Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Dancing in the street

So, I've been away for a a virtual sense. But this is not to say that I've had nothing to write about, quite the opposite.

I'm not a student anymore, I've moved from one country to another, I've started a new career, I've shaved and I'm currently winging my way across Europe without any socks. On my travels I've found Frankfurt-ians to be not the most responsive people towards buskers, although Prague-ians were more than willing to show they cared....

This time tomorrow I'll be in Cardiff, all things being equal, and I'm going to see how much Cardiffians appreciate street music.

It's also surprising where busking takes you...

A lady with a dog happened upon me while I was playing behind the national bank in Bucharest and apparently she liked something I was doing. She turned out to be the wife of a famous Romanian folk singer and invited me to play at the Teatrul Bulandra at an arts festival, it went well. Also while busking I've appeared in engagement videos, holiday snaps, I've received offers of food (I think they thought I looked hungry), I've been given paper clips, flowers, sweets, seven different currencies and a kiss from a homeless lady....amongst other things.

Thought for the day: Never underestimate the lady with the dog


Monday, 22 February 2010

Money, Money, Money

I sat down at an internet terminal in Gatwick airport this morning, and what should I find next to me, but an open purse containing what looked like 100's of pounds. Guess what I did... :) Well firstly I looked around to see if anyone was close, there were a lot of people around, but no-one who was concerned with the purse. Then I spent my £1 worth of internet time, watching the purse, watching people to see if they were watching the purse and watching to see if people were watching me watching the I never did check my email.

I also spent the time considering what to do if nobody came for it...nobody did.

There were two options I could see, hand it in or keep it. But it wasn't a difficult choice, I was never seriously going to hand it in...only joking :) But, I would be lying if I said I didn't think about that option. So I took it and and dutifully found the 'left baggage' counter.

Now...the look that the attendant gave me when I said,

"I've just found this purse and it contains what looks like hundreds of pounds"

was priceless. It was a puzzled look that said,

"are you serious?"

and then without saying a word to me...not a single word... he just handed me a form to fill out.

It turned out that there was £280.50, 225 Euros, the owners Romanian ID card and various other things in the said purse.

You might be asking the question "Why didn't you keep it you idiot?", and it might be a good question. I'm not completely sure of my reasons, maybe I thought the costs outweighed the benefits, or maybe it was just my way of paying it forward...

So if you know a Raluca Ioana Zaharescu, tell her I know where her purse is...also ask her why she left 7 minutes before her internet credit ran out...criminal!!

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Slow down everyone, you're moving too fast.

So, Alexander McQueen is dead, am I sad? Yes I'm sad, because somebody's brother, somebody's son, somebody's friend is dead, not because we've lost a celebrity designer. I'm not a fan of the eulogizing that goes on when somebody dies, especially when the media report on a celebrity death.

Now, I knew nothing about Mr. McQueen before today, other than the fact that he was a well respected designer...and that he had a very cool second name. But, I watched an interview with another famous designer today discussing his life, and apparently, and I quote, "Alexander only had one failing", he was not concerned enough with 'commercial success' and was too concerned with making a statement, be it political, religious or other...

Are we so far gone, that making a statement is a failing???

I originally wrote "what a load of ****!!!" before the previous sentence, but I thought it was a bit strong.

Anyway, a month on, and I notice Haiti has disappeared from the news completely...I guess everything is back to normal now....

Happy Days

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Little by Little


If you're wondering what that is, I can't tell you, because I have no idea...or maybe I do but it's a secret ;)

I attended a lecture today and to make one of his points a little more memorable, the lecturer - I won't tell you his name Steve - said, "if you're ever in a pub quiz and they ask you, what was the difference between Emile Durkheim and Karl Marx, Durkheim liked the division of labour and Marx didn't"

What kind of pub quizzes does he attend???

Take a look at this video, then tell me what you watched on TV last night ;)

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

In the Blackness of the Night....

The last four days have been made up of absolute highs and absolute lows. Some of the highs and most of the lows have played themselves out in the virtual world. So it got me thinking, and my thoughts strayed completely...and this is the result!!

The idea of context is a huge part of conversation, when I say context I mean body language, facial expression, voice intonation, etc. I've been told it's as much as 90% (from a very reliable source close to my heart). This is ok in the real world, but, in emails and sms's this context is almost entirely missing.

Now, up to this point most of what I've said is believable to the majority, but this is where I split people into two groups...the lovers and the haters!!

Emoticons! :)

It has become fashionable amongst the 'virtual elite' :o to label these little symbols as too childish to use. :( Maybe they have a point, but maybe they don't. In fact, it might be the closest that the virtual world comes to non-written context :D If online chat is to be meaningful some context is required.

Do you want an example?

"Do you want to go out?"

