jueves, 9 de diciembre de 2010

Buenos Aires Jazz 2010 Trastienda


And all that Jazz that I never listened to on my PC but always harped on about to anyone who would lend me an ear suddenly becomes clear again, ringing in my ear again, stage front and of paramount importance. Jazz 2010 Festival Internacional takes me back to the days of my heady zest for the music that sprung from the lips of Charlie Parker, that rolled out of the mouth of Herbie Hancock and that continually made me bop my head in dark, backstreet hipster Mexico.

It's a remedy, a cultural tonic to the inane 8am first class, 10am second class and intermittent social networking between appointments and push ups and eating raviolis from a packet while I try to put some order on my days, arranging my life into some semblance of regularity despite my desperate soul's determination to defy such unfamiliar practices.

So I nap, listening to the garbled, Jewish gobbledigook filtering distorted over the wall from the hostel next door, drifting in and back out of dreams about killing taxi drivers and then wake and barely conscious stuff sandwiches down my throat to God only knows where I don't care and it's a bus and the filth and then free! to race some more, riding the regular routes of the BA transit system, pushing on, always carrying my weary bones forward towards the Trastienda where I saunter in like I own the joint although it's free.

The tonic morphs into a bottle of El Portillo 2009 Malbec and despite my back ache on bad chairs I read articles on international finance deals between Latin America and Iran before the music breaks out again, catching me supping from the wine glass and I gawp and smile and tap'a rap my fingers on the table grinning at the nervous porteño next to me. And it rolls and it runs and I stare and simultaneously close my eyes and lean very carefully on my elbow connected loosely to jerking dancing fingers...

Called away to dine and I'm stealing away through the city streets, improvising a route up to San Martín plaza, to and fro in the highs and the lows of the now empty streets bar the young kids kicking a ball around the Plaza de Mayo. Humming along as I slip out of the weekend I'm now stuck in the moment and thrusting bills at cab men to go faster to go back to the Jazz. Where am I from? France my good man now step on it! And out and back in and there're friends and good times around the table and they saved my half bottle for me and we murmur excitedly, enthusiastic and we have to make silly arguments when angry Argentines turn and growl but they don't understand and all's well and the music recommences and nothing could be iller than the combined talents of a multitude of musicos internacionales strutting and frowning and earnestly sharing such exertions as they can, revelling in the jam freedom, darned piano guitarist grimaces whilst playing rolling melodies, G plays on almighty Jazz fusion rock and w love it until it gets even better later, picked up by double bass licks and lines and it's all a rhyme and a group riddle. We nod and tap and jerk happily soaking up the rhythms through ears and fingers and hairs on our arms and flashing looks to costados to see if everyone can gozar lo mismo, if those cats have got the groove and we're sharing the universal joy of it all or rather got caught in an intense concentration like willing the band on telepathically!

And after a long day it's enough, it's heavenly and a part of me feels that this is why I came to a city stuck in the early twentieth century and why I frequented those Mexican bars and this is what I want to see and hear and enjoy as much as anything you could push on me right now.

It's jazz and everyone leaves happily, although my feet hurt my heart floats home on a grinning bassline before a slow fade out and gone...

viernes, 29 de octubre de 2010

The Death of a President

Bold, divisive but never reserved Néstor Kirchner (1950 – 2010), represented to many the archetypal militant politician. His legacy of determined street-politicking and defense of downtrodden peoples brought hope and vigor to many sectors of a society who had previously suffered terrible repression yet his aggressive, unflinching partisanship has indelibly scarred the national political arena for many years to come.

For almost three days the streets surrounding the Plaza de Mayo, the public square in front of the Presidential Casa Rosada, have been thronging with people paying their respects to this ex-president of Argentina (2002 – 2007). His sudden death shocked the country and inspired a massive outpouring of support for the current president and his widow Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner with tens of thousands of Argentines visiting the Salon de los Patriotas de Latinoamerica to salute the coffin and chant political slogans and passionate cries of loyalty as she sat choking back the tears alongside her children and the solidarity of the presidents of Latin America. Along the route of his funeral cortege to the airport the passage was almost completely choked with raucous supporters smothering the hearse, singing, tossing flags and flowers and reaching out to touch the passing vehicle.

