Ricardo Blanco's Blog

Drinking mate

I began drinking mate six years ago, on my first trip to Argentina, and liked it immediately, even though many find it rather bitter. The picture, Mate, in which the woman drinks from the gourd while two gauchos… Read More

Montaigne and the acceptance of uncertainty

The essay, we are being told, is back. An editorial in The Guardian on 5 May celebrates the alleged event and announces a new specialist publisher, Notting Hill Editions, which has released a range of cloth-covered hardbacks, ranging… Read More

Thoughts of Che in Rosario

There’s no point in being sentimental about these things, I realize. Music that, when it first appears, seems to say something new, gets murdered with repetition, besides being absorbed into the great maw of consumer culture. I remember… Read More

Mood Music

I find it incredible that Manu Chao is used as hotel lobby music in the Ibis Hotel, Montevideo (a stone’s throw from the American Embassy). Manu, who stands for everything that a global hotel chain opposes – the… Read More

A short walk in Montevideo

  So yesterday I was talking about how people often judge a speaker by the way they speak, my point being that some listeners go into a kind of paralysis when confronted by a strange or foreign accent…. Read More

Scattergun Rant

This extraordinarily helpful poster can be found, not in a hospital or a school, but in the men’s washroom in the MALBA museum in Buenos Aires. I applaud the administrators of this institution for their interest in my… Read More

A visit to the islands and ‘mal del sauce’

No sooner had I finished writing yesterday’s blog, than I walked into the hotel dining room (earlier than usual, as I had planned an excursion) and the first person I see is Coetzee himself, sitting in the corner… Read More

J.M. Coetzee in Buenos Aires

Coetzee came to Buenos Aires to deliver the final reading of the festival last night. I am not really authorized to write at length about Coetzee, having only read two of his novels, which I found admirable, and… Read More

Cándido Lopez

A walk down to the Museo de Bellas Artes here in Buenos Aires and a discovery that leaves a deep mark of weirdness on the Blanco brain. Cándido Lopez (1840-1902) was an Argentinian painter who took part in… Read More

The last hundred days

  Within weeks of publication Patrick McGuinness’s debut novel, The Last Hundred Days found itself on the Man Booker long list, and deservedly so, although it failed to make the shortlist on the 5th September. Whatever. Set in… Read More

Dissolving

  It’s always an education to read in unusual locations. The organizers of FILBA appear to be steering me towards a socially engaged role that I am not normally associated with back in the UK. But that’s fine… Read More

Villa Miseria

  In immaculate contrast to yesterday’s trip to the rarefied air of Villa Ocampo, today I visited a slum (or a Villa Miseria) to the south of the city in the barrio of Barracas 21/24. It is an… Read More