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Being Watched

22 Aug

I just came across this note in my diary, dated 02/09/2009. I can’t remember if I was joking or not.

I think I’m being watched. Pousada 14 Bis is a very strange hostel. It has secret mirrors everywhere. I’m eating my breakfast alone in the dining area, yet I’m sure I’m being watched. Every now and again I will hear the crack of crockery on crockery. I eat another piece of cake, but feel guilty. What will they think, when they are watching? “What a glutton!” they must be saying to themselves. I’m just trying to fill up before a long day. I don’t think they understand. The wall behind me has six separate mirrors, they cover the entire surface. I know where they are. I take my time. They can’t rush me; I’m allowed to eat my breakfast in peace. I pour another cup of coffee. How good would a piece of cake be with coffee right now? I have another piece of cake. I didn’t realise they have fruit too. I have a slice of pineapple and some melon. I know they are waiting for me to leave. I thought I saw a reflection in the mirror. The cleaning lady walks past. She seems friendly. Maybe she was watching me from behind the mirrors. I can no longer eat. I get up and walk into the lounge. It is quiet except for a whirring sound. Maybe it’s the sound of a camera or tape recorder. Maybe it’s the sound of my brain. I scan the bookcase. Awful pulp fiction and romantic drivel, but there’s a Graham Greene novel, Our Man in Havana, I really want to read that. I think about taking it, but then I look behind; four huge mirrors, just waiting for me to swipe. I have to change my plan of action. Maybe I should get a camera. Take a picture of them. The watchers become the watched. It makes perfect sense. I take a shot, but it looks like me. It is me, it’s my reflection. I’m watching myself, this is the last thing I need, more eyes facing my way.


23 Mar

“It is not easy to write in a journal what interests us at any time, because to write about it is not what interests us.”

Henry David Thoreau

Big Party Coming Up In Bogota

19 Mar

For the past week I’ve been furiously trying to organise a party in Bogotá to celebrate the launch of the Sounds and Colours Colombia book. Finally everything has been confirmed and the line-up is looking pretty damn good.

There will be live music from both Andrés Gualdrón Y Los Animales Blancos (experimental pop) and Carmin Duo (folkloric sounds from the Caribbean coast), as well as La Blanquita Farm DJing what he calls “exquisite tropical tunes” all night. In addition, I’ll obviously be seeling a few copies of the Colombia book. I think it should be an interesting one.

If anyone reading this happens to be in Bogotá on Saturday 23rd March they should definitely come along. You can find more details on the Facebook event here:


18 Feb

“I prefer the saddle to the street car, and the star-sprinkled sky to the roof, the obscure and difficult leading into the unknown… this has been a full, rich year. I have left no strange or delightful thing undone I wanted to do.”

Everett Ruess

Where have all the photos gone?

10 Jan

While I was in England – i.e. not “On The Road” and therefore not updating this blog – it got infected with some horrible malware or viruses. In a snapshot decision I deleted the entire blog (though backing up the WordPress database beforehand), thinking I could rebuild the site from scratch. I did however forget that this would dispose of all the images I had uploaded to the site, and which are now represented on the blog by big empty square with nothing inside. I need to remember to backup those uploads next time!

This does mean I’m seriously lacking photos on the blog, something I will put right very soon!


17 Dec

Don’t call it a comeback! Well, maybe you should. It seems like the road is once again going to be road more travelled. Tickets to Colombia are booked for 2nd January 2013. The journey will resume once more…

New Book Celebrating Colombian Music and Culture

28 May

This week I have been mostly working on Sounds and Colours Presents Colombia, a new book/CD celebrating Colombian music and culture. A lot of the research for this book was done during my Colombia travels earlier this year, all documented below, but since then the search has continued and I’ve delved head-first into anything Colombian I could find, and managed to get a few good collaborators along the way.

Which means this summer I’m going to be editing this new 208-page book (limited to 1,000 copies) and accompanying CD that will celebrate everything that’s great about Colombia, with lots of articles traditional styles of Colombian music as well as the current music scenes, Colombian cinema, Circo Para Todos, the giants of Colombian literature and theatre, original artwork, and lots more. It’s gonna be really special for anyone interesting in Colombia.

To raise the money for the printing costs we’re currently selling advance copies through a fundraising campaign. If you want to help a great project get off the ground, as well as discover a hell of a lot about Colombia you should really check out the link:

On The Road to Find Out is making a comeback

2 Oct

My last trip to South America was in February and March this year, a short trip to discover the music scene in Sao Paulo and check out Carnival in Trindade. Since then this blog has kind of gone off the rails. After all, how can you write a travel blog when you’re not travelling? Well, I was looking through one of my old notebooks and found quite a few stories that have never found their way onto this blog before. A search on my computer found quite a few other half-stories and now I believe I have a good selection of material just waiting to be shared with the world.

So, while the travel plans start to take shape (an early 2012 trip to Brazil is the dream!) I am going to be posting regularly on the blog again, this time with stories from Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Ecuador that have never before seen the light of day. How exciting is that?!

New Website on Latin American Culture in London

12 Jul

Sometimes it’s nice to take a break. Have a little breather. Then come back fresh!

The last few months have been rather busy, especially on the web design and editing front. Much time has been spent building up Sounds and Colours, and JungleDrums, but there have been a few new projects also.

The first of which is VAMOS London, a guide to Latin culture for Londoners, available as a pocket guide and also a website. I designed the website as well as wrote some of the contents inside.

I have also been working on a new site based around Retail Economics, a very different kettle of fish altogether. It will be interesting to see how this one fares though. Especially as, to my eternal chagrin, more people seem interested in the state of the economy than Brazilian fishermen who play trumpets.

On a journalistic note I have recently had articles published in both The Wire and fRoots, which is nice!

And that’s all on my little self-promotion rant!

New Journalism Website

12 Apr

I just wanted to quickly let you all know that I now have a new website for my writing, which will include links to any new articles that find their way into existence as well as a few notes regarding my writing, as well as covering anything that I haven’t been able to include in articles. You can find the new site here: