This blog will be dedicated to the beautiful passions of life: Food, Film, Football (Barça), Philosophy, Literature, Art and Humanity.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Silent Week

This Week is a Week of Mourning.

One of my Absolut top Hero has passed away.

Thank you Ingmar for everything you left, an amazing body of work, if only everyone would have your hunger for wanting to delved into the human psyche, and that insatiable thirst for life, something I hope will inspire me to the age of 89.

I will listen to your last interview for the Swedish Radio this week.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Hrafnista Staccato

This is kind of a Staccato account of the Old People's Residency - Hrafnista - where my grandmother lives. On the edge of the world, surrounded by Lava and Elves.

Spontaneous happening -- occurring, you just have to be alert and open up your sensibilites.

The Elves surroundings are the ones of the land of the elves, there is a walk
where my grandmothers friends live, even if she does not want to talk about it, at least not on record. Each time it is off the record my ears raise up, I am so desperate to remember each single word of it, that I just forget.

Rooms, inside the Rooms

People waiting for?

The dance on Fridays
This is my favourite activity, I love looking at the people, some of them far too old to walk, but for a moment, nothing can stop the remembrance of youth.

I love them, I love to take part in them, going to the cinema, going to the old Whale station, taking part in "puttinu" - the mini golf (where people do cheat, I have seen that with my own eyes, cheating does not stop at an old age)

Things and its story

The stone collection, imitating each moment of a long life.

Journeys from the Past

God and Politics, not sure which subject is hotter.

The Lava and the Sea

Questions about the old country side, SVEITINA, it is something extremely romantic, as almost all of the population lives in the capital area. Romantic.

Sigriður - the artist, I was desperate to talk to her, but she kept escaping me, embarrassed about the decreasing health, a real shame as I sincerely thought some of her waterc-olours were sensational.

the Woman on B2, this is an old friend of my Grandmother, that I always have to go and visit. I once about 7 years ago went everyday for lunch there, and she was my lunch friend, on the last day she looked me deeply in the eyes and said:
I am really sad, tomorrow is going to be such a sad day. You won't be having lunch with us tomorrow.
Since then I obviously pay my dept of respect.

Leifur the Poet

Lovísa the friend

Hobbies, card playing, not sure if it is for money, picking up women (yes that occurs even when you are 80), bringing home a one night stand.

The Cod War

The elevator, which is like a highway in rush hours.

Portraits of People and Portraits of Boats

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Working Anecdotes

More Working Anecdotes

Like Edwin mentioned in the previous post, there was this Chinese Women, who came in with a surgenons mask. Always on Sunday double bills. I allow Edwin’s words to recall the story:
“Limping with her walking stick past two sets of heavy fire-doors to complain of phantom cigarette smoke, "I AM CHOKING", whilst miming a strangling gesture round her throat. What was really odd was that she repeated it three times, then returned to the screen.”
She would allows visit the disabled toilet, always. I have to admit we sometimes used that toilet to cure hangovers… Or just to have a momento of piece. I once used it to my shift co-workers annoyance, for something truly special. It was something I had been waiting forever to do and that day I had bought new toe nail clippers. So I spent ages in the toilet in order to cut my toe nails. Back to the Chinese Women, one time the disabled toilet was not locked, to her fury, she wanted us to lock it so no one could use it, apparently all disabled people have a key. In revenge she left her dirty knickers on the toilet seat. She also always wanted us to clean it, something I refused to do.

Mr 1 - who had the only tatoo I like. Extremely funny in his mental bourgeoise Brazilian way.

There was also this old man, who was extremely strange, he had some kind of illness and would start screaming and swearing, tourette’s syndrome. He came up to me to introduce himself, after a long chat, where he was clearly scratching his bottom, from within the trousers (you know what I mean), did he reach out his hand to introduce himself. I have never ever wanted to clean my hands as urgently as that time. I also remember the conversation consisting of prison and prisoners in Iceland.

Mrs 1 - at the Christmas Party

Another one from Edwin:
“I think you forgot to mention asking one of the main distribution representatives, who was English (white English), "are you a triad?".
Rob Kenny loves recounting that one, as he had to apologise on your behalf.”

I became obsessed with the Triads, found them so fascinating and as they were always in there counting money and ticking things off, I used to ask for a tip. Just straight out: I see you have money, can you tip me, which they would often do. I think I was the only one who actually really liked them. I also made an art piece on them or their relics.

A normal day at Curzon...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Customer Complaints

I worked in this cinema some years ago and as I visited London last week I popped in to visit some of my friends. I suddenly remembered some anecdotes. I think I was one of the staff members who collected most customer complaints. And I don't really know why.

The complaints:

• I remember this one woman, who sounded fairly posh, like a woman from Old England, if that says something. After a brief conversation, where she booked her tickets, with a certain arrogance or not, I can't recall, but upon asking if she could pay by a card, I answered, sure, if you have any money on your card. Something which did not particularly please the woman. How stupid of me not to remember that you can't talk of sex, money or anything in public.

