MOSCOW: Said was interested in ‘dark subcultures’ – as he calls them – for many years, including Gothic. He said he analyzed all religions, including paganism, satanism and Buddhism. Three years ago, he settled on Islam and gave himself the name ‘Said,’ which means ‘Happiness.’
Moscow-born Said, who still dresses in Gothic style, said that dark subcultures are not a leap from Islam as one might think.
”Dark subcultures make you think about death and that makes you think about your life. You learn to appreciate the people and things around you. Islam also makes you think about death on a daily basis.”
Arina, a 16 year-old Coldplay and Haruki Murakami fan from Angarsk in Eastern Siberia, is an example of how Instagram can break down barriers of distance and language and create opportunities for people. The popular teenage blogger using the name @sleepnovember now gets business inquires to promote clothing or goods.
Arina, who would need to drive an hour to Irkutsk airport and then fly six hours to get to Moscow, expressed frustration that she lives ‘’far from the rest of the world.’’ Change and trends ‘’come to us last’’ in Siberia, she said.
Over the past two years, she has used Instagram to see the world and promote herself to an international audience. ‘’I have met a lot of fantastic people and it has really widened my horizon,’’ she said.
Vladimir, 63, was playing in front of the Minsk food market on a cold, sunny December weekend. He said he retired from the state orchestra and occasionally plays at some private events, but prefers playing what he likes on the streets. He said he worked once as a musician on a US cruiseliner, a job his son found for him. Vladimir said he even played on the streets of NYC, once taking his trumpet to Chinatown, where he played a few hours. He said he prefers classical and Russian music though to American Jazz. "Russia has a lot of soulful music."
Anfisa, the Starbucks-loving and Iphone-toting Moscow teenage blogger, was born in the USA and has a native Chinese grandfather (perhaps the result of Russians escaping to China after the Communist revolution). One of six children, she said she has been drawing from an early age, inheriting some skills from her dad and Russian grandfathe, a sculptor.