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Echoes of Flavio's Ghost Dreaming
flavius_m
Again on a train slowly crawling its way out of London... only 25 miles to Watford where I'll have a very short teaching day, after four hours' sleep. It's going to be a long day... but going to bed late to wake up at 5:00 am was worth it at least. I hadn't ever seen Gertrud Stein (no, not _that_ Gertrude Stein) perform live and I was pretty much bowled over. I only really knew her as a friend of aka_toothbrush and had some idea that she was a musician and a performing artist. Hers was a very good show, deceptively simple with very good use of a few visual resources. And that tiny Casio keyboard, I'm pretty sure I had one of those once upon the time -but I didn't give it such full use (with two fingers... those tiny keys are not for the ten-fingered keyboardist..)

The week-end brought several good events. Friday night was A New Dusk at what is almost my local pub, Aces & Eights (insofar as a rock pub can be my local, I'm becoming increasingly impatient with any pub where I have to shout to make myself heard and where I have to strain to hear what is being said to me -this is not getting better as I get older and my hearing gets more.. difficult..). It was a very good night with good music and people. The only thing was perhaps that it was too popular: it was packed in that tiny basement and the air-con was not coping. It was _really_ hot in there. How did it happen that I found myself discussing early medieval polyphony outside a night-club at some hour in the middle of the night?

Saturday was boxcat's 40th birthday -it was a blast, with open bar (dread to think what the bill may have been for that) and a storming set by the mempunks. There'll be pictures of this at some point.

Sunday... apart from my nightmare morning lesson, it brought silkyraven's birthday drinks at The Bell in Walthamstow. I liked the pub and the gathering but was feeling perhaps a tiny little bit outside. It seemed to me that the birthday girl was happy, though, which was the main thing. Happy Birthday, Raven!

On coming home Sunday night I practised a bit of guitar and played Bach's Chaconnne through. I can do it but clearly it is too early yet -my hand and wrist have been hurting since.

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flavius_m
Again on a train slowly crawling its way out of London... only 25 miles to Watford where I'll have a very short teaching day, after four hours' sleep. It's going to be a long day... but going to bed late to wake up at 5:00 am was worth it at least. I hadn't ever seen Gertrud Stein (no, not _that_ Gertrude Stein) perform live and I was pretty much bowled over. I only really knew her as a friend of aka_toothbrush and had some idea that she was a musician and a performing artist. Hers was a very good show, deceptively simple with very good use of a few visual resources. And that tiny Casio keyboard, I'm pretty sure I had one of those once upon the time -but I didn't give it such full use (with two fingers... those tiny keys are not for the ten-fingered keyboardist..)

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flavius_m
The world keeps getting bigger and we keep getting smaller in it. This happens in our lives, perhaps a reflection of what has happened in history, in the same way that our early physical development may resemble the evolution of those things that came before us and engendered us -and whose traits to some extent we carry in ourselves.

The world is, at first, our parents and house and the people in that environment. The world outside is largely a mystery, full of surprises and perhaps terrors. Then little by little we discover the world and walk in it and learn that that big bad world out there, full of beauty and horror is but a speck in the grander order of things -and getting smaller the more we know about how it all works. To contemplate the scale of those things, even in the measure that we can take in those scales, is vertigo inducing. At the same time it is amazing that, given how puny and small we are in the grander order of things, humans have learnt so much about the world without. At the same time you wonder what more there is, there can be that could be simply outside the limits of what we can comprehend. For most of us, even what we do 'know' is incomprehensible. We take on faith that relativity and quantum mechanics exist and are real because we can see they work -otherwise many things (like GPS and almost all electronics) would not be possible. But for most of us science is a black box -and, perhaps dangerously, can become a religion as well, which is inexplicable except for the fact that both seek to explain the world and make it make sense. We can see that vaccines work and are necessary but many people seem to think they're some sort of manifestation of evil. There are, always, the easy explanations that put us back at the centre of the universe and make it revolve around us; many people will stick to those explanations because of lack of information or perhaps more so because they are reassuring, they seem to give your life a purpose and a meaning. The world may be too big and scary otherwise...

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flavius_m
Funny this should look like the 'quiet' week-end to come that I'd been hoping for for a few weeks in which my week-ends had been so full of things, when over half the people I know are in Leipzig for the WGT living it large. Tonight, a brief birthday meet for a friend at the new incarnation of CCK in Warren Street, tomorrow another brief birthday drinks for another friend. Will probably not do anything more than that this week-end.

Wrist slowly getting better, but still find that playing can be awkward and at times painful, in surprising ways -not necessarily playing difficult things but just finding myself putting my hand in a position it doesn't like. It does seem to finally be getting on its way to getting better, which is at least something.

Have not practised those Thomas Campion songs that I should be preparing for R.D. for a couple of days -she wasn't able to meet this week as she was unwell; I clearly need the pressure in order to work. The version I have has the original English tablature (letter for frets instead of numbers, 'a' is practically identical to 'd', etc) which I find difficult to read -my eyesight is not getting better. The version on two clefs would be quite a job (double transposition, etc, the very reading on two clefs on a guitar, etc) so I've transcribed a few of the songs to modern tab and may write them in music, guitar style (assuming open guitar tuning rather than real pitch, to facilitate the reading) so I can quickly read and play it.