"Do you want to go out? <3"

I challenge anyone to say that those mean the same thing....but be careful if you do challenge it, you might be labelled 'virtual elite' ;)

If you add to this lack of context the problems of language translation ;) the use of common symbols could be an important part of a solution, possibly for an internet generation, they may already be :D

Thoughts for the day....

'Silence' in virtual conversations often isn't a negative thing!

Imagine a world where there are only online ineractions, where we all live in boxes with computers in front of us...Visit someone and make them smile :D

#I'm a fugitive, community has driven me out
For this bad, bad world I'm beginning to doubt#

...I was going to keep singing, but the next line made no sense to me ;)

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

On The Road To Find Out....

I will be on the road again tonight, heading for the ice and snow. It's a great time, those moments before you leave your house to travel. In the days leading up to it there might be a million and one things on your mind, but as the departure becomes more imminent, all these things fade, until the moment arrives and all you think about is, "Have I got my passport?". Then once you have left the house...and in my case my journey usually starts with a bus take on a whole new identity. Even though I'm on a bus which I take regularly, now I'm on it as 'a traveller'. Everything seems different, my clothes, my attitude... A spring develops in my step, my thoughts start to travel on far narrower lines, day to day worries are left at home and a whole new set of thoughts replace them. This is one of the great joys of travelling and one of the reasons I love it so much, but it's not the whole story....

If you travel for long enough (in my experience this is any more than three weeks) it's possible to suffer from what I like to call (after a conversation in Vietnam) 'The Doom'. These are odd days where you start to question the reasons for everything, you start to ask yourself things like "What am I doing with my life?" and statements come out like "The problem is...I don't have a dream". There's no escaping these days you just have to accept them. Of course you can take drastic action...I have in the past...and return home. Or you can have a drink and then wake up the next day ready to take on a 32 hour train to Shanghai...or wherever you might be going.

I think the reason for all this is simple, no matter where you go and how far you travel, there's one thing you can never get away from, yourself. But this isn't a reason not to travel, the benefits far outway the downsides. In fact when I become world leader it will become compulsory to travel, to break out of your day to day and see how it works in other places. You soon realise that a lot of what you hold as necessary in life, really isn't.

It's suprising how long you can actually wear the same set of clothes for....

So my love, I will be leaving soon!!

P.s. It was 7 cans, not 9, but I will leave the post unedited because it stands as a testament to the power of alcohol.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

I´ve Been Drunk For Over Two Weeks..

Maybe yes....maybe no...

But if I was completely honest...

But even if I was completely dishonest I might tell you the same thing, so that statement is completely moot.

So, as I was going to say, Iºve had 9 cans of carlsberg export but Iºm sure Iºll write something in the morning...tomorrow is a big day. Also Iºve pressed something on my keyboard AGAIN which has changed the language, but I donºt know what.

I watched ºFull Metal Jacketº tonight, did you like it?

Te pup

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Use Somebody

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

I won't go gentle....

Thursday, 14 January 2010

The News...

Do we get what we want or what we're given?

How can the BBC go from one news story on the Haiti disaster to another on a football manager who has been charged with tax evasion, and introduce it as 'BREAKING NEWS'? From a story about 50,000+ deaths in the past two days, to a single person who is only important to his family, friends and a handful of football fans who is a possible thief...and the latter is 'BREAKING'??

Music on the news, why? To keep people entertained?

Now, the Haiti disaster is the top story (I'm watching as I write), within two days it will be second or third and within a week or two it will not be mentioned, until a month has passed then there will be 'One Month After Special'. But don't worry, they will replace the top story with something utterly informative like, Madonna has decided to get married again, or Tom Cruise has broken a toenail.

Also, of all the personal stories that they could have covered, they show an interview with an American Christian missionary who is amongst a plane full of Christian missionaries leaving the country. Are we happy because 'the Westerners' are safe? Also, it's slightly ironic that the missionaries are leaving, I would think that in Haiti's 'Hour of greatest need' - as Obama called it - the missionaries would be in their ideal environment. But, maybe you should only do 'God's Work' if it's safe to do so.

I think we'll finish on that ironic note....

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

On The Road Again

So I left Romania Monday and arrived back in Cardiff lunchtime yesterday but my journey took me via London Victoria Station...train and bus. It was an interesting place yesterday, as it probably is every day. These transient places attract people from every walk of life, who are not necessarily going to get on with each other.

Two experiences stick in my mind. The first was the man at the ticket office. He served a guy...that became quickly evident...that he'd served before, and the guy legitimately wanted to change his ticket, because he said he'd asked for one bus company and he had been sold a different one.

Nowwwww, maaaayyyybe the customer didn't say 'Megabus' in the original conversation (I wasn't there), but, the seller starts a very brave or possibly foolish line of defence. He immediately starts calling the customer a liar, repeatedly shouting it in his highest pitched 50 kilo voice. Fortunately for him he was behind glass, and this must have given him confidence because the customer wasn't a small guy and looked like he might have been around the block a few times. But to his credit, he was the one who kept his cool, and allowed the phrase, "the customer is always right" to be screwed up in to a ball, dropped, stood on, spat on and then planted firmly up his ****....for a minute or so! Then he responded with his, less than measured approach, and considered for a few moments, to find a way into the office to express his displeasure in a more physical way!

