contains mild peril

Friday, March 31, 2006


maybe i said this before but I'm now dissapointed how narrow my musical tastes are.
I used to gain some satisfaction for myself that friends would either not know of the stuff I was listening to or said I had "savage" taste or whatever, but looking at my Lastfm stats my musical tastes are somewhat obvious.
And that ain't good.
Or at least - that ain't what I thought they'd be.
Not that I hunted out the weird or odd. Its just that I like interesting music. Music that makes me think. That throws switches. "Think" is perhaps wrong.
"Makes me react in a positive way" whether that is in that it makes me think or tap me foot or both.
So Daniel Johnston and the Fall are obvious bedfellows. as is Can and Flaming Lips and the Smiths and Hugo Largo and Radiohead. Bjork, Bowie, Buzzcocks is simply alphabetical. I thought tuvan throat singing was exceptional but there's probably an entire community extolling its virtues. And why not?
As I say I wasn't trying to be "different". Or I hope not anyway.........

No. Normally i fall into self deprecation but this is serious.

This is music.

What I like is that moment of feeling. Of being touched. of reacting. of not disliking something!!
And I get this from the artists mentioned and others like Arvo Part and Reich and Durrutti Column and.... nah. about to say "abba" but I ain't got any of their stuff. I like it, but its radio music - when i don't expect it its fantastic - i've never tried a whole album!!

So, slightly more parochial in my tastes than I thought. I guess I'm dissapointed as I love music and think that as my breadth is narrower than I believed it means I'm missing out on something.



blimey! read the previous entry first!! (below "Broadband was invented to read music reviews

No - really. This only makes sense after you read the previous entry.
well, go on.

No, really - READ IT! The one below.....


** this entry begins now, but read the earlier one first - have you got the hang of this yet?**

My GOD!!!
There are NO bands called "Broadband" on All Music Guide!
Not one. Not even as someone's name like "Johnny Broadband and the glut of shite".


I'll try Google.....

OK not a smart move. Quite a few pages have the word "broadband" but I tried "Broadband band name music" and got no actual bands (you try something better and let me know)

I tried Amazon and got nothing under Popular music.

where else..??

If not if you're in a band CALL YOURSELF BROADBAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


broadband was invented to read music reviews

I may very well have to update this entry later but I've had a couple, was reading stuff online, and thought I'd jot this down.

This started by looking for the lyrics for Free Will and Testament by Robert Wyatt. Its brilliant. Honestly. Desert Island disk brilliant (yeah - you narrow down a handful of choons you'd live the rest of your life with).
Found them here. Its to the album's entry and you'll have to scroll down 4 or 5 songs (jesus just how lazy are you?) but you really ought to listen to the record properly first (can't be arsed linking to amazon and buying it for you and coming round and putting headphones on your head and pinning you to a chair - I ain't done that in years).
Anyway, also on that page are the lyrics to another absolutely no-argument brilliant song - Shipbuilding by Elvis Costello. Again if you don't know it, buy it on whatever album you next see it on (as sung by Wyatt or Costello) cos its worth the price of an album alone. The 'full' price. Yeah I know, I ain't spent 15 quid on an album since I bought my mates!

Anyway, while searching for these things I found reviews etc and went and read and thought "bugger! I've discovered and forgotten you before!" So here is a good site I've found before, but forgotten about (the reason I may be back to this entry is if I find the reason I forgot it was cos its rubbish elsewhere). Its called trouserpress and is a site of reviews of music or as they elaborate:
"Trouser Press was a New York-based rock music magazine that specialized in a number of genres — British Invasion history, new wave, progressive and independent-label releases — during its existence, which was from 1974 to 1984. In 1983, the editors of the magazine authored the first of a series of record guides. Those books are the basic content of this site."

I'm mentioning it here as they point out the brilliance of the lyric:
"What kind of spider understands arachnophobia?"
and just how often do you get a review of Elvis Costello with the statement "(just what the world needs: another Randy Newman)" or the word "peregrinations".

oh. a lot? well that's cos I hardly ever read review magazines.

By the way - how many bands have called themselves "broadband?"
You'll either have to Google yourself (!) or come back later (oooooh I'm such a tease....)


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

what a game!

We embarrassed them! I had a feeling it was our night but I never suspected we'd out-hussle them! Our work rate, our play for each other and most of all our speed!!
jesus I'm happy.

