Moscow Photo Walks

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Photos and texts by David Mercer  - https://www.facebook.com/groups/moscowphotowalks/

Are you tired of doing the same thing every weekend? Do you like spending time with friends and meeting new people? Do you have an interest or want to learn more about photography? Do you like to travel and experience new things? If you said yes to any one of those questions then Moscow Photo Walks is a club for you.

Moscow Photo Walks is a club for adventuress people who love to travel, meet and socialize with all types of people who also have some type of interest in photography. We meet every weekend in different locations throughout the city and go for walks exploring and making photographs of the local environment. For example, one of our walks was from Gorky Park to Moscow State University.
In addition to the photo walks, we also have monthly excursions outside the city. These excursions are either one-day trips to a location near Moscow or an overnight trip to a Golden Ring City. Our last one-day trip was to Pereslavl’-Zalesskiy. Pereslavl’-Zalesskiy is a beautiful city located about 2.5 hours from Moscow with many notable architectural highlights and museums.

Moscow Photo Walks is a club for everyone, whether you want to travel, improve your photographic skills, or just socialize and explore the country we live in. It is easy to get involved so if you would like to join us on one of walks or excursions just go to our Facebook page to check our schedule of upcoming events. https://www.facebook.com/groups/moscowphotowalks/

 

Gorky Park

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By John Harrison and Kim Waddoup

Whatever one’s views of Russia are: whether you love it, hate it, have a love-hate relationship or are simply indifferent, there are some things that are difficult to deny have been done pretty well here. One of them is Gorky Park. We took a walk with Maria Ivanova, one of the park’s managers and asked here to tell us more about this piece of urban horticultural planning.

As we walked past the main gates, Maria outlined the park’s history:

“In 1928, the basis for Gorky Park as we know it today was constructed after an agricultural exhibition that was held here in 1923. The main entrance was built in 1955, but it has never been open to the public before June of this year. Now we have a museum there and an 18 metre high viewing point, which gives you a pretty amazing view of Moscow. The park has expanded since then and now includes Neskuchny Sad, which used to be a residency and grounds for aristocrats, then the grounds of the Golytsin hospital, and a vast new area in Vorobyovy Gory which we are actively improving now.

“The park has been going through a process of renovation since 2011, and work is on-going. The central part of the park has changed considerably from what it was in 1990s, when entrance was not free like it is now. Four years ago the whole concept was changed, and work began. The concept for the present layout of the park was developed by LDA Design from London.”

Passing one of the yoga centres (there are no specially designed yoga centres in the Park but there are places where yoga classes are being held as well as other activities), we asked Maria about the number of visitors and the people who organise events and classes in the park. “14 million people visited last year, up from 2 million in 2010” Maria said. “The park is used by a huge variety of groups, from yoga schools to Moscow University’s School of Journalism. We welcome ideas for events. Basically when somebody comes up and says: ‘I want to do an event’, we meet with them and engage our own team of creative people, who help them put it together, because it has to follow the concept of the park. It can’t be too commercial, it has to be educational, cultural, interesting, and appeal to people of all ages. The park is for everybody, but we don’t let people come here and simply to promote their business.”

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As we turned a corner, we came up to the Golytsin Pond, which, like everything here, has its own legend, which Maria told us about: “The Bolshoi Theatre used to perform Swan Lake on the island in the middle of the pond. We would love to invite the Bolshoi back to do the same thing again, but we can’t because in the mean time, a lot of birds and animals have made their nests and homes on the island. It is their home, not ours”.

Then on to the rose gardens. We couldn’t help wondering why people don’t steal the roses, something we asked Lidia, the park’s Chief Landscape Architect, and she told us that the public seems to have changed quite a lot since Soviet times, that “there seems to be a lot more respect”. Lidia filled us in on some horticultural details: “The park’s 40 gardeners, apart from planting flowers, tending to the flower beds, and keeping the paths clean, planted about 500,000 plants last year; about 300 different sorts in all. That’s a LOT of plants, but down from the millions that were planted here each year in the 1950s when riverside areas were ‘blanketed’ in flowers. Some 70 to 80 different species are cultivated in the park’s own greenhouses up near Neskuchny Sad. The overall horticultural plans of the park are approved by the Moscow city Government. The decision to plant patches of purple flowers, not yellow ones when coming into the park from a particular entrance, is that important. The park’s gardeners have their own favourite plants; for example, the park’s very own roses, which are prize winners in international horticultural exhibitions.”

