Monthly Archives: January 2014

January 31

After five days, I’m still feeling a bit run down. The sneezing is gone, the coughing has almost disappeared but the congestion is still giving me a hard time, triggering intermittent headaches that feel like ninja kicks to my temples. The weather hasn’t got any better, either; just as we speak, snow is falling from the sky in great amounts and the thermometer shows we’re now at minus three degrees (although it feels much colder out there). In fact, according to the Copenhagen Post, the sun has made its way through the winter clouds “for only seventeen hours since the start of the year, making this the dreariest January for some 26 years.” Seventeen fucking hours in a whole month! You kidding me? No wonder why I’ve felt so tired these days.

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Yesterday, I found a few post-its on my desk, next to an apple that I have been planning to eat for about a week now. At first, I thought it was just a silly joke but further inspection revealed a beautiful surprise: turns out the little post-it notes are part of an intriguing story penciled by the one and only, Fergus Kenny.

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I love Fergus, he’s one of the people I really connect with here in the office. He’s wise, funny and Irish. What’s not to like? We’re always discussing strange topics and coming up with crazy ideas I wish we had the time and energy to execute. Most of them are pretty ridiculous but some of them could actually be worth pursuing. Like a short film about an apple that goes rotten; just imagine beautiful shots of a ageing pink lady, and a voice over that thoughtfully reflects on the lonely fruit’s inevitable death as the days go by.

Yeah, I like that…

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January 27

Last night, I recorded a new episode of the GustaPOD with Nathan Cooper of Rubbishcorp. Really nice bloke, I very much enjoyed chatting with him. I was planning to go through the files and put the whole thing together tonight but just before noon, while I was in the office, a miserable cold came out of nowhere and in less than an hour managed to make me feel crap, to the point in which the only reasonable thing to do was to pack my stuff and go home. I have been here for 8 hours now, just watching terrible movies and feeling sorry for myself. Maybe is time to go back to bed…

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January 26

It took me by surprise last night, when I was on Skype with Ann: it’s been a year since I moved to Denmark. Strangely enough, it feels way longer than that…

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January 15

I went to the weekly Couchsurfing meeting last night, it was good. I hadn’t been there in a while but yesterday I was in the mood for a drink so decided to drop by and ended up meeting three really lovely girls with whom I chatted most of the evening: Zenja, a gene technologist from Estonia who recently moved to Denmark with her Danish boyfriend; Magdalena, a Polish girl who has been living in Copenhagen for 3 years and is currently doing a PhD; and Jagna, a German girl who’s studying Politics at Roskilde University. All of them really good company. We exchanged contacts and agreed to meet up again soon.

Yesterday it was also Dave Grohl’s birthday. I like Dave, he seems to enjoy what he does and be genuinely grateful for being able to do so. He’s also very funny, as you probably know. When we met in 2011, at the “Back and Forth” documentary launch party in London (we were introduced by Ross, who happens to be good friends with him) we shook hands and exchanged a couple of words. I took a couple of pictures of Ross and him, and then we left him to carry on saying hello to everybody in the room. Afterwards, when we were about to leave, I asked Ross if he wouldn’t mind asking Dave to have a picture taken with me; at first Ross was a bit annoyed (for a change) but eventually he went up to him and asked him to pose with one of his “slaves” (yours truly). Dave kindly agreed. We stood next to each other, smiled for the camera and just when Ross was about to press the shutter, he got on his tippy toes and burst into laughter.

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I mean, come on. He’s already like 2 feet taller than I am… was it really necessary to make that gap even wider? WAS IT, DAVE?

Of course it was. I know.

You’re Diamond Dave, that’s what you do. You’re always up for a laugh. Bastard.

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January 13

So I watched “World War Z” last night, it was good but nothing too special. It’s entertaining and the action sequences with the zombies going mental are great but that’s about it. “Kung Fury”, on the other hand… I know it might be a bit too early to make any predictions but I dare to say this will be the GREATEST film of 2014. Period.

Today, I bought a new bicycle (second hand) and fixed my bed frame, which I also got second hand and was pretty much falling apart. Oh, and we finally got some snow today, everyone is talking about it…

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January 12

After a week of being back in Denmark, it seems like my body clock is finally going back to normal. I’m sleeping better and feeling less tired, so much so that I decided to go out last night for a bit of live music at Christiania’s Jazzhouse, a really cool place I hadn’t been to before. Milda, a Lithuanian girl I met a while ago, told me that three bands were playing so I thought I’d be nice to drop by and see what it was about.