• The cinema was showing this gay friendly movie, there were always men in their fifties coming to see them on their own in the day. Leading to the screen there is a long corridor. This time a man arrived fifty minutes in to the film. I am annoyed myself when people come in at all hours distracting everyone from the purpose of them being there; the movie. I stood up from my comfortable usher chair and asked the man quietly and fairly gently, although he could have mistaken my accent for aggression
- Can I see your ticket please?
- "I am late and it is none of your business"
- Well, it kind of is my job to see your ticket
The man just stood there for a long time shouting, not wanting to show his ticket, upon which I was quite keen to refuse him entry. We don't really allow customers in after 15 minutes and this was well 45 minutes in to the film. His shouting and disrespect for the people in the screen, did not really raise my symphaty for him.
I decided not to let him in and we squabbled for a bit, me quietly and him shouting, and after some time I just gave up and mumbled to myself Oh you are such a pain in the ass, I turned round and walked out of the corridor. The man ran after me, breathing in to my nostrils (almost) " I am not a member of my family" and all I could say was Thank God I don't have to Spend Christmas with you as well..
Hmmm, he wanted me sacked and really badly.

Tip Jar
I had this picture on the counter with the sentence: "Please Help Me To Bring Food On The Table"; it did not only make me happy that the tip jar was full, but I also gave me a profound sense of hope that people are so gullible. Not for a vicious manipulative reason, but I find it a Hope for the humanity.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Myth of the Octopus

On my recent trip to London, I remembered everything I like about it, but also things that led to me leaving.
What obviously most strikes me is that it is such a cosmopolitan city, you can almost visit a corner of the world on each corner (I know that is a bit of a cliché) and the mass of humans. I also like the raw energy that London brings, it is unpolished and somehow people seem to survive on the basis of creativity.

One of my favourite things to do is my usual visit to Edgware Road, it is recommended that you enter the area via Marylebone, a very classy area, the houses are nice, with some small streets where you can get lost. In some way there is nothing on Edgware Road, it is ugly, but urban. We almost always stop by to have some Middle Eastern cakes in a shop on Bell street and Oh my goodness how good they are. I more than strongly recommend the pistachio covered dates ( I am still having the water taste in my mouth), while discussions are rife (Anglo-Saxon type), then we troddle down Edgware Road, trying to see as much as possible, even enjoying the moment of being stuck under neath the bridge, the highway, the urban crosspoint packed with as much concrete as possible. Finally we settle down at one of the coffee places, ordering a strong arabic coffee and a cake, the discussions continue on this point (I think this time it was based on Hampstead and the Old England, and my fascination of humans being English and at the same time my problematic nature in that country, where my directness gets me in all kinds of problems. On the stroll towards Marble Arch we came by this Syrian shop where we bought an ice cream and thank my mother it was just one. It was shaped in a tube and it was cut and then squeezed down with the shop keepers hand (yes, he wore gloves), it was kind of a chewy texture, pistachio flavoured and yes I am obsessed with pistachios, not very sweet and kind of a surprising flavour. I will be back for more.

On the way back to Highgate, where we were going for this Greek restaurant, which we have wanted to visit for some time, we came across a strange thing. McDonald's, it was a designer version of a McDonald's, green, with fancy lights and all neat and tidy, a Habitat version of a McDonald's. They are perhaps going upmarket.

The Greek Restaurant, is called Ta Dalina and we came across it on a stroll through Highgate/Hampstead last summer. Outside was an old man smoking, and his peacefulness was something that captured my attention, we stopped and looked inside and all I remember was the dried thyme hanging from the ceiling and this huge octopus in the fridge. We almost cancelled all our meetings that night, so obsessed we became. The visit did not occur that time, but since then I have savoured the business card with the greatest care. The octopus was a memory that has travelled all the way to Berlin and one of my true good friends Lisa was in London that weekend too. The rumours of this giant octopus got her curious and it was almost a moment which made everyone tense, as it was impossible to know if Ta Dalina was going to live up to our words. We saw the old man again, who was the cook, the octopus had been made into a giant one, while it was actually just a proportion of a giant one. I kept it silently within me, but I was worried the myth was going to evolve into a nightmare. Everything we had was so nice, so good, so tasty, the lamb was absolutely delicious, the proportions were far more than generous and yes the octopus was amazing. The lady of the smoking man, charmed each one of us and we even ended up loving both of them. It even ended in a very familiar atmosphere, where we were the last customers and the man lit up his last cigarette in the restaurant (as the non smoking law was hitting in the next day).

The day only started at 4 pm, but the intense moments can be the most memorable ones.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Long and a slow painful fall

The warnings have been there most of the season. Last season ended on a high, the club was European Champion and won La Liga almost half way through the season. There was no one as pretty, as clever, intelligent or sexy as that team. The football was applauded as the best in Europe, most team were compared to the GREAT Barça. The one who managed to combine the romantic idea of beautiful football and success.
It was even seen as a positive thing that most Barça players had a bad World Cup as they would be hungry for success. Even the summer signings were astute and sound.

