To our Comrade in Shelekhov, Russia

Some time ago an oddity appeared in the data that I mine almost hourly in regards to this ghost town of a website. The oddity was a visitor from a foreign IP address. In and of itself, a foreign fan isn’t that odd. Usually they are looking for grooming tips, or they have some strange fetish, and their cursory grasp of the language allows them only general search terms consisting of the nouns they want to look at. Whatever brings them here, they are usually disappointed and leave within a few seconds.

The oddity I spotted was when a visitor from overseas didn’t leave right away. Not only that, but he came back a few days later, then a few days after that. He would spend time listening to the music and reading old posts. However unlikely, he was becoming a fan. When I saw the reported region of where the access was coming from, it told me it was Shelekhov, Russia (I hope I am saying that right, my Russian is pretty terrible).

He didn’t try to contact us at any time, and he never went more than a week before checking back in with the site (even though we sometimes neglect the page way more than we should). I started calling him “Russ” because I am not very creative, and I started imagining what he is like. It started becoming my “Rivers Cuomo” moment from the song “Across the Sea.” Don’t worry if you don’t get the reference.

I reached out to Russ with my broken Russian and asked him about himself. It turns out we are more alike than I first thought. Russ lives on the second floor of a three story building. He hates it because the people above him sound like they are “constantly practicing traditional Russian dancing” and the people below him are “extremely violent and steal from him constantly.” He is thirty-two and has a job twenty kilometers away in Irkutsk. When I ask him if the area is anything like it is in the game Risk, he pretends to not know what I am talking about, but I think he is just trying to cover up the fact that it is so easy to conquer and really doesn’t have much in the way of strategic advantage.

Russ tells me he would love to someday come and see a live show by the Beards, and I tell him that he should stop trying to change the outcome of our elections. We like to tease each other late at night.

By the by, he also said he would love to see some of the propaganda (his word not mine) that the Beards use to promote their shows. I thought the least I could do was give him that.

Enjoy, Russ.