Friday, December 12, 2008
More on Cacao
"Cacao seems to be the number one source of magnesium of any food. Magnesium balances the brain’s chemistry, builds strong bones and promotes happiness. Studies show that 80% of us are chronically deficient in Magnesium and it is the most deficient major mineral in the standard UK diet. As well as Magnesium, most people in the west also have a lack of the mineral sulphur in their diets. Cacao is also high in sulphur which is one of the most important building blocks in our bodies, being present in every single cell. It is known as the 'beauty and healing mineral' as it helps to build strong nails, shiny hair and beautiful skin. It also detoxifies the liver, supports healthy pancreas functioning, promotes circulation and decreases inflammation."
(source Naturally Green)
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
The Coen Brothers have done it again; they have produced a masterpiece of subtle and simple human messages. Their new film Burn after Reading is an unfolding tale of interwoven consequences as a result of truly moronic behaviour. So disbelieving is the stupidity of human beings that it had me laughing out loudly in the cinema. In fact, I seemed to be the only one laughing. What’s wrong with you people! Do I have to spell out the message? “What the fuck is going on here?” That’s it in case you miss it.
So stupid, that even the American CIA guy is dumbfounded and admits it. Now that is class and had me smiling.
But the true class, aside from the script, is in the acting and casting. Brad Pitt brilliant, John Malkovich brilliant.
Go see it, nice to see American cinema that is worthy of your time.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
I remembered reading awhile back, a dedication that the Pickfords had written in their book, The Miracle Rivers. It goes as follows:
“It was while looking down into the clarity of a nameless waterway in the Okavango Delta that ourselves and a friend came to talking of fish. He told us that no great white shark had ever successfully been kept in captivity. Their demise was due not to disease or lack of food or the neglect of their custodians, but a great withering of spirit. For all its formidable bearing, defiant disposition and fierce and singular nature, when the great white shark is removed from the freedom of the open sea it is deprived of an ingredient so vital to its being that there occurs within it a spiritual death which the flesh is helpless but to follow. Despite all efforts, there has never been an exception.”
Peter and Beverly Pickford, wrote this in August 1998.
The soul cries and gets fearful at the possibility of the curtailment of freedom, a freedom that can’t even be defined. This is a good sign I think, as this is awareness and awareness must be important somewhere amongst the folds in the heart of freedom.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Well, a prostitute happened to tell me a few years back, that she knows the value of beauty was the difference of 4kgs. This margin she believed meant you were in the game or not. Well that stuck in my mind. It was during that same conversation that I saw an amazing painting of a bum in a thong. I could not buy it so I went home and painted it from memory. It’s now in my bathroom at home. I digress.
So, you would think that prostitutes know a thing or two about shifting weight. But when it comes to love, how much are you willing to let slip? Are you happy for your partner to have 5kg’s to play with either way? What point do you step in to draw the line and just what size exactly turns you on? Now this is interesting because my belief is the size of your brain should do it. A turn on is in the mind, as long as it’s reflected back in an aesthetically pleasing matter in some way. Now look, I’m not including in this discussion the clinically obese, clearly they need to put down the pie, get off the sofa and hit the pavement. I’m talking about normal people in normal lives.
The term ‘letting go’ is used to describe the state in which one who was once attractive is no longer. The measure for this is the media or teenage models in middle aged women’s clothes. Perhaps the stick with which we beat ourselves is the very thing we should be letting go of. Amongst my girlfriends we all agreed that we become a lot happier with our bodies after hitting thirty, something just changed and the allure of being a women was much more appealing that dropping a dress size. Not listening to anyone else’s view but accepting what makes us happy. Now, I have attractive girlfriends, they take care of themselves and they are not overweight. They are just relishing in the imperfections of life. This after all, is what makes someone just that little more interesting. The size of a life lived, the size of the time spent away from measurement and judgement, the size of self. That is what’s worth sizing up next time someone asks you does size count.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
My day tumbled around, after four consecutive phones on totally different projects a colleague remarked to me that I was the best representative of the Bleisure generation that he knows.
Bliesure, being the blurring of business and leisure. The growing state of many who have decided to throw caution to the wind, work on the hoof, raise the roof and live a little. This maladie finds its friends amongst the Blackberries, mobile broadband, GSM, 3G, power surging, Notebook balancing act of working hobos, like me.
Apparently I’m not alone. Eurkea! I’m cured. I have Bleisure. Now can someone please tell me how to access the internet from the Tsar desert?
