Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Times They Are a-Changin’ #1

This town has come a long way since 1989, and even further since the country sneaked under the European Union entrance requirements limbo bar while the other member states’ representatives were away having piña coladas, games of hunt-the-soap and vigorous discussions about Uganda in Peter Mandelson’s Jacuzzi. There are many signs of these changes. One of the first was a Goth bar and Transylvania’s only Japanese restaurant; we also now have aromatherapy clinics, one of my wife’s doctor colleagues has made this place a breast enhancement Mecca, and an Australian woman set up a fetish clothing shop (most of the stock of which has apparently been nicked by Gypsies... hmmm, I wanna see that). Then, this weekend, I saw a sign for the Destiny Nails Salon. Yes?

#1: Back in the day this could only have been an emporium selling coffin nails (think about it).

#2: The salon is situated not far from where many people were shot dead in the (not particularly “velvet”) 1989 revolution, thereby fulfilling an Historic destiny. I’d like to think this is the one.

#3: When the smoke had cleared many received “heroes’ medals”, though, in good Romanian fashion, generally not those who'd been out on the street risking their lives. Destiny... Shmestiny.

#4: “Destiny” must surely be the name of a girl band – isn’t it? - and yet Cluj’s girl band is of course The Cheeky Girls, neither of whom is called “Destiny”, thankfully.

#5: “Destiny” is a fragrance from Calvin Klein - isn’t it?? – and the (Calvinist) Hungarian Reformed Church is just up the street. Ooh, tenuous.

#6 This mighty metropolis has several names depending on who you are: Napoca (Romans), Cluj (Romanians), Kolozsvár (Hungarians), Klausenburg (Germans) and קלויזנבורג (Jews). Now it’s surely the turn of our Armenians and they have "chosen Destiny" and the best of luck to them.

#7: But no, I guess we’ve been EastEndered the same as everywhere else. And I shouldn’t be so sniffy. Maybe folk do need their nails painted to look like the full set of Thunderbirds vehicles - though, ladies, if it’s of any interest, I’ve never heard any bloke say “Phwoar, look at her, get a load of those fingernails!”. “Destiny” is a difficult philosophical concept and therefore counts as (voice of the much missed Waynetta Slob) “exotic”. May its portals never close.


Tenon_Saw said...

I love that Thunderbirds picture!

Gaw said...

I agree with your comment about the lack of man-appeal of Thunderbird-vehicle nails. I suspect women have them done to impress other women rather than men - sort of "keep away from my prey or I'll scratch your eyes out, you cow".

zmkc said...

Are the Cheeky Girls Hungarian or Romanian Transylvanians (yes, it's true - I would never come up with such a sensible question and it is my husband commandeering blog space once again)?

zmkc said...

Oh lord, he wants me to clarify - I mean 'ethnically', apparently

Scarlet Blue said...

There is indeed a Destiny perfume... by Harley Davidson.

Nikos said...

F.A.B Gadjo

worm said...

There isn't a Spear of Destiny lurking around somewhere there too? perhaps down the back of somebody's sofa?

Scarlet Blue said...

...and of course Destiny's Child [Beyoncé Knowles - otherwise known as Bouncey Knolls].

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

I don't want to dampen your excitement, but it's probably not a real Japanese restaurant, more likely Chinese owned. They've taken over Paris with faux-Jap places, put almost all the couscous houses out of business. Boo. Now if you want REAL E.European Japanese, go see Mrs Akiko in the Tatra mountains. Her breakfasts, which are a mixture of Japanese and Polish food, require a strong stomach.

Pat said...

This is getting ridiculous. I have just made a note to say Destiny's Child is an a American R&B group featuring Beyonce.
Scarlet forestalls me every flippin' time!

Samus said...

Speaking about Armenians, there is a town not far from Cluj nowdays called Gherla which was founded by Armenians in the middle eve under the name Armeneopolis. It has a unique street distribution for a European town of that period!

Cluj was first a Dacian settlement called Napuca as we know from Ptolemeus. Under the Romans its first name was Napoca. Then followed Claudiopolis (after the Roman emperor) and (Castrum)Clus, which means closed (by the surrounding hills). From the Latin "Clus" are derived almost all its names in local languages.

worm said...

by the way gadjo, how is 'cluj' prononounced? 'Cluuuuje' or 'cludge'? I only ask because the latter is used frequently in Viz to describe a lady part.

Samus said...

You can hear how is pronounced here:

zmkc said...

I thought it was pronounced Kolodzvar.

inkspot said...

