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Echoes of Flavio's Ghost Dreaming
flavius_m
DJs @dancefloorlandmine (DW only) and asw909  (ah, the latter is on LJ only) DJ'ing at the Gothinc Valley WI's Halloween  Party

 

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flavius_m
No matter how many years I've had to get up at 6 am (or at 5:20 on Tuesdays), it never seems to get easier, I don't seem to get used to it. Not a morning person, this flavio. The worst of it is that I seem not to be a night owl any more either. Boo. The fact that these days it takes ages for me to fall asleep (particularly when I wake up in the night) doesn't help either. Last night I woke up needing to go to the loo at 3:13 or so. After, tried my usual white noise surf waves crashing app -didn't work. Put on a podcast which was a nearly two hour lecture by Martin Rees on cosmology, hoping to fall asleep within fifteen minutes -I heard it all through to the end...

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Haven't posted anything here (other than a Goodreads book review, I think) for a little while.

Still trying to get to be able to pay my bills until the schools I teach guitar at start paying me (that's at the end of October...)

Only one new private pupil this autumn but losing a couple of existing ones (health, moving away...).

Still have that cough, a month and a half on. Maybe I should get a doctor's appointment.

Schools started, the rientro wasn't as horrible as I anticipated, although there are bits of school bureaucracy to make me go mad, waiting in the wings.

Still pondering on what I want to play next year, reading and revisiting some music I've played in the past (at this point in life there's rather a lot of it). Not doing much 'actual' guitar practice, though. Beginning to step up that.

The news from the outside world as depressing as always; don't even want to mention the 'B' word or even less the 'T' word but reading the news it does feel like the Everett many worlds was true and we've strayed into the wrong timeline.

Gosh, this update looks a bit grim. My life doesn't really feel like that at the moment, I fully realise how lucky I am, I do what I like and am reasonably good at (with all the practical problems that ensue but, hey). I have good friends and an amazing social life. I generally have good health (although I'll have to have that cough looked into). It's ok, we can do this.

The icon on this post is an analemma, the cover for one of the editions of 'Anathem' by Neal Stephenson -another many worlds story set in Arbre, a world 'like Earth but not Earth' where I have been living in my dreams for the last eight years or so.

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The Big Sleep (Philip Marlowe, #1)The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This was the set reading for September 2019 Bibliogoth. I enjoyed the book, which I'd never read -I'd read (in translation) quite a bit of noir private eye stories when I was a kid but this is kind of seminal. Marlowe's stereotypes pop up everywhere there is a depiction of a private detective -either conforming to the stereotype or riffing on an exaggeration of it (like Josephus Miller in The Expanse) or going against it, as in Columbo. I didn't feel it is a particularly well written book (but then it shares this quality with a lot of stuff by PKD and Lovecraft, for instance), there are some unlikely twists in the plot and most of the characters didn't feel 'real', but rather as simple plot devices to make the story advance. And it is a book of its time in ways that often grate -the casual sexism and homophobia are often shocking. So, entertaining but problematic.



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flavius_m
Infest was a blast.

It was a bit warm... halfway through the Nitzer Ebb set I, standing at the front to try and take pictures, felt I might faint and had to leave the room. Can't imagine how the performers could get through their very energetic set all jumping, etc on that stage which was even hotter. Overall, though, a very good week-end.

Now home, with a little bit of festival come-down...

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Sorry I'm Late, I Didn't Want to Come: An Introvert’s Year of Living DangerouslySorry I'm Late, I Didn't Want to Come: An Introvert’s Year of Living Dangerously by Jessica Pan

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Still reading it, about 85% into it as I write this. What the author has to say is interesting and I can relate to a lot of it but I find the constant pop culture references don't really add to the substance of the book but rather detract from it and make it feel vacuous and ephemeral.



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AuroraAurora by Kim Stanley Robinson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


It took me a while to get into this. I don't think I'd ever read anything by KSR before -the story (of a generation trip's arrival to their destination in Tau Ceti and what happens after) is told by an AI but this is only clear after a while. I found the protagonists relatable, believable people although there were what I felt were contradictions, particularly towards the end. I liked the symmetry of how the book begins and ends. To say anything more would be to introduce spoilers -just one more thing, it could have done with a little sub-editing as it rambles on in places.



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flavius_m
Something I wanted to mention was the strange and bizarre experience of buying that second -hand car. I saw one that looked right on the RAC used cars page, contacted them and went over. It was a trader, which I knew and was pondering over the lottery of buying a second hand car off somebody on the street or from a trader -there are pitfalls and dangers in each and you have to pay the trader more than you would a private seller, in exchange for an insignificant and probably meaningless warranty, but... still.

