Monday, 9 August 2010

the summer bra

I recently met up for a beer with a British friend who reminded me of the Polish summer bra phenomena...a disturbing practice I have until now, refused to accept as reality. But here it is.

Imagine, a hot, sweltering day. The sun is burning into your brain, your survival mechanism is to sweat profusely. Your logic tells you to drink water. You drink beer instead. There is no air-con anywhere. The nearest swimming hole is too far to peddle to on your bike. The apartment is too hot to sit in. Breezy refuge is found underneath the shade of a tree at the local park. But the clothes on your back are an annoyance. Too heavy. Too burdensome. What do you put on to achieve maximum coolness and the possibility of breathability. Perhaps a cotton dress? A skirt? A loose, long t-shirt?

Don't be silly. Just wear your bra! The ugliest, the most pointy and polyester number you may have in your draw. What? You're not over 50? You don't have a flabby tire round your mid-drift? Or a husband who wears sleeveless, beige wife-bashers, socks and sandals? Pft. Well, you'll just have to stay hot in the heat wave.

A country known for it's conservatism somehow has let this one slip. For some unbeknownst to me reason, middle-aged women, find it completely acceptable to prance around in their bras, in the summer days, pretending that they're wearing, um, bikini tops? At least their skirts or shorts remain safely in place. Otherwise I'd have to emigrate.

Is it a lack of summer culture amongst the older generation? Maybe. Fried meat meals with heavy loads of potatoes and stewed cabbage after servings of hot soup, are still the preferable dinner choice when it's 34 degrees out. Eat a boiled beetroot, wear your bra out, why not ey?

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Islam Fundamentalists Eat Your Heart Out!

I am beginning to wonder what Middle Ages backwater I am living in when the hottest political topic of the week is whether or not to remove and relocate a wooden cross from the front of the Presidential Palace that was erected after The Crash* by some scouts to a more suitable area. Current President wants the cross gone. The conservative whining bitch party wants it to stay. They've even, it appears, hired security guards dressed as praying wet blankies who have come from all over Poland to guard the cross should any hooligan be bold enough to lynch the 'monument' and “Polish icon” (their uniform: long skirt, heeled sandals with stocking sockettes). Um separation of church and state? Nup, at least not east of the European west. After all, it is only 2010.

Photo: Filip Klimaszewski

It gets better. What is required of an investor when wanting to open, say, a new shopping centre in Poland? Building permits? An environmental survey? Market analysis? A big fat loan from the bank? The presence of the clergy of course. The devil needs to be kept at bay when one wants to spend up big time, silly. Enough reason for the holy water to hit the tills and shopping trollies.

Newsagents need a good ol' blessin' too.

so do security beepers
(images courtesy of:

And just a last point of interest. This is more of a tourist attraction for the devout. Newly opened and owned by Catholic Poland Pty. Ltd., a modest, simple and austere place of worship for every lamb of God, complete with all the mod coms.

Sanctuary of the Our Lady of Sorrow in Lichen - 100 per cent of its funding came from its followers. Built between 1994-2004

It has such a community feel about it too. When Catholic Poland Pty. Ltd. needed further funding to bring this simple structure into being, it sucked out money from its die-hard followers in a classy fashion. Brainwashing particularly those living in villages, without higher education, or the old, living on their measly government pensions it singled out households with its Catholic Poland Pty. Ltd. newsletter asking for money “because every extra brick counts”. God will love you even more. Even the most incompetent follower had it made easy, with a choice of a money order, card payment, account transfer or a simple envelope drop at the local church. The somewhat forgetful were bombard a couple more times over the course of the months with follow-up payment reminders. Poland simply deserved its very own Taj Mahal.

* The Crash: the presidential plane goes down in Russia, killing the Polish president, his wife, important cronies, dignitaries, heads of military forces, Justyna hides her head in the sand in embarrassment, romantic Poles mourn for two weeks, controversy heats when the dead president is buried in Krakow in Wawel castle (in a crypt containing Polish kings), Justyna develops ulcers from her inability to deal with the absurdity of the whole situation, the plane crash victims' credit cards are stolen from the crash site by Russian soldiers who then go on shopping sprees, AND THEN the TWIN BROTHER of the dead President runs FOR president in the sped up elections. Crikey. Kill me now. Brazilian soap operas have nothing on this.

Friday, 16 July 2010

one last attempt

After my two or so years of arse sitting, being engulfed by the claws of Facebook, taking criticism badly and no longer being able to see the novelty value of daily living in Poland, crooked corner is once again in action. Constant pressure from one particular, young, Bathurst dwelling cousin and the fact that I am statistically losing 8 English words per day, has forced me to rethink this stagnation. Not sure how constant the writing will be. But it will be.

Besides, the Twin President is dead, all of Poland was a flooded swimming pool, I experienced the public hospital health care system, became self-employed, contemplated village life, started eating lard during the winter period, became a qualified folk craft instructor (more on that later – I have government papers to prove it), put on a whopping 23 kilos in the short space of 9 months*, learned to cook sorrel soup and accepted Krakow as my home. Enough bits and pieces to scrape up a couple of entries.

Enough as a starter methinks.

* As a result of the weight gain an independent human emerged.

Disclaimer: crooked corner may now contain, sporadically, children-related banter. If this annoys the crap out of you, you have been warned.