Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Odds & Sods

by Sven Triloqvist Sun Jan 10th, 2010 at 10:58:41 AM EST

I am definitely not poemless. But I greatly admired her weekly magpie collections that were dropped into a nest of spying on life. Here comes an imitation...Odds and Sods.

What the Puck?

Kipper blinded by laser

Canadian broadcaster CBC  states that a supporter tried to blind goalie Miikka Kiprusoff with a laser during a match last night in Vancouver. CBC broadcast the game as part of its traditional Hockey Night in Canada. Kiprusoff's mask was targeted by a green laser beam during the second period. CBC located it as coming from close to the Calgary bench.

Nobody threw anything at my childhood hero Stanley Matthews. Not even money.

3.7 million dollar coin

A 1913 Liberty Head nickel is one of only 5 known to exist. This one was formerly part of Egyptian King Farouk's collection. It was sold at auction in Florida.

Farouk was part of my growing up too. Poncing around in his tarboosh - or fez. And then there was Tommy Cooper. "Just like that".

Tommy made a career out of magical incompetence. He also appears in `Give peace a chance': The original last verse of the song refers to: "John and Yoko, Timmy Leary, Rosemary, Tommy Smothers, Bobby Dylan, Tommy Cooper, Derek Taylor, Norman Mailer, Allen Ginsberg, Hare Krishna".

And now all the bankers can say is `Give money a chance'

Treason is everywhere

Beefeaters `gave secret £50 tours of crown jewels'

"He could see there was a lot of money and said he'd walked around the Casemates [where the Beefeaters live] and seen expensive cars. One Beefeater had a top-of-the-range Mercedes SLK. The frequency of the private tours was getting silly -- every night -- and the governor said he knew certain things were going on."

The Tower ravens are about to leave in disgust. Legend has it that when the ravens leave, the monarchy and the kingdom will fall.

The slow death of the British pub.

With 50 pubs closing every week you would think that love affair was well and truly over. We are living through a time of unprecedented disaster for the public house, something that foreigners think is culturally and architecturally unique to Britain. The question is whether we care -- I think we do -- and whether there is anything we can do to save those centres of community life before they slide into oblivion.

The England I knew 40 years ago is long gone. Finland is the closest thing to it, which is probably why I am so happy here. And we still have trams.

All Helsinki crammed in a tram

A muslim, seven widows, as many unemployed persons, 18 wealthy types, and a couple of football teams of pensioners. They and many more would all fit on board if Helsinki were to be packed like a microcosm into a standard city tram.

There would be 93 women among the company. That makes 53.14% of the 175 passengers who can be squeezed into a Helsinki tram, and there is nothing new about it: the capital Helsinki has always had more females than males on the register. Women live longer, for a start, and they also move to the cities more eagerly than do men. At one time women used to come to the towns as maids "in service", while the men stayed behind with Mum (and under her thumb) and went to work on the land.

Education - latest Finnish export product

"No new Nokia is emerging in Finland, so in this economic situation we need to search creatively for sectors which could bring employment and generate income. Export of education could easily develop into its own export business", says Heljä Misukka, Political Secretary of State to Minister of Education Henna Virkkunen (Nat. Coalition Party).
      There is no shortage of demand. The Ministry of Education itself has been contacted from around the world.

Saudi Arabia, for instance, would have wanted to buy training for 300,000 employees of the state and state-owned companies.
      "These are such massive projects that no organisation or educational institution would be capable of meeting such demand", Misukka says.
      The project would have been worth millions of euros.

Helen referenced and article about Finnish emigration (her PNing is understandable: the English article is a translation of one that appeared in Finnish)

Finnish expats stay in orbit

Finnish migration statistics show an interesting trend. Those leaving Finland are primarily Finns. Immigrants are mainly foreigners. Moving out of the country accelerated when Finland joined the EU. In the 21st century economic globalisation accelerated, and a new wave of internationalisation swept over Finnish companies. When a Finnish company moves its factory to China or establishes a sales office in Brazil, Finns are desired there as managers - at least at first.
      Finnish expatriates sent abroad by the companies that they work for currently number between 20,000 and 30,000, says Anna Iskala, editor-in-chief of the journal Expatrium, aimed at Finns abroad.

Many Finns live abroad for other reasons as well. Some study, some do it for love. There are Finnish missionaries and there are beach bums. According to official estimates, about 250,000 Finnish citizens live outside of the country - nearly as many as there are Swedish-speakers living in Finland.
      The number has grown with each consecutive year since 1992. In the past decade, about 10,000 Finnish citizens moved abroad each year, according to Statistics Finland. Between a few hundred and two thousand fewer have returned.
      "I am concerned that educated people are staying abroad", Iskala says. "They should be enticed to bring their know-how and their experience back here."

The export of Finnish talent has been a long history, going back to the late 1500s.


The Hakkapeliitta were well-trained Finnish light cavalrymen who excelled in sudden and savage attacks, raiding and reconnaissance.

They served the Swedish king against Poland, Russia and later against Germany in the 30 years war. Their other skills included rape and pillage: the iconic nazi blond is rumoured to have been the result of the genetic gifts of the Finnish cavalrymen in Northern Europe.

The greatest advantage of the fast and lightly-armored Hakkapeliitta cavalry was its charge. They typically had a sword, a helmet, and leather armor or a breastplate of steel. They would attack at a full gallop, fire the first pistol at twenty paces and the second at five paces, and then draw the sword. The horse itself was used like another weapon, as it was used to trample enemy infantry.

