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: (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! 😝
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: (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:
https://flavenespanol.dreamwidth.org/215427.html
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: (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.
Dreams. Endless streams of parallel lives I never lived, outcomes of present and past situations, all glimpsed through that numinous mist, at the same time so fuzzy at the edges and so vividly bright. All the journeys I never made, the houses I never lived in, the people I never met, the solutions (so clear, so obvious) to problems I never knew were so pressing but which vanish on contact with the waking world.
Another day, another early train to Watford. Sleepy. Woke up several times in the night, the second time escaping from a dream in which I was trying to escape... what was it, it was a version of the Evil dream, in which this all-powerful, all-encompassing entity, if it is an entity which is a sum of all evil (but is other things as well) is going to come, I will have to fight it and apparently win at first, to inevitably lose in the end. A lot of people were packed in a building with leaky roofs, praying and in terror while getting soaked from the dripping ceiling, we were outside and I had a glimpse of what was coming and was trying to persuade my sister that we (a small group of five or six) had to escape before it came. It was difficult, everybody in the group wanted to gather their things, wanted to go back to the house where most of our things were but there was no time to do that. I had a small car in which I couldn't fit all of our group, it wasn't clear whether we had another vehicle or whether the car would take us far away enough in time. I realised it wouldn't... and made myself wake up, annoyed because I only had six hours to sleep and had already wasted at least one when I'd woken up the first time. And at the same time, still frozen in dread from the dream.
Another day, another early train to Watford. Sleepy. Woke up several times in the night, the second time escaping from a dream in which I was trying to escape... what was it, it was a version of the Evil dream, in which this all-powerful, all-encompassing entity, if it is an entity which is a sum of all evil (but is other things as well) is going to come, I will have to fight it and apparently win at first, to inevitably lose in the end. A lot of people were packed in a building with leaky roofs, praying and in terror while getting soaked from the dripping ceiling, we were outside and I had a glimpse of what was coming and was trying to persuade my sister that we (a small group of five or six) had to escape before it came. It was difficult, everybody in the group wanted to gather their things, wanted to go back to the house where most of our things were but there was no time to do that. I had a small car in which I couldn't fit all of our group, it wasn't clear whether we had another vehicle or whether the car would take us far away enough in time. I realised it wouldn't... and made myself wake up, annoyed because I only had six hours to sleep and had already wasted at least one when I'd woken up the first time. And at the same time, still frozen in dread from the dream.
flaviomatani: (dreamscape sepia)
( Feb. 21st, 2017 07:16 am)
Waking up at 4:15 when you have to get up at 5:20 is not all that much fun -mostly because you anticipate what the day will be like, running on four hours' sleep. Try to recover that hour of sleep by listening to Brian Greene doing a Ted Talk on why there are multiple -indeed, infinite, universes. That doesn't help much as it sets me on a train of thought about what energy can possibly be and about string theory and my almost non-existent mathematical foundation which means my understanding of any of those things can only ever be in prose. And so the alarm goes off and it is time for shower and coffee and yawning and checking email and collecting the things I'll need for my teaching day away, all the big thoughts of universes and elementary particles washed down the washbasin together with the odd dreams of houses and lives I've never lived in places I have never been to.
I keep thinking I'm 25. This is an error. I keep thinking that perhaps because I live pretty much the same life I was living then. But that was nearly forty years ago. I don't normally have to think about it that much -I go to parties and do all those things that some of my younger friends no longer do because they're too old for them at age thirty or thirty-five. I do find, however, that after two or three hours at those clubs I've had enough. I wonder whether this increases and you get to a point where at five minutes you've had enough and wish you were home, drinking cocoa and watching soaps or whatever it is that people my age do.

I keep thinking I'm 25, which is an error. I fall in love with a 27 year old woman -again, an error. Cannot happen. It might be even worse if it did (as it unfeasibly has, at some point) happen. Takes me a couple of years to get rid of the blues resulting from that, the 'guayabo'. I fall down with a flu and instead of two days it knocks me down for a couple of weeks and leaves me with a cough, a deadly tiredness and a feeling of end-of-the-world-approaching that last for weeks and weeks. The doctor at the surgery wiggles her finger up and down in admonition. Your blood pressure is a little high ('but it is within normal range', I protest), you should quit coffee (really?), salami (oh, ok) and cheese (Cheese?!? You mean, life without mozzarella or good parmiggiano?). People address you as 'sir'. Worse, your friends address you as 'sir'. Some people seem to expect sensible answers, advice, even. Unlikely -I've managed to learn very little and I haven't lived most of the things that make up adult life -the having children and family, etc. I see people my age around and can't help but see them as reactionary Daily Mail brexiters, supporters of all the meanness and small-mindedness that seems to be taking centre stage in the world once more. And, alas, they often are.

