Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Literary Section XII - Little Arithmetics

Life, as they say, is stranger than fiction - how much weirder then when, the absolute weirdness of life becomes itself fiction. "My sincerest contrafibularities", as Lewis Carroll would say. I have often found very queer the fact that most (if not all) things seem connected and that no one you meet is really a stranger: "a silver thread, connecting all people", as those of a romantic predisposition would say.

At any rate, there has been a series of mostly unrelated events (my father getting an e-mail from the British Council, a presentation involving an overlarge green marble, a group of people doing weird and funny stuff with science, a team, some friendships, a violent break, some new decisions, a return and a new team) that led me to read "Little Arithmetics", a book by a young woman named Anna Varsamou.

As the flap of her book says, "within these pages are contained many wedding gowns, but no wedding, a house filled with powdery sugar (or something that resembles it), valuable manuscripts left to dry, Morissey giving advice, a strange, bloodless murder, the collapse of a mathematical axiom and a few other uncanny things we have all lived through. For even the strangest stories are different facets of a reality which is irrevocable and intolerably normal." I must admit, among the many things stated above, those that initially caught my eye were "bloodless murder", "mathematical axiom" and finally, "Morissey" (duly corrected), in that order, all contained and somehow interconnected, inside the small book I was holding in my hands.

The Cover of "Little Arithmetics".
[If interested, you can find it at

I do not know Anna all that well: in all fairness, I do not know her very much at all. We first met as members of the science communication team, SciCo, on the 24th of January, 2009. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss upcoming projects, one of which was "The Science of Love". Ever since, we have mainly rehearsed as part of the team, we have exchanged a (very) few stories and have shared in the stress accompanying any form of theatrical performance, moreso one executed by people who are not actors (well, we had to share her own stress, since I am an insenitive bastard). No, I cannot really say I know Anna and am, therefore, unable to confirm whether "appearances are deceiving", when it comes to her as a person; not so for her book. Having read it, I can now say, with absolute certainty, that "Little Arithmetics" did not turn out to be what I expected at all. Yet, it delivers all it promises, not having said a single lie to its prospective reader.

"Little Arithmetics" is not about numbers - not really - nor is any fabled scientific axiom deconstructed. In this book, no one dies and yet, there is death aplenty and mourning and a little happiness, in these small, surreal doses: like LSD drops that make you soar under their influence, leaving you broken and wondering what it was that you fleetingly dreamed of, in the harsh light of reality. It is a book about people, about their dramas and neuroses and false hopes, insignificant on a cosmic scale and yet vaster than any universe. They say "no man is an island", no man (or woman, for that matter) is completely alone and yet this book states a simple truth, that most like to deny: we are not just islands - we, in and of ourselves, are whole worlds and worlds apart from each other.

We spin around our center, ignoring all that may orbit, or even approach us and in the off chance that our respective gravities bring us close, we crash into each other, hurting and cracking and hoping that we may end up as twin stars; and this we call love. This is a book about all these things, without fanfare, raw and honest. It is, above and beyond, a book about hedgehogs, past present and future, whether they walk on two legs or not.

When I found out Anna had published this book, I tried to track it down, due to one of my most integral flaws: curiosity. However, I could find it nowhere (it came out in 2000), so I asked her if she had a copy. When she gave it to me, she told me: "don't pay too much heed to it - it's just the ramblings of a girl at a messed-up age". I had no answer to that then, but now that I have read it, I concur: indeed they are and that is what makes the book important. A good book does not need to have complex, multi-layered mysteries or elaborate on the underlying fabric of reality. Putting into paper, in an understandable way, the everyday madness, delusion, pain and happiness of being human, is achievement enough.

One might plausibly ask, why did I like this book so much? You must have gathered by now, even by my choice of language, that I am not a great fan of Greek literature (at least, not modern): there are exceptions of course, but a good deal of it bores me to death, because many writers try to "dress up" their subject, to make it seem something different, more sophisticated than it actually is (and then there are those for which I simply have no frame of reference). This is a book that strikes me as having been written from the heart and it is a book I understand implicitly, as it touches at some sensitive chords of the past. I do not know if we are really all connected, but this book connects.

In closing off, here's a video of dEUS's (one of the author's most favorite bands) "Little Arithmetics", which inspired the title of the book.

Incidentally, I did not know dEUS before Anna and the following is a song of theirs ,which I really like.

Cheerio, dear readers


Saturday, 13 June 2009

No Offense Live Report (22/05/2009 @ Mike's Irish Bar)

Well, yes, in fact I managed to go! After around 5 Lives, I managed to go watch Flexxy and company on a humid Friday, finally! I had listened to No Offense's recorded live performances and yes, I thought they were pretty decent (it's a hesitation to say any more, that comes with any band doing covers), but now I have revised my opinion: they are good and not just "hey, they're my friends (well, Flexxy is) - they're OK". No, I mean actually, very pleasantly good.

