flaviomatani: (analemma)
( Jul. 21st, 2017 10:05 am)
Today I should:

- do two lessons. Weirdly, one is a banjo lesson. Until last week I had never even been near one.

- tidy flat (it might happen)

- change the toilet seat (oh, my glamorous life)

- practise guitar (technical stuff and exercises and run through my programme at least once) for recital on Thursday -FB event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/140330019879766/

- change concert guitar's strings (and the three days of constant re-tuning that ensue) for said concert.

- Go to Dead & Buried -on that line of things, check whether a friend who wants to come along (and for whom I have a ticket) is able to make it. D&B FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1726237230999554/
That was a good week-end, but increasingly I notice that I cannot do all-nighters and go to several clubs on the same night as I ... oh, ok, it always took me several days to recover from that sort of thing, but it doesn't get better as you get older. Still, it was all good.

On Friday I went to an exhibition of art of a Venezuelan friend -'Clay. Wallpaper. Venezuelan Scenarios' by Andrea Moreno at Craving Coffee in Tottenham Hale. The pieces had a lot of subtext related to the current Venezuelan political situation and to V'zlan popular culture. I enjoyed that. It was strange to be in a place where about 30% of the people present spoke in Spanish with Venezuelan accents -and addressed me in sort of cautious English. Surely I look and sound Venezuelan? My ex-girlfriend used to say I wrote with a Venezuelan accent....



Mondlicht was a blast, it is more or less the new incarnation of Invocation in a smaller, more central venue (the basement of the Albany in Gt Portland St). As I traditionally had a little birthday celebration at Reptile, I left at midnight and headed for Archway. Now, I like Reptile even though the choice of music is not always my cup; had a good bit of a dance, chatted with friends, but by 3:00 am I'd decided I'd had enough so headed home. Could have walked but didn't; the 134 takes me right to my doorstep from there. Had some good conversations but also discovered that somebody I quite like (beautiful, interesting woman in many respects and from every other interaction I'd had with her, intelligent and mature) turns out to be a climate change denier. As I backed off slowly, the other friend who was present was asking her about some other conspiracy theory trope 'sure you also believe then that...' and she replies 'actually, since you mention...' at which point I disappeared back into the dance floor. 

On Sunday I met with friends at the Abbey Tavern in Kentish Town for Sunday Roast -which was very good, as was the gathering. At the bar I ran into a former guitar pupil who was on his first shift as a bartender at the place. That was a little bit strange. 

* the links are to Facebook events. One or several of them may not be public.


A week already since the last Hampstead Alternative Picnic. I must finally be getting old (finally? that happened long long ago..) but I think I prefer this sort of gathering -friends sharing food, drink and conversation * in a quiet setting where one can talk, rather than noisy clubs and pubs that are nearly always as noisy as the clubs.

There should be another one on August 12th (FB event here but I suspect it is restricted view)


* for extended values of the word 'conversation...'


Odd how a very light thread of conversation on FB about Babylon 5 quickly turns into a discussion about the current UK/World situation...

I was corrected when I said the world was in the hands of Mr Morden and his associates and we had Prez Clark for real. They said 'nah, it's Cartagia.....'

Mr. Morden: What do YOU want?

Ambassador Vir Cotto: I'd like to live just long enough to be there when they cut off your head and stick it on a pike as a warning to the next ten generations that some favors come with too high a price. I want to look up into your lifeless eyes and wave like this.

[waves]

Ambassador Vir Cotto: Can you and your associates arrange that for me, Mr. Morden?

Friends from Wales visiting in London took me to the V&A to see the Pink Floyd exhibition. It was very much worth the £20something admission, especially as I didn't have to pay it!




35º (according to the car), stuck in traffic for two hours, trying to get to a triple lesson that I had to cancel in the end when the car overheated and I had to pull over and just wait (at least the car held long enough to make it to the big Tesco's near Ikea before dying. There's air con in that Tesco. And cake.) . It's not the worst day I've had, by a long way, but it wasn't the best. Shower now.
That was... amazing, overwhelming even at times. Just watching a woman singing her songs (and others) at the piano. She has been described as 'a force of Nature' and that is what I feel when she performs. Quite an experience.
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Ready Player OneReady Player One by Ernest Cline

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


First, a couple of disclaimers: I am not a '80s or '90s computer game kid, I was never that very much into that. Second, I was never a Rush fan. So, the prospects were not good when Bibliogoth set this book for their June 2017 meeting. To my surprise, I enjoyed it. Given the many relatively obscure references to things that I'm not that very interested in that I did get, I wonder how many I missed -the book is a geekfest. Some of the corporate behaviour and the willingness of people to surrender real life for a virtual world don't look like they have to wait for 2144 to become real. The story works, the characters are often drawn with thick brushstrokes but again, they mostly work. I enjoyed it.