Sunday, October 5, 2008
“I don’t believe there is just one; I think there are many ‘Ones’”, I replied and carried on without another thought to his remark. India, Nepal, Cambodia, trekking, hiking, yes, yes oh yes, these are things that I love.
As he was leaving, he squared me with his stare and said
“There is ‘The One’ you know, you just have to realise that one is not a Perfect One”.
“Thanks for coming”, I replied, then smiled, my mind was thinking about something completely different altogether.
Friday, October 3, 2008
I wonder how Hilary must be feeling with Sarah Palin in the spotlight as the front runner women in the Presidential race. Hilary really badly wanted to be it. Reeling in horror as this comedy/tragedy unfolds? I would like to hear her view on this all, in particular I would like to hear what she thinks of(God help us)a McCain/Palin victory where McCain kicks the bucket leaving Palin first female President.
Ego and pride must of course play their role, but what do you think of a President without merit now Hilary?
Thursday, October 2, 2008
TALES OF SEX WARS AND VANITY IN THE 21ST CENTURY: 2006 LONDON
Your admirers on the street
Gotta hoot and stamp their feet
In the heat from your physique
As you twinkle by in moccasin sneakers
And I thought my heart would break
When you doubled up at the stake
With your fingers all a-shake
You could never tell a winner from a snake
but you always make money
King Crimson, 1973
'why did you do it?'
'just because I could'
Lapidary, yet eloquent. What Clinton a.k.a. 'cigar aficionado' had to say about the Big Lewinski affair might become his epitath. And much more, eventually, the motto of all powerful and (or) affluent ones those last 15 years. When thinking of the complacent folly of 'the London years', Clinton's comment is everyone's, mostly secretive, conclusion.
London is the Mecca of the money route. The once capital of an Empire built on civicism and good taste, now turned Babylon of easy money. Thatcher and her emasculated followers brought liberalism to a level unheard of, that lead to the greatest concentration of financial wealth known in history. Booya.
London wants your money. London brings forth the most fantastic, most organised, the safest hospitality available to the rich. Flattering to a fault, the capital succeeded at mustering everyone from French tax escapees to dictators in exile to your occasional Russian criminal oligarch.
The latter is delighted to blur a sulfurous 'domestic' reputation by spending wide and large abroad and among a gullible crowd. London socialites are the easiest persons to impress. Cash is king, ignorance is bliss. Exageration? not one tad. Ponder the ascension of Boris B. to the very top of London society realm. Tovaritch tovaritch.
If you thought Miami was the champion recipient of all illicit money flowing from Latin America, welcome to London, where they do that too, only 1,000 bigger. Pilgrims frolic along the money route, calling at minor waterholes such as New York, Dubai or Geneva. But the 'Ego hajj' aims at London, and reaches London.
Then what? Then you get to meet everybody that counts in the world, every elite of their respective country - or acting like such. Veracity is not on the agenda, noone can be bothered to check. The wealthiest families of the world have elected residence in London, de facto, preferring its quality of tax heaven rather than the quality of its sunshine.
For you ephebic expat, this is the coronation of your ego trip. The Bar Mitzvah of your socio-financial self. You are now an accredited player within the biggest adult playground of the planet. Everyone around you now dons this new importance. The folks back home will forever look too small, you wonder how the fuck you could have grown up within such simplicity, but keep this disturbing feeling well inside yourself. The family visit has only begun you are already longuing for the Sunday night flight back to Sin city. Frisking among the top of the pop has become fiercely addictive, innit.
Genderwise, all men who come to London do so on a career move or tax evasion. I mean, why else. Why else would you move to 'fish, chips, cup 'o tea, bad food, worse weather, Mary fucking Poppins... LONDON' [that's cousin Avi in Snatch: best line in the history of cinema].
Some women come for great job opportunities too. The City legendary competitiveness will soon take its toll. They'll give you a sad, 'screw you - ain't need no cock to support me' look as they walk out of various HQ sanctuaries of Bishopgate and elsewhere. They read Viriginie Despentes and own 2 to 3 dildos on average. Facing the biological wall, they will get pregnant at the age of 36 and breed a spoilt monster of a only child who is likely to snort his first line before (drunk n') driving age.
Let's face it: most women come to London for its glitter, sharing one sole common interest: the majestic pea-cocks reigning over the financial zoo. And they will take any bullshit work to justify their presence around them. Great classics are 'marketing', 'public relations', 'personal assistants'. Debutantes with higher self esteem will shoot for Art galleries or better, the classic Art course at Sotheby's. The mothers are supportive.