There can be no doubt watching these scenes that Néstor was a beloved figure but as we find so often in Argentina his was a career of dualities and extremes. He nobly ordered the police to stand down from confrontation with protestors and thereon gifted the streets to the diverse groups of social and political activists, in stark contrast to contemporary European politicians who prefer things to be resolved exclusively in the Parliament. However the extent to which this dynasty bribed demonstrators and trade unionists to attend their rallies has always been a point of much suspicion and the vitriolic attacks on rival or dissenting politicians fermented a culture of bitter disputes and unseemly bickering.
Kirchner literally gave his own life for his ideological vision for the country. Despite a history of coronary complications in recent years he never drew back from his grueling commitments and relentlessly championed the implementation of a populist Peronist agenda at home as President, Senator and Leader of the Justice Party, simultaneously working towards the Bolivarian dream of a more united continent as president of the UNASUR.

Much will be asked of the current president, now left to continue the fight without the presence of her mentor and confidant, the real power behind the throne as many believed him to be. Soon our attentions will turn to the future and the coming year’s elections and the opposition will not wait long to capitalize on this weakening of the current regime. Serious electioneering amongst the presidential front-runners must begin soon and the recent show of public support may be utilized by rising union leaders to garner support.

This tragic event heralds a new, exciting dawn in Argentine politics. Suddenly stripped of this massively important figure how the country quarrels over dividing the political spoils will be crucial to the future of this ever fractious nation.

lunes, 11 de octubre de 2010


I spend so mch of my life running a film reel of future situations in my head and therefore  generate a very realistic impression of what will happen and what we will say in said encounters, but so often despite all of my convincingly constructed confidence in my own premonitions I am left stunned and surprised by what actually occurs. Preconceptions can delude me and I must learn - as Gabriel seeks to teach me - that prejudging things before they happen leaves me open to making a damned fool of myself. Better to be open to any possible eventuality and rest happily pleased by successive events, sitting, aware of the world and the beautiful people who dispel the myths I'd created in my head... Life is what we make it but I would challenge the metaphysicists and rather live it as we evolve around each other, revolve through our thoughts and spin into wonderful shocks together and from a distance.

Left feeling recharged as a reloaded gun following the empty barreled impotence I step out into the streets envigorated and anticipating future events. I'll have a pancho and buy "In Cold Blood" and watch a Mapuche protest march. But I know of what I'll be thinking, imagining.

viernes, 8 de octubre de 2010

La Búsqueda...

Reseteamos la cuenta regresiva a cero nuevamente. Un nuevo comienzo arranca al aterrizar en el Aeroparque Jorge Newberry y otra fresca aventura poreña abre delante mio.

Provisionalmente estoy de vuelta para ayudarle a Benito con la edición de la película pero despúes de nuestra primera reunion dudo de lo cuanto me va a bancar y lucho contra mi instinto que comienza a creer que nada va a salir de esta avenida. Mientras sigo empujandole a darme la milagrosa apertura al cinema que tanto quiero hoy día hay que mantenerme racional y considerar otras oportunidades. Que suerte que Matt tiene contactos afuera de ese grupo y ya tengo una pista para laburar con David Garret, un entrepreneur Yankee que vive en BA. Es probable que tome muchos tazos de café acá...

Me levanto hoy, refrescado, con ganas, y salgo a la calle a buscar habitaciones. Necesitaré donde vivir si de verdad me voy a instalar en esta puta ciudad hermosa.

