Thursday, 23 June 2011

To anybody still out there

Wow, it's been some time since I've written anything here.

I raise this old shipwreck from the seabed for one reason: I'm going to be doing quite a bit of travelling so thought I would start a blog with the sole purpose of blogging my travels. I always found this blog was a bit varied, kind of a personal vessel in which I dumped ideas, musings and any other product of me just hitting keys in idleness.

So, I kindly request any of you interested in reading about a hopefully more interesting and exciting chapter of my life to check out the new blog here


Wednesday, 8 September 2010

We Used to Wait

I have come across the new music video for Arcade Fire's We Used to Wait.
I use the term 'music video' very loosely because it is more of a unique experience; as in it will be different for every person.

It uses HTML 5 technology and Google Street Views to put the house where you grew up in the foray of things and, paired with Win Butler's wonderful lyrics, can really evoke some powerful memories, especially for me who, having just turned 20 yesterday, is starting to feel my youngest years coming to a close.

You need Google Crome to experience the video properly and it recommends you to close other running programs because it is quite demanding of your computer.

Some advice to truly enjoy it: lots of windows will open. Don't click anything or it will mess it up.

Also, towards the middle, it will tell you to write a postcard to a younger version of yourself. Make sure you do this as the next bit is brilliant.

Get involved here.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

What about the music?

Here's a first; a request.
Somebody has requested me to make a music-related post, because they value my music taste that much that they would like me to recommend some more music. Touching stuff.
I feel like some kind of online blog-based DJ.

In truth I haven't made a post of this kind in quite some time, and I do enjoy passing on what I think is good music to others.

This one's for you Tamsin.
It's going to be a whopper.

First up we have the return of Klaxons with their lovely new single, Echoes.


 Next, you must have been living under a rock to have not heard this one yet. Drunk Girls by LCD Soundsystem.

Next, filthy trashy garage sounding indie. Sleigh Bells - Infinity Guitars.

Now the seemingly Marmite-esque Antony and The Johnsons with Thank you for your Love.

Here we are with the brand new single from The Cribs, Housewife.

Here's Bombay Bicycle Club's Ivy & Gold, a soundtrack for the summer we should have had, taken from the result of Flaws, their new album; the result of an interesting change in sound for the boys.

A song I discovered recently while watching Scrubs. The Book of Love by Peter Gabriel. It's a cover. The original was by Magnetic Fields. I just thought I'd put that one out there.

Here's a song from the quite frankly amazing Arcade Fire album, The Suburbs. It was difficult to choose just one track from the album, so I thought why not the title track?

Finally, here's Iron & Wine's gorgeous cover of New Order's Love Vigilantes. Such a beautiful, smooth and comforting voice.

Well there you go.
I hope you enjoyed that musical journey of what's been gracing my iPod lately.

Any thoughts, leave a comment.

Ciao for now.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Enter the Ninja

This song is hilarious.
It has been the song of my holiday as it is always on Matt and Gordon's awful satellite TV.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Sun and Sangria

I have been a right jet-setter this summer. Visiting Alessio in Sicily with Lucy, my month with an Italian family and now this. Looking back over previous blogs from last year, it's nice to see that, in the end, some kind of plan fell into place.

I came here with my cousin Vicky because Matt, an old tutor from her theatre company, now lives here with his friend Gordon so it was very much doable due to the fact that staying with them has really cut the costs. I write of course from Fuerteventura, a beautiful island in the Canary Islands.

The first thing that struck me about this place was the interesting and unique landscape, unlike any which I have previously seen. Grass and soil are pretty much non-existent, in exchange for deserts, dry bushes and the odd camel thrown in for good measure.

We are living in Corralejo which, culturally, is rather diluted, with lots of the feeling of Spanish lost due to the sheer amount of tourists it has to cater for. There is a large contingent of British tourists here so there are many 'British bars', usually run by British people, in which they can drink to their heart's content and meet other British people. Not exactly why I, a language student, would come to Spain but there is plenty of Spanish conversation to be had elsewhere in the town, and Matt has even offered to take us to a rural Spanish village off the beaten tourist track.

One such 'British Bar' in town is Golden Days, a bar in which Gordon entertains some nights. These events are your typical singing, quizzes and karaoke but are rather fun, with plenty of free shots to be had.

So far my language skills have come in handy and I think I've somehow been roped into organising Go Karting for all of us by the owner of Golden Days.

