On the 25th of September Alberto Casillas stood up against the Spanish riot police and prevented them from entering his restaurant in order to protect protesters that had sought refuge behind it’s doors.
And this is what happened right after:
Notes: “I think it’s gonna rain today” is a song written by Randy Newman. It came out in 1968 and has been covered by more than 50 different artists since.
My personal favourite is this by Nina Simone.
1. I have gone back to working crazy hours at the office.
2. My personal time has been limited to 30% of what it was the last 2 months so I’ really can’t find much time to have thoughts much less write about them.
3. Plus, I’ ‘ve been trying to recover from a case of the back to school blues.
4. I just realised that the only way to avoid them is probably by having three kids driving you crazy all summer.
5. The (just slightly) cooler weather has been helping.
6. I have had a little bit of fun at the Flying Away Festival. You can see some pictures over at georgiesmummy.
7. I’ve been reading Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being ( 1984) , Jack Kerouac’s Visions of Cody (1952) and re-reading the truly perfect The Great Gatsby ( 1925). Yes, simultaneously. Well, not really but I can’t seem to stick on one of them, so I pick one or the other depending on my mood. I’ve never done this before, but it’s actually pretty cool because it allows the flow of ideas. I know it sounds a little bit pretentious but see it as watching a film with several different plot lines all mixed up together.
8. On another -less complicated- note I have been spinning Wilco’ s Wilco the Album (2009), Jane Birkin/Serge Gainsbourg (1969) and the hitrecord compilation Move on the sun (2012). No not simultaneously, but now I think of it, it would probably be fun to try!
9. I don’t really know when my next post will be but it’s probably going to be on The Unbearable Lightness of Being and girls and boys and everything that comes (and goes) between them.
live your life with the volume full!
My chamomile tea tells me (written at the tip of the teabag) that one comes to a conclusion only when one is tired of thinking. But I can’t help myself from thinking. I got all these questions (don’t know who I could even ask).
If bonds are the things that hold everything together what happens when they break? If all your energy is spent on trying to fix them, what happens when you realise that you can’t.
When you walk away, how do you know that you will not want to go back?
When you tell someone that they can hold your hand how soon do you become feeling burdened by it?
Will I be able to think more if I feel less? How do I begin to feel less and how will I know that I stopped feeling if I stop feeling?
How do you say goodbye?
How do you accept that silence is better that conflict?
How do you give up on your anger? Is your anger your enemy or your friend? And when your anger washes away what is it that stays behind? Sadness or emptiness? Does your response to other people’s anger define you? Does it make you weak or apologetic? Does it make you revengeful and bitter? Does it make you a victim? Does it make you stronger?
How do you overcome? If you can’t keep bonds from breaking up where do you find the strength to build new ones?
Fuck, when will I get tired of thinking?
Notes: 1. “got all these questions, don’t know who I could even ask” is a lyric from the Pearl Jam song I Got Shit (or I Got Id) from the Merking Ball EP ( 1995).
2. I didn’t mean for this post to be sad, though it does look a little bit that way.
3. Any thoughts on any of these questions? Please share!
So the Internet has just informed me that today (the first Sunday of August) it’s friendship day. Ah friendship! I love my friends and I suspect most of you do too. They are there to witness and congratulate us on all our triumphs – like baking peanut butter cookies- and they are there to support us through rough times. They manage to keep their patience through our mood swings (ok, ok, my mood swings) and they forgive us because no matter what they see through all our mistakes and sometimes bitter words.
The truth is that I only have very few true friends. At some point Facebook actually pointed out to me – the nerve!- that I may well be antisocial because I had made the least number of new friends from all my other friends. I’m sorry Facebook but I’m not going to suddenly become “friends” with hundreds and hundreds of people just to satisfy your networking appetite!
But I hate to admit that Facebook was actually on to something here. Making friends has never been easy for me. As a kid I was exceptionally shy and as a teen and in my twenties I was a mix of a person that calls on other peoples bulshit and a self-righteous know it all that had limited tolerance over ideas, beliefs and ways of living that did not coordinate with mine. Ok, I did –thankfully- have a few redeeming qualities (being able to cook a descent meal was a big plus for me in Uni) and I have through the years learned not to judge people but rather try to be more understanding and try to see where they are coming from.
So now you see that my friends are actually heroes! I mean, wow, they managed to stick around. Especially that one friend that has somehow (I really don’t know how)- stuck with me since we were 1.20 meters tall.