Note for equestrians: The horses used by the Hakkapeliitta were the ancestors of the modern Finnhorse; despite their small size they were strong and durable.

No odds and sods would be complete without a flash of sex appeal.

Charlotte Gainsbourg: 'I had no idea how scared I was of dying'

In person, Charlotte Gainsbourg is exactly as I imagined her. Gamine, quietly stylish, slightly otherworldly, she epitomises a certain kind of ultra-refined contemporary cool that is a world away from the Hollywood ideal of stardom or beauty. At 38, she remains an unconventional beauty, and in a certain light is a dead ringer for the young Patti Smith as immortalised by Robert Mapplethorpe. Someone should cast her soon in the biopic.

I forgot the obligatory pic:

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Jan 10th, 2010 at 11:31:05 AM EST
an interesting collection.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jan 10th, 2010 at 12:31:19 PM EST
Any thoughts on the decline of pubs?

A number of the ones closed here seem to be correlated with the decline of large employers in the area. Once that nucleus of people has fragmented then various other factors seem to bite more...

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sun Jan 10th, 2010 at 12:52:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are several reasons.

Even the cheapest pub is becoming very expensive compared to drinking supermarket hooch.

However, the economics of running a pub are cockeyed. there is practically no money is selling beer or any alcoholic drinks. Money now is made by selling soft drinks and food. Eg Wetherspoons are almost entirely dependent on food.

Also, pub management companies are effectively in a short term milking exercise. They insist that their landlords buy the booze they supply, but they sell it at such a markup that, although they themselves make a profit, the landlord is rendered uncompetitive because rivals can buy their beer more cheaply.

Fashions have changed. People are going off the mass produced heavily advertised nonsense. Real ale sales are increasing markedly, but it's a market that most pubs cannot compete in because the managed companies odn't have access to good beers. also, looking after real ale is an art that requires commitment and enthusiasm. If you haven't got it, don't even try.

Pubs are expensive. Or at least pubs in good positions are. You can buy pubs with no obvious market at a knock down price where if you have a market that might be developed you can do wonders.

But just remember if you make something happen, other people will come in and freeload on your hard work. I sw that in Cambrdige over Xmas, where an area was simply over supplied with good pubs following the long steady work by a couple of pubs that had built up a real ale clientele over time. Now nobody is making a living anymore cos the market is over saturated.

It's difficult to create variety cos live music and discos have been clamped down upon. I can understand trying to avoid noise nuisance late at night, but the authorities have gone over the top and now any pub that does music suffers terrible bureaucracy. So you can't experiment with the occasional folk pub, or rock club or blues night.

Pubs that do good beer in towns don't go bankrupt. But a brilliant pub in a village can easily die if people don't turn out. Pubs arne't just for friday and saturday, they're for all week. But drink driving laws, excessive work and low-ish pay means people just don't go out so much anymore. The times of manual labourers going out and having a few pints of mild every night are long gone. almost nobody can afford that anymore. Or they drink at home in front of the TV.

After all, people can't even afford to buy a house or rent a property anymore. you can't start a family, everybody's life is on hold. Going to the pub is a luxury the young don't really indulge. they go to the very happy hour drinking factories the politicians are always slgging off, never accepting that they are the ones who left them with no choice.

Frankly, the only place where the pub remains the heart of the community is in soap poeras. they reflect a lifestyle that hasn't existed for 30 - 40 years.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jan 10th, 2010 at 04:00:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've never quite understood what value "management companies" add to the pub experience that can justify their enormous overheads.  It's not as if a management pub chain is an essential "branded experience".  People don't call themselves Wetherspoons people the way they might consider themselves to be Guinness drinkers or even McDonalds burger eaters.  So why would a "managed pub" have a competitive advantage over an independent pub especially if punters are looking for a social experience rather than a commodified one?

A pint and the telly seems to be the most popular form of leisure nowadays, with people going to pubs only because of the high cost of Sky sports in your own home.  It's a very precarious way for a pub to make a living because the added attraction of a meal/drink out over a take-out meal/drink in may not be enough to justify the added costs a pub must bear especially when times are hard.

When eating/drinking out becomes an event for a special occasion only, you don't need a high density of outlets to service the demand.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jan 10th, 2010 at 08:13:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Colorado Springs, you can't turn around without running into a pub. Not exactly the same as a UK pub, but similar: Owned by a brewery, only serving one brand, regular customers... Here are some within a couple of miles of my house.

Bristol Brewing:


Phantom Canyon:

by asdf on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 11:11:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]

  1. Saw Stanley Matthews play at Filbert Street in a match Blackpool won against Leicester City in the winter of '59-'60. He dribbled down the wing and the defenders were so in awe they didn't try to stop him.

  2. Charlotte For Ever!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 10th, 2010 at 12:35:16 PM EST
That is a great memory!

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Jan 10th, 2010 at 12:46:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I should be flattered.
And yet, I am not...

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 02:07:37 PM EST
Aw poemless, you know we love ya.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Jan 11th, 2010 at 06:23:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Should anyone be looking for the real thing...

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Tue Jan 12th, 2010 at 03:04:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Real in what way? )

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Jan 12th, 2010 at 03:09:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]