Como siempre he creido me siento muy cercano al ave fenix viviendo así, volviendo a nacer en formas distintas y (lamentablemente) quemando los rastros del pasado para subir de las llamas hacía arriba. Este estilo de vida me invigora pero la genética de mi madre asegura que no son pocas las mariposas atormentando mi estomago mientras choco de un encuentro a otro. Es un tiempo de incertidumbre pero tambien de esperanza. Vuelvo a los viejos habitos en tales situaciones: trato a no obsesionarme con el pasado, a tener un régimen de ejercicio que me ayuda a funcionar, a pensar positivamente, y a ser simple, más zen, en mi vida cotidiana.

Esperamos los resultados con un creciente ansiedad...

miércoles, 29 de septiembre de 2010

Parisian Daydreams

Looking out languidly over the rooftops of Montmartre, the coffee cooling at my side, bags packed and ready to return via Easyjet flight I'm taking, all is tranquil after nights of folie.

Reflecting on this year and all of the emotional and physical upheavals, of journeys undertaken and avenues pursued I arrive at the point of another metamorphosis and the eager anticipation of great things to come. No longer a citizen it is my duty to realise the dreams of so many people, to not play at producing but really jump into the business and make a success of yet another new life.

I spend time re-reading old conversations, notes scribbled down in journals and the reflections bring back such a sea of emotions that it's often hard to read, but I process it as best I can and continue down the streets where every step has been taken side by side, laughing together, hand in hand. Familiar roads and the unrivalled ambience of glorious frontages, I rode a velib pedalling manically on this tarmac.

I've intrigued people, much to Marcus Aurelius' contempt, with tales of Peru and cinema and bathed in the glow of passionate youths discussing art and beauty on rooftop terrasses while grumbling neighbours quarrel against loud revellers. Such enthusiasm and so much inspiration is sown, to grow strong and bold - the self-made-man born into the arms of his brothers.

Scripts and stories penned and waiting for drafting to begin, new books in old languages started in front of Notre Dame, my Bonsai have been patient for 7 years and they maximise my harmony, sharing their aura.

For those who have had confidence in me take heart, my metamorphosis will reveal a beautiful butterfly. Nothing is forgotten. Always parting but so glad to see us when we return that my heart is ever warmed.

lunes, 13 de septiembre de 2010

Alcune parole...

Per Dante Alighieri:

Queste parole si leggon nel viso
d'un'angioletta che ci e apparita:
e io che per veder lei mirai fiso,
ne sono a rischio di perder la vita;
pero ch'io ricevetti tal ferita
da un ch'io vidi dentro a li occhi sui,
ch'i' vo piangendo, e non m'achetai pui...

I am living in a trap of my own creation, 
unable to express anything due to my self-tied chains.
I am a man in the depths of obsession
torturing myself every minute of every day. 
Eyes open or closed it makes no difference,
Angel or daemon I can not discern
but you are an ever present resident in my head.

Per Giacomino Pugliese:

La dolze ciera piagente
e li amorosi semblanti
lo cor m'allegra e la mente
quando mi pare davanti,
si volentieri la vio
quella cui eo amai;
la bocca ch'eo basciai
ancor l'astetto e disio!

L'aulente bocca e le menne
de lo petto ciercai,
fra le mie braza la tenne;
basciando mi dimandai:
"Messer, se venite a gire,
non facciate adimoranza,
che non esti bonna usanza
lassar l'amore e partire."

Allotta ch'eo mi partivi 
e dissi: "A Deo v'accomando"
la bella guardo 'nver mivi,
sospirava lagrimiando;
tant'erano li sospiri
ch'a pena mi rispondia:
e la dolze donna mia
non mi lassava partiri.

Eo non fuivi si lontano
che lo meo amor v'ubriasse,
ne non credo che Tristano
Isaotta tanto amasse.
Quando vio venir l'aulente,
infra le donne apariri,
lo cor mi trae di martiri
e ralegrami la mente.

viernes, 13 de agosto de 2010

How does it feel?

To depart and promise that I will come back but without ever knowing the twists of fate that will take me further away to other shores and new horizons.