I keep thinking I'm 25 but then I look in the mirror in the morning and see this stranger that looks nothing like my self-image of me. Not that I have a great image of myself, just this clumsy spotty-face long-haired kid from the barrios in Caracas -but even if that is my true self it is possible that it lay buried under many layers of later lives.

Do I miss all the adult lives I never lived? No, not really. Not a bit. We all just make the best of the cards we're dealt. And so do I.
Strange times. But then maybe it always is strange times. Maybe the enemy is always at the gates, waiting for our guard to slip before pouncing on us. Watching the news is annoying and infuriating these days if you watch them on the BBC, terrifying and infuriating if you watch CNN or Al-Jazeera. Better switch to the Japanese NHK channel to see kawaii J-rock stuff, like eating fistfuls of sugar -but no, instead of cute these days they concentrate far more on the tensions in South East Asia and the movements of armies baring their teeth in that part of the world.

In my little corner of the world, it's not that bad for the moment, apart from fits of loneliness now and then; apart from this I tend to worry over more concrete things -getting the money together to pay the taxman, preparing a little programme for a short local recital in February, worrying over my broken wrist, my failing vision (more expenditures coming) and what I can do about the ongoing disaster of the terrible teeth that Mother Genetic supplied me with -even more, bigger expenditure. But all these are relatively minor things, with the potential to become major in the long run but fairly under control for the moment. On the plus side, I still have a fantastic social life with people I like, have good friends, health on the whole is not too bad. Why then do I feel like the world is about to implode and I'm dancing on the rim of a volcano about to erupt?
flaviomatani: (Harpya2)
( Dec. 27th, 2016 06:02 pm)
Interregnum, again… the no-man’s land between Christmas and New Year, a stop in the wilderness between stations. On a train, now, towards Greenwich –perhaps appropriate, to the place where someone decided the hemispheres of the planet split. Something ends, something begins, nothing changes that much.

Is something really ending, something really beginning? Maybe, to an extent at least. We make up these things and we make up their importance but perhaps if it is important for us it is, after all, important.

We make it up, decide that a particular point in the turning of the planet around the sun is the beginning of the year. The year that ends now won’t end the griefs and the fears that came with it –but we do hope that it will be different. Maybe it will, maybe it will, we say and look up at what may come, expectantly.
flaviomatani: (guitar)
( Dec. 13th, 2016 07:45 am)
Trying to take week-ends more sedately as the previous one, plus the two very busy Monday and Tuesday that ensued, left me feeling, by Wednesday, that I was just about to die. I should find another slot for that rather challenging Sunday morning lesson. Take back control of my week-ends.. er, no, maybe not that, not like that. See what 'taking back control' seems to do to people and countries. What a mess.

Will be missing New Model Army and a whole lot of other stuff happening this season. Force majeure. Last week-end I missed Reptile... went to see my friends of Heel play a gig as part of the Camden Rocks festival as I hadn't seen them play for a very long time (but, alas, that meant missing a gig by other friends -everything seems to happen at the same time these days), on the way out I was feeling a bit off and thought, given those two Sunday lessons, of which one is the most challenging I've got, that it would be quite unwise to go clubbing that night. I think it was the better decision. I do worry that as time goes by this (stopping doing things I want to do and enjoy) may be a more frequent occurrence -I s'pose it is a fact of life, but I won't go down quietly...

I did go to a club on Friday night, Retromancy at the basement of the Albany pub in Great Portland Street. Danced quite a bit, caught up with some friends I'd not seen for quite a while... so I didn't just lie low the whole week-end. There also was the Bibliogoth meeting on Sunday, which might merit a post of its own. [livejournal.com profile] bibliogoth[Bad username or site: @ livejournal.com]
flaviomatani: (Harpya2)
( Dec. 13th, 2016 07:28 am)
It would seem that I most likely update my LJ while on that train to Watford at unfeasibly early hours on Tuesdays. This might mean I may forget to update for the Christmas period. OTOH, I reckon only two people (maybe three) still read this so the masses are not going to be clamouring for my absent writing.

As life goes on and time passes, it seems to get more bizarre in many ways and at many scales. Apart from the incredible mess that the political world situation at large seems to have got to, with its various apocalyptic threats that seem to be for the most part the product of human stupidity, at a personal level I begin to feel the passing of time -I still party and enjoy it but after two or three hours I've had enough and feel like bailing out. No all nighters for me ever again, I suspect. I need expensive dental treatment and probably expensive eye treatment as well. I've been prescribed blood pressure tablets. My hearing is not as acute as it.. well, never was, but still. It's taken three quarters of a year to recover from that bicycle accident and I'm still not wholly mended. I still fall in love with people that can never correspond -but these days I'm painfully aware from the start that there is zero chance of a relationship forming.

'...but you have us, all your friends, around you, you're not alone', said she. It felt like too much effort to reply to that -and of course it is true, anyway, but, but but... pero, comunque, however...