The first band was FANTASTIC; they are called Captain Casanova and are one of the most groovy bands I’ve seen live in a small venue. They have a great stage presence and are full of energy, particularly Rasmus, the guitar/singer. In a way, they reminded me of Nirvana, not musically but in the way they performed. Maybe it has to do with that massive dive Rasmus took into the drums at the end of the show. The audience was in awe. I’m really glad I went to see them and I look forward to catch them live again. The other two bands, Mount Rushmore Safari and Metal Ghost, were good but not as good as Captain Casanova. It was one of those occasions in which the support act totally kicked the headliners little arse. Very nice.

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During the show, Jonas – Milda’s boyfriend – kept buying shots of tequila, vodka, gin and tonics, and a few beers. I, of course, accepted it all, which resulted in me getting slightly tipsy before it was even midnight. After the gig, we (Milda, Milda’s boyfriend and I) went outside and had a chat with Rasmus, who told us a story about their tour vehicle: a red van they bought from somebody, and because it had “danceon.dk” written in big letters all over the caravan, they decided to buy the domain too (which luckly was available) and turn it into their official website address (you can also find them at www.captaincasanova.com). Funny that a band with a Nirvana-like onstage presence has a tour van that says “Dance On”.  I promised to get him in touch with my mate Gonzalo in Barcelona, whom I think will like the band a lot and who knows, maybe they can team up and schedule a few gigs together. That would be really cool. Rasmus gave a Captain Casanova CD and we agreed to stay in contact.

We went back inside for another drink (and a bit of dancing) and, around 2am, I decided it was time to go home. Got my gloves on and pedalled away to Rådhuspladsen, stopped at Burger King to grab a bite, locked my bike nearby and took the bus home. It’s a fact: after midnight, I can’t be bothered for more than 5 minutes.

Woke up this morning, took the bus back to Rådhuspladsen, picked up my bike, went for a coffee at Sort Kaffe og Vinyl and then came back home to help out Mark (along with some of his friends) to move some of his stuff out of the office and into our basement. We ended up the evening eating cheap pizza, watching “Bad Grandpa” (which is pretty funny, particularly the Lady’s night scene) and some random videos on YouTube.

Afterwards, some of them went out for a drink and I decided to stay home to Skype with my family and watch “World War Z”, which I’m about to do now.

Goodnight.

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January 10

Miserable rain pouring down all day. When you look at pictures of the Niagara Falls frozen, see videos of people peeing in the air and their urine turns into dust almost instantly, or simply catch up with friends who tell you how much it sucks to be at -25 degrees celsius with 40mph wind making it almost impossible to leave the house, a mild rainy day sounds like winning the weather lottery but still, it’s really annoying. I’d take snow anytime unless, of course, it’s under the circumstances described in this terrifying yet fascinating article I just found browsing through The World’s Best Ever, one of my favourite blogs these days.

Get a blanket, make yourself comfortable and read it, you’ll enjoy it.

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January 9

It’s James Patrick Page’s birthday today. Quite bizarre to think of Jimmy as an acquaintance; just a few years ago, if you would have told me I would end up at Jimmy Page´s house, drinking tea and talking about records, I would have told you to fuck off. Actually, if you would have told me I was EVER going to be in the same place as Jimmy Page, I would have told you to fuck off, too. I mean, come on. Jimmy Page, one of the most creative and influential guitarists of our times, hanging out with some random Venezuelan kid? Not in a million years.

And then, on July 17, 2010… just because life is beautiful and unexpected and mysterious, I met him through my friend Ross at a record fair in Earl’s Court. We hung out all afternoon and then he invited me to go with him and Ross to see Wilco Johnson play at the 100 Club that night and even bought me a beer. Three days later, on my birthday, I saw him again at The Worx Studios, in Parsons Green, and got the chance to see his Gibson double neck up close. At the time, I thought it had been just a big streak of luck, a once in a lifetime experience, but then we met again and again and again to the point in which seeing him wasn’t as shocking as realizing I could potentially ran into him at any given moment. For a Led Zeppelin fan that’s just mental.