After Lidia mentioned Soviet Times, the thought came to us that maybe the park is a sort of barometer of the times. So you see the park as being the new face of Russia?, we asked Maria. “Definitely, in the past, Gorky Park was a reflection of the notion of a socialist ‘city of the future’. People in Soviet times lived in pretty awful conditions, and they came to the park and went on rides. Even the toilets were better than the toilets that they had at home. There were places to dance, play chess, do sports like ice-skate in the winter, there was even a special parachute-jumping-training-place. In the 1990s it was a dangerous place, like the rest of Russia, it really was. The rides were actually pretty reckless. There were a lot of cheap and nasty food outlets around and so on. The new park is a combination of well looked after gardens and the wild forest areas of Neskuchny Sad and Vorobyovy Hills. You can bring your dog here, you can’t light open fires and do barbeques, but a big welcome if you want to hang out on the hundreds of benches, bean bags and have a picnic. We have no intention of cutting down trees, we want to accentuate and develop what is already here. Now Russia is going though more changes, and so is the park; we have the best modern art here, we have great audience participation and a lot of experimentation. Yes, in many ways, this park represents the new face of Russia. We don’t care what language you speak, what your politics are, basically we just want you to have a good time, that’s what we care about.”

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“How do you know what people feel about the park who come here?,” was our final question. “We have social networks, which put us in direct contact with visitors. Somehow we do get to hear what people like and don’t like. We are constantly tweaking things. We have free Wi-Fi now, and a new website is going up shortly which will have a section for non-Russian speakers. Basically, we are listening, and the visitors, not to mention the park, I think, is responding.”

How to get there

Gorky Park: Brown Metro Park Kultury or Oktyabaskaya Metro Stations
Vorobyuvy Gory: Metro to Vorbyovy Gory or Universitet (Red line), cycle along the river, or by car: park near the University, Neskuchny Sad: walk from Sparrow Hills, Gorky Park or the Academy Of Sciences. Orange Metro Leninsky Prospect (by Gagarin), or walk through Gorky Park through to the gardens.

The Garazh Museum of Contemporary art is now located in a new dedicated building.

Their English language website is: http://garageccc.com/en

Gorky Park’s English language website is: https://www.park-gorkogo.com/eng/about/

Ye Great Pub Quiz comes to Moscow!

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Which tennis player holds the record for most aces served in match?
Which two countries in South America do not share a border with Brazil?
The oldest and youngest US presidents were inaugurated exactly 20 years apart – who were they?
What was the name of the candlestick in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast?
‘It was a bright, cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen’ is the opening line of which novel?

Don’t sit at home on the Internet any more, go to pub quiz! Ha ha! No chance, we are in Moscow! Thanks to Londoner Jack Chapman who moved here a couple of years ago, you can now go to a pub quiz in Moscow. Jack usually holds his quizzes at The Standard Bar. Entrance fee is all of 150 roubles. There were about 80 people at the one I went to, and it was great to see the mostly expat crowd frowning, scribbling frantically on pieces of paper, whilst getting fairly drunk.

Jack used to do quizzes in London: “I couldn’t find anything like this is Moscow, and I thought it’d be nice to do this here.” About 60% of the audience are expats, which helps make the evenings swing along, as despite what we say about the universality of culture, many of the native audience are perplexed by all but the most obvious questions. ”Russians find it a bit baffling at times” commented Jack. “The expats get the point, which is to socialize with friends whilst doing something other than just drinking. I do make a point in making the questions as non-English as possible. Tonight, for example, there is an Australian guy fielding the questions, so there won’t be niche questions about what happened in East Enders last week or something like that. Often we make an effort to put Russian questions in to draw in the Russian crowd a bit more.”

