Well this last week-end I didn't go to the alt-alt at the Slimelight in the end, didn't go to see the Damned, didn't go to LonCon, which looks like something I would like to go to at some point. Instead, lessons, guitar and other flavio world stuff. On Friday I did go to see Heel at the Dubllin Castle. On Sunday I went, together with two of my pupils and my boss at one of my schools, to the West Dean Classical Guitar festival/summer course's Open Day. The full event is way too expensive for me at around a thousand pounds (mind, it is a week long, residential with pretty much everything included, but still) but the Open Day was still very interesting, with various lectures, master classes and recitals and guitar makers showing their wares. Spent a good while playing on a couple of guitars by an English maker, one of which I liked a lot, although I'm not about to spend three thousand pounds on a guitar -mind, it was pretty much as good as my Guo so it would be worth it.

The scenery at West Dean is beautiful (the sunset colours on the drive back made me wish I'd not been driving, I could have taken hundreds of beautiful photographs) but the college itself is a little bit too posh, too grand. I still prefer my teacher Jack Duarte's idea of hiring an agricultural college in the middle of nowhere, with a cheap-cheap student bar (he regarded this as very important for the social cohesion of the course), rather than a posh place full of incredibly expensive works of art, antiques, etc. Still, it was a lovely occasion and I believe my pupils (and my boss, a lapsed, recovering guitarist) benefited from it.

Next week, for something completely different, Infest!

flaviomatani: (flavlines)
( Aug. 14th, 2014 10:36 am)

Bits I don't like so much about the summer:

- the heat. Yes, it is absurd, I grew up and lived half my life in a place that is probably hotter than here. All the same, I find it difficult to function when it's hot, I get slow and lethargic.

- the much reduced income. This has, surprisingly, not been so bad this year; almost enough of my pupils have stuck around having lessons through this time for me to pay my bills. Almost enough.

Bits I do like:

- being able to get up at 9:00 am. I'm not a morning person.

- being able to spend a lot of time reading and mucking about with guitars. Have a few books on the go at the moment, mainly 'Rivers of London' by Ben Aaranovitch (set reading for the next [livejournal.com profile] bibliogoth meeting), which is not the deepest book I've read, say, but is a lot of fun, thus far. Also slowly making my way through Melwyn Bragg;s The Adventure of English (a history of the English language) and the Apocalypse Codex by Charlie Stross.

flaviomatani: (analemma)
( Aug. 12th, 2014 09:52 am)

Last week-end brought Dead and Buried on Friday (danced a fair, it was a very good night bit but felt somewhat outside of it), a very strange Reptile on Saturday (due to the venue shenanigans it took place at the New Intrepid Fox proper and it was too hot and packed in there, spent almost the whole time catching up with people outside and talking guitar geekery with Chris he of Lahannya and NFD -this was great fun, actually) and dinner with goth friends at Pappagone on Sunday, but it is possible that the highlight of it for me was simply a walk on Sunday, at times under the rain, down the South Bank from Waterloo all the way to the Tower of London with a friend who is about to leave the country and probably won't see for a few years. Made me feel again that I love London, place full of histories and stories that it is.

flaviomatani: (flavlines)
( Jul. 25th, 2014 08:30 am)

Yesterday I took my guitar to the Heath and had done a good hour, perhaps hour and a half's practice when this guy stopped by and asked whether he could listen and asked a few things about my guitar. A guitar teacher. The long and the short of this is that he might start taking lessons with me. All is not bad -or, in any case, a much needed boost for my at times rather small self-esteem.

Last night went for pizza across the road at Delicious with a friend... and it was very good. We shared some affettato first and then a pizza and it all was lovely. There's some interesting eating places around here, although some (like Pizza East) are a little bit over-hyped. In any case, a lovely evening catching up with friend.

Today, busy with lessons and not enough time to do proper guitar practice, which is not so good given that I'm playing in six days, but hey, I'll manage.

flaviomatani: (Default)
( Jul. 10th, 2014 11:24 pm)

Now, that was a lovely evening, first with my pupils playing together at the Rustique Café (with me providing repertoire and doing a little bit of conducting) and after that Jillian's (does she have a livejournal?) work do near the Angel, with a free bar and free food and where I did quite a bit (for a school night) of (hopefully not dad-) dancing to music I'd never danced to before in my life and still wouldn't go out of my way to dance or listen to, but at the time it was a lot of fun. Now for an early start tomorrow, so a good night to all....

