I seem to spend most of my free time with socialists. We just don't talk about politics much.

What's the Hungarian word for amphetamine? There is one, and being Hungarian it's nothing like the English word and I can neither pronounce nor spell it. But that doesn't matter because no one uses it - they say "speed".

How would you translate an idiom like "heavy water" into Hungarian? Actually, you'd do it literally. The people who measure beverages in decilitres and sometimes play songs in a musical mode not used anywhere else in the world...use an anglicism when talking about deuterium rich hydroxillic acid.

How do you say "goodbye" in Hungarian? You wave and say "Halo!", which I think is pretty great.

Yes, my friend Paul T - flamenco skatepunk guitarist, long time teffler, and the man who signed me up to the SWP - is visiting England with his Hungarian girlfriend, also a teacher.

We sat on the beach, ate pizza, drank styrofoam tea, and talked about the British love of heroic failure, battleship design, and how the Spanish call some red wine "black wine" but the Portuguese call some white wine "green wine" - even though what we call white is actually yellow.

Not a word about the 1956 revolution, G20 summit, or the deepening crisis of world capitalism.

Comrades and computers don't seem to get along. There's a number of fellow local lefties who regularly call me up with technical troubles.

Sometimes it's "I can't log onto my email", sometimes it's "The printer's beeping at me", occasionally it's "can you fix it so it'll understand my voice", and quite often it's "The flashing thing won't switch on anymore".

Don't get me wrong - I like to feel needed and appreciated, I enjoy solving problems, and they generally cook nice things for me. Today it was spicy spaghetti followed by baked banana and ice cream, yesterday it was roast chicken and potatoes.

But I have to ask: Is everyone so technically inept, or only those who describe technology as "means of production"?

Defragging, cache clearing, firewall, virus scan, not clicking on spam offers of free porn? Basic care of equipment, but no, they can't quite see the point - and still can't see the connection when the flashing thing won't switch on anymore.

My beloved Socialist Workers Party has finally started discussing, fifteen years after everyone else, that the internet might be a good means of reaching people.

But anyway, that's the other reason why I spend my free time with socialists, not discussing politics.


  1. not clicking on spam offers of free porn

    You're paying for it, then?

  2. People pay for porn?

    You'll be telling me next they pay for software! ;-)

  3. Perhaps those socialists are really social butterflies, mistaking the political party for an actual party--with food and drinks and dancing.

  4. Hello! Apologies, but you didn't say how to say 'hello' in Hungarian. Anyhow, I've been sent here by MJ.. and now I'm flustered because I've always secretly wanted to leave a comment here...

  5. Well thank you, Miss Scarlet-Blue.

    Apart from a double-barrelled and posh relative of a character from Cludo....I'm not sure how to imagine what scarlet-blue might look like. Somewhere between vivid carbon-monoxide-poisioning red, and the colour of restful space. perhaps. Something like Maroon?

    Welcome whatever your colour because all colours are are welcome here :-).

    You've secretly wanted to leave a comment? Then (a) I've been meaning to click on your link (oo er) for ages and (b) It's great to have another commenter.

    Now I just need something to comment about.

    Oh yes, and Hungarian for hello is "Szia", pronounced, rather wonderfully, almost like "See ya!".

  6. I am the secret love child of Dr Maroon...

  7. No you are NOT, Scarlet, and it is unfair and unkind to tease Mr Kapitano, on whose home ground we tread.

    Anyhoo, sorry, Mr Kapitano, but I am here because you kindly came to call, and I am returning the compliment. I am interested in what you write about "black" wine. The true black wine of Irouleguy is a deceiver, coming on gently for the first four or five litres, then kicking like a mule. This is not entry-level stuff and should be handled with care.

  8. Mmm .. " a non-smoking, Esperanto- speaking socialist". Sounds like hell to me, or near as dammit!

    Don't tell us you're a veggie too ... and support Arsenal!! Aaaaargh!!!!

  9. @Mrs Pouncer:

    I'm blessed with a very low tolerance of alchohol - one glass of wine will get me mellow, three and I'm under the table. So this wine of Irouleguy sounds...intriguing.


    No worries. I'll swing by your abode again as soon as I learn some more Hungarian.

    @TEFL Roughtrade:

    The only reason I can see for smoking tobacco is smoking dope. And it's easier to just swallow the stuff.

    Esperano estis mia unua sperto de lingvistiko. Do, Gxi estas kauso mi instruas Angla.

    (Esperanto was my first experience of linguistics. So, it's one reason I'm in TEFL.)

    As for being socialist...I'm sure it's occured to you that teachers work better without the parasitic DOS hovering over them.

    But no, I like meat too much to be veggie, and know exactly nothing about football.

  10. I’m vegetarian except when it comes to sex.
    I’m strictly adlib except when I consult the text.
    And I plagiarize. :-P