Monday, November 28, 2011

after Woody Allen


from the opening sequence of Woody Allen's Manhattan

Chapter One: ‘He adored New York City. He idolized it all out of proportion’ – er, no, make that: he – ‘He romanticized it all out of proportion.’ – Yes. – ‘To him, no matter what the season was, this was still a town that existed in black and white and pulsated to the great tunes of George Gershwin.’ – Er, tsch, no, missed out something.

Chapter One: He was too romantic about Manhattan, as he was about everything else. He thrived on the hustle bustle of the crowds and the traffic. To him, New York meant beautiful women and street-smart guys who seemed to know all the angles.’ – No, no, corny, too corny for a man of my taste. Can we … can we try and make it more profound?

Chapter One: He adored New York City. To him, it was a metaphor for the decay of contemporary culture. The same lack of individual integrity that caused so many people to take the easy way out was rapidly turning the town of his dreams into …’ – no, that’s a little bit too preachy. I mean, you know, let’s face it, I want to sell some books here.

Chapter One: He adored New York City, although to him it was a metaphor for the decay of contemporary culture. How hard it was to exist in a society desensitized by drugs, loud music, television, crime, garbage’ – Too angry. I don’t want to be angry.

Chapter One: He was as tough and romantic as the city he loved. Behind his black-rimmed glasses was the coiled sexual power of a jungle cat.’ – I love this. – ‘New York was his town, and it always would be…

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


First look from morning's window
The rediscovered book
Fascinated faces
Snow, the change of the seasons
The newspaper
The dog
Showering, swimming
Old music
Comfortable shoes
New music
Writing, planting
Being friendly

Bertolt Brecht, Of Poor BB

Monday, November 14, 2011

Asphalt City

“In the asphalt city I’m at home. From the very start
Provided with every last sacrament:
With newspapers. And tobacco. And brandy
To the end mistrustful, lazy and content.”

Bertolt Brecht, Of Poor BB


I was asking for something specific and perfect for my city,

Whereupon lo! upsprang the aboriginal name.

Now I see what there is in a name, a word, liquid, sane,

unruly, musical, self-sufficient,

I see that the word of my city is that word from of old,

Because I see that word nested in nests of water-bays,


Rich, hemm'd thick all around with sailships and

steamships, an island sixteen miles long, solid-founded,

Numberless crowded streets, high growths of iron, slender,

strong, light, splendidly uprising toward clear skies,

Tides swift and ample, well-loved by me, toward sundown,

The flowing sea-currents, the little islands, larger adjoining

islands, the heights, the villas,

The countless masts, the white shore-steamers, the lighters,

the ferry-boats, the black sea-steamers well-model'd,

The down-town streets, the jobbers' houses of business, the

houses of business of the ship-merchants and money-

brokers, the river-streets,

Immigrants arriving, fifteen or twenty thousand in a week,

The carts hauling goods, the manly race of drivers of horses,

the brown-faced sailors,

The summer air, the bright sun shining, and the sailing

clouds aloft,

The winter snows, the sleigh-bells, the broken ice in the

river, passing along up or down with the flood-tide or


The mechanics of the city, the masters, well-form'd,

beautiful-faced, looking you straight in the eyes,

Trottoirs throng'd, vehicles, Broadway, the women, the shops and shows,

A million people--manners free and superb--open voices-- hospitality--the most courageous and friendly young men,

City of hurried and sparkling waters! city of spires and masts! City nested in bays! my city!

Mannahatta by Walt Whitman

Forget / Forgive

There are events in our lives that due to their strong impact, produce images which ‘freeze’ us in time and space of that exact moment. In one of my first ‘frozen’ images I see myself observing my mother who was wrapping up glasses in newspapers. That was when I found out that we were going to move to Portugal. In the 80’s, moving from Germany to Portugal, was like a time travel, the ones that provoke an ear buzz which takes some time to disappear.

What was left from Germany was its language that rooted itself somewhere in my brain as an extension of my spine (to paraphrase Wim Wenders). What was also left was the ease in learning other languages, the ability to mimicry within the cultures of the countries I later chose to live in. England at first, then Italy.

In London, I studied Photography while I was working in a restaurant serving Oysters and champagne to the Gallery owners of Bond Street. In Turin, I studied Interior Design while I was teaching English. Later, and to finish paying off my degree course, I accepted a job as a Human Resources Assistant in a multinational company.

And there I stayed for a while. Until the day which produced another one of those ‘frozen’ images. The one that was printed in everyone’s mind on that fateful day of September. Incredulous I asked my boss (who was American) what was happening. He coldly answered that he didn’t know but that ‘they’ were going to pay for what they did. This is when I see myself standing in front of him, being totally aware of what was to come.

I resigned and went back to my teaching job. Some time later I moved back to Portugal. Here I started doing Photography again and later video. At this point I enrolled in an Art Accademy. This is the beginning of the story that got me here....

My first day in NY, suggest a tour to Occupy Wall Street and Ground Zero.

Here I wished I had a microphone to register all sorts of conversations going on.

At Ground Zero, I think I got closer to what New Yorkers must have felt that day.


So... this is it: my encounter with the city of the cities....

Was supposed to have come here before, but didn’t quite make it.

First time I didn’t make it for bureaucratic (visa) reasons,

And then another opportunity came, but (wisely or not) I decided to let it go.

But this time it seems to be it.

The last few months before coming here were just like crazy. Time went by flying.

I get on the plane and breathe…