Thursday, December 27, 2012

Natasha's Dance.

Lulu Frost for J Crew ( it reminds me of the second last pic)


I have a little bit of a Russian fetish brewing at the moment. No, not Chekhov, although you can't deny that when he had a pulse he was as incendiary as a Molotov cocktail.
Mum bought me this for Christmas...
And this...

(I think I know where her birthday gift to me might be  headed this year)

It will take me some time to chomp through both of these but now 
I want it all; the onion domes, the weighty literature, the gleaming samovars, the pillow soft blinis laden with  silky  iridescent black sturgeon pearls.
I was once proposed to at the Russian Tea Rooms in New York, a 2 carat  Tiffany round brilliant made an appearance with coffee, but that's a story for another day.


Any fetishes you want to share with the group?
Keep it clean.
( but email me the good stuff!)





Grand Hotel Europa
Grand Hotel Europa

B & P



Dr Zhivago


The high haunched Russian oligarch: Alexander Orlov.

103 comments:

  1. I'm guessing everyone is e-mailing you since no one is posting here. LOL

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  2. Rose, I really did LOL - oh the filth that's coming in!

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  3. The Russian Tea Room...oh I wanted to go there on our last NYC trip but we made too many plans. Next time!

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    1. Is it back again? Last I heard it had closed, I loved it there.

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    2. Oh it is open again - oh want to go now.

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  4. oh right. Fetishes. Probably Edwardian, Victorian and retro furnishings. I've always wanted one of those donut-shaped telephones.

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    1. Oh come live in my early Victorian house -can't bear it!

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  5. Noooooooooooo!!!

    Tabs you can't just give us a tasty morsel from your Russian Tea Room extravaganza with a Tiffany rock and leave us there....WE NEED MORE!

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    1. Curator - it was good while it lasted but didn't end well.

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    2. I second what the Curator says. You can't just leave us hanging here... :D

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    3. Might have to do a round robin email on that one!

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  6. On the topic of Russian fantasies--do you know that your satsuma Kate Spade coat is on sale for half off minus an additional 25%? 0 and 00 are sold out at the KS site, but it's also marked down at Nordstrom , which will match other sites' prices.

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    1. Yes, but KS doesn't ship here, and Nordstrom adds taxes, so I had to get it from London in their sale but still at silly money.
      It's in my wardrobe but I haven't washed my hair for three days or put on proper clothes, it will appear once I slope back to civilisation.

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    2. Ooh, I didn't know you had purchased it! (Must have missed a post.) Congratulations on finding something you adore, at whatever price!

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    3. Hexicon, oh it only just arrived, I hadn't mentioned it anywhere.

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    4. Oh yay, I'm glad you were able to get it and can't wait to see it!

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  7. ha ha! Oh my, I went through such a Russian fetish as a teenager- it was all innocent dreams of furry hats and feverish consumptive princes (the Idiot- my fave!) I'm rereading Anna Karenina at the moment but I don't think I can see the new movie...Keira is not Anna!

    I used to listen to this guy all the time and actually just received the cd in my stocking this Christmas- guaranteed an afternoon of this booming baritone will make you think you've landed in the snowy steppes!
    Ivan Rebrov-
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZIFhJ6fyzk

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    1. OH great stuff! And the furry hat is at the top of my list.

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  8. Aha! Have you noticed per chance that All Saints has a whole Soviet meme going on in their coats section? They do indeed!

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    1. No I never look there now, too young and urban for me.

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  9. I'm developing a...let's just call it a "fondness" for velvet. I've already got the fur fetish going full-time! Tell us more about the Tiffany reject!

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  10. Love the lulu frost necklace :) Glad to have found your blog dear :) Keeping in touch!

    xoxo, Tiffany
    http://lamstyleguide.blogspot.com

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  11. Sulky - I did some awful things in my younger days, I once excused myself to the ladies room on a really, really really boring date with a high falluting egotist and then flagged a taxi home - a few weeks of not answering the phone sorted that out!

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    1. You little Seductress - we need you to publish the B&P Diaries! I must interview you as part of the PR drive!

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    2. More immature, wimp than seductress, but I was a young 'un.

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    3. Love Sulky's idea of an interview. I hope you at least kept the ring!