So, an unusual Friday, a QNI, with Attenborough speaking softly from the telly in the distant background while I do other stuff...

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flavius_m
A take of Bach's Chaconne at home sometime before the accident. A few bloopers in the performance remain, but I hope not too bad.

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flavius_m
Ah, didn't post about the long May Day (that sounds to me a little less boring than 'bank holiday') week-end. There was quite a bit happening and also quite a lot that I missed -you cannot be everywhere at once. On Friday I went to the Negative Creep, this time at Nambucca in Holloway. Got there in time to see Nemhain's set.. took pictures, rather many pictures.

On Saturday I went to Jennie and Aya's birthday party. This was a blast and, again, there are pictures. I think I got away lightly with the roulette game.

Sunday brought about the garden party at Karen Georgina's and Lee-Anne's in West London. That garden is so very beautiful. There were lots of lovely people and also a very cute snake (did I just write that? yes, she was a very cute snake). In the evening I went to the Garage for the Voltaire/Memepunks/Joe Black/Black Volition gig -which was very good, a lot of fun. Yep, lots more pictures taken. Found myself there with squirmelia again as well as sashagoblin, _pyromancer_, Jennie and Dan and a lot of other lovely people.

Monday: went with augeas, kekhmet, squirmelia, alexmc and a couple more folk to the Other Worlds exhibition at the NHM. Of course you will have seen many of the pictures before, they being photos taken by the Cassini and New Horizon probes, the Mars rovers, etc -but presented in an interesting and informative way, accompanied with music by Brian Eno, which I was looking forward to but this (the music) was far less interesting than I anticipated and, perhaps not a lot better than my own electronic ambient doodles that you can find in one of my SoundCloud pages (that no-one ever visits, neither have you so you haven't heard them). Took pictures but none of the exhibition itself. After that we went to Tombo's, Japanese restaurant there in South Ken, and had matcha lattes and Sundaes and lovely Japanese food.

After the very busy previous weekend I was thinking I would have a much quieter one on the bank holiday/May Day one. Wasn't going to happen but it was all good, including for me what may have been some closure for a long-standing painful issue. Not the wrist/elbow, that is an ongoing story but it does seem to be getting better now.

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flavius_m
Eventful week-and-a-half. Had doctor's appointment last Wednesday, the results of the MRI scan were back. It turns out that part of the problem was that, unbeknownst to me and without symptoms thus far, I turned out to have an incipient arthritis in my wrist. If I understood correctly, the two things (arthritis lurking in the background and the trauma and damage resulting from the accident) made each other worse.

It does look like I'll have to be doing those physiotherapy exercises for quite a while. I'm beginning to be able to play, at least, but now and again my hand falls in a position it doesn't like and gives me a severe shooting pain warning..

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flavius_m
Another week-end, another party, yet another party again, another instance of my most difficult lesson of the week. On Sunday morning, .Because there is no better choice of time and day, but boy, is it difficult after a late night, an intense one, even if I don’t drink much (seriously, I don’t).

On Thursday there was the monthly Tufguitar meeting at the Rustique café. This time we had a new person joining, one of my newer pupils. It’s never going to be a massive thing but it does seem to tick over.

Friday… I’m worried about my Friday school. Of good intentions…. In this case, the level of organisation in the music department is… How can I put this, different to any school I ever worked for. The timetables came out wrong, there are a couple of pupils I’m yet to see at all this term so far –but then they appear at impossible times in the timetable –I would be confused -and I was. In the evening, Aces and Eights and the leaving do for a friend leaving London (pictures) . This was manic fun, with the only odd accent given by the fact that ‘the girl’ was there with one boyfriend. It doesn't do me good to see her, I’ve come to realise. It will be impossible not to, next week-end, but after that I’ll minimise contact –as I have already done. The party was amazing fun, though, dancing with friends into the night to rather bad music, for the most part.

Saturday, after lessons, and it was Aces and Eights again, this time in the basement for Consuelo’s birthday (pictures here). This, too, was delirious fun, dancing and catching up with friends. After that we repaired to friends’ flat nearby until, in my case, sometime after 4:00 am (more pictures..).

Sunday was, as can be inferred from the previous, long and complicated. A few lessons away, lunch/dinner shared with a pupil’s family (lovely but together with everything else, raising my levels of stress), finishing fixing somebody ‘s computer and explaining to the owner what I’d done. Good job I don’t have to get up early on Mondays these days.

Wrong. I'd forgotten I had a physiotherapy appointment at the Royal Free early in the morning….

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flavius_m
Had physio today, was ok. Didn't very much like to have to get up early for that, now that Mondays is back to being a (or the) lie-in day. The relentlessly optimistic mood of the therapist (I nearly wrote terrapin) was beginning to grate a bit towards the end. Tempted to say, ‘don’t you know we’re all going to die’ or something cheerful like that. But it was good. And maybe I needed a dose of that sort of cheerful looking forward to things getting better. Or did I. Bah, humbug :D

Yeah. Physioterrapins.

An account of the week-end will probably come along tomorrow during the hour long train journey to Watofordo for my (now very short) teaching day there...

