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 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
flaviomatani: (guitar)
( Mar. 23rd, 2015 07:28 am)
Another week-end whizzed past, this one a rather quiet one as I was trying to prepare and get ready for this little gig later this week. Apart from lessons and shopping, my only outing was to the Big Red on Saturday for [livejournal.com profile] robot_mel's birthday drinks (Happy Birthday, Mel!), which was a lovely occasion and of which there are pictures in this FB album.

In the week, I booked train tickets for the rather complicated (and expensive, but I knew that) trip to Italy with my sister later in April when she comes over from Venezuela. I'll be worrying now about the mad dash through Paris from one train station to another and whether we'll make it on time for the connecting train in the time we have. So it goes, I s'pose -I've found something to be worried about for a while, apart from my concert.

Also, although we didn't see any snow in London this year (but there's always April, when it snows here it seems to be quite late so people can go 'oooh, look, snow falling in April...'), in one of my ancestral homes, my mother's home town of La Grita in the Venezuelan Andes and just a couple of degrees above the Equator, it was snowing for the first time in recorded history two days ago...
flaviomatani: (guitar)
( Feb. 17th, 2015 10:36 am)
Good sunny morning!

That lovely feeling of being able to get up four hours after the time I normally have to get up on a Tuesday and my first lesson only takes place late into the afternoon. And it is sunny and bright. Not warm enough to take a guitar to the Heath and practise there but doesn't look too bad for the time of year.

Long nice catch-up with [livejournal.com profile] maragotika on skype/phone last night. Inevitably, night full of dreams of Venezuela followed. It's been eight years since I last went! That's a bit too much. I will never live there but it would be good to have a more frequent contact than that.

Other things: Reptile last Saturday was very good, some dancing and catching up with lovely people. Other than that, not a lot to report: have been deciding on what changes I'll make to the programme I'll be playing in March. I really should try and get a couple more gigs...

Right. Next, very late breakfast, a little guitar practice, maybe gym (must we, really).

Good day all!
A few things happening today, including triple-booking myself for tonight (amongst these, [livejournal.com profile] tar0r's birthday, Gliteratti and another birthday). Not sure whether I'll be going to any of those; bit low in energy still. I am, OTOH, going to a friend's birthday dinner at Arepa & Co., the only Venezuelan restaurant in London (actually, not entirely true as there also is Mi Cocina Es Tuya, in Crystal Palace but that is more of a local café, although still very good). Haven't been and have known the owner for many years, so it will be interesting to check the place out.

Apart from this, lessons, with some of the pupils (or, in this case, the parents) making me jump through hoops with changes of days and times. If I can, I will comply -I need the work; but I do feel that they sometimes don't realise how much inconvenience they can put you through.

Tomorrow, [livejournal.com profile] bibliogoth meeting and more lessons....

It's good to be rid of the bug. Feeling almost alive -except when I watch the news and I get that sense of impending doom....
Maybe I should start reading the Venezuelan news. A couple of our TV channels stream on the internet but I find more or less unbearable to watch them -the official channel is boring and shouty, the opposition channels are garish, cheap and shouty. The press is a strange thing, again very divided and the reporting on pretty much anything always has two radically different, irreconcilabe versions. However, I do have a lot of family and friends there (alas, none that come here to Livejournal in spite of my efforts of years, or in G+ -they're all on FB...) and I'm a little bit concerned. The current collapse of the prices of oil doesn't just affect Russia, ir certainly doesn't affect the Gulf countries that much, by the looks of it, but it is going to hit Venezuela hard, at a point where the deep division and the continuing crises can make the situation unstable and dangerous.

In the meantime, today I'll be trekking to Crystal Palace to fetch, from the Venezuelan café/deli there, my order of traditional Venezuelan Christmas fare, a few Hallacas and Pan de Jamón... and probably be told in minute detail how it's all going to pot back home.
flaviomatani: (swedish chef)
( Apr. 3rd, 2014 12:47 pm)
I'd put something on one of my twitter accounts, https://twitter.com/theotherflav (I notice that you don't follow me on either of them, I must be more boring there than here...), about making arepas putting parmesan cheese in the dough -which works! [livejournal.com profile] lproven had asked me whether I made my own. Yes, of course. Making them with scratch with white maize is horrendously labour-intensive but these days you can get a pre-cooked, pre-husked white maize flour, Harina Pan. This, incidentally, because of the current situation there, seems to be easier to get here in London than in Caracas which is bizarre..

What I have found is that to avoid a lumpy dough, I put the (warm) water first in a bowl, a little salt in it and then the flour -a tiny less flour than I feel I should put, so it is not watery but not hard either. I leave it for some five minutes so the flour absorbs the water, then shape them and put them on a griddle on full flame for some four minutes or so on each side, so you get a golden (ok, more often black, in my case) crust. Then I leave them on low flame for some seven or eight minutes more. That's it. You don't really need to put oil (although I've seen this done) or butter in them, although a little butter will give them a little more flavour.

