My Life With Queen – The Early Days

Today I’m gonna tell you another story.  About a certain English band called Queen. Well, actually I’m gonna tell you about my experience with the band Queen, and how it  influenced my life.

It all started around 1993.  I was 8 years old, and my dad came home with a brand new copy of the 1974 album “Queen II” on cassette. He didn’t like the album at all.  He was expecting to hear Bohemian Rhapsody,  and that album had almost nothing to do with Rhapsody or other beloved hits.  He was scammed by the cover, which shows the band exactly as they were later on, in the Bohemian Rhapsody video.

So instead of throwing it into the garbage, he gave it to me.

By that time,  my relationship with music was recording cartoon themes from TV,  holding up an old radio,  and listening to kids songs from a famous Chilean TV show.

Oh yes!  It was that time when I was a little kid with no Internet, and all I did in my free time was watch TV cartoons and listen to kids music. At the time,  I was living in a Chilean city called Rancagua, and there was no cable TV in my city yet.  So on Saturdays, there were cartoons on TV only in the morning, and the rest of the day I had two choices:   I go listen to the radio,  or I watch boring tennis matches for the rest of the day on the only cannel that had good TV reception.

So on one of those boring Saturdays, I started to pay attention to the Queen II album.   So,  I gave a listen to this “awful” tape, and the first thing that came to my mind was that it was so weird.  Well, maybe I crapped my pants and peed on the bed for the next 3 weeks,  but how could I remember?

Anyway, I found the “B” side of the tape so scary and weird, that I just had to keep listening. Much like people who like to be scared by horror films. I found that the beginning of Ogre Battle came right from hell, and you could really hear Satan´s voice in the choir from The Fairy Feller’s Master Stroke.

Soon after that, my dad did his research, and came back home with the “Queen’s Greatest Hits” tape,  which actually had Bohemian Rhapsody.  And this time,  it was a complete joy!  No scary songs this time!   I found this was such a good album; not a single bad song, everything was entirely catchy.   At this point,  I had no idea about the English language, so all I could hear was the music.  The lyrics made no sense to me.

NOOO!

So since that very day, I stopped paying attention to kids music, and all I did was listen to those two tapes:  Queen II to get that excitement of watching a horror movie, and Greatest Hits to get the excitement of catchy tunes.  So with those two tapes, I had most of my childhood soundtrack.

I never heard another Queen album until 1997, when I bought, “on the street”, an illegal CD-R copy that had all albums on mp3.  Thank God for that illegal and unethical thing I bought (which I don’t support), ‘cause after that, I became officially a Queen fan. It was not until much later that I had the chance to legally get some albums, and much later, I started to collect vinyls too.

This story will continue on part 2 and part 3

My Life with Chilean Spanish – A Primer

I want to spend some time talking to you about my language.  Here in Chile, we speak Spanish, like most of the countries in South America.  But it’s not just any kind of Spanish.  You see, people that come here to stay for a while, usually try to learn at least a little of the language at home,  or even sign up for lessons.  Then,  you learn how to understand and probably speak  a little Spanish.

But you may end up ready to go to Spain or Mexico, but not Chile. Most foreigners complain about the same thing when they come here: they don’t understand shit of what we say!!.  So welcome to the Chilean-Spanish jungle!

We are considered  the worst Spanish speakers in South America by many visitors.   (I don’t agree but I’m a local, so what do I know?)   I really don’t think it’s that bad, but the thing is, here we speak really fast, most of the time forgetting to add some final syllables to the words, not articulating that much, and overall, just shamelessly inventing words that aren’t used anywhere else,  but only we know what they mean.

And by saying “invented” words, I mean 80% of those words are for swearing. yes!, that’s the other wonderful thing here!  We swear ALL THE TIME.  Especially when you hang out with friends or not formal environments. You see, here the same curse word can be used as an insult,  or as  a “hello!”  It all depends on the context.  It can be really aggressive, or a word to break the ice in a conversation.

Friendly Swearing

So if you wanna come here and stay for a while, you better start forgetting your “Spanish” lessons, and start learning “Chilean-Spanish”. Most important: learn how to swear correctly, learn friendly swearing, and try to get used to the dark sense of humour Chileans have.

