Vuelvo al Sur

I was born in the Southern Hemisphere and live in Southern Europe although my current city is geographically “up North” and people here tend to passionately identify themselves as “northerners “.

For a while I lived in Brighton, also the South in the North and then moved to London and to a more northern lifestyle. I did identify with England mainly because of the music that nurtured me through my teenage angst and bouts of dramatic isolation from the rest of the world. I miss my English life often, I miss the politeness and the freedom of being foreigner but accepted, or at least tolerated. I even miss the pebble beaches and the custard and the days spent in libraries and trying to find a proper espresso. I miss wandering around with nowhere to go. I miss feeling lonely in London and still quietly happy. I miss the quirkiness and people not staring at you because you look different. I miss talking to street performers and photographing them. I miss spending a fortune at Joe’s Basement in Soho to get contacts printed.

I could have stayed. I left and felt that I really belonged there. Up North. I don’t. My landscape is now far from the green grass, blue eyes, grey sky and the gothic lines that I  only revisit when travelling Northbound. Now I marvel at  the marble collonades, the porches and patios and baroque pearls of the south. Red soil, black eyes, blue sky.


son dos pozos de estrellas tus ojos negros


Geographies aside, I’m intellectually from the North and culturally and emotionally  from the South. Not the place. The set of values. The feeling. That different dimension where one floats and feels whole and at home in all “souths”. The olive tree souths, the palm tree souths and the fern souths.  The Atlantic souths and the Indic souths, the Mediterranean and the Gulf souths. The carnation souths, the azahar souths, the magnolia-scented souths and the lavender souths. The jacaranda south. The iced tea souths and the wine and manzanilla souths. The beignet souths and the cannoli souths. The pistachio colored souths, the turquoise souths and the ochre souths.  The south of Tango and the south of Blues. The rhythmic south. The south of Duende.

Llevo el Sur,

como un destino del corazon,

soy del Sur,

como los aires del bandoneon.

The Belles souths and the Amazons souths. The Maria souths and the Carmen souths and the Tallulah souths. The polite souths and the loud-mouthed souths. The south of dark hair and lustrous eyes and cadenced walks and throbbing charm. The south of apparent frailty and unbreakable strength.

The orange souths, the mango souths and the strange fruit souths.

The lazy, laughing South
With blood on its mouth.

The cruel south. Not a geography. A metaphor of all the pain in humanity. A testimony of decadence. The fatalist souths and the combative souths.

The emotional souths and the passionate souths. The souths of private virtues and public vices. The south of sin. The south of absolution.

The souths of Homer. The south of Faulkner. The souths of disquiet. The lazy Apollonian souths, the dancing, graceful, spontaneous, impulsive souths. The eternal midday, clear, still and in the moment South. The nostalgic, embracing South.

And still, the yearning for the lost South. “And there were other ways to live…”

Se você tem uma idéia incrível. É melhor fazer uma canção. Está provado que só é possível. Filosofar em alemão.


References (in a very random order)

Astor Piazolla, Caetano Veloso, Camaron de la Isla, Jorge Luis Borges, Eugene Walter, Langston Hughes, Agustina Bessa-Luís, Fernando Pessoa, Susan Sontag, William Faulkner, Billie Holiday, Oswald Spengler, Nietzsche


Doll face

I bought this mannequin in September 2015. It was stored in a box because the previous owner returned it to the warehouse where I got it from, fearing that after his death his children might think he had been some kind of pervert for keeping such a piece in his antiques and bric-a-brac collection. At the time, I thought it was funny. Now, after eight months of sharing my weekend office space with this fake person and staging impromptu photo shoots with it, I can understand his concerns.

Mannequins, because they mimic us and force us, in a way, to look at our humanity and time, have an inherent creepiness to them, “they convey idealized images of ourselves, what we aspire to rather than what we actually are.” In elaborate window vignettes, they make space for dreaming, creating inspiring perfect worlds frozen in time.As they themselves remain.

Modern mannequins tend to be more of an abstract stylized shape, often faceless but none the less mysterious and fascinating when perhaps channeling Princess Langwidere, they are easily given an expression to go with a mood.

That I, sometimes, look at the mannequin living in my office and think that I see different expressions is, of course, the result of an over fantasizing mind fueled by one too many fairy tales of inanimate dolls coming to life at night.



Movie Inspiration of the week – Orlando (1992)

Vain trifles as they seem, clothes have, they say, more important offices than to merely keep us warm. They change our view of the world and the world’s view of us.
― Virginia Woolf, Orlando
o3 copy

Costume Designer Sandy Powell who has won three Oscars for Best Costume Design (Shakespeare in Love, 1998; The Aviator, 2014 and The Young Victoria, 2009) and is responsible for sartorially composing characters in some of my favourite movies.

o7 copy

For it was this mixture in her of man and woman, one being uppermost and then the other, that often gave her conduct an unexpected turn. The curious of her own sex would argue, for example, if Orlando was a woman, how did she never take more than ten minutes to dress? And were not her clothes chosen rather at random, and sometimes worn rather shabby? And then they would say, still, she has none of the formality of a man, or a man’s love of power.

