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Saturday, 20 August 2011

Party Like You've never been two before....

Our little fella spends Monday to Friday at a local Creche, and as he and his toddling buddies approach the rip old age of two, we get the odd invite here and there. If we can go, we do. I honestly reckon that these events are reason enough to have kids. I really hope everyone gets to one sometime.

We just got home from one such occasion in the Sala de Festas at a building just around the corner. There were  good  handful of twoish kids along with assorted parents and family (older siblings, cousins and their mates) and their parents. A few waiters serving kids stuff and grown up stuff and a team of children's entertainers doing what they do. Don't forget the popcorn man and the woman looking after the trampoline.  Apart from them, it was pretty chilled out.

As far as our man went, the event ran from just before bedtime to head banging the fixtures and fittings in bewildered exhaustion. He had the time of his life. He bounced and hula-hooped and ate sugar for over 2 hours. What a fella. I got the beers in again. It really came as no surprise that the cold stuff was never more than a heartbeat away.

It was truly special to be part of this lovely celebration. Brazilians do so many things well, but the way they celebrate their kids probably tops the lot. Right, more beer before I get all loved up and over emotional.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Cobal Perspectives....

Cobal do Humaita, Rua Voluntários da Pátria, 446 e 448

This place has got everything. A fruit and veg market with a generous smattering of coffee shops, bars, vitners, restaurants, you name it.

Its open from early to late and if as informal as you like - I ve been a couple of times now and the crowd don´t really come here to be seen, they just come to chill out and have a beer, or do some shopping or buy a cushion, you name it (yep, you name it again...)

Come to think of it, its really hard to put this place into any category at all. Think marketplace meets nightclub meets live band meets car park meets furniture shop, you name it (?*!). All under a collection of mashed together corregated rooves. If this was back home it would be rougher than Catford Broadway. Here in Humaita it´s just a wonderful place to sit out and ponder the labours of the day. Christo, as ever is looking out over the place, and just in case he fails to keep the peace, a selection of armed private security guards are on hand at each gate to lend a gentle hand if required. Always nice to know you´re in good hands either way.

That´s the spirit
We went to 'Espirito do Chopp' where, believe it or not, great big towers of beer are served at your table and you can help yourself. Rude not to give it a go. Twice.

And if you're not blotto by the time you leave, Cobal has a nightclub! - I never ventured up the steps, but the with a name like 'Farup' I guess it might only be a matter of time.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

You dancing? You Asking?

This place rocks. Moreover it does that strange samba wiggle that cannot be learned. It must part of Brazilian DNA or something.

The best thing about having guests is that you make an effort to get off the sofa. On Thursday our visitor were here for the night en route to Paraty, so we decided to hit Rio Scenarium. I've been meaning to go to this place for ages.

Tucked away in Lapa its probably wisest to get a cab rather than risk the stroll. Getting in is a bit of a palaver, and don't forget your photo ID (this is the only time I've needed any so far in Brasil). You get a consumption card and pay on the way out.

Once inside, its easy to see why the Guardian rated it one of the top ten bars in the world. The whole place is happiness itself. Dance however you want an sing along at will. This is uninhibited fun.  The decor is anything and everything, from collections of posters and pictures, to a red phone box (how did that get here?). Tourists and locals smile and get on with the serious business of enjoying themselves. We stayed while the band did their thing. The time just flew. I'm smiling now just thinking about it.

Its pricey, but so what.

You dancing? You Asking?

You dancing? - Reminded me of the young ones...

Rik - Viv are you dancing?
Vivian - Are you asking?
Rik - Yeah
Vivian - Well Piss Off

Dia dos Pais and an Armed and Dangerous Wind Band...

So its Father's day. Quite cool to get a pat on the back. On Friday I was invited to attend a presentation at the little man's nursery. Every dad turned up, without fail, and watched their toddling bundle of joy prance about the place in a cardboard neck tie, dazed and confused as to what this circle of random blokes was doing. There was cake too, and a packet of screwdrivers for each doting dad.

Just another day at the office...

But the celebrations didn't end there - far from it. On the way home, the police wind band was playing outside of the metro station.  Now, I've played for a good number of musical directors with serious psycopathic issues. But I've never played for anyone who found it necessary to carry a bloody gun while the assembled multitude swayed gently from side to side. The band was actually pretty good. Good job really - nobody likes to see bullet holes in a band member just for the sake of a missed note or two.

