My Penultimate Saturday.
I return from the shops and greet Nefta and Selina chatting in our upstairs kitchen-lounge.
I am delighted to see Selina. We haven’t met since she helped me with my Spanish homework, two weeks ago. She soars even higher in my estimation when she tells me I have lost weight, then adds that my Spanish is much impoved.
I respond that I adore any woman with a keen sense of observation.
Nefta and Selina are about to go to an open air concert outside the Cultural Centre in Ricoletta. They invite me to join them.
On the walk to the bus, Selina teaches me my Spanish phrase for the day: “Donde las corrientes de la vida me lleven”
– wherever the currents of life lead me”
We catch the bus and find the gig.
On stage is an all-female rock band, five spectacular looking women. Playing what, I think, is a hybrid form of heavy-trash-grunge-rock, but I’m no expert and can’t be sure.
It’s quite impressive, and they look great. But at the same time, this atmosphere of grunge teenagers and early 20-somethings (Emos ??) clad in tie-dyed T-shirts and torn jeans, is not really my scene. I am too old and square, alas.
Nefta gives me a nudge and says look left. There is Cindy, the nice Venezuelan girl, of the Bar La Poesia, standing alone.
I haven’t seen her for weeks. We greet warmly. She tells me she has quit Bar La Poesia for a month or so she can concentrate on her studies better. She has to learn a lot of tough new computer programmes for her animation course, and working until 3am in Poesia four or five nights a week wasn’t helping. But she managed to save enough to take this month off work, so now she is fully focused on her college work load.
This is a Saturday afternoon so Cindy is getting some rare down time.
Neither of us are that crazy about the music on stage. She tells me there is plenty more culture to be sampled, at the Centro Cultural de Ricoletta.
This sounds like good news to me.
We go off and find a large exhibition of print making and illustartions.
It turns out before Cindy started studying animation in Buenos Aires she trained as an illustrator.
Even through the considerable langugae barrier I detect a knowledgable and practiced eye.
The work is brilliant, sweet and cruel by turn, witty and varied. The artists seem endlessly inventive in their use of images and materials. I feel a pang of nostalgia for art-making.
We spend a very enjoyable hour and a half, looking and comparing favourites… “I like this one; I like this part; that bit is clever.”
Then we find a table outside in the little courtyard and have a couple of soft drinks, thoughtfully provided free by some corporate sponsor. I tell Cindy she appears in my blog. She looks suitably pleased.
We talk some more until its time to go.
Cindy and I say goodbye. She goes off to continue learning her animation programme and I explore the other shops and galleries around the Ricoletta Cultural Centre.
We never meet again, although we exchange some nice e-mails.
Nonethless, this was one of my favourite afternoons in Buenos Aires.
When I return from Ricoletta back home to San Telmo, Nefta invites me to a second gig later that night. This one sounds more my speed, it is a Beatles tribute act !
John, Paul, George and Ringo will play in Mod, on calle Defensa, the biggest nightclub in San Telmo. It sounds fun.
We assemble quite a gang in the end, Fede, the poetry-quoting seduction machine; and Sylvana the Uraguayan. I also invite Laura, the Golf-Ace who lives in our apartment complex, and Laura brings both her boyfriend Nico and her lovely friend Rosario.
It turns out the Fab Four aren’t on stage until 3 am. So we get some drinks first and have our own impromtu party-concert in the flat, with Nefta on guitar, leading us in a Beatles-themed pop medley sing-along.
When we get to the club around 2.40, we are on the gust list. Or rather Nefta is and he can get us all in free, which means I can continue my proud record of not paying or queueing for nightclubs, something I refuse to do anywhere else in the world. Laura and Nico are turned away, alas, because they are wearing flip-flops. They go home to change but don’t reappear.
The Beatles act turn out to be superb, with every little musical phrase and nuance spot on and pitch-perfect. To my delight Selina arives to join us. The band get better and better. We all sing ourselves hoarse, and dance until 6 in the morning.
It’s another cracking night in Buenos Aires, party capital of the world.
Overall, that was close to a perfect day.