Category Archives: art

Louis Armstrong is not the subject

But his music is providing the initial musical backdrop to this post, being written 832 days after my last post. General Lacy is still providing the geographical backdrop, though I now own a GPS device. Sella is closed on Saturdays, so had to buy my pastries and bread in Obrador de Goya. Goya worked as a waiter at the oldest still open restaurant in the world, Botín. I wonder if his visits to the kitchen were inspirational for his dark paintings. I’ve never eaten there, so my

210px-Francisco_de_Goya,_Saturno_devorando_a_su_hijo_(1819-1823)_cropobservation has nothing to do with the quality of the restaurant’s food, and everything to do with the quality of my writing.

The emotional backdrop is one of stasis and αναμονή, “expectation” according to a pop translational engine, though I am not happy with that interpretation. I am on holiday, so you could say that the state of my life’s automaton’s backdrop of writing this post is vacational or holidational, depending on whether you are US-English or British-English configured. Other things that have changed in these last 832 days are: I am reading Infinite Jest (have been reading it for the last 379 days, currently on page 311), we’ve moved to the apartment where: [Road, Number, Esc, Floor, Piso] += [0, 0, 0, 0, 3], my salmorejo phase has been replaced by a gazpacho phase, and Friday nights now mean Equipo de Investigación rather than Callejeros.

The political and geopolitical situation in Greece are irrelevant for this blog post. The geolocational situation is a different story all together. For that I would need to download Greece maps to my GPS device, and also a USB cable that supports the device. I don’t know if the maps are subject to EU sanctions.

Time sits in perpetually relative abstract solitude.

Goya Burger


Goya Burger, sponsored by Carrefour

Dia de los Reyes in Spain tomorrow. The Kings came from the East today and arrived in Madrid and all over Spain bringing gifts to the children that have been good all year and coal (!) to the nasty ones… It’s a big carnival-like parade in Madrid. Apparently a lot of children cry in awe when they see the kings (the wise men). I hate to tell them: It’s all a damn lie!

Meanwhile, Israel continues bombing the fuck out of the Palestinians.  It’s no lie. It was planned a long time ago.

Going to Lisbon on Wednesday for a few days, then London on Monday for a week. Bubba has a son. His name is Herbie Tribunales Ramirez. Sorry I hadn’t told you earlier, I just recently found out myself.

Águas de Julho

É pau, é pedra, é o fim do caminho
o pão de açucar, o cristo que foi mijar
é a opera do bubba é a vida é o sol
é uma lancha no rio, é uma ave no chão
é a mãe da super luiza é a julia é a luiza

é o chico buarque, o luiz melodia, o djavan e o vinicius
o penedo, o fio maravilha, açerola, e truta viva
uma trilha no mato, a bolsa de valores
um gringo chato, são as dores, são as flores
poa, itapemirim, galeto e samba
laura, carlão, sandalias melissa e guimba
rio de janeiro, flamenco, cariocas
cuia e chimarrão é um lanche na esquina

São o oscar niemeyer, o william e a susi
a ana e a lisa, a sofia e a julia
o maneca, a cally e a lancha na quaiba
são são paulo com transito, e sistema de transporte
junior e juliana, luca nano e melissa
tomas e priscilla andre e a dentista
a daiza e o osasco, a ponte la no morumbi
o irmão do evaldo, é a nação zumbi

o renatão e o artur, a angela e o mingo,
a isabella a giovanna, cizo, alcione e flavio
a alzira a alaide, a antonietta a mimi
centro cultural santander, caminho no parcão
e por favor nunca mais habib´s
é o brique e o acarajé, carlos, doug, adam e açai
é a gorda e a seca la no zaffari

é o sol no caixeiros viagantes, é a elis regina
é o chico buarque, é o chico é o chico
é uma ave no céu, uma ave no chão
a cachoeira de deus, uma borboleta na mão

a bethania, e os ramalhos, e um baile de funk, é o creu é o creu
é um coco gelado, saudade e saude
ronaldinho gaucho, é verdade é verdade
uma agua gelada, guarana, fanta da uva
caipirinha, cachaça, picanha e costelão
são tres corações de frango, chocolate do gramado
chocolate do penedo, jiu-jitsu, capoeira
é o menino vadio, a marizete e a jazz
embromation, enrrolation, bossa nova em cartaz
ecohostel, curitiba, fatima, tiago e vinicius
é muita cafeina, é a banda do marcus

é o verissimo no sebo, e umas artes da morte,
o djavan, o corinthians, o flamengo e a flu
uma banana na cachoeira, umas fotos tiradas
pão de queijo, mamão, e umas velhas piradas
um velhinho safado, acarajé no brique
pastel na feira, caldo de cana
a indra e a chirsten, debora, tim, jonathan
um cigarro avulso, uma skol ou polar
ciclovias na curitiba, uma itaipava no ar
são as aguas de março fechando o verão
é a promesa de vida no teu coração
é pau é pedra…

The best of Britain, numero dos

One More Grain perfectly pinpoint the wonder and disillusion inherent in these damp isles.”Plan B

The Boycott Coca-Cola Experience: “The man, the legend, poet, voice of a generation”Indigo Moss, 11/07

“Ok, gotta do some work now, if I’m ever gonna get out of this town…” – Spiros, 26/03

Not so Cynical Torso (CPH, part 3)

I love speaking to the locals when travelling abroad. It’s very difficult to get a feel for a place in such a short time, but I’ve realised that doing things that they may do on a daily basis, is the best way. Who goes to bloody museums, but tourists? So, I went to the swimming pool a couple of times in Copenhagen, well, actually in Frederiksberg, which is a separate town with it’s own mayor, a town within a town.