Jack has already organized 15 quizzes over the last year and from the autumn says he will be organising events every two weeks.

For anybody wishing to find out more, look up Pub Quiz in Moscow on fb:  Pub Quiz on Facebook

 

Answers: Sheep, John Isner, Ecuador and Chile, JFK and Ronald Reagan, Lumiere, 1984

Now that’s a funny thing

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So there’s a Muscovite, an Italian and a Russian who’s studied in Australia sitting in a bar… Well, a café on this occasion, but you get the idea. An untraditional beginning to an old joke format, but certainly one that managed to get its fair share of laughs from a difficult audience. Moscow Comedy Bar is a year-old labour of love for Ivan, co-founder and compere of a comedy line-up intent on winning the hearts and splitting the sides of an inexperienced stand-up audience. There’s a regular crew of comics, joined by willing entertainers at their increasingly popular open mic nights. So, how is it possible to house a bunch of homeless comedians and attract a loyal fan base to their venues around Moscow? I went along to find out at their special gig at Lumiere Hall.

Moscow is not a hotbed of stand-up comedy. Pregnant pauses and uncomfortable silences bridged the gap between jokes and laughter, with polite comedians patiently running through a mixture of well-prepared and improvised routines while audience members tried to work out what their role was in the scenario. Bean bags were dotted around and provided comfortable vantage points for the primarily Russian audience. For an experienced comedy audience the surreal nature of the surroundings – including the bean bags and a lack of alcohol – were tranquil rather than uncomfortable. Temporary venues often have their own quirks but these performers were like old hands, putting themselves and the audience quickly at ease. Their more regular bar-based venue makes for a rowdier, slightly more alcoholic alternative experience.

Selection_036One of the most difficult aspects of stand-up comedy is being able to cater for your audience. When that audience is predominantly Russian and the level of English is mixed, there needs to be a way of gauging exactly how high to pitch the language. This performance was constructed as an ‘English lesson’ for the masses, with Ivan compering and warming up the crowd with titbits of linguistic fun interspersed with Gleb and Cristiano delivering full-scale routines. The approach worked well, the members of the audience increased their levels of response as the evening progressed and some people even chipped in with their own remarks. I suppose the polite nudge of ‘This is just like communism. We’re all in in together’ was just enough to spur on the crowd into supporting the performers.

So, what about the comedy itself? The highlight of Ivan’s set was most certainly dancing his way through English tenses. It’s not an easy language to learn, but robotic waiter impressions crossed with a strange adaptation of something akin to your auntie doing the Agadoo apparently makes it easier. Gleb’s Australian accent has allowed him to escape his mum, the typical ‘emotional terrorist’ who worries about him leaving the safety of Moscow for the underground dog-fighting scene in London. His travelling anecdotes play well in front of a mixed nationality audience This complemented Cristiano well, the Italian influence allowing a humorous look at life in Russia from an international perspective. I found myself chuckling away, identifying with the observations and wondering in agreement: In what other country would it be acceptable for on overweight grandmother to sit in the corner of the changing rooms at the swimming pool, make you choose a password to remember so you get your clothes back safely, then watch you get changed?

Is this a good addition to the Moscow nightlife? As a devotee of live comics in my pre-Moscow days, I have missed the chance to go and laugh along at other people’s observations. We’ve all worked in offices with the wannabe comedians or silently hankered after our fifteen minutes of fame. Now there’s a platform for these small ambitions to be achieved. The raw passion of the contributors and their smattering of talent ensure that these nights will continue, grow and succeed. With more international followers and additional contributions from the bar-room comedians, the journey is sure to be full of laughs.

Find out where upcoming comedy shows are going to be by checking out the schedule on www.moscowcomedybar.com or maybe check out and like the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MoscowComedyBar.

Icon Painting

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Whilst in Moscow, you can try your hand at icon painting, but to do that you have to make the effort to respect at least the philosophy of the Russian Orthodox Church that is so clearly behind such art. I was invited to join a group of students at the studio of Vladimir Antonov in Moscow one Wednesday morning in June. Vladimir teaches icon painting according to the canons of the Prosopon School, which strives to continue and develop ancient traditions of Byzantine-Russian icon painting of the 14-16th centuries. The Students were busy finalising their icons, which many have already taken back home with them to their respective countries. I asked Vladimir, who has been teaching icon painting for 8 years to explain the basics.

