A Travellerspoint blog

Sonic chaos in Warsaw

Yesterday night I was in my first concert here in Warsaw from A Place to Bury Strangers. These guys are probably the loudest band I've ever seen and I think they are one of the most exciting bands of this century. It's truly a sonic experience to see them. Something similar to seeing My Bloody Valentine live a few years ago. This was my third time and I'm getting more and more addicted to the kind of inner peace I feel while being literally invaded by that wall of distortion, loud guitars and raw energy.

They really like to push the limits of sound and it gets really loud. It was really funny to see people covering their ears or simply leaving the crowd. You can't just go and see APTBS. You have to know what you are going for and bring earplugs. Otherwise you are going to suffer, suffer badly! I don't think most people can actually enjoy that kind of sound but when you do, the sound takes your to higher levels of perception. I think once I read an interview with Oliver Ackermann, the band's leader, where he was saying something about that. About how loudness makes him feel somehow in peace. Or something like that.

This time I managed to speak with him before the concert as he was hanging out in the bar. One of the things about small venues and non mainstream bands is that you get to have access to the artists and interact with them. He seems a very fascinating character, very down to earth. At some point he told me "I like when things go crazy" so if you see people are not moving, start pushing them"! LOL! I was actually surrounded by people enjoying the concert so there was a lot of energy coming back and forth from the stage. The band never says a word to the crowd, they just come, blast shit up and leave. I really had a great time and I look forward to see them again.

The concert took place in a nice bar/club called Klub Hydrozagadka which is located in Praga district here in Warsaw. When I told some people I was going there, they all kinda of scared me saying that that district was very violent and that I shouldn't be walking in there alone, that Warsaw can get dangerous and that Polish people like to fight when they get drunk. I admit that for one second I even considered not going. Afterall, I just arrived in the city a couple of days ago and the thought of being involved in some rough situation all by myself wasn't so pleasing . But I made some online research and discovered that things changed over the past years and that a lot of artists and alternative people moved there. I also thought that fear should never prevent me from doing anything and especially in this case, I would never let it prevent me to go and see a concert. As I kind of predicted, Praga district (or at least the part i was in) became now some kind of "hipsterville" and seems totally harmeless. But it's interesting to see (I read that too), that for most of people in Warsaw, crossing the Vistula river to Praga during the night is off limits. I actually immediately felt like those are the places I want to discover during my stay here. Or at least until the first time I will be beaten by some big and drunk polish dudes! :)

I guess that's it for now here on the eastern front. It's been sunny early in the mornings so I am taking the chance to go for a run and discover the city! The world out there is strange these days (or maybe it has been for a long time already) but I am feeling well and safe from all the darkness surrounding our pre-apocalyptic lives. Been reading some interesting stuff and I'm continuing with my path. I don't know where I'm going but I will go all the way.

Posted by ZackFontang 03:40 Archived in Poland Comments (0)

The resolute urgency of now. Decisions that change our lives

Part II - the wonderful world of "now"

To read part I click here: http://1dream1000ways.travellerspoint.com/56/

Life is a journey right? We hear that a lot, but what does it really mean to each and every one of us? What kind of journey? How to experience that journey? Where to go and what do we want to reach with that journey?

I think that we all ought to take some time in our lives to ask ourselves those questions and try to find some answers. There are no definite answers though. Or there shouldn't be any definite answers. Life is a journey that needs constant reorientation. In fact, I believe that with all the social conditioning around us from the day we are born, the more you need to reorientate yourself the better life gets. Nonetheless what's really important is that each one of us gets satisfied with the answers to our own questions. The important thing is to question ourselves. Always.

I guide my life without any plan, without a compass. I can't see far ahead. I don't want to. I don't sacrifice the present for any preconceived idea I might have of my future. Some might say this is reckless and dangerous. I shall remark that I don't mean to say this is the best way to go through life. I just think it's the only one that suits me.

I always liked this notion of "resolute urgency of now". I first heard it in a Smashing Pumpkins song, "Tonight, Tonight", when I was 12. Recently I discovered that Martin Luther King used it before ("the fierce urgency of now") in his famous "I Have a Dream" speech to urge people to act and fight for their rights. In 2015 however, as much as I think that there's also a pungent need for us to act collectively and change our western society, I'm more focused in exploring the "resolute urgency of now" on an individual and spiritual level. The "now" is the only tangible moment we have in life. We can actually touch, feel and experience the "now". So many people forget the importance of the "now", of the moment. Maybe it's easy to forget that while being swallowed by the strong, vicious current of everyday life. That same current that drags you, that beats you down silently and unnoticeably, day in and day out.

