Friday, December 22, 2006


He knew Pete and he knew me. But Pete and I weren’t close friends. He would spend some days with one of us, then another with the other so, one day, he decided to meet up both of us and let’s see what happened. That was maybe 25 years ago.

Jupiter was always an especial person, different in the nicest way; blonde with curly hair wasn’t the everyday thing to be honest. Neither was very usual to have the entire collection of the British Encyclopedia… in English, at home. I remember his dad, John, reading all these newspapers and weekly culture and politics magazines and thinking that that was weird… till we ended up doing the same thing few years later.

I remember Jupiter coming over our place every weekend after lunch, while I was trying to do the washing up… I would finish just in time for the evening cinema film. We would sit in the kitchen sofa and watch the after lunch TV film and chat about this and that. We would offer anything to him and Jupiter’s answer always would be “No, thank-you-very-much” – that was a nicety in our time as the rest of kids used to grab whatever we were offered!

Jupiter was for me…well, Jupiter. I remember thinking why everyone would say that he was so clever… older people try to be nice, you know, I would think. With time I would realize how naturally intelligent that boy was… I never saw him bringing any school book for the weekend. They lived in the big-big city, so far and so foreign, linguistically, in values and in everything! When the rest of us were struggling with the next exam, he would be just hanging around, half bored, or just trying to explain us whatever we couldn’t understand from school lessons.

We grew up together, half friends, half brothers. So different but always so close. More than once I thought how wonderful person would be the mix of his good qualities and mines (I used to say that I was everything he wasn’t and he was everything I wasn’t) but I suppose that would be a little Frankenstein, not a real person. The fact is that we do admire each other… for being the exact opposite to ourselves!

Do you know a lot of people who picks the basic of a language just watching TV in this language? Nope, neither do I, just one. Or someone who ends up in an elite foreign university because his school marks were the top of the top? Just one, him. Or someone who has been a translator, university teacher, travel guide and a hippy all together? Not a big bunch, I suppose.

He went to the Big Apple and in bloody three months was a tourist guide, explaining to locals the history of their own city! I visited him there and I met one of the most interesting cities in the planet. A bit rough too, of course, but it’s part of the game, isn’t it?

Dad departed some years ago. I remember smokey and bony uncle dancing the same salute dance but in such a different way. I remember Jupiter with the flag in his chest, after in the piazza bar. Just flashes.

We have been together in so many projects. Talking about films in the radio, doing things for the magazine, setting up the fiesta bar every year in the street or the huge restaurant with some shorts and a T-shirt. Or just meeting in the local cafĂ© every Saturday morning with coffee and lots of paper… a weird bunch. I remember him saying “everything was under control” then getting late to a key doctor appointment J when health was an issue and I remember him also in a van and buying some wine, in another key part of my life. I also remember both of us discovering something called “pizza” because we didn’t hook any girl and didn’t know what to do – the rest of friends did!

The lowest point was (my shame) when we were going to the old city and I critised his driving… he was ready to drop me there, in the middle of nowhere! Road rage, I suppose J

And now is mum Mary who has left. Hats off my friend as I don’t know a lot of people who has spent a year and a half like you, looking after old nice Mary. As the Tarot woman said, she is going to meet her important man, your dad. And I was happy when I heard that. And I am sad but at the same time, I am happy for you my dearest friend. At this very moment the funeral is going on… and I am with you.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

From Pain To Power

We all have, sometimes, crisis and shake ups in our lives. When it comes you can answer it in two possible ways: you can feel down, say the world is unfair and that the rest of human beings are stupid and worthless… or you can use the very same crisis as catalyst to transform yourself, change pain and suffering into positive energy and raise your head and look at your life from the eagle’s eye and, with historical perspective, ask: “What do I want in life?”, “What is blocking me to achieve what I want?” and “Am I being honest with myself?”

Then, you start working. Bloody hard.

