Showing posts with label Silly stuff. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Silly stuff. Show all posts

Monday, 3 June 2013

Arab Pop Music

I have recently, and what also is very important to add here- unintentionally, been exposed to a very fascinating genre of music- the Arab Pop music.

You see, despite not watching much television here, in Doha ( I am not implying that I am doing something useful or intellectual. It is just that there is absolutely nothing to watch on TV in Qatar) I still get to watch the Arab music videos when (very rarely!) I go to the gym. I have a program I follow at the moment, which takes thirty minutes on the treadmill. That means thirty minutes of being stuck in one place, waiting to collapse and die. So, any distraction is very welcome. Even in a shape and form of an Arab pop video.

It fascinates me how vastly different the concept of what  is considered cool can be in various parts of the world. Because, clearly, the creators of these videos must think what they are creating is cool. Or, at the very least, beautiful. Or, romantic?

Let me just give you one example of an Arab pop song video.

There is a beautiful, in a very obviously Lebanese way, woman, walking along the beach, looking sad and lost. A man in a very sharp business suit is walking and singing, approaching a farm yard where an old man is aiming a big rifle at a black horse who is refusing to behave and therefore, is going to get shot. The man in a suit runs up and grabs the old man's arm, stopping him. Every gesture is dramatic and in a slow motion. Even the running. He then tames the horse by throwing his smart jacket over its head. In the subsequent scene the girl sneaks into the stables and gets on the horse. The horse goes crazy and takes her into a forest, where the man ( at least not wearing his office suit any longer, but still in a smart white shirt) is chopping some wood. He saves the girl and they live happily ever after.

I was curious, after having watched that video, followed by another one of a dude clad all in white, playing a piano at the sea, right at the water edge....where do these videos actually come from?
Having Googled Arab pop videos, I learnt that most of them originate from Egypt or/and Lebanon.

But! I have two Lebanese girlfriends, one here, and one back in the UK; and I can assure you that these two girls are possibly two most stylish friends of all the friends I have. Sophisticated and cool, with taste. So, I am confused. Who dares to create these appallingly bad videos, embarrassing my Lebanese friends? Because, in all honesty, I might have to say that these videos are worse than Azeri songs at Eurovision. And that is bad, guys. That is really, really bad.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Compound freedom

I would blog a lot more these days, if only could I be bothered to switch on my old laptop. However, having been presented with an iPad, i find it a lot easier to use- in most of the cases. Blogging however, isn't one of them. Typing on this screen is a challenging trick.

But i simply must tell you about the children in the compound.

First of all, I have to explain that to a British parent, paranoid of pedophiles lurking behind every bush that is dense enough, this compound life seems shocking. Compounds in Doha vary from small ones,for about twenty villas, to much larger ones, for over a hundred. Most of them have a central point- a club house, or a gym or both, security at the gate and a communal/shared swimming pool. The roads inside the compound are quiet, with mainly residents' cars driving very slowly, and children as young as 3 often playing outside, on the bikes and scooters, with phillipino maids or alone. The excitement from this freedom of being able to pop to the club house alone, or with a new friend, hit my six year old daughter like a tsunami wave- impossible to control or stop.

Not only do the children play outside, they also go in and out of each other's houses.


Husband, who is safely tucked in his new grey suit somewhere at a meeting, exclaimed happily: 'But that is so lovely for her! Remember how back in the uk, whenever there was a school break, we would have to organize playdates or something else to do so she would not get too bored? No need for that now! She just has all these easily available playdates inside the safe compound!'

Well, yes. Theoretically, it is simply wonderful.

But, in reality, and also, in a mean mother's reality, it is somewhat complicated.

The other day, for instance, my daughter ran downstairs with three other girls following her, all wearing her best jewellery.

'Excuse me', i said. 'Where are you going?'
-What about all the stuff you are wearing??
-They are just borrowing it.

'Ok...' I glanced them over. 'You can borrow that necklace, i said to the German girl. But please take that bracelet off. That one, i am afraid, has to stay in the house.'

Fine. Away they run. I sit down with a cup of tea and a sleepy baby attached to my left boob when there is a ding dong!!! at the front door again. The girls are back to get some bunnies. No, i said. It is too dusty outside, the soft toys remain in the house.

The girls get kicked out. Ding dong! The door goes again, in a few minutes. The three visitors reappear, comfortably squeezing past me, taking their shoes off.

Ahmm...hello? I say in my very nice, friendly voice, trying to keep the outrage out of it.
Where are you actually going?