“Icon Painting is directly connected with the teachings of the Russian Orthodox Church. Some of our students attend Orthodox services, others don’t. We have students from many different countries here and I don’t expect them to suddenly adopt our faith – although several students did – however I do expect them to understand and respect the basic principles of the relationship between what they are doing and the Church’s teaching, and I think that they do.

“The basic idea of this art form is based on ‘canons’, which can be translated from ancient Greek as rules or decrees. Icon painting is a structured activity; there is a lot to learn. For us, the canons are somewhere between laws and freedom; once you have mastered the canons, you experience freedom. One of the canons concerns painting materials. We use tempera because we find it more suitable for portraying spirituality, we paint on wood, and in general we use natural materials, which is why oil paints, for example, are simply not suitable for this purpose. Icon painting is to do with painting eternal images. Egyptian or Babylonian painters painted onto rock, because that is the hardest and longest lasting format. Icons are painted onto wood, which are painted with a special primer, which hardens it.

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“All students studying at our school start with the Archangel Michael. He is our friend, and when we ask for his help, he helps us. After a while, when students have gathered some experience, they are allowed to move on to painting the face of Christ, which is not something you should take on as a novice. Painting the Archangel Michael to begin with is perfect for progressing though all the various preliminary stages. There are 22 such stages in our school of icon painting, which is about learning how to paint God in the form of man. The last stage ‘contemplation’ concludes all previous stages. Particular attention is paid to the mystical connection between light and colour in the creation of icons. Icons are more than just painting; they can be read, like the Bible. This is an open ended course.”

Contact the IWC if you wish to join the icon-painting group.

Web site of the Prosopon School of Icon Painting:  http://www.prosoponschool.org/index.html

 

Pure Useless Beauty

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Written by Irene Handel, photography by Olga Kudina and Gohan Gavrilin.

An encounter with English Electronic Melodeclamationist pop group: Pure Useless Beauty, who are playing at the Stanislavski Electrotheatre, Moscow, in September.

‘Let us throw flowers on the ground and tread upon their pure useless beauty.’ Lorca.

Sometimes you have to do what you love, just for the hell of it. Even, or especially, if it makes no sense. Oftentimes absurdity is the only sane response to the obscene comedie of human existence.

Pure Useless Beauty are the better part of Theatre of love. ToL is an underground movement existing as a catalyst for life affirming acts of intelligence down on the disco floor. Once (in the 1960’s) there existed an art provocateur movement, rooted in surrealism, called ‘the situationists’ – the situationists created actions which dramatized absurdities. For example a group of people dressed as Santa Claus would enter department stores at Christmas time and subsequently find themselves being forcibly removed by burly security guards for committing the heinous crime of giving free gifts to children. Santa Claus would be thrown out by his beard and land in the gutter. That is situationism. Punk band The Sex Pistols, also turned to this technique with their ‘God Save the Queen’ anthem, for which, absurdly, they were arrested. Much as ToL admire the punk ethos, they are in some ways its antithesis. The theatre of love do not seek provocation, they seek harmony and beauty, not conflict. Dramatic art without conflict is said to be an impossibility. But ToL are not interested in the merely possible.

Pure Useless Beauty are the reincarnation of ToL. Classical English poetry and contemporary electronic music are the alchemical elements of their magic mixture of madness. Live instruments and theatre freak performers combine to express their love of organized words and noises. You will recognize Chatterton and Thomas Hood and Byron and Keats being recited in accordance with Schubert’s notion of melodeclamation; you will recognize Indian and contemporary dance and Tilda Swintonesque theatricalities; you will recognize cool grooves and mellow guitar licks punctuated with funky trumpet stabs and sharp riffs and you will recognize deep house loops and drum and bass beats – but for the life of you, you will wonder what the hell they are all doing in the same place at the same time. You might even note the fact that these incongruous elements seem to be getting on really well, in what some would call a unique confluence of eclectic perversion.