Finger crossed. Their elected offspring may do better than they did, they might land one gullible banka. By proxy, the mothers will live their daughter's' thrilling, epic crusade among the rained-on glitterati. When all goes as planned, those mothers are very often much happier than the bride on wedding day. For the bride, like the groom, know they are making a big mistake. They both know they met on a playground, that the chemistry was all altered and wrong. What to do, what to do.
Of all steps upon hitting London, the debutantes will first liaise with seasoned agents i.e. girls who have already beaten the bush for a year of two. What may seem like a fantastic elan of solidarnosk in reality is nowhere a favour. Noone in London thinks about others' interest as much as his/her own. Being seen around with a new face will definetely revamp the zoo interest for 'deja nu' female seniority. If it's not for their personnality alas, it will be for the very respected quality of meat provider to the market.
The usual tip given to the debutante is to get familiar with monthly Tatler, a total feature in the court of London. Where in theology both Jewish and Christians are know as 'people of the book', London girls could be tapped as the 'girls of the magazine'. In essence, Tatler tells the wannabe social climbers, month after month, what to wear, where to lunch, what to buy, where to get their nails done and ten different styles of waxing.
More importantly, Tatlers briefs its readerettes on when and where and how to spot da rich men in town. Cunning is the way. In 2006 Tatler wrote an article on hedgies (i.e. hedge fund managers or traders). The catchy editorial went like 'dudettes, forget oil barrons forget heirs [catching her breath] forget trust boys, hedge funds is where the real money is - we're talking gazillions of fast new money and girls girls [gulp] remember the newer and faster the money the more likely they will blow it on stupid things [like you]'
und so weiter. You know when the dentist starts telling you about his stock portfolio..oh well...when the Ladies finally got to know what an hedgie was.. it was time to short the market. The article was remarkably done. It went a very long and technical way so that a Lady would no longer take 'I'm a banker, wanker, brokerkerker' for an answer. She'd enquire about your position, your headcount, and possibly the VaR you are allowed to trade. Romance killed by due diligence.
As a corollary, the 'journalist' gave a pinpoint list of places outside London where they could spot this magnificient animal. Roughly put, all the crap, no-fun outposts of the money route: Verbier, Gstaad, Crans-Montana or Courchevel when it's cold, or St Tropez, St Barth, Monaco, the Hamptons etc when it's warm. But it will be cold. And leave you with an ankward feeling that takes years to be distilled.
Sorry for writing about the fair sex in such manner. Well, Ladies first hey, they had to take one for the team. In all honesty now, men started sex wars. Yes they did. Men act like real assholes. Upon reaching London they do what they do reaching any place: spot the right spots where to play and flash large and 2002-2007 bonuses have enabled them to do so. As much as they've known the classic outposts for years, they may now focus on a more specific, tricky terrain. London has its codes and you need to move fast - by the time you get familiar with a popular venue rumour has it the joint has already become out of favour.
Hilarious uh? There are more rotations in London clubs than in Dow sectors for any given period [nerdy pun]. The right spots... London has perfected the Art of door policy (otherwise known as the Art of killing the fun). London invented the concept of members clubs. Basically, a typically British, polite excuse to deny entry to anyone who sucks. One dry, Tomahawkish blame will have the applicant refrain from ever trying again. More generally, one may envisage door policy as an initiatory ritual as the ones who don't suck, are stilll suckers. They will have to queue in anguish.
By the time they reach the rope, and the door bitch a few inches above, their self esteem will have gone so low they will only speak average English. Muttering life-saving exercises like 'I know..' 'I'm a friend of..' (wish they were more creative: 'My sister got bonked by the owner - you owe me' 'my mother is your mistress - we are 5' etc) while bouncers & door bitch wonder, not without pride, how good they'd have faired in a Nazi camp.
Memorable door moments include:
[woman walks past the whole queue]: 'my husband is managing director of Lehman Brothers - can I come in now?'
[door bitch]: 'will you please go and queue. Pa-lease.'
[little black dude approaches shily]: 'ahem.. it's just me and 20 models - can we come in?'
[door bitch]: 'show me where they are.. ok..yes.'
[some Middle-East debutante]: 'do you know who I am? my father could buy your club like it's a pair of Pumas'
[Nazi camp grins uneasily and stares past]: '...'
