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15 March 2014

When to use the word "awesome"

County Sligo as the traditional tourist has never seen it: “awesome”.
Note the surfer at the bottom of the wave, beneath the letter V.
Bear in mind that every cubic metre of the substance 
that is about to crash down on him weighs 1 tonne.
In the normal course of events, you should never use the word “awesome” as it has been flogged to death by Los Angeles people wanting to impress the world with an exaggerated sense of the drama of their often sad, politically-correct lives. 
     The word translates into Russian as грозный (grozny, as in Ivan IV) and used to mean something that was “awe-inspiring”, which is rather different from the sense “amazing”, which is how it is used in its degraded, modern, Californianised form.
     However I write this post partly because I saw a film last night which had footage in it that could truly be described as “awesome” in the original sense. These were the “big wave” surfing scenes shot off the west coast of Ireland in Waveriders. 
     Anyone who has any interest in the sea, or surfing or, indeed, life should go and see this film. It is about the newish sport of surfing in Ireland, but is almost as much about Ireland as it is about surfing. The linking concept is “wild nature”, with the emphasis on the “wild”. The Irish surfing footage cannot be properly described without using the word “awesome”.
     For readers who live in Moscow, I should say that I saw the film at the excellent Irish Film Week which is being staged at the at the central House of Artists on Krymsky Val (New Tretyakov). Waveriders is on again for a second and last time tomorrow night (Sunday) at 9 p.m. The film was so “amazing” (it was the surfing scenes which were “awesome”) that I am going again. You can buy the DVD but Russians will surely have trouble understanding much of the Irish dialogue—as indeed I did in places. So the Russian sub-titles, which were occasionally useful to me would, I suspect, be essential for most Russians. Therefore, tomorrow night is the only opportunity you will have to enjoy the film properly. 
     Plus there is a wee dram awaiting you, compliments of the Tullamore distillery, in the temporary Irish Pub in the foyer beforehand... See you there!

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