Three Monkeys Online

A Curious, Alternative Magazine

Some Scenes From Everyday Life in Poland

On one of the few remaining broad footpaths that hasn’t been turned into a narrow carpark I have noticed a strange phenomenon more than a few times of late. A pedestrian approaches from behind (I of course am walking along minding my own business). The footsteps draw closer and closer until the walker overtakes me and then pulls in in front of me, sometimes slowing down after the exertion of accelerating to overtake so that I in turn have to overtake him. People definitely spend too much time in their cars.

Sitting on a bus one day I saw three different people reach for their pockets at the same time. This is usually a sign that inspectors have got on and I reached for my ticket. But there were no inspectors. The three people each took out a mobile phone. Mobile phone companies here constantly pester you with unbelievably bad special offers – I suspect that all three passengers were with the same network and received the same invitation to spend more money.

Maths has been made a compulsory subject in secondary school again. This is not the belated repair of some Communist era neglect. Maths was decompulsorised post 1989.

You should be very afraid. A poster campaign is currently advising us all to take AIDS tests. “Women cheat too,” the posters cheerfully remind us. Another set of posters urges us to take our flu vaccinations, helpfully pointing out that “the flu can kill too.”

And now for Saturday night at the movies. It’s well-known by now that non-Polish films are generally ruined by being accompanied by a voiceover (one voice does every character). But it’s worse than that. A quick survey of commercial TV channels last Saturday showed that Polsat devoted 22% of film time to ads and the lottery; TVN devoted 14% to ads; for TV4 the figure was 17% and on TVN7 it was 19%. This is why watching films on TV is such a marathon event. The most modest of films balloons to a two-hour plus epic. It’s especially tiring for the little kiddies: the 100 minute film “102 Dalmations” (Polsat) had 25 minutes of ads. On the other hand, if you’re watching late-night B-movie slashers things are a little better. TV4’s percentage of ads shown during films would be 21% if the horror film “Dorian” (2.10 am) were left out of the calculations. A cynic might even say that the presence of “Dorian” and its mere 6 minutes of ads makes the TV channel look good by bringing down that percentage. A cynic, that is. Just a cynic.

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