[Nicolas Goudard]: 'it is notorious that abusive bouncers compensate a minimalistic, shredded penis size and that you (door bitch) haven't had a non-self-inflicted quality orgasm since the Falklands war'
Now now. The ones who don't suck at all have been initiated. They are either members, or have booked a table. Ze Table!! Tish. Table. Mesa. A favourite subject after bouncers. You see, ever since we were old enough to go clubbing there has been a strong, persistant, personal infatuation with the idiocy of nightlife in general, worldwide. The bully security staff, the doorcunt full of him/herself, holding THE list like Moses held the commandments.
What about the near God status of a DJ then - one clever bastard who knew dead on it would be the one sure (and only) way to get poontang (aplenty). If this was not unfair enough, he has been serving sewage R&B to the moronic crowds throughout 2002-2007. Thank God London expats don't master English to the point of understanding R&B lyrics. They would probaly shrink and blush realising the 2000s songwriting was all and nothing but Cristal flowing past a silicon valley of babes bathing in the jacuzzi inside the Bentley parked on the yacht.
'we doin' big pimping'
That's right. Jeffrey Lee Pierce and other glorious songwriters of the jiggling 80s can go fuck themselves.
So yes, the nightlife gave power to the idiots, and we are left to face a cruel display of sensational inequity, that reaches its epitome in London, like most things do. They NEED a queue outside. Even and especially if it's empty inside. See how logic got dangerously twisted? A queue outside is meant to show something is happening inside an empty club. Wish Woody Allen had commented on that one.
Back to the table. You hadn't seen the point in spending a week pay on a table (dude where are you from - Utah? Marseille?) where you end up stuck in a territorial stance, paranoid about the suckers (who let those guys in?) around you, hesitating about dancing away at the risk of losing the precious plot, in short, having the worst clubbing time of your life? Well if you hadn't seen the point London will open your fish eyes. Two choices indeed: you either lose your manhood and the respect of your friends and potential date and/or potential employer in the queue outside, or you pay the big bucks to get straight in knowing The Table will alienate any possibility of fun.
Clubs were supposed to be about music and dancing remember? Do you remember the dancing floor? The latest trend in 2003-2004 London was to launch clubs with hardly any space for a dance floor, replaced by more Tables. The longuing of bygone days. Clubs in Amsterdam where everyone mixed, where bouncers did smile and greeted with a 'hello'. Where rock-hard DJs didn't dress to impress but slapped a transexual near you with house so deep one could smell sulphur.
We can use two extremes for examples: Sinners in paradise in 2001 Amsterdam. Best club, versatile crowd and killer music. And Pangaea in 2003 London. To anyone who experienced it, probably the worst place to club in the world back then. But a marvel of marketing. A Temple of Vanity for our freemasons of strass. They managed to convert a former anonymous venue called Tokyo Joe -a total, sterile parallelepiped of a place- in the poshest haunt of that moment.
No dance floor. 100% tables all around. Territorial instinct bordering on a mania. Worst bouncers on the planet. Very nice door guy, who drives a Lamborghini. It makes you wonder. No. Actually noone cares about the way he 'really' makes his money remember, ignorance is buh-liss.
The girls hoover around, looking at tables. Litterally, looking AT the tables. They are counting the bottles, the easiest maths to evaluate pea-cocks' worth. And the club is the easiest pick-up place of the planet. Players have a field day as they don't care about morale too much. The next day, after variously happy awakenings (from coyote ugly to diva), they will exclaim London long-lasting favourite line: 'I hate those girls mate - they're are all golddiggers'.
[audience laughters] Dude. You have spent considerable social effort to know the right circle and the right guys at the door. You were ok to spend a few grand on a table. You were ok when they brought your bottles with NASA fireworks on it (they invented it in Beirut, pioneer of bling bling before war hit the fan). You wore a T-shirt to show the muscles you got at the gym (you hate long sleeves anyway, they hide your whats-this-button-for Swiss chrono). You snorted a blindman stick long line of coke. All went smoothly.
Now. Were you expecting to meet Marie Curie, or Queen Rania (an example from Jordan, nothing to do with R&B) in such a set-up. Just ponder the way you communicate again, Dummkopf. Isn't it logical that you landed a hairdresser from Croydon, or a Brazilian receptionist after all. Ten years too late she still thinks French manucure gives an edge. Remember the coke you gave her.It quite helped. How strange that noone ever wonders why folks have to take such vast quantities of dope to have fun in London.
