Italy 1 – Brazil 4

This still looks sublime. Click the title for the game highlights.


True Stories: Dancing With the Devil

Just watched Dancing With the Devil, an excellent documentary filmed in the favelas of Rio through the eyes of gangs, the police and the religious and social leaders. By end of the film, one of the major cops and favela bosses is dead. Fascinating and disturbing especially how all sides consider themselves adroit. The police defending all Brazilians and themselves. The favelabosses as the providers of sustenance.

It’s the kind of journalism I would like to get involved in once I get my act together! Watch it.

More here.

Air France Rio crash


IT might seem insensitive or even inappropriate of me to write this but the immediate reasoning of bad weather bringing down the Air France Jet AF 447 struck me as pre-mediated at best and possibly cynical at worst. This area of the Atlantic is known for powerful climatic activity to trouble the best of pilots. Yet while jets have been lost without immediate conclusion around the world, they have never been lost in this particular area. Jets fly across the Atlantic tens of times a day and have for 70 years now. Of course, a freak accident could easily has caused this but I am curious to see if this is the conclusion.

Too many times recently I have noted that unpredictable or incalculable circumstances are immediately cited by the PR department of the responsible organisation as a flinching reaction. Whether to avoid legal or civil liability at a later date or simply to deflect attention away from the firm and pour into bewildered grief. It’s a standard tactic now of PR firms to control the grief and prevent it from turning into anger at the firm which caused the collapse of Pan AM despite no credible fault of the airline.

The need to protect corporate identity in the eyes of the public is fundamental for airlines. The case of the Air Egypt flight from New York can also be used. The black box indicates the pilot wished to commit suicide by crashing his plane and taking all his passengers. Egypt has always denied this despite the clear voice of the pilot. They deny it to avoid the national embarrassment and the black listing of their planes from the world’s major airports.

The enquiry into this crash won’t deliver its final verdict for a year or two. By that time, the PR department will have earned its money and the director will be working for a private PR firm. Like the murder of Jean Charles de Menezes in London in 2005, the process will start with a deflection from the truth with some facing-saving, plausible alternative followed by a call to wait for the evidence, then a straight-faced denial of the evidence, only to be concluded with a veiled apology. That’s far more 2009 than a flat statement citing the tragedy and let’s hope for the best. I hope I am wrong.

Life is only interesting on the edges – Francis Bacon

Ever met a rent boy? Well I have now. Struggling into my cabin on the train to Krakow, I was greeted by Clebson, a Brazilian guy, who managed to talk for 10 minutes without breathing. Maybe that’s a necessary skill these boys learn. Actually the word rent boy is wrong here. He was the manager of a GAP store but when he needed extra money would meet old boyfriends and get paid fabulously for a few days ‘work’. Good work if you can get I suppose.

Clebson told me numerous stories about his life in Brazil, which he left when he was 12 after being raped by a policeman, his alcoholic mother, his 9 years in England, his Swiss doctor boyfriend who is boring but big, his Stringfellows stripper sister, his new life in Berlin and why he was going to Poland; which, of course was to have the operations to become a shemale. Fascinating stuff to be honest. He’d keep the penis as shemales make more money he told me.

It was a great journey. Clebson tried it on a bit but he knew I wasn’t biting so to speak!! It’s not often you get to ask questions about other sides of life and Clebson gave me an opportunity to ask about all the facets of a lifestyle many people shun as if they aren’t human. Life incorporates a broad spectrum of choices and should do.

When Clebson talked about the advice that his sister gave him, about doing what you have to do and not worrying what others think, his voice broke slightly and I understand. For those who have talked to people from the poorer sides of Brazil or even just heard stories, can attest to how brutal life can be there. Just follow the news now from Sao Paulo. It’s a country with the fifth largest population in the world, where crime is rampant and poverty unmistakable, bad things happen and when others seek to escape that, they should be applauded, not victimised, especially when they are working.

Clebson was a great guy. I’d far rather have a conversation like that than the usual travel comparison stories with other backpackers. If he comes over to England, I look forward to a beer.

Meeting losers

In my travelling days I’ve never had the pleasure of the infamous Delhi Belly until last week. I had it on the flight over which was a shame as the airline here had possibly the fairest female crew I’ve ever seen. The sight of me making faces trying to keep my guts in meant I didn’t get a refill of beer. But as I slept on the Indian reservation, it returned and I dashed from the hammock to the toilet, designed by worst enemy and cleaned by his best friend, to pour everything I had out. It never happens just once and on my second trip to the darkened place, I realised I was travelling again and smiled.

hey hey hey, the boy is in brazil. Just came back from 6 days on an Indian reservation. interesting stuff. damn poor but good tourism. the job is infact just tourism. we do little but play with the kids. being a kid again is great. busted my foot which hurt though. Drove along cracking pot filled roads into a storm at night, waded through water waist high to meet a silent Indian with a huge knife who paddled us up river to the reservation. there is where the cow, horse and snake roam. the houses are mere partial shelters, the kids friendly and curious. With no play station or drugs to take, they rely on the old games of playing football and beating each other up. The chief is a woman at the mo and the Indians do little but hunt and play music bloody loud. They are desperately poor and we did little to help for reasons which will be explained later. On the excursion was Michelle, a girl from London, me and Ian, a prize loser and the head teacher, Steve. He has little interest in teaching and so we just mess around and me and Michelle try and teach abit.

I am going to the reservation again next week for the tribe birthday party. I’ll post the fotos on the webpage later. just grabbed a moment away from a lovely married woman stroking my thigh to email. 22 is no age to marry these days. Apparently we are meeting tmrw but her English is practically non-existent and Dan’s Portuguese hasn’t had any days. The head teacher here (if u ignore me for a sec though I know it’s difficult to do) is a real non communicator and nerd. its already led to two stand up rows with two other teachers. I generally stayed out of it though I put my two bob in stating the lack of clear structure here. its turns out one major reason we are there is he has shagged the female chief and got her pregnant. He has a wife who is in the process of falling apart and the school is going down the bog due to mismanagement, a boss who has a serious complex and now debts. genius.

Lucky I am staying only two month anyway. I personally don’t care about the school and was never staying long which he knew but it’s really shitty to see his wife falling apart. the teachers have taken into their own hands to force him to change at a meeting yesterday. but the loser fucked off today to the reservation. We have a rent free place to live in which he can’t kick us out of and we’re concentrating on the orphanage during the day. But the way I don’t want anyone to think that I am not enjoying this. Apart from his treatment of his wife which shouldn’t be an issue for the school but it means he doesn’t turn up sometimes and that affects me.

been smoking alot of late which is nice and had some serious beers. The guy, who comes round selling, offered me some crack the other day which was thoughtful. back on the beer wagon though now till next month. So Brazil what does dan think….well as I sit in my hammock looking across the city, this one is a shitheap. Sao Paulo was alright and the reservation was great. the orphanage in town is a cool place. the boys are full of energy. took one to the cinema the other day for his birthday. one quid to see Daredevil. almost worth it. We are building an allotment at the orphanage next week. this weekend we are off to the mountains and having a party in town tmrw.

Will be seeing Luke and Rie in the next few weeks too in Bolivia. I’m off to bed now as I was climbing trees last night till 6am having had abit too much. Pamela, the too beautiful for words 16 year old who lives next door has baked a cake so I’m off to have abit.