The taller girl i had never seen before looks up at me like i am retarded. 'Upstairs to play in E's room?!'
-Yes, but where is E herself? i dare to ask
-Oh, she did not want to come home, she wants to play outside!

At this point i just had to laugh nervously. But, sweetie, i said. You cant just come in, and play in her room if she is not there. That is HER room and her toys!?

'But we want to play with her toys!' Says the smaller child- i think?- Called Sarah.
'I am afraid', i say, blocking the way and physically pushing the crowd towards the exit, 'this is NOT how it works.'

I mean, honestly?

Back in the UK, where getting invited for a playdate was usually a carefully planned, scheduled and dutifully taken in turns event, this would send some of my friends over the edge. And understandably, I am finding this unlimited freedom somewhat irritating. Wonderful, yes. Don't take me wrong. I am pleased my child is settling in, and enjoying herself. She is making new friends, she barely watches any TV, she is not bored at home, and is getting plenty of fresh (if somewhat dusty) air. But i might have to introduce some basic rules to this chaos. Today i started off with switching off the annoying door bell. Now, when her friends come for my child at 7:45am and try to break into the house while we are all peacefully asleep...they are going to have to work harder. And i run to the door when i hear them approaching like a sand storm, and stop them running in screaming and giggling into the house where the baby has just settled into a nap. Let me be the most cruel mother in the compound, i don't care. My house- my rules.

Monday, 26 December 2011

M is the best.

I have just discovered how sensitive men are.  Of course, I should have known better. There simply are some things that should never be said, some aspects of a man’s performance that should never be questioned or compared. 

We went to see our good friends recently, just before Christmas, and I, trying to be nice to husband, (something I am not terribly experienced in) decided to give him some credit in front of our friends. I thought that he needs more encouragement from me, especially since he had always been very sensitive about this particular friend of ours. Because, whenever we had been to his house, he always cooked something amazing.  (Between you and me, I have to say, he is THE best. Ever.)

I never realised that Husband was that sensitive when it came to me complimenting other men. I mean, it is not like I was talking about you know, that kind of stuff. I was only saying that M is an amazing cook.  Surely, my husband is not that insecure to feel threatened by this?!

So, as we sat around our friends’ kitchen, watching M prepare our lunch, I said, very casually: 

‘You used to be the best I had ever known. But, I have to say, that Husband is now coming dangerously close...I would even say he is probably the best now.’

‘What are you doing?!!! ‘The friend’s wife exclaimed in horror. ‘You can’t tell M that?! It is his title. He is the best! Ever! He is incredibly sensitive about this!’

‘Ha-ha-ha’  I said, thinking it was a joke, but M looked dangerously sulky, and a large cloud started forming over his grey head.  I came over closer, as he started butchering the slow-cooked duck. 

‘Look,’ I said. ‘You must understand. He is my husband. I have to tell him these things. But, really...- I winked at him- You are the best, we both know you are’.

Husband was outraged. ‘I knew it!’ he said.  ‘You always thought he was the best. You just love him soooo much!  You were only saying I was the best but you did not mean it!’ 

The next morning, Husband was complaining to his mummy over the phone.‘Wifey is so unfaithful’,  I heard him say. ‘She is very naughty. She just keeps going on and on about M’s cooking. He is the best, he is the best....Nobody can ever be as good as M! I will just never cook for her again!’

Honestly. Men are such babies.

And what can I say? M is the best. 

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Azeri guide to using Facebook

I am so excited for my Azeri countrymen, especially those who have money.

I just realized that their lives have been enriched dramatically with Facebook. 

But, clearly, some of the rich and powerful Azeris quickly discovered that, besides all the obvious ways, such a sharing news and photos and keeping in touch, Facebook can be utilized as a perfect, lethal weapon to spread envy and jealousy amongst everyone they vaguely know, by showing off just how rich they are. Or, more probably, just how rich they want all those 1,000 friends to think they are. 

Recently I witnessed a few discussions on Facebook which made me realize just how useful the whole social network tool is for those who like to show off a little. Of course, I am not talking about my friends. The joy of Facebook is that every time someone who is my friend comments on their friend’s photo or news, it shows up for the rest of us to see.

So, with slight changes added to avoid personal insults, which I, of course, would not want to make too obvious for the sake of people I know and like, here is one extract from a spot- the-Nouveau riche- Azeri discussion:

She puts a photo of herself in a pretty dress at some event.  Someone compliments her.