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flavius_m
It is so clear when you think about it in your dreams. Everything connects beautifully. There is a reason that you can clearly see, a purpose and a means to work it out it and work along with it. Then you wake up and it.. still is there, clear as crystal and it all makes sense. You stop the alarm, get up, set the coffee maker on, grab the toothbrush... and it slowly begins to melt into the reality of the world; grasping at it while you can still see it is of no avail. It goes and by the time you come out of the shower it's gone. What shreds of it you can still grasp make no sense, they're just the workings of the brain repairing itself from the previous day, or those of the obscurest chemistry of the mind, as remote from our understanding as Andromeda. Never mind, it will come back in the next night's sleep and then maybe we can keep hold of it. Maybe that once.

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flavius_m
I was hoping this week-end would be a little more sedate than last. It was -but not by much. On Friday I went to Glitch, a little 80's night in a pub in darkest Hackney -all of which doesn't sound very auspicious but it was a good night with much dancing and catching up with friends old and new -and an encounter with someone from a previous life, something good, someone with whom it was good to reconnect.

Saturday brought lessons and a computer repair job. I hadn't done that for many years and then after sorting out a pupil's Mac she has been recommending me to people. This was the usual 'my laptop has become very very slow'. On checking it, trying to run a browser, MS Word and a couple of other things on 2 GB memory in these times wasn't going to be blazing fast in the best of cases. Then, looking into it, I begin to find start up items for the infamous MacHelper and Genieo -of course the machine was slow. It is often said by mac fans (like myself, although I'm not remotely as.. ardent as I used to be) that there are no viruses for the Mac and this is technically true -but there is quite a bit of malware out there, that often relies on our being off guard or on the same sort of instinct that tells us that our numbers will win, this week it is going to happen. Or that the nice man from the email really is going to give us a few hundred thousand pounds if we keep that couple of million for him, we only have to give him these advance and our bank details.

I left the computer half way through sorting it out, having replaced the slow spin hard disk for an SSD and having 8 GB to replace the original 2 later. Went to some birthday drinks at the Camden Black Heart -I've said this before, I'm off rock pubs. Anywhere where you have to shout to get heard and strain to hear what the other party says is not a place I want to stay long. Ok, so I'm getting old. From there I went to Yesterday's Shadow at the Pack and Carriage and danced a bit and conversed some more. On Sunday I had my nightmare lesson, which I survived ok, then a lovely little gathering for Sunday roast with people at the Water Rats. I didn't know most of the people but it was a very good afternoon. Came back to try the 8GB again (it hadn't worked the first time, not a good idea to try to do this kind of thing at 3:00 am after a night out) and this time it worked. Good thing I don't have to get up early on Mondays and work early.

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flavius_m
Indeed, many things.

There was a wedding, several birthdays, the usual lessons, a club night, a Sunday outing to Crossness Pumping station and a Sunday evening roast and beer with friends at a pub.

The wedding was that of Robert Cowlin (of the Terminal Gods) and Jo Tapper. I only went to the reception, at Electrowerks (the site of the Slimelight). I had far more fun then than I'd had at any of the recent times I'd been to the Slimes. Pictures here. On Saturday there was also dj_alexander's birthday in Greenwich. Good catch up with people although karaoke is really not my thing. Of course I didn't go there to sing but to say happy birthday and share in the celebration -there are some pictures here. After that and one stop-over somewhere else I went to Reptile where I danced a lot and stayed until 2:30 more or less.

On Sunday I met with squirmelia and friends to go to Crossness Pumping Station. Who would have thought that a Sunday outing to a sewer works could be so much fun and so interesting -it is an old Victorian building, more like a church (or a cathedral, even) than what anybody's idea of a sewer works would be. So, this was a kind of crap day in a very good way.

In the evening I met with a lovely group of people at the North by NorthWest pub (used to be the North Pole, now it's Hitchcock themed, with a wax figure of the egregious man, stuffed crows everywhere and a couple of model aeroplanes and director chairs hanging from the ceiling. I ended up playing Scrabble, which I'm rubbish at -but my team won, how about that.

A good weekend, if a bit busy!

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flavius_m
There's always a first.

Today I had an MRI scan done at the Royal Free. Only of my wrist, they left my brain alone (there's probably plenty of wrong with that but probably of the kind that would need shrinks rather than imaging machines..) -one interesting thing for me was the variety of noises it made, punctuated by a regular 'oohm-shah!'-like pulse. I did make a remark about it as to how, as industrial music goes, it was rather a bit rubbish but maybe I would like to use samples of those to build some old 'musique concrete' type piece or doodle....

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flavius_m
A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This was the book set for the April Bibliogoth meeting. A tale of magic and parallel worlds, four cities that share the name and location of London but are utterly different -ours is 'grey London', where magic does not exist. There also are a Red, a White and a Black London, in which magic is prevalent in different ways. The characters were a little bit cartoon-like, almost stereotypical of the genre, as was their quest (any more detail would be a spoiler). For me, the most attractive bit was the world in which the book is set although this, too, needed more fleshing out. As this is the first in a series, I expect this should happen in the later books.