The parmesan bit: I didn't make this up, a Venezuelan-Scottish friend used to make them as very small balls with parmesan, which she fried -perfect party snacks.
Just about to finish 'Eva Luna' by Isabel Allende, which was the book set for yesterday's meeting of [livejournal.com profile] bibliogoth, book which generated an interesting discussion at the meeting -although I feel I was talking too much! I found the book fascinating -the plot is not very strong, but the characters are mostly very well drawn and feel real, but it was the setting that captivated me the most, that history of Venezuela in the 20th Century which for somebody not acquainted with it might, on reading this book, look like absurd, even preposterous invention -and yet it was all real and Allende depicts it very well.

For me the book has particular resonances, having grown up in that country and to which there are so many direct and more oblique references in the book, to its culture and its history. And what an absurd, incredible history it has been -and carries on being.
Reading Eva Luna for [livejournal.com profile] bibliogoth's January meeting.

I thought I'd read that book, but must have been mistaking it for a different Isabel Allende one. I would remember, in any case, that portrait of Caracas in the early 1930's at the time of the 'Benefactor's' death and the late arrival of the 20th Century and the flood of oil money in Venezuela, all of which I didn't live but still was in living memory of many people when I was a kid. And the fact that my mother was a red head called Consuelo (as is one of the main characters in the book...).

Isabel Allende is not perhaps the finest of Latin American writers but she can tell a very good story now and again. I'm enjoying the book thus far. I'm reading it in Spanish, of course, wondering whether I should get the English translation and have a peek at what, if anything, gets lost along the way, etc.
flaviomatani: (Default)
( Oct. 8th, 2012 12:24 pm)
A very soggy Monday morning, with the counterpoint between my normal (ok, I call it normal) life of getting up early, saying happy birthday to a couple of people on Facebook, sipping coffee and setting out for lessons, while getting ripples of the Venezuelan election results with Chávez having won in what seems from here to be a credible way. And a Venezuelan friend berating me publicly on Facebook for not expressing any opinions at such a crucial historic moment and stripping me of my Venezuelan nationality, which I didn't know she was entitled to do, because of this.

I'm too far away, though, four thousand miles and twenty five years away. I do care and can see how important all that is but my immediate reality is very different. And distance affords me the luxury of being able to be impartial re the Venezuelan situation, which would not be possible were I living there -and I do value that luxury.

In the meantime, sipping coffee at the Lit Café on my way back from a lesson. Raining buckets outside. Life goes on.
flaviomatani: (lowflyingowls)
( May. 29th, 2010 12:48 pm)
Well, it's been a funny week.

Got a new toy. Yes, that one... no, not that!. It's fantastic so far.

My friend from Venezuela was going to come over in July; now an obstacle (a pretty big one) has emerged and she may not be able to come, even though the flights are booked and paid for, etc. Big boo.

Haven't been out at all this week, apart from a very brief outing last night to the Big Red to have a pint with [livejournal.com profile] fenbane and [livejournal.com profile] propaganda_tv -and run into lots of peeps there, including [livejournal.com profile] lucifiction and [livejournal.com profile] untermensch, which was good.. but had to come back home to comfort friend in distress four thousand miles away.

Today, a lesson done, two cancelled. Tonight, possibly Vagabonds, not sure yet.
flaviomatani: (dreamscape with moon 1)
( Apr. 13th, 2010 03:04 pm)
I am much more reconciled with the vagaries of Facebook now. Thanks to its existence I've laid to rest an old demon, a myth that had weighed heavily on me as a young person and in the process I have gained a friend.

And it is a sunny day and had a leisurely late breakfast in Hampstead Heath, while the sun was shining, the birds were singing, the children playing and that smell of freshly cut grass.
flaviomatani: (dreamscape with moon 1)
( Feb. 16th, 2010 02:32 pm)
I had written something in my other livejournal, in Spanish about the odd feeling of not quite nostalgia for bits of Venezuela that I get... not when it is sunny and bright in the spring/early summer and it feels like my home town Caracas, but when it is drizzly and grey with a murky low white-grey sky and it makes me almost pine for Mérida in Vz, a small university city in a valley half way up the Andes, in the outskirts of which I used to spend time with hippie friends in their farms some time in the 80s, surrounded by mist and drizzly, white-grey skies that hid the snowed peaks up beyond where the winding road disappeared in the white.. and all of this evoked by this moment when, looking out of my window you only see the London drizzle and a spot of red where the 214 bus disappears down Kentish Town Road...
flaviomatani: (reddino3)
( Mar. 12th, 2008 04:18 pm)
It looks like I may be going to Vz for a fortnight in May. That'd be a very good thing (TM). I need to do a whole lot of things while over there and see a lot of people.... I'm crossing fingers and toes ...
flaviomatani: (reddino3)
( Mar. 12th, 2008 04:18 pm)
It looks like I may be going to Vz for a fortnight in May. That'd be a very good thing (TM). I need to do a whole lot of things while over there and see a lot of people.... I'm crossing fingers and toes ...
flaviomatani: (reddino3)
( Jan. 28th, 2008 10:29 pm)
A relatively quiet Monday, with some lessons, some errands, a visit to Camden Market and a post in her journal by [livejournal.com profile] el_pony_pisador about her impressions of a rehearsal of the Venezuelan Youth Orquesta Simón Bolívar in Madrid -with links to videos of the orchestra in YouTube, some of their appearance at the Proms. It made me yearn, this one good news story from my country about these kids, many of whom from very modest backgrounds, for whom music turned out to be their way out of the slums.