Just heard Lee Dixon on Radio 5 Live and he talks a lot of sense. Emphasised that this Arsenal is better in Europe because of the lack of physical pressure posed by european teams. Not startling but ensured that the conversation didn't just discuss dull topics like "Does this vindicate the selling of Vieira?". No, 13 million quid justifies the selling of a 29 year old who was getting heavier legs as he got older. Still a great player and I don't want to see him humiliated again but really, it was good business.
And Dixon did point out that you have to give young players some hope of playing in the team and that this would also have been a factor. He also mentioned that Wenger told him that he never really knew if a player had the necessary mental strength until he'd seen him at 19 or 20 and play in important games.

Looks like Fabragas is proving himself early then!

god, some images are coming back to me.... Pires making a tackle. Actually, Pires being rather good (must be thinking of his contract...), Fabregas fouling Vieira, Vieria being nutmegged, Vieria being left for dead by "race yer.." Henry, Hleb missing the pass... again, Toure's great tackles, Gilberto doing what he should do and being strong.... and Eboue! Jesus, Eboue steaming down the wing... and launching a stunning cross that noone had thought would come.

OK we ain't won the tie yet and then its the semis and then its the final. But still, refreshing to see the team play with pace and a helluva good sign for next season!

Oh, and of course there's the Premiership.... but sod that for tonight!



Actually, thinking of superstitions made me think (or ponder - you'll have to look back through the archives about my "pondering" affliction).

Are there modern superstitions?
I don't mean do modern people still touch wood, count magpies and pick the petals off flowers (she loves me... she loves me not...). Of course we do. But these are all old superstitions. I was trying to think of 'modern' ones.

After chatting with a friend we came up with a couple - both related to smoking funnily enough.
One was the "Its unlucky to light a third cigarette from the same match" which goes back to the trenches in WWI.
The other was that some smokers (apparantly) have a "lucky" cigarette that they turn upside down and put back in the packet. Apparently they smoke it last (unless my housemate is winding me up.... dunno).

So - do you know of any others? c'mon, if I get a bunch of these 'modern' superstitions I'll illustrate them.

There, now if that weren't incentive enough....


Ok, I admit it. I can be superstitious. At times, not always but just... well. Its like this.
I saw a magpie today. Just the one.
and you know what that means...
I was muttering and chuntering afterwards thinking about the match tonight.
But my mood changed when I saw two magpies on the way back! hoorah! the bad luck must've been me not finding what i was looking to buy as well as getting something in my eye which is still annoying me. Gotta be that.

So its 2-1. Yeah an away goal but still...

Labels: ,

what else would I blog today??

God today's a big day. Or evening anyway.
Juve come to Arsenal and all that means. If you don't know what that means I can't be arsed telling you but here is a great article on what it means.

c'mon Arsenal


Monday, March 27, 2006

Don't expect...

Actually, the whole thing about expectations wasn't just the tourist office guy trying to sell a journey.

I guess in the West you get used to 'sameness' (exemplified by McDonalds). You have an expectation set by a previous experience. Here its different. The ingredients of a breakfast one day will be different to the following day - in the same restaurant - and for a different price. Maybe this time you'll get bacon. maybe. or maybe rice pudding. and remember - its the same restaurant and the same menu-with-photos and the same finger pointing at the same "americano" breakfast. And it would be stoopid to believe the sin on the outside (the very very large expensively printed sign) that proclaimed all breakfasts at Q10 when there wasn't anything on the menu below Q17. Its an expensive sign. They just.... kept it.

Not that I care, cos Q10 is about less than £1 so it really don't matter that this cost me a pound-fifty instead, its more the inability to expect.
There are lots more examples of this but it sounds like whining now, and that isn't what I was getting at - in fact, I guess I'm bemoaning a culture like the West when so much emphasis is placed on expectation over reality.

Which is more important? Which do you actually enjoy?

Which do you actually eat?


oh, sorry, obviously i misunderstood... lesson #1

Ok, I've just got to the bit in my diary where I'd booked the bus to Coban. I'd checked out a coupla places and it looked like a similar deal price-wise whichever tourist office i looked in.
Now, as I keep on saying, my Spanish is a bit ropey (ie nonexistent) but still I reckon that through the universal language of slow talking, making stuff sound spanish and a few sprinkled spanish words - as well as pointing to a fucking picture - the agent and I had agreed that the bus would pick me up from my hotel door and in one journey take me to Coban. I was sceptical cos the other places didn't do it in one journey, so I pressed him on this:
"Panajachel - Coban?"
"No stopping??"
"No?? Really???" (slightly incredulous as its quite far and everyone else had mentioned a stop...)
"Si. Yes. It stops in Guatamala City"
"Ah, so Panajachel - Guatamala City - Coban?"
"Same bus?"
"I don't change bus in Guatamala City?"
"No. Same bus" and he's pointing to a picture pinned on the wall of a big fancy american style bus.
"That takes me all the way??!? Panajachel - Guatamala - Coban??!!??"
"Yes. Special price.... good!" This 'special price' being the same as every other tourist office, of which there are well over a dozen on this street.
"Same bus?!?!??"