Well, at least they are my heroes. They inspire me. They make me want to be a better person. We give and we take and we laugh and we cry and ok, sometimes we fight but mostly we love.
Now that I come to think of it, we are actually our friends’ eye- glasses. Let’s all admit it. We tend to get a little (existentially) farsighted when it comes to dealing with problems. It’s always challenging, frustrating and difficult to deal with our own but when these same issues are a little bit further away, when they involve our friends we are perfectly able to see through all rough situations and make up solutions. It’s a good thing then that our friends are our eye glasses!
Notes: Together Through Life is Bob Dylan’s 33rd studion album.
This weeks post is about “Naïve: Super” by Erland Loe, the book that changed my life. Sort of.
I really can’t remember how I stumbled upon this book or why I decided to buy it. Probably because of it’s title. Or the fact that it was written by a Norwegian guy.
What I remember is that at the time I wasn’t very happy. I was more like, sad. I was also very angry. I was angry because I couldn’t find the way to make myself happy again. Or just less sad.
It didn’t make any sense. Nothing had changed. On the surface everything was the same, but from the inside everything was just… empty, as if someone had sucked all life and meaning out of them. I wasn’t even 27 and I somehow managed to hit a wall.
Life wasn’t supposed to be like this. This was not the plan. Working more than 10 hours a day, doing this job that I was supposed to love but which I kind of hated, having so little time, being single, watching everyone around me move on with their lives, becoming adults (i mean “real” adults), getting married, having kids while I…while I was still trying to figure things out.
And what was the point of figuring it all out? What was the point in putting all that effort and all that hard work into relationships and into careers only to end up unfulfilled and alone? Why was the world made the way it was made and why did it work the way it worked? It was like the ties that bounded everything together were suddenly disconnected.
I started reading books almost non- stop in an effort to keep these thoughts away. I had tried to speak to the people around me about my thoughts and how if I kept them in my head for more than a few minutes I would slowly start loosing my ability to breathe but they didn’t seem to understand. And most importantly they didn’t know how to make it go away.
Cue Naïve: Super page 1: “ My life has been strange lately. It came to point where I lost interest in it all. It was my 25th birthday. A few weeks ago”.
I was instantly relieved. I wasn’t alone. This guy had hit the wall too. Big time. He had dropped out of grad school. He had lost all kinds of purpose. All he wanted to do was sit around his brother’s house and make lists. And maybe play, with a ball (a red one). And occasionally try to understand a book about physics and the universe and time. But mainly play with the ball, with his new friend, a little boy. At the end the boy gives him more that he could have ever given to the boy. He slowly starts to see the world through the boy’s eyes . And you see him become a little kid again when his brother decides to take him on a trip to New York for a few weeks.
“ I feel I am on a high. For the very first time in a very long while I have a feeling that anything can happen. This morning I woke up thinking everything could happen, that things would just come to me, and that they would be good. I haven’t felt this way since I was little”.
Here I was reading this book -which I started reading because I didn’t want to think- and all I can do while reading it is: think. So I decided to follow his advice. Well, actually he didn’t advice me to do anything. But at some point he stopped the thinking and the reading and he got on a plane to New York where he started to… well…not really doing things or helping them happen but watching them happen. So, I booked a flight to London. It wasn’t a new place but it was still the kind of place that things, exciting, interesting things happen around you all the time. Also, there was a kid there I wanted to meet. And we played and played and played.
That dude in the book was on to something. Oh, i don’t know what it all means but I want to play.
When we are kids everything is big and new and unfamiliar, a bit scary but also exciting. You throw a ball against the wall and it bounces back and it’s magic. It’s action and reaction and energy and gravity and it all starts and finishes in your tiny little hands. You are as much in control as all the other elements. If there is meaning in everything or anything does it really get much further than that?
P.S: I love you my sweet little girl. I’m really sorry we wont get to play together this summer xxx
I caught “Eat Pray Love” on TV the other day. I had seen it when it first came out and I liked it. It’s a good film. Not brilliant but good although i know many people don’t share my opinion. I haven’t read the book. Actually, at that point I didn’t even know about the book or it’s massive popularity. A few days later, a friend and I were strolling around a bookstore when she asked me if I had any good beach reading material to suggest. I had just walked past it so I randomly recommended Eat, Pray, Love. For those who haven’t read the book or watched the movie, the story is about a woman (the author Elizabeth Gilbert) who after deciding to end her dead- end marriage goes through a difficult divorce and then decides to leave it all behind for a year. Thus, she embarks on a (kind of) soul-searching journey around the world by the end of which she discovers “balance” between earthly pleasures and spirituality. At least that’s my take on it.
