The New Swans Gazette, issue 12

The New Swans Gazette

Issue 10, 2016-07-28


Jason Bourne, movie review
Short Story


An evolution of revolution and one man rule

There have been many uprisings in the world, in its history, and most of them have just exchanged one man rule for another. I am not dismissing the women, they have also had their hands in the cookie jar, Indira Gandhi in the late 70s comes to mind. She however got elected later on so she does not really fit in this article. I suppose they just haven’t had the opportunity so far, but we are looking forward to their participating in the future.

Revolutions, we have seen quite a lot of them in the past and in the present, and usually it does not really end well if you like democracy. If you don’t like democracy and like some spilling of blood, they have been rather successfull.

Lets take the Russian revolution to start with, the big one. Overthrowing a despotic ruler by the name of Nicholas II. Today he seems like a gentle breeze compared to what would come, but a dictator nonetheless. During his rain he had the secret police, the Okhrana, to do his bidding. In 1905, a peaceful demonstration, by all accounts, were shoot at by the military killing 92. So after some revolutions that failed, in 1917 they made it, touch down you might say. After a struggle for power Mr Stalin came out on top, killing many more, how many we will never know.
Grey turned to black and kiss your freedom goodbye.

Spain, the year is 1936. A turbulent past had enriched the soil to grow a revolution, this time from the right. A minority government on the left managed to get elected, we have some unrest and “Bobs your uncle” a revolution. The Spanish army and the Spanish right did not like this kind of an election, so they started a revolution, seems only fair. It took some time but in the end General Franco came out ahead of the pack. Now how many he killed, not personally of course, they never seem to do, is not really known, but probably between 50,000 and 150,000 people. It could be more but probably not less. It took until the late 70s before Spain were back on the path of democracy.A side not is that I watched Francos funeral on TV at the young age of 3. At 3 I also did a drawing for a nurse, all kids had to do one back then, and I drew Francos coffin. Seems already at that young age I knew the proper place for any dictator, 6 feet under.

Now lets jump forward to 2016 and we end up in Turkey. A revolution gone wrong and now a counter revolution ongoing, doing much better by all accounts. Many arrests, the death penalty might do a comeback and journalists imprisoned by the handful. It looks like a country on a path that so many other countries have take before. Is it a one man rule? A democracy only as deep as the paper it is printed on? The answer seems to lean against the affirmative but time will tell in more details. For me it seems like a scary story I do not really want to read even though I have to.


Movie review

Jason Bourne 2016

This is a poster for Jason Bourne (film). The poster art copyright is believed to belong to the distributor of the film, the publisher of the film or the graphic artist. Used as Fair use.

Director Paul Greengrass is back, teaming up with Matt Damon to make another instalment of the Bourne saga.

In this movie Bourne is making “a living” as a bare knuckle fighter, totally off the grid and living as unhappy as he can be. Meanwhile at the CIA, a new program have been started called Ironhand, and what that program is about is a bit vague in the beginning of the movie, but don’t worry all will be revealed in the end. Lets say social media will come and haunt you, or maybe it already is.

Of course someone wants to expose the evil doings of the agency, presented by a familiar face from a couple of the older movies. She drags Bourne out of his unhappy retirement, CIA spot him and the “hide and seek” dance begins. A movie filled with car chases and quick fight scenes together quick cutting between many different cameras to keep the tempo going.

The movie has some good actors, and as a swede it is always nice to see Alicia Vikander pop-up in a big blockbuster movie. Except for Matt Damon they have also thrown in Tommy Lee Jones and Vincent Cassel for good measure. The director has done some nice Bourne movies before and the budget of 120 million dollars should have produced something better than what they managed to do. The weak point, and it is a major weak point, is the plot. The story is thin and the character development, well it just is not there. You can throw in all the car chases you want and quick cuts between cameras to give tempo, but without some kind of story to carry the visual niceties, it falls a bit flat.

Don’t get me wrong, it is not like I left the cinema hating the movie, but I did leave the warm glow of the movie screen with a feeling of “Well, could have been worse I suppose”.

The Bourne character does not develop at all and maybe that is OK for this kind of a movie, so I can live with that. The problem is the story in itself. Why Bourne is back and how others react to that, it just is no believable. A production with a lot of money but lacking that most needed thing, a good story that feels believable inside the confine of the movie screen.

