It is very nice when your favourite “historical nineteenth century” hotel in a lake-side Swiss town adds a Russian receptionist to its crew, who greats you with the multi-syllable “Dobro Pozhalovat’” instead of a curt “welcome”.
It gets weird when he enthusiastically continues in English for the benefit of everyone in the group, “I’ll be helping you viz all your needs and vonts. If you need anyzzing, just call me, and I vill give you a hand! My name is Igor”.
A hump-sporting, lisping Igor servant is considered a must-have for any serious mad scientist who dabbles in raising people from the dead with controlled lightning and Lego-kind surgery, so when a thunderstorm descends upon the lake this very evening, with proper showers, piloerectile lightning ripping the sky, and white boats bobbing up and down on the waves, you do expect Igor to knock on the door. With someone else’s hand.
Nothing can prepare one for a blues night out better than that. Buddy Guy’s getting off stage, down to the crowd of fans and playing god with his guitar in the midst of the auditorium seems only natural in the surreal world of the Montreux Festival.
The next day you take a pic of Chillon Castle and suddenly the warning sign, put there by a concerned Igor, gets a new, sinister meaning.
Lord Byron touched it, you know. He scratched “Byron” on one of the columns in the castle’s cellar. He didn’t live long after that.
This artless post is an announcement that I am on vacation now, with Italy being the next stop. Stay tuned, for there’s going to be a lot of art along the way.
P.S. In case you didn’t know: “piloerectile” is an adjective derived from “piloerection”, which is a cultural way to say “goose bumps”. Goose bumps raise hair on one’s body into an erect position, and “pilo-“ is Greek for hair. This reflex helped our ancestors to look bigger in the eyes of larger animals that were scaring them s**tless. Our survival is a proof the trick must have been working at the time. Guns made it an unnecessary rudiment, good only for the second line after your preferred pick-up opener, “You’re so beautiful (I am so happy to see you) you give me piloerection”. I am afraid only men can use it, and only with caution (make sure “pilo” is clearly pronounced), and even if it raises an interested eyebrow, it is still pretty dumb.