Recently I made some drastic decisions based on the answers I got from asking the questions I mentioned above. Some things in my life stopped making sense and was time to once again turn my life upside down and embrace the unknown. When you embrace the unknown you behold a plethora of choices and opportunities. You can turn to every direction, you can pursue any idea, you simply become free. And as soon you become free you can immerse yourself in the wonderful world of "now" and live it fully and intensively.

Which brings me to last Monday night in London, where I attended a concert from Caspian in a place called The Dome, in Tufnell Park. I have a genuine admiration for these guys and I'm lucky enough to have been part of a kind of a music experiment they made some months ago. Standing very close to the stage and lost in the middle of the crowd I was expecting a good concert and was curious to hear the new songs live. I wasn't that introspective or anything, I was in a light mood and really enjoying the place.

However, as soon as they started playing the 3rd song and from then on, my mind was transported to higher grounds and i was bursting with happiness. The past years unfolding vividly in my mind, the people, the places, everything. As those guys created sonic beauty I relived a thousand moments and I smiled. There I was, alone in the middle of the crowd, lost in this world. In that moment, nothing else mattered. There was no other place to be, no other life to live. I was home. And suddenly, closer to the end of the setlist, these words echoed in the room as if they were being said only to me:

I have read one book from Bukowski before and knew his life story and hype but wasn't so curious about him and didn't know this poem. But that's the thing with art: sometimes it seems like the universe aligns and that song, book, movie, just some words or whatever you never paid proper attention before become quintessential in your life. It takes the right moment and the adequate mood to completely absorb its meaning. In that moment I literally felt I was completely alone in a bubble of epiphany, my mind exploding with answers and revelations. It was beautiful and unforgettable.

That's my "now". Being 32 and still keeping a sense of wonder, a sense of discovery. It's not about being immature and trying to be young. It's about never stop searching for answers. It's about not giving up in trying to live the life I want to live. It's about staying true to my beliefs and dreams. It's about being a whole person both in victory and defeat. It's about (and I have to quote Bukowski here) "riding life straight to perfect laughter, it's the only good fight there is".

Next Sunday, the 15th, I arrive in Warsaw, Poland. That's all I know. And that's the best thing I could ask for. Godspeed.

Posted by ZackFontang 04:14 Archived in England Comments (0)

Pedro 2.0

First day of a new life. I don't know much about that new life. Everyone keeps asking me what I want to do or where I'm going. I guess people are just worrried with me, which is normal. I don't have answers for them though. Not yet. They will come with time.

I came to the laptop one hour ago. Sat in front of it, slightly lost and not knowing what to do or where to start. Decided to start by organizing the desktop and put all the random pictures and documents in the right folders. Opened iTunes and felt like listening to Caspian's new album and especially the title track "Dust and Disquiet", which is also the last song. An epic 11+ minutes of classic post-rock!

As soon as I cleared the desktop and put everything in the right place I felt somehow empty. As if my life, my past had also been put in those folders, the ones we barely open and keep "just in case". 7 years put in a box. Those 7 years have been amazing, but honestly I don't know anymore what's left of it. I feel like something was lost along the way. I feel like I was becoming someone I didn't want to be. All the injustices and frustration I've suffered because of my job were turning me into someone angry and resentful. I wasn't the dreamy guy anymore, always ready to enjoy life and meet new people. I was just a shadow of that, I was just a somewhat decadent albeit unnoticiable version of the person I used to be.

And then it hit me. It's time for a new folder, it's time for Pedro 2.0 and a new life! I'm so relieved I decided to abandon my tennis project. After all the mess, I realized that my heart haven't been there for quite a long time already. For the first time in many months, I feel like I'm not falling into some kind of abyss!


I'm curious about Pedro 2.0! I'm excited about the new life, what will be there for me. And more importantly I'm looking forward to regain the energy and even some of the innocence I used to have. And also the faith in people.

Dust and Disquiet. Thank you Caspian. Dust will settle and disquiet will soon vanish. Life is good. Love to all.

Posted by ZackFontang 15:00 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

shifting reality. an european road trip.

In August 2015 I drove for 30 days around Europe celebrating a decade of friendships and moments. Crossing 14 countries and driving for about 6500km, my reality kept changing at an incredible speed. The notion of time expanded and each moment contained a decisiveness that I normally don't have in my daily life. Over the next weeks/months I will go through all the videos I shot and try to assemble a sequence that hopefully will depict the beauty in that constant change of scenario and people.

At first, this teaser might seem the antithesis of that notion. A dark tunnel, a seemingly immutable scene. Maybe we feel we are trapped inside forever. However, the car is still moving towards something, towards a new and completely unknown reality. The anticipation of what is next is that defining moment I want to emulate here.

