I've written about the music of Balkandji before, so it should come as no surprise to anybody that on Monday, I went to yet another one of their concerts. This one was a bit different though, and not just because of the "Set Nikolay Barovsky free - he is innocent" T-shirts that the band members were wearing - they've been wearing them at the last several concerts, ever since the decision to actually spread the word about the grotesque story of his detainment. What was different this time was that Lina, along with Ludmila (Nikolay Barovsky's sister) and a couple of others, managed to put together a surprise for the audience and the band alike - several sheets of paper where anyone and everyone, no matter how close to the Barovsky family or the band, could write down a line or three, or a page or three, that will probably be on their way to Thessaloniki very soon, in time for Nikolay's birthday on May 3rd. Here's hoping that this will brighten up at least that special day for him, that it will show him that he is not alone, not forgotten, that there really are people who have dedicated pretty much all their time to helping him, that there are many others who are trying to help in any way they can, no matter how minor, trying to bring a talented musician, a gifted architect, a wonderful person back to his homeland, back to his family and friends, back to his life as a free man.
For those who know what this is all about; for those who have not come across it yet; for those who know who Nikolay Barovsky is and what has happened to him, and think that this does not concern them; for those who have no idea who he is; for all Bulgarians - take a look at what this is all about, take a minute to understand what has befallen a Bulgarian who has been lingering in detainment for seven months now, not even charged with anything yet, as a result of a gross error (not to use much stronger words), find a way to help!
Oh, and the concert on Monday? Well, there are a couple of pictures in the gallery.
Ain't gonna spend the rest of my life
Quietly fading away...
Revelations of the day:
I'm singing in the rain,
Just singing in the rain
What a glorious feeling -
I'm happy again!
It *might* be that Gene Kelly has meant a slightly different shade of happiness in this timeless song, but, frankly, I don't care! When we walked out of the NetSec lecture today (technically, yesterday), it was straight into the fiercest downpour of rain Sofia has seen for the past six months or so. Everybody ran for cover - Buchvarov, desync, bu, Niki, Ivo, Lina, and Emerald, while I happily confirmed my reputation of a loonie par excellence by joyfully strolling up and down a puddle right in front of them, truly, honestly and sincerely enjoying the drops, the larger drops, then the rivulets of rain, splishin'-and-a-splashin' onto my head, down my hair, down my neck... The only reason I didn't break into a song right there and then was that I didn't care for all the explaining it would take - or rather, I didn't care much for all the evading maneuvers and funny looks just then :)
Sometimes, it's moments like that one - a dark and stormy night, thunder rolling across the sky; people huddled under a vewwy, vewwy narrow shed, trying to shoo away the water that is merely trying to find its way back to Mother Earth - sometimes, it's moments like that one, when, like the lightning striking every now and then, sometimes less than a klick away, it hits me - no, not the lightning, not yet at least! At times like this, I realize how many good things there are about my life - how many wonderful things come about, how many wonderful friends I've found through the years and keep finding still more, how much I've learned from each one of them and keep learning still more... There are other times when I wonder if it is fair, if I can ever possibly pay back - or pay forward - even a little bit of all the gifts from the soul, all the kindness, all the goodwill that has come my way at times when I hardly deserved it - but at moments like that, standing in a nice little puddle in the splashing rain, surrounded by good friends, wishing that even more friends could be there to share the feeling, it is all I can do to say a great big THANK YOU! A great Thank You to the deity that may or may not watch over us; a great Thank You to the Norns, the Furies, the Graces, the Morrigu, the Samodivi, or whoever else it might be that watches amusedly from a distance and every now and then touches a fiber of somebody's fate to their own inscrutable purposes; a great Thank You to all the people who have shaped my life with touches of kindness and love; a great Thank You to all the people who have shaped my life with touches of hostility and bad faith; a great Thank You to all the people who are there in times of need, or sometimes just in times of need of another beer; a great Thank You to all the people who are not exactly aware of my existence, but have led me along with the things they do or say; a great Thank You to all the people who made today (well, technically, yesterday) a Day of Great News of All Sorts; a great Thank You for the world at large for being so wonderful!
Let the stormy clouds chase
Everyone from the place
Come on with the rain
I've a smile on my face
I walk down the lane
With a happy refrain
Singin' in the rain!
Some time ago, I mentioned that spring had arrived; well, it was just a bit too hasty. Or rather, no, it wasn't hasty, it's just that now, spring is really here to stay - the lavish green grass and bushes, the warm sunlight that makes it well nigh impossible *not* to sit on a bench and just while away the time, the light wind, just enough to touch the face with coolness and raise the spirit, the blossoms in the martenitza-clad trees... The purrrrrrrfect time for a long, quiet walk in the park! And for those who think that I may or may not have shown up somewhere else for some talk over a beer - in the immortal words of Edith Piaf, "Non! Rien de rien... Non, je ne regrette rien!"
PS. As usual, if you follow the 'walk in the park' link and you have no idea what username/password will let you into the gallery, just drop me an e-mail.
Just a quote from Frank Herbert's Dune that has been firmly planted in my mind for the past, what, fourteen years? I've mentioned it several times in various conversations in the past couple of months, and it seems that it warrants an exact quotation already:
"Then why are we walking into this?"
"Paul!" The Duke frowned at his son. "Knowing where the trap is - that is the first step in evading it. This is like single combat, Son, only on a larger scale - a feint within a feint within a feint... seemingly without end."