Pure Useless Beauty came about because melodeclamationist, Martin X, had tired of everything else. Like Charles Grey in the tales of the unexpected film, ‘The man who ate a ghost’ – he just wanted to taste something different – Anything! As long as it was from out of this world! Remember Sergei Diaghilev’s comment to the King of Spain! “Your Majesty, I am like you. I do no work. I do nothing, but I am indispensable.” That’s Martin’s motto.

Thus ToL’s, Pure Useless Beauty, was created – to engender a movement of electronic melodeclamation and to take and invert Diaghilev’s plea for ‘interested artists’ in the ‘classical’ world by taking interesting ‘classical’ poetry into the electro-pop music world. In other words they are infiltrating the disco floor with the high genius of Keats, Byron and Shelley, not merely for perversion’s sake but because these maverick poets belong to the world of the night – albeit they have been kidnapped by a gang of academic eugenicists who wish to succeed in emasculating their high genius and pickle their genitals for consumption at literary gatherings. But if Shelley and Byron and Keats were alive today and 20 odd years old, as they were at the height of their genius, of course they would be night-clubbing!

Great Poetry is about love, death and beauty, not vacuum cleaners. Pure Useless Beauty break as many of the rules as possible – they’re old and young, savage and tender, their prog-pop incongruity and glam-slam, disco-ball melodeclamations, juxtaposed with high genius poesie.

Pure Useless Beauty are: Sergei Taff, composer, Anton Rivera, Guitars, Marja Pijlkass, Trumpet, Gosha Gavrilin, saxophone, Bob, melodium, Natasha Che, vocals, Titus, theatre freak, Martin X, melodeclamationist – Pure Useless Beauty: “All that’s best of dark and bright.” (Byron)

Contact [email protected] for the Pure Useless Beauty rider.

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Midnight In Moscow

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By Simon Green

There were two defining moments in my life that ignited my interest in jazz: the first was a bit unfortunate, the second a somewhat better scenario. Ironically, unbeknownst to me at the time, both were linked and led me towards a hedonistic jazz journey.

A lady friend had kindly presented me with a ‘45’ single of Glenn Miller’s wonderful hit ‘Moonlight Serenade’, which I played repeatedly. As it rekindled nostalgic moments of a brief romantic tryst with the aforementioned benefactor, so the volume of music increased culminating with my mother storming into my bedroom shouting: “turn that infernal racket off this instant!” Having duly obliged, I then shot back at her: “Glenn Miller was one of the greatest jazz composers and arrangers this century, and besides, being a ‘Wren’ officer in the war, you must have danced to his music at the balls you used to attend.” “I sat those ones out” she replied snippily.

I should have left it at that, but being in my late teens and thinking I knew better than anyone, especially my parents, I muttered under my breath: “probably no one invited you to dance.” Unfortunately it wasn’t quite quiet enough and was met with “what did you say?” with her voice rising an entire octave in that short sentence, accompanied by her hands in the notorious “double-teapot” position. “I’ll have you know,” she replied sotto voce and in a voice not dissimilar to the Queen’s, “I had men queuing up to ask me to dance with my name on their cards,” and with that she flounced out of the room, nose in air.

Selection_030Having had a top musical background, first as a chorister at Canterbury cathedral, then at the fabled Kings Canterbury where classical music and Gilbert and Sullivan ruled the roost, I had never been exposed to any form of jazz. This changed when I was walking down Frith St in London’s West End in 1979 and happened upon number 47 which housed the eponymous Ronnie Scott’s and thought “why not?” and walked through the door that was to change my life as it introduced me to a jazz world hitherto unknown, and has been with me ever since.

Fast forward to today, and it finds me in Moscow trying to discover what the city has to offer jazz-wise, and I was not to be disappointed. It has to be said that one of the common denominators with most of the clubs is their locations which have the rather annoying habit of being difficult to find.