Ok so it is nicely filmed, have a good tempo and nice effects, and that carries the movie pretty far by itself. The lack of a really good story stops it from reaching any higher grades from me.
Maybe a 6 would b fair grade from me, a rather weak 6, but a 6 nonetheless.

Watch it, but don’t have to high expectations. Enjoy the car chases and when the end credits roll by before your eyes you will feel, or at least I did, that it was almost all about nothing, but the car chases they were good.


Short Story

Pondering and imagination

He was sitting beside a lake, even though lake was to grand a name for this small mosquito infested part of Kolyma. It was puddle, a swamp that slowly sucked the water away to some unseen destination. The buzzing sound kept hitting his eardrums, one sound ball after another, like a grease gun spitting out bullets far more dangerous than the lead kind.
Looking out over the water, his gaze blocked by the trees and those organic, biting specks he fed weather he wanted to or not.
“What lies beyond those trees,” he thought.
He scratched his hand ferociously, ending a couple of life’s in the process.
Closing his eyes, he travels with a speed no physics can measure. Over the might, melancholic tundra, speeding across scattered cities and countries that blurred beneath his outstretched imagination. The North sea passed under him, waves striking that old sea, a song played in his head, and then it was gone, as was the sea beneath him.
He returned to the lake, to his home, travelling and yet never leaving.
“What are you doing, come inside,” Olek, the ever present shadow, mumbled to him. He looked around but his shadow had gone inside. Looking up he sees the sun covered by a cloud, grey and dirty, unwashed for millennia as far as he knew.
Looking down, a mosquito feeding on him with a frenzy, a full one course meal, everything you need.
“A genius,” he exclaimed with a shout to no one in particular, or maybe it was directed to Olek.
“It eats, plays, fornicates, creates something unique in the same old way it always have, and it never looks beyond the trees.


The New Swans Gazette, issue 11

Issue 11, 2016-07-26

The transmutation of one language into another via Ad Verbum

Dear friends and dear enemies, lets be generous and say dear all to simplify things, had I been a teacher I would probably have started with “Today’s lesson,” but as I am not a teacher, lets find some better way to start this off, shall we.

This article will be about Ad Verbum, the translation company, and my experience working for them as a freelance translator. I am only one person, so you have to take these scribblings for what they are, just one opinion. Other people might have other opinions and they are welcome to them, after all who am I to say what opinions other people should have?
I think I am digressing a bit, so lets get back on track.

I have been working with Ad Verbum for a couple of years now and it has been a good experience.
The managers are quick to answer any emails and they are on the dot with the payments. All in all, a congenial bunch of people.
Now, I have not met them in real life, but from a virtual electronic email point of view, they are a very nice group of people that owes me a lot of beers. Well, in fact they don’t, but you can’t blame a man for trying, I am after all only human, “Technically speaking” some have said, before I got my beer that is.

What they think of me is best left unsaid, the swear words might shut down the Internet, or maybe not, who knows.
Not all is of course rainbows and sunshine with unicorns running around your feet.

The deadlines can sometimes be brutal, and I mean brutal, but you can always try to negotiate an extension. Sometimes you will get it and other times you won’t. If you can not do the job within the time frame or for some other reason, the “Not available” button is there for your pleasure.
On occasion I have to use that button more often than other times, as life or other jobs get in the way, but a quick “This would be my best deadline” usually keeps the managers happy.

So in short, there are no unicorns working at Ad Verbum, as far as I know, but they do run a tight ship with some very nice people.
They reply quickly, faster than Lucky Luke some say, and they always pay your invoice on time and that is not all that common with other translation agencies. So, an applaud from me and I take a bow, of course.
Sometimes they make mistakes, like we all do, but they fix them and mistakes do not happen all that often, rather seldom I would say.

If I would be looking for an agency as a freelance translator I would put them high on the list.
I would probably also use them if I needed something translated. Knowing the chain, translation-proofreading-quality control, makes the finish product more polished than it otherwise would have been.

This is all I had to say, well I had much more to say, but like all good things it has to come to and end at some point, sooner say some, later says I.


