Back from Riga Break

I'm not sure there's a point of pre-announcing my travels any more. Especially ones that last two and a half days.

Latvia was certainly interesting but it's hard to get a grip on a country in a weekend. Still, a couple of things were illuminating indeed. The gender politics resulting from a 3-to-1 female-to-male ratio in the 20-30 year-old age group, for instance. Or the oppression cycle which has now hit the Russians square in the face: my host told me that she has no Russian friends and that they're always frozen out by Latvian cliques in clubs. The citizenship issue is no closer to resolving and even the rioting is being blamed on the Russians, on national television.

No surprise then that the only vaguely cool music I was able to pick up was a couple of Russian MP3 CDs, bought off the shadier bit right behind the central market which seems to be nearly all Russian. (There's meant to be an even shadier bit where you can buy fenced stereos and stuff even further into the Russian neighbourhood beyond. Didn't dare venture there.) Symptomatically, there were no Latvian CDs on sale, only foreign material and Russian-produced pop. So look forward tomorrow to selections from Russkie superkhimy Pesnya Toda 2009 (pop) and Rap Ritm Zem' (hip-hop) which I'll try to parse and post.

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