I really wasn’t expecting the fierce reaction I encountered when I asked her what she thought of the book a few days later. “I only read 10-15 pages! What a whole lot of bullshit!” Turns out that my friend hated that book. She found it to be extremely self –indulgent, fake and ultimately, irresponsible. “You don’t just wake up one day, decide that you are not happy, create a mess around you and then just leave everyone else deal with it while you go on a holiday around the world. You don’t just up and leave every time you find a hiccup along the way”.
I kind of understood where she was coming from. I get it. But, who amongst us hasn’t flirted with the idea of getting away and leaving our problems behind with the hope that they would somehow resolve themselves. Also, getting away, even for a little while is relieving. We all love traveling to places we’ve never been before because it’s both eye opening and inspiring. It’s an adventure; it compels you to see the bigger picture and to open yourself to nature and to other cultures and civilizations.
I’m thinking…do we leave because we want to distant ourselves from our problems or is it because we want to go somewhere? I don’t think it matters. Some people resolve their problems through conflict and some through distancing themselves from them. And, when everything around us becomes heavy, uninspiring and suffocating walking away could very well be the only option. I don’t see is as the safe choice. Because, walking away actually means that we are abandoning the safeness and the familiarity of our current situations and taking a leap of faith into the unknown. That is why i will forever be be inspired by the travelers and the nomads of the world. Self- indulgent or not!
Notes: – This post has been inspired by the beautiful Bright Eyes song Landlocked Blues.
I love music. In fact you could say I’m a little obsessed with music. It’s no wonder then that I love to read books written by people who are also a little bit obsessed with music.
That’s how I stumbled upon Rob Sheffield’s book “Love is a Mixtape”.
“Love is a mixtape” is a touching memoir about love found and love lost. It’s also a story about how the songs we love become the soundtracks of our lives and about music’s amazing healing power.
One of the most heartbreaking parts of the book is where the author describes how he and his wife -with whom he shared an incredible bond- celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary by getting drunk and listening to David Bowies “Five Years” on repeat for the whole night. As fate would have it five years were all they had, as a few months later he lost her unexpectedly, from pulmonary embolism.
Up to that point I was in love with Ziggy Stardust and for me Five Years was the highlight of the whole album. It’s one of those songs that are both very very sad and very very powerful at the same time. But after reading Sheffield’s book I just couldn’t listen to it (and trust me I tried!).
So for the next couple of years I resorted to getting my Bowie fix by listening to – the still amazing but not as amazing- Hunky Dory and the less overwhelming Changes (is it “strange” or “strain”?). Then, a few months ago I came across an article in Uncut magazine that was all about how Bowie is God and Ziggy is one of the best albums ever recorded to be treasured by generations to come and blah blah blah. Many music magazine articles tend to be like that. Anyway, what’s important to know is that in this article the procucer of the album let us in this little piece of information: the song was recorded on the very first take and Bowie was crying all the way through singing it.
So, (of course) I had to listen to it again. And I did. And it was still as powerful and as sad and as beautiful as I remembered it. And though I could not hear him crying, I could hear the cracks and the hastiness in his voice and I was sure the producer was telling the truth.
And then it hit me. Either we like it or not, there’s a full stop somewhere down the line. And if five years is really all we have, then what’s the point in spending them crying? There’s a certain kind of freedom that comes with knowing that nothing lasts forever. And it makes every little thing in our lives so much more meaningful.And that what this song is really all about. And yes I know, that this post is turning into a big fat “carper diem” cliché but, being hopeful and finding meaning in everyday things is not an easy thing to do. Sometimes, you have to breath hard just to get from one day to the next. And that’s all right. Let the sad song play. But just once or twice. There’s a happy song on the other side of that record you have to get to.
– My current favourite Bowie song is Heroes.
– I used to think that “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” was the most pretentious name ever given to a record . And it probably is, but it gets redeemed by its amazingness.
– Other music obsessed books I like :
31 Songs by Nick Hornby
High Fidelity by the same author
Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story by Chuck Klosterman