Monday, 30 January 2012

Alive! in Lisboa

by Sara Tavares

Although I bought this box set some three years ago, it was not until now that I watched the whole Lisbon concert in one sitting. It is even better than I remember. Perhaps the next best thing to the actual concert of Sara Tavares.

In addition to the DVD, the set includes two of her earlier albums: Mi Ma Bô and Balancê.

The DVD opens with Barquinho da Esperança, a wonderful song that does not appear on any of Sara’s studio albums.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Peavey Microbass Combo Amplifier

by Peavey Electronics

I bought this cute little combo back in 2000, to have something to plug my Fender Jazz Bass into. It proved to be surprisingly loud for a 20-watt practice box. Great sound quality too, and very sturdy. It served me well as both bass and guitar amp ever since. For the last year and a half, however, it was mostly gathering dust.

Now I found it another use: to accompany me at my Zumba lessons. Microbass is louder and much lighter than ION Block Rocker (well it doesn’t have lead batteries in it), and also happens to fit into a medium-size rolling suitcase. To hook up my MP3 player to it, I had to order a stereo to mono adapter from Amazon — I couldn’t find such a prehistoric thing in Corralejo.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Берегись автомобиля

a film by Eldar Ryazanov

If you never watched this film, please do it. Brilliant actors, great music, every sentence a classic.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

by Douglas Adams

By some reason, I never read this book before we moved to Fuerte.

Now I did. I really think the writing is the Adams’s best.

Know what, Cambridge is not that bad after all. Monty Python, Pink Floyd and DNA — I mean, of course, Douglas Noel Adams — are more than enough to vindicate the place. And now I learned that St. Cedd’s even used to have a time machine.

“But that can’t work, can it?” said Richard. “If we do that, then this won’t have happened. Don’t we generate all sorts of paradoxes?”
Reg stirred himself from thought. “No worse than many that exist already,” he said. “If the Universe came to an end every time there was some uncertainty about what had happened in it, it would never have got beyond the first picosecond. And many of course don’t. It’s like a human body, you see. A few cuts and bruises here and there don’t hurt it. Not even major surgery if it’s done properly. Paradoxes are just the scar tissue. Time and space heal themselves up around them and people simply remember a version of events which makes as much sense as they require it to make.
“That isn’t to say that if you get involved in a paradox a few things won’t strike you as being very odd, but if you’ve got through life without that already happening to you, then I don’t know which Universe you’ve been living in, but it isn’t this one.”

Sunday, 15 January 2012


by Knut Reiersrud

Sorting through the box of unclassified CDs. Where did this one come from? Most likely from Oxfam, about ten years ago. Can’t really say what caused me to buy it, for all the liner notes are in Norwegian. The only name that rang a bell at the time was that of organist Iver Kleive. I listened to this album once, then I firmly lost the track of it.

So here it is. By now I recognise the names of a few more musicians here: Paolo Vinaccia (djembe, talking drum, bolambata, bass kalimba), Juldeh Camara (the very same Camara who plays with Justin Adams), and all four of Five Blind Boys of Alabama: Clarence Fountain, Jimmy Carter, George Scott and Curtis Foster. As intercontinental collaborations go, this one is not as unlikely as it sounds (and I heard unlikelier ones). In fact, when you listen to the songs, they all sound very organic. My favourite song is seven-and-a-half minute Jarabe, sung by Gambian griot and kora player Alagi M’Bye. I still can’t read Norwegian, but one can get a satisfactory translation of these liner notes online:

Utgangspunktet er et muslimsk basert tradisjonelt tema som Alagi og jeg har brettet ut. Alagi har skrevet ny tekst og jeg har harmonisert i mer europeisk tradisjon. Den godeste Alagi sang med så mye trøkk at mikrofonene i den lille trekirken på Rauland fikk problemer med å fange opp noe som helst annet. Stemmingen på gitaren er stjålet fra en av mine favoritt kassegitarister — Joni Mitchell.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

The Million Dollar Hotel

a film by Wim Wenders

Somehow, I never heard about this film until last night. Once again, kudos to laSexta’s Todo Cine channel for showing it. Co-written and co-produced by Bono, of all people, the movie did poorly at the box office when released in 2000. It was not appreciated by the critics either, in spite of some top-quality acting, photography and music. Peter Stormare is great as an “ex-Beatle” Dixie, and his rendition of I Am the Walrus easily beats the 1967 original. One day I want to watch it again (with English subtitles, ’cause I didn’t understand half of things Tom Tom was saying).

Tom Tom (Jeremy Davies) tries to strike up a conversation with Eloise (Milla Jovovich). According to IMDb, the book that Eloise carries around is One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Timur’s Artwork

by Timur Kulikov

As Timur keeps producing drawings (mostly with Adobe Illustrator) at a rather alarming rate, I’ve helped him to set up his website with Weebly. Now he updates it on his own.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus

by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

This double album set comes in a cute canvas-bound slipcase, with CDs in cardboard sleeves and a lyrics booklet — a lot of lyrics in these songs, you know. Top quality lyrics too. I love every song here. Especially Get Ready for Love, Hiding All Away and The Lyre of Orpheus.
The well went down very deep
Very deep went down the well
The well went down so very deep
Well, the well went down to hell
Ah, brilliant. Who else could have thought of rhyming Orpheus with orifice?

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Belly Dance Fitness

by Aerobics Oz Style
First published 4 January 2012 @ zumbafuerteventura

Just as in case of The Samba Reggae Workout, I ordered this DVD on the strength of the Amazon reviews. This time, however, it was rather a miss. I did not learn that much new, apart from some useful moves during the cool-down (called here “warm-down”). There is about 55 minutes of workout (including warm-up and cool-down) and quite a lot of utterly disposable bonus features, like Behind the Scenes or Team Profiles (where one of the instructors is showing her kitchen and another is going through her collection of hip scarves). The music is really boring. And what is “Oz Style”? I think it means that all the demonstration takes place on the beach, somewhere in Australia I presume. I quite like that — you almost expect a great white shark or something among the bathers on the background — although the camerawork is not that great. Apparently, the cameraman is rather fond of Dutch angles, which, according to Wikipedia, are

often used to portray the psychological uneasiness or tension in the subject being filmed.
Not the best choice for a dance fitness or, for that matter, any instructional video (unless it is the one on Dutch angle techniques). As much as I enjoy looking at the girls with very little clothes on, it would be better if the camera stayed focused on the instructors. Also, as the DVD is aimed at the beginner, one would expect a bit more of basic movement breakdown.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Stratvs Rosado 2010

This beautifully presented rosé comes from Bodegas Stratvs in La Geria, Lanzarote. The bottle has the words “El Vino del Fuego de la Tierra del Viento” in raised letters on it. The Stratvs’s own tasting notes say:

Aromas of red fruits — strawberries and mulberries, fresh herbs, fine patisseries and red caramel.
I am not sure about all that but it went down nicely anyway. At €8.50 per half-litre, it is not the cheapest beverage around. Still, now and then I feel the urge to support the local economy while having a good drink, and this is a very decent wine for the purpose.

More photos of rosé wine @ Shutterstock.