It's never a pleasure to say goodbye when you can't be sure when you'll be back again but at the same time it's exciting to be moving on to fresh pastures new and not so new, feeling good about going back to Buenos Aires to see the people I love, to Paris to walk those Funcky streets and England to remember how to dance for real - enough salsa!...

So with a happy heart me despido de Peru y de toda la buena gente que ha enriquecida esta experiencia para mi . En los ultimos dias podre ir a ver unas pelas latino americanas en el festival de Lima, capaz al circo, ayer fui al concierto de Gustavo - Black Sabbath motherfucker!!! some drinks, some dances, some tears I expect and then once more trekking to the airport with my mochila enorme sobre los hombres.

I'm looking forward to you Buenos Aires. I want to take yoga classes everyday and eat in wonderful restaurants and hopefully not freeze my ass off too badly.

See you soon -

...cuando yo te vuelva a ver
no habrá más pena ni olvido...

lunes, 2 de agosto de 2010

We waltz through existence like wandering Cavaliers

The nickname is sometimes a rushed judgement, a tender comment and often a difficult epithet to conquer. I have known a few in my time and reflecting back from now, a time when I enjoy 3 or 4 "apodos", each conjours up a plethora of memories and fragments of settings of my past. Finding myself with time to reflect on a rare day off I was tempted to write about the subject when I was asked about "Juanelportentoso" my Gmail address.

For six months I lived and studied in a small Mexican city located on the trade route between Veracruz, the main Gulf port city, and Mexico DF, the capital of Mexico and the largest city in the world. My time there is marked on my left shoulder by an Aztec tattoo I designed representing Quetzalcoatl, the God of fire, blood and re-genesis who sacrificed himself to save the Azteca from the wrath of the other vengeful Gods and was prophesised to return from across the ocean leading to the eventual mistaking of Cortes to be Quetzalcoatl's reincarnation.

It was a time of spiritual re-genesis for myself because the previous year had seen my chaotic descent into a flawed suicidal misery, a wild and complex often ruinous first year at university and the pursuit of certain Nihilistic tendencies. Like so many young men I needed a massive distraction from the hum drum drunkenness of Univeristy life and could not wait for my gap year for fear of my overbearing temporary delusional state. Having spent the first months of the year miraculously avoiding tsunamis in Thailand, where they called Woody and I Farang, I passed through the UK only briefly before my parents saw me off to Mexico on board a Lufthansa flight along with John and Rosa.

Once there I embraced as much as possible the zestful living of the Beatnik poets, always carrying with me my journals, attending late night jazz reunions in bars with names like El vortex and El Tajin, meeting dark and sultry senoritas from Chihuahua and Monterrey and drinking and intoxicating myself with seedy characters trawled out of the local miasma. I lost myself with great pleasure in the youthful vice of Xalapa's underground cool scene, attending punk rock concerts in hidden bars and all night raves by the sides of rivers out in the jungle. I remember vividly how a negro American girl gripped my arm in terror one night in the booths of yet another blue lit club screaming "They're climbing over the sofas!" as stupoured Mexican boys leered over the backs of our couches, literally clawing at this exotic foreign meat.

For the first time in my life I felt libre enough to adventure without care, the tropical climate and my status as the Gringo gave me an enormous courage and I enjoyed a decent popularity with the local ladies, entertaining my dates in the floral gardens a short 10 peso bus ride out of town. I would take them out to walk under the boughs of great monkey puzzle trees and bumble my way through seduction amongst the beautiful, vibrant flowers in a broken spanish.

I spent the majority of my time with Mexican 20 somethings and the odd extranjero deemed cool enough to enter into elite parties and fashionable theatrical circles and revelled in being special, a veritable attraction for everybody to  say "Mi inglesito" my English gentleman. On this wave of confidence and learning I was taken to the Lucha Libre by a friend and laughed all the evening long at the corny spectacle designed to inspire and educate Mexican schoolboys (the most famous wrestler in Mexico EL SANTO promotes the conservation of the Gulf's turtle population). There I witnessed the satanic, muscular heroe GRONDHA fall foul of the trickery of the other evil wrestlers yet rise to hear, departing, the roars of the adoring public.

