Dense, inpenetrable, Tatar, drawn from God knows when, it clings to every disaster, itself a doom without end.
by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova) a.k.a.Anna Gorenko (1960s) translation by Robert Chandler
Extra information: Akhmatova wrote the above piece about her pen name during her later years. When Anna Andreyevna Gorenko began publishing poetry, in her late teens, her father considered it an unrespectable pursuit and so she adopted her grandmother’s Tatar surname of Akhmatova as a pen name when publishing her works from then on as Anna Akhmatova by which name she is more commonly known.
by Борис Абрамович Слуцкий (Boris Abramovich Slutsky)
translated by G. S. Smith
Fun facts: Obviously the ‘certain person’ was Stalin and his era of terror where indeed there was order, compared to the era of thaw, but I was surprised to find actually ‘The Happy Fellas’ actually does exist! It is the 1934 film Веселые ребята a.k.a. ‘Jolly Fellows’ or ‘Funny Boys’ depending on how you choose to translate the title.
Jolly Fellows (Russian: Весёлые ребятаVesyolye rebyata), also translated as Happy-Go-Lucky Guys, Moscow Laughs and Jazz Comedy, is a 1934 Soviet musical film, directed by Grigori Aleksandrov and starring his wife Lyubov Orlova, a gifted singer and the first recognized star of Soviet cinema.
The script was written by Aleksandrov, Vladimir Mass, and Nikolai Erdman (whose father briefly appears on screen as a German music teacher). It features several songs which instantly became classics across the Soviet Union. The most famous song — “Kak mnogo devushek khoroshikh” (Such a lot of nice girls) — enjoyed international fame, covered as “Serdtse” (Heart) by Pyotr Leshchenko. Music was by Isaak Dunayevsky, the lyrics were written by the Soviet poet Vasily Lebedev-Kumach.
Both Orlova and her co-star, the jazz singer and comic actor Leonid Utyosov, were propelled to stardom after this movie.
Slutsky, of course, is mocking how the film is sacchrine, state sanctioned, sanitised humorous entertainment with no challenging elements or anything that might make the audience think about their social hardships they are living through during Stalin’s era of non-conforming people being made to ‘disappear’ for speaking or acting out, gulags and starvation. Everything is fine citizen, watch the film and feel good about life… everything is in order. No one deviates, no one transgresses, no one thinks or acts differently. There is order – or else!
5 Stickers per pack (4 normal and one foil in the pack I bought).
Price: £0.50 (I bought them at Tesco so the RRP price may vary elsewhere).
Published by TOPPS Europe Limited, 18 Vincent Avenue, Crownhill, Milton Keynes, MK8 0AW, UK.
Hellsteller: Topps Deutschland GMBH, Goethestr, 18, 60313 Frankfurt, Deutschland.
The size of the stickers is smaller than I have seen previously. When I was growing up Panini, and its imitators, stickers were larger while Topps measure 68mm x 54mm with the foil sticker being 85mm x 61mm. However I do remember a Street Fighter II sticker collection by Merlin which had these dimensions so it may just depend on the individual company producing each series.
In comparison to the previously reviewed Frozen ‘My Sister, My Hero’ stickers, which were 97mm x 64mm, these were far smaller. If I was to make a comparison for anyone without a ruler then think of it this way: the minion stickers are ‘small business card’ size while the Frozen ones are ‘trading card’ size. However it may be a case I only ever bought stickers from Panini made series and so this smaller size seems worse when it could be the standard for most collectable sticker series otherwise.
The images are clearly printed though the print colouration seems dull compared to the vibrancy you would see on other promotional materials of these same images. The foil sticker has promotional images of the film’s villains on a foil background while the standard stickers are mostly stills from the Minions film itself. I did get one sticker which seemed to be an original image for the collection which seemed to be a generic minion, set off to one side, with a ‘funky’ pattern background. I say ‘funky’ because this is the sort of thing a think tank of advertising executives, out of touch with current trends, would consider ‘funky’ when looking at Google search for the sort of things that would be ‘60s style imagery’ such as the psychedelic artwork of Peter Max but then go on to make it as plain and generic as possible so as to not offend anyone’s sensibilities and thus ensure maximum market saturation potential for sale. This is a pretty standard practise across the industry for sticker collection tie-ins of movies so while it seems uninspired it is sadly expected and a cheap money maker for companies. It’s all about the marketing of the product not the quality of it.
On the back of the stickers is an original illustration of the 3 main minions from the film and I would hope that the rest of the series was composed of more original artwork like this than just the generic ‘print screen’ imagery that is standard for movie tie-in collections.
There is nothing to really complain about, although the foil sticker easily picks up finger prints and is then near impossible to clean without using a soft cloth so be careful when handling them, but in this day and age you would hope for more. We used to get 10 stickers in a pack when I was growing up but now it is 5 albeit they are of far higher print quality.
I think this was a missed opportunity. They could easily create a much more original and fun series even with a basic concept of producing images of various ‘____ type minion’ having the various minions dressed as different jobs or stereotypes. We already have a Fireman Minion, a Maid Minion, Baby Minion and many others so a collection of these could easily be made and enjoyed with only a very small amount of investment in design.
If kids want stickers of the minions then they will be satisfied, just as we all were in childhood collection of footballers (i.e. the classic company cash cows as the yearly ‘same game different player names’ computer games are for their respective companies), movie tie-ins (for me it was Jurassic Park through to Space Jam) or oddities (Garbage Pail Kids… say no more) but in comparison I think the ‘Frozen: My Sister, My Hero’ ones are far superior in quality and individual image value (so you don’t get as many dull scenes of ‘character stood with blank face in unrecognisable scene #A204b) that are not amusing in their own right. I don’t think at £0.50 these are of equal value to the Frozen ones which retail at the same price but if its minions you want then these are okay. You won’t be disappointed but you won’t be impressed either. Sort of like the film I guess if the reviews are anything to go by…
For those interested here are the stickers’ numbers:
10: Napoleonic Minions: with cannon
18: 1960s line up of the main Minions: green hat, robot arm and lava lamp
41: Ancient Egyptian Minions: with an upside down pyramid plan
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