The swimming lanes were very strangely arranged. Four lanes, two for men and two for women supposedly, and of the two that I could use, one was huge (in width) and the other very narrow. It turns out that the huge one is for the breaststroke and the narrow one for the crawl. I haven’t been to many pools in my life, but this strikes me as particularly stupid. I can imagine someone in a high position, who knows nothing about swimming, say maybe the son of the mayor of Frederiksberg who could also be the owner of the pool, thinking that it’s a good idea with a touch of brilliance, instead of the usual slow/medium/fast lanes separation, to go by width. Ridiculous and annoying, both in the narrow one, where I kept bumping into that floating separator, and the huge one, where all the very slow pensioners were and where people were overtaking each other all the time, thus defeating the purpose of having a large arm span to do your breaststroke in. I think I understand now what it was all about. The idiot who had the idea, couldn’t do the crawl and was spiteful towards people who can do it…

The steam room was great though, and so was the free shampoo/shower gel. And I spoke to one local, the pool attendant, who hails from Yorkshire, just outside Leeds. Funny accent…

The other great place to meet the locals is on public transport. On the way back from the pool, on the Thursday, I wanted to get back to the hotel quickly (it was a half hour walk) so decided to catch the bus for the first time in Copenhagen. There was an old lady at the stop. So sweet. I think I frightened her in the beginning (and in the end) but we ended up chatting a bit. She told me she was sorry she couldn’t speak more, because she’s ill and she made a motion with her hand over her scarf. So I said, “a cold?”, and she smiled and said, “no, much more serious than that”. I felt like a twat.

She told me that she likes to go out every day, even though it’s difficult for her. She asked me where I was from and when I said Greece, she looked at me and asked if I have brown eyes. I said no and she told me that she has brown eyes. She patted the edges of her white hair and said with a cheeky smile “I used to be a brunette, I’m Spanish” and broke out into a big smile. Oh, I said, do you speak Spanish? No, not at all, my ancestors came here 200 years or so ago and I don’t even know which part of Spain I’m from.

I sat just behind her on the bus, but she didn’t notice this and when I went to get off, I said, “goodbye”. She literally jumped out of her seat. It scared the shit out of her. I laughed and said sorry. She laughed as well. Old ladies are great.

I left my swimming gear hangin’ in the hotel room and took the train to Malmo. On the train I almost jumped out of the seat myself, startled. I had forgotten my passport. I hadn’t even thought about it. Here I was about to enter a different country and I had no form of identification. I hadn’t planned this day trip properly. I texted a friend of a friend from Crete, a Greek lady married to a Swede living near Malmo to see if they could give me some advice about where to go and what to see there. She never got back to me. I later found out that they were in Chania, Crete at the time. Luckily I arrived in Malmo and didn’t need an ID.

The first thing that struck me in Sweden was that the drivers were a bit “ruder”. Not so gentle and polite as in Denmark. And so were the cyclists. Oh, Copenhagen, how I miss thou… with your gentle tree lined avenues and well-behaved organised systems… The language to my untrained ears sounded slightly different. Whereas I was hearing French-sounding noises in Danish, I could hear Italian-sounding noises in Swedish. But that’s just because I don’t understand either, and am probably insulting all Danes and Swedes and French and Italians. Fuck’em.

Malmo’s a nice place. The weather was great. But I had stupidly forgotten to think about …currency. I really hadn’t thought this day trip out properly. You’re going to a different country, spiro. I didn’t have any currency, I didn’t know the exchange rate, I didn’t even know if they have the euro or something else in Sweden. So I went to the first cash point I found and decided to take the 2nd lowest option, which was 500 Kronor. And I ended up with more money than I needed, coz once I left the cash point I saw that an average meal is around 100 Kronor (~ £9). So, I went to the bookshop (which was great, though the staff were a bit snobbish) and bought myself a crime novel in English by a Swedish author, set in Göteborg and Copenhagen. So it all ties in nicely. Sweet.