In fact I'll cut this short (I've already gone on but... ah well). anyway, instead of a big american style bus, I get picked up by the (usual) minibus and travel to Guatamala City. Here I'm turfed out at the bus station and waved onto the public bus to Coban. Admittedly not a "chicken bus", but still. I kind've expected this as that's what they mentioned in the Lonely Planet as being a typical journey (hence my disbelief in the tourist office) but still. After pointing at photos and actually writing down town names with hyphens between, I kind've expected....

Lesson #1 - don't expect.

actually lesson #godknows with the next one being "Take advantage of it now".
"It" being the thing for sale, a toilet break, food, anything. Even if you're not hungry or thirsty, or don't need to pee - pee. Drink. Take advantage NOW cos the next time could be hours away, and when you get off this damn bus, you gotta find a hotel and negotiate.

and negotiating while tired and needing to pee is not good.
Maybe that's a lesson too.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

fill 'er up

yep a new thang added to my already overburdened "and also" column (on the right)

Now you can see what I've been listening to (or am listening to right now in some spooky eavesdropping stylee)

I dislike the formatting, but not sure how to change.... do it some other time... another of my mantras....
If the songs tend to lack lyrics that's cos I can't type and listen to words at the same time (nor can i pat my belly and rub my head or whatever)

I don't believe that makes me any less of a man.


Friday, March 17, 2006

the ponder

I'm the kind of person that ponders. I'll see something and invent a reason for it happening. I'll imagine motivations or history; some kind of cause.

This is all well and good, and I'd got used to not expecting to ever discover the truth. However, now with Google, as long as you remember the ponder, you can pretty much answer it.

Which is why the old guy selling rocks in Chichi market was so interesting to me. Ok it was interesting regardless, but I also knew I'd never be able to Google it and discover what the hell he was doing.

So my mind set to work. He's selling chalky rock. In small quantities. Is it used in making tourist stuff (painting masks or making stuff look old?). Hmm, doesnt feel right.

Maybe they use it in flour? I remember my parents telling me that they put chalk in flour to whiten it, but I also remember that chalk is good for indigestion. Which is extremely common here. I mean, there are posters for Alka Seltzer everywhere, and they can't all be for the tourist community. The locals must be suffering from some of the same problems.

I ponder on....



Actually reading my notes I had been feeling iffy but hadn't had 'liquid belly' until this entry. Which explains why I was cranky yet not knowing why.
Actually I'm a bit sarky at the best of times, but anyway...

Tonight was an incredibly windy night. [yes the weather]. The corrugated iron roofs and fences rattled all night and you could just hear biggish things landing. My imagination is pretty... erm, imaginative, so I imagigined all sorts. In the morning, it didn't look as terrible as I'd thought it would have to. I guess there's stuff lying around anyway, and all the corrugated stayed (roughly) in place.

Mind you, the dawn chorus of dogs and roosters was a little subdued.


want something...

Sitting by the lake. My body wants something but I don't know what. Salt? Sugar? Sex? Meat?

I've now figured out that I'm probably suffering a bit from sunstroke (as well?) Not bad, but maybe making me a little lightheaded as well as all the water.

Mind you, a lack of sex may be playing havoc with me guts I s'pose.


i blame me guts

So, just so you get the picture, I'm staying at Panajachel which is a very small lakeside town, where most tourists simply stay within a short stroll of a strip of stalls that remind me of Glastonbury (tshirts, ethnic rugs, trinkets etc).

The lake itself is beautiful and there are a few pics in me Flikr place (click on the pics on the right)

However, while I'm here I'm feeling a little "delicate" stomach wise. Plenty of water, salt and bland food. Which in Guatamala is actually very easy to do.
I do enjoy it here but I've noticed my notebook extracts are a bit.... grumpy. a tad misanthropic. For example:

"Qu'elle suprise - they're drumming the sun down. Thought they would - dunno where they were yesterday. Wonder how the sun coped without them?"

Ok hippies might get up my nose but still, a bit sarky on my part. Probably just jealous that I'm not able to go out with one of their skinny girlfriends.


multi ethnic yeah yeah

Lots of 'types' around Lagos Atitlan. I'm in San Pedro, another small (tiny) town on the lake. I've mentioned the ex hippies 60's dropouts (some of whom would have been very young in the sisties). But there's also the multi ethnic wearing travellers. Young americans with long hair, maouri/ indian tattoos - very thin with baggy t shirts and multi thread pantaloons. Which kinda describes both the men and the women. I'm sure they're all lovely, but its just a bit predicatable.