That's right. All out Pat/ricks Batemen sporting flashy cars flashy everything AND the right business card walk-talkin' the walkie talk scratching their nose outside the toilets (an international sign of 'I'm so cool' recognition) are still wondering why they are not meeting 'Miss Right'. This is the farce of London and assorted outposts. Metrosexuals have lost their manhood. They can't see, nor acknowledge, that it all sucks. Men play London and the world circuit by the book.
Women consequently and rightly so, have lost any respect for them. So they play their side of the game 'by the magazine'. Both camps are having the time of their lives... not (..not! Borat). Insightful critics have compared London dating scene to a sushi conveyor belt [audience laughters]. As soon as you're done with one person for whatever reason ('i didnt like the sauce', or more like 'there was so little to eat Im still hungry'), you can jump on whatever is (irremediably) coming your way. London is spoilt by numbers.
Should you have lived in a village 30-strong, promised to the school darling/sweetheart from the very start, you would have had no choice but to abide. Life wouldn't be that complicated after all. You'd live the life you were meant to, like they did for 6000 years until us. Fucking boring, but it made for good, pastoral paintings available at the museum near you. Things get complicated when the population (read: temptation) grows around you.
They get absolutely confusing once confronted with the million options of London, amid declining morale. Humans are bad when left with options. Believe it or not they dread freedom and would rather do what they are told or whom they are introduced to [snap]. Such confusion leads to perpetual unsatisfaction. This disease is called 'the next better deal'. it's not new but again, such evil has reached its epitome in London.
Men behave poorly in what they see as a candy store with new flavours and sizes brought in every other day. Women too start measuring and comparing men like on a shopping spree. Eventually, they have outsmarted men in the game. Every strategy yields its geniuses. One peculiar aspect of sex wars is that there are no vanquishers, only victims and prisoners on BOTH sides.
The farce of London has also created its monsters (of innocence). Many a man has been abused in a rather fancy but criminal way. Credit card theft is a great classic where your 'girlfriend' can always tell the Officer 'I am used to shop with his card', with the most angelical eyes. Bless her. The matter becomes all the more astonishing when such abuse is lived and suffered knowlingly by some guys.
In trading, we call this self-sabotage. Somewhat a very subtle and tricky inclination towards wiping out money that one reckons has been earned too fast. Some men in London do realise they don't deserve the money they are making. They do know they simply got immensely lucky, and opportunist. They will therefore accept a notorious golddigger as a sanction, a financial succubus who is just the logic and tragic answer to their very own vanity.
Morale della favola? Something must be wrong when 90% of your 'social network' is single. Corriere della Sera wrote a paper on this new trend. Madonna, if it is happening in Italy it must be happening everywhere. It's called 'the new 40-year olds', dubbed the ever-young. ever-cool crowd, totally commitment-impaired. The most self-centered, narcissistic, selfish generation in history.
'But why were you like that?'
'.. just because I could'
Saturday, May 31, 2008
See these two photos, I took them whilst visting Soweto recently. This is called an informal settlement, there are 400,000 people living in this one. The houses are made from scrap anything that can be found. They are not element proof and run the serious risk of being rife with all sorts of illness and diesese due to poor hygiene. But the most distressing of all is the toilets provided by the government. The eight porter loos in the photo above are for all 400,000 residents of the area! There are 16 loos in total, eight on this side and eight along the other boundary. For 400,000 people! This is disgraceful, humiliating and down right cruel. Shame on the South African government for not providing proper housing for these people, for not taking care of their basic hygiene and for failing to deliver on their promises!
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
I was walking past the cheese counter in Whole Foods the other day when a man stopped me to ask if I would like to sample some of the cheddar on display.
I was already seduced by the pungent air, so I did and it was mouth wateringly good. It was mature, crumbling and addictive. The man told me it was the Original Cheddar from Cheddar in Somerset, the only cheddar cheese still made there. I nodded and took another piece.
He then went on to say that it was hand churned. I took another piece. Then he said it was wrapped up with love and care. I nodded, savoring the blissful intoxication. Then he said it is stored in a cave to mature for years. Well the cave did it, sold to the women on the left!
Cheddar should have the same status as Parmesan and Champagne. They just have been a little slow in registering it.
Talking of slow food, I was reading about the Slow Food Movement and I encourage you all to do the same. It is what life should be about; good, fair and clean food. Taking pleasure in life by rewarding the earth and those that prepare food with appreciation. A meal from organic, tasteful and local produce shared slowly with friends is hard to beat. Click the link to find out more - it gets my 100% support.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
When something can absorb something else without being changed at all by what it has absorbed, it proves itself.
