Oh, boo. A gig I was expecting confirmation of (and the money from which I actually could have done with) has been cancelled. Or rather, this was a corporate thing and the corporate bods decided that they didn't need live music and least of all a classical guitarist (they didn't actually say the latter).

I wonder how best to promote, again, the idea of the house recital. It has worked in the past but it goes while it goes -I can do the playing but I'm clearly hopeless at promoting my own stuff. The idea was to sit twenty (more or less) people in chairs in a living room (yes, it is possible without them getting to know each other too well, I've done it lots of times), give them a guitar recital and a glass of wine in the interval, charge them twenty quid and give half to a local charity. Helps me pay the rent and helps a local charity. But I never know how to 'sell' the 'product'.

One of those things. Some people are really good at selling, my dad was one -but I didn't inherit an ounce of that. Maybe they swapped me in the natal clinic.

I'm crossposting this to Livejournal. If you can see it there but not in DW it's because you forgot to add me back there (remember it's a two step thing) :P
I'm absolutely hopeless for any DIY kind of thing -the only thing I can do with my hands is play the guitar -and that only when I practise _a_lot_. When I was a child it was my sister, no me, who used to help my granddad with all the household repairs, little bits of carpentry and even bricklaying. He gave up on me pretty quickly. My dad used to observe all this with an ominous, baleful expression in his face. All his fears seemed to be confirmed when I took up music and started growing my hair long. Mind, he was wrong on many of those fears but that doesn't matter. In any case, when I've put shelves up they've quickly come down -together with half the wall's plaster.

Today I replaced the rubber gasket in my Gaggia Classic coffee machine. The coffee it had been producing of late was less and less good and finally a couple of days ago the coffee started to come out from the edges of the headgroup (it says here it's called) and definitely not good coffee. So I bought the gasket online and today I set about replacing it. It should be a simple job, the web page I found with the instructions said about ten minutes. It took me 45. Ok, did I mention I'm not good with this sort of thing? Every step of the way there was something that made me think 'I've ruined the machine -back to yuk Aeropress or something like that'. But I got there. As triumphs go this is a very small, tiny one and I'm never going to put together a car from assorted parts (or an AK-47, as someone years ago showed me a video of a Russian girl of about 14 doing in less than two minutes, maybe just to make me feel inadequate), but I have a working coffee machine again.

Now back to what I do know how to do and practise my guitar scales...
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.
flaviomatani: (reddino3)
( Aug. 4th, 2017 01:02 pm)
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: (analemma)
( Jul. 21st, 2017 10:05 am)
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/
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]
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