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The coolest thing of all this is that every single time we met, he was an true gentleman. He was always laid back, friendly and really nice to me. Maybe it’s because I never bothered him with pictures or hassled him asking moronic fan questions, maybe he was just being polite because I was friends with Ross, or maybe he just liked me a little bit. Whatever the reason, I’m very proud to have met him and really happy to have a bunch of terrific memories I would never forget.

So, you keep on rocking too, Sir. Happy birthday.

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January 6

Wow, it’s been a while. Three weeks and four days, to be precise. What have I been up to all this time? Well, for starters, I went back home for Christmas, as I usually do, and spent a couple of weeks with my family, whom I hadn’t seen in a year. It was fantastic to see them and catch up, I miss them a lot. I also met my little niece, who was born early this year; she’s clever and has a lot of character, always smiling and up for a bit of fun. I really enjoyed spending time with her, making her laugh and playing funny uncle. It was lovely.

I introduced my little niece to "Highway To Hell". She liked it but then told her that Bon Scott is actually dead, and she was totally bummed :(

I introduced my little niece to “Highway To Hell”. She liked it but then told her that Bon Scott was actually dead and she was totally bummed :(

As a consequence, I had to explain her that although Bon Scott is dead, we have Brian Johnson. She was a bit skeptical at first so I gave her a copy of "Back In Black". Everything was OK afterwards.

As a consequence, I had to explain her that although Bon Scott is dead, we have Brian Johnson. She was a bit skeptical at first so I gave her a copy of “Back In Black”. Everything was OK after that

While I was home, I had planned to write the traditional end of the year post (my friend Rafa wrote a nice one but I still like the Christmas day one better) but I couldn’t be bothered to sit in front of a computer, wasting my time blogging, when I had my family at home. It just wouldn’t have made any sense. Since I moved abroad, back in 2010, I have been back in Venezuela for the Christmas holidays three times and this one has been the quietest yet the most enjoyable of them all. In two weeks, I only went out three times; the rest of the days I spent them at home, helping my mum with the household chores, playing around with my niece, going through boxes of old records and papers, sleeping, watching TV with my dad, chatting with my aunt and basically, just hanging out with them. I felt there was nowhere else I’d rather be than at home with them; not at some random New Year’s party, not out every night drinking or stuck in front of my laptop like some sad Internet junkie, no. This time around, I just wanted to be with my family and I’m so happy I managed to share some quality time with them.

A bunch of concert tickets, including Metallica passes for those amazing nights front row in Madrid, back in 2009.

A bunch of concert tickets, including Metallica passes for two amazing nights, front row, at Palacio de los Deportes (Madrid) back in 2009

A box with some of my old records at home, I gave them to my 10-month old niece as a Xmas present

I found at my parent’s house a box with some of my old records and gave them to my 10-month old niece as a Xmas present

I also introduced my little niece to Photo Booth. She didn't give a shit.

I also introduced my little niece to Photo Booth. She didn’t give a shit

Now, I might not have blogged about it but I did take the chance to reflect on my life during 2013 and, looking back, last year was a great year, much better than the previous one, which really sucked balls. It might be a bit late for this but I still would like to make a best of 2013 review and, in order to keep it relatively short and prevent myself from drifting away, I will try to break it down in categories. That would make things much easier. Let’s see:

Travel
Last year, I travelled quite a lot. For my standards, anyway. Actually, I hadn’t travelled that much since 2006, when I did a mini European tour with my backpack. Anyway, in 2013 I moved to Denmark, visited London many times, went to Malmö twice (which almost doesn’t count as it’s just over the bridge, very near Copenhagen), spent an amazing long weekend in Wales for the DO Lectures; returned to France after 7 years, visiting not only Paris but going all the way to Montpellier, a little town in the south which I really enjoyed. I still miss waking up every morning and going to the supermarket to buy fresh-baked bread. I also remember very clearly being in the sea, staring at the shore, thinking about how I had no clue of what I was going to do next (I had just been laid off from my job and didn’t have a solid offer at the time, which made the whole work visa situation a bit of a issue) but also thinking how fortunate I was, even if I didn’t know what I was doing most of the time.

