Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Rock God In Siberia: "We exchanged greetings and then he was gone".

This is such a great story, in today's Independent. This is a brilliant story. Would make an excellent short film! An engineer from a small town in Britain travels to very Eastern, remote part of Russia, and suddenly he is in the middle of huge fan crowds – who turn out to be his fans. And he becomes judge of a beauty contest, is later harrassed by envious women, and finally meets with the President!

(Sorry, the Blogger photo links are not functioning, so I am not able to add photos from Rotherham & Sayanogorsk.)

This is how it all begun:

"When Neil Smith set out on a work trip to Siberia, he was braced for whatever the Russian Far East could throw at him – the vast open spaces, the extreme cold and the unremitting boredom of being away from home. – – Having been summarily relocated from his hotel Sayanogorsk, to a remote hunting lodge some 60 miles away from the factory project he was working on in order to make way for the arriving entourage of President Vladimir Putin..."

And can you guess what happens next?

"'As we approached, I could see crowds and TV cameras with well-dressed visitors walking down a red carpet. I never thought it was anything to do with us.'

Having found himself ushered through a side door of the Albert Hall-sized auditorium, flanked by a minder, the lodge owner and the receptionist, Mr Smith was seated at long table where he joined six other judges waiting to put the contestants for that night's Miss Siberia beauty contest through their paces.

Here, his Russian host introduced him as a major league international guitarist, an explanation he heard interspersed with occasional English words such as 'Rolling Stones'. 'I don't know who they thought I was but I was given a tremendous reception. After the contest, I was interviewed for Russian television and spent nearly an hour signing autographs for well-wishers,' he recalled."

And a week later; there comes the ULTIMATE CLIMAX – after being mobbed, of course:

" – – he returned to Abakan where he was mobbed by girls who had seen him judging the beauty contest on television. To cap off his remarkable experience, safely back at the factory, he finally got to meet the man who had resulted in his sudden decampment to the hunting lodge when he formed part of line up of workers being introduced to the Russian President. 'We exchanged greetings and then he was gone,' said Mr Smith who is currently recovering from his brief brush with fame..."

The oligarkhs are behind this! And, according to the strongest gossips, even the body of Lenin's has been replaced by lookalike bodies regularly (when the previous one has started to rot!

"I reckon I was set up by the wealthy Russian guy," he told reporters. "I suspect that for some reason they needed a judge to replace someone else and it suited him for me to be that person. And who in Siberia would know I wasn't an international rock god?"



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