Category Archives: unimportant announcements

Things My Mother Taught Me

I am back. For the few people who have been following my irregular blogging efforts over the years, this shouldn’t come as a surprise; every now and then, I go through an emotional outbreak, get depressed, deem whatever life stories I had plans to share in public totally worthless and throw in the towel, only to pick it up again months later, pretending nothing happened and brushing the whole incident off with a half-smile.

This time around, though, the situation feels slightly different. This comeback is the result of various recent events coming together; a combination of realizations and flashes of insight that affected me on so many levels that left me with no other choice but to do something about it. Right now.

I think it all kind of started when my mum asked me to send her pictures of my birthday party and my holidays in France. I had spent most of my time wandering around Paris and Montpellier on my own, and for some reason I didn’t take any pictures on my birthday (which I decided to spend in London, with some of my best friends), so I mostly had snapshots of old buildings, charming alleyways, sandy beaches, crowded parks and street art. Not a bad mix, really. The beach pictures were particularly nice and summery so I made a quick selection of my best Instragram shots and sent them over Whatsapp. A few minutes later, she replied back: “Yeah, that place is beautiful… but I meant pictures of you. Don’t you have any?” What? I don’t have any pictures of me, I was on my own! And yes, I could have taken a selfie, but I hate selfies. Hate them. Why couldn’t she take my lomography-like beach shots as good-enough evidence of my holidays? It bothered me a bit so I texted back some insolent bullshit. Shortly after, she kindly replied: “Sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you. I just think that when you grow old, you’re going to wish you had more pictures of you and your friends, and you will not have any.” I took a few seconds to read those lines and then it hit me, like a fistful of steel straight to my stomach. Blimey, she’s right. She is so right.

I stayed with that thought ringing in my head for days. I kept thinking how many things I can’t remember about my life, and how much I can remember about someone else’s. Like my friend Ross’, for example. I met Ross 12 years ago and have been reading his diary on a regular basis ever since, which is why sometimes I could reassure him we had a particular photo of your favourite rockstar, somewhere in a hard drive or hidden between thousands of contact sheets. I knew he had shot it because I remembered reading about it. I knew in which city, or had a vague idea of the year/tour in which many of his photos were taken, just because I had kept track of his work over the years through his diary. I suddenly realized that I could remember more details about Ross’ life than I could remember about my own and that, my friends, is seriously fucked up.

Then I came across this post by Holly Brockwell (who I would love to date if I could) and it was then when I decided that it was time to start a diary, once and for all. I had been toying with the idea of starting a diary for quite a while but I just never put that plan into action, maybe because I always thought my life was way too mundane to be documented on a daily basis. I still kind of do but after reading Holly’s post, I thought: yeah, why not? I opened a 750words account, determined to start my journal that same day, logged in and quickly realized it was going to be impossible to pull it off on that platform. I know you don’t have to write everyday, that you can stop before reaching 750 words if you feel like it, but still, I knew those empty boxes were going to haunt me forever. You see, I’m the kind of guy who can’t have unread messages on his inbox lingering for too long, it makes me anxious. If I get a comment on Facebook, I have to check it. If I get a mention on Twitter, I need to find out what is it about. Having those little red notification circles on my phone distress me, so the idea of potentially finding a long line of unticked boxes – a reminder of how good I am at not sticking to my promises – was a little bit off-putting.

I wanted to find a balance between the strict day-by-day format that 750words encouraged and my erratic blogging pattern, a middle ground between writing every day a set number of words and not writing a single word in months. In the end, I decided to settle with a Ross Halfin meets Mick Wall meets Doogie Howser format, only that I don’t travel as often as Ross, don’t write as good as Mick and I’m probably not as smart as Doogie. I bet you can’t wait for me to get started.

The decision to keep a public diary instead of a private one has been influenced, partly, by a a blog post, a web project and couple of books I’ve been reading over the last few months: “Why go out?” by Sheila Heti, 40 Days of Dating by Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman, Russell Brand’s “My Booky Wook”,  and “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brené Brown, a writer and research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, who has spent the past decade studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. After watching her TED Talk on The Power of Vulnerability, I decided to give one of her books a try and despite my general aversion towards the self-help genre, I have to say the book is quite insightful and some of her observations fascinating, particularly if you are interested in human behaviour and social interaction.