Its been reported that batons will be used.
Any questions? Didn't think so..

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Love Jazz?

As part of the roaming international Jazz festival, John Faddis is coming along on Saturday afternoon to brighten up our day. I spend a considerable portion of my life trying to play Trumpet like this wonderful bloke.

If you´ve not heard of him, chances are you´ve heard him. The music on offer here at the moment really blows me away.

Nothing else to do? Go have a listen, its free. Praça dos Correios, 4pm.

Nice hooter. No, really.
The John Faddis gig is a tribute to Miles Davis, which ties in nicely with the "Queremos Miles" exhibition at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil nearby. Much as that mans demise breaks my heart, I can only wonder at how this one man changed music forever. Not that many people did that.

Insert witty caption here

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Hidden Gems; Sunday in the park

Parque Estadual da Chacrinha (map) or
Parque Estadual da Chacrinha (website)

Sometimes you could be forgiven for thinking you were back in the woods in England somewhere. But more often than not, there's a swift reminder that, although the greenery might be reminiscent of our green and pleasant land, the reality is most definitely many thousands of miles removed.

This morning we had friends over for coffee and then went to the park just across the way.   Now, nobody likes a show-off, but if you stroll into the park and a chorus of 20 or so chattering monkeys happen to be on top form, along with a pair of toucans flying from tree to tree, I couldn't help but feel just a little bit like a smug bastard. I felt like I'd just walked onto the set of the new Rio cartoon movie. And all within 5 minutes of the front door.

The blokes were more intrepid (including 2 under fives) and ventured into the woods. Pretty cool - but maybe a tad steep for a nearly 2 year-old.

Back in the main park, it was a hive of juvenile activity with kids parties and a football pitch, swings, slides and a couple of sheer drops onto concrete landings just to remind you that (if the monkeys and toucans weren't enough reminder) -  this is Brazil after all.

All in all a lovely way to kill an hour or so - but best keep an eye on the little ones - no one likes to see a plummeting toddler.

What you staring at?

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Lets do it together....

Getting a ticket was never this hard at way ahead records.....

Heh - reminds me of the Larry Miller sketch I used to listen to with my brother.. "Hey fellas, if we bought our own bar, we could live together forever!" - Don´t say you never had similar ideas.

Still, I digress. The genius collective mind at have gone ahead and done what every school council dreamt of doing. They work out the cost of booking a band, and then they charge a small number of people enough to cover the cost. Then they sell the rest of the tickets at a more modest price. If the gig sells out the initial investors get to go for free. If it sells quite well then the initial investors end up paying the same as everyone else.

The next gig is Primal Scream, no less! - Here´s how the money works:

  • Gig costs R$112,000
  • First 560 punters pay R$200 - this covers the cost, and the gig goes ahead.
  • If a further 660 punters buy a ticket for R$120, the first 560 get at least R$80 refunded, meaning they pay the same as everyone else.
  • If a further 1,670 punters buy a ticket at R$120, the first 560 go free.

Oh, and if the first 560 tickets don´t sell, everyone gets their money back.

Go on... what have you got to lose!

Post Gig Bite and a Natter?

Why not listen while you read?

There is a love of nattering amoung all performers. I suppose it comes from spending hours and hours killing time in cafes and pubs and service stations the world over. It came as absolutely no surprise that in Rio, the nattering has been going on in Style for decades.

La Fiorentina restaurant in Leme (near the end of Av. Atlantica) is a wonderful glimpse into the gigging life of the Carioca performers throughout the decades. Many have left their photos or signed their name on the wall. MPB composer Ary de Resende Barroso even left a bloody great bronze statue of himself.

We stopped by for pizza and pasta Sunday lunchtime. Wonderful, if a little pricey. Still, it beats a pasty in an M1 services at 3am. And that´s always a little pricey too.

Apparently they stay open until the last person leaves. Might be perfect as the last stop after a boozy one in Lapa. Who knows, if I pull my finger out I might be allowed to sign the wall one day.

Fancy a tall, stiff one?

Try one of these....

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