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  12. My favorite reading experiences have been with Tolstoy & Dostoevsky and I tell everyone that those books are best read in winter. I'm with curator regarding Russian Tea Room--my uncle had lunch there every day for years. Dr. Zhivago is my 2nd favorite movie (after English Patient)and also enjoyed the very underrated 'Gorky Park' with Lee Marvin, William Hurt, & Natassia Kinski-back in her snake days.

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    1. ...there was also an extraordinary film I saw entirely shot within the Hermitage in one take (2+ hours) and I can't remember the title but it had one narrator/guide who took you through several generation of Russian history. Masterful!

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    2. movie was called 'Russian Ark'!

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    3. GSL : "her snake days"! I remember it well. How wonderful of your uncle, I love stories like that.
      Oh I must go look up Russian Ark.

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    4. Wow, I would love to see it, wonder how I can get my mitts on it?

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    5. Here's the making of the film on youtube.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0Z4bUfUYdw

      Looks amazing! Thank you GSL!

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    6. I had forgotten all about this gem and got to see it at Chicago's meticulously restored Music Box Theatre (c 1929) back when Russian Ark had it's US release. Great film & perfect venue.

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  13. Dr. Zhivago is one of my mum's favourites but I can't handle watching it, it's too sad. Julie Christie is so incredibly beautiful in that movie. I would love to wear one of those big furry hats but with my basketball-shaped head, it's a no-go. Can't wait to hear more about your Russian Tea Room story!!!

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  14. Louise: It's my mum's favourite too, Julie Christie was at the height of her beauty then.

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    1. And Omar was at the height of his smoldering looks. That man! That man!

      I just met two young Russians walking around our neighborhood, touring. Their accents were wonderful.

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  15. The Russian mentality is a feisty yet melancholy one. Lunches are showered down with icy vodka and to get a Russian man " get you ", you need to explain that whatever makes you feel sad... you need whatever to happen to feel happy. And they´ll skin themselves if needed. It´s all about emotions but those emotions are strong and raw and possibly gut you. Women are Feminine, men are strong and Manly and there´s no mixing those two.
    I have Russian blood in me and I can tell you that in our family gatherings, beatings happen, lost children ( my aunt needed to give her two kids to adoption because she couldn´t support them back in the days ) venture in as adults with their own family, there will be sentimental speeches that never seem to end, even at my granmothers´ funeral my Good Aunt punched the Reckless Aunt unconscious- because she ( RA ) couldn´t take her mothers´ funeral, started freaking out and decided to go boozing, the priest was at the door and Good Aunt figured the Reckless one needed to be dealt with pronto! While her lights were out, we dragged the item on the linen closet and locked the door. Good thing the ol´ gal was skinny. Even when Granny was on her deathbed she kicked the priest out and howled at the poor thing that she´ll make sure to outlive him.
    When I was a kid my uncles´ wife encouraged me to take a communion, when we were in church at another gatherning, and hoover in the wine " you´ll be needing it, kiddo " and was she right ever. But that was another family affair.
    Also, there is a lot of sadness and famine and cold and whatnot in Russian history but there always will be a certain undertone of grandness, boldness and unapologetic authenticy.

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    1. WRS: This has confirmed what I thought, Russians are basically Scots Irish with a more illegible alphabet!

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    2. Just substitute vodka for whisky.

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    3. It is a small world, after all.

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  16. Well good luck getting through those! I am impressed!

    I like Russia, but I fear I am more of the peasant type! I saw Fiddler on the Roof when I was around 11 and became obsessed with becoming a russian jew. Obsessed! Of course I lived in a small canadian town that had exactly 15 jewish people and despire picking their brains, I never could recreate that life.. Oh I have scads of those crazy obsessions! Am still waiting for people to break into song and dance, even more so now that I have seen Les Miserables. Do these count as fetishes or simply odd natterings? You decide!

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    1. WMM my MrBP was obsessed with Fiddler on the Roof when he was the same age. We're going to see it at Stratford this summer and the singing is going to be outrageous for weeks afterwards I'm sure! Maybe you should come to Ontario and see it with us, I'll get you tickets!

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  17. Are you headed for a trip to Russia with Mums? I have ton
    of fetishes but I'm in denial.

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    1. Oh Mum can barely walk now, her travelling days are over.

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  18. RUSSIAN ROULETTE Tabs you must go to St. Petersburg! Latest incarnation of Tea Room is over-rated but decor still spot on for pre-Christmas champers and still have some eye-catching samovars. Dated a jumped-ship, vintage Levi importing Russian. Couldn't handle the bottle's-up vodka consumption, but did abscond with his babushka's luscious, buttery recipe for blinchiki.

