HRH cannot get through the week without purchasing “7 Days,” Russia’s equivalent of “TV Guide,” but not to find out when “Dancing On Ice,” will be, but rather to read his horoscope – or “goroscope” as the Russians pronounce it. This is one of those little character hiccups that forever endears him to me, along with the fact that he can never admit that he’s done something wrong. Since we had three weddings, HRH is much overburdened with remembering three different anniversaries. A week ago, I was so busy with Velvet and various service providers, that I only recalled the third when I was lying in bed sipping a well-deserved glass of wine, watching “Inspector Lynley.”
“Darling,” I texted him over in Moscow, “Did we both forget that today was our anniversary?”
In the morning, much refreshed, I rolled over to find this message on my iPhone:
“I love you!! Call me!”
HRH, if pressed, will tell you he doesn’t believe in God, the goodness of his fellow men, health insurance, and certainly not that Barack Obama is going to change the world for better. But he does believe with all the fervor of an original disciple what “7 Days” tells him is going to happen the upcoming week. For the week of the 8th of March, “International Women’s’ Day,” that one day of the year when Russian men give themselves over to housework and fawning over the females in their lives, “7 Days” predicted:
You have a calm week ahead of you. Now you are more inclined to compromise than to assert your independence. These thoughts will allow you to focus on your personal life. In additon, a new diet, exercise and spiritual practice will bring you happiness and have a good affect.
I was hardly impressed. You don’t have to be Deepak Chopra to come to those conclusions.
Interspersed with television timetables are articles about cheesy Russian celebrities and their wildly decorated homes, which is why I would never go a week without “7 Days.” I want to get them all bound in leather covers, so we can preserve this delicious slice of Russian culture. I want to say “7 Days” is a cross between…but then, I can’t really think of two things that could ever define the perimeters of “7 Days.” It is inspired by “OK” magazine, that smutty and pimply younger sibling of “Hello!” but “7 Days” goes much further in its sheer awfulness. You have to wonder what ordinary people in Russia think when they see “7 Days.”
Here, for example, are the hardworking Russian Olympians, making sure they get enough protein before the big day:
One of Russia's leading singers, Larisa Dolina claims to have gone hoarse during the Vancover Games, supporting the Russian team but it must have been worth it to have had this snazzy poster made out of one of the most enduring images of the Second World War...it is the kind of thing that would be considered in poor taste if we did it to the famous "Rodina Mat'" but seemingly okay if a celebrity does it!
In this photo, we have that ultimate paragon of good sportsmanship, Evgeny Pluschenko, playing fuze hockey...clearly the sport of "real men."
Bonus snap: clock the rock star making a gesture of international sporting solidarity!
"7 Days" as a rule sticks closer to home, showcasing tender love stories between people I have never heard of, but who's interior design I would not want to miss. Case in point, cover girl Olga Fillipova and her boyfriend Vladimir Vdovinchenkov: he's been married three times officially and their marriage plans are not firmed up yet, but they have been living together for seven years in their very interesting interior:
"7 Days" is also up to speed on the fashion end of things, like the extensive photo shoot of Dana Borisova, of whom the magazine gushed: "...one of the most noticeable blonds of our TV....many people thinks such graces never have any problems: any dress on a lovely figure looks great! But Dana thinks this is a false belief. She's convinced by her own example, that to dress with taste, you need to spend a lot of time and energy.
Here is Dana, surrounded by some of her favorite accessories. The caption tells us that Dana "first seriously thought about her own style when she came to NTV..."
"Own style" is putting it on a bit thick: Dana's accessories are the Alpha to Omega of any Russian devushka: Burberry, Hermes Birkin in electric blue, Vuitton in a pattern that isn't going to last, and no, I don't know what the purple crocodile thing is...do you?
No edition of "7 Days" is ever complete without a dacha spread. Here aging rock star Vladimir Politov kicks back with a few friends and enjoys the outdoor life, hunting bears, wolves, and something green and furry with which those chairs are covered!
"The most difficult thing about hunting, is the sitting around and waiting. For hours you can't smoke, you can't move, you can't even cough, in case you scare the animals."