Walking home that night with my poster underarm I gleefully related the experience to my thespian companions and declared that from then on I would also call myself JUAN, El Portentoso and the following day, in one of hundreds of visits to an internet cafe in the times when wifi was sparse in Mexico, I gave digital birth to my first and current gmail account.

Although University was a dark period in my life due to my great anxieties it was also a time of extreme exuberance. My nihilism was born of a strong determination not to be hounded by depression but rather to throw caution to the wind and leap before I looked, how very typically Aries of me. I used to dye my hair red, read preposterous philosophy and dance for days on end, consuming almost constantly and almost certainly damaging my delicate frame for years to come. I never tried to be cool or streetwise but I mixed with happening people such as Nicolai, the musical guru of our band, and Rob, my angelic brother and poetic inspiration to this day.

Whilst my friends were an eclectic mix of drugged up Welshmen and hipster late teens my classmates were Pompey geezers and rarely comprehended the pretentious nonsense I would often bore them with. Nonetheless they did appreciate my boundless energy and we would attend the horrorific Student's Union in search of fresher meat and tarts in mini-skirts. I remember a pair of red snowboard trousers that I would wear out on the town and all manner of garish tops and accessories, up to 3 or four wristbands of assorted colours bedecked my arms and elbows and helped hide my "attempt" scars.

I gained the nickname thanks also to the presence of another John, a complete opposite of that which I represented in that moment. A man of dark complexion and an awful tendency to be one of those useless human beings who you wouldn't mind seeing strung up in a town plaza sometime in the 17th century. A man you may denounce as a heretic just to have the pleasure of watching the inquisition burn his skin from his body. Perhaps this is extreme but until recently I found it almost impossible to like this boy. He loved Depeche Mode and wanted to tattoo the bassist's face onto his shoulder after seeing my Mexica ink work. To my knowledge he never dared. He would speak incessantly about things he knew nothing about, always trying to fit in, begging for attention like a whipped street dog. One time when I failed to avoid him and took him to one of my delightful local restaurants I tricked him into revealing his stupidity by purposefully mixing scenes from Doctor Strangelove with Casablanca. "Oh, yes, that's the best part" he would sputter between slurped mouthfuls of refried frijoles. "I've always loved Kubrick, Casablanca is one of my favourites, that scene with the nuclear bomb on the boat is great!" Game, set and match, sometimes I can be cruel and especially then I revelled in sinking his battleship, cutting him down with the line "You've no idea what you're talking about. You've never even seen that film and you've no bloody idea who Kubrick or even Humphrey Bogart is!" But I can also be tender and once grudgingly invited him to stay the night, scaring the thespians with his insane stare and garbled spanish. There on the rooftop I offered him some of the joint I was smoking to help me tolerate his presence and he uttered a memorable phrase - "It's crazy, your life is so amazing. You've got such fantastic friends and everything seems to go right for you." Well, I suppose that's why I got the nickname QUALITY JOHN from my university colleagues and he received the less flattering nick DJ, DULL JOHN.

Readers can take some solace in knowing that I believe I saw him many years later smothering another skinny white boy with sordid kisses in an East Village nightclub in NYC. He looked like he'd finally found his niche in life.

