flaviomatani: (Book of G-Quan)
2017-08-15 08:36 pm

[ Books ] A Study in Scarlet - Arthur Conan Doyle

A Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes, #1)A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


When reading my first ever Sherlock Holmes story I wasn't expecting a Western, complete with horses, desert, Mormons and six-shooters, to jump out of the book and take over one third of the story. I felt it was a bit meandering and also that the only character that was credible and felt like a human being rather than a plot device in the book was Watson. The resolution of the drama is, alas, predictable once you know where it's going. Holmes comes across (at least to me) as a rather unpleasant, arrogant character but done in somewhat thick brushstrokes. I enjoyed the book to a fair extent but cannot say it was my favourite or that it entices me to read more Sherlock Holmes stories.



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flaviomatani: (analemma)
2017-08-14 05:24 pm

don't be a sucker

I saw this first in [personal profile] emmelinemay's FB timeline. As current now (or even more so, when the violence and hatred of the few is blamed on 'many sides, many sides' instead of those who profit and thrive in hatred and violence) as when it was made in the '40s.

US War Dept film fr 1943 - reissued 1947
https://archive.org/details/DontBeaS1947
flaviomatani: (Default)
2017-08-09 12:18 pm

[ Books ] The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.' by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Stephenson goes back to the many worlds theory with a rather different take on it. The world is now devoid of magic because... ah, wait, that might be a spoiler. Quite short by Stephenson's standards at 'only' 700 pages, which might be the influence of the co-author, Nicole Galland. Who I had not heard about but looks interesting and whose work I will be checking out. The usual Stephenson slow build up -but not as slow as in some of his other books. Again, maybe Galland rather than Stephenson. Quite believable characters, for the most part, as well as plot (once you accept the basic premise of the book); the account of the ballooning bureaucracy surrounding the project and the way it operates is quite funny and rings, alas, very true.

I read the whole of this in six days or so, in one go, pretty much. 'Anathem' is still my Stephenson favourite (as is its world), in which I know I am alone but I enjoyed this a lot and will probably read it again at some point.



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flaviomatani: (reddino3)
2017-08-04 01:02 pm

and now the news

Breakfast -an arepa with cheese, coffee, orange juice. It's the summer holiday so got up quite late and taking my time. Put the TV on to watch the news. Scan BBC (can they possibly still be building up br*x*t?), CNN (annoying but for their amusing ongoing feud with Trump), Al-Jazeera and finally Euronews (where their 'No Comment' feature has street riots in familiar places, the streets of my home-town, police shooting tear gas at demonstrators, people being arrested in the night, tyre bonfires on the street).

The overwhelming feeling, as the news from the world (particularly my original part of the world, Venezuela) scroll past, that I've woken up in a wrong strand of the multiverse, one where everything went wrong and not at all how it was supposed to happen.
flaviomatani: (Default)
2017-07-28 11:51 am

strings

Played a little local summer garden concert last night, something that was becoming a bit of a local tradition for me and the people concerned here in Kentish Town/Tufnell Park but I hadn't done last year because of the accident. Interesting that a lot of people who were coming and looking forward to it, etc, didn't. Luckily other people did. I think it went reasonably well, although playing in the open on a day like yesterday -with gusts of wind, temperature dropping, etc- was a bit of a chore at times, with frozen sticky fingers...

One thing that I used to do at some point but I never quite know how to 'sell' is the idea of the house recital: sit fifteen or twenty people in a living room (sounds like a lot but a normal living room can hold twenty people ok without them being too cosy, on folding chairs or similar), give them a guitar concert with a glass of wine in the interval, charge them twenty quid and give half of that to a local charity. It is a lovely idea and something that works very well with classical guitar.. everybody comes out happy, I get a little bit of money (which for a freelance musician/music teacher ..) and a local charity gets a little bit of support. But I'm hopeless at actually persuading people that it is a good idea to host one of these...
flaviomatani: (analemma)
2017-07-21 10:05 am
Entry tags:

mostly for myself

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/
flaviomatani: (reddino3)
2017-07-10 08:40 pm

a week-end of various things

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.


flaviomatani: (Default)
2017-07-08 10:35 am

the Hampstead Alternative Picnic, July 1st 2017

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...'


flaviomatani: (vir cotto)
2017-06-29 08:42 pm

'What do you want...'

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?

flaviomatani: (the wall teacher)
2017-06-22 03:46 pm

Is there anybody out there

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!




flaviomatani: (sun flare)
2017-06-21 08:09 pm

A long hot summer and other fictitious stories

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.
flaviomatani: (seventhseal chess)
2017-06-20 06:23 am
Entry tags:

[ Gigs ] Diamanda Galás, Barbican, 19-06-17

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.
flaviomatani: (Book of G-Quan)
2017-06-16 11:29 am
Entry tags:

[ Books ] Ready Player One - Ernest Cline

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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flaviomatani: (Book of G-Quan)
2017-06-13 08:57 am
Entry tags:

[ Books ] The Holy Machine, Chris Beckett

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)
2017-06-13 07:27 am

another Tuesday

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! 😝
flaviomatani: (Default)
2017-06-11 11:57 am
Entry tags:

may or may not be....

'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..
flaviomatani: (analemma)
2017-06-10 09:10 pm
Entry tags:

outcomes and further awaiting

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'