Well since reading William Gibsons Pattern Recognition - which I absolutely have to recommend to anyone interested in planning as its main protagonist is a coolhunter - brilliant! - I have become terribly interested in all things Russian - which has caught me by surprise! I have begun to realise the depth of cultural influence they had historically and how much I like the graphics and music of pre and post war Russia.
It may have been a gradual thing linked to my increasing interest in street art - the type that has leapfrogged the skateboard/snowboard gig which has become too commercial and inauthentic for my liking - I have been noticing a strange correlation between the look and feel of street art in the West and what used to be government propaganda in the old Soviet Union. Interestingly now there is an almost acceptance - a sort of celebration almost - of graffiti as genuine art now - especially the airbrush-realism quality of the stencil artists.
I am sensing a deep connection between all the political and powerful anti-establishment global stuff pouring out today and the art produced during the period of Russian Social Realism (I think known as The Second Five Year Plan 1933-1937)- all simulacra of militaristic-style graphics merging with Japanese style pop-culture materialism - interesting and underground but not that far beneath I suspect.
I also adore the music of that period - soaring and uplifting - try this incredibly evocative national anthem for starters:
and this one with lyrics
I have never been particularly moved by a piece of music but this seems to do it for me. I believe that it was written by Alexandr Vasilievich Alexandrov - although I could be wrong - it seems a bit hazy - need to do more investigation - check it out anyway.
Then I was thinking about Yuri Gargarin and realised what an exceptional man he was and how important he was to Russia. If Yuri had been a brand - and he was to Russians - as well as a cultural icon - he was the equivalent of the Beatles, George Best, Cassius Clay all rolled into one. His story is wonderful and the legacy incredible - I am enjoying finding out more about him at the moment.
There are numerous sites about him and Russia, but I would point out this link where there is a wonderful series of clips strung together as a realtime pic show which I love watching with the music - it can be found here: http://www.abamedia.com/rao/media/gagarin/gagarinss.smi
Next week I shall start the planning and creative superheroes - been tricky tracking stuff down for John Webster but have enough to begin anyway.