flaviomatani: (anathem)
( Sep. 4th, 2017 09:32 am)
Life continues, the summer comes to an end, Infest came and went (and was a fantastic gathering, as always), the schools I teach at send me the usual letter welcoming the staff for the new school year, I have a mostly pleasant week-end with the usual -a goth club, a friend's birthday at a local rock bar, my rather challenging Sunday morning lesson away... not all of it fantastic but mostly good, like life in general.

It's when you zoom out that things begin to get scary. The Brxt runaway train continues its march, seemingly towards the abyss, with those onboard claiming it's all good while it gathers speed towards the edge of the precipice. Zoom a bit further out and the most powerful person, effectively the king of the world, is an impulsive egomaniac with zero introspection, zero negotiation skills, a loud mouth and a very short fuse. There seems a possibility of a major war that would affect us all in the near to mid-term future. Zoom a bit further out and there is the climate change issue threatening us all and those that will come after. There also would seem to be a rise in non-rational views of the world, fundamentalist religion, superstition, simple explanations to complex problems...

Well.... zoom a bit further out and there is the asteroid....

In the meantime, a couple of lessons, some guitar practice and maybe gym. Life continues its flow, its steady meandering currents as yet unaffected by the storm clouds gathering on the horizon.
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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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:
https://flavenespanol.dreamwidth.org/215427.html
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.
flaviomatani: (guitar)
( Jan. 30th, 2017 08:37 am)


It's a soggy Monday morning, it's cold, it's raining, it _is_ a Monday, Trump still is president, Brexit still is on, but this might make it a little better for a few minutes:
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: (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 with moon 1)
( Jan. 12th, 2016 09:27 am)
A sunny morning on a train to Watford, another strange day in which everybody I know is mourning somebody they never met -but who has touched their lives and given them a soundtrack and a momentum, even perhaps helped give it some significance.

As the train moves ever closer to the beginning of my teaching day, I try to recall what I was dreaming last night, or only two hours ago -it seemed momentous at the time, I woke up clearly remembering everything vividly -or so I thought- and now I cannot even recall what it was about, what the astounding insight I was having of the connection between things apparently unrelated in the real world was. All an illusion, but so seductive at the time, leaving me longing for whatever it was that is now lost down the washbasin's plughole.
flaviomatani: (seventhseal chess)
( Oct. 20th, 2015 09:17 am)
Waves and waves of people with long, disgruntled faces, with sad or indifferent faces. Each one of them a miracle, the child of the explosion of a star long long ago, the result of the most improbable chain of events. But maybe not this morning, when most of them stare blankly into space and warily cast side glances at each other, jealous of the minimal personal space conquered, or burying their faces into the free morning tabloid full of lurid but insubstantial stories and of a vague, distorted approximation to the news of the day. This morning I am one of them. There is somebody I know in the carriage and it is very clear that they must have seen me but do not want contact or to be spoken to.

I only have to do this once a week. I suppose I am rather lucky.
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flaviomatani: (b&w dotscreen flav)
( Sep. 26th, 2015 10:39 am)
People don't post here because they have 'nothing to say' or 'nobody will read it'. But they do post their nothing-to-says abundantly on Facebook. Still pondering on that one. A fair few people still seem to come by and read stuff and enough people post here that it keeps my interest to come back and look at what may be on my friends' page.

I have said a few times that LJ does seem to stimulate longer, deeper conversation but then ten years ago about half the posts were those quizzes and memes, 'which DC superhero are you', etc. That, too, has gone to Facebook and I don't miss it.

ION, an interesting article here by [livejournal.com profile] sashagoblin about the many obstacles and intolerances that bi people face. I'm not one myself, but wearing the tags of a few minorities and having to put up, in a much .. lesser, more minor way, with stereotypes and prior assumptions, made me think. We make sense of the world, amongst other ways, by putting labels on things and putting them in boxes, but those boxes seldom describe the whole reality of what we're dealing with -and we get it wrong. And we still deal with difference in ways that may have been advantageous ten thousand years ago but not in the society in which we live. There is such thing as progress, attitudes to these things have changed so much in my lifetime, but it is so slow and so localised.
flaviomatani: (guinness3)
( Jul. 23rd, 2015 02:31 pm)
Ah, I seem to have a problemette this coming Saturday. It is the summer BBQ (without the barbeque) at [livejournal.com profile] lovelybug and [livejournal.com profile] ciphergoth's, down in Saff London, which I'd said I would attend. It is also [livejournal.com profile] eline and [livejournal.com profile] pir's birthday BBQ (with BBQ) at the other end, in farthest Walthamstow. I would like to go to both but it looks pretty much impossible....
flaviomatani: (guitar)
( Jun. 21st, 2015 11:05 am)
A couple of people in my FB f-list turn out to believe in pretty much every conspiracy theory around. The moon landing was a fake ('done in a Hollywood basement' in the rather trodden phrase of RHCP's song). I've mentioned that there is one particular person who IRL comes across as quite cogent and rational, but believes the moon landing was a fake, 9/11 was an inside job, vaccines are a means of control (how?) by the state or something like that (I can't quite understand the argument).

