Radio Moscow Nights and Time Zones

I know Radio Moscow not so much from my shortwave exploits (although a little, I was a World Wide Catholic Radio kind of girl…so much death, gloom and hypocrisy translated in stilted language, so little time!) but more from Time Zones by Negativland. But a friend posted about Moscow Nights by Vladimir Troshin, which I never knew in the heights of the cold war was a hit in the West by Kenny Ball & His Jazzmen (yes HIS Jazzmen, you can’t have them, they’re not any old jazzmen…). It’s a beautiful song, but also was used as the ident from Radio Moscow and Radio Mayak. You can hear the Troshin version and the scarily upbeat Radio Moscow version, and Radio Mayak using it as a jingle. Interesting how the song spread over radio…

Always been entranced by the strange pronunciation from the English-speaking World Service of Radio Moscow, it’s a bit uncanny valley…almost American/Western but not quite? Stilted. Still Moscow Nights is a beautiful song…must’ve sounded amazing phasing in and out bounced across the clouds on shortwave. Hence the broadcast at the top from 1980 (no dancing Brezhnev this time, thanks) with the time signal and another song I originally thought was Moscow Nights but was another, Wide Is My Motherland? Which sounds better as an ident jingle, I can tell you. It’s USSR pomp to the max, only place on earth that still does that is the (Un)Democratic People’s (Non) Republic of Korea – what is it with the places that have to shoehorn so many Democratic/People’s/Republic/Free in their country names etc tend not to be that free, democratic, of the people (or for that matter even a republic)?

As a time related aside, Russia has just abandoned summer time aka Daylight Savings Time, so has gone back to standard time, +3 UTC permanently, but in the UK we’ve just gone off British Summer Time temporarily – it’ll be back, unlike the summer. Happy Minus BST! Although in the geopolitical world, the two contested areas in the Crimea / Ukraine – Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic – as well as trying to hack this site (well hackers from Ukraine generally are – hi guys! :-p) are going on to Moscow time now. Who said time can’t be political?

Which reminds me of the odd fact, that during the last world war, an the cold war the apparatchiks that set the time, International Time Bureau all countries still met every year to basically ‘synchronise their watches’ on a larger scale. Dunno why that freaks me out so much still, it’s probably that behind the curtain of OMG END OF THE WORLD propaganda, they still needs bureaucrats to make sure the clocks all work? Can’t be having Pythonesque debates about turning up for a battle at 6am and the Hun turns up at 5:57am spoiling it all, I guess? :-/ Pretty sure the ITU or someone met up during WW2 and the Cold War so they could also contact each other on the same frequencies too? My mind kind of boggles to that, really.

It’s like having the missiles pointed and about to press the red button, then stopping cos the engineer has arrived to wire in a new phone so you can contact who you are about to bomb? Diplomacy is odd.

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