So I went over in my old 25+ year old Laguna. The dealer turned out to be a huge operation, with over a thousand cars on site and people milling to and fro. The stereotype about used car salesmen.... well, my experience of this tallied perfectly with it. Their loud banter and slapping each other's back while telling me how they're going to be really good and give you this or that as a favour because we like you and did you really drive here in that or did you bring it on a recovery truck? Wah, hah hah etc. I found the whole thing terrifying and I suspect that is the entire purpose of the show, to overwhelm you so your critical capacity goes away.

It was the car I wanted and, thus far, there seems to be nothing wrong with it, but...

That was a strange experience.

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flavius_m
This is normally the quietest time of the year for me, in relation to work and other things. The lurgy that I was 'going to go to the doctor for if it lasted three days' lasted a week and a half and of course I didn't go to the doctor.

Other things have happened. Managed to change my accommodation for Infest, from what they call a 'townhall suite' to an en-suite room. This is good. These days I have to get up to go to the bathroom a couple of times in the night -in my confused mental state of those moments I might lock myself out of the room, which would be a hoot -not. Managed not to do it so far, but the peril is avoided this year.

ION, bought a car. This sounds bigger than it is: it means I bought a 10-year old little car to replace my 25+ year old Renault Laguna, which of late I didn't even trust to use as it was bound to die on me in some inconvenient situation or place. Not going to Bradford in it, though; I already had train tickets. I still need a car for lessons and other things and the Laguna was caught in the ULEZ trap so I had to get rid of it.

Guitar: normally after a gig I take a few days off practice. So it has been this time and I'm still not practising 'properly' but I'm reading music I may want to play. I need to learn to sell the 'product', somehow. I should be far busier playing gigs. Oh well.

Summer: not going anywhere much (apart from, as mentioned, Infest) but enjoying getting up at 9 instead of 6, etc. A few gatherings with friends -although, curiously, less than at other times of the year.

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Current Location: flavhaus
Current Music: An Ending/Ascent - Brian Eno, Robert Fripp

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flavius_m
Concert went well. Out of doors, on the hottest day of the year and with me falling down with a cold or a flu. The sensible thing would have been to cancel it, but I really didn't feel like I wanted to do that. So I went and played. I had a reasonable audience in terms of numbers and one that seemed to like a lot what I did, which of course helps. It was quite a demanding programme, comparable in difficulty to my graduation recital programme all those years ago. Pupils plied me with wine... anyway, it went very well. I have videos of the first half of the recital (pity nobody recorded me playing Britten's 'Nocturnal', that would have been very useful) and I can see some glaring mistakes and hesitations but people didn't notice or didn't care.

The day after I was feeling like death. That was last Friday. All these days on, I'm still feeling very grotty, last night the coughing seemed to start every time I was nodding off to sleep; this morning I was having fits of coughing while trying to brush my teeth, getting a gagging reflex and choking with the cough and the toothpaste -scary at times. That was not pleasant, I don't recommend this.

Any positives out of this? The recital went down very well. That certainly is one. I'm not getting hungry at all so I'm not eating much -which is probably a mistake but at something like 17 Kg above what my weight should be, I reckon I have reserves.

Taking it easy and, if this doesn't get better in a day or two, I'll have to go to a doctor, even though I know that if it is viral (a cold or a flu) there isn't a lot that they can do. So, I'm at home, reading and not doing much.

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Well, I didn't have the tooth taken out. It would have put a big dampener on my birthday two days after and probably on other things I needed to be compos mentis (sp?) for. So it still is like that t-shirt doing the rounds on Facebook, of the famed motorcycle gang, the Sons of Arthritis, or rather their Ibuprofen Chapter...

The celebration itself was good, two dozen friends at Aces & Eights; caught up with a few peeps I hadn't seen in a long while and one or two others with whom I seldom have a long conversation with. People kept buying me drinks but I managed to achieve my goal of turning up for my last teaching day of the school year at that 'orrible school with a huge hang-over but still functional.

Preparing for that little concert next week at the Rustique Café. This will be on Thursday the 25th at 7:30 pm. It'd be good if you could make it. More details anon.

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Hm. May have to have a molar tooth extracted today. Two days away from my birthday. This is not an optimal situation, but I've been having to take painkillers every day for weeks and dentist had already warned after it kept hurting following a root canal treatment on it (ouch, my wallet also hurts) that if this continued it would have to be taken out.

ION, playing my usual little local summer garden concert on the 25th at Café Rustique, if you happen to be around....

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Much better like this, 21ª rather than 34.

