Monday, April 28, 2008

Pictures of a model Moscow from the Soviet era

Love this, especially the one where there's dollars shoved in the tower. The last picture is of a more current vintage, though there are no mini gangsters driving Lexus thugmobiles about, sadly.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Five things France does better than Britain, five things that we excel at. Originally for the Arena blog


1. Telly
Sure, their Saturday evenings consist mainly of unintelligible panel games made for the benefit of an audience made up of overweight 2CV drivers in Toulouse. However, post midnight, it’s hardcore porn – even on terrestial telly. Which certainly makes checking out at boutique hotels easier the morning after.

2. Cigarettes
French fags do not mess about. Gauloises and Gitanes not only have boss packets, but one quick puff of these babies and you’ll get first hand experience of France’s legendarily good health service. What’s ‘iron lung’ in French?

3. Dogs
When we were kids, all French dogs had rabies. To this day, a growl off un chien Française is enough to send your average Brit hurtling for the safety of his Mondeo. If they’d got together a rag tag army of Jacque Russells and Alsaciens instead of wasting their time building the Maginot Line, they’d have never have been bothered by the Germans.

4. Supermarkets
Your average British NIMBY gets their knickers in a twist over a Tesco Metro (well, until it’s opened and they need a pint of milk). Imagine what they’d be like with a Mammouth or Carrefour on their doorstep. Whole cities can fit into the outside furniture section of these monsters alone.

5. Bangers
Them ones with the tiger on the front of the pack justify a trip to Boulogne on their own.

However, it’s not all one-way traffic (unless the French lorry drivers are on strike again). For there are some things that Johnny Frenchman is not quite as good at as he’d like to think. Here are five…

1. Food
The French, get this, eat… snails. SNAILS! Have they not heard of Pot Noodle or Micro Chips? It must be crap being eight in France.

2. Quality of post-pub fighting
“Oh no, Pierre’s had too many Paul Ricards. Watch yourself, he’s about to get leery with the babyfoot table.” Get a grip.

3. Clothes
“Oh, but French people are so stylish.” I’m sorry, but have you been to Calais or Dieppe? If your idea of trendy is a pair of blue overalls and a bushy moustache then yeah, they’re cool. There are mechanics in Grimsby better dressed than your average Frenchman.

4. Women
British women are routinely castigated for being drunken harlots with no morals. And? Rather that than some ultra-sophisticated Parisienne with a Chanel account, underarm hair and a fondness for sleeping pill sandwiches.

5. Music
If they’re French and any good we’ll get on to them years before they do (see Air and Daft Punk). Meanwhile on Radio Garlic it’s Johnny Hallyday and MC Solaar.

What do you reckon? What else do the French do better than us? And where do the Brits have the upper hand?