I also went to Madrid for Ana and Dani’s wedding and spent a weekend in the Italian Alps, which is probably one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been to. I was particularly impressed by the vastness of the place, all covered in white and so quiet. Waking up every morning next to that big mountains was a humbling experience. I hope I can go back sometime.

The Italian Alps

The Italian Alps

Montpellier

Cycling in Montpellier

Paris

Paris

The view from The Shard. Went up there with Ross the day after my birthday.

The view from The Shard. Went up there with Ross the day after my birthday.

People
I met a lot of new people last year and caught up with friends I hadn’t seen in a while, too. Just a few weeks ago, Desiree came to visit from Turkey; shortly before, there was Teemu from Finland, who I hadn’t seen in almost two years; and Luisana visited me in May and we spent a fantastic week, just when Distortion was on. Her visit is probably one of the highlights of my time in Copenhagen so far.

In Paris I met Ella, the super lovely 6-year old girl that drew a lovely picture of us at Luxemburg Gardens (a very, very special gift); I saw Olesia and Anna, the Ukranian twins I studied with in London; and caught up with Valmore, a Venezuelan dude I hadn’t seen in a while, who kindly offered me to stay at his place for a night. It was nice to see him. In Montpellier, I saw Aurelia, who also offered me a couch in her lovely flat and was the most amazing host for a week. There, I also met Natalia (from Slovakia) and Inés (from Spain), a couple of girls who had rented a room at Aurelia’s flat through Airbnb. We had a lot of fun together.

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Natalia, Inés and yours truly in Montpellier

Ella's drawing. That's me on the left, and her on the right. Lovely stuff.

Ella’s drawing. That’s me on the left, and her on the right. Lovely stuff.

In Wales, I met a bunch of interesting folks: Erik, a Norwegian guy who works as a strategist for a London-based agency who, funnily enough, knew a good friend of mine from Venezuela; Richard, an interesting British guy who works as a Creative Director for an advertising agency in Amsterdam (he was a pleasure to talk to); Iona and Rowan, two lovely girls who were working at fforest, and four guys from McCann: Andrew, Carl, Zoe and Lucy, who I hung out with quite a lot during the event. I actually kept it touch with Carl and Zoe (who happens to be Danish) and even met her again shortly after, when I went to London for It’s Nice That’s HERE seminar. I like Zoe, she’s really cool.

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KISS and their heroes

Last year, I also met KISS, in full-on make up and classic attire, during a show here in Copenhagen. Ross got me some VIP tickets that included a pass for a “meet a greet” before the concert so I brought along my friend Jesús. Neither of us are huge KISS fans but we both agreed that standing there with such legends was fucking cool.

And then, of course, there’s all the people I have met in Copenhagen, which are just way too many to mention. However, there are three Venezuelan guys who I’m very happy to have met: Jesús, Susanne, and Carlos, who have really made my time in Copenhagen a lot better. It’s a pity that Jesús and Susanne moved somewhere else but it was still a pleasure to meet them and I look forward to see them again.

Music
Last year wasn’t bad on the gigs front, either. I saw Slash, EELSQueens of The Stone Age (twice), Soundgarden (front row!), Slipknot, Iron MaidenMetallica (quite an event in Denmark) and a bunch of other bands at Roskilde, a terrific festival with an amazing atmosphere, which I’m looking forward to attend again this year. I also managed to miss Black Sabbath (still kicking myself for that) and got fucked in the arse by Cocorosie, a duo I was really excited to see live and that turned out to be a major disappointment (I went with my friend Vibe and we both decided to leave after the third song because we were absolutely sure they were lip-syncing).

One happy and exhausted Roskilde fan looking forward to a) see Queens Of The Stone Age and b) sleep on his own bed.

One happy and exhausted Roskilde fan that was looking forward to a) see Queens Of The Stone Age and b) sleep on his own bed.

Queens of The Stone Age in Copenhagen

Queens of The Stone Age in Copenhagen

I also subscribed to Spotify premium (a service I’m very pleased with) and started collecting vinyl records. So far, I don’t have that many but hopefully my lot will grow over time. Oh yeah, and I think the Queens of The Stone Age released their best album to date: “…Like Clockwork”. If you haven’t listened to it yet, go do it now. You’re really missing out.