"Their [the Cheeky Girls'] early life in Romania consisted of ... touring with the Michelle Cook (Oldham, UK) Hungarian National Opera."

From Wikipedia so it must be true. But how?

Eryl Shields said...

Wasn't one of Captain Scarlet's Angels called Destiny? Perhaps she's given up dodging misterons and bought the place with her pension.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Tenon Saw - welcome to you - me too!

Gaw, I hadn't thought about that, you may be right: a throwback to caveman days when they had to do just that.

zmkc, you and your husband have a praiseworthy sensitivity to these matters. Their family name (Irimia) and their forenames (Gabriela and Monica) are Romanian names, as is their father's (Doru), but their mother's is Margit, which is Hungarian. I reckon they're half-and-half.

Scarley, ahh, thanks - I knew there was one but I wasn't sure of the brand :-)

F.A.B. yourself, Nikos old son!

worm, Spear of Destiny was a British post-punk band that probably would have got nowhere had it been called simply "Spear", which demonstrates the power of adding the word "Destiny" to something.

Scarley, Destiny's Child, yes of course! (But what would Destiny call her sprog? Any name would sound a bit feeble compared to her mum's).

Daph, woah, Japo-Polish cuisine?? No sir, I think not! I suppose the "sushi" is bits of raw pork wrapped up in bits of raw cabbage, is it? I confess that I don't share your enthusiasm for couscous, however - basically, if I, Gadjo Dilo, can cook it (and I'm pretty sure I can), then it's probably not going out to a restaurant for.

Pat, Our Scarley is a veritable mine of up-to-date information and sometimes it's best just to let her say it in her own inimitable way.

Samus, binevenit domnule! I've been to Gherla and seen the fine Armenian cathedral (and the prison) but I didn't know that about the streets. The origins of the names of the town can be disputed, as usual, but the derivation you give does seem the most likely.

worm, like what the man says.

zmkc, don't start. At least we're not calling it Cluj-Napoca, the name Ceauşescu changed it to - to emphasise its (debatable) Roman origins - in 1974.

Inkspot, weird eh? "Michelle Cook" sounds neither very Romanian or Hungarian, but, as you say, Wikipedia wouldn't lie to us.

Eryl, ah, I dunno: I pretty much exhausted my knowledge (or should I say memory) of classic childrens' TV shows with that reference to Thunderbirds vehicles!

Lulu LaBonne said...

Methinks you know far too much about perfume Gadj, or more than me at any rate (but I'm a girl)

BTW - don't let the missus go anywhere near that nail salon, Popbitch was just asking this teasing question in their weekly newsletter.

"Which BBC local weathergirl had to take her man to hospital, so that one of her fake fingernails could be removed from his arse?"

Madame DeFarge said...

I assume the nail place is called that because the future is in their hands.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Destiny's child is, of course, called Destiny Junior. Or Spot. Or something.

I had a dead clever back-reference to Danny the Street but then I became consumed by the question: which BBC local weathergirl did have to take her man to hospital?

Gadjo Dilo said...

Lulu, strewth, I think I'm better off knowing about perfume than about what BBC weathergirls do with their fingernails!! Mrs Dilo wouldn't be seen anywhere near a nail salon - she's the practical one in this household and would break artificial nails off in no time.

Madame, hurrah, you're back! Or at their fingertips, eh?

Kev, or Destiny 2 :-) Danny the Street as in Danny la Rue? I recently saw the Steptoe and Son movie with Mrs Dilo and had to explain the transvestite entertainer (later to become famous as Dame Hilda Bracket) to her.

No Good Boyo said...

Spear of Destiny, eh? You'll attract a very rum crowd of tourists if you play that one up. A mixture of confused post-punk Brits and loden-clad pensioners from South America, I'd say.

We Boyos hope to visit Cluj again before too long. Have they cleared up that mess in front of the King Matthias statue by the opera house yet?

(I know it sounds like some MI6 code phrase, but the question is sincere.)

Gadjo Dilo said...

Boyo, they have cleared up that rubbish in front of King Matthias' statue - by the Catholic cathedral, not by the opera house - and have even been giving it a clean. (Since mad-dog Funar left, the town's mayors have not shared his anti-Magyar monomania.) There was an ice-rink there during winter, and the Hungarians complained that The Skaters Waltz was played loudly to destabilise the cathedral's mortar - they're paranoid (and self-obsessed), but maybe have historical reason to be so. You're welcome any time in Cluj. Beer is still only 60p a pint. Tempted?

No Good Boyo said...

I can't wait!