Monthly Archives: May 2010

It’s like the BBC, but from Poland

I’ve recently introduced you to a new Polish cultural site aimed at the English-speaking world, and here we have another one.

This time it’s all about the latest news.

thenews.pl is run by Poland’s equivalent of the BBC World Service, Polskie Radio dla Zagranicy. It’s published entirely in English and is mainly focused on Poland or Poland-related issues.

You can also listen to English-language bulletins there and the site also offers Polish press reviews translated into English.

If you are really into all things Polish, you’ll find their micro-site on the upcoming presidential election particularly useful.

I found the new site particularly useful during the recent floods. While the BBC and most British media outlets completely ignored the disaster (American and Middle Eastern news outlets seemed to be more interested), thenews.pl had regular updates on the situation.

And just out of curiosity: HOW MANY of you are actually interested in daily news about Poland in English and is the existence of such service justified? I’d love to read what you have to say.

Biweekly about culture

biweekly

“You Poles are so, so…, erm, cultured! Yes, that’s the word, cultured!”

My English musician friend used to tell me that whenever we used to meet in a pub years ago to talk all things Polish (for his benefit) and all thing British (for mine).

What he meant was probably this: most Poles are not afraid of so-called high culture, they see it as an important part of their lives. And I suppose that’s still the case nowadays when Polish TV schedules overflow with numerous variants of Britain’s Got Talent and Dancing on Ice. Being an intellectual (not always synonymous with ‘cultured’, mind) is, unlike in Britain, not a sign of snobbery. It’s a sign of much-admired sophistication. Of being ‘cultured’.

Now those of you who are more interested in poetry, art, literature, non-commercial music etc. from Poland have a great source of the latest cultural news.

Biweekly is a great, recently launched website in English (with a Polish version too) and I like how they justify their existence:

We came upon such a sentence: ‘culture is not an obligation, one can do very well without it’ (Kot Jeleński). And we do not dare to state otherwise.

Yet, there are those, who, for some reason, do not want to live without it. Maybe they do remember Witold Gombrowicz and, just like him, they desire culture without all this juvenility and senile atrophy, butterflies and rainbows, dust and exaltation, patriotic and pseudo-intellectual demands.

The site has great content, very well written and well translated. Its eclectic collection of contributors makes it quite addictive.

Highly recommended. If you like feeling cultured, that is.

Please vote for me

My blog has been nominated in the Language Professionals category in this year’s Top 100 Language Blogs contest run by LexioPhiles.

This is very flattering and I’m currently blushing.

But I will blush even more (and maybe do a little dance too) if you vote for me.

Please go to the voting page, scroll down to find “the POLSKI blog” and vote. I will love you forever. Voting closes on 24 May.

Dziękuję. :)

Poland under water

While Britain is struggling with the volcanic ash again, Poland and parts of Central Europe are hoping that they won’t see a repeat of the disastrous floods which destroyed parts of southern and western Poland in 1997.

Over the past few weeks the weather in Poland, the Czech Republic and other neighbouring countries hasn’t been great, but the past few days have been extremely wet, to say the least. Torrential rain has caused flooding in parts of southern Poland, with Krakow declaring a state of emergency on Sunday.

The Vistula River burst its banks and I’ve seen some pretty dramatic pictures of mudslides. So far four people have died.

According to Poland’s national broadcaster, Polskie Radio,

340 people have been evacuated from areas in the Malpolska province, with an ongoing effort to evacuate 1,500 residents in the Brzesko district. In surrounding provinces, 70 people have been taken to safety in Silesia and 54 have been evacuated in the Podkarpacie province. Over 8,000 soldiers have been put on standby with specialist equipment to help in rescue efforts.

Many roads, railway lines and towns in the mountainous Beskidy region have been affected and the rain keeps on falling. And it’s supposed to rain till Friday.

In July 1997 the “flood of the millenium” killed 114 people in Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. Almost half of the victims were Polish.

I just hope the Polish Prime Minister’s mild optimism is fully justified this time.

My Spotify list is now social

playlist

Those of you who use Spotify probably know now that it’s become social and can be linked to Facebook. This way your Facebook friends can browse and subscribe to your playlists too.

That’s how I found out that – to my surprise – my Polish playlist has already 31 subscribers! That’s great!

It’s been modified a lot since I first created it over a year ago, but that’s good as it’s meant to be colleborative and reflect everyone’s tastes.

If you haven’t subscribed to it yet, here’s the link:

thepolskiblog’s Polish music playlist

And if you feel some great Polish music is missing from the list, feel free to add it to the playlist!

(And I’m sorry if you’re reading this outside Europe and wondering what Spotify is. Hopefully it’ll be available in the US and other countries soon.)