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    1. Yes I really want to go, and as for the Tea Room if the interior is the same then that's what matters most to me, it was incredible.

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  19. You've got me thinkging about that gorgeous Russian Natalie Wood .

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    1. Oh she was my brother's pin up, she was just stunning.

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  20. I'm all about the champagne this week. Having been wanting to sink my teeth into something historical and know so little about Russia. There's a B&N gift card burning a hole in my purse, may have to pick up Natasha's Dance.

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  21. I love that ice house in Dr Zhivago, one of my favourite movies which I am compelled to watch whenever it pops again on TV. Anna Karanina is another favourite. That Russian culture has a magic appeal. Back in the day I wore a coat with fur collar and cuffs for years, trying to channel Julie Christie - and this in tropical Queensland! Enjoy those books, and I hope you go to Russia soon.

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  22. I'd like to develop a fetish for 2 ct. Tiffany diamonds, but since I'm not likely to be given any in my lifetime, perhaps I should set my sights on something more attainable. Cracker Jack rings, maybe?

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  23. please let me know when you are going to share the story of the proposal at the russian tea room with the 2 ct diamond and coffee. that right there has the makings of a novel. or at least a v good short story.

    your champagne is making me thirsty. xo

    ps - i adore your pajamas/robe in the previous post. i'd never get dressed if i owned them.

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  24. David and I are both of Russian heritage, which explains our mutual love of vodka. My mother has the samovar that my great grandfather brought with him to the US. Natasha's Dance looks great - I've always wondered why there weren't more great/famous Russian painters. Other than Kandinsky, I can't think of one? Would love to hear the Russian Tea Room proposal story as well. Love the necklace and have been eyeing it as well. Lulu Frost is great.

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    1. Kathy and Rynetta, I love the design of it, but it's very cheap and junky, I sent it back, it's not worth the money but if I ever find it on Ebay I'll snaffle it up.

      That's wondeful that your mum has the samovar, my lot only ever wandered a few hundred miles around Scotland.

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    2. And of course Chagall.

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  25. Growing up in Soviet block country would cure you from any Russian fetish. I've been to Russia several times and they have nothing to do with Scots, quite the opposite: nothing is understated or self deprecating, all is coming from deepest guts, romantic, serious and desperate. Take this and then double up on everything. This includes fashion. Nobody does pretentious with more class and style...
    That said, I'd go for the music and all the broody literature. Love it.
    And yes, I am waiting for all the juicy details, please...

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    1. Oh I'm sure it would ajc, fantasies are always better, mine are of the olden days and in my head I'm one of the ones swirling about the ballroom in a chiffon gown.

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  26. I'm reading those books too that's decided, copying you once again. Though I have to say I haven't the nerve to go to Russia, that scares me half to death.
    I want to know the story like everyone!

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  27. and opulence. Russians invented overdone opulence.

    Happy moment in Moscow: tired and thirsty in Red Square, having been v. polite on visit to Tomb of Lenin, enter Kremlin, greeted by machine which vends Coca-Cola.

    For sheer opulent Russian-inspired fur, velvet and leather clothing, nobody beats Dennis Basso on Madison Avenue. Funny, he's just one or two doors down from the J.Crew Collection Store.

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    1. Fred - I love juxtapositions like that, the only place I have never seen Coca Cola is Cuba.

      I saw Dennis Basso last week - he's a Claridge's man.

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  28. If you ever find yourself in Toronto...let me know. We will go to Rasputin and drink vodka, eat caviar and the like, and act out Dr Zhivago!

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    1. A kind stranger once took me round Toronto during a four hour stop off there back in the olden days of flying Scotland/London/NYC/Toronto/ LA.

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  29. Mmm - a cookbook called Please to the Table - crosses the old USSR and has snippets of all sorts mixed in with the recipes.

    And I recently finished a history of Georgia (where great-greats came from on one side of the family). Hard reading with that required constant reference to the maps. I've got the chairs that they brought with them to Australia when they fled the pogroms.

    The romantic composers (Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky), the writers (Chekov, Akhmatova, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoi), the artists (just please let me loose in the Hermitage!).

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  30. Oh Tabitha what a tease! You know we all want to hear the drama of the Russian Tea Room!