I'm currently reading, for the next [livejournal.com profile] bibliogoth meet-up, Holly Black's "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown". What follows is a short review -or, rather, first impressions (since I've only read a third or so of it) of this book:

It's utter, utter rubbish -at least for me, to me, E&OE, &cc. I get the feeling the author can actually write but either chooses not to (maybe because teen-age vampire books will sell more), or is in the situation of an orchestral composer who ends up doing commercial jingles. Not sure whether I'll bother finishing it.

flaviomatani: (analemma)
( Jun. 5th, 2014 03:15 pm)

Get on a bus instead of the Tube, it is a rare instance of a sunny afternoon in London and you wouldn't want to spend it entombed in an Underground carriage. Funny how even after all these years this, the feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin, the bright sun light, the fact that amidst the long faces of the Londoners you occasionally see a few more smiles than normal, this still feels like the natural order of things, instead of the normal London nine degrees centigrade, murky drizzly skies and the shroud of grey that permeates everything. If only.

flaviomatani: (flavlines)
( May. 31st, 2014 10:41 am)

Another week goes by. Half term week so didn't have to get up at obscene hours. It brought a very good rehearsal with Verity with some plans to get a few gigs when we have a programme ready (soon), lunch with K in Regents Park with a little wander looking at the geese and the ducks (there's a couple of pictures elsewhere), a good bout of dancing last night at The New Dusk at Aces and Eights, an unexpected revival of `Livejournal with a lot of old hands showing up and posting, in some cases for the first time in six or seven years. Wondering whether [livejournal.com profile] mermaidlala found her password in the end, presumably not since she hasn't posted.

Plans for the summer include two gigs (need to get a few more), one of which again at the Rustique Café at the end of July. Also going to Infest and may have a visit from very far away that I'll be looking forward to but not sure whether to expect as it is getting late to get plane tickets and she hasn't yet done this. Birthday celebration will again be together with [livejournal.com profile] lovelybug at a Wetherspoon pub in Holborn on the 12th and you are invited.

The news continue to be their appalling, depressing same old as always and the EU election brought back the shadow of old forgotten terrors.

Still haven't resumed watching GoT, stopped half way through the second series. Any explanation about this would be a spoiler, but, as Lennon said, 'having read the book....


It's good to see you, you 'orrible lot :)

'Twas very good to see some of you last week, BTW!

flaviomatani: (flavlines)
( May. 18th, 2014 10:58 am)

.. and a couple of lessons later today. Not a lot more to do, so thinking of several possibilities. Won't take my guitar to the Heath to practise as it is in all probability too full of people. Too lovely outside, though, to spend what I have free of today indoors practising -although practise I should.

Yesterday went to a birthday picnic (does Sasha have a livejournal?) in Regent's Park. Lovely afternoon with interesting conversations on various bits of geekdom, including a long one over the 'new' and 'old' Battlestar Galactica. Last night I had a two hour + Skype conversation with a friend far, far away -far away enough that she was wrapped for winter, with a portable heater next to her, while here I was shedding layers and putting the air conditioning on.

Previous entry moaning about LJ changes: as so often, I should check and verify before I complain in public about anything. That, alas, is true for most of us. And I tend to rush and overlook essential bits of information that are there in front of me.

The week-end brought the usual assortment of guitar lessons and work things, plus the [livejournal.com profile] bibliogoth meet `(if you can call it that when only three people turned up, but it still was an interesting discussion on topics around the book for the month, about which there wasn't that much to discuss, OTOH). And Dead & Buried at the Latin Groove in Archway, at the back of the Archway Tavern premises of the new Intrepid Fox. It was an excellent night, full of dance and catching up with people, many of whom I hadn't seen for a while.

The book in question at Bibliogoth was 'Mr Penumbra's 24 hr Bookstore'. It wasn't an entirely bad reading but it felt very heavily like a hipster Dan Brown, full of pretend geekery and a big mystery that resolves into nothing, sorry if that's a spoiler -more like a warning, if you were thinking of investing time reading it.

The week-end also closed with the news of the death of somebody who I only knew a little bit and hadn't seen for a long time but who was a good friend of many friends and whose loss has had a big impact. My condolences to those of you that were close to him.

This week should be a little less hectic than previous. This should mean more guitar practice. We'll see. For now, coffee and off to school....

flaviomatani: (flavguitarpark)
( May. 7th, 2014 11:03 am)

Today, lessons, guitar practice and, in the evening, the Tuffguitar meet-up -my pupils meet to play together at a café in Tufnell Park.

This is something I should have got going a long time ago but, as with so many things, the weight of previous experience had prevented me from doing it. I had been part of the board of the Venezuelan Classical Guitar Society in the '80s, helping organise concerts, scripting a weekly radio programme and doing other things of that sort. I found that very few people helped but everybody had an opinion on exactly how bad I was running things. So, I was as bit reluctant to start anything remotely like a guitar society. At the initiative of a pupil, my adult pupils started meeting around once a month sometime last year. They just talk guitar a bit, I give them some ensemble music and conduct a bit, we have a coffee. It works, it has, I beieve, made the guitar learning go from a solitary endeavour to a shared hobby (yes, for pretty much all of them it is a hobby, not something they may aspire to get money or make their living from), to bind with people with similar (albeit never identical, which is part of the fun) interests.

