That's how it all began, some months ago now. We were having a wander through цум (Tsum = Central Universal Store) a giant department store that sells all kinds of bric-a-brac, including (it turns out) latex masks of Admiral Ackbar from Star Wars. Not, it must be added, a collection of different Star Wars masks. There was not a whiff of a Darth Vader, Storm Trooper or Chewbacca mask. No. Admiral Akbar, alone and proud.
|Tsum loves you - as Soviet a piece of architecture as you could want|
The obsession began here, but grew when we watched Star Wars dubbed into Russian. In particular, this scene:
Now in Russian, Admiral Ackbar's cry of 'It's a trap!' is 'Это западня!' (pron. Eta Zapadnya). This became an in joke in the oh-so-injokey, pressure-cooker of cliqueyness that is London School, with shouts of Это западня being regularly dropped for the slighest of reasons.
But the answer to the conondrum of what idiot would throw away good soms on a bloody great latex monstrosity depicting a minor character in a 40 odd year old sci-fi film would have to wait five months to be answered. The answer, it turned out, was me. Yep, I'm the mug. A wilfully dumb, overpaid Brit buying a dumb, overpriced item for his wilfully dumb, overpaid Brit friend's birthday.
For May 21st saw a triple birthday celebration in Bishkek, of Kurt Davies, Kirsten Styers and Daniel Mahony and the largest party yet at Kurt/Alice/Laurence/Dillon/a-rolling-stock-of-other-ex-pats apartment. The place was packed to the rafters. Although my Ackbar mask for Dan was a pretty damn stupid present, it had some competition in the form of a 3-litre behemoth of Russian Standard Vodka:
Это западня on trying the many flavours of Ackbar possible. Here are our results for your delectation:
Next day, another birthday party, that of the Keen brothers (Palmer and Dennis) and also the last night out in Kyrgyzstan for that Alabaman stalwart Logan King. Logan's modus operandi for the night was as follows:
<<I'm gonna get silly tonight>>
...and so he did.
The party was full of new faces, interesting conversation and cheap Kyrgyz champagne.
|The exact moment that the night got silly|
Around midnight a large party decamped to Chelsea Dance Pub. Now, I'm no fan of this particualar venue, a great big sweaty shed of a place with a clientele inclined to agro, and I find the idea of a Dance Pub frankly execrable, but it was Logan's last night so off I went.
|Chelsea Dance Pub - How do you spell 'copyright infringement' again?|
And I must confess there were two rather intriguing sights to be seen that night,
The first, a massive flaming tower of booze:
The second, some ladies doing a little, light chocolate-wrestling on the dancefloor
...you know, as you do:
|The Scene of Battle|
I can confirm that Logan, a man of his word, did as much getting silly as possible and rocked in a little after six in the a.m. Master King, we salute you sir, Bishkek will be a quieter and less colourful town without you.