I started off by visiting the well established and crème de la crème of clubs with its stable of national and international players at their disposal: Club Soyuz Kompozitorov at Brusov Pereulok 8/10 – difficult to find but well worth the effort. A group were playing offering a trip down memory lane with some retro jazz, and they delivered with aplomb and vitality. It was accompanied by a beef Carpaccio that was to die for along with the ubiquitous red wine that seems to follow me around – or should that be vice versa?

This is a very cozy speak-easy place that wouldn’t be out of place alongside Woody Allen’s jazz club in Greenwich Village with its eclectic electric atmosphere. Do watch the seats you choose as prices vary considerably from bar places at 600 roubles a shout to front seats that touch the stage costing 4,600 roubles. Anyone with any sort of musical appreciation knows that those seats aren’t the best unless you’re some sort of groupie, and the optimum ones that extract the best ‘ensemble’ are half way back. The side seats, which offer a perfectly good view and go for 1,400 roubles, are in my opinion the best way to go. In short, this is a must visit place, but allow a few extra minutes to locate it, then with that done, descend into the nevermost depths of the abyss and enjoy!

Next up I visited the illustrious Igor Butman’s jazz club which moved a year ago from Chistye Prudy to Taganskaya and is one minute from the circle line exit and right next to the main theater, so an easy place to find for once. The charming manageress Anastasia, allowed me carte blanche to the place, spoke good English, so I was able to circulate, glass of red in hand, taking photos uninterrupted of the quintet who were playing with great dexterity.

The Igor Butman quartet are a real ‘tour de force’ in the jazz world and have many tours under their belt including an upcoming concert at the world famous Studio 54 in the USA on October 25 this year; indeed they played at the Kremlin in 2000 in front of Presidents Putin and Clinton. The club exudes a pleasant atmosphere and as always with jazz, a real potpourri of people in attendance being affected in different ways. There was a collection of excited ladies celebrating a birthday on one side, then in the middle there were a couple of aficionados in feet-tapping frenzy to the beat, and in front of me, a rather amorous couple who were taking kissing in public to an entirely new plateau! Food is reasonably priced and looked inviting, so if you’re looking for something different to do one evening, look no further than here.

Wanting somewhere dead center, I next visited Club Forte who boast the maxim: ‘Ars longa, vita brevis’—art is long, life is short. Many well known Russian names have played here (Bolshaya Bronnaya 18 which is 400 meters down from the main McDonalds in Pushkinskaya). It was rather unfortunate that there was a major ‘remont’ going on when I visited, and gaining access to the place was no mean feat, dodging among JCB’s, Tajik workers and broken concrete slabs. Tickets are 500 roubles and once inside you can enjoy a variety of jazz from jazz-rock to blues, funk and soul. In truth not quite my taste, but others who were there appeared to be getting into it. The food verges towards Soviet in choice as it was rather fish and mushroom orientated, and it’s atmosphere a touch Bohemian with tables almost on top of one another.

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My final destination was Club Alexey Kozlov, the doyen of jazz masters in Moscow. Kozlov is 80 years old this year, yet still plays with the energy of someone half his age. This place is to the side of the Olympic Stadium in Prospect Mira at number 16, but is a nightmare to find – even the internet suggests allowing an extra 20 minutes! Tickets are 500 roubles and there are plenty of seats to choose from once inside. My only criticism is that the tables are rather basic and reminded me of Primary school fetes and jumble sales, but when watching a master craftsman plying his trade this minor discrepancy is soon forgotten.

I had the pleasure of meeting him briefly and he was charm personified, having started in 1957, announcing himself to an unsuspecting Russian world, and was quickly recognized as an innovative maestro. His saxophone playing is simply dazzling and hypnotic, and has the entire range of chromatic scales, cadences and arpeggios whilst maintaining rhythm, beat and tune simultaneously. This virtuoso extraordinaire is a must-see person and you’ll understand why I wax lyrical about him. Kozlov, along with Butman, have propelled Russia into the jazz stratosphere, and there are other clubs out there I didn’t have time to visit.
When all’s said and done, you can still find me at my happiest nursing the odd glass (the cognoscenti among you will substitute glass for bottle!) of wine at home and listening to the likes of the incomparable Louis Armstrong with Ella Fitzgerald singing ‘Summertime;’ or the sultry Julie London belting out ‘Cry me a river,’ and not forgetting Stan Getz and the husky dusky tones of Astrid Gilberto with ‘The girl from Ipanema.’ Whatever your tastes in music, I conclude with the words from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night: ‘If music be the food of love, play on!’

