“Mr Miller and the red marble…”

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Good morning folks

I trust you had a mighty fine weekend and that you’re in finest fettle.
Here is the weekly Lima wrap-up of goings-on in the land of Limalandia.
A bit of a manic week, but all in a good way (apart from Circunvaliacion, but that’s a different kettle of kippers).

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Here is the Monday morning Superclunk.com blog at your disposal/for your perusal…

Showtime!

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This entire week has been a blur of taxis, rehearsals and lights-camera-action!
For a person who never really had a drama class at school this whole process (which began with the first Storytelling session at Britanico what seems a l-o-n-g time ago) has been a steep and at times overhanding learning curve!

“Cuentamelo” is the annual international Britanico Cultural stortyelling convention.
Alongside the professional storytellers (from France, Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia and Peru) there were three Britanico teachers; Myself and two good friends, Ivonne and Lizeth. (All the stories were in Spanish and ours were in English). This was the first time ever that teachers had taken part in this event and the pressure was on from the very beginning!

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The first performance for us (teachers) was last Sunday at my regular facepainting stomping ground, “parque de la Amistad”. For a curtainraiser open-air gig it went ok, I am not sure how many of the punters spoke English, but nobody died!

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On Wednesday the candle was replaced with an acetylene blowtorch and the flame was firmly under my backside! The show was at Britanico Surco and was to be streamed live on Facebook Live, (which was watched by just under 4000 people).

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Taxis had all been booked through work, but my chauffeur was conspicuous in his absence and legendary in his tardiness. When I rang HQ, I was told that the driver had:
a) Fallen asleep and woken up late.
b) Then he discovered his battery was flat.
c) Both of the above were an inconvenience, but when he then realised that he had run out of gas! Of all the luck…

Another driver was dispatched and we ploughed through the roadworks/motocross circuit that is my barrio and down the Panamericana, arriving in time for one last rehearsal.

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My story itself was a good one, about a shopkeeper who taught the importance of values to three young scallywags. However, it was extended with a last minute addition of a song (!)

Now I am not a natural singer, I sing karaoke and that’s about it, I don’t sing in the shower or anything like that. (I have always wanted to be a singer in a band though, this could well be the catalyst!) If you imagine Sting’s “Englishman in New York” sang somewhere between the styles of Divine Comedy and Sid Vicious-My Way, thankfully (for the crowd) a short version, and then an extended intro about myself and how I came to be in Peru. I told my well-worn “Touching the Void” tale and the fact that I didn’t do any research and was surprised to find that the Andes weren’t in Lima and that there weren’t llamas roaming the streets!

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Ivonne was next up and she had the audience eating out of her hands, Lizeth finished off and had accompaniment from myself making my debut on an instrument whose name escapes me (nor can I find it on Google), if you imagine a small round shell with a hole and metal fronds, which when touched make a spacey ping-pong sound, clear-as-mud description, a special prize for the first person to name the instrument!

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There is always room for improvement in any performance and so to Britanico-San Juan de Lurigancho on Friday for hopefully that. My speedy taxista broke all records flying the route in under an hour, getting me there ridiculously early. SJL is a madly busy centre and fills up quicksmart. Without the distraction (or expense) of FB Live, everybody seemed a bit more relaxed which transformed into 2 top performances by the ladies and a passable one for me.
Our guitarist, Jorge, was also star of the show, a natural comedian with an incredible talent/memory!

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The grumpiest taxista in the whole of Lima trundled me back home in a battered old Toyota with no suspension, chugging along the by-pass at 25mph in the middle lane…

The BIG one was on Saturday at Britanico, Miraflores, the “Clausura“, the curtain closer for the whole festival. 11 stories by the entire cast of the convention. It was all about time, 5mins max.
It isn’t a lot of time to get a crowd on your side, do your intro and full (short) story, without churning it out at 110mph. No singing this time! I’d be lying if I don’t get nervous and there was a lot of pressure on, but everybody pulled it off perfectly!

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A huge sigh of relief when all was done, followed by photos, sarnies a bit of vino and then out on the lash!

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A massive THANK YOU to all the team, Carmen, Ivonne, Lizeth, Jorge and Miguel, as well as Mini and her team and to all who came to watch, thank you, next time I’ll step it up a level with my croning ;-)

Back to the hills…

Saturday morning was an early starter and not of the Little Chef variety.
Runningwise I have been slacking wayyy too much of late. With just 10 weeks until El Misti Sky Race, I have to get some hills back in my legs. This year has been a strange one, with more-than-normal levels of injuries/illness and for various reasons, my local dusty slag-heap/landfill “cerros” haven’t been visited since March! Last year I was up them every Saturday morning by dawn, so when the 5am alarm went off, the temptation to knock it off and go back to the land of nod took some resisting!

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It never ceases to amaze me just how many folk are up and about in these parts at 6am, the streets are full. Creeping out of the house, cutting through the dodgy bit to get across the bridge, a bloke taking a sla$h in full view on the pavement had to be dodged, as did a huddle of inebriated students swigging rum outside the university, tiptoeing past the shack and the foul stench of their outside khazi and then I was on the hills. As it is the tail end of winter, the hills are still shrouded in fog most mornings. I had the place to myself and despite the greyness of the Lima dawn I was enjoying being away from it all in the hills which have been temporarily transformed into sporadic greenery. I bumped into 3 other runners who invited me on some 100km run in Cusco, but I don’t think I’ll be taking them up on their kind offer, unless I get some new legs in the next 2mths!