    Wishing you all the best in 2013!
    xoxo
    Karena

    Art by Karena

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    1. Oh that part was quiet and civil!

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  31. Roederer Cristal - how divine. I will make do with Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 2004 on New Year's Eve. And lovely hors d'oeuvre, including black pearls. This strange nether world week in between is mildly disconcerting, but I've been girding my loins with much activity at the pool or in the gym, so I'm feeling quite virtuous, and deserving of good libations, (as the Beach Boys might have sung).

    I was watching Andrew Graham-Dixon's programmes about Russian art recently, and the deep melancholy of the Russian psyche is bourne out in that programme, and then last night The Desert Of Forbidden Art:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1536458/

    which tells the story of Igor Savitsky's rescue of Soviet art to what is now Uzbekistan; again although modern art, there is the lingering melancholy.

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    1. C: Oh I missed that, I heard that it was excellent, I have one more bottle of vintage champagne left, (25 years and then it's back to the just trodden vinegary stuff.

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  32. Natasha's Dance looks good, I'm going to put it on my goodreads list :)
    And you're going to have to dish a bit more about that engagement you minx! I love the RTR, my mom used to bring me there for lunch when I was little back in our NY days (a million years ago!) x

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  33. love the seats at the Russian tea house, I wanted to go there in 2003 but it was shut...luff the necklace- check out my new one, xxxx

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  34. Dear Tabitha
    Understand your Russian fetish. Have loved Russian arts/history, since I was a teen bookworm: Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Gogol, Turgenev etc and Pasternak and Solzhenitsyn. Maybe even earlier after seeing the Borovansky Ballet's "Swan Lake" in Sydney. Became crazy for the Russian ballet, Diaghilev, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov etc.

    A fan of the Hollywood film of "War and Peace" and "Anna Karenina". Also "Dr Zhivago". Have you seen "Burnt by the Sun"? A wonderful Russian movie set during the Stalinist purges - begins with idyllic scenes at a country dacha with a barely perceptible note of menace. Eventually the tension and dread grows unbearably. A very powerful if bleak movie. Also loved "Russian Ark". Breathtaking, the sweep in one continuous take through the Hermitage, incorporating glorious and sometimes confronting scenes from Russian history; a feeling of nostalgic pride in Russian culture and history.
    In 2000 an old friend then living in Moscow invited us to come and stay. She walked us for wonderful miles every day. Before leaving for Moscow we'd been in New York where the then Russian UN Ambassador told us to visit the Tretyakov Gallery to see Russian art. It was filled with interesting works by artists barely known in the west. The Pushkin Gallery has a magnificent collection of western art.
    After Moscow we took the overnight train to St Petersburg having booked a three day package of accommodation and tours. We expected a tour bus and were amazed to find we had our own driver and personal guide,an expert in Russian history and the arts. We had our own wonderful tour of the city, a personally escorted day tour of the Hermitage and similar visits to Peterhof and Catherine's little gem of a palace at Oranjenbaum. Our guide organised (incredibly cheap) tickets to "War and Peace", a combined Kirov/Metropolitan innovative production at the Mariinski Theater (part of the White Nights Festival), directed by Andre Konchalovsky and with Valery Gergiev as conductor. Magical. During the interval Georgian champagne and caviar in the Kirov bar. This was the life. We stayed at the historic Astoria Hotel, where grand dukes had had assignations with dancers and later Hitler planned a cocktail party to celebrate the conquest of St Petersburg. Fortunately, despite the suffering and starvation his bombardment inflicted on St Petersburg, he failed to take the city. It's the most magical place. Apart from the Hermitage and other Imperial palaces there are wonderful places like the Yusipov Palace where Anna Pavlova danced at the palace's jewel box theatre and where artists like Clara Schumann played - and also the rooms where Prince Yusipov and his friends killed Rasputin. So many amazing places to see!
    We took tea every afternoon at the Astoria: wonderful Russian tea in fine china, cakes and sticky buns and caviar and smoked salmon in a salon where a harpist played (it cost only $10 each for as much afternoon tea, including caviar, as one liked).