viernes, 16 de julio de 2010


Charlamos tarde a la noche,
No es este el amor?
Aprovecho revelar mis intimidades,
Notando nuestras idiosincracias.
Pisamos con delicadez alrededor,
De las respetuosas y merecidas memorias de,
Instantes compartidas, vidas enamoradas.
No era esto todo lo que habiamos querido?
Como es que me vuelvo mas lirico lo mas,
Me acerco a alguien, al alma de ti.
Nombro cruel mi infatuacion, pero para quien?
Mi enlace persistente con todo lo bello que imaginamos.
Que surreal que se han vueltas nuestras consciencias,
Solamente monos que nadamos en la sopa primordial,
o angeles divinos con destinos atados,
Extendiendo lazos de hilo romantico.
Vivimos una pasion que comprendemos tan pocos
Nosotros dos.
Los comentarios danosos de los otros seres humanos,
No me pueden tirar hacia abajo...
A pesar de la distancia, de la frialdad, y mis negaciones, nuestro amor vivia tanto tiempo,
Pero con un golpe frio lo desgracie y no podemos mas volver al paraiso, nuestro Eden temporario.
Te extrano pero admito mis errores y las fallas de mi personalidad, y no puedo mas aterrorizar tu existencia...
Adieu ma belle, un bisou eternel jusqu'au fin de notres jours

domingo, 13 de junio de 2010

There was a woman who was taken in adultery. We are not told the history of her love, but that love must have been very great; for Jesus said that her sins were forgiven her, not because she repented, but because her love was so intense and wonderful. Later on, a short time before His death, as He sat at a feast, the woman came in and poured costly perfumes on His hair. His friends tried to interfere with her, and said that it was an extravagance, and that the money that the perfume cost should have been expended on charitable relief of people in want, or something of that kind. Jesus did not accept that view. He pointed out that the material needs of Man were great and very permanent, but that the spiritual needs of Man were greater still, and that in one divine moment, and by selecting its own mode of expression, a personality might make itself perfect. The world worships the woman, even now, as a saint.

Yes; there are suggestive things in Individualism. Socialism annihilates family life, for instance. With the abolition of private property, marriage in its present form must disappear. This is part of the programme. Individualism accepts this and makes it fine. It converts the abolition of legal restraint into a form of freedom that will help the full development of personality, and make the love of man and woman more wonderful, more beautiful, and more ennobling. Jesus knew this. He rejected the claims of family life, although they existed in His day and community in a very marked form. "Who is my mother? Who are my brothers ?" He said, when He was told that they wished to speak to Him. When one of His followers asked leave to go and bury his father, "Let the dead bury the dead," was His terrible answer. He would allow no claim whatsoever to be made on personality.

- Oscar Wilde

http://aurgasm.us/ - Beautiful music

miércoles, 14 de abril de 2010

Writings... Acaba de descubrir esto dentro de mis archivos lo habre escrito yo?!

Not something I wrote but something someone sent me, rather good!

Mr Montignoly is the darkest of all men; such darkness that can not be seen by others, for it is not his complexion that defines such a trait for his face is as pale as a winter’s night, as if never touched by the warm rays of the daylight sun. To find the darkness of Mr Montignoly one would need to see beneath the flawless skin that encompasses his black soul kept alive by the rhythm of a cold heart. Harbouring a sinister brain devoid of acceptable thoughts, he could never be said to be a moral man.

From his first memory of life, it seemed that all the young boy could do, was to unwittingly anger his father, and be punished from night to morning and noon. Where his mother had gone, was his first question in life which his father would never address, this caused him pain that never died down and the comfort never came. Whether it a blessing or blot, ten years on, it was his father he found on the floor, beaten to a pulp and bleeding to death, he just stood and watched in awe.

As the young boy grew, the anger swelled like a pustule ripe to burst, but he drowned those feelings in his muddy soul, as he was passed from home to home, unwanted by most and disliked by many, in an orphanage he was left alone. From that day on the confused child grew, with a warped understanding of being; to stay hidden away, keep himself to himself and not to stand out in a crowd. And so it began, the reclusive life where others are not to be found, in a room, in a house built on the side of a hill, far from the hustle of life.

From the town nearby, rumours were told of the man that lived on the hill and those who dared to snoop around, would not regret it for long, for the rage laid dormant for all those years could be unleashed at the drop of an axe. With hate victorious in the old mans mind the child can not be heard. It would seem that as much as he despised the man who yelled and hit him, the child had grown up and become the one that started the very circle of sin.