Perhaps ridiculous that, having grown up and lived half of a long life in the tropics, I get on so badly with hot weather. Even so, this time of year feels 'natural' and like it should be the natural order of things -which of course it isn't, necessarily- after having spent my formative years in a part of the world where it is 'like this' for two thirds of the year or more.

Also, the summer means a month and a half of not having to get up early and deal with those schools I teach at... but, conversely, it means I get no income from them. Swings and roundabouts. Need an alternative means of income, clearly. Can't even think of retiring, even though at this age I s'pose I should contemplate it but it is not an option -but that is a bit long to explain here. I would prefer just to have a few more private guitar pupils, but may need to cast the net a little wider.

In the meantime, enjoying the sunshine and the slightly emptier days, practising guitar for my only oncoming summer gig...

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flavius_m
Preparing my only gig of the summer, working on the pieces I want to play then. Some of it is of an extremely high level of technical difficulty or intricacy. Then yesterday whilst practising in Hampstead Heath (it was a lovely afternoon and it felt like a waste of a day to spend it practising indoors) I got the most horrid cramp in my left hand, something that had never happened to me. It took a couple of minutes before I could use my hand at all, it had sort of coiled in and had pain from the forearm.

Barring mroe occurrences of this sort of thing (and perhaps I should ask for medical advice) I'm looking forward to that first minute on stage when I ask myself why oh why I put myself in that situation....

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I Will be playing, like every year, another summer garden guitar recital at the Rustique Café on Thursday, 25 of July. Tickets available from me or at the Rustique Café. I'll be putting up an event for it at some point. Do come along if you can.



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flavius_m
Hm, this year has been quite... something. I mean, quite apart from the various shitstorms on the larger picture, for me personally. Still barely paying bills, etc and that doesn't seem to be going to get any better this side of October.

I thought I had three gigs to play this summer and now I seem to have only one. Two have been cancelled for different reasons, one of them has left me with some heart-ache. I need to play so I might try and push again the house-concert idea, but these things seem to happen when they happen -somebody sees me play and they like it and ask me whether I would play for their event or something like that- and when I try to push them they just don't happen.

The idea is relatively simple and it has worked (and I've known of people doing this kind of thing very successfully for a long time): sit some twenty people in chairs in somebody's living room, give them a glass of wine and a guitar concert, charge them twenty quid (or something like that) and give half of the proceeds to a local charity. Everybody wins. But I'm so rubbish at selling the idea... could it work where you are?

I will be posting something about this now and again just in case somebody thinks it a good idea and doable where they are. Alas, I am aware that what I do is very much a minority interest and if everybody wants to hear me play the guitar, pretty much nobody wants to pay for it. And I do have to pay my bills with currency, not guitar playing....

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Mmm.. it didn't work. I had withdrawn my guitar lessons advert from the local paper as it was no longer working. I had perhaps one enquiry and 0 lessons arising from that advert in the last three years or so. So I removed the advert. This came back to bite me at tax return time, as it was of course tax deductible and the money I'd given to the paper, which I had forgotten about, now I had to find and give to the taxman. I had a perfect storm of this, a couple of unexpected gigantic bills and a general decrease in the number of pupils both private and in (one of) the schools I teach at -but that's a different strand.

Needing more pupils, I decide that, since almost all new pupils I've had in the last two or three years (including the 'other' school) have come via facebook (friends of friends, etc) maybe the way to go was to advertise on FB. I had tried all sorts of other on-line advertising things without success so this seemed to be the way to go.... alas, it hasn't worked at all. Of course there are many possible causes for this but so far the money I've put in that has not brought a single pupil. I've had a couple of new pupils coming from FB but in all cases, again, friends or friends of friends; a notice on my timeline reminding people that I teach guitar and can take people up and beyond grade 8 has worked. Paid advertising has not. Will have to think hard about this, as there are many variables, including how I word and construct the ad, the target demographic I've chosen, etc that can go wrong. Perplexing, though.

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I never seem to post anymore about my activities on the week-end as I used to do in my Livejournal days (for those reading this on Livejournal, I'm posting to Dreamwidth these days, some get reposted to LJ). The natural progression of getting a bit older and less keen or able to take on all-nighters may be part of it, as is the fact that I always have things to do on a Sunday which means that, wherever I am by 1:00 am on a Saturday night I'm beginning to think I should be trying to catch up on sleep (which, again, seems to get progressively more difficult). I do go to a lot of club nights, birthday parties and the like but I never seem to stay more than two hours, three at the most. Last night was an exception at Mondlicht, a quarterly-what to call it? post-punk? goth? night in the basement of the Albany pub in Gt Portland St. Dancing and catching up with peeps in a settng where dancing is sort of natural and catching up is doable as the sound levels although loud do not make impossible to talk. First time I stay till closing time in quite a while.