If not for the boss, who told brave seller to move away from the window "NOW", I think he would have been an ex-ticket seller who would have sold his final (incorrect) ticket and gone to the great ticket office in the sky.

Act 2 was the opposite. This time it was a customer, and his friend, who were seemingly on the wrong side of correct. They ran up to to the megabus stand (Gate 20) at 8:05 and demanded to know why, and then couldn't fathom the reason, that the 8:00 bus to Birmingham had already gone. He spent at least 60 animated seconds protesting to a less than interested megabus worker, who continued to look at his watch as if to taunt the man's lack of time-keeping. There seems to be a theme of brave transport workers, willing to push the customer to the edge of wrath!

Other than that the journey was relatively smooth, except for the 6 hours spent in a coffee shop chair in Gatwick airport and the fact that I didn't want to leave Bucharest in the first place!

Until next time, maybe somebody is reading...

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Wish You Were Here...

It's 3am (Romania time) I can't sleep. I have spent so much time in bed over the last few days that my body doesn't know where it is. There are several reasons I have spent so much time in bed....tonight's reasons were the best!

I performed in a bar tonight, when I'd finished somebody made the (correct) observation that I should interact more with the audience, share a bit more of myself...but I find it difficult to interact with a group of people I don't know...he says as he bears his soul on the internet, but I have an estimated readership of about 3!...and they are all drunk, giggling it's ok.

But the people who came tonight seemed to enjoy it...those that didn't leave.

I'm really not sure about this blog, I wrote one a few years ago when I was travelling through Asia, mainly for the people I knew, family, friends, but this is different. I'm not writing this for particular people, it's more general, infact as I said, at the moment I'm writing it almost exclusively for myself! But I will continue to find out whether I am the next Dickens...or not!

I'll leave you with a true story...

I'm seeing Avatar tomorrow (or today).

Goodnight, Noapte Buna

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

And So It Is....

I've found for the last three days that I am unable to get out of bed, Which concerned me on the first day, not so much the second, but today I am concerned once again.

So with this, and the beginning of a new year in mind, I have started writing.

I have few reasons to get out of bed, I do have some reading to do, but that can be done in bed and it's not so urgent. I could tidy the house a little...although there is only ten minutes work there. I could do it to appear 'normal', but who would the appearance be for? Only one other person knows I'm here and she already knows who I am and she still loves me...and vice versa. So the 'normal' appearance would be mainly for myself, to prove to myself that I am contributing something, which is a good thing for society I think, but sometimes I think it is just good to do nothing, give yourself time to think, reflect on how life is turning out.

Besides, there are many reasons for me not to get out of bed. The one person who I want to spend time with is in work until's 4 o'clock. I am away from home with very few responsibilities while away. It's cold. I drank too much last night...and the night before. I'm giving myself time to think....

There are many things to think we all know, life isn't always simple, and even when it is simple, or maybe I should say, especially when it's simple, some people try to upset this point I could start to discuss my own situation and maybe even issue a couple of personal attacks, but I think it's sufficient to say...There are a lot of things to think about!

So, I am still laying in a bed in Bucharest waiting for my special someone to finish work, my family in the UK, and my thoughts split between the two.

But I'll tell you a true amusing story....

6 days ago, we had just celebrated the birth of a new year, I am in a house with 5 others, and I'm preparing to play a few songs on the guitar and decide to use the toilet...probably due to the copious amounts of vodka punch, Baileys, etc, etc. that had been consumed.

The toilet door jams shut with me inside.

So here's the scene, I am stuck in a toilet, 3 hours into the new year, slightly tipsy...we'll say, 5 females on the outside of the door, 3 of whom I don't know AT ALL, including the apartment owner, I'm stuck in the toilet with nothing but my pride slowly draining away, with the door and a 'slight' language barrier between us.

They try in vain for ten drunken, giggling minutes to open the door from the outside, until eventually it becomes obvious that more drastic action is required. Either smash the small window, or try and break the door down...the owner goes with the glass...eventually. So they tape the glass up and I smash the window. But then the problem of using the toilet becomes an issue...they can't get in because it's a small window and it's high up. But one of them has the idea of using the garbage shute...or so I thought. It's located on the communal balcony and is an opening about 1 meter of the floor where you throw your garbage. After several of them had used this 'garbage shute' I got to thinking about how they were using it. For me it would have been simple, for a girl....

So eventually my curiosity got the better of me and when my better half went to use it for the second time and I said "How the **** are you all using it!!" and went running to see this show of biological excellence. What I was greeted with when I arrived was not the show I was expecting.

But I'll leave it to your imagination....

For now,

Buna Ziua, Good day