Issue 39-40

OF DEVILS AND DEMONS

At midnight, there was a knock at the door. "Do you want a stale or a freshly baked loaf?" a voice asked from outside. Before she realised that she was talking to a vampire, the woman, who was alone in the house, answered: "Freshly baked." An hour later the intruder returned to the door. Only then did the young bride realise that it was unlocked. She managed to secure it a second before the vampire got in.

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THE RED ONE

his transparent skin

that is me,

his seed – that is

me

I am sketching myself

I kiss my orange lips.

I was the red one,

Him – was it him?"

Men Like Colours

Every day I think that he still exists somewhere out there, within the borders of this town, in the streets of this town, and we don't meet. But he's out there and breathes, and eats, wakes up, even goes to the toilet. Sometimes I wish I was a ghost so I could come right up to his back, peep from behind his ear, while he doesn't know and laughs.

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MisLEADING ADVICE No 11

Keeper of Warmth

Ever since times of yore Bulgarians have always cherished deep respect for the so called “keeper of warmth” in their family or tribal dwellings. In pagan times a dedicated priest carried out this task. Nowadays, the tradition is still alive as the ritual role of the “keeper of warmth” is bestowed upon the chief executive of the local Central Heating Company. He is a well respected figure loved by everyone in town. Very often, when his term of office is over, he moves on to live entirely on state’s expenses.

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WELCOME TO HOSTILE AIRPORT

No, it's not about delays, lost luggage, the collapsed and still unrepaired awning in front of the new terminal building, the lack of benches in the park next to the airport, the mente taxi cabs charging London-plus fares to get you into town, the most expensive coffee in Europe or the December fog. No, it is none of that.

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THE THICK RED LINE

If you thought that the most impressive monuments of the Communist regime were the nondescript suburbs of prefabricated blocks of flats – Lyulin, Mladost and Druzhba being just three of numerous examples in Sofia, you have a point – their message about uniformity, limitations and bad taste is very much evident today.

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POBITI KAMANI

Viktor Teplyakov, a "special missions officer" in the Russian army during the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-1829, abruptly reined in his horse at the sight of the six stone pillars. Huge in size, they emerged from the sandy, shrub-covered wilderness by the village of Gebedzhi, now a town called Beloslav, near Varna. Being a true child of the Romantic age, he was stunned. He wanted to dismount and look over the strange stone pillars. But Colonel L., who was leading the march, had no time to waste.

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NDK: GETTING CLOSER TO THE MASSES

In Sofia, there is only one place where you can see all the layers of modern-day Bulgarian society in just a couple of hours: the National Palace of Culture, or NDK. You don't even have to go into the massive building bedecked with billboards and notices. It is enough to hang around in the square in front.

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QUOTE-UNQUOTE

We should take the example of the Turkish soaps and see what the relationships in their families are like.

Albena Yordanova, chairperson of Sofia women's organisation of GERB, or Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria

They are not hostile towards us; rather, they want to help us but we have not grown enough to establish direct contact with them. They are ready to help us but we don't know what to ask from them in such an encounter.

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WE'VE GOT MAIL

Even before acquiring that miniature idol for self-worship in the shape of his own superhero action figure, the notorious Tinseltown specimen had developed spectacular delusions of superiority over the rest of the world, my native country included. In an interview for The A.V. Club, while discussing the diversity of his film projects, Downey graciously offered the following revelation: "Am I going to be stronger, wiser, and gladder at the end if I go to fucking Bulgaria to shoot this whatever?

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THE CRISIS IN FIGURES

The crisis was already a fact in Bulgaria at the beginning of 2009, but the owner of an accountancy firm in Gorna Oryahovitsa would deny it even more vehemently than then Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev. "I can't understand what crisis they're talking about. I have enough work, clients are paying their bills and the mince in the shop is cheaper," he said. A journalist from Varna shared his opinion: "I am earning more than ever.

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