There are not magical recipes. You chat with friends, ask for advice, you read this book, you listen this talk and, above all, you chat with yourself: what happened; why; is a coincidence that it happened now? Is surprising the reaction of your loved ones? Etc. In a few weeks/months I have put together some bits and now they are my little commandments, maybe ten, maybe more. Is just a draft as I will always be changing and improving it. But mine. Hope you like it.

- Self-focused: You are your best friend. No one else can be the centre of your life. Enjoy being with yourself, believe you are an amazing person. Because you are.
- Time: The past is gone; we can’t see the future. The now is the only time we have. Enjoy the only real time, the now.
- Space: Keep your mind where your feet are. Don’t put yourself where you are not physically. Enjoy the only real space: the here.
- Focus: concentrate 100% on what are you doing. Make the most of the moment, the place, the activity or the person in front of you.
- Give: giving is wonderful, the more you give the more full you feel. Generosity attracts. But do not expect anything in return.
- Ask: when needed, asking for help, advice, support… is good, is human and is what we need when we are the lowest. Appreciate what you have received.
- Freedom: freedom (ours, other’s) attracts, you are there because you want not because you are forced; control, on the other hand, scares and puts others off.
- Compare: do not compare immeasurable realities; appreciate what you are. You are as good as any other, and remember: all of us have our holes in the same place!
- Humble: Humbleness and humility are key. We are no more than others.
- Balance: be balanced in all vital fields like work, relationships, body, etc. You want to keep an internal balance inside each field and also among them.
- Fear: it’s a matter of perception; it doesn’t matter what is out there, is how you perceive it. Feel the fear… and do it, anyway!
- Patience: a massive virtue. Learn the art of managing time. Use it before taking any decision, for example.
- Shoes: Put yourself in other’s shoes and see the world from there. You will understand others better doing that.
- Language: language is a powerful tool; a positive concept transmits positive energy; using negative ones we feel down and with negative energy. Remember that the words we use are like mirrors of our mind.
- Relate: Relations (family, friends, partners) are like plants, water them often in order to keep them healthy, fresh and green. Don’t take anything for granted in a relationship, no-one and nothing is forever. We owe no-one.
- Inner peace: or, in other words, Happiness. What you want to achieve.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


That’s the name of one of my best friends, Happy.
We have been together practically all our lives, we could say that we are family. We love each other a lot because, I suspect, we are very similar and very different at the same time.

I love her name, Happy, bright and original. Wasn’t very easy to put this name to little babies at that time, not at all, I can tell… southern European niceties, you know? It sounded soooo foreign to them. Poor guys, they are still learning.

One of the first memories I have is about me being the junior partner among older people, bigger people. We would have art lessons in the evening, with that amazing blind man who saw more than anyone then we would start running and pressing all the ring buttons in our way, calling and running away, calling and running away… wild fun! “Who is it, who is it??!!”. Then, in front of the perfumes shop we would start playing those kind of games that are too basic and too boring for an adult to explain but you’d play it as it wouldn’t be any tomorrow.

I was smaller, and slower, and any other …-er you can imagine. So I was caught very fast and they I would try to catch the others but they had all the –er’s, in the opposite direction: they were faster, bigger, smarter… so after a while Happy would play in my place and would ask me to run faster and to be smarter. I tried.

You are a teenager when you see yourself arguing with your mum and later asking to yourself what the hell was the real reason to do so… tricky times. Ah, and you start locking the toilet door (a new experience in our, other way, hippy house). I remember Happy knocking the toilet door and asking if I had something made of gold… it made me smile and, since then, I didn’t lock the door again. Not consciously at least. We were a very natural triangle, Happy, Smally and myself… friends who were half brothers or brothers who were very good friends, either way. Friendship, tricky to define. Family, on the contrary, is easy: is blood, which is thicker than water. And stays.

Happy, one of the most talented person I know in a very natural way, wasn’t showing it off at all. Even being relatively young it was very clear to me that Happy needed to exploit this amazingly strong and easy personality in a way. A high career was tried, wrong step and suffering. After a dangerous transition a much sensible step was tried and then I saw Happy radiating her name, studying, living, working and exploring new fields in life. Geographically close, vitally visiting Pluto.