I have mentioned this before and I may come back to it again -it really baffles me so I have to think about how it works.

One of the elements in this may be ... that we all need explanations and reassurances, thrown in a world that can be supremely hostile at times, so we invent narratives in which it all has a sense and a purpose; there is a hidden hand (good or evil) making it all work the way it does. So we create god, alien abductions and secret government conspiracies. This way the world makes sense. If it is god, well, we are in his (why not her?) hands and all will be well. If it is an evil conspiracy, it can be thwarted and things made better. Hm, not sure about the last bit but I feel some of how it works may be along those lines.
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flaviomatani: (Default)
( May. 11th, 2015 07:06 pm)
Rather depressing election results. Not the end of the world, mind. This country has survived worse. But it won't be easy for a lot of people who are at the more vulnerable end.

Maybe I should start saving the pennies for the (enormous) fee for the British citizenship application. I feel I should have been able to vote since by now I've spent half my life here, although it would have made b* a* difference.
flaviomatani: (guitar)
( Apr. 21st, 2015 11:29 am)
Hadn't said anything about the journey here. My sister had suggested that we should come by train instead of by plane. I liked the idea a lot and set out to investigate about it. I ended up going to an agent mentioned in Seat 61 since organising travelling times, tickets, etc was looking like a logistic nightmare. Worried a lot about what seemed to be rather a short time to run across Paris from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon but it all came out ok. We'll see how it goes on the return trip. I didn't enjoy most of the overnight journey on the Paris-Milan sleeper train, in a six-cuchette cabin with four strangers. Again, we'll see how that turns out on the return.

The verdict, thus far, is a little bit like those three years of busking in London I did in the '80s: it is good to do that once in a lifetime (well, in this case twice, with the return journey) but I'm not sure I would want to do it again.
flaviomatani: (pinch - Atri sculptures)
( Apr. 21st, 2015 09:45 am)
Another sunny morning at my cousin's in a place near Roseto degli Abbruzzi. My sister [livejournal.com profile] isauramatani and I managed not to miss any of the connecting trains and made it here right on time. There was a big family reunion at a pizza place, there have also been some outings to the beach (just to walk along it, not to swim -too early in the year), to some caves near Gran Sasso and to a beautiful 120 inhabitant village that has survived perhaps nine centuries and many wars to end up, apparently, bought by an Englishman. There are worse fates, the place is beautiful and well kept if a little touristy. There will be pictures of some of these things.

Lots of blue sky and sunshine, beautiful views, family that look genuinely pleased to see us (and in some cases, to meet us for the first time). I should do something about my Italian -I understand everything (except when they speak in the impenetrable local dialect) and can make myself understood but still murder grammar and syntax every time I open my mouth, which is not so good for someone who is the holder of an Italian passport and has, by the looks of it, hundreds of relatives in this part of the world.

Only one thing. Maybe I should have brought a guitar, given that we came by train. A week without playing at all, more without practising and I feel my fingers slowly freezing...
flaviomatani: (guitar)
( Mar. 31st, 2015 08:26 am)
In school, like every Tuesday -except the next three or four. A piano in the middle distance, the wind howling outside, the clock on the wall says 7:05 am instead of 8:05 and it feels exactly like that, like I needed one hour more sleep.

Tried to comment on a post by [livejournal.com profile] yoyoangel on how unusual the positive response she had to her querying the binary gender field in a Quaker meeting form (if I understood that correctly) and out came that O2 page 'you cannot go to that site unless you prove that you're an adult, click here....' and of course clicking there does nothing. Funny thing, getting virtually ID'd at this point in life. And of course it would be trivial for O2 to unblock that sort of thing when they approve your contract, which states clearly exactly how ancient I am. I suppose they have to protect the children, or something, by not letting me access a livejournal comment page....

A little more reconciled with last Thursday's concert in that I'd been watching the videos (thanks again, [livejournal.com profile] augeas!) of the gig and I don't find my playing too cringeworthy (although every piece has a big clanger at least that makes me go 'but why did I do that...'). I ought to have a little gig like that every week instead of every three months, mind. I only feel I get a programme right in public when I've played it four or five times, but it would seem like my pool of flavconcertgoers is rather small so it is time to change that programme. Will be playing only two pieces from a Bach suite in the first half, instead of a whole one, and completing the section by playing my teacher Jack Duarte's 'English Suite', which must be the only major work of his that I never studied with him but which is also much more ... approachable music than the Bach lute suites. More light Venezuelan pieces/songs in the second half, too, but also keeping 'La Catedral' by Barrios (and will try to remember I'd put it in the programme...). Onwards and upwards, one hopes.
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