Archive | writing RSS feed for this section

New web design web site

2 Apr

Today, I’ve got something a little different, a bit of self-promotion! I’ve been designing web sites for a number of years now and thought it was finally time I updated my personal web design site. So, now I can reveal the new look THG Creative site which you can see right HERE.

If you like what you see, get in touch.

Back in the land of the living

14 Mar

Who would have thought 12 days could pass by so quickly. My final flurry of activity in Sao Paulo to complete my last interviews and write up a few articles, as well as make sure I’d actually been to enough concerts to be able to write about some of them, and then eight days in Trindade has meant the pace had to slow on the blog here.

I am now officially back in the real world though, one where it takes a damn sight less than 10 minutes to read an email, and where I suddenly feel so much dirtier with my murky clothes looking so much more distasteful in the sharp, well-dressed environs of Sao Paulo. If you had ever tried to dry clothes in Trindade, i.e. in the rainforest, you would probably understand just why my clothes are currently in such a shabby state!

Over the next few days I will be doing my best to update the blog with a few bits and bobs about Paraty and Trindade carnival, as well as a few extra things about Sao Paulo that have yet to make it from notepad to notebook.

Second Edition of UruguayNow, travel guide to Uruguay, arrives

30 Dec

On 24th December 2010 the Second Edition of UruguayNow (the first English language travel guide to Uruguay) was launched. If I hadn’t been stuffing hundreds of mince pies into my face at the time I would have mentioned this earlier. Well, the mince pie hangover has died off and so I bring the news!

The Second Edition can be viewed HERE. Just a few changes to the first edition, namely a couple of articles I have written about the upcoming Montevideo Carnival and about the Uruguayan Invasion, when a number of Uruguayan bands got so enthused by The Beatles they started to take over the continent (they got as far as Argentina) before people simply got interested in other things. It was an ever-chaning climate those days.

You can read the new edition of UruguayNow right HERE.

New articles at PopMatters, Latineos and Sounds and Colours

23 Dec

Just thought I should have a quick update here on a few articles which have found their way out into the world wide web over recent weeks (months actually – an update is well overdue!)

New articles at PopMatters:
An Interview with Paddy McAloon – this has annoyingly been retitled “A Slacker Like Myself: An Interview with Prefab Sprout” by the Editors of PopMatters. Shame on them! Anyway, this was an interview conducted by email with Paddy McAloon, lead singer of Prefab Sprout, who sent back his answers after round about six weeks, which considering how often he releases music wasn’t too bad!

Review of Afrocubism – review of a new collaboration between artists from Cuba and Mali. This idea was originally touted in 1996 but when the Malian musicians were turned away from Havana for not having work permits, the producer Ry Cooder, who had already travelled to Cuba for the recording of the album, decided to find some cheap musicians who could fill the gap. Thanfully he happened upon some of Cuba’s finest musicians, people like Ibrahim Ferrer and Ruben Gonzalez, who had largely been forgotten by the Cuban population. Buena Vista Social Club was born. Now that the euphoria from that release has died down a little the original concept has returned, and its mightily good too!

Chicha – Psychedelic Music from Peru – the first of what will hopefully be a number of articles for Latineos. This first one is a look at the history of Peruvian cumbia, a style of music mixing rock ‘n’ roll with Latin percussion and the cumbia beat, and that has become known as Chicha by the Western press.

Going Underground: New Music from Uruguay – I might as well plug something from my own site, and so here is my recent guide to some of the new indie and rock music coming from Uruguay. It took a while to peel off the stinking outer layers but once inside the core of Uruguay’s indie scene there’s some pretty damn good stuff!

The Best Albums of 2010 (10-1) – Christmas also means the end of the year so here we have the final list I made for Sounds and Colours of the best South American albums of 2010. Except for Axel Krygier’s position at #1 this was very hard to choose due to the sheer quality of so many albums this year, especially some of the efforts from Brazil and Chile.

How many more ways can I find not to work

12 Aug

Okay, so as I’ve mentioned before I am trying to live the same life as I did when I was travelling, which is of working as a freelance web designer and also of not tying myself to one place, or at least not for a lengthy period of time. This has proven a lot more difficult as my month spent in London proved one of the most expensive of my life (it’s impossible to live on a budget in that place) and meant that I will at some point have to step up the need to actually find regular income. In the meantime though I have managed to find plenty more ways in which to keep busy without getting paid. This has involved writing for PopMatter and Drowned In Sounds, as well as my regular contributions to Sounds and Colours. I have only recently begun contributing to these two sites but am trying to use them as a different means of writing about artists from South America, as well as to get free CDs and go to free concerts for other things. I recently realised that you can view all the work I’ve written on these sites in one place, and so thought I would share you the links, despite the fact that I’ve only written occasionally for both these sites:

My profile at PopMatter

And my profile at Drowned In Sounds

One of the articles I wrote for Drowned In Sound has now been translated into Portuguese by some Brazilian blogger, which can’t be a bad thing!