Books
In 2012, I bought a Kindle and read a few books but then this year I managed to break the screen and spent most of the time trying to read some of my paper books instead, without much success. I read bits from  the “Failure” book, part of the series Whitechapel: Documents of Contemporary Art; started “Digital Vertigo” by Andrew Keen, which I haven’t been able to read properly because I get terribly sidetracked by the list of links in the references section; couldn’t move forward with “The Happiness Paradox” because I find some of the concepts a bit hard to understand; and managed to re-read “Things The Grandchildren Should Know”, which remains one of my favourite books of all times.

Then, last month, before heading home, I got myself an iPad Air as a Christmas present and finished two books I had been reading on my Kindle before I broke it: “My Wooky Book” by Rusell Brand, which is very entertaining, and “Everything Is Perfect When You’re A Liar” by Kelly Oxford, which is hilarious. I love her writing and wish I could articulate words the way she does, or at least marry a girl who can.

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To top it all off, on January 27th I got an e-mail from Amazon advertising their “12 Days of Kindle”, a big sale in which they offered books for £0.99. I browsed through all the categories and found “Mad, Bad and Dangerous: The Book of Drummer’s Tales” by Spike Webb, and “Homeland: Carrie’s Run” by Andrew Kaplan, described as “an edge-of-your-seat original prequel based on Showtime’s hit series Homeland”. Let me tell you, they were right about the “edge-of-your-seat” bit. The book is absolutely thrilling, not only because is very well written but because it does a brilliant job with the characters already created by the show; I can hear Carrie’s and Saul’s voices in my head as I read, picturing clearly their expressions and the way the react to the events portrayed in the book. It’s fucking exciting and can’t wait to find out what happens next.

I also bought “My Booky Wook 2”, which wasn’t part of the sale but that I wanted to buy anyway after I finished the first book. I plan to start it once I’m done with Homeland.

Work
Well, I got hired and then got laid off a few months later. Spent a couple of weeks unemployed and managed to score a better job, at a better place, in record time. That’s an accomplishment in itself. However, I didn’t produce much work, it was a slow year, but it seems like 2014 could be much better. Fingers crossed.

By the way, remember that little Christmas film I mentioned a few weeks ago? The one I wrote and directed? Well, it might be a bit late for this but here it is anyway:

And that’s about it, really. All in all, a really good year in which I learnt loads about myself, especially after I moved to Denmark, a place that is both welcoming and hostile at the same time. I still like London better and would move back there right away if I could, but Copenhagen is not a bad place to live at all and it’s actually starting to grow a little on me, I think. I feel like after spending almost a year here, there are aspects of the Danish lifestyle that I understand a bit better, I have a slightly bigger network and in general, I feel a bit optimistic about what Copenhagen can offer me in the future.

Anyway, I probably should get back to work, which today means doing nothing at all. My brain is slow and my back hurts, maybe because I spent 34 hours travelling from Venezuela to Denmark, with stopovers in Caracas, Madrid and London, and A LOT of hours to kill in between. On my way there, it wasn’t that bad: I stopped in London for 2 days, then in Caracas for 3 days, and then I flew to the town where my parents live but doing the same route, all in one go, was a fucking stupid idea.

How stupid, you ask?

Well, let’s see: woke up at 6am to catch a 30-minute flight from Barquisimeto to Caracas. Then waited there 8 hours until we boarded our delayed flight to Madrid, a route that took almost 9 hours to be completed. Then waited 4 hours at Barajas airport and flew to London. Two hours later we landed in Heathrow and from there I had to go to Gatwick Airport, where my flight to Copenhagen departed from. Just going from one airport to the other took a couple of hours on the Tube/Gatwick Express. Once I was there, I had to wait 5 more hours before our 120-minute flight to Copenhagen departed. Got here around midnight, with a sore neck, an aching back and very heavy eyes. Couldn’t fall asleep right away so ended up going to bed around 2am only to wake up at 8am to go to work. It was that stupid.

But hey, that’s me, what did you expect?

The good thing is that I got to the office this morning and found a lovely Christmas gift from Advance on my desk and then Gavin gave me a photography book, which I had been flicking through this afternoon and looks amazing.

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Advance’s Christmas present

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A Christmas present from Gavin

Not bad for an end-of-the-holidays Monday, right?

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