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flavius_m
The Thief Taker (The Thief Taker, #1)The Thief Taker by C.S. Quinn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I quite enjoyed this. Can't remember now who recommended it to me (Camille? Katelin?) but thanks! it is perhaps not something I would have gone out of my way to read. Mind, it made me think at first of a sort of Games-of-Thrones and then ... oh, dear, the Walking Dead...(is this a spoiler? :) ) the setting (Restoration London during the Plague) is a fascinating time of history and the author uses it very effectively. Suspension of disbelief does get stretched at times but overall it is an enjoyable read.



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flavius_m
The Tropic of Serpents (Memoir by Lady Trent, #2)The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


In spite of initial reservations, I loved the whole series -and the second one I liked better than the first. The characters are .. better shaped, more credible as people. The dragons themselves are quite believable on the whole as an object of interest to a scientist. Some things still jar a bit -one, for me, was that for some reason I found the use of German, French and Italian names (and perhaps stereotypical national characters). On the whole, though, it was an enjoyable book, an enjoyable series.



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flavius_m
Elbow seems to be healing normally ok.

Wrist is not. It still hurts, three weeks on; I still cannot play the guitar at all and many things are very awkward to do. Yesterday I tried to play a few notes and quickly decided that was a bad idea. Patience is the only course of action but I will be asking the docs when I go to an appointment in two weeks time (I have to go back to the Royal Free hospital next week for a physio session -will be asking questions then as well if they let me).

Early Easter week-end this year -I will be mostly at home; still have one or two lessons. Only a couple of outings, one club and a couple of social things.

Today I will be going with friends to Highgate West Cemetery for a guided tour. Seemed like a good thing to do on a Good Friday. Tomorrow there'll be some birthday drinks for a friend WOLJ at the Big Red in Holloway. Sunday I will be going to a Sunday roast with friends in Stoke Newington and, in the evening, to Invocation at the Minories in Tower Hill. Monday... I will be doing as little as possible. Seriously.

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flavius_m
Is aliasrob about to rediscover Livejournal?

I still like it here -still better than FB in some respects...

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flavius_m
How's this for a sweet picture of suicideally and chris_damage

Photo 102

(from Queen Adreena's gig at Koko, 2006)

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flavius_m
A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent (Memoirs of Lady Trent)A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This is the book set for the next Bibliogoth meeting. I was fully expecting not to like it and, at first, it seemed to confirm my fears -a bit twee, pseudo-Victorian fantasy, the memoir of a woman who is a naturalist in a world where women are supposed to be dainty and fragile -and not capable of intellectual pursuits. There's the corresponding bag-load of clichés to accompany that. And yet, I loved the book. The main character turns up to be quite credible (if her husband and some of the support cast somehow less so), the story is to an extent predictable (but the dragons whose natural history this is about are almost credible) but enjoyable nonetheless... I loved this book and have now bought the rest of the series!



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flavius_m
On a Met line train, making my way out of London for my teaching day in Watofordo. Running very late, won't be able to move stuff around (which will prevent me from using my printer, locked in a filing cabinet in my old teaching room which I cannot use because of a broken window mechanism that the school hasn't had time to fix, it's only been nine months since I reported it for the first time). This is probably going to be an interesting teaching day. As per the old supposedly Chinese curse.

The BT/Openreach engineer came yesterday, fixed the line, confirmed that 'somebody' had disconnected me to connect somebody else. This makes me wonder how long I will have telephone and internet before it happens again if it happened twice within 36 hours.

Elbow seems to be healing well but now I'm getting pain in my wrist (and more creaking when I turn it -not liking this much) and have noticed bruises on my knee and my leg that I hadn't noticed before, maybe because of the elbow. I should be able to play the guitar by the end of the week. I hope so; it is so much more long-winded to explain things in words than to demonstrate guitar in hand, even if you have the right words

Wondering about some friendships of mine (ok, one) that seem to be one way only, as in 'I try to be a friend, the other person tolerates my friendship'. That is not a satisfactory situation and I think I'll just get out of their hair. Anyone who reads this and knows my recent history will probably know who I'm talking about. Not their fault, we all are how we are.

Need to push the house-concert microgig idea more and get myself a few recitals for the summer. I'm so rubbish at 'selling the product', though. Need an agent, clearly... but that's another minefield.

Well, that's the current state of the flavio, I think. That, and strange dreams of loss and recovery and strange but familiar distant cities.

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flavius_m
Getting slightly better mobility on my arm, which is good. Strangely, now my wrist is hurting and creaking more -but the hospital people say this is not related to the bone fracture. Have cancelled my teaching day at the school in Highgate today. Could probably do the teaching (albeit explaining in words rather than demonstrating by playing, which is always more convoluted -and with such short lessons as they do there...) but there's a certain amount of moving kit around (guitars, amp, my own printer which lives in a cardboard box there because the school hasn't got round to giving me access to the school network so I can print on the music office's laser) involved -and I already know that with elbow injuries you tend to think it's ok, overdo it and make it bad again, so trying to avoid that.

No news on the telephone/internet front, so at the moment I'm getting a trickle of internet by means of sticking my mobile phone to the window inside a wok which acts as a reflecting dish (as per a radar dish, I'm told) -thanks to Tarquin Finch for this excellent idea that actually works. Well, works well enough for a temporary work-around but would not want to depend on that permanently.