Happy is an interesting mix of sharpness and kindness; rudeness and softness; diplomacy and bluntness. This is not a word-game, trying to be balanced or a cool description. I really mean that, I don’t know any other person who can be both things at the same time in a more genuine way, in a more natural way. Well, except maybe Tony Blair the only person in this planet who can be relaxed and tense at the same time. But if there is an adjective that describes the soul of Happy, that’s generosity, in all senses. Monetarily, I don’t know how she does it, I think she found what alchemists have been looking for generations but she is not selling the formula. In other fields, she just does the right thing. Anyone who knows her can tell that. Really remarkable.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A Present To My Friend

You saw me first with a bike padlock around my neck, sorry, “nick”. I remember two girl names but not being very sure at all who was who. That Xmas, among games that anyone knew except me, we ended up more jumping than dancing with music at 4am and after that the reading of a poem, May. And I slept in the red sofa.

I remember it was snowing the first time I went from your place to my place thru the Village. And I discovered the Village, thank to you. Then was Lord Of The Rings in the old cinema of Walthamstow. Now it’s closed.

You showed me the most interesting parts of London, Hampstead – the heath and the creperie, Grenwhich, Blackfriars, the Turkish restaurant!

We got drunk together more than once, you loved good whiskey, I showed you Martini. And ever since I have seen a bottle of vermouth in your house.

Gina and piano are synonyms.

I always loved listening you playing the piano. I used to be by the next sofa, just watching and listening, usually half drunk, especially on parties when after some drinks I couldn’t understand “a shit”.

My English was ok but I remember struggling trying to keep the path of the conversation around the table. Then it got better and better, thanks to you basically, and to Mel and to Jonathan. Good proof of my linguistic improvement are the golden sentences such as “ If I am forced”, “Sorry my English!”, “I don’t understand a shit” and, thanks to Bella, “permanent siesta”.

Then the Hammersmith walk came.
I remember not knowing if I’d find anyone in the house and Mel opening the door, just with a towel and full of foam, from the bath. I remember the feeling of finding an oasis. And also a never again feeling. And we talked by phone the very same night and you just recognized my cracky voice, “Hey, it’s me”. And I crossed the city, for a week, in your bike. That was crazy, but I did it.

You showed me what love and friendship means to you, many times. I think I showed mine when you stayed in the hospital.

You are piano, and also are forest, of course.
What a luxury having this amazing forest just ten minutes away where we used to live. It’s weird to talk about Walthamstow in past tense. I really loved our last stroll thru the forest, just last Sunday. Maybe it’s enough for today, I am getting nostalgic.

Friendship can’t be described with a logical script. There are flashes. And arguments!

We love you babe. I love you. And we miss you. Zoixonak, laune!!!!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Letter Of The Day

In this week's The Economist, Letters section:

SIR - Please do not ever mention George Bush. And Winston Churchill in the same sentence again, even if you must break all the rules of grammar to do so.
Steve Pettit

I love it...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Quote Of The Day

"A revolution is a failure if it only changes the accents of the powerful"
James Conolly

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I am back!

Hello again!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

True Friendship

A friend of mine says always that friends are like pans: you know how good they are when you put them in the fire... I have the best pans in the world in my kitchen.

I want to check my email
From the man who maybe
Holding me some Friday night
Like this one

But I stay downstairs
I remember you
By the piano
Watching me
This is your night.

Thank You, my friend.


When did your name
change from a proper noun
to a charm?

Its three vowels
like jewels
on the thread of my breath.

Its consonants
brushing my mouth
like a kiss.

I love your name.
I say it again and again
in this summer rain.

I see it,
discreet in the alphabet,
like a wish.

I pray it
into the night
till its letters are light.

I hear your name
rhyming, rhyming,
rhyming with everything.

by Carol Ann Duffy.