Men of Honor

"This film was supposed to be my big break, and it turned out to be a big disaster!"
- Terry Flores (Jennifer Lopez), Anaconda

Venezuela. Oil rich. A picture of Bolivar practically everywhere you look. Officially home to the most beautiful women in the world. Custodian of nightclubs where a stumbling Englishman's bad dancing will be indulged by said beautiful women for about half an hour until they get bored.

A place where (as any student of the film Anaconda will tell you) psychotic snakes are likely to stalk you for hundreds of miles. A place where Brockley Central had arguably its best holiday ever, sleeping under the stars on Los Rocas, having our rum nicked by our safari guide in Los Llanos and watching Universal Soldier 2 more times than is healthy in Isla Margarita.

These, we suspect, are not the facts that Venezuela Information Centre wishes you to be aware of. They are screening a film at the Honor Oak Pub, so you can all learn about Hugo Chavez and why the US-led military-industrial complex is out to get him, or as David Aaronovitch put it:

"To varying degrees in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, the same national-Left populism is today in power. Industries are nationalised, oligarchies are excoriated, journalists are traitors and behind every reversal and problem is the demonic power of the Great Gringo in the White House. Powers are sought by the populist presidents, which, while they are argued to enhance the power of the people, unarguably enhance the power of the president."

The event is a free showing of the film Tocar y Luchar (To Play and to Fight) about the Venezuelan youth orchestras, introduced by Nestor Lopez of the Embassy for Venezuela. Organiser Fergus explains:

"The documentary portrays the inspirational stories of world class musicians trained by the Venezuelan system, including the Berlin Philharmonic’s youngest player Edicson Ruiz and world renowned conductor Gustavo Dudamel. With interviews with many of the world’s most celebrated musicians including the great tenor Placido Domingo, Claudio Abbado, Sir Simon Rattle, Guiseppe Sinopoli, and Eduardo Mata, To Play and To Fight is an inspirational story of courage, determination and ambition. Our screening of the film will be introduced by Nestor Lopez from the Venezuelan Embassy in London."

The screening takes place on Wednesday 4th March 7.30pm at THE HONOR OAK Pub, 1 St. German's Road London SE23 1RH For info: lgvic@talktalk.net

25 comments:

Tressillian James said...

Sounds like a laugh

Brockley Kate said...

Ha! Vanezuela? Let me tell you about Nicaragua ....

(Clearly this blog is solely written by fans of Latin American leftocracies)

drakefell debaser said...

Newsnight ran a story on Chavez last night.

It went along the lines of Hugo Chavez: admired by Hamas, Hezbolah, the Iranian administration and Ken Livingstone.

Not bad for a newt lover.

mg said...

There was a documentary on BBC2 (Imagine, I think?) about that youth orchestra a while back. It was really inspiring/heartwarming stuff, and I think a Scottish council is trying out the same method here, and Time Out is collecting instruments for a trial in London.

Tressillian James said...

yup you are right about the timeout thing - was thinking of donating my violin.

@ Brockley Kate.. HA! Nicaragua? Let me tell you about the favellas of Rio and the street kids of Sao Paulo...

(Cue MonkeyBoy and Peru)

Headhunter said...

I think the most shocking place I've ever been to was Madagascar. The poverty was quite harrowing, but what an amazing country.

Anonymous said...

"It is marvellous how poverty can bring out the beauty in some things"

I thought as i swept past the shanty towns, and its noble, yet savage, inhabitants, in my 4x4.

It gave me time to reflect on the difference between my life and theirs, and I wondered how they managed without a colour-coordinated SMEG upright refrigerator.

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon - LOL

Anonymous said...

sorry to hide under an anonymous for that one Nick

Nobbly

Headhunter said...

Actually that was pretty accurate. We started in the capital city, tried slumming it with the natives, getting around on the cross country buses which were all about 40 years old, travelled at about 10mph across rutted, dusty tracks through semi desert packed with people, chickens, goats, luggage etc for interminable hours. Then luckily we met this French bloke with a Nissan 4x4 who offered to drive us around the country for a few weeks (for cash), so we leapt aboard his air conditioned monster and cruised around. The rest is history. Beautiful.

Brockley Kate said...

I wasn't really talking about poverty tourism per se, more with regard to Nick's effusive enthusiasm for Venezuela.I've heard that Uruguay is where it's at right now, though.

Monkeyboy said...

Peru:

Llamas - Good
Alpacas - Double plus good
Showers - Bad
Toilets - plus bad

Tressillian James said...

and I was just teasing... the most amazing thing about Sao Paulo was the architecture - 60s & 70s stuff that in isolation look terrible in the UK,but as a whole city worked really well. That and the helicopters with the rich using them as their personal chauffeurs taking them from rooftop to rooftop.

patrick1971 said...

There's no need to even leave Europe for a taste of the Third World; anyone been to Albania? I felt like I was back in Vietnam. Old women and handicapped people selling stuff by the side of the road, all the roads and buses in a decrepit state and don't even start me on the trains! Quite amazing, you really wouldn't know you were still in Europe. And this was just a couple of years ago.

Graeme said...

"I felt like I was back in Vietnam".

Can't read that phrase without subvocalising in a 50-a-day, Tom Waits drawl. I blame television.

patrick1971 said...

Surely any veteran worth his salt (e.g. Principal Skinner) would just say, "...back in 'Nam"? It definitely felt like a tour of duty at the time, despite the incredibly well-behaved kids I was teaching.

simon of bexhill said...

back to the topic
venezuela is one of the most exciting places today-revolutionary reforms, popular particpation, redistribitioopn of resources, radial forms of lcoal democracy and free education and health care-all in a contatext of more people voting in more elections than nay democracy-and Chavez opposers say he is a dictator-the film looks t music education for the poorest-whcih is inspiring the world-about to be introduced in lambeth-a facsinating event for the area-i will certainly be there to learn more

nobbly brick said...

Bexhill!!

We can't have people from Bexhill commenting on things happening in Brockley...

;)

Brockley Nick said...

It's OK, the Honor Oak is SE23.

Brockley Nick said...

Simon, good to hear you're going along with such an open mind to the subject.

nobbly brick said...

thank heavens...

patrick1971 said...

Hmmm, closing down newspapers and making oneself President for Life is an interesting definition of "radical democracy". :-) Chavez has done some great stuff and it's fascinating to see how much popular support he has. I guess it remains to be seen if he can manage it all and create a real, viable third way and remain a Mandela rather than become a Mugabe.

fred vest said...

"making oneself President for Life"

not exactly a calm and measured description of what's happened that is it!

Tom said...

gabriel garcia marquez has a lot to answer for

Glenda said...

It is inspiring to see a President like Hugo Chavez get a decent majority in the last elections (66%). if you want facts on Chavez it's better to avoid the Sun, the Times....of Mr R Murdoch and listen to someone like John Pilger worthy of the title of journalist.
Under Chavez Venezuela has literacy levels which would be the envy of the UK. Hugo Chavez has followed in the steps of Cuba which has a literacy rate of 99%.
Hugo Chavez? Lucky Venezuela! I wish we had a Leader like him here!

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