There is a photo floating around of me being silly (I know! Shock-horror, right?) and kicking a leg out to one side.


A friend enquired who the Russian bloke was, har-har, siting the Cossack-dancer-ish move and the t-shirt I had on; as well as a large skull it has a crossed hammer and wrench printed on it, not dissimilar to the hammer and sickle of Soviet Russian fame.
It immediately made me think of that amazing Dschingis Khan song of 1979, Moskau.

Naturally my thoughts then moved to that other arguably more amazing German Euro-disco super-group of the late 1970s and early 1980s, Boney M, and their 1978 hit, Rasputin.

As all good ear-worms do, Rasputin has persistently popped up in my internal-soundtrack over the last couple of weeks, and it got me thinking about the veracity of the song’s subject matter. More specifically, I wondered how, if it was true, a weasling beardy-weirdy like Rasputin could ever have managed to become the lover of the Russian Queen. I mean, come on! There must have been mitigating circumstances, surely!
Apart from his pretty intense eyes he wasn’t exactly drop-dead gorgeous. There’s effortlessly rugged and cool-casual unkemptness (think Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow), and then there’s weird frizzy beards and lank, greasy hair and the robes of some obscure Siberian cult.
All I’m saying is he didn’t look like your typical irresistible-to-women lady-killer. And I feel fairly safe in saying that, if he did indeed manage to “find favour” with Alix of Hesse (a.k.a. Alexandra Feodorovna), then he was punching a fair bit above his weight, because she was… how to put this? A fox!
So I’m thinking Rasputin must have had some pretty mad skillz. Yes, skillz with a ‘z’. Because, he’s Russian, right? Mates with the Tzar?… Whatever!
According to one of his mates Rasputin had wowed everyone from the moment he strutted into the Winter Palace, impressing both the lads and the ladies with his “psychological perspicacity” (i.e. he was a good listener and had the gift of the gab).
I suspect that there’s an element of good timing here too. Nikolai Romanov could perhaps be forgiven for being a tad distracted around the time Rasputin came waltzing into town; the Russo-Japanese War, Bloody Sunday, the Revolution of 1905, bombs and a nation-wide railway strike to name just a few little matters were demanding his attention. So if Alexandra was in need of a cuddle, Nikolai could possibly be forgiven for neglecting her needs and Alexandra for seeking a cuddler elsewhere.
Add to that the fact that Rasputin was also into some pretty out-there stuff – Persian mysticism, Tibetan “herbs”, occultism. So if Alexandra was curious, keen to try something new, something a little bit funky, well, Rasputin was in the right place at the right time, one thing lead to another and… There you go.
Then I started thinking, what if Nikolai wasn’t just an incy-bit curious as well. Maybe, just maybe, Rasputin wasn’t just the lover of the Russian Queen… He was repeatedly accused of being an erotomaniac. What if it was true and Nikolai, as well as Alexandra, were that way inclined too? Getting blasted on Tibetan “herbs” and getting a little bit funky together? Rasputin enjoyed a bit of communal bathing, so why not? It would explain all the times the Tzar and Tzarina had publicly defended Rasputin.
And then I chanced upon a quite horrifying image during a Google search and… well, what is seen cannot be unseen. You have been warned! Let’s just say that if it’s legit, ol’ Gregori sure was packin’ some heat!
That’s it. I can never listen to Rasputin the same way again!

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