That is what I read today written on the wall about colour. I went to the Blood on Paper exhibition at the V&A. Richard Tuttle wrote it. This got me thinking about the causes of change and how we should embrace personal change by understanding the effect it has on ourselves. Just when you think you know yourself, a little ebb and flow happens and you have to change. I think to some people change just happens; to others, like myself, we have to allow it to happen.
Colour is about letting the light through. Black exists because there is no light.
A friend told me on Sunday night that my life is all about observing the interactions between people. She said, I was always watching and studying how people react to conversations, situations and events. She said particularly my interest was seeing how people react to the outrageous. She might be right.
Sunday night proved to be quite an interesting anthropological study all round. After the above discussion took place we went out for a drink to a local cocktail bar. The place was awash with the liquored up. The colour of loneliness. An old and beautiful friend of mine was there; let’s call him the The Beautiful One. With my new found understanding of myself I put ‘reaction observation’ to the test. Mistake! I realised when talking to him, and presenting some interesting stimulus, my past assessment of him was wrong. He was just a regular to that bar not the truly deep man I wished him to be, my illusion was shattered. With that my study came to an end, being too keen an observer will not always deliver you what you want.
So, you see, something can’t absorb something else without changing!
Thursday, May 1, 2008
What the fuck have I been doing all this time? That's not metaphorical. What have I been doing? I’ve been sleeping, eating, running, practicing yoga, talking, writing (but not on here), listening, smiling (not enough), searching, working, waiting, I’ve been doing all that and more so why do I feel I’m treading water? What if this is as good as it gets? It might not be and it also might just be.
Actually I am waiting for something. I’m waiting for my fight with the Yanks to be over. After next week I will decide when that will be, but for the moment a certain part of me is I’m waiting.
The other part is planning and thinking. I’m planning what is going to happen after the fight. I’m planning my next adventure. I’m planning various business ideas. I’m actually planning to stop planning at some stage and just be. Just being is titanically hard for me. I start to feel I’m not achieving anything, I’m not doing anything and I’m wasting time. But the true question is, am I, are we, doing something that is worth it? What is worth really? Worth to you, worth to a community, worth to the world, all these questions are very worthy. Who gets to decide what you are doing is worth it? Only you. Are you making a difference in your life? Are you making a difference in the lives of the people around you? Are you choosing your worth and living up to it every day. These are very hard questions and easy to avoid, I know. But the first stage comes with asking questions. The second comes from having the strength to want to change. The third comes when making change a matter of your personal responsibility. The realisation that no one else who is more capable than you.
“It is the realisation that the most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed”
Steve Biko, speaking about black consciousness and the restoration of pride and dignity of black people after centuries of racism
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
"Everthing in the universe is within you. Ask all from yourself" Rumi
Rumi is almost classified as one of the Hindu Gods he's so loved for his poetry. Everything about India is so intraspective that you can't help but question and analyse yourself constantly whilst there. Even the graffiti plays to this inner searching. "Become the angel you are" - I saw this written on a wall in the holy village of Rishikesh.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Talk like a local
I’m learning Spanish at the moment. After my first trip to Latin America I vowed I would not go back unless I spoke Spanish. Well, what happened? Two years later I was back there travelling around like a fool unable to communicate. Frustration beyond belief.
I had heard that Richard Burton, the 19th Century explorer, translator of the Arabian nights and the Karma Sutra, and just all round genius extraordinaire, taught himself 17 languages. So whilst reading his biography I was able to glean the technique which enabled him to accomplish such an outstanding feat. Absorbing not only the language but the culture in which he was immersed made him truly remarkable and set him apart from his counterparts. Whilst in India he passed himself off as a local, mastering amongst others, the difficult dialects of Urdu, Hindi, and Marathi in order to infiltrate the Indian goings on during the reign of the British Empire. Along the way he managed to have a very good time indeed.
So the learning is that it’s easy to pick up the local language when travelling, if you listen and observe the way of the local people. This is precisely what I tried to do on my recent month long trip to Chile and Argentina. As I was travelling with the Baqueanos (local horsemen, similar to an Argentinean Gaucho) I was able to pick up words and descriptions of our daily life, in particular all things to do with the horses. So for those of you that are interested I’ve compiled a little ‘Diccionario de Gaucho’ with the help of Carlos and Ingaill. Some of the spelling may be way off but it will give you a flavour at least.
Diccionario de Gaucho, from the heart of Patagonia:
La boina – a beret
El panuelo – a scarf
El pasa panuelo – a scarf pin
La faja – woven belt for riding (these are god’s gift for a happy days riding!)