    Can recommend Orlando Figes' "Natasha's Dance". Very interesting if you have a fetish for Russian culture. Also if you're interested in Russian ballet, both Imperial and Diaghilev and the role of their dancers caught up in the turmoil of the revolution, try "Imperial Dancer, Mathilde Kschessinska and the Romanovs" by Corynne Hall and "Theatre Street" by Tamara Karsavina.
    Look forward to reading about the Russian Tea Room and the diamond scenario and its playout. Best wishes and Happy New Year, Pamela

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    1. Pamela: That sounds like the most unforgettable trip, everything you described is so utterly romantic, I'm about to start pricing it all now and if I do go I will make sure I do my groundwork in Russian literature. I have a signed photograph of Anna Pavlova which is absolute treasure to me.

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    2. for a look into early 20th century Russia there's always Eisenstein

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    3. Yes Tabitha, you're right. It was so romantic and wonderful. One of our best trips ever, unforgettable. We were very lucky to have had such an amazing experience. Think it was a lot cheaper and less crowded back in 2000 than it might be now.

      You're so fortunate to have a signed photograph of Anna Pavlova. Some years ago I went to a book launch about the Diaghilev Ballet given by the writer and former Diaghilev baby ballerina, also a wonderful, fascinating raconteur, Irina Baronova. She signed my copy which was a thrill for me. But not quite like having Anna Pavlova's autograph.
      Agree with smr, Eisenstein is marvellous. I'll never forget the movie "The Battleship Potemkin" with the crowd on the steps and the image of the pram and baby inside bouncing out of control all the way down after the mother had been shot. Eisenstein was a brilliant film maker.

      Looking forward to seeing Anna Karenina. Just saw Les Miserables this afternoon and tears poured down my cheeks throughout. A wonderful production and cast. Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway were all superbas were the rest of the cast. Who knew Anne Hathaway and Russell Crowe could sing!

      Best wishes, and a very Happy New Year! Pamela

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  35. Pamela : I'm just rushing to the gym so I'm going to take the time to read this when I come back. Thank you for such a magnificent comment.

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  36. Dear All,

    Thank you for the comments, you are all so erudite, interesting and funny.

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  37. Oh, I love me some history books! I have a stack given by lovely step-children who pay heed to my Amazon wishlist. Currently chewing through Anne de Courcy's 1939: The Last Season. A trip to St. Petersburg and Moscow is definitely on my travel wish list. I know Rick Steves does a tour from the US, but we also have Russian friends here in Britain who would be happy to accompany us I'm sure. Fetishes? I have many, thank you, but for now I'll just say two words: Mikhail Baryshnikov.

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  38. Good one, Shelley!

    I love reading all of your comments. Better reading than most of the blogs put together! Tabitha, I loved your experience in the RTR and don't need to hear more. Some things are best left with mystery intact.

    Back in my acting days, I did a theatre festival in St. Petersbourg--in the middle of winter! The sun would baaarely make it up over the roof tops before falling back to sleep but my was it beautiful. The Russian actors were SO amazing and so generous even though they had nothing. During rehersal one day, one of the men collapsed as it turns out he hadn't eaten in a few days. It was a difficult experience but an amazing one. It was so cold where we were staying that lots of us would go to sleep with vodka bottles on the bedstand. Yes, you would love the Hermitage. That was in the winter of...98? I can only imagine how much has changed since then...

    Bisous and thank you yet again for this wonderful blog of yours,
    H

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    1. That is about the best compliment I've had all year...Thank you, so much!

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  39. Dr Zhivago is also one of my very favourite films. I could get lost in the young Omar Sharif's eyes. St Petersburg in particular has always been one of my must see destinations before I die. I also love reading about Russian ballet dancers. So looking forward to seeing Anna Karenina but quite worried by the casting of Keira. She is just so wrong for the part.

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    1. Coco : I have never found him attractive, I'm one of the few.
      Yes I think St Petersburg is one of my last 'must sees"

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  40. Gorgeous necklace!! Love the books, they look super, will have to look those up :)) I hope you had a marvellous Christmas doll & your New Years will be grand too xx

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  41. OOH what an enchanting life you lead....I was the first person born outside Yorkshire on both sides of the family.....so you can see how boring we lot are so please keep up the magic.Ida

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    1. Ida - I was very cosseted and very nervous as a youngster but forced myself out into the world now I prefer the sofa.

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  42. Ciao...so Big Books!...hahaha...I havent read those books so far, Should I read them?...or is better to have a Naive mind and read Nothing?...hahaha
    un Augurio di una bella serata and Happy weekend
    Ciao!

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  43. I hope the ring was emerald cut.

