16 May 12 | Chad W. Post | Comments

After a minor hiatus, Janis Stirna is back with his on-going preview of the Eurovision. The semi-finals start next Tuesday (5/22), and he promised me he’d cover all the entries before the finals along with all his yes/no votes on who will make it to the finals.

Hello my friends.

If You are here today this is meaning You are again with me in following Eurovision songgames! However before I am telling you my yesvotes and novotes and wonderings of European motherland songgames contestants, I first must to be telling you answers to questionings.

Is Janis Latvian? I am. Is Janis making writings hisself? I am! I am writer in motherland Latvia and am enjoying to write and write all the times I have possibilities for to write. But what for to make writings hisself if Janis can be finding translators by Americas, that are plentiful of English knowing peoples?! Or maybe by Chad W. Post, that is plentiful of knowing all peoples?!

My answer is easy. I, Janis, too am writing and knowing of English as well. I am working many years hard for learning English of book and picturefilms—my English is something You are understanding and this is most important thing, so why for should I search of translators? Translatoring is also lasting long days and I am not all the times joyous of outcome. It is also priding for me to be writing at You of my own wordings.

But now is time for more Eurovision songgames writings! I am for to write at You first of semi-finals 1 European motherlands, then of semi-finals 2 motherlands. I will for to make of groupings, yes? There are also click-links for to viewing of picturevideos of musics! Are You excite?! Here we are going!

Montenegro: Peoples question at MY English? Singing man is not even singing, but is making rhymings. Rhymings of talking! And why for to burning globe??? IS PERFECTLY GOOD GLOBE!! I am finding donkey friend of singing man with no sense globe burn rhymings finding greatly more interesting than singing man hisself. Sorry, Montenegro, but European motherlands already are having one Italian Jovanotti-type singer—his name is Jovanotti and he is of Italy. Maybe picturevideo of donkey friend only is better idea. I am thinking no songgames finals for Montenegro.

Iceland: Ooh, fancy violin soundings. Song words are of serious times, maybe also sad times. Music is also sounding serious and well, also music is sounds very very familiarity… BUT HEI WAIT. This Jonsi is not Sigur Ros Jonsi. Is Iceland playing trickery? Fancy violin soundings and fancy picturevideos will not be putting sheepswool atop on MY eyes, Iceland, oh no! Not this day!

Greece: HELLO GREEK FRIEND. Oh yes hello. Greece is not having trickeries. Greece is finding most beauteous non-prostitution woman in shortest dress and wind in hair who can sing sexywords on stages made of light and mens with unnatural bendiness of arms and legs. Thank you, Greeceland. Oh yes thank you for not making trickeries. Oh yes. See you at songgames finals, Greece.

Latvia: Look, friends, is my motherland country Latvia! Our woman also is beauteous, but with songwords that make none of the sense. Yet Latvia songgames song is like soundworm in Your ear. A soundworm speaking words of none of the sense. And this worm, he is never leaving your brain and You are thinking and singing all of the times. HEI. Why no one dance in Airport Riga when I am flying? Is extra possibility on ticketings?! AirBaltic, we are to be in contacts soon, and Latvia I am thinking also will be in songgames finals.

Albania: Albania woman is letting her childrens make writings on wall? While she is making standing and song in box? Where to have her feets gone? Though she IS having a voice of strongness and winning, but is filling of sad. OH YES, probably because nobody will be understanding her songwords. Maybe following year, Albania is making songwords in normal languages. And maybe following year Albania also is making it to finals because this year NO. No.

Romania: In what country is Romania picturevideo happening? Is desert, is drummings, is Abu Dhabi, is Scottish bagpipings… She is globetrotting so quickfast! Perhaps she has possibilities for to time travel? Romanian woman singing is much like Spain musics of previous songgames, but with more gyrations of bodies and chest bubbles. And accordion! Perhaps Romania will share time travel secrets and show more of the gyrations when we are seeing her in songgames finals.

So there my friends is first six semi-finals 1 Eurovision songgames explaining by Your friend Janis, me! I will bring you more words of Eurovision soon, but I must now go to trap my train or else be making seering walking to City Center from homehold. Let us hold our thumbs for all songgames contestants (yes also the so silly ones) and see you soon next time for writings.

3 October 07 | E.J. Van Lanen | Comments

The first of Fatos Kongoli’s novels to be translated into English—and the first novel he wrote after a career as a mathematician in communist Albaina—The Loser evokes the terror, paranoia and despair of the communist experience in Albania through the person of Thesar Lumi, a young man from a dusty and remote town who finds himself caught up in the series of large and small tragedies of daily life in a dictatorial regime.

Lumi narrates his story, calling it a confessional—a recounting of the mistakes that led him to walk away from a chance to leave Albania for Italy. As a teenager, Lumi managed to enroll in high school, and then university, in the capital city Tirana. There, he is befriended by Ladi, a young boy whose family is in the ruling class of Albania. Out of his depths both socially and politically, Lumi also also harbors a potentially devastating secret:

And that’s how I was destined at that young age to learn that I belonged to a category of inferior beings or, as I imagined it at the time, to a category of mangy mongrels who are kicked around wherever they go. As pale as death itself, my father revealed to me in brief terms that I did in fact have an uncle. “Several months after you were born,” he explained, “your uncle, who was doing his military service, crossed over the border with two companions. He fled the country, was declared an enemy of the people and became a shame on our family. He no longer exists for any of us, not for you either. You need to hate him.”

Lumi soon begins to have an illicit affair with Ladi’s cousin, Sonia, and when they are discovered his secret comes back to haunt him. Expelled from the university and banished to his village, Lumi is sent to break up limestone in the cement factory. Increasingly drunk on raki and depressed, Lumi finds himself trapped in a world where people have little to do but fight over the detritus of their ruined lives, and where the only thing worse than the ever-present communist authorities are the thugs who share his favorite bar.

The Loser is a relentlessly bleak book. Each of the characters in the story are simultaneously trapped in a pattern of behavior which they cannot escape and by the machinery of a thuggish communist society. Kongoli skillfully captures the desperation of Lumi, and of Albanian society at the time, memorializing for us a world which is, thankfully, disappearing.

The Loser
By Fatos Kongoli
Seren Books (forthcoming in November)
220 pgs, £7.99

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