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Again the feeling of dread in relation to things happening in Venezuela. Many people there seem to think the gov't is just about to fall -and from here I get the impression that that is very far from happening. And again the feeling that I'm not entirely on either side, although I'm aware that this is a luxury afforded to me by the fact that I am (and have been for so long) so far away. And have been far away for the whole time the situation there was developing.

My sister and her kids went to that demonstration yesterday, which was put down with tear gas and pellets. It could have been worse, the National Guard are a militarised police (like the carabinieri in Italy) and often trigger-happy. My sister got out in time, which was a relief. At age 60 she's not exactly an olympic athlete ready to run rings around the National Guard.

I just hope the whole thing doesn't end in a blood bath... but I cannot see a positive outcome. The division and the hatred run too deep. Hope I'm wrong.

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Easter break but I'm rather very broke. The only upside of that is being able to get up late, practise a lot of guitar and read a lot.

Seeing all the waves of grief and then counter-grief about the destruction of Notre Dame, people asking people to donate to causes that benefit people instead... which is fair enough, there is so much in the world that needs fixing and that needs help. To an extent, though, I feel it is a bit like when people say we shouldn't have space programs or Large Hadron Colliders because there is poverty or hunger. The problem, as I see it, is not that there are space programs etc. It is not an either/or situation. There is value in all those things that merits the investment, and there is need that needs to be met and probably could if all the riches being made in the world weren't tied in next quarter's profits and the greed that is encouraged by the system we live in.

Dentist today. Root canal treatment, just when I cannot afford those things but had to be done. That did mean that today there's been less of all that reading and practising guitar, particularly now that the anaesthesia has worn off...

Need to get a few more private pupils, Instead, I've lost my star pupil who'd just done a fantastic Grade 8 and was preparing an ARSM diploma because the family are having difficulties. Funny roller-coaster times.

Finished reading the latest (maybe the last?) instalment of 'The Expanse' books, 'Tiamat's Wrath'. I loved it. Isn't perfect -there are some points in the book where you almost shout at one character or another "Why are you doing that, that's really stupid" but, overall, it is very very good at its mix of character and politics drama and the awe in the face of titanic forces in the vast canvas of the story.

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I’m reading three books at the moment. Firstly, ‘All Systems Red’ by Martha Wells (I’m blaming Eglé for this :D ) which is the set reading for the next Bibliogoth (yes, it was my nomination, again I blame Eglé for that). It is a lovely book but quite short (and it is my second reading of it), so I’m reading a couple of other things at the same time so that I don’t finish it too early and forget all about it by the time of the Bibliogoth meeting (this has happened before..). So I’m reading something called ‘Starshine’ by G S Jensen. This is a space opera that is almost a compendium of all space sci-fi tropes including alien invasion, galactic porto-empires at war, love interest between enemies, etc. Not enjoying it that much but not bad enough to put it down and forget about it. Also re-reading ‘The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O’ by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland, which combines a ‘Many Worlds’ world, time travel and witchcraft, in the hands of two people that know how to do this sort of thing. Enjoying this one a lot. I'm on Dreamwidth at http://flaviomatani.dreamwidth.org/ -do follow me there if you can.

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flavius_m
Oh, how I hate the changing of the clocks. Have been in this island for over 30 years and still don't get used to it. Neither do my Sunday morning pupils, by the look on their faces when I showed up at the usual time. Wish I could find a different time for that lesson, it kind of ruins my Saturday nights.

Beginning to feel like I want to hide from the news and not watch or read any of it, the whole br*x*t mess, the Trump show and, particularly, the Venezuelan debacle, so much more complex and complicated than the views we get in the media and with such horrific potential.

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flavius_m
A couple of birthdays, many lessons cancelled (need to get more pupils..) a club at which I stayed less than two hours.... and a little walk across Central London with at least a million people. Not sure anything will come out of that but, hey, it had to be done.





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KindredKindred by Octavia E. Butler

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This book really hit me. I kept trying to reassure myself 'this is made up, it's fiction' but then you think again -things like these happened to real people and in some parts of the world still do. It was probably a lot worse than what we read in the book, having recently learnt that Maryland was supposed to be a more liberal state in relation to slavery.

The characters are believable, they feel real and human in most cases and you care for them and their fate. The time-travel device is by now well worn and I for one am grateful that it's not explained in the book, partly because there is no possible scientific explanation and when sci-fi tries to explain something like this it often gets in a horrible muddle (Star Trek Discovery, I'm looking at you..). It is, at any rate, more history-fiction or sociology-fiction than science fiction and it is a very powerful book that I very much recommend.