‘Oh, sis,’ she replies, ‘thank you! You can’t go wrong with Versace!

Nicely done. To someone maybe even subtly. The meaning of the word is not easily translated into different cultures.

Another very good example was two girls, both originally from Baku, discussing things that, at first glance, were perfectly innocent.

Ha, says one girl, check this crazy car out! Who would want to spend so much money on a Range Rover in this colour? 

Her friend comes into the conversation. 

- Why, honey, what colour is yours?
 -Black, of course! What about yours?
- Mine’s white, honey!

OK, we all know they have expensive cars. Good for them. But you see, without Facebook, only people who live near them would know about their cars. This way, thanks to Facebook, people all around the world know about them, too. Isn’t that cool? Instead of 10 neighbours in Baku, hundreds of people abroad can be impressed by their cars, too!

But the best conversation I witnessed recently was two girls discussing their plans to meet up at a very short notice in New York. A friend of mine was excited as she clearly has not seen them both for a while, and was getting ready to have a drink or two when they arrive. Look, she told me, how free and rich they are! They can just jump on planes and meet in NY, in one of the most expensive hotels in the city?! Honestly, she said, isn't it amazing? I looked at the discussion thread. It went on for a while. Which hotel and what restaurants the girls were planning to eat at, were publicly discussed. My first question was why would two friends, knowing each other’s email addresses, and telephone numbers, have a long and detailed discussion of their planned weekend extravaganza in front of everyone else? 

OK, maybe email is too old-fashioned for them. But there is an option of  private messaging on Facebook, too. Of course, when my friend in NY got stood up because nobody actually arrived, it all got perfectly clear. Told you, I said to my friend, they were not really planning to fly to NY for a weekend, each from a different country far away, just to meet up for a posh dinner. But now everyone on Facebook thinks they were.

What was, in theory, designed to share news is now a tool to share the signs of wealth. Designer dresses, expensive cars, hotel destinations...all you need to do is tag your location and everyone will know you ate at the world-famous restaurant, or had a luxury holiday. Quick, easy and effective way to make all those virtual friends jealous. Perfect for Azeris and everyone else who loves to let everyone know just how well they are doing. Even if it is all just on the surface.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Hey, Fatty Boom Boom

As I am sitting on my sofa, barely able to breathe after the enormous dinner, I am idly toying with the thoughts of ways to start losing this post-baby weight. 

Tonight I managed to consume:

  • Grilled aubergines with garlic which by themselves are not terribly unhealthy, if not for the salt my mother covered them with. At least 10 slices.
  • Five chicken burgers. Before you think whatever you might think of me, they are pretty flat and small. 
  •  Two slices of Tarte au citron my mother attempted to make for the first time in her life and succeeded.
  • A  cup of decaf coffee to wash down the above.
So...No, I have not got anyone else to blame for the extra pounds but myself. I use breastfeeding as an excuse. Despite the common idea that breastfeeding helps you lose weight; I personally put it on if I have a small baby to feed. I feel constantly hungry, like Shelob, and turn into an animal, with no will power to stop.

But the problem is, besides the Korova Milkbar situation, is that I love food. I love everything about food. The glass of vino, the company, the conversation, the going out or staying in...I love breakfasts and I adore dinners. I love carbs. I love meat. I love BBQ and I love deserts...I guess what I am saying is I am destined to get fat. 

The problem with it is not just my health, or my husband leaving me for a slim model one day. It is also that from what I noticed in the UK, most of the posh ladies are slim. It is not the same back home. You can easily get away with being slightly overweight, and still be seen as posh, elegant or successful. In the UK, majority of ladiiiies are slim. I noticed that fat women in this country are usually poor. Or common. Or, very often, a bit of both.
You would think, wouldn’t you, that it should be the other way around. But of course, it is cheaper to eat unhealthily. It is a lot easier to buy cheap ready meals, or a McDonald's rather than a whole sea bass or a fillet steak. It is also probably caused by feeling low about being poor, and having nothing to do with yourself but get fatter. What, however, is more fascinating to me, is that a typical lower class fat woman in the UK is almost always accompanied by a very skinny bloke. How does that work? What happens that makes a poor woman bigger and a poor guy skinnier? I have no answer to this question; however I have nothing to worry about. Fortunately for me, my husband is (really) not that skinny, and I am (really) not that fat. Yet. 