    Sheree

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  44. as a young girl i became captivated by dr. zhivago. suddenly i was reading every bit of russian history i could get my hands on and fantasizing about being taken in a dacha, snow encrusted of course! i was a weird kid so maybe that was chalked up to "there she goes again" when i regaled tales of my russian ancestors.....what an idiot! but i still pine for russia
    include me in on the email chain!
    debra

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  46. I'm jealous wish I were reading those for the first time, they are great books. The Whisperers is also well worth digging into as is the more conversational Russian Revolution by Richard Pipes. I decamped to St. Petersburg after finishing grad school in early 1993, and with all apologies to John Reed, it certainly was six months which shook my world.

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  47. Lol! Lots of fun happening here ;). Fantasies, fetishes, Russian tea rooms (my imagination is running wild), chilled vodka, and sparkling wine;)

    Love it all!

    Have a nice weekend and happy New Year!!

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  48. Oh Tabitha, your mother has good taste. My mother and I use to go to the Russian Tearoom, once since re-opend, but my friends who live in New York are appauled. They say it is where all the tourist go,lol! The lovely building on the Crime and Punishment, looks like a ornament a friend brought me back from a month in Russia, I love it!

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  49. Tragic plane crash in Moscow yesterday, just when we're are all newly fixated with Mother Russia. Silent thoughts for the dead.

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    1. Curator : I saw that.
      Do you know what I just can't shake from my head just now? The death of the girl in India who was brutally gang raped and violated with an iron rod, when they took it out of her, her intestines were stuck to it. I wanted to post on it but it seems so out of kilter with Christmas and New Year blog posts.

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    2. The depravity of 'humanity' knows no bounds. What takes place in the mind of such disgusting individuals? There is never a good time to comment about tragedy, but it is important.

      Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.

      ALBERT EINSTEIN

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    3. Tabitha, that brutal incident made me sick. I cannot fathom some human behavior, if you can call it that.

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  50. I want to hear the Russian tea room proposal in full! Ha ha. Please share. :) Have a wonderful New Years, my beautiful friend!! xo

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  51. I read very little Russian literature, only Gogol and Checov and Crime and Punishment (started The Idiot but couldn't go through half of it). I just saw Anna Karenina and while I cannot say if it is a good rendition of the book (since I never read the book), it was a cinematographic disappointment compared to Atonement (one of my favorite movies). Keira's acting was a bit predictable but Jude Law was pretty good. Best part of the movie was the Constantin storyline, which is also the only one turned in exteriors so it came as a breath of fresh air (the expedient of turning every scene as if it was a staged scene was very annoying and tirening). Anyway, it gave me momentum to read the book but I am a bit lost in translation (can't read russian literature translated in English because my English isn't good enough to carry me through all those descriptive parts). Maybe if I find a French version (I have inherited of all the French classics of my MIL and I am not even sure of what I have and what I don't).

    You must share that proposal story!

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  52. I look forward to your ' tale for another day'!

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  53. Happy New Years Tabitha. I've had a lot of fun reading your blog this year.

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  54. On another note, my wild imagination is always taking me off to pursue some subject. I once read everything i could find on Russia. Used to spend prodigious amounts of time in a library and would take a subject and read everything I could find on it. I remember Liz Taylor in the movie "Giant" reading in her bed (the book had a great description) thats me. Now its my ipad its chunk full of books if I can find them for ebooks that is. Right now I'm on a St Michael research binge. I am looking up the several books and movies people are mentioning here always a learning lesson and a list of products and reading material on your blog. I have a picture of myself in a long fur lined embroidered wool coat with boots touring through the Russian countryside I've always wanted to see all of the old churches with their smoking candles and paintings. The closest I ever got was back when the Iron Curtain was still "up". I toured Germany along the "wall" and down by Czechoslovakia, visiting Czech crystal factories that sold things across the border in Germany. Then we went to East Berlin for an evening and dinner, it was somewhat spooky, we were shown a lot of damage from WWII that was covered in weeds and still unrepaired. That was in the 80's I'm sure a lot of that has changed now. If I was still living in Germany I would just drive east to see how it all looks now. My husband has to go to Germany on business a lot I would love to go with sometime and go for a long drive to see the changes that have taken place in 20 years in East Germany.

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  55. I want to hear the Russian Tearoom story!! but in the meantime, have you read The Madonnas of Leningrad. A rather somber war time story but with magical moments in the Hermitage...

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