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flavius_m
Well, the last few days have been rather strange and testing. In minor ways, nothing very dramatic but all the little things together do accumulate.

The most dramatic bit (or perhaps the most ridiculous one) must be my getting run over by a bicycle while coming back from feeding a travelling friend's cat. This resulted in a fractured radius, which impacts rather a lot of what I do: I cannot drive, lift weights... more importantly, I cannot play the guitar, which makes teaching it rather more complicated -half a bar of music demonstrated to a pupil can be worth hundreds of words. Literally. I also cannot properly wash or shower or do anything that requires two functional arms. Stretching or bending my left arm results in horrific shooting pain. Moving it at certain angles produces an intense pain that is very much like a cramp. Luckily (?) the bone didn't break, just fractured lengthwise and didn't change its position. Also feeling, curiously, like I let my friend down, somehow. One good thing is that the Royal Free Hospital people reassure me it won't take six weeks for me to be playing the guitar. Now, they do require me to do exercises stretching, flexing and rotating the arm. In other words, all the things that currently make me scream in agony...

The internet situation is even more strange. I had reported that my telephone line and broadband were dead. An engineer came on Monday and sorted it out, telling me that somebody ('a contractor, surely') had just disconnected me in order to connect somebody else. He reconnected me and I had internet and telephone... for less than 36 hours. Yesterday evening the line was dead again. I need the internet for a lot of stuff, partly for my teaching (I do a couple of online lessons) and communication with my pupils in several ways, apart from everything else I use it for. If that engineer was right I might be getting a sort of war of attrition, if BT/Openreach are going to be coming to fix that line for it to be pulled by ... whoever is doing it. This is unsustainable. We'll have to wait and see.

One little thing that compounds the internet situation is that I have very poor mobile reception in my flat. With luck I get enough to make phone calls (which often become warbly or get cut off). This hasn't always been the case and started about a year and a half ago. It means that in order to get some very patchy, very very slow internet I must put my mobile phone out the window and then tether the computer to it. Absurd, in these days. There's been a couple of other irritants these last few days but that's probably enough to mention. Nothing fatal, nothing big enough to warrant a good fit of sobbing screaming, but...

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flavius_m
Here:

http://matociquala.livejournal.com/2264533.html

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flavius_m
A somewhat unfinished doodle.

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flavius_m
I seem to have survived another Valentine's Day, one with the potential to be a particularly painful one. Managed instead to have a good time with friends at a double birthday party (there are pictures) and later at the Slimelight. I've never really really had a very bad night at the Slime but this was a good candidate, although not for lack of good company, having arrived with the birthday boy and girl and their entourage that included londonjon and rougeno1 and running into djpsyche and a few other peeps. The one dancing room I found painfully loud (it did feel like much louder than usual, it may have been me) and didn't have ear-plugs with me so I stayed in the courtyard talking to people. Lasted about an hour and a half and left for home. Better than other possibilities for the night. Next month I'll be at Reptile. This last one.. no, I couldn't do that to myself. Funny how it works. All these things (Christmas, birthdays, etc) are arbitrary markers, this day is significative because we decide it is. And many of those days are just vehicles for the commercial juggernaut to make us buy things. And yet we need them and they often work. Except when they work in a way that makes us feel worse not better.

Sunday brought the monthly bibliogoth meeting, this time discussing 'Libra' by Don Delillo, a sort of history-fiction account of Lee Harvey Oswald's life leading to John F Kennedy's assassination. The person in the group that was the most familiar with the book hated it. I, the only person in the group that was alive at the time of the events, quite liked it although I did find the first few chapters difficult to get on with, particularly with the swarm of Federal agents that all 'looked' identical and in my mind were all like copies of the Matrix's Agent Smith. A very interesting discussion that centred more on the events that the book explores rather than the book itself.

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flavius_m
In case anyone still reads this: A New Dusk tonight at Aces & Eights in
Tufnell Park.
"Spinning contemporary post-punk, minimal, and cold wave"

Djs Dave Exile, Robert Cowlin and Matthew Coulam.

Facebook event here:

<https://www.facebook.com/events/936927466385578/>

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flavius_m
A cold but sunny morning, a stop for yoghurt breakfast and Vivaldi at the Rustique café on my way to a lesson. Good morning!

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flavius_m
You may have noticed, if you read this, that I'm allowing myself to put slightly more personal stuff in here. I still think it is a very bad idea to put _very_ personal stuff in a public social platform or, well, anywhere on the internet. OTOH, what do I care, as long as I don't name people: I'm never going to go for a job interview, nobody really cares what I write in here and my livejournal is read, for the most part, by a tiny number of people in whom I trust. I stil think it is a very bad idea to use this or any other public platform to complain about your boss, your partner or to put any details about your lifestyle, mental health or any other aspect of your life that can be brought up in the future and used against you.

In the meantime, I quite like that there are a few more people writing and, amazingly, reading livejournal. I so much prefer it to Facebook, immensely useful as the latter is -FB has many questionable or worrying sides to it and also seems to encourage a shorter, shallower sort of communication.

