Thursday, 15 March 2007
Sven and the Shining Path
Far be it from me to divert my many thousands of devoted readers away from this hallowed blog, but I feel I must insert a plug for the blogsite of my dear friend, Mr. Sven Serrano, one of the most entertaining personalities I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. Sven (or the Svenster as we like to call him) is not a man who can not be summed up in a few words. He is an American of Finnish and Mexican parentage who has lived in Osaka, Japan, for more than fifteen years and has a delightful Chinese wife (his fourth wife, but hey, who's counting), an encyclopedic knowledge of twentieth century political history, world soccer and a strange attachment to something called the Church of the Subgenius. We've been friends for over ten years and I can hereby vouchsafe that he's a general wit, raconteur, incorrigible barfly and all in all wonderful company. I think it's worth flying round the world just to go out on a night in Shinsaibashi, Osaka's entertainment district, with him, which is something I look forward to every time I'm in Japan. I also had the pleasure a few years back of flying from the UK to Shanghai to attend his Chinese nuptials and one day I would love to take a road trip in Mexico with him.
Anyone who knows the Svenster will agree that he is the most talented person who has somehow or other not quite found the right vehicle for his talent so it's great to see the boy in full flow these days on his blog. He has an entirely separate blog devoted to soccer and the dozen or so teams around the world he supports (it compensates for not having a truly decent team like Manchester United to apply his affection...), but I shall direct you instead to his main blog where he indulges his other passions, such as his great hatred for the Bush regime and his investigations into such things as Korean pink parlours. His recent posts on the American elections were much better than all the tired articles you find on contemporary politics in the centre pages of newspapers.
Sven should really have his own column in some newspaper, but whenever I encourage him with such things he complains of an acute lack of Sitzfleisch (apparently the German word for the ability to sit still and concentrate) and starts talking about the Russian novel Oblomov whose eponymous hero was apparently something of an archetypal loafer. Sven proudly proclaims his 'pursuit of slack' and his determination to take 'the shining path of least resistance', which seems to mean not putting yourself under too much pressure and only doing things when the urge strikes.
I have to admit that this latter phrase has now entered my own daily vocabulary. Now when I'm stressed and faced with some difficult problem and I opt to take the easiest solution, I'll raise a mysterious eyebrow and say to a bemused companion 'I think I'll go for the Shining Path on this one' or 'the Shining Path is calling to me...' As I get older, it seems the Shining Path is the one I most find myself walking down. But when Sven does raise himself out of apathy and lets loose with full verbal flourish, then the results really are a delight to read.