This was March's set book for Bibliogoth. We had already read and discussed another book by Octavia Butler in Bibliogoth ('Dawn', the first in the Lilith's Brood series) and I already knew I liked her writing. This very much confirms that.



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Current Music: Bach 'cello suite BWV1011 - Jean-Guihan Queyras

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Flavio (that's me) playing J S Bach's Prelude from the Lute Suite 1006a, during a presentation at the programme 'Nachy Presenta' at the Venezuelan Cultural TV Channel TVN5 in 1985 or so. Interesting that I chose such a difficult way of playing that piece, so many things I would do differently but it still is a record of my playing at the time.



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You get some strange enquiries, when you advertise for music lessons. You get a lot of calls from people who think they can take private music lessons for the price of a coffee. Sometimes it's even of the 'of course, music lessons, wink wink' type, which I find incomprehensible but I suppose it's a big world out there with all sorts of weirdness. More commonly it is scams and spam. Yesterday's one looked ok at first: 'I'm looking for a guitar teacher for my family'. Ok, give me more details... 'Three females (gave me ages between 19 and 24) for a weekly lesson each for 24 weeks'. Ok, that's unusual. Keep going... 'This is a present for them, I would love to meet you but I'm in hospital about to be operated of lung cancer'. Hmmm... something's not quite right here... keep going... 'in your studio, the limo driver will bring them over to you'. Of course he will. Do you also have a few hundred million in a bank account that you need to dispose of?

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Looking at my country of origin from the distance, now that it is on the news all the time for the first time here since forever. It feels a bit like watching a distant galaxy where some cosmic cataclysms are taking place, beyond the horizon of time and space and what can affect you directly or that you can have an influence on -but it's where I grew up, where I still have family and friends on both sides of the divide.

Hoping for the best, there seems to be a very slim chance of a resolution that doesn't involve a blood bath with fifth thousand dead on the streets and a pinochet for the ensuing twenty years. We'll see.

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ArtemisArtemis by Andy Weir

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This was the set reading for the Feb 2019 Bibliogoth meeting. I enjoyed this book but I could seldom lose myself in its world. I liked the main character -a young woman of Saudi origin but one who grew up in the one city on the Moon- but found many details overdone and slightly irritating at times. I'm sure Weir did his homework in relation to the feasibility of the things that happen in the course of the book but it felt increasingly improbable as it progressed. The other characters felt a bit cardboard-like at times. An excellent science-fiction idea but one with some flaws.



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Redemption's Blade (After the War, #1)Redemption's Blade by Adrian Tchaikovsky

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A good romp; enjoyed the adventures of Celestaine and her treading that path between being a hero and being full of doubt -enjoyed it, yes but maybe not enough for me to pursue the series. We'll see. The idea of setting the stage _after_ all the battles have been fought and the main evil character has been killed is a good one and AT mostly carries it off. The characters are not particularly convincing, I found it difficult at times to see them as 'people' rather than devices to push the plot forward. I've read other things by the author which I've found much more compelling reading, although again this was quite a good book.



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RebeccaRebecca by Daphne du Maurier

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again....

It's a potboiler, it probably has too much of the teenage flights of fantasy of the young protagonist (I did, after a while, only quickly skim through those), it can be a little ponderous at times, it may be the precursor of a million romantic soap operas. It is also a powerful book. The plot may be unlikely but the characters are 'real'. Of course the dead Rebecca is a very powerful character, the contrast between her and the shy, insecure young second Mrs De Winter and the counterpoint between them drives the book. I see it has been noted that, apart from the second Mrs De Winter being nameless (so much you could make of this), the two main characters are defined by their relationship to a man. Both the way Rebecca is imagined by the young second wife (perfectly beautiful, perfect host, perfect wife) and the way she appears after the final revelations play on what probably still may be male perceptions of what a strong female personality may be like.

There is a hint towards the end of a sort of conflation of the two characters, even though we know the epilogue as it has been set in the beginning of the book and it does not correspond with this. But there is something of this as the young wife matures after the experiences she's had, becomes stronger and learns how to deal with the world.

I had read this book in Spanish translation when I was about 13 years of age. It made an impression on me then but I don't think I could have possibly understood the darker elements of the plot and subtext. I enjoyed this a lot.



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flavius_m
And so that was Christmas. Different this time: my sister travelled from Venezuela where she (still?) lives, to Madrid to be with her son who moved there a few months ago and, as I'd mentioned before, she wanted me to spend Christmas with them. So I went.

I was expecting it to be more difficult than it ended up being in practical terms: five of us (my sister, her son and his girlfriend, her sister, myself) crammed in a 'two-bedroom flat' that was quite a bit smaller than my tiny studio flat in London. As it was, it all went well and we didn't get on each others' toes at all. It was good to spend some time with my sister who, living so far away I very seldom see in person.