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flavius_m
And sleepy a lot of the time. I probably have worn the quip out by now, but I still feel like they lied to me: I'd read in many places that as you got older you needed less sleep. This was reinforced by my granddad getting up at obscene times in the morning, still in the dark, listening to the newscasts on the radio at full volume. No, I need perhaps more sleep than I used to...

Yes, last week-end. Where do we start. Friday, I s'pose. After lessons there was Tufguitar, the monthly meeting of my pupils at the Rustique Café to play the guitar, then off to see the Terminal Gods at Sambucca -they put on a good show. Dance a bit, go back home relatively early, before 2:00 am. Saturday: teach a good chunk of the day, then off to ciphergoth and lovelybug's leaving do -they're going to California and I'm already missing Jess. It was a very good party. Took many pictures, the least worse of which now at a Facebook album. From there I went to the Big Red, to the double birthday celebration of Delphine and Magda's. The Princess Unreachable was there, we had an intense three minute conversation and she left for the Slimelight with a group of happy campers friends. I managed not to cry or anything and had a very good time for the rest of the evening. Again, took many pictures albeit with the phone. Phones have got much better at this but not quite there just yet perhaps.

Sunday was quite unremarkable, almost a non-day. Had a stroll around Chinatown in the rain but there wasn't a lot apart from New Year decorations -apart from many many tourists occupying every available space. Didn't last long and went back home.

Need to get me a couple more occasions to play my current programme, see whether I can get a decent recording or video of me playing Bach's Chaconne in public...

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flavius_m
A few days ago I posted link to a youtube video of me playing a Leo Brouwer piece at a recital in January. I posted it in about 10 social media/etc sites. Have got 18 views. This is a little less than two views per site. Vagaries of the internet..

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flavius_m
Me playing Leo Brouwer's 'Zapateado' in recital at the Kentish Town City Farm earlier in January. Thank you again arkady for coming to see me and for the video!

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This is what I played at last Friday's recital at Rustique:

behind cut to protect those not interested...Collapse )

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flavius_m
A reminder that I'm doing this this coming Friday:

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flavius_m
Happy Birthday, erming!!

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flavius_m
Thank you muchly again to arkady and omnisppot, amongst quite a few others (but these the only two WLJ) for coming to my concert tonight. It was lovely to share that moment with you.

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flavius_m
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.

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flavius_m
Getting those dreams again in which I never came to the UK but instead went to study (and stayed) in some town in Northern Italy. I'm never actually there in the dreams -I'm always somewhere else (normally Caracas) and something prevents me from going back -and my guitars, my computers and my books, as well as my working life, are all back there, so it is almost a nightmare although not quite. But I could describe in detail my room in the house I share there (in the dream) with another musician, the little balcony, the battered garden set in it, the plants, the old music stand I have (don't know where that comes from, never had a wooden music stand). Like peeking into a world that could have been, or into that multi-dimensional shift-space of possible lives that never were....

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flavius_m
.. or was. The decs on the tiny table-top tree in my tiny flat will probably stay there till February but otherwise it is all over, once more. Christmas itself I spent with Venezuelan friends in Kent, one more time. We had the Venezuelan Christmas dinner (late on xmas eve, although not at midnight), with turkey, hallacas, pan de jamón, and other Venezuelan and Portuguese (my friend's wife is V'zlan-Portuguese) foodstuffs, plus christmas pudding. The usual opening of presents by the xmas tree brought me a gin making kit. Not a still, mind. It was quiet and relaxed and I think I needed that.

On New Year's Eve I played at the londongothsluts's NYE party at North Nineteen organised by djpsyche, with encores with the help of sbp and Red; all this seemed to go down quite well. Took my guitars away and came back for the party, danced and caught up with people (and had a very good and illuminating conversation with Alicja, WOLJ) then got offered a lift to the Slimelight so I went ... leaving my bank card behind, at the bar. Luckily djpsyche brought it over to the Slime for me.. many thanks many times over, Psyche, for that and for the night and for thinking of me for the playing.

The ensuing tow days have been rather quiet, as they should be, but I have a maelstrom of things coming my way this January: two concerts (small and local but that makes no difference) to prepare, tax returns to get ready and a tax 'error' that HMRC claims there was in last year's return which means they want several hundred quid from me (and now I think they may be wrong or one of my schools may have deducted my tax but not passed it on -messy either way).

Last night, instead of going to AntiChrist (had perhaps one or two reasons not to want to be there), found me at German goth friends' near here, relaxed conversation and wine and playing with Luna the cat...

Today, meeting with friends for Sunday roast at a pub in Holloway, guitar practice and spreadsheets and a million little unreadable receipts to sort out....


xmas dinner at M's: hallaca, pan de jamón, turkey, 'taters and nips (not neeps)

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flavius_m
Merry Crimbo, all! :)
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flavius_m
Thursday I met with a young friend at Amorino in Covent Garden to eat fantastic ice-cream and sit at the tables outside under the leaky grey, grey skies exchanging life stories, mostly about our respective fathers.

