks & Money – Ukraine

March 31, 2009

Well coming up is a surprising statistic……at least if you live outside Ukraine……or Russia, as it was the same when I lived there……relating to money and banks.

Now, I am not going to witter on about the global financial crisis, although my views and remedies would probably be no worse than those who claim to know what they are doing…….but will blog a little about why the Ukrainian banks……all of them……are appealing for people to put their money back into the banks.

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Before we go any further, I feel it appropriate to toss you a very quick and in no way detailed history of banking in these here parts over the past 20 years…..relating to why people are not so trusting of the banks.  This has absolutely nothing to do with the current crisis……..we will come to that.

Firstly, let us look at the 1990’s……..the period when the USSR collapsed and re-emerged as a number of independent sovereign States.

In the early 1990’s…..1991 I think…..but can’t be bothered to check…..Sberbank collapsed together with the USSR.  But it’s only one bank, I hear you say.  Very true…..but throughout the whole of the USSR, there was only one bank, and that was Sberbank……..no, I’m not kidding, it was a 100% monopoly.

Everybody lost absolutely everything they had in the bank…..every single Kopek of it.  Ukraine, even now, in 2008/09, has only just started to implement any form of compensation to those who lost money nearly 2 decades ago……..and so far have coughed up a staggering 200 UAH……about $25 per account thus far……which of course is an absolute insult.

Anyway, this inevitably led to the Private Sector moving into Russia from both within Russia and the international community……for the following to happen…… 

In September 1998, without any warning whatsoever to it’s people, the Russian Ruble was devalued overnight by Russia…….causing the loss in value of savings of 95%.

What, you think I’m joking?

My good lady wife had the equivalent of $50,700 in a bank account in Russia the day before the unannounced revaluation……..the following day it was worth $3000……….. Oh yes, she was very pissed off!!!

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So, now you have a massive population in Russia and Ukraine, who have not only been bitten once…..but for many, twice over the period of the last 20 years…….bringing us up to the situation today.

Now, thus far, there has not been a bank collapse in Ukraine since the financial crisis started…..although that is not to say it will not happen…..even if unlikely. 

What do you mean it is unlikely?

Well, the majority of the High Street names are subsidiaries of major western banks these days……and to gain entry into Ukraine by buying the existing banks here will not have been a cheap process……by any means.  Therefore to withdraw completely from Ukraine will make it very costly to return…..and have to pay those “administrative fees” all over again.

Add to this not being present here, with the Ukrainian court system as it is, there will be next to no chance to recover any loans already made to either company or individual who cannot pay…..for whatever reason…..as it will be a case of “out of sight = out of mind”.

Confidence in the state of the “western bank” which allows it’s Ukrainian subsidiary to go to the wall, at this moment in time, would probably mean a run on the shares of the parent company back in the “West” too…..having both financial and political overtones as the European government of whichever bank would more than likely part-nationalise or have to completely nationalise that bank…..to stop a run on their other national banks……at a cost to it’s taxpayers……who are all, already very pissed off.

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Nicely tangled web eh?

So, anyway, the Russian and Ukrainian people have got used to putting wall safes, floor safes and industrial sized safes…….. the likes of which “Gentle Johnny” Ramensky, who was an infamous Scottish safe-cracker, would have spent more than a few minutes trying to open……in the apartments, houses and offices.

This is not just to keep their money in……here the deeds to your apartment, house, office et al, are held by you and not your lawyer if you fully own them, as many people do……so hence the need for the safe……even if you have very little actual cash!!!

Of course, if you have cash and have a safe……given the banking history of this region and the current global situation……you are very likely to put your cash in your own safe and not risk it in a bank, even if it is one which is not going to collapse, at least until global confidence in banking has returned.

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Add to this……despite Ukrainian banks offering some outstanding interest rates….. 7% on the Euro, 12% on the US$ and 18% on the Ukrainian UAH, if you will lock it into an account for 6 months or more which you will not touch…..the Ukrainian government has decreed you cannot access your money early, whatever the reason for needing it, until your 6, 12, 18 month agreement on that account is fulfilled……in an effort to keep the cash in the banking system.

What?…..Yes, I completely agree…….now is the time to be a supplier of wall, floor and Fort Knox style safes in Ukraine!!!

So, what was the statistic I mentioned at the start of this blog?

I’m glad you reminded me……I do tend to stray a little, sorry…….well, yesterday Oleksandr Suhonaiko, from the Association of Ukrainian Banks, appealed to the Ukrainian public to put their money into the banks……as it would remove the need for loans from the IMF, World Bank, EBRD…..and anyone else who will lend money to Ukraine.

F*ck me!!!……I know that’s what you’re thinking, how much personal cash is held in peoples homes throughout Ukraine then because those international banks have loaned, or will loan a lot of money.

Well, strap yourself in………held in the homes of the Ukrainian people, in cash, is…………

60 Billion US$……..yes, that’s $60,000,000,000…… in cash, hidden under the mattress.

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What?……Bollocks?……Here’s the press release…….

http://www.nrcu.gov.ua/index.php?id=148&listid=88048

Told you………and yes, mine is in a safe at the moment too!!!

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