There wasn't much touristing: we did go to Museo Del Prado and on Boxing Day we went to Segovia. Nothing much more -but then I went to see my sister and not so much to see the sights.

On NYE I went to a friend's house gathering/drinks, then to Tarantella at the Albany and finally to the Slimelight. Had a very good time at all three, saw some peeps I hadn't seen for a long time, in a couple of cases quite a few years -all was good.

Next week is going to be difficult when I have to start getting up before 6 am instead of 10....

Happy New Year to all of you!

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Hello.

Still here, even though I haven't posted here much. Life has given me that combination of being hectic and not having much really happening, which is rather frustrating.

Still need to find some half a dozen new private pupils, in case I need to terminate my teaching at a certain place where things seem to go from hectic to chaotic and their solution to this is to be very strict and increase the paperwork, the itemised lists of rules and procedures for the attainment of targets, etc. So, if you hear of somebody who may want guitar lessons in North London please put them my way.

In relation to that, I have stopped the advert that I ran for nearly 18 years at the Camden New Journal, our local paper -it just wasn't working. It seems to be the case that it hardly works for anyone and local paper papers are in terminal decline. I have tried a number of online means of advertising for lessons but none of them have worked (= local neighbours' forums, teachers' directories, etc) and at least one has cost me money without any positive results (= Bark, which was recommended to me by a local piano teacher but so far has only cost me money and spammed me). So I'm rather low in private pupils and depending way too much on those two schools I teach at.

The Br*x*t thing seems to swing between farce and drama and, for me and others in my position, more than ever be the source of much worry and stress and of disappointment with this country I've called home for thirty years. I have done nothing about my status here, waiting for the dust to settle, but I worry over travelling and not being able to come in again, etc so I'll have to go and process a 'leave of residence'. I resent this so much. This queue-jumper here who doesn't even have the decency to earn > £50K after thirty years of trying to give something back resents this situation a lot.

Need to think of a few small local venues where I can present some self-propelled guitar recitals. This means of course trying to get people to actually come and see me play instead of telling me why they couldn't make it this time but please can I inform them when I next play.

And so this is Christmas. And, what have you done...

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Current Music: Your Genius - Desperate Journalist - Grow Up

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A good morning so far. R (the human rights lawyer) had his lesson, then went to the Italian deli for olive oil, then stopped at Bean about Town for coffee and a cuddle with Charlie the Dog, a black labrador, whose owner P. the Brazilian was playing backgammon with L the South African who works at BaT. Mild, 14º so took out the guitar on that grey grey morning and played the suitable sombre Sarabande from Bach’s ‘cello suite No. 5 that Yo Yo Ma was playing last Saturday at the 100th anniversary of the end of the war in Paris (with mention of Trump’s bored dozing face while YYM was playing) while Charlie was looking at me trying to figure out what I was doing with that box and making sounds… a good morning, so far. Now at home waiting for a new pupil to arrive.

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On a Met Line train to Watford at some unconscionable time.

Dreams: they are now beginning to fade, but I was trying to find my way back to my hotel, where I was due to meet my cousin. The problem was, I'd gone out for a walk on my arrival there after leaving my things in my room and promptly got lost, wandered in ever increasing circles around this dilapidated city looking for my way back -and realising I hadn't taken a note of the name of the hotel or its location so it was going to be very difficult to find it in a city I didn't know. Spent what felt like half the night trying to find it, asking people about this hotel with a lobby that looked like this.. nothing firm that could help me find it. Half-waking up, drifting again into sleep to a continuation of pretty much the same dream. Had my phone with me, was going to phone my cousin but the phone was playing up and couldn't find my cousin's number. I was realising I perhaps didn't have it and all our contact had been through internet messaging. But the phone refused to connect to internet. Mercifully woke up at that point, fell asleep again to another dream of frustrating quests -but different ones at least.

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Two interesting, if long (and alarming) articles posted by friends on FB, on the nature of the developments we’re seeing in the world stage:

Umberto Eco makes a list of the common 14 features of fascism:
http://www.openculture.com/2016/11/umberto-eco-makes-a-list-of-the-14-common-features-of-fascism.html

Nihilist Nation: the empty core of Trump’s mystique:
https://newrepublic.com/article/151603/nihilist-nation-empty-core-trump-mystique?fbclid=IwAR1yqpP2aH9pMzkw8UeVa6uZWoPtvElWvBYcn9prkRyqGcBEPFXyWhNH-_c

Original article by Eco:
https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1995/06/22/ur-fascism/

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ProximaProxima by Stephen Baxter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Re-reading this one. Loved the story and the characters but the end was so... disconcerting. Felt like left hanging on with few possibilities ahead.



