The other day, I received a strange phone call from someone called Igor who works at the Russian Consulate of San Francisco.
I had sent the consulate an email a few days previously to ask if the organization might be interested in supporting an upcoming episode of my weekly public radio show about singing on KALW, VoiceBox. The show in question is about Tuvan throat singing. I thought the consulate might consider underwriting the program. (Tuva is situated in the far south of Siberia and part of the Russian “empire.”)
“We do not sponsor projects. We do not offer funding,” Igor informed me on the phone.
“OK,” I said, “Thanks for letting me know.”
“But,” Igor continued, “We can offer you moral support.”
This last comment of Igor’s was slightly baffling to me but I didn’t want to seem impolite.
“Thank you,” I said. “So what exactly does moral support from the Russian Consulate of San Francisco involve?”
“I don’t know,” Igor said. “Let me get back to you on that one.”
A couple of days later, I received another phone call from Igor. He said he couldn’t really think of any direct way in which the Russian Consulate of San Francisco could support VoiceBox in a moral way, but he wished me success.
When the program airs on January 21, I’m tempted to finish up the broadcast with the following words: “This episode of VoiceBox has been brought to you with the moral support of the Russian government.”
P.S. I am skipping town for a while. I may blog while I’m away and I may not. I reserve the right to recommence operations on January 6 at the latest. Happy holidays!