The weather was great and I went to a nice big park, with lakes and sat in the sun a bit and then walked towards the twisted torso building. I just googled it and found this link, on Concrete Monthly – News from the cement and concrete industries. The sad thing is that they definitely get more hits than this blog does. Pfff… I also found out that Calatrava was the architect, the same one who designed the Olympic stadium in Athens for 2004. And so now I just remembered the comments that the Dalai Lama made about the Olympics in China having to go ahead and … respect the torch… and a whole load of bollocks. But I’m getting all worked up again…

The view of the bridge that links Denmark and Sweden is great from that area near the torso and there were alot of people sunbathing, taking photos, walking around. Very civilized and nice. The area looked a bit boring. A lot of construction work going on, what looked like apartments and offices. The building is fun. I liked it. Then I walked back into town and had a great steak meal. Sat in the sun in some central square, got hooked on the book, the steak was good and the vegetables and chips that came with it even better.

On the final day in Copenhagen, I was flying at 4 pm, so had a full morning to wander into parts I hadn’t been to before. I ended up in the National Gallery which I loved. Some modern stuff, not so good, alot of sculpture, some of it great, and some more classical stuff. I liked the depiction of Danish life from around 50-100 years ago. Some of the few religious paintings were interesting as well. The facial characterisitics of some of the saints and shit, were Nordic.

I’m thinking of registering the following term: cynomody, for cynical comedy. But after a week in gentle Denmark, I’m just not feeling cynical enough anymore. And next week I’ll be in Brazil where I’ll be samba-ing to a whole different tune.

Finally, a bit of respect

I’m getting excited about going to Denmark next Sunday. Copenhagen has had great weather lately, just like London, in the early to mid-twenties and it sounds like a great place to just walk around and get lost in. I was reading a few things about the country and came across this thing called Jante Law. Apparently, the average Dane lives according to this law, it is their belief system. Really? So how different is this from a Japanese belief system? It depends on your perspective, but I have the tendency to view it from the side that sees it as the suppression of individuality, of personality, of creativity, of independent thought. Smells like uniformity and a noble way of controlling the population. I always respect the culture of any country I’m visiting though and they usually fear respect me.

One of the things I like about traveling is comparing other places to London, which, I believe is way ahead in… security, CCTV surveillance and visible police presence; at least ahead in European terms. I wonder what it’ll be like in Copenhagen, and will there be Tesco’s, like in Prague and Budapest? I must visit Christiania, but other than that, anything goes. Just walk around and enjoy the city and the conference, which will be an arty, music and computers one. I also want to get the waterbus. I remember loving the river transport in Hamburg. I might pop across to Malmo, Sweden for a few hours as well, just to tick that country off my list. I was looking at online maps and came across a town named Dorotea in Sweden. That’s my cousin’s name, almost, and so I did a search for my own name and … there’s a town called Spiro, OK.

I’ve shaved my head again. Because of the heat and because my clippers were having some difficulty cutting at number 3. They’re shite, but, they’ve served me well for at least 5 years, so, can’t complain. I went to the sandwich shop, next to the college, and there were some young white rude boys there. One was on the phone and the other was being rather impolite to the eastern European lady working there, ordering, and at some point he sort of shouted at her (“I SAID, not toasted”). Then he turned around and looked at me and after that started using the word “please” a lot. He called his mate over, who was still on the phone, to get his order and mumbled to me and the lady: “he’s a donut”. He said to him: “there’s a queue here, what do you want to eat?”. I think that if I hadn’t shaved my head, they wouldn’t have been so “respectful” to the lady and to me… I remembered what a friend of mine said about her husband, who also shaves his head and how, when he goes into a shop, they are very polite to him, like respectful, but as she put it in her inimitable way, “it’s a fear thing”.

So, maybe I’m not friendly looking anymore, and maybe people looking for Tower Bridge won’t be asking me the directions to London Bridge anymore, but who cares? What good were they anyway? Bloody tourists.

After leaving the college I decided to enjoy the weather by going for a cycle ride, without a plan and without looking at the map. I ended up on what is the longest, fairly straight and continuous cycle path I’ve ever been on in London. I got on it at around Tower Bridge/Aldgate and ended up somewhere near Canary Wharf. But, going east from Tower Bridge, there aren’t many bridges left to cross to get me back down south, so I asked some other cyclists, who were extremely friendly to me, almost… fearful and they mentioned a ferry that could take me across to the Hilton. So I put my bike on it and went across. And after 17 years in London, I used water transport for the first time. It was fun and it feels good to have finally earned a bit of respect.


“If a hand is drawing a hand and if, at the same time, this second hand is busy drawing the first hand also, and if all this is illustrated on a piece of paper fixed to a drawing board with thumb tacks…and if the whole thing is then drawn again, we may well describe it as a sort of superdeception.”

Drawing Hands (1948)

Escher made Drawing Hands in 1948, the same year Orwell wrote 1984. I find that interesting and spooky, because they both explored the reality of deception through their art.

Escher said about his work:

“…it is for this reason that I never feel quite at home among my artist colleagues; what they are striving for, first and foremost, is “beauty”… I guess the thing I mainly strive after is wonder, so I try to awaken wonder in the minds of my viewers.”

Both excerpts taken from The Magic Mirror of M.C.Escher, by Bruno Ernst. The image was bummed from here.