Las bombachas – riding pants
Las botas – boots
El rebenque – flat whip (love this word)
La montura – saddle
Las piemeras – long chaps
La manea – hobble
El cabello – horse (the pronunciation differs between Chile and Argentina)
El paso – canter
El sombrero – hat
The list goes on…
I’m now far away dreaming of a daisy field, a stream, the Andes and a cup of mate.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
I saw a poll recently which asked, who will die first;
Amy Winehouse, Pete Dougherty or Britney Spears?
I laughed thinking that really is a stupid thing to ask, then thought what a shame it would be if Amy Winehouse died. She does have an amazing talent. Like all true artists, living or dead, the ones that really stand out from the crowd are those that live in their element. History has a place for those that revel in the glory of all that they can. Just like the interesting person who left an anonymous comment said, when quoting Nietzsche, that "The secret of a joyful life is to live dangerously."(Look for the comment under the Frontier section on my blog - thank you for being the first to get in touch with me, an armagnac is waiting for you ;)
The uniqueness of Winehouse lies not only in her voice but in her desire to be herself, which might be the very reason she puts herself in danger in the first place. Some people seek the path of destruction in order to truly know themselves.
Its seems Christopher McCandless, aka Alexander Supertramp, might very well have know that to be true when he too wrote; “It is the experience, the memories, the great triumphant joy of living to the fullest extent in which real meaning is found.” Now this is coming from someone who traveled to Alaska to live off the earth and after 112 days was found dead. He died from supposed starvation, but I’m not convinced that he sought an end like that, rather lusting for the true spirit of a free life. A most intriguing and fascinating story, one that I can’t get out of my mind.
So whether its destruction or true realisation that we seek, the answer seems to be the same; live it large, dangerously or anyway you can. Just make damn well sure you are living it.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
"Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds" R N Marley
Freedom begins with a journey. Some people stand up for nations, some stand up for causes, some to get their voice heard in the hope that things change for the better and some just stand up to test their legs. I’m testing my legs, my sense of purpose legs. I’m standing up for myself and it feels good.
The result of all this standing up business is that, as of today, I’m home on gardening leave after ten years of mental slavery. Voluntary mental slavery, I might add. Terrified of failure, I have slave driven myself to the top of a career only to discover when I got there I didn’t like the people around me. It so happens that I did not have to wait long for fate to take a turn and an exit light to burn bright above the door of opportunity.
All this has got me thinking about those split second moments in which you have choices. I have realised it’s the choices made without absolutely clarity of the end result that are often the ones that really change things. When you can feel the end result, rather than see it for what it may be. I’ve often wondered over certain choices I’ve made in my life, for example; what made me leave my home country 14 years ago? I have no idea to be honest, other than I just knew it was the right thing to do even though, where I was going, I knew only one distant cousin and had the bare minimum in my pocket. But the choice I made was right wittingly or unwittingly. I just could sense it.
It’s now that I’m faced with a similar feeling. It’s that feeling, rather than 100% optical clarity, coupled with the fact that it’s been actively chosen that makes for a fresh start.
So yes a journey has begun today. A journey to rediscover my identity, away from a title, a corner office and board meetings, a journey to get to know myself without the restrictions that I’ve placed upon myself. I may even have the privilege of meeting my feared nemesis, Failure, for it is only now that I can truly say I am ready.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
The following statement made by Apple in their 90s TV commercial is genius. Not only does it move the brand on, but makes a statement about society that can't be ignored. Fear of those that question the status quo, who act and live differently. Fear of how that makes us feel about ourselves. These are things that interest me.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Photo credit:Old book bindings at the Merton College library. Date: 25 August 2005
Source: Taken by user (Tom Murphy VII)
My devotion to books is extreme. Not only do they fill my everyday with their presence, but my mind rarely strays far from thinking about what I'm to read next. Imagining what I will find in that little book shop on the corner or wondering who owned the book before me.
Getting children to read is always a challenge, we do have JK Rowling to thank for solving that problem for us recently. My mother used to read to us as children, it was a very special moment in the evening when we would settle down to listen to her bring Anne of Green Gables or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn alive. Being the youngest, that time did not last long.
My father however came to the rescue with a cunning plan. He said that for every book I read he would buy me another one. Now that appealed to my desire for success and succeed I did without looking back, book after book was consumed and with that my world opened and the plans began to form for a life I wished to lead.
