Learning the Finnish they don’t teach in school
David Brown and Mimmu Takalo

Spurgu (noun)

English equivalent: Drunk, hobo, bum

Example of usage:

- Yök! Miks tää penkki on ihan märkä? Ja mikä täällä haisee?

– Se on toi spurgu tossa viereisellä penkillä. Tupla yök!

- Yuck! Why is this seat wet? And what’s that smell?

- It’s that drunk on the next seat. Double yuck!

AS PARADOXICAL as it may seem, closing down in order to stay in business is fast becoming a popular business strategy. Temporary trading is no longer the preserve of liquidators or seasonal shops; the day-glo signs and megaphoned rouser that once seemed to epitomise such shops have scarpered. Appearing in unexpected locations for indefinite amounts of time and with no ridiculous overheads, the reinvention of the vacant units in our recession-battered shopping centres is boosting the economy and diminishing the power of ruthless landlords. To open and close in the blink of an eye is the key to success in our high-speed, short attention-spanned and fad-driven society.

AH YES, the good ol’ book burning: thousands of blood-thirsty goons gathering around a pile of burning paper, chanting in protest to appease their offended values. While this is a sight unseen for quite some time, the recent announcement of the Apple iPad has spewed forth such a torrent of rage in chat rooms worldwide that one could be excused for thinking another such occasion is on the cards – of the electronic kind.

Although it may remain a curious blend of just about everything, most interestingly this product signals the arrival of the big player to the e-book marketplace.

WHEN I was a kid I used to love Easter, mainly because some huge rabbit came and left chocolate eggs all over our garden for my sisters and I to find. I would hoard mine for months like an eight-year-old version of Scrooge, jealously guarding them from chocolate thieves. I would peel off the wrappers bit by bit, nibbling 5 millimetres a day so that my stash would run out the day before Easter the next year.

That was then and this is now, which unfortunately means that as far as I’m concerned Easter has all the allure of a cold bath in November. Of all the holidays in the year this is the one that’s really for kids, with children receiving the overwhelming majority of chocolate eggs. Adults might occasionally get one of those...

Pronounce the name of this product in and the last thing you’d think of would be that it’s something consumable rather than some kind of incarnation of evil. Luckily it’s also known as “wheat gluten” or “wheat meat”.

As the later names suggests, seitan is made from the gluten of wheat. It is an alternative high-protein meat substitute to soybean products like tofu, and it’s widely used in vegetarian and Asian cooking. In fact, seitan resembles meat in texture and aesthetics to such extent, that some vegetarians avoid it for that very reason.