View all my reviews

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Went to Sacrosanct in Reading over the week-end. Wasn't enormously impressed with Reading as a town but the little goth festival was a good gathering with a few good bands and many lovely people. The highlight may have been Kadeadkas, who I had already seen once before. A couple of the bands had their flights cancelled in the wake of the current RyanAir strike and one of them, Dividing Lines, drove sixteen hours in order to play at the fest.

Took the car (and some friends) but had booked a hotel at the wrong end of town and found myself walking miles and miles on both days. The little festival was lovely but if I go back next year (and I do intend to) Im most certainly not talking the car and will be doing more homework before booking hotels, etc.

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Mille Regretz, by (or attributed to) Josquin de Prez (c.1450-1521),
Ruth Dingle (voice)
Flavio Matani (guitar)
live at the KTCF on 21-06-18

The guitar accompaniment is the vihuela version by Luys de Narváez (1538)


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flavius_m
I haven't got a lot of faith in petitions in general or in particular in ones that are asking these politicians trapped in a web of their own making to backtrack in a way that most likely seems impossible and undesirable to them, but nonetheless, one has to try:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/223729

"Rescind Art.50 if Vote Leave has broken Electoral Laws regarding 2016 referendum"



Article 50.1 of the Lisbon Treaty sets out that a member can leave by " Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements."

Also, Article 10.3 of the Lisbon Treaty, "Every citizen shall have the right to participate in the democratic life of the Union. Decisions shall be taken as openly and as closely as possible to the citizen."


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flavius_m
NP: 'Gaeta's Lament - Bear McCreary - Battlestar Galactica
NR: 'Caliban's War' - The Expanse bk 2 - James A Corey

The main takeaway from this book seems to be 'fear the wrath of the little old lady'. Liking Avasarala even more in the book than the series.

I’m not really here-I hate gyms. Instead, I’m hurtling down towards a moon of Jupiter on a stolen Martian frigate. Escapism, moi? 😀

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I'll be playing a concert at the garden of the Rustique Café on Thursday 26 July. Do come along if you can. Details on the Facebook event here.

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It's been a bit more quiet of late, less hectic. I have finished for the school year at one of my schools, at the other one I still have a week to go but no music lessons this week so I can sleep till 10!

Finished reading 'Northanger Abbey' by Jane Austen, we discussed it yesterday at the Bibliogoth meeting. I ended up liking it a lot more than I anticipated when I started. Now I'm immersed in the world of The Expanse, both watching Series 3 and reading the books, currently half way through the second,'Caliban's War'. Liking Avasarala even more in the book. 

Also this last week-end was the British Summertime Festival in Hyde Park. I'd bought tickets for Roger Waters on Friday and missed out on The Cure for Saturday. This may have been a good thing: I enjoyed Waters' concert enormously (not least by his fierce lampooning of  D Trump, variously depicted in the visuals as a pig, a screaming child and a number of other things, having in the visuals a selection of quotes of his, some self-contradictory, all offensive to minorities and decent people) but I wouldn't have survived two days of six or seven hours in the open with 34º heat and no cover or shelter and fifty thousand or so people around me. I don't think I'll want to do that sort of thing again. Young Flavio would have been disconcerted, at least, that I had no particular interest in watching Eric Clapton play on Sunday.

Playing another little local concert at one of my usual venues on Thursday the 26th so this week will be spent, hopefully, practising the programme I will be playing...
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The book for next month's Bibliogoth is Jane Austin's 'Northanger Castle'. It starts ok although rather slowly, was taking me a while to get into its world. But then ... I finished watching S2 of 'The Expanse' and bought the first of the books in the series, 'The Leviathan Wakes' and got sucked into that world again. I'm afraid I won't have much to say about the Jane Austin book in time for the Bibliogoth meeting..! although I will finish it ok, things were only beginning to happen at the point I left it to dive into the rabbit hole of The Expanse.

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A bit puzzled that with some people I follow both here and in Dreamwidth, I can see their friends-locked entries here but not in DW. I may well miss and not see those posts as I hardly ever use LJ and my posts here are cross-posts from DW. Not sure what the point could be in giving me access here but not on DW, although it can get a bit confusing with the fact that it is a two-step process over there.

Tried out Vero and didn't like it. Then I saw reports about it and liked it even less. Tried Mastodon and.. nothing happening there, seemingly nobody I know is using it. And it is rather quiet here these days.

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This month's book for @bibliogoth is 'News from Nowhere' by William Morris.

I should have liked it. Instead, I'm finding it tedious, preachy and twee and will probably never finish... sorry about that, those of you who do like it.

