24. Montevideo

Today marks British Summertime and Easter Sunday, but the weather and its unpredictability has forced me indoors. I thought I’d use the time productively to update my Falkland Island journal from 1988. I urge any new readers to read An Ill Wind, the first ‘chapter’ of this personal voyage in order to understand the context.

Thursday 26 May 1988, Koei Maru 30

Yesterday I got $900 which was about £500. I hope I don’t spend this in Montevideo. I will be right pissed off if I can’t get subsistence.

It is a miserable day, but fairly calm. I will miss Port Stanley. I do miss Deb. I can’t wait to go home.

Meeting with Sam, John, Abe ‘Radar’ – Total farce – John is a fool, he has no command of the situation, he didn’t take control. I am sitting with Jim, some hours after our departure from Port Stanley. A poignant moment. Sad.

Jim and his last farewell to Port Stanley, May 1988

Leaving Port Stanley can be painful.

Friday 27 May 1988, Koei Maru 30

Mellow music, mellow mood – I am surprisingly happy. Martin Stephenson can see me through.

Not so happy now. I have just watched ‘Platoon’ on video. It is a clichéd but nonetheless depressing film. I am now ready to sleep. I am scared of montevideo, it could be quite a dangerous place and I am always a coward. I pray I don’t get any trouble. Wrote to Deb and Gavin.

Japanese wine – bloody horrible.

Saturday 28 May 1988 Koei Maru 30

Pulled off the first of my calendar tags that I made.

Had a ‘conference’ with Mr Chiba (the Captain) and ‘Radar’ (the radio operator). It seems that the KM30 intends to leave here by August 30 at the latest, after only 80 days fishing in the zone. I have the task of being the man on the spot and telling John and John that 120 days looks out of the question.

Sunday 29 May 1988, Koei Maru 30

Pay day tomorrow, actually the day after tomorrow.

‘Down and out in Beverly Hills’ – good film. Little Richard remains extremely cool.

The moon is almost full and very bright. It is much warmer here, but still no sight of South America.

Monday 30 May 1988, Montevideo, London Palace Hotel

Arrived at last – we’re here and I can’t believe it.

The docks of Montevideo, May 1988
The docks of Montevideo, May 1988

A long wait in a shyte hut.

It was cold – Jim had problems with customs.

It is cheap here – only $27 for a reasonable hotel. Meals out here are pretty cheap too. Jim and I ate out and I paid on Visa.


I can’t understand it.


Tuesday 31 May 1988, Montevideo, London Palace Hotel

Now, let me write with a straight head. We waited in a derelict dock customs gate for some three hours in the cold rain, before the Japanese agent finally sorted something out. Jim in the end will have to pay $25 for his camera. Rip-off.

My ship pass for entering the docks
My ship pass for entering the docks

We saw the customs man accept bribes from an African crew. Two tins of sardines. It was shameless and very funny. It is kind of expected here.

My ship pass for entering the docks
My ship pass for entering the docks

I slept very badly, because I was so very hot and dehydrated, but at least I am here, and have survived the ordeals of the first day.

I must keep a tab on my spending. See p.94.

The cars and trucks here have to be seen to be believed – out of the ’30s ’40s and ’50s. We were given a lift by the agent in a huge Mercedes.

There is no highway code, or so it seems. The whole place is a ‘Tintin’ adventure.

I went to the boat – not much seems to have happened there yet, except a few of the machines have been uncovered. I will return there tomorrow.

We wandered fairly aimlessly about, something I love doing in foreign cities, but Jim seemed to tire of it. He derives his pleasures in different ways to me. We inquired about trips to Iguazu falls.


158. The Bearpit (8)

It is Easter Sunday today. I wish you a happy day. This is a recent piece by the extremely prolific Tom Miller. It can be found on the south tunnel end wall of the Bearpit, which is the exact site of another of his recent works featured here.

Tom Miller, The Bearpit, Bristol, March 2016
Tom Miller, The Bearpit, Bristol, March 2016

His ‘imaginite’ concept is in full flow here, combining hard reality with soft imagination. I find his works counselling, and am always excited when I discover a new piece such as this one.

Tom Miller, The Bearpit, Bristol, March 2016
Tom Miller, The Bearpit, Bristol, March 2016

Probably more accustomed to a gallery wall, it looks like Miller really enjoys creating his street pieces.


157. Stokes Croft, the Carriageworks (5)

Slap bang next to the Tom Miller piece posted on 13 March 2016, is a striking collaboration by two Bristol street artists not yet featured on my blog, Mr. Sle7en and Klue.

Mr Sle7en and Klue, Stokes Croft, Bristol, March 2016

I have seen works by both of them, but only recently worked out who they are. The top part, a rather typical three-eyed character is by Sle7en (Luke Sleven), who describes himself as a ‘freelance artist, illustrator, painter, muralist, aerosol alchemist, and all round artisan’. The lower part is by Klue (Klue Wone), an artist, illustrator and designer, whose wall pieces are very distinctive, with colourful angular swirls mingling to form beautiful freestyle designs.

Tom Miller, Stokes Croft, Bristol, March 2016
Tom Miller, Mr Sle7en and Klue, Stokes Croft, Bristol, March 2016

There will be more from these two to come.


156. Moon Street (8)

Quick Weird One

Well, as I said yesterday, I have a large backlog of street art to upload at the moment, but what a sweet pleasure it is for me. Here is another wonderfully colourful piece by the amazing Kid Crayon.

Kid Crayon, Moon Street, Bristol, March 2016
Kid Crayon, Moon Street, Bristol, March 2016

Another spray job, demonstrating his versatility between techniques…many of his works are wheatpastes. I appreciate that his works are not everyone’s cup of tea, but me they have a hint of the surreal about them, blended with Picasso and Gauguin…but let’s refocus for a moment, this is street art and Kid Crayon is, in my view, a master.

Kid Crayon, Moon Street, Bristol, March 2016
Kid Crayon, Moon Street, Bristol, March 2016

I am expecting a new wheatpaste from him soon, so keep your eyes peeled.


155. The Bearpit (7)

Tuesday this week was a bit of a red letter day. I managed to see some wonderful new works walking in to work via Stokes Croft and The Bearpit. It has been very frustrating, because I have been in training since then, and not been able to post anything, so I have a bit of a backlog.

Aspire, The Bearpit, Bristol, March 2016 – Yellow-headed Blackbird

This is yet another very recent bird by Aspire, and there are more to come. Although Aspire calls this bird a saffron headed marsh squawker (his joke?) it is actually a yellow-headed blackbird, found in Mexico and central North America.

Aspire, The Bearpit, Bristol, March 2016
Aspire, The Bearpit, Bristol, March 2016

Another triumph from Aspire