It was all going so well until I took a crap line off one of the tops to avoid the shantytown, Pamplona Alta II. It is a settlement high up in the hills which is almost impossible to avoid on this route. I have never had any bother, but I treat the area with respect/caution, especially the canine population…

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I know the route off by heart, but as the familiar dusty dirt/sand was covered in greenery, and the fact that the clag was really down, I came down the slopes too soon, running into a pack of ferocious hounds, a few rocks lobbed in their direction shooed them away, temporarily.
I love animals, but I’m not a big fan of these happy snappers, and as I am a terrible shot, they were never in danger of being hurt! Because I took such a bad line I ended up on some rough ground and then the not-so-daft hounds of the Baskervilles ambushed me!

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There is a scene in the film “Predator” when the Predator starts firing off shots in all directions.
As I was pretty much surrounded I just started lobbing rocks (pathetically small ones were all that were available) and as my aim is diabolical, I suddenly heard a fibreglass “thunk” noise when one of my badly aimed missiles hit a passing mototaxi on the road below!

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I somehow escaped/evaded the mountain wolves by cutting through the edge of the shantytown, startling an old dear hanging out her washing. The hounds were still on my tail at the road crossing, and I dropped out of the fog temporarily to pass another group of runners, who must have thought I was completely:
a) Badass
or
b) Stupid

as I ran straight into the rockiest pile of ankle-snapping boulders to get away. I didn’t see the wolves nor the runners again. Bypassing the next shantytown, (Pamplona Alta I?) I had to sidestep a dead dog :-(

I had a list of jobs as long as both Mr. Tickle’s arms to do, so a long, long run was out of the question, but on my last top the swirling mist got thinner and thinner and suddenly burst out into sunshine and a cracking cloud inversion. Moments like this make it all worthwhile :-)

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(On my way down I took an absolute flier of a fall after daydreaming about the evening session!)

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69 days until the Misti Race, which is going to be a tall (5822m) order. (A lot of) work to do…

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Poles apart!

Next week…

Big Night Out :-)

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When I ask my students on a Friday about their weekend plans, the responses I invariably get are:

- “In my house”

- “Netflix”

- “Sleeping”

When I ask them again on a Monday, that is normally about all that they have done.
Whether it is a lack of imagination, bra$$, freedom or something else I don’t know.
The average age of my students is about 22, when I was that age I was out causing as much chaos as possible, whether intentional or not. I think that the digital generation have much more fluid/flexible plans and especially in Lima, most things are last-minute.

Nights out for me are eagerly anticipated and normally planned about a month or more in advance! A lads night had been pencilled in on the 8th of September since July, (before I even knew about the “Cuentamelo” event).

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So, after leaving Cuentamelo, I went with the team to a boozer which has actually created an authentic Irish boozer in Lima, “Molly’s Bar”. We had a few sundowners and then I went off with my mate James B to meet James D at the French bar, which is not really very French at all, but they do have a happy hour which seems to be infinite!

A Barranco plan was hatched and we snook in Sgt. Pimiento’s (without paying it seemed, unless it is free these days?) Now this place has a lot of memories for me, but it is completely hit-or-miss musicwise. if the DJ is on form, it is without comparison, if not, it is a soulless spot.
They only seem to serve superfizzy Budweiser in plastic glasses, but I think we’d had enough by then.

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We raised the average age of the place by about 25 years, but the DJ suddenly hit a purple patch and played a succession of good stuff; Hives, Smith’s, Arctic Monkeys, Ramones and more, so we basically took over the place and the stage (not falling off it this time).
It was the first time I have ever been out in a suit in Lima and felt like a flashback to Ziggy’s after the Magnet Cup, late 90′s.

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All good things come to an end and I shared a suspensionless Tax with JD, to the racket of my neighbours having a party, which seemed to carry on until 2pm on Sunday.

 

In bed by 5am, 24hrs of mixed madness and a bloody good day/night all in all :-)

Needless to say Sunday was a complete write-off/sufferfest.

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Raider’s round-up!

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“Not a good day at the office” is becoming an overused phrase for my beloved Shipbuilders, but things are not going well. A 32-12 defeat away at Dewsbury Rams means that the last 3 games are all like cup finals, especially next week at Swinton.

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Onwards and upwards…

Alcaldes-all-change…

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Next week…

And finally…

I won’t blow my trumpet on this one!
I am not a singer, but I tried ;-)

This is the Facebook Live video (from the Britanico FB page) of Wednesday’s performance.
It all starts around the 7 minute mark.
My rambling nonsense is followed by Ivonne and Lizeth.
We’ve all come a long way and it’s not over yet ;-)

That’s all for now folks.
Have an awesomely outstanding week.
Cheers
Johnny, Lina and the Nipper

p.s. The Nipper gave me a new look!

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