Saturday, March 1, 2008
America: The Rage of Atlantic City
What a disappointment it is to discover that we as human beings have created such appalling, vacant place like Atlantic City. I was there two weeks ago on business; that in itself is a story. My hotel was a casino, so when I arrived I walked into the foyer which was the casino, from the check in desk to the elevators I walked through the casino, up to my room then back down again only for the doors to open and I’m back in the casino again. Horrifying! There was no escape; I could find no way out, I tried. I asked for directions three times before I located the restaurant that I was to dine in that evening with colleagues.
Mindlessly I wondered around the slots machine, roulette wheels and wishful thinkers amidst the blackjack tables, passing four rows of ATM machines en route. The place was jam packed, it was a Monday evening. The rank smell of sadness and desperation hung around me. I could feel a rage building within me against the empty materialism of America.
To make matters worse at dinner I sat next to a colleague with whom, for that sake of polite conversation, I engage in a discussion about sport. I discovered that his baseball team had won the Superbowl the day before.
“Wow, that’s wonderful for you. You must be really phyched?” using the local vernacular in an attempt to have something to discuss with this man. “What does that mean to win the Superbowl? I asked.
A look of condescending surprise crossed over his face and in tone of ‘you silly women’ he replied “It means my team are the world champions”.
“Really, like wow (again) that’s cool so, how many countries competed?”
End of conversation.
After that the rage burned brighter within me and I found myself on an eloquent magic carpet bringing up topics such as the impending election and the race between White Women Clinton and First Black Man Obama. A few of the other opinions that got stated by my loud voice was that we should all be ashamed if we were to allow another Republican in the White House. I bought up the war in Iraq, Bush and eventually left them reeling in the aftermath of a debate on Christianity and the rights of single mothers vs. fathers.
Phew. Not gracious, but boy it was fun shooting fish in a barrel.
The rage continues….
Friday, February 22, 2008
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling) i fear
no fate(for you are my fate, my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent.
I had this read to me by a very special human being whilst high up in the Andes mountains. It moved me beyond words. The person, the poem and the love. I've heard that Lord Byron wrote this after meeting his young cousin at the funeral of her husband. They say he fell in love with her on sight and this poem was about that moment.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
The early 18th and 19th century explorers had it all. They really did not know what was out there until they found it themselves. The yearning to seek, explore and find must have been so overpowering for them to leave the comfort of their society for the madness of long boat rides, disease, potential failure. They truly lived on the edge of risk.
Do we risk today? Is leaving a job after ten years a form of risk? Is jumping on a plane to visit Patagonia, where you land at the architecturally fine El Calafate airport in Argentine Patagonia really exploring? The funny thing is that so many people think it is. I got aghast looks of wonderment when I mentioned I was returning to Patagonia again. "Why do you like it so much and you really like to travel to wild places don't you?" I thought what a shame it was not as wild as I would wish it to be.
Lady Florence Dixie had a similar reaction but in 1878.
“Patagonia! Who would ever think of going to such a place?” “Why, you will be eaten up by cannibals” “What on earth make you choose such an outlandish part of the word to go to?” “What can be the attraction” Why, it is thousands of miles away, and no one had ever been there before, except Captain Musters, and one or two other adventurous madmen!” These and similar questions and exclamations I heard from the lips of my friends and acquaintances, when I told them of my intended trip to Patagonia, the land of the Giants, the land of the fabled Golden City of Manoa. What was the attraction in going to an outlandish place so many miles away? The answer to the question was contained in its own words. Precisely because it was an outlandish place and so far away, I chose it.
Extract from Across Patagonia by Lady Florence Dixie
Friday, February 15, 2008
Welcome to my blog. Musings, ponderings, commentaries, general moments of thought will be captured here. There are no rules, and this has nothing to do with any work related activity.
An outlaw is a fugitive, rebel or a criminal. I'm using it in the rebel, and on occasion, the fugitive sense. The only criminals here will be those that don't question, those that don't wonder, those that accept the status quo, lying in lazy contempt or lust of what others achieve, instead of doing it for themselves.
What have fugitives got to do with this? Well the topic of today is something that you will have observed if you have ever shared a meal with a South African. The constant question of where should I live? Where to go to escape the brutal reality of life in their beloved country. They all know that running away is inevitable so the mutual sharing and cogitating is a form of therapy that knows no end. But this is not just the curse of South African comteporary history. It is the curse to anyone who has left their homeland. Your roots are always strong and pulling you back when you let your mind wonder a little to home!
So, where should one live? A question that may not be answered in a lifetime. Perhaps just by your state of mind.