Now, the pupil that started the whole thing has decided she no longer has time or energy to run this thing so it is me doing pretty much all the work. It's worth the while and it is not too much, but inner flavio from the '80s keeps telling me 'I told you so....'

Been working on a couple of tremolo pieces, mostly because I have three pupils playing 'Recuerdos de la Alhambra' and I have always felt tremolo was one of my ... less strong points. Having busked in the tube for three years when I came here in '87 playing 'Recuerdos' three hundred times a day whilst being quite tense (busking can be quite exciting, you run into lots of pretty girls who want to know you... and also into lots of psycho mad dangerous violent people who also want to know you). For years when I needed to play a tremolo piece I would use a back-to-front right hand fingering (pima instead of pami) as I felt that gave me a slightly less uneven tremolo, but have decided to do it the 'right' way around and see whether I can get a reasonable even tremolo in a reasonable time.

So, thus far I'm thinking of Agustín Barrios ' 'Una Limosna Por el Amor de Dios' (known as 'Ultimo Tremolo' as the translation, 'an alms for the love of god', is too long and strange). Or 'Cry of the Guitar' by Stepan Rak.

Apart from that, the lute suite by Bach BWV 996, Brouwer's 'Cuban Landscape with Bells' and some other stuff. See how it goes...

Maybe I'm slowing down, it may finally be happening, like my hair is finally going grey and I'm becoming increasingly cantankerous. Didn't go to Whitby Goth Week-end, haven't been for perhaps three years now. Didn't go to any of the main gigs there were this long week-end, either. Now, what did I do?

Apart from walks down the South Bank in the rain, that is, and reading bits of the three or four books I'm reading... well, did go to Big Red on Thursday for a friend's birthday drinks. And to Invocation at the Minories on Saturday, although didn't stay there more than two hours. And to the Slimelight after that. Caught up with a few people I wanted to see (although may still want to do in a less noisy place where one can have a conversation without straining to hear what the other party, bah, humbug, see first paragraph), like [livejournal.com profile] robot_mel and [livejournal.com profile] beluosus . And did practise the guitar a fair amount, which needed doing , bringing back a couple of long pieces that I intend to play this year. All in all, a productive week-end, perhaps, after all. And there were those walks down the South Bank in the London rain.

flaviomatani: (guitar)
( Apr. 19th, 2014 01:59 pm)

Getting a guitar programme together for this year. May keep a few pieces from last year, probably 'Julia Florida' by Barrios and 'Drume Negrita' by Brouwer; also perhaps a couple of the Lauro valses. Was thinking of playing Britten's 'Nocturnal' but maybe not at this time; instead, as 'the' more substantial piece in the programme I may play Bach's lute suite BWV 997. Also Brouwer's 'Landscape with Bells'.

Now, playing is not a problem... but getting gigs is...

Apart from this, one of my pupils just did his Grade 8 exam, at which he should have done well; have two other pupils preparing their Grade 8, which is quite stimulating..

flaviomatani: (guitar)
( Sep. 26th, 2013 03:50 pm)

Today: only one lesson done, some guitar practice, some social coffee at two places, lunch at Mario's (great local social in Kentish Town) , car tax sorted, a cpl bank errands done, one more lesson in a bit... the world still going round. And so, alas, am I.

As I wheeze on the cross trainer (which I suppose is the machine I hate the least in the gym's repertoire), I notice an oriental girl in black doing impossible things with gym equipment some distance away. And, furthermore, she is enjoying what she's doing. Probably nearly as much as I loathe the whole gym, beneficial as I know it to be and all...

flaviomatani: (guitar)
( Apr. 25th, 2013 10:30 am)

A sunny morning, the warmth of the sun on your skin, a carpet of flower petals on Bartholomew Rd, a chance encounter with an old friend...

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

flaviomatani: (Default)
( Mar. 20th, 2013 08:16 am)

On a train to Watford for a day's teaching at school there. Train is full of noisy shouty schoolchildren. I s'pose there nothing wrong with kids benf kids but it grates to be out through so much noise so early.

The idea is to use the car less, although the flip side is that my journey to Watford takes a whole lot longer and you have to put up with little things like the above. It does give me a chance to write and read and reply to email, etc -although it is probably a bad idea to do anything that requires using brain cells so early in the morning.

And finally we arrive...

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

flaviomatani: (flavplayingbw)
( Mar. 5th, 2013 07:55 am)

A sunny morning. Got the train on time. I'm reasonably caffeinated but didn't have any breakfast. Today, teaching at school in Watofordo, then a couple of private lessons, including a new pupil.

Those tracks I've been putting in SoundCloud... I think I would like to re-record them all. Need better microphones, what I have is really rubbish. And I may also need an audio interface for the Mini that's slightly better at least than the built in sound. But, as always, have little money. Any recommendations, you musos/audio peeps out there?

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.



flaviomatani: (Default)


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