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Poor But Sexy: Culture Clashes in Europe East and West
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Poor But Sexy: Culture Clashes in Europe East and West

3.18  ·  Rating Details ·  50 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
24 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Europe is as divided as ever. The passengers of the low-budget airlines go east for stag parties, and they go West for work; but the East stays East, and West stays West. Caricatures abound - the Polish plumber in the tabloids, the New Cold War in the broadsheets and the endless search for 'the new Berlin' for hipsters. Against ...more
Paperback, 298 pages
Published March 28th 2014 by Zero Books
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Maciek
Poor But Sexy could have been an excellent book - a readable introduction to the various and diverse cultures of eastern Europe, most of which are often seen as a single entity and inferior to these of the broadly defined West. Although not excusable as ignorance never is, it is understandable - countries which form this part of the world have been closed out of it for 50 years, and when they brought themselves back to it they surfaced again in different shapes. One thing was consistent - they w ...more
John Carter McKnight
If you're familiar with the Zero Books imprint, you know what you're in for: an analysis of pop culture by a leftist member of the intelligentsia. Unlike most Zero Books, Poor But Sexy is a full-length work, a tour through Eastern European pop culture before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

It's erudite, ranty, witty, opinionated, more than a little random, not terribly useful as research source material but entertaining enough to make up for its shortage of conventional scholarship. Pyzik
...more
Duncan Hamilton
Oct 17, 2016 Duncan Hamilton rated it liked it
The introduction of this book and the first couple of chapters are fascinating - attention grabbing and prevocative. Having been educated solely in the West - my view of the East has been dictated largely by anti-Communist sentiment and ignorance. This book elucidated Poland and eastern Europe significantly; providing a deeper understanding of our current political climate more generally. I admit though- after chapter four my interest was beginning to wane and I felt the style became bogged down ...more
Brett Hetherington
May 08, 2016 Brett Hetherington rated it really liked it
[This article was first published in Catalonia Today magazine, May 2016.]


How little we know about the culture of that 'area of darkness:' Eastern Europe.

Living within a few hundred kilometres of this region, most of us would be hard pressed to give the names of more than a handful of directors, actors or music groups from somewhere as close as the Czech Republic or even from the former East Germany. Communism blotted out an entire world of creative expression to those who lived in the so-called
...more
Howard
Feb 17, 2016 Howard rated it it was ok
I speak Polish and have been to Poland many times (mostly ‘Poland B’, the poor, provincial and rural parts), and I felt like I already knew Agata Pyzik from her appearances in the writings of her partner, the architecture writer Owen Hatherley, so I bought this book with great interest, hoping to learn a lot more about Poland and other former Soviet Bloc countries. I enjoyed parts of the book, but overall I can only say ‘it was OK’, hence my two-star rating. I feel mean giving it such a low ...more
Tony Gualtieri
Aug 11, 2015 Tony Gualtieri rated it it was amazing
An excellent cultural study of Poland under communism, showing an alternate history of the era with artists, filmmakers, writers and musicians who were for the most part unknown in the West (and to me). Pyzik shows that post-war Poland had an active and sophisticated popular culture, lost in the rush to "Europeanization" after 1989.

The book is a bit disorganized but passionate: I love a good rant!
Alex Scroxton
May 10, 2016 Alex Scroxton rated it it was ok
Somewhere underneath layer upon layer of utterly pretentious nonsense lie the bones of an excellent analysis of Eastern European pop culture that contains some truly interesting insights into life under communism and the experience of coming to terms with life after the fall of the Iron Curtain.

This is not that book.

Pyzik is not a bad writer, in fact, considering she is not writing in her mother tongue she's an excellent one, but she is in dire need of an editor.
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Cristina
Jul 27, 2015 Cristina rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book, bold and witty and warm. It was a pleasure to read.
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I can't possibly force my way through this chaos...absolutely impossible to read.
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Agata Pyzik is a Polish journalist who divides her time between Warsaw and London, where she has already established herself as a writer on art, politics, music and culture for various magazines, including The Wire, Guardian, New Statesman, New Humanist, Afterall and Frieze.

She studied philosophy, art history, English and American studies in Warsaw, and started writing and publishing during this t
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“Hoffland, as it was called, was, next to Moda Polska (simply “Polish Fashion”) one of the rare examples of the quasi-private, though officially nationalized fashion companies in Poland. Both have survived communism, and Hoff kept designing well into the 90s. You could be sure, that if Hoff wrote about a new style for wearing a shawl in her column, the same afternoon there would already be dozens of girls on the streets trying to copy this style. Her flagship idea was blackening the “coffin shoes” (i.e. light, paper shoes, used as footwear for the deceased) which when colored black could pass as elegant “ballerinas”.” 0 likes
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