La Negra by A Lauro Flavio Matani, guitar

Flavio (that's me) playing a quick take at home of La Negra by Antonio Lauro, rather a long time ago (around 2008, I think). 1 minute version for IG.
Currently doing online guitar lessons!
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anathem, analemma

lock down ...

Doing my guitar lessons online, and in some cases hitting the wall of the tools for this (Skype, Hangouts, Zoom) being designed for speech not music. In Zoom at least you can tweak the settings so it is a little better. Not all my pupils are taking online lessons, though, some have just paused the lessons which is a little bit of a worry but not as much as the having to wait for what happens in relation to my school teaching. One of the schools might pay for scheduled hours at least for what's left of the term (two weeks). The other one is being much more difficult. I fall between two stools in that on the schools I'm pretty much on zero-hour contract (but they hate it if you call it that) but also have private pupils. So, not sure whether any of the help that seems to be about to come for those categories of workers will apply to me.

Being on my own in a tiny studio flat can get a bit boring. Doing an almost decent amount of guitar practice, reading and the usual Netflix are helping; also finding I'm talking online to my sister and some friends a whole lot more than before. Not crawling up the walls just yet -maybe soon! 😀

The user icon (on DW) is an analemma, an illustration on Neal Stephenson's 'Anathem'. In that book there isn't a plague but there are events that profoundly change the world and its people. We might be at one such moment.

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seventhseal chess

budgeting for the crisis?

94 quid a week? (correction -it is £71 and subject to self-isolation) That won't pay my rent or stave off bankruptcy but may help if there are other measures. We'll see. My schools still are giving no guidance as to what to expect. It is a complicated issue for instrumental music teachers, not only because we are essentially on zero-hour contracts but also because the bulk of our pay comes from what the parents of the pupils pay the schools for the lessons. We'll see what happens, in the Whatsapp group of the music teachers at one of the schools that has was being discussed today -but nobody knows.

Closure of schools may be inevitable unless that article by Peston on ITV News is right and the gov't is going for 'herd immunity'. Which, with an epidemic that has a 6% mortality rate (not sure this figure is correct, it's what I think I saw on the WHO pages, although the rate for the UK from their figures seems to be 2% at this point) would mean hundreds of thousands of dead. Surely not even the Tories would contemplate that seriously.

I s'pose that, at 67, I'm reaching the point where I'm in the 'quite at risk' category. Age is just a number? I certainly hope this thing hasn't got my number! I'm on Dreamwidth at -do follow me there if you can.
scream, munch

some very small things came from afar

The schools I teach at are now covered in posters indicating the procedure to follow in case an infection with coronavirus is confirmed -or suspected. The Guildhall School of Music is closed for several weeks now as one case there was confirmed. I'm still not at all sure about all this. The virus exists, it is a problem but it wouldn't seem to be the pandemic that will carry off a quarter of the world's population. The way I see it reported in the media would make one think that this was imminent, The Black Plague v2.0. Also a couple of ancillary phenomena make me scratch my head. Hard. One is that brexiteers are already blaming the virus for any shortages and supply problems coming our way as a result of br*x*t. Another one is how, again in a similar way to br*x*t, it seems to have legitimised a sort of casual racism, most certainly in Italy where members of my family were reposting a radio feature by a politician where he was claiming that 'of course the Chinese would be carriers of disease, they are diseased and filthy, eat unnatural things and live like ants under that communist regime'. But also here, as seen in the media, where people are shunning Chinese restaurants owned by people who never have actually been to China and there have been reports of attacks on public transport, etc. This is very worrying.

The public measures to contain it are perhaps inevitable but, as a self-employed music teacher working in two schools (where I am not a 'real' employee but only get paid for the lessons that actually take place) I dread them far more than the virus -close schools for a month and I'll be on the brink if not actually bankrupt.

Well, I s'pose we'll have to wait and see how it all plays out.

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[ guitar ] Napoléon Coste Op 38 No 2 in C major

Flavio (that's me) on a quick take at home of Napoleon Coste's Etude/Prelude Op 38 No 2, a piece recorded for a pupil. The guitar is a Yulong Guo Chamber Concert. Napoléon Coste was a French guitarist/composer who lived between 27 June 1805 – 14 January 1883.
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"Patriarchy Too Big to Fail?" by Laurie Penny.

Laurie Penny eloquently pondering on the trials of Trump and Weinstein and what they show about our societies, male patriarchy and our naive belief that once the guilty are found guilty our institutions will punish them.

