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.

Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 16.25.18

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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