2011

  1. Father Ignorat’s scatological problem page:

    November 11, 2011 by Christopher Buxton

    Father, I’ve just learnt that three Bulgarians have written a book about the Ottoman Legacy in Bulgaria! And it hardly mentions five hundred years of sodomy, castration, slavery, rape, decapitation and impalement. Instead it’s got pretty pictures of bridges, baths and mosques. It’s an insult to all patriotic Bulgarians. I want to give them a good verbal kicking but I don’t know what words to use.

    Father Ignorat writes: Anathema my son! I have just seen the writers of this book interviewed on that mouthpiece of Satan, Bulgarian National Television. They must be answered.

    In your article, I advise you to ignore Matanov and Trankova.. Sadly our countrymen tend to respect Professors and archaeologists and so you should concentrate on Georgiev as if he was the sole author, People have heard of Georgiev and he’s not known for carrying a machine gun. God bless the pen that turns him into a dark hole. These are the words you should use:

    Creature – Like that whore of Babylon, Baleva, Georgiev has lost the right to be called a human being
    Mercenary/lackey – Georgiev is motivated only by greed. You can hint that the enemy power, Turkey, is going to pay him millions of lira for his work.
    Nihilist – Georgiev has no values morals or beliefs (unlike the original nihilists that your readership will not have heard of) . He would obviously hand his daughter to the first available Aga and sell the film rights to Playbey Magazine.
    Cynic – Georgiev exults in the fact that he has no values, morals or beliefs. He can’t pass a Bulgarian statue or monument without a scornful sneer on his face.
    Pervert – He’s the former editor of Playbey – need I say more?
    Globalist – Georgiev is active in the world-wide great power Zionist conspiracy to undermine Bulgaria’s unique identity and turn the country into a pro American Euro-Caliphate. He only eats at MacDonald’s, only watches Jennifer Aniston Movies and thinks Tripe Soup should be banned.
    Multiculturalist/Danish citizen – Georgiev believes that Bulgaria should surrender to rampant homosexuality, vegetarian lesbian feminism and the unrestricted spread of Islam.
    Westerner – Georgiev has adopted a typical westerner’s patronising attitude towards his own country’s rich history and culture. Write that he thinks Bulgarians are aborigines. He can’t point to a single positive event in Bulgarian modern history. On second thoughts scratch that last point.
    Pseudoscholar – Georgiev pretends to be qualified to talk about matters that only Bozhidar Dimitrov is allowed to talk about.
    Illiterate/ignoramus – If you can demonstrate to your own satisfaction that Georgiev has made one grammatical slip or factual error he will earn scorn from your educated Bulgarian readership.
    Motherland-beater: Georgiev loves to heartlessly beat his motherland.
    Anti-Bulgarian – This means Georgiev hates his country, his parents, his schooling, his church. his ….


  2. Caravans roll!

    October 6, 2011 by Christopher Buxton

    Bulgarian cynics – by now the majority of the population – have a saying: three day wonder. By this they mean that every crisis, however extraordinary, lasts for three days only in people’s consciousness. For three days, the great and not so good wring their hands, previously supine authorities take spectacular decisions and newspapers devote pages of analysis. At the end of three days, whatever the original event – be it tens killed in a bus or train that has not been properly inspected for decades, or evidence of chronic corruption in high places, or some horrifying tale of surgical incompetence – it will be superseded by some other story and all will be forgotten in the labyrinth of the Bulgarian legal system.

    And so a single event has disrupted the traditional Bulgarian election procedures, where red faced well fed men and women in suits forsake their gated communities and descend on town squares amid fanfares, pop stars and balloons to meet their voters. A nineteen year old boy was killed in the Plovdiv village of Katunitsa. It was reported in headlines as Bulgarian youth murdered by gypsies.

    In Katunitsa – its very name is suggestive of a significant Roma presence as Katun means Gypsy Camp – inter ethnic tensions had been running high. It is worth noting at this point that the Bulgarian media never refers to members of the Roma community as Bulgarian. Crimes committed by Bulgarians are reported without reference to ethnicity. All crimes alleged to be committed by Roma are directly attributed to either gypsies or our dusky brethren. Katunitsa contains a number of exceptional residences built by Kiril Rashkov, a Roma Baron better known as Tsar Kirio. A local “Bulgarian” family had previously complained to the police about death threats made by Rashkov and his family. Their complaints were noted but not acted upon. Two days after their latest complaint was ignored nineteen year old was run over by a van driven at speed out of one of Rashkov’s compounds. Witnesses aver that the boy’s resulting death was no accident.

    What happened next could be described as an outburst of retributive justice. Supported by incoming bikers and football fans, local youths set Tsar Kirio’s houses ablaze. Policemen stood by watching. The next day the central squares of the largest towns filled with young people responding to calls from facebook groups. There were chants of Gypsies to Soap and Turks to the Knife! – though the original incident had nothing to do with the Turkish minority. A march to burn down the central mosque in Sofia was stopped by a suddenly active police force.