Posted by ZackFontang 11:15 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

Life as a constellation map

Tomorrow I fly to Ljubljana to start my one month roadtrip that represents a celebration for the past decade. Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Serbia, Hungary, Poland, Lithuania, Germany, Netherlands and/or others too. Thousands of miles to make and dozens of friends to visit. Sitting now at my parent's porch, I feel like I owe it to the future me to try to express some of the thoughts and emotions I have been having over the past month. 30 days ago I left my flat in Porto and coincidently, June 30 2006 was also the day I left Budapest. Yes, I have a thing with memorizing days and dates.

If we look at a person's life, each day can be seen as a dot. Our whole life can be intertwined by all those dots, put together in some kind of constellation map where each dot (day) can be linked to another according to our perception of our own existence and significance we give to that specific linkage. Therefore, there can be different maps according to different perspectives of the same events. I like this idea of a constellation map because it perfectly depicts the confusion and randomness that life is all about. At the same time, isn't it beautiful to look to a clear sky at night and try to connect all those dots? I know that some people might prefer to see life as a linear succession of events which hopefully will unfold in some kind of orderly fashion to prevent drastic changes and turbulence. To me, that just sucks the fun out of life.


I'm talking about this because I tend to connect same dates of different years and take some time to reflect about all the time in between them. For example, I'll return from this trip on August 29. Turns out that on August 29 2005, at the age of 22, I flew to Budapest to start my Erasmus year there and at the same time begin an unforgettable decade which will precisely end after a trip across Europe to celebrate it. To me, the magic and symbolic beauty around this is so overwhelming that I find it hard to put it in words.

However, I'm feeling peaceful and not having too many expectations about the trip. One thing I learned in the past 10 years is to embrace what life puts in front of you instead of focusing in what you are not having. No matter what, and assuming I won't fall from any cliff and die, this trip will be filled with incredible moments. This said, I'm still being flooded with images and visions that are flashing in my mind, somehow imagining upcoming moments of the trip. I've never been to Montenegro, but I'm already imagining that sensation of freedom while driving around its beautiful countryside. I can also vividly imagine a warm summer afternoon in Budapest drinking some beers and being surrounded by some of same faces from 10 years ago. That is such a cozy vision and it makes me so happy to imagine us all sharing old stories and reliving them again. Another recurrent image is that of me driving towards a big city at dusk, when all the lights are turned on, listening to some epic song and feeling overly amazed. These moments might not happen exactly like I'm picturing them, but it's great to imagine them before the real magic starts.

Back to the past 30 days, living temporarily with my parents in the village I grew up has been quite mystical as well. It put me in touch with memories that I thought didn't exist anymore. Some days ago I went jogging and suddenly decided to go out of my usual way. It was a nice end of afternoon, sun setting on the horizon behind the corn fields and suddenly I was that 12 year old kid cycling in those same roads and paths, twenty years ago. It was all so clear, so real even. All kinds of memories from my childhood were whirling in my head: my younger self, my younger parents and family, the houses, the fields, the seemingly steep hills that now were not so scary to ride anymore... It was one of those moments that I won't forget, those moments where we became visible to ourselves and an entire existence condenses in one indescribable moment of pure bliss.

In a nutshell, despite all the shit that happens in life, I can say that I couldn't be any more in peace with what I have made of it so far. And that's a good feeling to have hours before starting that kind of adventure that I basically live for. I'll be totally broke after it, but I couldn't care less.

Because my life is music, I will end with a song I recently discovered and will surely be in high rotation inside my car for the next weeks. I discovered this band through a good and recent friend of mine (yes, you know who you are!!!) and it's the perfect song to describe my current state of mind. The lyrics are so simple and meaningful at the same time.

"I walked with Jesus and he would say
"Oh you poor child, you ain't comin' to me no way
You've found Heaven on Earth, gonna burn for your sin"
But I think I'll be in good company down there with all my friends

Well I got around to thinking 'bout what Jesus said to me
Cos if Heaven's like this, then that's the place for me
Long, long time between now and my death
And I gotta have my fun so I've chosen what's best

Well, here it comes
Here comes the sound
The sound of confusion
The sound of love

So listen sweet Lord, forgive me my sin
‘Cos I can't stand this life without all of these things
Know I done wrong, but I've Heaven on Earth
Know I done wrong, but I could have done me worse

Well, here it comes
Here comes the sound
The sound of confusion
Well, here it comes
Here comes the sound
The sound of love

Here it comes
Here it comes
Here it comes
The sound of love
The sound of love
The sound of love

Jesus please meet me at the centre of the earth
Cos these wings are gonna fail me and I could have done me worse
Yeah I could have done me worse
Yeah I could have done me worse... "

Posted by ZackFontang 01:36 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

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