They played a number of interesting covers, "Give It Away" (which always makes me appreciate Flexxy's voice range), "Unbelievable" AND Gazette's "Cockroach" among them and I believe the whole band is deserving of congratulations, for doing the songs justice. They also played two of their own songs, "A Fresh Start" and "One Step Forward", the first of which I liked very much, in and of itself, while the second brought to mind the music from the fictional band, Trip Cyclone, in the game "Shivers II" (one of the best soundtracks ever in a game, if you like classic rock).

At any rate, here's the photos from that night.

No Offense

Vlassis "FlexXxible" Tsiamas

Haris Pandazis

Panayiotis Kolidas

Vassilis Nikolis

You know, I generally sort Flexxy under
"depressed", or at least, potentially so...

...but whenever he is on stage
(both when I saw them live and
in videos)...

...he seems to forget himself.

The whole band was perfectly focused...

...not only keeping their building momentum...

...but also augmenting it as they went.

As to the ever-fearful question: "were there
enough people?"...

...I believe this answers it (in part - there were
many more on the other side but taking
wide pictures is a pain in there).

Not to mention some familiar faces
(Velvet Vortex)...

...John and NickUnknown (back from Scotland
for Summer Break). There were also Raziel,
Luna (far left, here), Nickmer, Darkside_Blues
and Cavu (Ergo Proxy sleeped us off, yet

"Give it away, give it away, give it away now...!"

I have a small obsession with
photographing drummers...

...because they invariably give me
a hard time (Chiroto has been
by far the worst).

After No Offense concluded, we ordered beers
and Kamikaze Cocktail, which...

...gave Darkside_Blues the
opportunity to test his...
suction skills (you had it

I also took a couple of videos ("Cockroach" and "One Step Forward"), but they are huge and I have a hard time uploading them. However, I have given them to Flexxy, so he should get off his ass and upload them himself, yeah?! Well, at any rate, I want to congratulate the guys and thank Flexxy for dedicating "Unbelievable " to me. It did seem a bit weird to anyone who has not been exposed to the company's inside jokes but so long as I understood, alles ist OK.

For myself, I would like to hear more of No Offense's original songs (which, as they say in their page, they are currently working on), but a slight suspicion I have about their next covers (not telling), has me waiting for their coming live performances.

Before I go, here are a video featuring Trip Cyclone's (whom I mentioned earlier) "Was I Even There" and another featuring the remix from the Shivers I game music.

Strangely enough, both I found were edited with Kingdom Hearts footage.

Rock 'n' Roll Children,


Friday, 5 June 2009

Lost Files: The Vampire Shoot (22/11/2008)

While putting a semblance of order in the chaos that are the files on my PC (pretty much like my room), I came upon this folder in the "New Photos" subfolder, aka, "photos I have not yet edited or posted".

On the day that the Final Fantasy Cosplay Party had taken place, Sarcana had asked around if some people would be interested in playing extras, for a scene shoot that would take place in UNDERWORLD, themed around Vampires. The shoot would take place on Sunday. A couple of others and myself showed up and well, let's just say that many left because the film crew was late around... 3 hours!

Regardless, before the director showed up, the make-up crew came along to transform Sarcana into a Vampiress and Sweet Lady With A Tiger-Tail into her all-too willing victim. Seeing as you can only indulge in so much small-talk (thanks Nicolas - I would have shot myself dead out of boredom!), I decided to take advantage of the dead time to shoot some pictures and post-editing, well, this is the result.

Sarcana and Dominica Chaotica.

Sarcana has the tendency to...

...hang from things or...

...climb onto them, which really
makes for interesting photos.

Experimenting with the little
available light.

Experimenting with Photoshop.
You will notice that certain
pictures have the eyes
painted red - it's because
I thought it fitting or just
wanted to try out an alternative.

Nikolaos, ???, Nerissa and Sarcana. Almost as
if from a Vampire the Masquerade scene.

This is one of my favorites: her
body type and skin, make for an
ideal combination with the
puncture wounds.

This one, as well as the following
two, are also touched up
concerning the blood smear.

All in all, a rather good set. Too bad I could not take some pictures during the scene shoot. To tell the truth, the setting was so disorganized as was (I don't even remember the name of the director but she really had to get her act together, both in directing the whole thing, as well as actually having an original idea) and I did not want to add to the chaos. I had heard a rumor that the movie, of which this segment was shot on that day, was to be taken to the Cannes Festival - never found out about that...

That's all for now,