    Commentators in the media fell over themselves to explain what had happened. They fell into two groups – one decrying the baleful influence of uncensored facebook groups on the impressionable young; the others hailing the demonstrations as a cry for help from Bulgaria’s law abiding and abused majority. Politicians – even those with most to gain – were caught on the hop. None of the mainstream parties could look back on their record of inter-ethnic policies with pride. They had allowed the boil to fester until it exploded right in the middle of their festive season.

    The death of a young person in Bulgaria acts as a catalyst for soul-searching from the media and for shoulder sloping from the powers-that-be. Spectacular action was called for. It would not be enough to arrest the driver of the murderous van but Tsar Kirio as well.

    Stable doors that had been previously been left wide open for a thousand horses to bolt had now to be publicly closed.

    Tsar Kirio was arrested. Like any alleged gangland boss he suffers from high blood pressure – so he was quickly driven from prison cell to hospital bed. What he is being charged with is not yet clear. But newspapers are now anxious to provide detail on how this one time pick-pocket has risen to become head of one of the most powerful Roma clans in Bulgaria.

    The emerging details – if true – cast a fascinating light on the relationship between politicians of successive governments, the police and organized crime.

    In summary it appears that since the fall of Communist rule, Kirio Rashkov has become a millionaire from the production of fake alcoholic drinks. Although in the past twenty years, his factory has been raided and even one occasion charges have been laid, he has somehow evaded any punitive consequences. Prosecutions begun by vigorous young investigators have wallowed in the marsh of judicial process, passed their sell-by date and come to nothing. In spite of all the palaces Rashkov has built for himself and the fine fenced park he has illegally created from state owned land, it emerges that he has paid no tax since 2005.

    Several explanations have been offered for Rahkov’s apparent immunity from judicial or fiscal process:
    1.He has advanced huge bribes to local police and customs chiefs.

    2.The powers-that-be like to deal with feudal Roma overlords. They can keep their community’s petty criminals in check.

    3.Roma barons can guarantee the gypsy vote – quite a considerable factor in elections – to the political party willing to pay the most.

    The second explanation is particularly applicable when one looks at the power wielded by the Roma barons within their communities – particularly in those so called ghettos of broken blocks and shacks where the Roma have lived since communist times. It is a constant source of bitterness for the majority Bulgarian population that the Roma living packed in the squalid ghettos do not pay for electricity, but siphon it illegally and dangerously from the main grid.

    What is less well known is that Roma do pay for their electricity – not to the appropriate company but to the Roma Baron.

    The thought though that Bulgarian pensioners freeze to death through fear of high power bills while the Roma luxuriate in free warmth has infuriated the average person. When you add the certainty that Politician’s promises of an equitable rule of law are just words written on toilet paper disintegrating in an open sewer, you begin to understand the hopeless rage felt by one community against another. Both communities are exploited and extremely vulnerable. The young people on the streets chanting for the extermination of gypsies will be tomorrow’s emigrants. Their parents may turn to the right wing extremists for comfort.


  3. Translation of Atanas Dalchev

    August 18, 2011 by Christopher Buxton

    Novella

    The windows – shut tight and blackened,

    And blackened and shut tight, the door,

    And the door bears the fluttering message

    “The owner has gone to America.”

    And I am the home’s only owner

    Where nobody’s made his abode

    And I’ve set out for nowhere

    And from nowhere I’ve returned

    I never take a step from my house

    And the years are my only visitors,

    But so often the gardens have yellowed,

    And I’m certainly not the same chap.

    All the books have been read long ago

    And all memory’s paths have been trampled

    And how here as if for a hundred years

    I talk exclusively to the portraits.

    And day and night and night and day the clock

    Swings its brass sun pendulum.

    Occasionally I pose before the mirror

    So as not to be always alone.

    And my days slowly climb the walls

    In the flicker of dying embers:

    My life passes away without a trace

    Of a single love or incident

    It’s as if I’ve never lived at all

    And my existence is an evil fantasy.

    If someone happens to enter the house,

    They’ll find nobody in.

    They’ll only see the dusty portraits,

    The perfidious empty mirror

    And on the door a yellowing message:

    “The owner has gone to America.”

    Atanas Dalchev 1925


  4. In Memoriam – David Morena Buxton 1925-2011

    July 16, 2011 by Christopher Buxton


    Happy Days

    I am the son of loving parents – very much in love with each other and in love with their profession which was their world. If I think of Paradise I think of David and Monica working together in some amazing stage production.

    It was a privilege to be their son.

    My father took me backstage to the world behind the curtain. The smell of wood, canvass and paint transported me, the thrill of finding rudimentary doors and windows cut into the towering backs of the flats, I would run up steps to appear on balconies, I would crane my neck and look up at the stuff hanging from the flies – remembering the oft told story of a cantankerous old Scotsmen who worked in the flies in Perth and who didn’t take kindly to shows overrunning as he had to catch a bus to his home in a remote village. One such night as the spotlight lit the hero as he walked downstage for his final soliloquy, the audience could hear muttered rumbling from above their heads. The God was restive – his bus would depart in twenty minutes. Careless of impending calamity the actor took his time. The rumbling increased. There was no lightning, but just as the actor opened his mouth to speak, the God spluttered a gargled oath and a pair of false teeth clattered onto the boards.

