Ben's Brazil 5 December 2012

The Schizophrenia of Brazilian Portuguese

September 20, 2011


I remember a teacher correcting me at school: It’s not “none of us were”, it’s “none of us was”. The same went for “less people”, “the amount of times”, “me and my friends”… Wrong, wrong, wrong. Black and white. And for a lot of my formative years I believed this. Following the “rules” religiously, blindly, with my […]

Posted in: Did you know?

Leaving the BBC and the UK

July 3, 2011


After five months of anticipation, the time has come. Last week I left the BBC – and today I’m waving goodbye to the UK.  Heathrow Terminal One looms large on the horizon. It’s a weird feeling as, deep down, it feels like I’m not leaving either of them, the BBC or the UK, completely safe and […]

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Posted in: Just for fun

Bribes, roads… and bribes on the road

June 15, 2011



Nothing gets tongues clacking more fervently in the more liberal Russian media outlets than two topics. Vzyatki – bribes – are as quintessential a part of Russian life, just as not saying what you really think is in Britain. A close second to bribes come dorogi – roads – and the appalling state they are […]

Posted in: In the news

Kernow a’gas dynnergh: The Tale of Cornish

June 10, 2011


Last month I spent a really fantastic week in the UK’s most south-westerly county – Cornwall. It’s a really special corner of the country – and has bags of history, much of it with little or no connection with its neighbour. Cornish pasties, scones with jam and (then) clotted cream, fish ’n chips, the Eden […]

Posted in: Just for fun

Mladić Arrested at the Slavonic Crossroads

May 26, 2011


Ratko Mladić’s name was splashed across the straplines of 24-hour news channels today after the former Bosnian Serb army chief was detained in an area of northern Serbia. The arrest was made in the town of Lazarevo – in the autonomous Vojvodina province, a veritable linguistic spaghetti junction. Few places in Europe act as such a crossroads […]

The Circus of Life: A Tale of Rhotic Delight

May 22, 2011


I was walking out of the cinema recently having seen Water for Elephants, wondering whether or not one of the cast had been that guy who plays Bishop Brennan, who Father Ted famously kicked up the arse. To my unbridled smugness, it turns out it was him. I won’t ruin the plot for anyone – but […]

Posted in: Just for fun