Monthly Archives: July 2012

Birthday.zip

Right, I’m back. I have so much to write about that I don’t even know where to begin, last week has been absolutely hectic and as much as I would love to leave here a detailed record of the events, right now it seems like I don’t have enough energy to pull it off; I have a right leg I can’t move properly, and I’m using crutches, and I’m back home earlier than expected all because I fell off a bike.

To say that my reunion with the pedal-driven recreational vehicle has been far from romantic would be an understatement. This has been the most stupid thing that has ever happened to me in a long time and it totally sucks, particularly because it arrived in the middle of my 2-week holidays in Spain, just when I was hoping to dive into the Balearic Sea one more time before going back to London. Oh well, it could have been worse, I guess. There seems to be no broken bones and although I’ve been extracted 60cc of liquid and blood out of my knee, it doesn’t hurt that much.

Besides, I had a wonderful time on my birthday. For a second year in a row, July 20th has been an amazing day, each of them in their own different way. This time around, I spent it in Madrid, a city packed with some of my best friends; a lovely bunch of people with a very hardcore sense of humour that I find incredibly endearing. Before arriving to Madrid, I spent a few days in Barcelona laying on a beach, working on my tan, surrounded by gorgeous topless women from all over the world who I never got the chance to meet because I was just a bit overwhelmed by so much nudity. It was beautiful and painful at the same time.

Then, on July 19th, I took a bus from Barcelona to Madrid and that very same day, met up with my friend Javier and went for some well deserved beers. Got home drunk at 4am, fell asleep and woke up with no hangover whatsoever. It was fantastic. Next day went with my friend Curro to The Buen Retiro Park, a beautiful place I always try to visit when I’m in town, and later on met up with the rest of the gang for some very cheap rum and cokes at a place we call “Shemalia”. Why? Because its premises are surrounded by shemales who often get into the bar to go for a pee. As my friend Quico once said, it’s the equivalent of having Ronald McDonald entering one of his resturants to use the toilet, just a little less glamorous.

Now, the good thing about “Shemalia” is that is big, usually quite empty, the waitress is friendly and fun, it’s in the city centre and, wait for it, they have 2 rum and cokes for 5 euros. FIVE FUCKIN EUROS. Umbelievable. Just to put things in perspective, a  badly served rum and coke in London could be around 5 pounds, that’s like 7 euros or so. Now think about a place that gives you 2 very big and strong rum and cokes for half the price, it was paradise. Besides, there were Curro, Rafa, Manolo, Dani, Javi, Ara, Quico, Nikki, Tamy, Eileen and Quique to share them with so I couldn’t ask for more, could I?

Of course I could. As if it wasn’t enough, I also got presents! For the first time in a long time, I found myself unwrapping birthday gifts and it felt good. Curro, Quico, Ara, Dani, Manolo and Rafa put together an amazing set of books, a wicked AC/DC mug and one of the greatest Black Sabbath albums in Deluxe edition, just for my pure enjoyment. They took me by surprise and the whole moment almost brought tears to my eyes, particularly because just a couple of years ago, most of these people were complete strangers to me and now they are like family. It’s why I keep coming back to Madrid over and over again and it’s why I wanted to spend my birthday there this year… I miss them and it’s always good to see them.

And then I went to Valencia. I took a bus from Madrid and after 4 hours, I was greeted by my good friend Felix who took me to his place for lunch. Shortly after, we decided to go see the city and he asked me: “shall we go by bike or do you want to take the bus?” The answer came out naturally and without hesitation: by bike, of course! I mean, there were 38 degrees, the sun was shining, there was a beautiful beach awaiting and, unlike cities like London, there was actually a designated bike lane to ride without any danger. What I forgot to consider was the fact that I hadn’t ridden a bike in 17 years. Minor detail.

I put my bag with my laptop and a few books on the front basket of the bike, get on and just as I managed to put my feet on the pedals, the weight on the basket made the handlebars do a funny move that made the bike go sideways quite abruptly and just when I went to put my right foot on the ground to support myself, my ankle twisted and I lost balance. Now, this wouldn’t have been a problem if it wasn’t for the fact that public bikes in Valencia are 3 times heavier than a regular bike; they make them super heavy so they can resist all that reckless use they get so when I was in the air falling, I had no chance to get off or push away the bike as easily as I would with a regular bike so all my body weight and the bike ended up landing on my right knee. It was fuckin’ painful. And embarrasing.

When my friend realized I had fallen like 5 seconds after getting on the bike he came to the rescue and helped me get back on my feet. My knee hurt but it was ok so I got on the bike again (this time with no extra weight on the front basket) and rid for 10 minutes  to the University my friend is studying at, to work on the code for my installation. I could feel how my knee was getting swollen and by the end of the afternoon, I couldn’t walk at all. Took a cab back home, layed in bed with my leg on a cushion and waited for it to get slightly better overnight. But it didn’t, of course. Next day, my friend’s brother (who is a traumatologist – luckly!) put a needle into my knee and drained 60cc of blood and liquid out of it, put bandages all over to immobilize it, got me crutches and basically adviced to go back to London as soon as possible to get X-rays and a resonance, so I cut my holidays short and booked an earlier flight, for which I had to pay 100 fuckin’ pounds, by the way. Not cool.

