At least the fascists didn't win.

If only the UK would take an example of that.
flaviomatani: (flaaagh)
( May. 4th, 2017 08:29 pm)
My friend Jeff Conway ( @pushingnormal on twitter) has been putting out anagrams of May's mantra, 'Strong and Stable'. Some do seem to hint at the policies therein:

"Bad Strangle Tons
Stern Sandbag Lot
Bastard's Long Net
Lords Be Stagnant
Bad Glasnost Rent
Altar Bent's Dongs
Satan's Blog Trend
..and er...
Strong Anal Debts"

"Strangled on Stab
A Strangest Blond
Bad Tart Longness"

and, today:

"'Strong And Stable' Anagrams for Thursday:
Slanted Brat Song
Bland Groans Test
SS Blond Anger Tat"
There is a very Strong smell of Stables here.... 
(but, actually, horsesh*t would smell much nicer than all this peddling of hate)
Station ElevenStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another apocalyptic story told in two different time frames? This one works, though, at least for me. I could relate to these post-apocalyptic musicians wandering from town to town.

Things I didn't like: at first the strands of the story, told in two different time frames, feel like one is given the story as a shuffled deck of cards that one has to put in order. This is a device that looked clever and innovative when Cortázar was using it in the '60s but today perhaps not so much.

Things I liked: There was a lot that I did like. The characters and the situation felt 'real'. It makes you think, inevitably, on the ways our civilisation is fragile -a pandemic as described in the book is perhaps not very likely (or is it), but so many things could.

I enjoyed this book which a friend described as 'a most Canadian apocalypse story'. Will be seeking other work by the author.

View all my reviews
flaviomatani: (the wall hammer landscape)
( May. 1st, 2017 05:53 pm)
This Ars Technica story could be more, long lasting bad news, as it is part of a deliberate policy by the current US administration -they seem to have decreed that climate change does not exist. Echoes of King Canute...
Good morning from Kings Cross, at a pupil's.

She 's playing an arrangement of Gounod's Funeral March for a Marionette, which my first music teacher used to call a musical stupidity and used to be the theme tune for Alfred Hitchcock's TV show in the '50s...

there is a water feature in the flat, a little fountain thing tinkling away while my pupil plays, making a nice counterpoint to it.

A nice morning so far. Good morning!
flaviomatani: (flavdblxp)
( Apr. 25th, 2017 08:44 am)
Perhaps a bit gloomy, that previous post.

OTOH, I've been reading Steven Pinker's 'The Better Angels in our Nature', where he posits that, contrary to our perception of these things, violence and war have been steadily decreasing along the last thousand years of history. He does support this with lots of stats and sources. So at least there is that. Progress may not be inevitable but it does nonetheless happen.
flaviomatani: (seventhseal chess)
( Apr. 25th, 2017 08:06 am)
Sitting in my teaching room at the school in Watford where I teach guitar on Tuesdays. It's sunny, there's a piano and a trumpet in the distance. And somebody playing on a drum kit somewhere, but we'll try to ignore that. Short working day here for the rest of the summer term as many pupils are on study leave, etc.

Getting a bit difficult to ignore the drums. How come all rooms in this building are insulated acoustically but the drum room is not?

Strange times. Seeing that headline (was it The Times?) celebrating the fall of the political elite in France... with a huge picture of La Pen celebrating, arms raised. Having to read a module and respond a questionnaire for this school on radicalisation of children and what to do about this if you see signs of it. The rise, as it would seem from here, of an anti-rationalism that has many aspects, from anti-vaxxers to Trumpeteers to the whole anti-expert attitude, the wilful, selfish ignorance that puts Trump in office and UK out of the EU. I've probably worn out the subject by now, but this is not quite the future one envisaged while growing up in the '60s and '70s. We were going to work less for more, there would be less injustice and more freedom, we were going to have more meaningful lives (and maybe that holiday on the Moon). Oh, ok, there was the whole flying car thing, the silver shell suits and the food in pills. Luckily none of those came to pass, says flavio while seeing people on the street that seem to be dressed in their pyjamas... it sometimes does feel, though, like at some point we took a wrong turn in the shift-space of all possible futures. We'll have to wait and see, says flavio, looking away from the paper headlines....
A friend of many years in Vz, somebody I used to sing and play protest songs with at youth rallies in the barrios in Caracas, sent me (on Whatsapp, which I hate) a link to a video of Inti-Illimani (the Chilean protest song band who had to flee Chile after the Pinochet coup in which over 50,000 people died) singing 'El Pueblo Unido Jamás Será Vencido'. My reply is on the entry to my reborn LJ en español now in DW and where I have exactly one reader. Watching that video gave me a bad case of longing... for certainties about the inexorable march of progress, the betterment of humankind and the hope for justice, freedom, all those big dreams. It is an unfinished piece as I was writing it on a phone, something I hate doing in any sort of long format. TBC, for sure....

