Dostoyevsky and the Haircut of DOOM

Today marks a Rubicon for me: my first ever S&M haircut. OK, so it wasn’t quite what I’d been after – just the straight missionary position haircut for me, thank you very much – but it was an eye opening (and watering) experience. A lumpy looking girl in a pink top, oozing pale flabby skin out over her hipster jeans. And a face like a politician’s bum sooking a wasp. Excellent. JUST what you want.

I tried to make conversation to start with, but as all I got were monosyllabic grunts and attacked with the scissors, I soon gave up. Choosing instead to concentrate on not flinching as she removed another three layers of epidermis with her comb. Never had the inside of my scalp combed before. I can’t recommend it.

Then came the friend of Australian Shepherds everywhere (no, not Sexy Sue the Inflatable Sheep) THE CLIPPERS. Tell you, this bloody woman could have given Torquemada a run for his money. If she’d pressed any harder with the damn things I’d have left there in an ambulance. When it came time to do the ‘look at the back of your own head in the mirror’ thing she kept it carefully angled trying to make sure I couldn’t see the great red wields all the way up the back of my neck.

The only thing missing was the leather gimp suit and those spiky bum paddling things.

In other ‘news’ I’ve decided to have another stab at finishing Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s ‘Crime and Punishment’. I’ve been trying to get through it for three years now. And much though I don’t like to take a pop at people (never said a word about ‘War of the Worlds’, or even ‘Revenge of the Syth’) I think Fyodor’s big enough to take it like a man. And he’s dead too, so not likely to come round here with a pointy stick.

I bought ‘Crime and Punishment’ thinking I’d try out one of the classics. And I wish I’d never bothered. ‘C&P’ embodies so much of what I hate about books – it’s crammed with meandering backstory, half the cast have incredibly similar names (so you have to sort out your Raskolinkovs from your Razamikhins on a regular basis), and the whole thing just seems to drag on forever. Going nowhere.

OK, I admit that a lot of my problems may be due to the fact that I just can’t stand reading more than a chapter of this thing a month – hell I haven’t touched it for about a year and a half so it's hard to keep a grasp of who everyone is, even without the simmilar names – but it might also have a lot to do with the translation. Maybe this is a stormer of a story in it’s original Russian*, but the book I’ve got truly scrapes barnacles off the arse of walrus prostitutes.

And that’s something that gets overlooked a lot, I think: that the book you’re reading has as much to do with the translator’s skill as the original authors. Val McDermid’s posted a good comment on her forum on the ‘Gold Dagger / no translations please we’re British’ furore about how two different translations of ‘Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow’ ranged from the very good, to the... er... well, let’s call it ‘not so good’. But does the person reading it blame the translator, or the author for producing four hundred pages of ‘not so good’? I’m guessing it’s the latter.

So, Fyodor, if you’re listening from your silvery cloud (or fiery pit if you were naughty) I don’t really blame you. But I’m not going to try another of your books either. It’s taken me three years to get two thirds of the way through this one.

Life's too short.

* Not being bright enough to learn Russian, or inclined to be honest. I'm sure it's a lovely place, but I'm not going there any time soon. And when I do it'll be all 'two beers please**' and 'yes, I would like more vodka***'.
** '2 пива угождают'
*** 'да, я хотел был бы больше водочки'