In addition to the diary, I will also try to take more pictures. Hopefully, you’ll be able to see me in them. With the ubiquitous camera phone, hundreds of photo-enhancing applications and photo-sharing services available, gadgets and whatnot, I fail to understand why is it that I don’t document my life with photos as much as I would like to. And I don’t mean the things I see around me but the things I do, the strangers I meet, the people I hang out with. Just to give you an idea: I have met Jimmy Page, one of the greatest and most influential musicians in history, at least 12 times in the last 3 years. For a Led Zeppelin fan, that’s a big fucking deal. Ross introduced us back in 2010 and since then, just out of luck, by chance, only because magical things happen in London, we have been out record shopping, eating burgers and attending concerts together, I’ve been to his house, I’ve got a Led Zeppelin II red vinyl and a guitar pick as a present from him, and YET I don’t have a single photo with the man. Not one. Nothing. And you know what? I have never asked for it, either.  I wish we had a photo together, just so I can tell my kids and grandchildren all about it one day, but the fact is that I don’t and somehow I’m OK with it.

This detachment might have been fueled by a short speech John McCrea gave between songs the day Cake played at The Troxy, back in 2011. I have checked on YouTube and there seems to be no evidence of that particular rant but apart from giving away a tree to a member of the crowd in one of the most amusing guessing games I’ve ever witnessed (remember kids, say no to vertical video!) and performing a killer version of Short Skirt Long Jacket, at some point that night John addressed the audience and imparted a piece of advice I will never forget. And when I say I will never forget I don’t mean the actual words (which I have indeed forgotten and won’t be able to quote for you now), but the meaning behind them: when seeing a bunch of hands in the air, taking pictures and making videos, McCrea said something like: “Stop taking pictures, you don’t need to prove to anyone that you are here. You know you’re here, I know you’re here, that’s all that matters.” I was struck by that statement. It made wonder why exactly is it that we take pictures these days. Are we taking pictures to document precious moments we probably would cherish in the future or are we taking pictures just to have solid evidence we can throw at other people’s faces to show them how oh-so-cool our lives are? I don’t know, maybe a little bit of both.

In any case, I will try to take them more often. And I will try to write regularly, too. My relationship with Copenhagen (a city that after 6 months I still haven’t quite figured out), my current plans and this kind of midlife crisis I seem to be going through at the moment might be just the kind of encouragement I need to push this forward.

Just keep your expectations low. I’m just an average bloke, after all…

PS: Like Clockwork… Best Queens of the Stone Age record to this date. Period.

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Different From One Another

That’s right 2012, you left the building and I didn’t say a word. I should have kissed you goodbye, like I always do in these situations, but this time around I just didn’t feel the urge to put together that nostalgic post in which I usually look back and try to come up with an honest balance of that 12-month relationship, while the whole world prepared to part ways with you by drowning into copious amounts of alcohol, food and gunpowder.

Maybe I was too busy catching up with my family, whom I hadn’t seen since you and I first met; they have been filling me up with all sorts of fantastic food and their loving company is always more enjoyable than any bit of writing I could ever do. Or maybe it was the heat; high temperatures tend to slow me down so instead of sitting in front of my laptop, I much preferred to lay in the garden with my dogs, placid, where no wifi could reach me, clearing my skin under the sun. Or perharps it was the rum I’ve been indulging since I arrived; back in England rum and cokes are so expensive, and so poorly served, that when I’m home I just get carried away and things end up getting a bit out of control.

Whatever the reason, though, the fact is that I forced myself not to say farewell. You see, last year I kindly asked you to be nice and gentle, and you turned out to be one tough and challenging motherfucker. Yes, you brought me some joy and happy moments, but boy, you sure gave me a hard time. You kicked my self-esteem and tested my will more than once but I suppose there were  lessons that had to be learnt. I like to see it that way, and although this post might sound to you like a complaint or a personal attack, trust me, it is not. Seriously, it isn’t. All I’m saying is that this time around, I didn’t feel like looking back to wrap things up, the same way I don’t feel like asking anything in advance to your brand-new substitute, either. This time around I’ll leave the pleas aside and will just hold to my hopes with all my heart. That’s all I’ve got and, right now, it feels like it’s all I need.

Having said that, I just read this is the first time since 1987 that a year has all its four digits different from one another, so I guess that makes 2013 somewhat special already.

Who knows? Maybe that’s a good sign

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What’s My Age Again?

The wait is over: I’m finally off the crutches. Well, kind of. Last friday, the doctor said that my bone looked great on the x-ray and that I was ready to hit the dancefloor anytime I wanted to, only that my first walk home after my visit to the hospital that afternoon felt a bit like this…

It’s a natural thing, I guess; my right leg has been on stand-by for so long that it’s now very weak and every step is awkward and challenging and exhausting and a bit scary, too. I feel like a toddler. However, I know that Bambi-on-ice kind of feeling will slowly disappear once I start my physiotherapy and my muscles get back in shape, but in the meantime, I think I will stick to the crutches for a wee bit, just while I get the hang of this again.

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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.