In the evening I went to North-Nineteen for the londongothsluts meeting, this time celebrating boxcat and myz_lilith's return from their travels. After listening to very good stories of far away and having a so-so dinner (a first for the place; I won't be ordering fish and chips there again), left to go and see The Creeping Terrors at the Unicorn. Very good gig on their part, not that many people in the audience, though. Pictures of the gig, here. The band that followed was playing 'ironic' covers of hard rock and generic 'cock rock'. I'm getting tired of 'ironic' so I left with friends for a glass of wine at their place and to make the acquaintance of Luna, their visiting cat. A lot of wine and good conversation, although it is not the conversation that results in a pounding head the morning after.

Friday -I totally failed to make it to Nambucca to see Prof Elemental (I wasn't that taken with the idea of this, I must say) and the Memepunks (I was, but still didn't make it). Instead I stayed at Veronique's Goth Christmas Party and Jason's Birthday Commiserations (at Aces & Eights; no link as it was a 'private' event), which was a fantastic party. Again, pictures here. Really really lovely. More head pounding in the morning.

On Saturday, after lessons and meeting a friend for coffee and catch up at the Rustique Café, I went to the Slimelight to see DKAG and Alien Vampires' concert. Wasn't intending to stay long or drink much but people kept giving me conversation and buying me drinks and .. the morning after started lated and went rather slowly and heavily. Maybe there is a theme developing here.

Sunday didn't exist apart from some guitar practice and one lesson, this one online with my pupil in Kuala Lumpur.

Monday -ah, getting to meet lovelybug at St Pancras and spend some lovely time with her there, then joining Krisztina and yog_sthoth at the Tricycle Theatre to see _that_ movie. Which I liked. Quite a bit. May have to see it again in a larger screen, maybe in 3D.

I didn't mention the letter from the HMRC where they allude to a possible error in my tax return last year which will mean me having to magic a lot of money to pay more tax. No, one wouldn't mention that sort of thing, would one.

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flavius_m
A pupil was very late for his lesson so ended up finishing at some point after 10:00. At that point decided to make dinner. So, what to do.... ok, put some chorizo sausage from the local butcher, garlic, potatoes and olive oil, salt and pepper and quite a bit of rosemary (and a little bit of oregano) in an oven dish, stick it in the oven for the duration of three rounds of Bach Chaconne's arpeggios plus a few chromatic scales. It works!

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As I sat to write this, it was a dark and stormy night. Now, it was only 4:20 pm. I could live in this island a hundred years and not get used to the short days of winter, it suddenly being pitch black night in the middle of the afternoon.

The week end was good. Some bits of it were rather very good, in fact.

On Friday some of my pupils met, as they do once a month, at the Café Rustique in Tufnell Park to play together. From there I rushed to The Forum to see New Model Army do their by now traditional Christmas concert at the forum. This was... excellent, Mr Sullivan still is full of anger in all the good ways.I'd lost my friend Lara in the crowd (which was full of familiar faces) but eventually found her and we withdrew after the concert to have a coffee and catch up.

Saturday was Reptile. This was very good -dance and catch up with lots of lovely folk. One of the highlights may have been a particular absurd conversation with friends on the outside terrace under the rain. Doesn't sound like a lot of fun but it was.

On Sunday, after my nightmare lesson, met with a few lovely people at the Landseeer for Sunday roast and conversation. This was just what I needed after a difficult, demanding lesson the morning after a very good night out.

On Monday there was the by now traditional Bleak Xmas dinner and carol sing-along at the Rochester Castle (the Roch, for the regulars) in Stoke Newington. This was a lovely meeting of peeps, some of whom I hadn't seen for years and some who I only see, these days, on that one occasion once a year. Thanks again chris_damage, andyknifton and suicideally for organising this.

And for something truly terrifying, the rendition (I use the word advisedly) that night of 'Silent Night': https://youtu.be/6f_yUg99z9o

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flavius_m
Lots of guitar lessons to do today. Youngest pupil is 8, oldest is 63. Range of interests just as varied. Before all that... coffee. Good morning...

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Remarkably busy week-end. I should start that on the Thursday, when I went to the londongothsluts meeting at the Doric Arch -particularly since I didn't have to go to school on the Friday. I did go to deadandburied (ah, that's still there, even though Nik hasn't posted for many an eon) in Archway. That was an excellent party. Saturday was very good, if a tiny little bit bittersweet for me in parts. A couple of lessons, then to the Bart's Christmas Bazaar with my friend Jennie with the idea of buying a couple of little pressies for redd_foxx who always buys me lots of little presents for xmas and I hardly buy her anything back. Didn't find anything that would really catch me but did buy a couple of things. We left and ended up in a Nicholson's pub nearby, had a lovely catch up and finally each left for their home -I only briefly, as was going to Cavey Nik's (seems he has finally deleted his old LJ) birthday meal at Jashan's Indian restaurant in Turnpike Lane. This turned out to be very good, perhaps not the cheapest but very very nice food. A lovely meeting of people, too. I think the birthday boy was happy.

Sunday brought, apart from my most difficult lesson of the week, the Alternative Bring & Buy at the Dome in Tufnell Park. This was, as always, a lovely event. Again, I came back with a couple of small things. In the evening there was the 'after-event' party at Aces & Eights in Tufnell Park. Pizza and beers with friends.