Actually Panajachel reminds me of one of the strips of shops at Glastonbury - both in what's sold and the kinda people.

am i misanthropic or just grumpy??


food and language...

Have I said this before? But because I have precious little Spanish, when I look at menues its always a bit of a lottery as to what I'll get when I order.
I'm in a lovely little cafe and I've ordered "Sopa Caichikal" I think. No idea what kind of soup and the lovely woman/ owner was very helpful but unfathomable as to what it was. Was insistent that it was very good though, but I reckon she'd have said that about any of my choices!

Turns out its a leafy but incredibly bland soup. Basically hot water. And tortillas seem to remove flavour from whatever you're eating. However, thank god for the fact that the soup comes with a side platter of spices that you're meant to use to give it some kind of flavour.

All in all atually a good choice for a guy with a 'jippy tummy'. Though I might have overspiced that last bit...

uh oh.


Hi Alessandro

Here's a big "Hi" to Alessandro Juan Lares Peres.

He's a nut seller in Panajachel who realised (I hope) that I was never gonna buy any of his cashews or macadamia nuts. He'd trudge up and down the beach looking for gringoes to sell to. I must've bumped into him more than a dozen times while I stayed there. Nice guy and when he knew I didn't want to buy any nuts was as happy just to sit, shoot the breeze and then carry on up the beach after a few minutes.

I know his name as he proudly wrote it in my notebook.


time warp....... man

In a greasy spoon in Panajachel. Actually this is more a breakfast cafe/ travel agent. The guy who's just come in is typical of one kind of person that seems to have washed up in Panajachel and stayed.
He's from Colorado and is drawling to some poor sod who happened to have a spare seat next to him (3 tables - 3 people so it could been any of us!)
Its taken him about 25 seconds to mention dope. the other guy is non-committal.
Now he's saying (and I quote):
"[in the U.S.] The military is in control.... all the people are on pharmaceuticals.... they're all sedated..."

Is it the fucking 60's??

This is tedious. It also now occurs to me that his assertion that he didn't like the U.S. cos "everyone's sedated" is a bit rich from a guy looking to score dope.


Saturday, March 11, 2006

Somewhere inbetween

Actually "somewhere inbetween" is something I've written in my notebook.

It occurred to me (as things often do) while I was walking along that this would be a good motto for my life.

Somewhere inbetween.

[dammit - I was gonna leave it at that but it occurred to me you may be going "wha?" and I'll explain a bit. Somewhere inbetween: a bit Piscean - constantly going in 2 directions; neither fish nor fowl; not actually a designer, but not a manager either; not exactly where I want to be in my life but then again not unhappy... somewhere inbetween]


Chichicastenago Market

Ok, I'm in Chichi (which is how all the gringos call it - and given the slightly tongue-twisting name you can see why.)
Its market day and this is a major market town - major for gringo tourists like me but also for locals who come from miles around to buy their own stuff.
The place is hectic and cramped. None of my photos will capture this so I stop trying. Its kinda fantastic even though i normally hate markets. Luckily I've bumped into 2 girls who I went up the volcano with and we mooch around. Its good bing with them as they're in buying mode and otherwise this could get tedious. [weeks later I wish I'd bought loads of stuff here but it was my 3rd day of the trip and i didn't want to load myself down].

There are loads of stalls that you'd expect - selling material, trinkets, masks, basketry for the gringos and just about everything you can imagine for the locals from plastic bowls to poultry.

However, I do see one guy here selling stuff that really foxes me. He's sitting on his haunches, dirty dusty clothes, with a small set of scales in front of him and some small stones/ rocks. As I watch a Mayan woman will come up to him, they'll say something and he'll measure out 4 or 5 of these small rocks and put them in a small bag for her. She'll give him a coupla Quetzales (ie they don't cost too much) and she'll be on her way. He'll wait for a few minutes and another Mayan woman will come along and the same thing'll be repeated.

This guy is doing quite well selling rocks. They look like chalk, but roughly cut and dirty.

This guy is selling rocks!!

There are loads of similar rocks all over the fucking place but this guy is doing a pretty good line in selling them!! Half the fucking country is made of limestone and he's selling the fucking stuff!!