Wishlist

I rarely wish things were any different to how they’ve been in my life. Seriously, so far, I’ve had a great life: I have a loving family, I’ve travelled the world (well, not all of it but some), my penis works, I’m usually surrounded by talented and inspiring people, I live in a kick arse city, I don’t have man boobs, I’ve never been a vegetarian and I don’t own a single Bon Jovi record. I can’t complain, really. Even though, people who know me personally might argue that, deep down, I probably wish with all my heart that I was taller and it seems reasonable, I suppose, but let me tell you something: I don’t give a shit about height. In fact, I’m pretty sure this is some sort of heavenly damage control; I mean, being taller would be to have way too much advantage so I hold nothing against nature and its funny ways to make things fair to everybody. I do get it.

However, I must admit that lately I’ve been hanckering for something I don’t have; a trenchant incomformity that music has seeded in my head has been growing stronger over the last year or so. For the first time, I’ve really been wishing certain aspects of my life, of myself, were different. You know, it’s quite hard to accept I do have a dissatisfaction after all. Two of them, to make things worse. I put the blame, partly, on the EELS…

Do I want to wear sunglasses and look cool? No. Do I crave for world recognition and stardom? Nope. Do I want to have a band so I can wear fancy clothes onstage? Not really. Do I want to travel the world and play in front of millions of people and shag girls every night after each show? Well, maybe, but to be honest that’s not what’s really bothering me now.

“Then what the hell is that they have, you wish you had?” – I can hear you all say.

Well, I tell you what: I WANT A FUCKIN’ BEARD.

That’s it, seriously, I wish I could grow a goddamn beard like the one E has, it looks fuckin’ ace. And I wish I had been at that particular gig, too. In fact, if I was asked to pick a single video that somehow embodied the whole concept of human happiness, this would be it. Just look at all those people enjoying themselves, dancing and singing along, making funny moves, banging their heads, smiling… it’s just beautiful, particularly when you realize the kind of life the guy generating all that amazing energy has had. I’ve been watching this video repeatedly for like 3 months now and every time I do, a feeling of cheerfulness takes over, which made think about how powerful music is and how important it has become in my life. Moreover, it reminded me of this paper I was just a couple of nights ago: “Music, cognition, culture and evolution”, written by a guy named Ian Cross at the Faculty of Music in the University of Cambridge. The document is quite interesting, not only because it introduced me to some unknown concepts and ideas worth considering, but also because it made me sit down and reflect for a moment after reading the conclusions of three authors (Pinker, Sperber and Barrow) mentioned by Cross, all of them apparently suggesting that music is just an evolutionary by-product that’s purely hedonic and that “compared with language, vision, social reasoning, and physical know-how, music could vanish from our species and the rest of our lifestyle would be virtually unchanged”. From a purely scientific, biological, evolutionary point of view that statement might hold some truth to it but even though, I really can’t help to disagree, and luckly, so does Cross. I won’t spoil the whole discussion for you, check out the paper here, it’s worth reading.

The other thing that music has made me wish for is a proper photographic recollection of my life. Everytime I watch a documentary like Foo Fighters’ “Back and Forth” or Pearl Jam’s “Twenty”, I always wish I had more pictures of me, of my friends and family, of the things I’ve done, of the silly moments I’ve been part of, of the places I’ve been, of the people I’ve met, of the parties I’ve got drunk at… you know, greater photographic evidence of my journey so far. I have a quite decent amount of pictures of my childhood, most of them featuring a very tiny me wearing embarrasing costumes (thank you, mum!), but after I turned 14 or so, the numbers decreased dramatically. Even today, I rarely take any pictures of my happenings and to be honest, I have no idea why. There are no excuses: every single phone on earth has a camera now, I work with a photographer, I bought a proper camera last year, I live in a city that it’s pretty photogenic and yet, not many pictures under my belt. I’m gonna try to change that. From now on, I will try to keep record of my life as much as I can, just in case someone wants to make a documentary about me in the future.

Hey, you never know…

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE: I have just found this and for only 4$ it could be mine! I think I’m buying it.

These socks

I’ve found an odd similarity between some random stairs at London Met and one of my many pairs of socks (they are the same colour but you can’t really tell because of the iPhone’s 3GS useless camera but trust me, they are very much alike).

To be honest, I’m not sure if I like this.

I think I don’t.

Hit me baby one more time

Right, so this is it, I have started yet another blog. One more blog I probably won’t be able to update as much as I would like to, another blog that sooner or later will become a reason to complain about how busy I am, an extra blog to contribute with the never-ending universe of self-centered websites that only a few people will read.

However, here I am, writing its first entry in the “Silent Study Area” of the University I’ve been gracing with my presence for a few months now. I will tell you all about it in the next post because silly as it sounds, I actually started writing posts for this blog way before I even booked a place on the internet to host it, when I didn’t even had a name for it, when I didn’t even know if I was indeed willing to commit to this new item I’m officially adding to my long list of things-to-do that my brain is already having a really hard time trying to cope with.

But fear not, I’m up for this.

Seriously.