Anyway. The reason I am going on about being fat is because I really enjoy eating a lot right now. And eating a lot right now made me think about the next blog post which is coming very soon. I am excited to be hosting a fellow blogger, a very talented and clever girl who is also from Baku but lives in the USA and runs a wonderful azeri food blog. I thought I have not hosted anyone here for ages, and you guys need someone else to occasionally bring some sanity to these pages. For a bit of healthy balance. Feride will visit very soon, and will be like a green salad to go with my burger and chips questions.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

A beautiful, sophisticated, not at all corrupt but very democratic, accepting and tolerant Azeri.

OK. For some reason, the name of this blog, scary azeri, really winds some azeris up. 

I can only assume that they feel insulted that those two words are being used in the same sentence. Somehow, in their little defected minds, it insults not only the whole nation, but also them personally and possibly, their mothers, too when I use the words Scary and Azeri so close to each other.

So let me explain. This is my blog. I called myself a Scary Azeri. Not you. Not your mother. Not your great grandmother. Not your president, or his wife. Not any other azeris, not even some really scary ones. 

I called the blog scary azeri because it rhymes. Why not? What would you prefer, I am just curious, that I called it? A Hairy Azeri was not bad, either, but I have a personal problem with that. 

But seriously, I am curious if those guys would prefer that I named the blog something like a Beautiful Azeri. Or a Sophisticated Azeri.  If I did that, would that make them happy? Because, according to their logic, whatever I dare to call my own blog reflects badly on the whole glorious nation. So I must not call it something disrespectful. I must change it to something that would make more idiots want to attend Eurovision 2012, even after the 9mln boxing medal bribe fiasco with the Olympic Committee. See what happens if you are not generous enough? Should have offered 9,5!! And, since all self-glorifying nations love long and pompous names, I should probably rename the blog to something like

A beautiful, sophisticated, not at all corrupt but very democratic, accepting and tolerant Azeri. 

Now, that’s better.

Anyway, on a separate topic, but still within the scary theme ... this lovely sunny morning, when I got up at 7am to breastfeed in the living room, I saw a proof that ghosts exist. 

It is really disturbing. Look, in this one photo it looks like he is trying to tell me something about this poor girl.

She has no idea this semi-transparent perv  is lurking right next to her. How spooky??? And in this other shot, he is trying to get out of the TV!
I showed the photos to Husband. Just to shake his atheist beliefs a little. Maybe get him to question things a bit more, you know?

‘Looks like a sign language guy to me’, Husband said dismissively. Why does he always have to do that?!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

The Pyrex dish mystery.

I don’t know about yours, but my husband is not perfect. He has a few incredibly irritating habits.

A friend told me about a British Persian (I think?) comedian who had a joke about her husband annoying her. You see, she said, it is his breathing. It is constant. In and out. In and out. We laughed at that joke because, after 11 years of marriage, some annoying habits do tend to...well, annoy.

One of the most annoying habits my husband has is his total inability to look for things. I can sort of understand his frustration, as I, myself, get really annoyed when something I am looking for hides from me- on purpose, simply to drive me insane. So yes, I get frustrated, but I don’t tend to blame other people for it.

Today, husband was preparing macaroni cheese for our older child in the kitchen, whistling to the radio. Suddenly, the whistling stopped and in a few seconds, I jumped from the noise of kitchen dishes being shoved about in a deliberately noisy fashion.

Husband was searching for a specific Pyrex dish. Of course, as soon as he realized it was missing from where it normally lives, he blamed Someone for misplacing it.  Someone must have broken it, husband suggested. Someone is usually my mother, and if she is not around- me, of course. Since I have not cooked a thing in the past few months, I was obviously not guilty. ‘I did not touch it!’ my mother claimed. 

Husband did not feel we appreciated the importance of the dish enough.  Without it, my poor starving child was not getting her macaroni cheese. The dish was the only one of the right size. It was his parents’ wedding present. They kindly ( and very generously) passed it on to us. It lasted an awfully long time, and now, it was gone. Gone! And the child was going to be very hungry and very sad. And we clearly did something to it, and now were covering up the crime.

I think, he told me, I remember you taking something to your friend Z the other day in it. I did not, of course, take any food to any friends. Husband was making it up. 

As we stood there, opening the cupboards one after another and looking in every possible corner of the kitchen, my mother quietly walked into the garden. It is here!!! We suddenly heard her call out. 

The Pyrex dish, still dirty from the BBQ we had a few weeks ago, was hiding inside Husband’s baby- the smoke-n-pit BBQ set. Since it was his BBQ, which Someone never cooks in, it became instantly apparent to all the involved parties who had, in fact, misplaced the f*****ing Pyrex dish. 