By the way,  my relationship with languages and music are very tied together.  I think music is the main reason why I started to be interested in learning English.  I’ve been a fan of some local bands and music styles that are big here, but I’ve always found myself listening to things in other languages.   Especially in English, or as people call it here “Anglo-music”.

During my teenage years, I started watching MTV and, saw rock bands that I really liked at the time, like Marilyn Manson and Korn. For some time, I went really crazy
about them too,  along with Queen.  I remember trying to translate the lyrics of the songs or looking them up on the Internet, where it wasn’t that easy to find them at that time.  Especially if you weren’t an English speaker.

So at first, I spent a lot of time reading and researching music- related stuff that was only written in English. Nowadays, you can find most of that kind of thing written in  any language, and if you don’t find it,  you can always use Google Translator to help yourself. But at that time, I found that the Internet was pretty much an English-speakers tool. There wasn’t much info about the things I was interested in available in Spanish.

So I had no choice.   I just started reading and looking for info on the bands I liked, searched for lyrics, pictures, chords and so on.   All in the English language.  Eventually,  I moved from just looking for info and reading it, to starting to  look to meet people from other countries.   But that’s another story for later…

When my brain is about to explode I turn into Arnold.

So ladies and gentlemen, those are some of the things that I have to work with here!   I love the small details of my language.  I think they are lovely really!  You just need a good guide and advice, so you won’t get lost in this “Chilean jungle”.

And so I say to you:   every time I write or say something to you, remember  that I’m trying my best to translate all those made-up words into  the comprehensive English language.  (I think my brain is gonna explode any time!)   Wanna see me trying harder??.

Well,  stay tuned for the rest of my stories,  brought to you from the “unknown” and beautiful land called Chile.

My life…

Hello, so this is my real first post. I’ve never been good at writing but I’ve decided to give it a try.
garden lodge with chilean flag

garden lodge with chilean flag

My Name is Germán (as in “Herman” for English speakers). I come from a far, far away land called Chile. You may have heard it before as a synonymous for “earthquake”,  or maybe you saw on TV how 33 miners were heroically rescued. Or even, if you are a soccer fan, know a few names of very succesful (and rich!) players across Europe. The thing is,   I live in a small but generally “proud of themselves” country (except for that Hitler wannabe who was in the government for 15 years. Not proud at all of that…).

But I’m not here to tell you all about the country I live in,  or how wonderful it is for foreigners to spend their vacation here.

I’m here to tell you about my own experience, living, working,  and dreaming in a place that’s not a powerful world power but it isn’t also a place filled with disaster and poverty.

I’m just a guy trying to reach his dreams, (as many others) doing what is considered here to be a “non traditional” job.  So most of my experiences are about spending all my 20s trying to be successful and crashing  into walls.

It’s All About The Music

So, I’m a 31-year-old musician.  My instrument of preference has been the piano and keyboards since I was 13 years old.   I come from a middle class family and I went to University to get a degree in music.
I won’t talk in much detail, but I think you know what comes next after studying music (or any artistic field for that matter)

This!

Unlike other “normal” jobs, this is one field in that you actually don’t get paid every time you work (or get paid a very low amount of money).  And you never get a formal work contract.As you might think, after successfully getting my music degree, I started to swim in the exciting and vast sea of the jobless and struggling artist. Working to get paid gigs, joining bands, trying to get paid composer jobs, and doing piano teaching to survive.

While trying to perfect my craft and artistry I came to know how this business works if you are not the son of a famous artist, or if you are a “newbie”.   I got really excited and disappointed about projects that I worked on, really happy about things that worked out, and really depressed about other things that didn’t go that well.  That’s life,  you might say!, and it’s true!, but this is life trying to survive in a very small fish tank, filled with angry sharks and pretentious piranhas.  Most of them don’t even let you get closer to get a little catch.  But when I came across those kinds of people,  I’ve also realized I didn’t want to be like them.

Go to hell shark!!

So where am I now??    I’ve decided to use my past experiences and work for my very own projects.  As things haven’t worked out with other people, I might as well work for myself and try to step out.

So… this is my life and it’s just starting…….Of course I still have to eat… so it’s not like I’m living now in a mountain alone;  I still need social contact (sadly!),  and I’m still trying to get “normal” music jobs, while dedicating most of my time to my own projects.