Arriving in Porto

28 Jul

Since I returned from Brazil I have constantly been looking for ways to live without having too many overheads, figuring the paltry amounts I get for web designs would not spread too far. One of the most appealing ways of achieving this has been the idea of house-sitting. I started out with the Mind My House website after seeing a huge selection of available houses in France, Spain, Portugal and grumpy, old England, but those old-aged pensioners are just too damn reliable apparently. Well, that is until they forget whether they fed the dog or when they last took their medication, or that they’ve left the house without the keys. Anyway, I was more than happy then to find that my good friend Couchsurfing came up trumps when a couple advertised they were looking for house sitters on one of the groups. I’m obviously far more reliable than all the other unreliable, cheap-skate, new age hippies on the site!

That is why I am now in Porto. I couldn’t tell you how hot it is but every time I stretch to reach another key on this keyboard I break out into a sweat, have to drink a glass of water, towel myself down and then take a shower (I started this post yesterday!) Rain would be more than welcome. Not least because the hills are quite literally on fire. Eucalyptus trees are unfortunately prone to exploding when they get a bit hot, it’s all that oil they’ve got in them, and that means that the forest fires are smothering the horizon in grey at the moment. When the sun dropped last night and the wind changed direction we all went to sleep with the smell of sickly sweet burnt wood in our nostrils.

The particulars of this house sitting assignment are to look after an alsatian and a little rat/cat/dog (I think it’s the last of these), Neil and Lula respectively, as well as the myriad of plants, herbs and vegetation dotted around the house and garden. I’m already used to picking fresh berries for breakfast and herbs and salad for my lunch and dinner.

I’m off to explore the city, which on the map seems very small indeed. As with much of Portugal it’s very historical with a real lack of modern franchises (McDonald’s, Starbucks, Subway, etc.,) so they’re obviously trying to preserve it. On the agenda is to try the local port, seeing this is the only place where the real stuff comes from.

Sounds and Colours – a magazine about South American music and culture

24 Jul

Sounds and Colours, as mentioned in a previous post, is a website I have been working on for the last couple of months. It seems like now is the time to get the word out on this thing! The site features interviews, mixtapes, news and reviews of all aspects of South American music and culture. At the moment the focus is Brazil, with a strong bias towards everything musical. In August we will be looking at Argentina.

The basic idea is to create a site about South America in a way that’s not been done for. The majority of sites that are about South American music in particular tend to categorise it as ‘world music’ or ‘latin american music’. These tags are just too broad to ever really embrace all the amazing styles of music from this region. The same also applies to culture with Brazil largely described as ‘carnival’ country, Argentina as the home of ‘tango’ and Peru as the place to visit ‘macchu picchu.’ There is just so much more going on and we are hoping to get the word out as much as possible! Keep on eye on this blog as well obviously as the Sounds and Colours site for the latest on this new project.

Sounds and Colours

It is alive, but maybe just a little comatose

24 Jul

I have to apologise for the lack of updates here, it’s not because I’ve forgotten about this blog, it’s just that life has taken over a little slightly. Since returning from South American I have spent a week in Barcelona, a month in London and the rest of the time in Uttoxeter, a small market town in the center of England. I’ve tried to continue the travelling way of life, making sure I don’t tie myself down again, sleeping on friend’s couches, not worrying about money and generally being very laissez-faire about everything. Only problem is that the money flow has suffered. It took a couple of months before people realised I was back in England and started offering me work. By which point I had decided to go to London for a month. Various celebrations were happening there that involved Brazil and South America in general, and I had begun work on a website, called Sounds and Colours (which I will talk about in more detail on the next post), which is ostensibly a magazine about South American music and culture.

Going to London was the perfect opportunity to turn this website into a viable entity, or even, dare I say it, a profitable one, although this is a long way off. Now, the magazine has a marketing manager (my friend Rick), a media pack (already hideously out-of-date), a few hundred twitter followers, over 100 visitors a day and has generally got itself out into the ether in a way that didn’t seem possible when I came up with the idea in my bedroom a couple of months ago. The site now has itself a head of steam, and I’ve slowly come to terms with how to market and how to add content without wasting my days. Which is why I am now thinking about this blog again.

Over the next few weeks I will be staying in Porto. I managed to find someone who needed a dog sitter, so off I will go. I hope to post some interesting tidbits about Porto, as well as a few about London and Barcelona that are still unfortunately laying dormant in my notebook. I will also be posting far more articles about music and culture, interesting stuff that there isn’t room for on Sounds and Colours but which is obviously of the highest culture.

God, I hope I didn’t sound all formal and straight-ahead there – it was certainly very cathartic writing all that though.

UruguayNow is all ready to go

13 Feb

Hey, the UruguayNow site is complete. You can have a looksie at In all honesty I’m not as happy with it as I thought it would be. I had an idea in my head that it would take a few different angles in terms of the articles, but it seems when a site is being made with the idea of attracting sponsors there has to be some compromises. Anyway, I wrote a couple of the articles, the interview with Karen Ann, the article about La Melaza and then a few other bits in the football and Montevideo on a budget section. Now it’s time to have a little bit of a rest!