Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Eu não quero mulher, mulher só tras problemas ....

"Eu não quero mulher, mulher só tras problemas ..."

... loosely translates as "I don't want a woman, women just bring problems".

This was the title of a popular song by a local artist, Pépé Lima, a few years back. It went on "she just wants a car, gasoline, a house ..." etc etc.

It caused quite alot of polemic at the time, widely condemned by the female half of Santomense society as misogynist, anti-feminist ... but all the same I have some sympathy as that is the way this society often functions, even though there are two sides to to the stories of the sexes.

Anyway, Kezia heard it on the radio the other day and began singing along ... except she made a few changes ... "I don't want a man, men just bring problems ..."

A budding feminist? At the age of six?

I should be proud!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Happy Birthday

Kezia was six years old yesterday. Jaime is still perfecting his photography ... but here's two!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Diaghilev, NGOs and Independent Consultants

My blind maternal grandfather introduced me to Stravinky's Firebird Suite at the tender age of eight when I and my brother were offloaded to grandparents whilst my mother underwent a hysterecomy in 1970.

I was so enchanted that I waved my arms about, conducting the orchestra on old '78s and my grandfather somehow sensed my wild gesticulations.

Much much later I read about Serge Diaghilev and the Ballet Russes. Diaghilev had commissioned the Firebird Suite and his Ballets Russes stormed Paris in 1909 as I was getting into "punk" and "goth" music, hairstyles, fashion (Vivienne Westwood) etc. in 1976.

Diaghilev was bringing "punk" to Paris and, later the rest of Europe and the Americas. The storm created by the Firebird Suite ballet, Stravinksy's Le Sacre du Printemps and Debussy's L'apres-midi d'un faune caused uproar with Nijinsky's simulated on-stage masturbation caused uproar

"His fetishistic handling of the nymphs's veil, leading to gestures suggestive of masturbation and of orgasm, upset those in the audience who were not prepared for such an alarmingly disturbing display".

Diaghilev introduced to or promoted in Europe a wide range of artists, musicians, dancers, designers etc at the beginning of the 20th century - Nijinsky, Pavlova, Lautrec, Stravinsky, Debussy, Satie, Bakst, Ravel, Chanel, Sert, Picasso, Cocteau ... the list goes on and on.

But in 1909 with the unexpected death of his Russian patron, his Russian subsidies evaporated. "The problem was money".

"To realise his dreams Diaghilev bargained, lied, broke promises, stormed, bullied, cajoled, charmed, and mesmerized. He guaranteed money he did not have, then scurried about to raise the money he had guaranteed. He told Astruc the money would come from Russia and told the Russians it would come from France.

The magician had done it all with mirrors".

In much the same way the renaissance of popular culture in the UK from the late 1970s has been financed in the same way. Goth Leeds, "Madchester's" cultural scene (the Hacienda etc) has burgeoned under the inspiration of individual entrepeneurs - bargaining, lieing, breaking promises, storming, bullying, cajoling, charming, and mesmerizing.

In much the same way a third world non-governmental organisation or independent consultant seems to have to bargain, lie, break promises, storm, bully, cajole, charm and mesmerize international organisations, international NGOs, national governments, other national NGOs, private companies, both foreign and national, individuals, both foreign and national etc etc.

It seems that half the time is spent looking for work, with a quarter doing the work and another quarter producing a report.

I wish I could be a Diaghilev, but know I cannot.

"The magician had done it all with mirrors".

Quotes taken from "Misia - The Life of Misia Sert" by Arthur Gold and Robert Fizdale 1980.