"the greatest threat that liberalism poses to the survival of the species is its relentless strategic assumption that “decent people” in full possession of the facts will do the right thing"

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flav euflat

one nation, one blood, one bright future ahead blah blah blah

First Monday after B****t. On Friday some celebrated with plastic flags, some of us mourned with a little song and dance at Dead & Buried in Camden and a meal at a new Italian restaurant on Saturday. The uncertainty hasn't gone away; that 'settled status' confirmation email was in the form of a .pdf, the second paragraph of which stated that 'it was not a binding or legal document'. Reassuring as hell. Friends and acquaintances are still making plans or already leaving the country...

I'm not going anywhere. It would be difficult to start again at this age and doing what I do -it always takes me two to three years to get established with a teaching base every time I move. I do not think I have, at this point in life, the time or the energy to do that. But I do wonder whether it might come to that. The statements from Johnson are not reassuring either. I cannot retire, for reasons that go beyond this thread; I need and want to work doing what I'm good at -but that requires a prosperous economy where people can afford music lessons with me and have the time and incentive to do that; it also requires a cultural climate that values such things. It is not certain that the outcome of the nation's lemming jumping off the cliff will contain those conditions. But it would be very costly for me, in terms of practical things, energy, time and stress to move abroad. So for now I can only worry. Talking to friends in a similar situation I get the feeling that I'm only one of many. And we can only wait and see.

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Youtube and copyright claims

Wow. YouTube has done it again. I uploaded a little guitar study by Napoléon Coste and YouTube claims somebody has copyright on it. Coste lived between 1805 and 1883, so well beyond the span of any copyright claim and they cannot possibly claim arrangement rights for such a simple piece of music -or can they. Wow again.

The video is here:

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flav posterised

a change of airs

Madrid was good. With some limitations -very bad sleep and a rather bad back, a back pain that suddnely attacked me a couple of days before travelling over; on the day it happened I could hardly walk. Went to a doctor (and a doctor came to me, as one of my guitar pupils is a doctor and something big at UCLH). Was prescribed a few alarming painkillers and given some exercises to do.

Once there, tramping around the city with my sister and her troops was fun -up to a point when my back would say no and I had to cut the walking short. Walking a little bit seemed to make it better but walking for long periods of time made it quite painful again. So, I didn't do much in the way of long outings -one day we went to Alcalá de Henares and paid respects to Miguel de Cervantes who was born there and took the inevitable picture at the bench with Quijote and Sancho Panza.

One evening my sister took me to see Cirque Du Soleil. Enjoyed that enormously. Every aspect of it was interesting so that it wasn't just an acrobatic exhibition.

The journey back reminded me of my routine bus trip to school on the 393; children screaming, too little space.

Arrival was a disaster. As I was so tired and with a sore back.. that's how it happened. Pick up the suitcases at Baggage Claim and walk out to catch the bus to the train station... and realise I've left my rucksack (with macbook with my whole working life in it, ipad, a lot of other stuff) somewhere inside the airport or the plane. There ensued two frantic, stressful hours trying to find whether it'd been found -airline said no, lost property said no. Finally I spoke to this young guy (amazing hairstyle) at Customer Services who, instead of phoning people in there, went himself to check out and ... found it. A cleaner had picked it up. Phew.

Arrived home a few hours later than I anticipated, past 11 pm. Slept fitfully and stressed, woke up at 4: something when I had to get up at 6. Today, my first teaching day back at the more stressful of my two schools, was a long, long day.

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One more day in Madrid. So far, a bit limited due to that back pain that I got, suddenly and enormously painful, a few days before travelling, but I saw my sister and her troops, saw a bit more of Madrid, greeted the New Year in Sol (not the star... just the centre of Madrid) and saw a couple of things that I wanted to but never had the chance. One was very simple: a visit to Alcalá de Henares, pay respects to Miguel de Cervantes and stroll around a beautiful town steeped in history. The other one was going to see Cirque du Soleil, which was an amazing spectacle. I kept thinking their rehearsals must be brutal.

Have to be careful as back still hurting and the rest of the week as I return will be frantically busy -couldn't afford to give up an entire week's teaching and instead crammed it all in those three days. Obviously can't afford to decide I'm not feeling well enough to do that teaching. In any case I didn't come here to do tourism but to spend Christmas and NYE with my sister who is based four thousand miles away in Venezuela. I could hardly afford to come but I'm very glad I did.

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