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Monday, 6 April 2015

Long Distance Reggae

Always wanted to try this - so when my mate Ed Rome asked me to be part of his latest project - 'Snapshot - Dubs n Subs' - a triumphant reworking of his earlier album with different artists featuring on different tracks.

I'm on Track 7 - 'El Gringo' - and I recorded it in Rio, sending ideas back and forth for Ed to play with and put them into the final track. It was great fun! - Let me know what you think?

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Rio Water Planet

Rio Water Planet, tucked away just beyond suburbia in Vargem Grande is a belting day out - especially if, like us, you manage to get bad weather that puts off the queueing masses. Careful though, if too many are put off then it won't open the gates at all. A bus/cab takes an hour or so if the traffic is kind.

We were celebrating again. This time a 3 year-old's birthday. The little ones had fun splashing around a sliding down this and that. The huge video screen and sound system kept us entertained with whatever the young and beautiful like to split their eardrums to, and those of us over 120cm tall could nip up the mountain to test our mettle on a whole range of ways of sliding down to the bottom in seconds alone.

No food or drink allowed in either - you have to load up a consumation card like you just walked into a cheesy nightclub and then spend it all on a piece of chicken and 12 beers.

Keep an eye out for Groupon offers - its R$120 each otherwise. - We paid R$39!

*not only are they pretty strict about being tall enough to go on the big slides, they also won't let you ride on the small ones if you are too tall, which means that you may have to try chucking your children down some of the more friendly stuff on their own. Your call, but might be a good idea to make sure there is someone at the bottom squeaking encouraging noises at the plummeting toddlers.

**the tallest slide of all has a weight limit of 85kg. I achieved this milestone some time ago and the guy with the scales was having none of it. Can't help feeling that they should have had a spare set for those who had spent painful hours in the gym in order to smash this modest target. Bastards.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Funk Original....

Ok - I'm trumpeting more these days and my next gig is Thursday 28th November 2013. Its a DVD recording for Gerson King Combo and the rehearsal yesterday sounded great.

The event is at TEATRO RIVAL BR – CINELÂNDIA Get yerself there! 'Friends list' is  R$ 10,00 - just send an email to

Come along - the much needed cash to make the recording happen has already been made via but there is still room for a little one if you fancy a school night wiggle.

Gerson is 70 and this is really a big celebration of Carioca-style 1970's funk. Think platforms and afros and an overdose of peace and love.

What on earth shall I wear?

Friday, 22 November 2013

So, we started a band....

Photo: Cheers Band em Santa Tereza.
Andy - teclado e trompet
Amy - trombone
Juju Gomes - voz
Luiz - guitarra
Monica Avila - sax
Papito Mello - baixo
Pestana - bateria

So, after a while making sure we had the right combination of energy and madness, I finally managed to get a band together. (Left to right) Trombone, Trumpet, Bass, Voice, guitar, Drums, Sax.

The picture is at our first gig, a smashing wedding in Sta Teresa. Give me a shout and we´ll come to your party and make a cacophonous racket that you are unlikely to forget.

World Cup Tickets (and loads of other things)

So, I gave the blog a rest once I realised that so many of the things I was keen to bang on about had already been banged several times before. That said, I recently had a peep at some of my 'dear diary' moments and have now decided that if I feel like banging on about something from time to time, then good for me. At least I'll be able to make my kids cringe in years to come. And if you´re reading this, you are most welcome.
Here´s a couple of Whatwedidinrio bits and bobs, just so that when senility finally sets in, I´ll be able to read through and giggle.

  • World cup tickets sold out pretty sharpish. I think I got 3 group stage tickets for Algeria but is not proving easy to find out if I actually did or not. I do know, however that Fifa have my cash in return for my successful application for tickets. If anyone could shed any light I´d be most pleased. 

    • We went to Blumenau (in Santa Catarina). Having never been to Munich for Oktoberfest (for fear of ending my life in a beery way), I'm told that this Brasilian version is the next biggest thing. Its like a big beer theme park. You buy tickets from a kiosk and exchange them for pint after pint after pint. Around 100k pissheads join you in this endeavour. And a series of oom pah bands provide an ecouraging soundtrack. Go there before you die.

      • We went to Rock in Rio (again!) I joined in again this year. How could a music teacher let such a spectacle happen under his nose without joining in? I was so glad I did. I made the pilgrimage on each of the Saturdays - and ended each night at the 'Palco Mundo' watching the headlining acts - Muse on the first Saturday and Bruce Springsteen on the second. But before I mention the megastars - I should really begin by mentioning my afternoon stroll down  Rock Street (which had a decidedly british flavour this year). Sao Paulo Beatles tribute 'All You Need Is Love' performed from the roof of the VisitBritain stand recreating the Apple Studios' Saville Row concert of 1969. The Rock Street stage itself had a varied programme that was enormous fun and it well worth sticking around to take in in the festival within. A highlight for me was the Rock Street Big Band tearing up some standards to encourage the afternoon revellers - the arrangement of 'Lady Madonna' was a riot.Ok - and so to the gargantuan main stages. I honestly loved it all but The Offspring (Palco Sunset) proved that they had nothing to prove whatsoever and Florence (and the machine) demonstrated that she deserved the high billing of the support slot to Muse (who, incidentally knocked out an outstanding show as always - only thing is I didn't get a true sense that theirs was a gig that they had come specifically to Rio to knock out - they somehow didn't seem to capture the imagination of the crowd who so desperately wanted to feel loved in their company. I suppose it felt like Muse were just doing what they do (which is outstanding), but as far as they were concerned, they could have been anywhere. I bet it was different when they played Cornwall

      • So - onto the Boss. Blimey. A lesson from beginning to end on how to be a bandleader with the universe under his thumb. I've never experienced such a huge wave of happiness and excitement generated so quickly - his set began with  Raul Seixas 'Sociedade Alternativa' - it was so exciting to hear him open his gig in Portuguese with the band hitting it for six - every one of them working with every ounce of their passion until the very end, some 2 hours and 40 minutes later.

      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?

      Try one of these....

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