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flavius_m
Get up, check how much sleep I've had (the Pebble tells me that) -never enough. Drag myself up, take the pill that I probably don't need but a prescription is a prescription, grab a change of socks and underwear, wake the computer up as I stagger to the bathroom, drop the socks, etc, gargle some Corsodyl and stumble over to the kitchen to grind some coffee beans, switch the Gaggia coffee machine on, stagger back to bathroom, brush teeth, have a hot shower, back to the kitchen to make coffee.. and those two things are the nice little things in my morning -the hot shower, the first sip of home made espresso. Check livejournal, check FB, check my calendar, send a couple of birthday greetings, drink the rest of the coffee.. get ready to leave for lessons. If it is a Tuesday, I no longer have to get up at 5:20 am (that's the good bit) but have fewer pupils at WBGS and therefore less money coming in and have to negotiate the Northern Line right at peak hour for the first time since forever. I'll be on the Met Line to Watford slowly making its way out of London, replying to emails, writing little poemoids, looking out the window, trying to resist the temptation of writing to the woman I love because there is no point. The world outside slides quickly past, it seems to be full of things -it shouldn't feel so void and empty. Moor Park, Croxley; we're getting there. Somewhere. But it doesn't really feel like we're getting anywhere.

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flavius_m
In trying to avoid reading 'Infinite Jest' by David Foster Walace, which is the book marked for discussion on the next bibliogoth meeting -book which I'm finding extremely tiresome to read, I have been reading or re-reading a few other books, including a couple of the Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch, the whole Merchant Prince series by Charlie Stross, re-reading 'Matter' by Iain M Banks, which was the first Culture book I read and finding that I had missed so much detail and reference the first time round, and also now 'Starship Troopers' by Heinlein. Have enjoyed all of these in different ways; Aaronovitch books present bits of London that are part of my life in a different light; the Stross series is yet another Parallel Worlds story but a very well told one -and although it is a bit late it is nice to see G W Bush and Cheney dispatched like that, at least in prose. 'Troopers' is a slightly different case. I'm enjoying reading it but I can see I wouldn't be able to see eye to eye with Mr Heinlein on practically any social or political issue, I find him profoundly reactionary, the society he depicts borderline fascist. It is a good read, though.

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flavius_m
Another week-end sailed by almost too fast to notice. This time I didn't go out much, only to Tanz Macabre on Friday. Spent the rest of the time mostly indoors, reading and practising a few things I intend to play in those two little gigs in January. Let's see what the week brings...

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flavius_m
On Friday, after lessons, there was Tufguitar, the meeting of (some of my) adult pupils at the Rustique Café to play together, as they do once a month. This went quite well, enjoyable for all people concerned with the possible exception of the couple at a nearby table who couldn't look more annoyed at us.

Saturday had more stuff happening. Our friend Nicole Raine was in town for only a couple of days, having been in Paris the night before and she and andyravensable having been rather worryingly near to the site of the tragic events of that night -a group of friends went to meet her at Garlic & Shots; it was a lovely encounter of friends old and new -but had at least three other things to go to, knowing I wouldn't be able to make more than two.

Next stop was Big Red for Federica's birthday drinks. I am not that keen on rock pubs, as I have mentioned before, but it was a good little party; being at the back of the pub mitigated somewhat the roar from the covers band at the front. From there I went to Reptile; it was Arif's and Pete Maxdmyz's birthday so I felt I had to be there. I was, and had a very good time, but also aware that I was missing out on the gig at the Slimelight, in which I had friends in two bands and would have liked to attend.

Next day, apart from a nightmarish early lesson, brought something different: my artist friend Maya Ramsey was involved in the jazz festival in the South Bank, as one of her recent works had been a wall rubbing of the wallpaper in Jimi Hendrix's London flat, flat in which G F Händel had also lived previously (like, two hundred years previously..) and she had been involved in the preparation of Traces, a show based on those wallpaper rubbings. Not a genre of music that I normally go out of my way to listen to, but a very good evening nonetheless, some interesting music, new people met and interesting conversations had.

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flavius_m
The week-end had the big shadow of the incidents in Paris over it -and the reaction of the media and of people, mainly on Twitter and Facebook (and, in one case, in person, where a friend of a friend started having a go at the refugees and the old 'there's too many of them lot over here already', as if not aware that she hadn't been talking to somebody who, albeit in very different circumstances, started life 'out there'). But all that came later.

Thursday evening I went to the Gothsluts weekly meeting, this time at the Angel in Bermondsey. A Sam Smith pub, it seemingly has many strange rules of the house that I wasn't aware of. First the Italian guy at the bar (I think he's the manager, he seemed to be in charge) stopped me short when I spoke to him in Italian, 'speake in Englishe, the customer over there (points at a customer at the bar) could think we're talking about him'. I refrained to mention that the pointing thing was more rude than any imaginary offence for not understanding what other people were saying. Rules of the company, he said.

I had gone to the pub straight from a lesson so I had a guitar. Dylan wanted to have a go so we brought the guitar out of the case -and the same Italian member of staff came and told us. We weren't allowed to make any sort of music in the house. Rules of the company, he said. Ooh kay then. The booze is cheap there, the food is cheap and ok, the view of the riverside is lovely but I don't think I'll be voting for that pub for the meetings again.

The company was excellent, though.

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