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Friday 21 December 2012

The end of the term as we know it....

So - this rather entertaining obsession that society has with the fact that at some point today it will be over has made me think.

What we all love to to is romanticise and daydream and wish our lives away. We love the idea that, seeing as the apocalypse is imminent, we get to be just a touch more romantic, or at least a touch more likely to do the things that we have always hoped we would be able to do.

I remember my first trip to Brazil  in 1998 -  and although the days of hyper-inflation were over, the days of the money in your pocket being worth something different from one day to the next were not. Taxi drivers raced around the city literally trading cigarettes as word of their inflation spread from one district to the next. Guys stood on corner bars on Friday nights, drinking what ever their wages would buy. Being broke on Saturday morning was preferable to waking up with a pocketful of cash that was worth next to nothing!

And so this is it - my last work day in 2012 (along with half the city, it seems) - best start making it count. Personally I'm going to save a little bit for tomorrow and the day after, especially seeing as there's an outside chance that the prophets of doom might be talking out of their arses.

I'm here for the gig.....
Peace and love everybody - why not just do one little amazing, lovely thing for someone? Pretend its your last chance...

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Just How Festive Can You Be When It's So Bloody Hot?

Pretty festive, it turns out. The porteiros of Copacabana certainly know how to illuminate the streets. Our lad now has an exponentially increased risk of electric shock, thanks to a never ending daisy chain of fairy lights that tangles itself around every tree and trails though every puddle from here to eternity. Maybe they just want small children to light up too?

We've got joy, we've got fun, we've got Santa in the sun....

Just like everywhere else, the supermarkets and shopping malls declared Christmas months ago, but now it most definitely is the season, it seems that writing post-dated cheques to complete your shopping list is an option in all but the swankiest of places. Christmas on tick... reminds me of an Alan Bleasdale sitcom, only slightly warmer and less grey.

Santa (Papai Noel) is everywhere and the young and old seem to enjoy sitting on his knee and whispering their wildest desires into his shell-like. Only difference is that over here, he never seems to have a grotto - moreover, he camps out at the bottom of an escalator somewhere and any old Tom, Dick or Raphael can stand around and take a picture. Ho ho ho.

Oh, and the cabs have declared that tariff 2 is the new tariff 1. So before you embarrass yourself like I did, don't have a go at your driver - it might be a bit steep, but its legit. Just don't feel you need to chuck any more of your worldly wealth into the tips box he's tied to his headrests. Cheeky bastard.

The guys at our juice bar sing a song when you offer them a seasonal tip. I wonder if you went overboard and chucked them R$50 whether or not they would be able to improvise a full on nativity musical, with assorted sarnies and fruit as props. Just a thought.

As for the big day itself, what better way to spend Christmas than beering it up on the beach to those little known artists Gilberto Gil and Stevie Wonder! - For crying out loud - these people know how to have a knees up. Personally, I'll be doing slightly more familiar things back in blighty, but if I weren't, I'd be drinking disco piss in Copacabana for sure.

Merry Christmas! - What does it mean to you?

Tuesday 18 December 2012

Rhythms Of The City....

So, a brit bloco is over in rio - and good grief, they know how its done.

Before we made our move to Brazil, I spent years nurturing a fascination with samba and bossa nova - and being a teacher, I loved the way that a truck full of drums could weave magic over performers and listeners alike.

I never got good at it though - and these days, the sensible musician in me is more inclined to keep my hands in my pockets rather than risk the humiliation of hitting something when it clearly should be left well alone.

Rhythms of the City (ROTC) however, took it to another level ages ago - and their brutal rock'n'roll batucada offensive is sure to turn heads - these guys are welcome to hang with Rio's finest (Monobloco, Sgt Pimenta, etc etc).

I saw them (and not all of them either) tear it up with a hall full of primary school kids. They performed to the kids with just the same energy that they would to Lapa's roudiest punters - Shitot.

In another flash of cultural inspiration we nipped to 'nos do morro' last tuesday to watch their musical - 'Bandeira de Retalhos' - a story about an attempt to demolish a section of Vidigal Favela in 1977.

Powerful stuff - especially as the theatre itself is in the heart of Vidigal, looking out onto the very spot that survived the attempted eviction and demolition. Amazing acting and musicianship, in a venue that is a truly special place, representing a really exciting and fresh company - even though they've been around for years.

There ya go - coupla cultural reasons to get of yer arse.

Monday 17 December 2012

Are we there yet?

We're going home for Christmas - and the thought of all that decent beer is becoming all-consuming. Our little one is about to meet some of the family for the first time, and our not so little one is about to freeze his bollocks off.
Me and the boys. 3 Brass monkeys.

Festivities in Rio are going rather nicely too, however. We sang carols yesterday (or rather we chased our whirling dirvish as he ran laps around the church while a distant choir reminded me of a time when wassailing involved beer and yawping, rather than plea-bargaining and horrible threats)

Fa la la la laaaa, la la la la
The tree looks nice too. Ahhh. Almost worth the hour or so it adds to your journey every time you go anywhere near it.

Over at Jardim de Allah, there's something of an extravaganza going on. We went in the rain, but our little fellah didn't care. He too great joy in the various nativity interpretations on display - particularly the one that was all penguins and seal - 'Look mummy, its a really big foca, look at the baby foca, oooh a mummy foca' - it was worth getting soaked, honest.

Move on please, no Foca to see here.

And now we have 4 more work days, a bit of shopping, a beer or two - and then we're off. Anyone need anything?

Try one of these....

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