Monday, 11 October 2010

Rubbish unlikely look-alikes (III)

Javier Pastore - Argentine Footballer             Raul Gonzalez Blanco - Spanish Footballer


F**c You – Cee Lo Green

Ok, I admit it. This post and its timing are very opportunistic from me. On Friday, Cee Lo was on the BBC program Later with Jools Holland. (LINK). Also, this song is number one in the charts right now in the UK.

The lyrics via
I see you driving 'round town
With the girl i love and i'm like,
F**k you!
Oo, oo, ooo
I guess the change in my pocket
Wasn't enough i'm like,
F**k you!
And f**k her too!
I said, if i was richer, i'd still be with ya
Ha, now ain't that some shit? (ain't that some shit?)
And although there's pain in my chest
I still wish you the best with a...
F**k you!
Oo, oo, ooo

Yeah i'm sorry, i can't afford a ferrari,
But that don't mean i can't get you there.
I guess he's an xbox and i'm more atari,
But the way you play your game ain't fair.

I pity the fool that falls in love with you
(oh shit she's a gold digger)
(just thought you should know nigga)
I've got some news for you
Yeah go run and tell your little boyfriend


Now i know, that i had to borrow,
Beg and steal and lie and cheat.
Trying to keep ya, trying to please ya.
'Cause being in love with you ass ain't cheap.

I pity the fool that falls in love with you
(oh shit she's a gold digger)
(just thought you should know nigga)
I've got some news for you
i really hate yo ass right now

Now baby, baby, baby, why d'you wanna wanna hurt me so bad?

(so bad, so bad, so bad)
I tried to tell my mamma but she told me
"this is one for your dad"
(your dad, your dad, your dad)
Uh! Whhhy? Uh! Whhhy? Uh!
Whhhy lady? Oh! I love you oh!
I still love you. Oooh!
But the thing is that this song got me thinking: What is a good song? How would you define it? For me, it is simple: nice tunes and meaningful lyrics. I know these are very broad categorizations. But for example, this song’s lyrics are meaningful in the sense that they are funny and tell story I can appreciate or relate to. Hey, I have some F**c yous to give away. And who hasn’t? Don’t tell me you don’t.

PS: an amusing video doesn’t make a song great but it helps.

Street Art

One of the things I like about living in a city (even better if it is as large as London) is the mix of people. Of course cities are sometimes full crime amongst other bad things but I always prefer to look at the positive things when it comes to human beings. And it is cities where you are most likely to find street art. On Friday night I was coming back home and found this ‘intriguing’ piece of street art (apologies for the quality of the picture).

What? Don’t you think this is art? Look pal, this is a blog and I checked it in Wiki (follow the link to see some cool pieces from all around the world): this certainly falls in the definition of street art and for me that suffices. No, seriously, if there is a composition that is intentional and tries to communicate messages/feelings or generates them in the witness that in my books is street art.

I particularly like those that are spontaneous like this picture below. It was last winter, it had snowed heavily and I went out to take pictures at the same places I go usually around but with the snow giving them a different spin.

After the inspiration I received from the “Chair in the Canal”, I produced my bit of street art that same afternoon in the Victoria Park (well actually just took the photo of the “Left Buggy”).

I also like the somewhat less spontaneous. By the way, you don’t need to be in such a large city to come across street art. I found this grafitti (the translation from the Spanish is “Where are we going to that we are not getting there?”) in the stunning Cuenca, Ecuador.

Do you like street art? I would love to hear your stories about it.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

An Artist of the Floating World - Kazuo Ishiguro

“If o a sunny day you climb the steep path leading up from the little wooden bridge still referred to around here as ‘the Bridge of Hesitation’, you will no t have to walk far before the roof of my house becomes visible between the tops of two pingko trees….”

This is how the book starts. As you can see just with a few lines, Ishiguro’s writing style is incredibly elegant. The last paragraph is also lovely literature but hopefully you will find that out after reading this review. Sometimes you feel you can visualize what it happening in this book which is a trait of a great writer.

The novel, which takes place in post-Second World War Japan, centers on a retired artist as he looks back to his career, comes to terms with his mistakes and revises his convictions as well his relationships with mentors, disciples and colleagues. It is very simple but at the same time with profound meaning.

I find interesting that when you read a novel that you end up liking you sort of develop certain feelings (sympathy, empathy, resentment, etc) towards its main character. I could certainly do it with this novel that with the beautifully composed writing and interesting themes makes a valuable reading.

This is the second novel I read by Kazuo Ishiguro with the first being his more famous “The Remains of the Day” (which I only finished two months ago). There are some common topics between the two: the main character, in this case a butler that used to word for an English Lord in his Oxfordshire mansion, also reflecting upon the past, his career (and its meaning and sense of purpose) and his relationship with his employer and staff.

I will probably try to read more by Ishiguro in the future. One thing I particularly enjoyed about the two novels is the way they reflect on the reader stereotypes (of the Japanese idiosyncrasy and the English post-war society) without I believe actually seeking so.

If I have to recommend one of the two I would go for “An Artist of the Floating World”. Both are very good books but “The remains of the day” only grew in me as a reader towards the end as it failed to engage me. Instead, I greatly enjoyed the former since the first sentences copied above.

Bonus track: the movie “The Remains of the Day”, with a cast including Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson and Christopher Reeve, is also very good indeed. Did you watch it? Did you read anything by Ishiguro?

Rubbish unlikely look-alikes (II)


Nestor Kirchner - Former Argentine President           Mesut Ozil - German Footballer

Saturday, 9 October 2010

One song, three versions

There are songs that take me back to certain moments in my life, others remind me of the different seasons, others I like to listen when blogging and others that reflect on my state of mind or help me to get to certain mood.

This post is about a song that I never tire of listen when I’m a bit down and need a little help to carry on. It’s a classic. The song is (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher which was written by Carl Davis featuring some Motown musicians and sang by Jackie Wilson. This is the original version.

This second version is by the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. When I grow up I’d like to be like him.

And the third one I want to show you is by ACM Gospel Choir and it was performed in the very entertaining BBC program Last Choir Standing.

Of course, one of these three versions is the one I like the most; I’ve got my favorite. But I find things that I appreciate in each one of them. I love the cool movements and voice of Jackie Wilson plus the original Motown feeling about this version. Also I like the energy of the Boss in a more rocker version. And lastly the exuberance youth that emanates from the choir (who said choirs are not cool?). Maybe it’s a bit simplistic but I think there could be a lesson here on multiculturalism, tolerance and appreciating the good that different things have to offer. Am I being too naïf? Can you see good things on all the three versions?


There is a scene towards the end (if I remember correctly) of My Own Private Idaho (LINK) that I find very telling regarding the human nature. In this scene, the character played so awesomely by River Phoenix collapses due to his condition of narcolepsy (LINK) in the middle of a country road. A truck stops by and the two guys that descend from it steal from him his rucksack and shoes. Then a car stops and the guy picks River Phoenix to take him in search for help (it appears).

However, when it comes to humanity I am always with optimists’ side. I know that everyday there are a large number of developments against this optimism. But there are also always positive developments. And it makes me good when I witness them. No matter how small.

I took this photo with my mobile last week. I guess a child lost his school sweater and someone, instead of stealing / keeping it for himself, left it hanging on the railings in case the owner came for it later. The same thing happened to me a few years ago (I dropped one of my scooter gloves) and found it on the railings just like that school sweater. I was grateful. Little things that make sharing this large home called world better.

Are you with us, the optimists as well? Have you witnessed something nice recently?