This is my DW en español entry and the video:
flaviomatani: (flavpopart)
( Apr. 19th, 2017 06:33 pm)
South Bank one afternoon in spring #afternoon #thames #southbank #spring
South Bank one afternoon in spring #afternoon #thames #southbank #spring
That's Flavio playing Sunburst at a house recital a couple of years ago ('Thanksgiving Recital At Maria's')

Busy week-end included the last ever Invocation at the Minories (which was a blast) and drinks at peeps' before it, a BBQ at the Highgate Zoo before that (not a real zoo, that's what these friends call their garden flat with their three cats, six or so rabbits and indeterminate number of humans), before that another birthday in Greenwich for [profile] dj_alexander (wait, that's over on the other side; he's [personal profile] alexander_uk here), before that the Gothsluts meet at some pub near Kings X (which was hard work, having to climb five floors to get to the public terrace that was the only available space, plus having to go down to the bar on ground level every time you wanted to order drinks). All good but I think I need, in the time-honoured phrase, a holiday to recover from the holiday.

As a consequence of that, today was a loong guitar teaching day at the school in Watford. Getting up at 5:15 am instead of 10:00 am is damaging for my delicate (ahem) constitution. Not quite as bad as the news today, mind. Wonder whether I may have to find myself a new country, not just a new blogging platform.
flaviomatani: (reddino3)
( Apr. 12th, 2017 10:50 pm)
Back in the day I had started a livejournal in Spanish with the idea of using it to keep in touch with my friends and family in Venezuela and other 'hispano-parlante' places. It failed. I had to set up accounts for some of them, the conversation started and.. tailed off into nothing in less than a year. Then Facebook happened. And then Whatsapp happened (whatsapp, what's that, how I hate thee). I still kept the account as a sort of diary in Spanish and because there were a (tiny) few people I had no other means of keeping in touch with.

I've just imported it into a Dreamwidth account. I won't bother closing the LJ account, just let it lie in limbo. FWIW, although I can't imagine many people here would be interested in following that, this is the address of the DW replacement for it:

DW won't allow me to use an ñ in the account name.. bah :P
Two of my pupils are studying this piece so I thought I'd put up a version of me playing it.

Amazingly, somebody apparently claims copyright on this, even though the composer died one hundred and eighty years ago and this work is in countless public domain editions and arrangements. I contested the claim, interesting to see what happens next -whether some obscure multinational monster is going to crush me because of a little guitar study piece by a long dead composer.

The Caller (Robert Hunter, #8)The Caller by Chris Carter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Crime fiction is not normally my thing. This, however, grabbed me from the start -having said this, the first scene is the most horrific fictional murder scene I've ever read, pretty much. It is well written, though; most of the characters are believable and there were very very few moments making me step back with a 'you can't do this' or 's/he wouldn't do that, would s/he?' or making me suspend my... suspension of disbelief. It is very fast paced, never lets go (I'm not a fast reader and read it in five days). There are a few open questions -one, for instance.. why in this sort of novel is the victim always female?
In any case, a very good read if you can get past that horrific first scene. I'll be checking out more of Chris Carter's stuff.

View all my reviews
flaviomatani: (Default)
( Apr. 9th, 2017 11:25 am)
Today I'll be attending the Bibliogoth meeting. There is an FB event for this, here:

We'll be discussing Kate Morton's 'The Secret Keeper'. My review of this book (as much as it is a review) on Goodreads is here:

The Secret KeeperThe Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I often find it difficult to 'get going' with a book and often find the beginning quite hard going, while I get into the universe of the book and get to know the characters. This didn't happen in this one, I liked it immediately. It did get rather heavy going in the middle -perhaps too much detail about the quest of the modern day protagonist about the incident she witnessed as a child and the life of her mother as a young woman in the London of the Blitz. As it approaches the end it does pick up pace and it did grab me in such a way that I read the last third of the book in one night and one day (I'm not a fast reader). The twist at the end was, for once, truly unexpected, at least for me, although looking back the author had left enough clues. I really liked it.

View all my reviews
flaviomatani: (ungoliantina)
( Apr. 7th, 2017 01:35 pm)
Paid for a year's account on Dreamwidth. More icons. What else? I never do polls so I don't need that. Or, do I.

Still cross-posting to LJ. If you're reading this there, I'm moving over to DW (together with, it seems, most of my LJ friends) due to the unacceptable Terms & Conditions that LJ is imposing.
flaviomatani: (flavlines)
( Apr. 5th, 2017 05:52 pm)
More people leaving LJ for DW. And some probably will leave LJ and never quite make it to DW, not needing this livejournal thing of an app that is halfway between blogging and social networking. I hope enough of the people in my f-list do that the conversation may continue in a place different to Facebook, which had still happened in LJ in spite of the FB steamroller and the failure of all the FB alternatives from Diaspora to Ello.

This, btw, is crossposted to LJ from Dreamwidth.


flaviomatani: (Default)


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