Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Polonium Tango!


The Sidney Morning Herald (12-2-06) reports:

"A suddenly notorious name is paying off for a Polish restaurant in northern England.

The Polonium Restaurant in Sheffield, 260 kilometres north of London, has had to order extra deliveries and turn people away some days since news broke that a former Russian spy died of poisoning from radioactive polonium-210, manager Boguslaw J Sidorowicz said today."

No, this girl is not collapsing from a lethal dose of polonium-laced sushi! This is a
picture in an article about Poland's newest yuppie craze---tango lessons in the former digs of the communist militia and secret police:

"Bored with rock and roll, [Polish yuppies] have grasped at another trendy pastime. Some hope to meet the big love of their life, though they wouldn't care to admit it. The first sessions took place in the former club of the hated communist militia, right next to their notorious headquarters in the Mostowski Palace. Every Wednesday more and more bored young hopefuls congregated in this dark, socialist-realistic environment to experience the double thrill of tango and former danger.

The venue became too crowded and, overwhelmed with success, the Academy had to organise extra sessions every Monday in the former casino of the equally feared secret police. This place lacks the heavy atmosphere of socialist architecture but is much more appropriate for teaching the tango."
[Polish Tango]

Actually, the popularity of the tango in Poland is not really new at all.
The grandparents of these Polish yuppies also danced the tango.

A nostalgic Polish tango called "Ta ostatnia niedziela" (This is our Last Sunday; 1935), recounts the final meeting of former lovers who broke up.

"Ta ostatnia niedziela," also nicknamed the "Suicide Tango," became popular as a background music for young, disillusioned Polish officers who shot themselves in the head.

A Russian version was written during WWII under the title of "Weary Sun" (Утомлённое солнце, Utomlyennoye solntse) and is also the title of the 1994 Russian film Burnt by the Sun.

In the Russian film, a Soviet officer of state security shoots himself in the bathtub after destroying a Soviet general and revolutionary hero. See earlier articles about this film
here and here.

An article on European big bands
reports that this song, also known as "The Death Tango" had a tragic fate at the hands of the Nazis:

"'The Last Sunday' was often played by a small brass orchestra while Jewish prisoners were led to the gas chambers and ovens to be executed. Later, the song was often used in polish movies about the Nazi concentration camps. It was also played in the Treblinka concentration camp by a Jewish orchestra and a choir, which Artur Gold [who performed the song professionally] - one of the camp prisoners before he himself was killed -was forced to organize and also to lead while other Jewish prisoners were marching to the gas chambers. Each musician was dressed in a clown-like shining blue frock and an enormous bow-tie."

Here are the lyrics and a Short sound clip of Ta ostatnia niedziela (WMA format) of this song from Wikipedia:

This is our last Sunday

This is our last Sunday, today we will part,
Today we will go our own ways, forever
This is our last Sunday, so give it only to me
Look tenderly in my eyes for the eternal while.

Now's not the time for excuses, everything has been said,
Today one richer and better than me came
And with you, stole my happiness.

I have one last wish, this one and only in many years.
Give me this last hope,
And then let the world collapse

You ask me what will I do and where will I go
Where should I go - do I know?
Today there's only one ending which is-
well, never mind

One thing is important, you must be happy
and don't worry about me.
But before everything ends,
Before fate parts us
Give me this one last hope

This is our last Sunday....


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Blogger Diwali Wishes in english said...

Heart Touching post
have yourself a merry little christmas
Keep it up

9:09 AM  

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