Kicking myself that I wasn't able to see them when they played here at the Proms, watching their energetic performances on YouTube. And reflecting on how much we (music students at the time, in some of the traditional conservatoires in Caracas) argued and fought against J A Abreu. the founder of the ONJ, the National Youth Orchestra system, when he tried to take over our school. We thought he was on his way to becoming a little dictator of the cultural scene in Vz and everything outside his empire would wilt and die. And we were right, the traditional music schools languished and wilted, but what the ONJ system accomplished was truly amazing. There is now a comprehensive system of music education in Vz, a youth symphony orchestra in practically every town. And it has survived the vicissitudes and cataclysmic political changes of the last 24 years. A remarkable story..

The Venezuelan Youth Orchestra Simon Bolivar playing Bernstein's 'Mambo'. )
flaviomatani: (reddino3)
( Jan. 28th, 2008 10:29 pm)
A relatively quiet Monday, with some lessons, some errands, a visit to Camden Market and a post in her journal by [livejournal.com profile] el_pony_pisador about her impressions of a rehearsal of the Venezuelan Youth Orquesta Simón Bolívar in Madrid -with links to videos of the orchestra in YouTube, some of their appearance at the Proms. It made me yearn, this one good news story from my country about these kids, many of whom from very modest backgrounds, for whom music turned out to be their way out of the slums.

Kicking myself that I wasn't able to see them when they played here at the Proms, watching their energetic performances on YouTube. And reflecting on how much we (music students at the time, in some of the traditional conservatoires in Caracas) argued and fought against J A Abreu. the founder of the ONJ, the National Youth Orchestra system, when he tried to take over our school. We thought he was on his way to becoming a little dictator of the cultural scene in Vz and everything outside his empire would wilt and die. And we were right, the traditional music schools languished and wilted, but what the ONJ system accomplished was truly amazing. There is now a comprehensive system of music education in Vz, a youth symphony orchestra in practically every town. And it has survived the vicissitudes and cataclysmic political changes of the last 24 years. A remarkable story..

The Venezuelan Youth Orchestra Simon Bolivar playing Bernstein's 'Mambo'. )
flaviomatani: (reddino2)
( Mar. 12th, 2007 10:01 pm)
.. with lesson cancelled in the morning (apparently the guy had spent the night by the side of his broken down van somewhere up north), walk down to Camden Lower High for some errands, then lessons in the afternoon and finally dinner at [livejournal.com profile] gelflyng's, which was delicious, as well as boring her to tears (possibly) with my account of what I think about Chávez, where I think lies the origin of that phenomenon (going a very long way back to the mid-sixties), with illustrations and anecdotes about my bizarre homeland and my hopes and misgivings about the path it seems to be embarking upon.

Will try to go to bed early now for long, long day tomorrow...

Probably won't have much time to be LJ'ing tomorrow, so Happy Birthday, [livejournal.com profile] jupiter909 ! hope to catch with you over the week-end.
flaviomatani: (reddino2)
( Mar. 12th, 2007 10:01 pm)
.. with lesson cancelled in the morning (apparently the guy had spent the night by the side of his broken down van somewhere up north), walk down to Camden Lower High for some errands, then lessons in the afternoon and finally dinner at [livejournal.com profile] gelflyng's, which was delicious, as well as boring her to tears (possibly) with my account of what I think about Chávez, where I think lies the origin of that phenomenon (going a very long way back to the mid-sixties), with illustrations and anecdotes about my bizarre homeland and my hopes and misgivings about the path it seems to be embarking upon.

Will try to go to bed early now for long, long day tomorrow...

Probably won't have much time to be LJ'ing tomorrow, so Happy Birthday, [livejournal.com profile] jupiter909 ! hope to catch with you over the week-end.
Interesting (for me, anyway) graphic reportage on Caracas, my home town, by the BBC 'Caracas, city of contrasts' ..
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