As you can imagine, this made me think over the next few days..... what the hell are they using small chalk-like rocks for?



murals #2

I mentioned the commercial murals but Guatamala has endured 30-odd years of turmoil and civil war. In the last few years this has ended and there are clear signs of reconciliation being attempted. One way this comes through is in the painting of 'peace' murals on roadsides. Some of the country is very hilly, and corners on mountains have big splashes of white paint on rocks to prevent crashes. These white splotches have now been overpainted with political symbols such as the open 2-finger peace sign, the (Catholic) closed 2-finger symbol of peace, and a really good symbol of two hands which form the wings of a dove.
This is all really quite moving as you see them everywhere, and it looks like people are trying hard to promote peace. They're also extremely strong graphic images that use the same colours for each symbol so are instantly recognisable irrespective of how well or badly painted/ eroded.

** Actually I now realise one symbol is for the FRG - a party that is led by an admitted killer, pretty nasty and desperately crooked. Another symbol is from a 'party' of different paramilitary groups that came together.
Maybe I'm not really seeing what I think I'm seeing.

Its remarkable what you miss when you're a tourist.



I love the local signwriting here. In the UK its kind've a lost art, but in Latin America every business paints logos and names on the wall of their shop (eg mechanics paint the logos for Michelin tyres, Machita chainsaws, Eveready batteries etc on their wall). I wish I'd taken more pics of these. Some are really naive where someone's son or mate has done it but others are extremely sophisticated and done by professionals.

Either are so much more interesting than simply pinning up the same posters that everyone else has. There are printed signs here but they look so characterless when seen beside someone's handpainted version.


fancy meeting you here..?

yup. Something I hadn't realised about travel (how had i not come across this before?) is that you bump into people you 'know'. Not actually know well or Biblically, but other tourists who you've met in the last tourist stop. We're all over here to see the same 'sights' and so roughly on the same itinery so in each town you visit you're likley to come across someone you've met.

I wish I could remember people's names.


in a bar in Antigua...

Ok first thing is - there are downsides to drinking alone in a bar. I don't drink alone in pubs in England unless I'm watching footy, but when you're on holiday, well, what else are you gonna do at night?

As I said before its rubbish as you have to take everything with you (coat, notepad) when you go to the loo, but its even worse when you come back and lose your place at the bar.

This place has filled up with cute women. Where have they come from? Everyone's dressed up like its... oh yeah. The other thing that is a bit funny about being on holiday is that you forget what day it is. Everyday is like Saturday when you're on holiday.

Tonight isSaturday - hence the well dressed cute women.

However, Antigua is a haven for language schools, so I am the only gringo here who doesn't speak Spanish. Its gonna be tricky chatting to these local girls...


Thursday, March 09, 2006


well, what would you expect me to say afetr the best nil-nil draw I've seen in ages? or tense-est anyway! I now have no fingernails!

I shoulda written this last night when my thoughts were fresh, when I could remember things like Reyes looking like he was up for it (some of those touches...) but then just drifting out - he couldn't buya goal. Same for all our players except Henry. That's our problem, but today is not a day for problems, its a day to wallow in the fact that we were better over both legs than the 9 times winners of this damn thing! Of course it would have been difficult to write as i drank myself into a haze... although that's not stopped me before!
Finally we get some work rate and effort from the team. We play for each other and it seems that some of the senior players aren't part of the 'gang' that the kids seem to have created. Did Pires get a pass? Did he offer himself up for one??

Anyway, no time for negativity. Lets enjoy it while it lasts and then when we calm down we can look to facing Liverpool at the weekend. Big match as Spurs face Chelsea as well, and we need that 4th spot (unless of course we actually win this bloody cup..)

btw bad luck to Liverpool (haven't read up too much on their match).


Thursday, March 02, 2006

a good performance

Well, dunno whether you watched the match last night but I thought England played rather well. Looked good for the World Cup. Actually, Beckham, Gerrard, Ferdinand looked like they had midweek games on their mind. Maybe that's unfair - Ferdinand always plays like he's got something else on his mind, so no way of guessing why he was wayward with dribbling and passing.
Other players had something to prove, and it was only a friendly, but it showed spirit to come back - especially with senior players not leading the way - with two well taken goals. We will have to play for 95 minutes (as Man U mastered) to win the World Cup, so I actually think the last goal with its production in midfield (Carrick - yet another well weighted pass), bustling work by Wright-Phillips and tight execution by an on-form Cole boded well especially as they're hardly first team players.

But the World Cup is still a long way away.
and so will I be. My mate is getting married and I'll be best man - in Brisbane - during the Quarter Finals. yep, he cares not a jot about sport and probably still doesn't realise, but sooooommmmme people there may appreciate a telly being organised the night before, around 1am and on the wedding night (another reason for me to stay sober...). Mind you, the important thing is that me mate's marrying, so please write in your best wishes etc.