Life goes on. I think of my friend who I haven't spoken with for many years now and now I never will. In the meantime, life does indeed go on. Thinking of preparing a short recital for late January or, more likely, early February. Wondering whether I can do this slightly differently: charge five or six pounds but only sell tickets online. Maybe ask for people to donate whatever they think this would be worth instead of a fixed fee (although this could of course come back to bite me). I think I have a pretty, short programme (notice the comma) I want to play. Thirty five, forty minutes of guitar. Ideas about this (and possible venues) welcome, by the way, but bear in mind that if it is a general suggestion ('I think you should...') rather than something concretely helpful ('I've got this venue and I can talk to the people there...') I've probably thought about it, tried and discarded it or otherwise.
flaviomatani: (dreamscape sepia)
( Nov. 15th, 2016 07:53 am)
Getting up at 5:20 am is not getting any easier. At least it is only once a week...
Didn't do very much on the Hallowe'en weekend, apart from doing lessons, pottering around the house and practising guitar. Wrist, incredibly, still hurts but at least I can play. Thinking I might do one or two half-recitals in the beginning of the year. Not sure I am up to the amount of practice I would need for a proper concert but I think I can manage a short one.

I did go to Dead and Buried, the Halloween party, this time in the tiny Whisperz Bar in.. wherever that is in North London. Danced, caught up with peeps and took pictures. A good night, all in all.

Keeps happening that I find myself under some sort of minor threat -some enormous bill, most often, a sudden drop of income, a large unexpected expense- and I find myself for a few days or weeks paddling as hard as I can just to stay above the water. Not sure what the solution for this might be, short of letting it all go and go live inn a cave somewhere. This far into this game, it's not the case that I'll suddenly find a way to make a lot more money or anything like that. Putting 'donate' buttons on my guitar page or starting a Patreon page are not going to do much other than becoming another plant pot that needs to be watered and cared for. Next thing will be the tax bill. I haven't been able to save for it, for several reasons, so I'll now have a couple of months of trepidation trying to get that money together. So, if I miss your party or anything like that, you now know why. The new school would have been handy in that respect, as a term's lessons there would have paid my tax bill but, alas, it's been an endless game of tag with them with one new bit of red tape that has to be sorted out and delays my start one more week or two. Patience.
flaviomatani: (flav has  left the chat)
( Oct. 28th, 2016 01:08 pm)
Broken glass goes absolutely everywhere. Came back home two evenings ago to find the oven door's outer glass had shattered. I had used it earlier in the day but it was off, it was cold. Finding that you can find another built-in oven for the same money it costs to buy the replacement glass -how is this even possible? (thinking of printers, etc where that seems to be part of the business model). Also, the replacement glass costs more than my car's windscreen, which is the same sort of glass but bigger and curved. Non capisco. I can't spare the money at this moment anyway, probably not before I make sure I have money for the tax bill in January... in the meantime, after much vacuuming I still find bits of broken glass everywhere. Especially under my foot in the morning when I'm walking around in socks...
Lull myself to sleep with Ted talks on astrophysics or consciousness, at very low volume so I cannot make out alll they're actually saying (which would otherwise be interesting and therefore not conducive to falling asleep. Float downstream still not quite half asleep, thinking that for all the outer space stories my laptop may be telling, of black hoes circling around each other until they crash, or of the intricately complex workings of the constituent parts of our transient brains, my dreams are most often predictable and rather pedestrian and only those abstract images that form in my mind as I'm falling asleep would seem to evoke anything of what I'm not quite any longer listening to. Will probably wake up a couple of times in the night; at some point I'll sort of half-wake up, turn around, put down the lid of the laptop, check the time. Only one hour and a half's sleep. Four and a half hours before I get up. Is that enough sleep? Of course not. But if you think too much about it you'll get even less sleep.

Dreams seldom stray from a dozen or so themes with variations. They often involve a journey that doesn't go quite as planned, through strange places that I've been to before but have changed and don't quite function as expected. The journey back from those places often takes the rest of the night and several different dreams, in which most often I lose or have lost something important, often my guitar which has been left behind. Other dreams, as I have mentioned before (and put in a blog where I keep account of some of those dreams) involve my old house in West Caracas, crumbling down as it always was, often much worse, with leaks and fallen brickwork and broken toilets but also with new rooms and occupants -and that enormous yellow moon coming out from behind the Avila mountains. I'm often back there to live but not of my own volition; some circumstance has brought me back and I cannot leave. Very often the house has been sold and I'm given a room that I will pay a rent for, a bare room with little of the things central to my life then or now.

How those dreams may come about and what meaning they may have in my mind is perhaps clear enough but... I don't like to analyse them too much. I prefer to see them as vistas into misty, half-unknown worlds inside my head, or perhaps sometimes glimpses of parallel lives that I could have lived but didn't. They're part of my story but I don't like to take them apart -it feels as though they might unravel and disappear, taking with them an important part of that story.
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