The weather here has been gorgeous and it's nice to be back in the sun after my five day plunge into the English rain between arriving from Italy and coming here. We have had a good look around the town, caught some sun by the pool, been down to the beach and had plenty of alcohol. The beach is wonderful. There is a very high topless to non-topless ratio with the women, which is always a bonus. It seems reservations about getting the baps out have been left at home. And I'm not complaining. The alcohol is gloriously cheap, with 22 cent cans of the aptly titled 'Cerveza' and €2.50 bottles of Rosé being among the highlights.

Last night was our biggest night out so far. After Matt's TV quiz finished at Golden Days, the four of us decided to head to a bar called Flicks, venturing out of the British bar zone and into a much more culturally mixed atmosphere. Within ten minutes of arriving, Vicky had already chosen her karaoke song and promptly informed the DJ. Ironically, the language I spoke the most last night was Italian. This came about when Vicky came rushing over to me saying she'd met an Italian bloke, Francesco, and so we went over and got chatting to them; me playing the part of interpreter and impressing them with what to them was a surprisingly good grasp of the language for an English person.

Soon enough, an Italian group of girls joined our little group. I like. I was very much enjoying the conversation but soon Francesco's plan became apparent. From the start of the proceedings I had taken a protective stance over Vicky, her being my cousin and all. So when Francesco asked if he could go and talk with her in private, I abruptly delivered the response of 'no'. But Francesco was a crafty devil, exploiting one of my weaknesses: Italian women. He attempted to set me up with one of the Italian girls in the group, a lovely young woman called Rossana. Now that my full attention was on her, he seized the opportunity to advance.

I soon realised that Rossana and I were not to be. She has a boyfriend and is a bit old for me at 25. Although there is still time to get to know a friend of hers, and as Francesco said "The boyfriend is in Italy. What he doesn't know won't hurt him". I did get her number so there's a small victory there. As it became apparent that there would be nothing going on between me and Rossana, it was already too late. I looked up to find Francesco holding my cousin's face and telling her to 'look into his eyes'. I pulled her aside and asked if she wanted to get away from him. Her answer was yes so we then entered into escape mode.

We decided to leave, opting to have a last drink in Waikiki; more of a nightclub affair this time. Again, this place was another melting pot of ethnicities, which I welcomed with enthusiasm. However, soon after we'd got our first round, shock horror, Francesco was there. He came over just before we left and gave me his number, asking my permission to see Vicky again. He did that thing people do when they make you ring them so they have your number, which is awkward when you don't want the person's number.

Needless to say, I received a text from Francesco at 6 AM saying he would very much like to see Vicky again. I hope we don't see him. I have however invited Rossana and her friends to come to an event at Golden Days to test their English karaoke. I am doubtful that they'll come.

So far I'm having a wonderful time.
Maybe I'll meet a Spanish girl tonight.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Dear Simon Cowell:

At least 1,500 dead and 12 million displaced/affected from the floods in Pakistan.

Where the fuck is Pakistan's charity single?

Monday, 26 July 2010

Message in a bottle (of milk)

When a date appears as the expiry date for dairy products you know it's getting close.

That's how I came to realise that my time in Italy is drawing to a close as we walked around the supermarket the day before yesterday.

I had wanted to keep some kind of regular blog of this trip but it just hasn't been possible due to me having scarce opportunities to access the internet, and these rare opportunities I have used to contact friends and family.

In fact, as I type, I am using the public Wi-Fi connection of Pietrasanta, which can only be accessed from the piazza (town square) where I am sat, as I do every night, keeping an eye on Umberto while he plays. I have been in this town permanently from the middle of the month, before which we were only here on weekends; spending weekdays in Rovigo, where Umberto's parents work.

While I write this, I am sat on the church steps on yet another beautiful, mild evening. A woman prepares herself next to me with face paint, ready to perform her bubble-blowing spectacolo to the people in the piazza; a performance which, as a regular to the town over the last month, I have already seen.

The piazza from which I type.

The beach at Forte dei Marmi is absolutely beautiful. Aside from rubbing shoulders with professional footballers and other Italian elites, tranquillity and relaxation can also be found here. For example, today while Umberto was off playing with a friend, I put down my copy of The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón and closed my eyes. The sun blazed down, warming my face and body while the sound of endless frothy turquoise waves massaging the dusting of fine golden sand on the coast lulled me into a blissful trance where it felt wonderful to be alive.

So this trip hasn't all been struggling to look after a kid. My Italian has really come on too I feel.

However I find myself now, in these final days, nostalgically longing for home, for my friends, my family; for unequivocally English things such as trips to the pub and cups of tea.

This makes it tempting to try and make this last week go as quickly as possible however I am doing my best to savour my remaining time here, before I am thrust back under a veil of rain in a land who's hidden treasures I have long known and lived with; far from this land of which I have barely scratched the surface.

But that's all for now,
I'm a busy bee.