The New Swans Gazette, issue 10

The New Swans Gazette

Issue 10, 2016-07-21

Short Story


Summer cleaning in Turkey, a song about a coup d’état

2016 we could follow an attempt of the military to take control in Turkey and that is, historically speaking, not a new occurrence for Turkey, with the last one happening 1980 I believe. Some other military strong-arming has happened after that, so one should perhaps not be to surprised what happened 15th of July.

What strikes me as more curious is how quick and widespread president Erdogan started cleaning out people across the board. From the military, obvious, but also from schools, academics are forbidden to leave the country and so on.

Now this might be some quick reacting from a president that likes to shut down independent TV stations and newspaper.
But still I am left wondering how quickly he acted, almost like he has had a plan for just this event and just waited for an opportune moment to act. One could go so far as to believe that he had his hand in the cookie jar, but that might be taking it a bit to far.
To clean out the military is obvious, if a military coup has happened there will be arrests in that organisation. But schools, that really left me baffled until I realised something about the president. He wants power and he neither need or want any opposition. Academics would be a pool of that, so striking them has a twisted logic. The same logic that shuts down critical newspapers or TV channels.

As I recently read George Orwell and one can not help but to see some striking similarities between his books and reality.

So a military coup gave the president a possibility to get rid of opponents, a summer cleaning if you will. I would not be surprised if the next step is to start jolting the constitutional court to move them his way. He has already stated that he “neither respect nor accept” the ruling from the constitutional court regarding the detention of two journalists that had their rights violated.
So without to much foresight I think we will see more power in the presidents hand. New constitutional amendments that will work in his favour.

That said, the military coup, if that would have succeeded, would have been even worse. Whatever you think about the president, he has been democratically elected, and that is always better than a military junta.
Shutting my eyes I however see several democratically elected leaders that themselves did not act very democratically and then I open my eyes to watch what will happen.


Short Story

The insomniac sit-down-hi-ho

A late night story
fuelled by the crickets outside

I woke up, wondering why I did not sleep and then realized I already slept and just dreamt that I was awake.
It was a peculiar feeling, a slow-motion reality speeded up by the vague sensation that I had something I needed to do, I just could not remember what that was.
So I sat up in bed, the cover falling down to my feet, curling up like a worm, the folds creating a face that twisted in my direction, looking right at me as the cover came to rest on that invisible floor, the sheet of glass my mind had dreamt up.
“Why are you looking at me? “ the worm asked inquisitively.
I call it a worm, as that was the closest being I could relate to as I saw my dirty white cover hovering above a purple sea going down into infinity.
“Did I stare, I did not mean to you know, “ I answered, not unpleasantly, to it.
“My name is Usmandia”
“Usmandia, that is an interesting name.”
“It is some letters randomly arranged into a word, so yes it is interesting,” Usmandia replied.
“What do you do?”
“Me, I wait for you to fall asleep. Until then I observe you, I observe the sea beneath my non-existing body. It is really interesting you know!.”
I tried to imagine what that would be like, being an observer that observed only the things a sleeping mind would dream up. Usmandia continued to watch me, and I watch it, but watching someone is hard work so slowly my biological curtains started to fall down.
I woke up with a twitch, the sun struck my eyes like a baseball bat swinging against my confused mind.
Looking down I saw my cover on the floor, twisted like a worm, and its mouth said, “Your still sleeping you know.”

The New Swans Gazette, issue 9

Issue 9, 2016-07-04

This will be the first installment of my attempt to write a crime story in poetry format. I hope you will enjoy it.

The decapitated man

Inspector Karphen, with hanging eyelids, a drowsy look on his face
watching the staff moving this person of late
now lacking one important fact, his head had gone missing
“Probably fatal,” he thought and wrote it down as a fact.

“Doctor what can you tell me? “ expecting not that much
the doctor did not let him down, not as such
“He lost his head, pretty important I would say,
for you not a problem, fatal for him,” the coroner exclaimed!

“Yes, yes, but what was the blade that decapitated this mans head?”
“You will have to wait and see, post-postmortem will tell us more,”
said the doctors in his usual grumpy way, leaving inspector Karphen
non-the-wiser, as they say.

He looked over the grounds, nothing strange except a bead
single and white, looking placed in the grass
with a single swoop he put it in a zip bag for forensic tests
might be important if the inspector had to guess.

To be continued