Got home on Thursday afternoon after a journey from hell (aka Gatwick to London) and went to A&E the day after, to get an X-ray. They said there are no broken bones or severe ligaments injuries, which is good news, but still need to wait for an appointment with a traumatologist next friday to see exactly what’s wrong with my knee as it still hurts a bit. In the meantime, I’m finding my way with the crutches, figuring out how to go up and down the stairs safely, how to get into the bathtub without bending my knee, how to put my underwear and socks on in less than an hour… things like that. Fortunately, my housemates couldn’t be nicer (it helps to live with 4 girls and a doctor) and they have been taking good care of me; one of them even made a stunning tiramisú just to welcome me back home. She made sure to let me know it was mine.

And that’s about it, my cut-short birthday trip to Spain in a blog post. Man, I’m exhausted.

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32

Well, I’m officially older now. I will write a proper birthday post once I recover from last night’s rum and cokes. In the meantime, I’m off for a walk.

It’s 32℃ outside, what a coincidence.

A week in the life

Oh man, if only all weeks were like the last one. I’ve seriously had one of the most productive array of days (see? I just used the word “array” – my Processing skills are getting better and better!) since the year started and I must say, it feels good to get shit done. On Tuesday I went to Spitalfields Market to have a look at the D&AD’s New Blood show and actually attended to a nice talk at Poke, where they explained how they developed The Chatterbot, Orange’s Phone Fund game, from conception to completion. It was quite a complicated project in terms of technical implementation and was very interesting to get insight into how they approached the brief and managed to solve the challenges found along the way. Good stuff.

On Thursday, I met up with Oli and Alex at Mother, who kindly took the time to go through my portfolio in person and gave me some really nice feedback on my work. Now, I generally find successful people working in Advertising somewhat pretentious but they were absolutely ace and enthusiastic. Hats off. A couple of hours later, I had a long portfolio crit with my mate Anders at W+K, who is probably one of the funniest people I know. He’s also a stunning creative and a nice human being, willing to help whenever he can. Bless him. Later on that day, I ran into my friend Chris and went for some beers around Brick Lane where he introduced me to CityzenKane, a London-based street artist who makes the most amazing polymer sculptures. What a nice fella. He explained me the creative process behind his artworks, which I found fascinating. This video shows the making of Neon Bug, a fluorescent glow-in-the-dark sculpture. Watch it, it’s impressive.

We chatted a lot about polymer clay and after 3 pints and a quick look at this website, I suddenly decided I’ll get into the vagina moulding business. He said he has all the required materials in his studio so all I need is to learn the craft. Oh yes, and find the vaginas. That’s the tricky bit. I’m pretty confident about getting my moulding skills right but I can’t think of anyone who might be willing to volunteer and help me out on my new artistic enterprise. I guess I’ll need to post and ad and see what happens.

On Friday I interviewed with Elliot at Brothers and Sisters, who also took the time to look at my work and gave me useful feedback on my stuff. Always a pleasure to meet people like him. On Saturday I went to the Wimbledon Championships for a bit of high-class tennis, courtesy of my friend Andreína, who got us free tickets for the day. This was my first time on the legendary grounds of Wimbledon, the oldest tennis tournament in the world, and being a (quite inconsistent) tennis player myself, the whole thing was all very exciting. I remember being 15 years old and dreaming about playing on those grass courts. Actually, I used to watch the matches and later pretend to be André Agassi, smashing balls against the wall in my back garden. Those were the times.

At Wimbledon, the atmosphere was amazing but most important, the place was absolutely packed with redheads. The good-looking kind. It was a beautiful thing to behold. We wandered for a while and as the Central Court was too crowded (as you would expect), we decided to watch a couple of mixed doubles matches; the first one kind of lame and the second one very very exciting. I finished the night at 3am, with a friend, dancing drum & bass or whatever that was, at some random private house party near my place. Odd.

On Tuesday I decided to attend a Live Drawing session organized by the Young Crative Council. I rarely take part in this kind of events, partly because I feel embarrased and partly because I’m too lazy to go. This time around, I got my shit together and went there without any expectations, just to have fun and see what it was all about. Basically, there were Leo Abrahams and Paul Mullen playing a 2 hour long improvised acoustic set as we (about 15 people) painted, drew and illustrated their melodies. At one point, we were blindfolded and encouraged to paint and draw without seeing, just being guided by the music. It was FANTASTIC.

In the end, Leo and Paul were asked to pick their Top 10 drawings/paintings, which are now going to be featured in a Limited Edition vinyl release of the live sets performed that night. Suprisingly, Leo chose two of my artworks, including the one featured below on the left, which I painted at the beginning of the session (acrylic and ink on cardboard). The one on the right, which I drew while I was blindfolded, was not shortlisted but it’s probably my favourite. There’s something about it I really like. We’ve been told all the artworks will be scanned and featured in a website very soon so I’ll make sure to post something here when the time comes.

Finally, on Wednesday I met up with Andrew at Blast Radius, who kindly invited me to their offices to have a look at my work. We spent almost an hour discussing my ideas, talking about radio broadcasting, interaction and all sorts of fun things. Andrew is one of those guys you really enjoy having a chat with, very down to earth and insightful. I look forward to meeting him again.

That same Wednesday also marked the second anniversary of my arrival to London, which felt a bit overwhelming. Two years already? Fuck me, it feels like an eternity. Looking back, I’d dare to say these have been the most intense years of my life and when reviewing the whole thing, I can only think of how fortunate I am. There have been tough times, yes, but that’s nothing compared to all I’ve got out of this city and the people I’ve met along the way, it’s been just an amazing ride. Hopefully, there will be more to come.

I’m holding tight. Fingers crossed.