Category Archives: Journal

Boredom and Ritual

Today’s reading has taken me in a strange direction. I was thinking about culture stayers and culture seekers; people who spend their lives becoming more profoundly steeped in a culture they were born into, and those who turn away from their ‘native’ culture and explore another, or  others. It seems to me that these are ‘types’ who in one sense are very different to each other, but often find themselves face to face, since it is culture stayers that the culture seekers seek out to learn from. They share a fascination with a particular culture, but, I would argue, from very different viewpoints. Continue reading

Sea Shanty and Shooting, Part 2

Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, September 2013

After sunset we swim back to shore and slowly make our way back up the favela, stopping to chat with people several times, then across the road and up the hill. The road leading up to the square has people who seem to be on the margins of a big event. The street reeks of urine, not just in one or two places, but all the way up. Cute houses, but the stench!! The square itself is busy and we push on to the road on the other side which is one of the city centre thoroughfares. It is clear of traffic and quite full, with hundreds of revellers attracted by the gay pride parade which has been going on, although not all are gay by any means. Bahians have gone into carnival mode: girls in even sexier getups than usual, lads topless, asking for kisses from strangers; costumes. There are some topless drag queens with quite big breasts, flaunting them down the middle of the wide road. One gets pushed to the wall on the pavement and snogged, I think it’s for the benefit of a photographer. While one guy is snogging her, someone else is kneading a breast. Somewhere else a muscly black guy tries to snog a black woman, who refuses, but as she pushes him away she has a good squeeze of his juicy pec. While I watch the ‘show’ Caudio chats animatedly with some acquaintances. Continue reading

Sea Shanty and Shooting, Part 1

Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, September 2013

Where to start writing about this afternoon? So many impressions, so powerful, and yet almost from another reality. A film. A novel? No, I really saw it, lived it, I’m so glad I did, and then; I’m really not.

Down towards the sea. Claudio leading the way. Party atmosphere in the streets. Its Sunday, yesterday was independence day followed by protests and a minor riot, somewhere nearby there’s a gay pride parade.

We go down to the dual carriageway and cross over, dodging buses and cars. On the other side, a museum of modern art, which is closed. We take a left turn are beneath the road, following the concrete arches along. Soon they are covered in amazing graffiti. Paintings twenty feet high. Then one arch is occupied by a group of people having a meeting! Twenty sitting on plastic chairs in a circle. Claudio leads further on towards a little favela. One of the first houses we come to is an exhibition space for graffiti artists. A sweet young woman welcomes us and chats. Continue reading