It was not going to be.

The first warning came with the European Super Cup, Barcelona were still in Paris, and it was a sad to see the team unprepared, having spent the pre season visiting Nasa and the like while Sevilla had studied the game meticulously. Ronaldinho had been allowed to take part in some advertising shot hours before the game. Needless to say the result was 3-0 to Sevilla.

The preparation for the season was absolutely appalling, it was thought that the team had enough resources to just go through games and then at some stage the form would follow. That never happened and with the hungriest player injured (Eto’o) the team started to struggle, in Europe and in the league, but as this was not really of concerned to arrogant fans, board and players it was not taken seriously. No plan was in hand for the mid season training that existed before some players in the dressing room decided that la Dolce Vita was better for success than hard work and dedication. The decline in dedication creeped in already in last season, after the 3-0 at Bernabeu, it was then that Rijkaard started to give way to some players wishes to train less and party harder. With success and hunger though it was not transparent, once that has been received the fuel has not been recharged and the result is this season.

By Christmas the hope was on the Interncontinental cup was lost, a title that Barcelona do not have and one that the team was expected to win. This team the blame was laid on jet lag. Barcelona hardly seemed to have studied their rivals Internacional, once again the arrogance and the self-belief failing them.

Barcelona were unlucky to have two of their best players injured for the first part of the season and had struggled to settle, the form had not been found, with Eto’o and Messi back it was all supposed to be back to the normality of winning games in style and with conviction. The team is just not back; it seems to still drift in the clouds of victories from last year. Almost all players (with the exception of Valdés, Iniesta and Messi) are playing worse than last year. The reasons are many, but the lack of professionalism is obvious, from the board, to the coaching team, to the team itself. They hardly train and have not bettered themselves on any front. It is a mystery why they still defend corners and free kicks so appallingly, they don’t seem to be able to kill of opponents when needed and get punished by last minute goals. The physical level of the team in the second halfs is alarming, they often tend to cry for the game to end and have been lucky endless times with minute saves by Valdés.

They are inconsistent in attack and naïve at the back.
Struggling to win away from home and now even at home, it is not surprising the league has slipped out of their hands. The president lacks authority and allows certain players absolute freedom in life, which includes partying, adverts and egos uprisings. The coach is permissive to certain players, which has created a tension in the dressing room between the lovers of life and lovers of training. Suddenly the team has no team spirit and everyone is looking after ones own interest. Rijkaard has lacked tactical astuteness and in no big games have his decisions made a mark. He seems more lost than anyone. Perhaps the rumours that he was just the public image figure and previous assistant coach was the one with the tactical awareness and the one who actually controlled the players. Ten Cate’s subsitute Johan Neeskens, seems to do little else than sudokos on the bench, after eight months no one understands his role.

Barcelona trashed Getafe in the first semi final match with that wonder goal of Messi, which created a state of euphoria. It was thought that the cushion of a 5-2 was enough to put them in the finals; at least a double could be won. But no, Getafe managed to get the result needed, with the Barcelona players wondering lost, not understanding that they actually needed to play the match, that there were 90 minutes left.

Now Real Madrid have overtaken them and the team is battered, a total lack of self confidence, the fans in turmoil, the players divided, the coach lost and it is as pessimistic as the history has always proved. Barcelona are historically a team of suffering and self conflicted pain. Their worst enemy is not Real Madrid, but themselves. The press is even divided, on one side the Laportistas (with Eto’o and Rijkaard) and the other the Rosellistas (with Ronaldinho and Deco), and they are more concerned with allegiances than helping the team to win the third consecutive title. It is even seen as lost, Madrid seems to have won it and the focus is now on who has to go and who can stay.

Whatever happens the harm of this season has already happened and there will be some victims (apart form the club itself). It is very likely some stars will go, the question is who. No one believes that Ronaldinho and Eto’o can defend the same shirt this year after the open wound was cut up, by Eto’o’s famous outburst back in February, it is even likely that Rijkaard himself will go and only then will we understand how he will be missed. If he stays he will need better assistants, who actually compliment him and the club will need to impose a more professional attitude towards competing at the highest level and not a club by Nouveau Richs.

It is a mystery how a club can do a remake of Los Galacticos, in such a short time, all the tics of the team are similar, but it is even a worse crime, as everyone had laughed at the fall of The Galactic Madrid.

The sad thing is that this team might be remembered for the team of les seis no copes, the team of the six non cups, out of the seven cups that Laporta said the team would win, so far only one has been won (the Spanish Super Cup) and the last hope la liga, the league title has slipped out of their hands as Real Madrid lead now.

This is an article that I published in Iceland some weeks ago.

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