― Virginia Woolf, Orlando

o16 copy


Yet again, though bold and active as a man, it was remarked that the sight of another in danger brought on the most womanly palpitations. She would burst into tears on slight provocation. She was unversed in geography, found mathematics intolerable, and held some caprices which are more common among women than men, as for instance that to travel south is to travel downhill.

― Virginia Woolf, Orlando

o13 copy


Whether, then, Orlando was most man or woman, it is difficult to say and cannot now be decided. .

― Virginia Woolf, Orlando

o19 copy

The film’s social commentary is never far from the surface, however, and “the sheer crippling unmanageability of Orlando’s bourgeois female attire… brilliantly conveys feminine physical and social constraint” (Pidduck, 106).

Orlando 3 copy

To be born a woman has been to be born, within an allotted and confined space, into the keeping of men. The social presence of women has developed as a result of their ingenuity in living under such tutelage within such a limited space. But this has been at the cost of a woman’s self being split in two. A woman must continually watch herself. She is almost continually accompanied by her own image of herself.

John Berger, Ways of Seeing


‘we are one with a human face’.



…not a blend of masculine and feminine characteristics, but an absence of them, and where androgynes are perceived to rely on neither masculine nor feminine behaviors.

Larin McLaughlin


Photos via Costume Captures

Sometimes it snows in April 

and, sometimes,  it never stops

Sometimes I feel so bad, so bad

O. died yesterday. Last time I saw him was in 2013 after a long hiatus in our conversations on art and music and books. We met at a conference on photography and it was like our conversation had never really gone mute.

If you look into someone’s face long enough, eventually you’re going to feel that you’re looking at yourself

We promised to reconnect and go out for coffee,  rekindle our platonic passion for Auster and New York and let our words wander to beautiful spaces. We never did. We exchanged texts wishing each other a happy new year and thought we would have time to keep our promises.

Every life is inexplicable, I kept telling myself. No matter how many facts are told, no matter how many details are given, the essential thing resists telling. To say that so and so was born here and went there, that he did this and did that, that he married this woman and had these children, that he lived, that he died, that he left behind these books or this battle or that bridge – none of that tells us very much.

Even if we know it’s a part of life, death is inexplicable as well. O. died yesterday. His heart just stopped on the same day of his birthday. The day he had given up celebrating a long time ago. Mr. Vertigo left the same day he arrived. Like a time traveller.

The emptiness inside your body grows lighter than the air around you. Little by little, you begin to weigh less than nothing. You shut your eyes; you spread your arms; you let yourself evaporate. And then, little by little, you lift yourself off the ground.
Like so.



Paul Auster, Mr. Vertigo

Paul Auster, The New York Trilogy

Photo: Central Park CC0 Public Domain

Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (1964)


Costume Designer Jacqueline Moreau, César Award for Best Costume Design for La passion Béatrice in 1988 and La vie et rien d’autre in 1990.


French director Jacques Demy didn’t just make movies—he created an entire cinematic world. Demy launched his glorious feature filmmaking career in the sixties, a decade of astonishing invention in his national cinema. He stood out from the crowd of his fellow New Wavers, however, by filtering his self-conscious formalism through deeply emotional storytelling.


Palme d’Or, Technical Grand Prize and OCIC Award 1964 Cannes Film Festival


It’s been raining for over three months here. Every week. This is Southern Europe and it’s getting to be depressing. It doesn’t get much uplifting than this brilliant, bright and bold technicolor world of exuberant details where clothes even match wallpaper.



For a few moths, after I hurt my knee doing a “remate” during a rehearsal for a flamenco show, I was afraid of stairs. For a few months, every step required thinking. Walking downstairs was especially difficult, the rule that tells you to walk up as a little kid would do, doesn’t really apply when going down. The movement becomes mechanized and painful. The rhythmic fluidity of walking down is gone and you are left with a bust metronome that can’t actually keep the time.

Being somewhat of a drama queen, I thought this was going to last forever. I tried to reinvent myself as some kind of replicant, to come up with  a cyberpunk character to match my armor knee brace. For three months or so I looked like an extra on The Matrix and even though I felt vulnerable and generally afraid of stairs, escalators and crowded places, wearing a medical device as a fashion statement felt empowering. I don’t even know if people stared, it didn’t matter if they did. I suppose that’s what “power dressing” means, to me at least.

Every day I would go out to work in my warrior costume and every day at 12 I would go to physiotherapy and would have to climb up and down the hospital staircases as a form of exercise.  As much as this was a daily routine, seeing it in a metaphorical way is almost unavoidable. Steps as obstacles to be surpassed, stairs as progression and stairs as regression. In this case coming down just took a lot longer than a real fall.

The fact that I got hurt to the sound of La Leyenda del Tiempo strikes me as both ironic and enlightening. I  hurt myself for not paying attention to what I was doing while feeling the music that gives life to a wonderful poem that makes life sound as a mad galloping spiral staircase in constant movement. All of a sudden I was back down at the starting step trying to convince myself that it wasn’t as serious as it looked, a few days of ice packs and everything would be back to normal.

It was serious, and it involved convincing my restless self that it was a step at a time kind of situation and still, from certain angles, all staircases are spirals of infinite movement, how do you to get back in when understanding how you have managed to fall out is difficult enough?