• yonks
    ages, a very long time
  • pagger
    fight, shooting (in computer games)
  • preggars
    pregnant (also: up the duff, got a bun in the oven)
  • hack
    manage/cope with, deal with pressure
  • horny
    randy, strong sexual desire, sexual excitement
  • mong
    mentally retarded, Down Syndrome (also: spaz)
  • donkey's years
    ages, many years, a long time
  • hang out
    spend time, loiter, stand around
  • odds and sods
    random items (also: bits and pieces, bits'n'bobs)
  • joyride
    ride around in a stolen car or vehicle
  • belt up
    shut up, be quiet, shut your mouth
  • slag
    prostitute, loose woman
  • shattered
    exhausted, worn out, extremely tired
  • elbow grease
    hard manual labour, physical effort
  • dodgy
    criminal, suspicious, unsafe, not working properly
  • lad
    man, guy, boy
  • jacksie
    arse, behind, buttocks
  • knocked up
    pregnant (also: got a bun in the oven, up the duff)
  • skins
    cigarette rolling papers
  • let rip
    fart, break wind
  • plastic
    bank cards, credit cards
  • up for it
    ready, prepared, enthusiastic about
  • laughing gear
    mouth (also: gob, trap, hole)
  • spliff
    cannabis cigarette (also: joint)
  • loopy
    mad, insane, crazy
  • rack
    large breasts
  • kick off
    start trouble or a fight, become aggressive, start
  • pants
    rubbish, no good (lit. underwear)
  • in the doghouse
    in trouble, told off, chastised, punished, out of favour
  • eejit
    idiot, fool (Anglo-Irish term)

Russian Logic

February 7th, 2012 - Alex Jude

“Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”
(Winston Churchill)

Russia seems to possess its own special logic and often differs markedly from western countries. While many everyday situations may appear familiar to the uninitiated visitor, once the surface is scratched, something different and often contradictory can be glimpsed beneath. This country is elusive, hard to pin down and define – it tries at every turn to avoid being understood.

Traditional concepts, such as the deep Russian soul and Russia as a bridge between East and West, illustrate a certain Russian pride in being uniquely different from everyone else, and thus incomprehensible and altogether unfathomable. This may seem a little arrogant, even somewhat superior, but in reality it’s hard not to notice that Russia is unlike other places and demands an altogether different microscope. There is an element of truth behind these Russian notions of uniqueness, but Russia, like any other country, can be best understood in terms of itself and its own rules.

Below are some simple examples of Russian logic in practice...

Flats

Older Russian flats often have two or more doors to stop draughts, hide draft-dodging sons from the military police, and keep out just about anyone who doesn’t own a tank. The first door is usually made of cast iron, the others of wood. Door handles turn the wrong way or upside down, keys of all shapes and sizes turn in unexpected directions, toilet flushes can be carefully hidden away in wallpapered cupboards, and light switches are put in ridiculously hard to reach places leading to stubbed toes and swearing at bedtime.

Some “granny flats” still have Soviet-style radio boxes on the walls which only tune into one station – formerly the official government station but now dry political debates and opera singing (which is occassionally audible through the phone line or intercom!). On rare occasions a kitchen doubles as a bathroom and contains a full-sized bath-tub. When there was a shortage of housing, a separate bathroom was the height of luxury compared to the shared amenities of the communalka (or communal flat) where several families lived (and fought!) together. Not only did the Soviet kitchen-bathroom economise on space but it also saved time as one comrade could take a bath, wash the dishes, and cook supper – all at the same time!

On the road

In a country where it’s possible to “acquire” your driver’s license without ever actually taking a test and where traffic lights can be green for pedestrians and motorists at the same time, it’s unsurprising that Russian roads aren’t the safest in the world. Zebra crossings are just nicely-decorated, stripey bits of road which the majority of motorists pay absolutely no attention to whatsoever in most cities! If you step out without looking, you may literally be risking your life. Minibus taxi-drivers make up new traffic rules as they go along. It’s not uncommon to see them “off-roading it”; driving along the pavement, tramlines or even through the park to avoid a traffic jam while merrily bumping along to the sound of Russian chanson music on the radio!

Mixing past and present

Kazanskii Sobor on Nevskii Prospekt in Saint-Petersburg was formerly a museum of atheism under the Communists but is now once more a practising cathedral. Until several years ago there were two entrances to the cathedral – one to the religious part and the other to the museum of atheism!

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