    My father became a productions manager after he acknowledged that he was not cut out to be an actor – something to do with the arrival of Ted Woodward and Dicky Johnson in the Perth Theatre. Thereafter he appeared rarely on stage he often told me that you could always spot a member of the production team on stage. They’d be the ones who’d be looking round the set, making sure it wasn’t going to fall down.

    He told me the story of a stage manager who was roped in to play the statue of Eros. Covered in wet plaster of Paris he had to stand behind a couple of actors playing a love scene in a park. Ever practical – this was Scotland in the winter – the manager ran out an electric fire to be concealed behind the statue’s plinth. As the lovers’ dialogue became more intense the audience might have missed the steam rising from the statue. As the lovers leant forward for their first kiss, the audience might have been distracted by Eros suddenly coming to life with a wriggle a yelp and a dash to the wings.

    Dad worked long hours six days a week and so he was quite a remote figure in my early childhood. Once – after he’d been away on some tour – I remember finding a strange man in the bath. I screamed and it took mum some minutes to explain shaving to me.

    After our move to Birmingham and my mum’s increasing number of acting roles, it became Dad’s turn to take on a parenting role. Somehow he found time for us to go to football matches. The walk to West Bromwich Albion and the bus ride to Birmingham City, and then holidays together in Devon and Cornwall enabled us to set all the world’s problems to right – from the Great Train robbery to Apartheid – we indulged our mutual curiosity as I tried to acquire his strong moral sense.

    Dad’s curiosity was unbounded. With a strong sense of history – even when it was repeating itself – he waited impatiently to find out what happened next. His strong belief in fair play, perhaps linked to his love of cricket, led him towards an active sympathy for the weak in society. This informed his direction of cutting edge modern drama as well as explaining his political campaigning.

    My father loved the countryside and he showed complete disrespect for notices that said Private or Trespassers will be prosecuted. Barbed wire was no impediment on Sunday walks where the object was to find a good picnic spot by some water. Dad was renowned in the family as being better than a pair of divining rods.

    My father was a generous, modest and fiercely independent man. His neighbours speak of him walking down the street, head held high, with a smile and greeting for everyone. As a theatre director, as a political campaigner, as a parent-in-law in a strange country, he had the miraculous gift of hunkering down and getting the absolute best out of everyone.

    The last role my father played on stage was in Samuel Beckett’s surreal drama Happy Days. My mother played Winny, a woman buried first up to her waist then up to her neck in sand. Dad played her husband faithful Willy in a natty straw boater and smart blazer.

    This very moving and often funny play was to resonate with me as my father became my mother’s fiercely protective nurse in the last years of her life. My mum and Dad faced this trial with humour. Wot larks Pip!


  5. Dull Tuesday thoughts

    June 14, 2011 by Christopher Buxton

    I’d like Martin Karbovski to go to Lom – a Danube port town in the poorest area of Bulgaria and report on how successful the town has been in integrating its Bulgarian and Roma populations. While there he would enjoy the opportunity of talking to Lom’s Roma ex-deputy mayor, who speaks flawless Bulgarian and English, to discover why with such few resources, he is heading up such a successful integration programme.

    Hey, Martin, if you were positive for a change, you might even get the next TV journalism prize.

    Repetitive coughing – the result of some wild-boar flu, I caught – has forced me to watch some strange late night TV lately. SKAT TV would be so much better if they trained their comperes to shut up. I watched yet another wise philosopher lecture a panel of young people, pausing only occasionally to ask them loaded questions. The youngsters tried to answer but their kind compere would quickly interrupt them and answer for them. This clearly ticks the box for youth appeal. Another night I witnessed a similar attempt at dialogue between a retired teacher and an articulate Roma lad. The poor boy could not get a word in edgeways. This ticks the box for racial integration.

    SKAT did pull off a significant coup in bringing cmeras into a lecture in Germany by Dr Baleva, the Bulgarian woman who in her Doctorial thesis on the relationship between art and patriotic identity, has tried to cast doubt on the Batak massacres. The cameras showed Baleva’s German colleagues casting considerable doubt on her assertions – one even making a comparison with hollocaust denial. This along with evidence that Baleva’s dubious doctorate may have been financed by Turkish interests could have made for a significant sccop. This scoop might have been even more effective if the main commentator had been a little more temperate in his language.But SKAT works on the principle of I can’t stay quiet.


Blog Archive

  • Recent Posts
  •  
    • expand2015
    • expand2014
    • expand2013
    • expand2012
    • expand2011
    • expand2010
    • expand2009
    • expand2008
    • expand2007