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General elections in Venezuela today. Really dodgy ones, where the authoritarian streak of the current lot in office begins to approach a real dictatorship (although polls give Maduro 37% against 32 of his main rival but this may not reflect in vote and the main opposition are calling for abstention). Maduro blames the US and big corporations for the current crisis -and it is not entirely untrue but it is only a minor contributing factor where the main one is the incompetence, corruption and hubris of this lot who call themselves 'socialist' and perhaps believe to an extent that what they're doing but the results have gone from bad to catastrophic, which I don't put down to their being socialist but to their being incompetent, corrupt and arrogant. Most people I know that are able to leave the country have done so or are in the process of doing it.

Maduro will win and in a way it may be a legitimate win (the poorest people are still somewhat better off than they were historically, even as the rest of the population is in desperate crisis) but a disaster for my original country nonetheless. A situation that seems to hit bottom all the time and yet it gets ever worse when you think it wouldn't be possible.

The whole thing just breaks my heart.

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Ah, a sunny morning at last. Funny how my mood changes up or down with the weather. In the beginning when I first came to the UK I used to laugh at the 10 min long (as I saw them) weather forecasts on TV. Coming from a part on the north of South America on the Caribbean (but away from Hurricane Alley) our weather forecasts told you it was going to be sunny or it was going to rain... and that was pretty much it.

Here the weather is more variable and there is a winter (although my friends from Russia or Canada might dispute this), with long periods of short days with grey skies and not seeing the sun for weeks on end. This affects me far more than the cold. After our little mini-summer of a week or two ago, yesterday's 4 º C, battleship grey skies and ice-cold rain seemed to make a difficult teaching day so much worse. Today just looking out the window made me feel much better about the day to come.

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Our nearest star is manifesting itself today. Liking it so far, although any warmer than this I will find unpleasant.

Some of my plans for today have gone to pot. A couple of lessons later, then Tufguitar at the Rustique café (the monthly meeting of some of my guitar pupils to play together). That's it, I think. Too hot to go to the gym, too hot (as for now; I'd quickly get used to it if it lasts) to take a guitar and practise in the park.

Doing a little local recital (at the Kentish Town City Farm) on the 21st of June. No other gigs planned. Need to find a few more little local venues where I can do that sort of thing, a local guitar concert that is not too big but where I can play a decent programme.

Ooh, it's sunny and warm. Liking it. So far.

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The flu, or whatever it was, lasted only four days. Or rather, the shaking, fever and constant coughing plus extreme tiredness did. I'm still coughing and I'm still tired all the time, two weeks on. Not looking forward to the beginning of term next week.

Things that've happened in these two weeks: the short answer is 'not a lot'. I did go to Oxford to meet a friend there last Saturday, tramped around town, ate street food at a street market (there was a Venezuelan food stand but I only realised after we'd ordered at some other place so missed on that but did make contact with them). Went to the Ashmolean Museum and went upstairs and downstairs many many times to have a close look at pretty much every single exhibit... I'm making it sound bad and it wasn't, it was a lovely day but I was still in the aftermath of that flu (or whatever it was) and it drained me completely.

Having finished the book for this month's Bibliogoth ('Wanderers' by Meg Howrey, which I enjoyed but didn't take me as much as I anticipated it would) and in spite of having another three books on the go, I decided to re-read 'Anathem' by Neal Stephenson. And straight away I found myself submerged in that world and its people. I'm in a tiny minority on that one (check the scathing Amazon reviews) but I love that book and it is perhaps the one that has made the biggest impression of the books I've read for a long long time.

Not much energy for proper guitar practice so I've been reading some music that I'd played many years ago and some new music (if you can call 'new' something written in 1588 or thereabouts).

On the whole, then, flavioworld is quiet this week and it is good that it is so, I need to gather and recover my energy for the many things awaiting ahead. The world outside sounds more and more alarming by the minute, one almost feels the screaming, swivel-eyed hordes with torches ramming the gates of the castle. But the world was always like that, perhaps and we just didn't know. Of course you didn't have a megalomanic narcissistic fascist at the helm of the most powerful nation on earth and the country I've lived in for the last 30 years wasn't questioning my right to be here before. And my original country wasn't yet being ravaged by a combination of astronomical incompetence, all encompassing corruption and a blinkered view of the world that admits no mistakes and no wrong on the part of the people leading it.

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FWIW as I don't know absolutely anybody in there -and it is one more in a long list of things that want to send me notifications, that you have to keep an eye on just in case, etc. Nonetheless, I seem to be in Mastodon:

https://mastodon.social/@fflavio

One of these days one of those things might catch on and slowly replace Twitter or FB. Not holding my breath, mind -how many of those have there been, already?

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