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The Holy MachineThe Holy Machine by Chris Beckett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I enjoyed this one a lot, even though I prefer his Dark Eden series. A bit closer to allegory than I normally like but a very good story in a dystopian near-future which is different to other imaginings of it I've recently seen but one that is only just a little bit hyperbolic. It is not so much science-fiction as politics-fiction and society-fiction but then the best SF is.



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flaviomatani: (Default)
( Jun. 13th, 2017 07:27 am)
On the train to Watford for my teaching day at school there, like every Tuesday. Needed a whole lot more coffee! Very short teaching day, as often happens in the summer term. This is not good as it means very little money coming in from that school -when they take you on as an instrumental music teacher you're not an employee in any sense, you only get what the parents pay for the lessons, you get no holiday or sick pay and essentially the school can dismiss you without so much as a good-bye-thanks-for-all-the-fish (somebody was quoting Vogons earlier...)

There are upsides, of course. Well, there must be, I cannot think of any right now! 😝
'She's a dead woman walking / she's living on borrowed time' this could be set to music -Chicago blues, a la Muddy Waters, perhaps? :D



* (yes, I'd already said this on FB...) still..
Much less bad than many of us anticipated. Now to wait and see how this unfolds.

Did I mention the other day that it felt like I'd strayed into a wrong path in the shift-space of the possible universes? It gets weirder and weirder by the hour, out there.

The user icon, btw, is from the book by Neal Stephenson, 'Anathem', from where I also got, amongst many other peculiar ideas, the (probably) wrong usage of the expression 'shift-space'
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Trying not to look at the news... ah, watched Interstellar. Only three years late. I be only a little musician so wouldn't really know but there might have been a few flaws in the physics there but it doesn't matter, it was a lovely story. Might watch it again tonight, to avoid watching the news. I have this sense of dread impending..

Also reading 'The Book of Phoenix' by Nnedi Okorafor. Quite good although it felt like it could have done with some more proof reading and sub-editing. Trying to think who it was that recommended me the author either here or in FB -if it was here, many thanks; it is a good story with just that proviso.
flaviomatani: (Default)
( May. 27th, 2017 09:23 pm)
How's your week-end?

I'm just back from a gig, playing classical guitar at an Irish goth wedding.
flaviomatani: (flavguitarpark)
( May. 20th, 2017 12:25 pm)
Off in a little while to the Hampstead Alternative Picnic, the first one this year, in front of Kenwood House as usual. What do you say? It may rain? You say it like it's a terrible thing. Or very unusual in London... :D



https://www.facebook.com/events/1858383921112207/
* you might not be able to see the event as it is set to 'private'. If you want I can send you an invite.
I think I'm lucky in many ways. I arrived late to what I found out I really liked in life and yet I was able to do it, do it more or less well, do a degree on something like playing the guitar (doesn't it sound kind of crazy, to be able to do that?) but it comes with snags and perils.

I'm self-employed. If those lessons don't happen I don't have money coming in. I work in two schools where, very belatedly, they changed my status and I'm no longer freelance but it still is the case that if there are no lessons I get no money. Still also true no paid holidays, sick days, etc. Of course I knew all along that this came with the territory doing work of this kind. If I had arrived a couple of years before I did in the '80s I probably could have got a proper peripatetic guitar teaching job with a local education authority and be assigned to several schools, I would have been paid by the taxpayer so several issues wouldn't arise: these days I get paid what the parents pay (instead of out of general taxation), so if they can't afford guitar lessons the kid cannot have lessons and that's that. Thank Mrs Thatcher for that , as for so many things.

It is a precarious way of making a living ('you call it a living..?') and more for a guitarist than for other instrument players -back upon the time it was vaguely possible to make a living playing little concerts, restaurants and private functions so one didn't depend so much on lessons.. those times are gone. There is hardly any live music in places like restaurants and when there is it is never a guitarist. When (rarely these days) I have been offered this kind of work they've offered me pretty much the same money I used to get paid for that sort of thing in the '90s so.. no, thanks.

I'll never be able to retire but I'm kind of ok with that as long as I'm in good health and doesn't go la-la. Given the inevitability of human decay and the second law of thermodynamics, we'll have to see what comes.

All the schools I have taught at have their particular little annoyances, but that might be for another post (even though it was one of them that made me start this entry...)
The HunterThe Hunter by Chris Carter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A short story introducing Robert Hunter, detective, on his first day at LAPD. Brief, very well put together and enjoyable -if the account of a horrible crime, however fictional, can be said to be enjoyable...



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