Mozambique Independence Day

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Photographs and text by David Mercer

On 25 June 2015, the Mozambique Embassy under the guidance of the Mozambique Ambassador to the Russian Federation, Mr. Mario Saraiva Ngwenya, celebrated the Mozambique Independence Day. This holiday celebrates the day when Mozambique gained its independence from Portugal in 1975.

After World War II the colonies of Portugal were not granted independence and they were declared to be overseas territory. Many other African countries one by one gained independence from their protectorates. This wave led to the Mozambican War of Independence that lasted from 1964 to 1974.

Mozambique gained independence when Portugal’s Estado Novo regime was replaced by the National Salvation Junta. This event changed political views in Portugal enabling the end of the war in Mozambique and led to its independence on June 25, 1975.

See more of David Mercer’s photography on: David Mercer Photography

Rotary Club Moscow International

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The Rotary Club Moscow International was created in June 2001, by a group of people living and working in Moscow, coming from different countries. The club is one of more than 35.000 in the world that offers members fellowship and a special way to serve the community. Part of the Rotary International, present in 190 countries worldwide, their motto is “Service Above Self”

RCMI is the English speaking Rotary club gathering point for Rotarians from all over the world visiting Russia, and for expats in Moscow willing to dedicate a bit of their time and money to contribute to Club projects, while making friends with people from different origins and culture.

At present members come from Armenia, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Greece, Italy, Japan, Serbia, Spain, and Russia. Rotary club members represent a ‘cross-section’ of the business and professional community. All Rotary clubs in the world are non-political, nonreligious, and open to all cultures, races, and creeds.

The main objective of Rotary is service – in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world. Rotarians develop community service projects that address many of today’s most critical issues, such as children at risk, poverty and hunger, the environment, illiteracy, and violence. They also support programs for youth, educational opportunities and international exchanges for students, teachers, and other professionals, and vocational and career development.

At present, RCMI manages 3 main projects: the purchase of hearing aids for blind and deaf children of the specialised Institute of Sergev Posad (on-going project, started in 2006), the International Russian Rotary Children’s Music Competition (on-going project, started in 2002), and ‘RestartU’, RCMI’s newest project started in 2015, focused on purchasing ‘tailored made’ wheelchairs and ‘verticalisation’ equipment for children born with rare genetic diseases, in cooperation with the Center for Inborn Pathologies of Prof. Natalia Belova.

RCMI monthly meetings regularly include guest speakers who offer insights into their specialized subjects.

How does one apply for membership? The contact is: [email protected] As it is important that all members share the same idea of promoting friendship and “Service above Self”, RMCI ask people interested in Rotary to attend at least 5 meetings, in order to become better acquainted to each other. Then the applicant should have 2 “sponsors” among members of RCMI who are ready to support their candidacy, and should make a written application explaining their motivations to become a member. The application is reviewed by the Board of RCMI, which decides whether to accept it, based on the Club rules and principles.

You can find more information on the RCMI website www.rcmi.ru

Wine & champagne tasting at Imperial Tailors

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Fans of the ‘better things in life’ gathered at the unusual venue of the Imperial Tailors emporium to enjoy some special wines and champagne courtesy of Moscow expat Life, Platinum Financial Services and the main sponsors Cult Wines from England.

Guests first had a choice of a delicate Terrazas Reserva, Torontes (Salta, Argentina) or those who preferred red, a full-bodied Cloudy Bay, Pinot Noir (Marlboro, New Zealand.

A presentation on the technicalities and benefits of investing in good wines was presented by Tom Gearing of Cult Wines, extolling ‘Solutions for Fine Wines’.
Guests were then invited to sample a variety of Champagnes including a Ruinart Blanc de Blancs, a Dom Perignon Vintage of 2005 and a Krug Grande Cuvee.
An excellent evening for all!