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Thursday, 18 June 2015

A tomb of one's own

I was arrested the other night. Man and woman police officer came to my home, small element of surprise as they snuck into the building without pressing the intercom. No handcuffs, thankfully, after they decided I wasn't a flight risk. Allegations of assault. Domestic. Driven by two other officers to local station. Bureaucracy. Digital fingerprints, palm prints, mug shots, DNA swabs. Belt removed, shoelaces removed, phone removed.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

UnReal !

How unlucky was I to be living in Brazil, relying on UK savings, while the Brazilian Real was at its strongest ever ? Almost as soon as I left in August 2011 the currency began falling again, and just look at it today ! To think how much further my money would have gone if I'd had today's exchange rate ...

Saturday, 23 May 2015

More Brazil blues

For those who said I was too negative about "booming" Brazil in 2010-11, yet another article showing why I was right not to see a decent future there:

"The stakes are high for an emerging democracy getting rocked by the end of the commodity boom. Not too long ago, the South American exporter of iron, soy, coffee and other goods inspired so much optimism that some analysts boldly predicted it was maturing into a global power. But Brazil’s outlook is unraveling. Chinese demand for its commodities slowed, opening up funding gaps for welfare, credit and construction programs launched in the good times. Brazil now risks losing its investment-grade rating, which could spark a chaotic selloff of its currency, economists say."

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Guria in Excelsis

John hated being called a salesman. He was a "biz dev" guy or better yet, an entrepreneur, maybe even a visionary. Most of all, though, he was a showman, someone who wanted to live in the limelight. His student days as "ents officer" were always close at hand. And there was that glint in his eye when name-dropping celebrity chums or clients, like the band Massive Attack. Yes, the world has definitely lost more than just a salesman.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Word Cup pain

In the long run, tonight's anguish in Brazil (losing 7-1 to Germany in the semi-finals) will turn out to be more good than bad. Brazil's self-esteem, as this blog has often noted, needs to rest on firmer foundations than sport and samba. Combined with the street protests preceding the world cup, tonight's humiliation will force Brazilians to confront everyday realities with a new vigour and candour.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014


"The most welcome legacy of the tournament should go beyond new constructions and services. I want Brazil to be seen no longer as the place where everything is great or dreadful: a bit of normality wouldn't hurt." Letter in yesterday's London Evening Standard.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Hope & hype

Wall Street Journal, June 2014: "But Brazil's rise stalled. After notching 7.5% growth in 2010, the economy is now in its fourth year of a slump, partly sapped by the steep fall in commodity prices.

My first blog post, February, 2011: "'Booming BRIC Brazil' is a red herring, as far as I can see. Relying on raw materials and commodities is no way to secure the country's future."