'I told you', I said, smiling lovingly, 'that it was you who used it last, and therefore you who had misplaced it.'

'No', husband said happily, 'you guys must have hidden it there! Very clever!'

Have you heard, I asked him, that the domestic violence from women towards men has increased dramatically in the UK in the past year?
I wonder why.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Need help? Get an arse pair.

I like big butts and I cannot lie
You other brothers can't deny
That when a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist
And a round thing in your face
You get sprung
Wanna pull up tough
Cuz you notice that butt was stuffed
Deep in the jeans she's wearing

Mixalot Sir, I Like Big Buts

Oh, no. My mother is going back to Baku after a few months of staying with us. That means, I will be left without my dæmon. 

'Well,' Husband announced in his usual supportive manner, 'you will just have to cope by yourself, like everybody else.'

The truth is, however, that not everybody does. In reality, every mother I know has her own ways of getting help. Some have their family living nearby, others have mother’s help or nannies coming a few times a week, or au pairs living with them. 

Au pairs are possibly the cheapest form of help a middle class yummy mummy can hope to have in this country. They cook, clean, look after the children and generally help around the house. The only problem with them, of course is that they are a live-in help. I.e. they live in your house, every day and every night. That might suit some people, but for others it can be an interesting hmm...situation.

That is what one of my mummy friends discovered when she decided to go back to full-time job and hire an au pair from abroad. 

Here you have two choices. 

You can be Azeri about it and bring a “relative” to visit you for six month, such as a distant cousin, who basically is someone you pay pennies, provide food for and basically employ illegally. Once the visa expires, you bring someone else. Or, like this friend of mine, you can go along the legal route and hire someone properly. 

The legal way with au pairs in the UK is to hire someone young, often Eastern European, someone who wants to get the experience of living in the UK and study English.

So this is what my friend chose to do. When she introduced me to her new au pair, I noticed that the girl was reasonably pretty, incredibly young and Eastern European. She turned out to be Hungarian.  One thing that I remembered most of all from her image, for some reason, was her enormous arse. It was round, perky and squeezed in very tight jeans.
'Interesting!', I said. 'So you are okay with a 20+ year old Hungarian girl (read: with an enormous arse) to move into your house and live with you and your husband? '

'Yes, why not?' My friend asked defensively. She clearly did not see the Hungarian arse as a threat. 

A few months on, we met again at her lovely big house in the countryside. A much older, not very good-looking lady was helping at the kitchen. Later, after a couple of glasses of vine, my friend started to explain the change in the house. 

The Hungarian girl had to go, she said. It just did not feel right to have such a young girl living with them. She hated the fact that it made he appear insecure or unfair. 'Look!' she said, as I started laughing, 'she really was not that good at her job!'

'Come on!' I said. 'Just confess. It is not about her being not good enough. It is about that sexy arse in tight jeans'

My friend jumped up on the sofa in excitement. ‘Well, yes! Did you see that arse???!!!!’

‘Did I see it!?’ I said. ‘I saw nothing but the arse!’ 

It turned out, the sexy curvy arse did not go unnoticed in the village. 

‘When I return from work....’ her neighbour said to her once, ‘and see your au pair walking in front of me....I just know I am home.'

My friend tried to be reasonable, but the tight jeans and the curvy arse was everywhere she looked. And- of course!-she trusted her husband. But why, she asked thoughtfully, would you make yourself vulnerable?  Why bring the temptation right into your house?

The girl was also a bit silly. You see, here is a good lesson, in case you are in your early twenties, have a peachy arse, like to pack it into tight jeans and want to learn some English by working for a family in the UK: Do not stay up late watching TV with the husband when the wife is so tired from the day in the office, she has to go to bed early. Not a good idea, my friend. Be friendly, but not with the husband. And trust me, your love for football (that makes you stay up late to watch a match) will not keep you employed.

‘So now...’my friend said, ‘I have this old lady’. Her husband was not happy, she added. He constantly complained that the new au pair is too old and did not do things right. 

'Oh, Husband walked in on our little chat. 'You don’t have your pretty au pair anymore?'

Both my friend and I attacked him like a two-headed dragon. Was she pretty? Did he think she was?!!!! Did he? Did he???!!!!

Husband sensed the danger. 'Well, I thought she was nice’, he said tentatively. 

'I bet you did', I thought, making a mental note to never hire a 20+ Eastern European au pair.