Alex in Montréal
These photos are of me at the 1976 Stade Olympique in Montréal, Canada.
Alex at Stade Olympique
Photo Credits: Soraya Etemad
My Favorite Flag
Second Spanish Republic
I have a modest, but beautiful, collection of flags and books on both vexillology and heraldry. My favourite flag is that of the Second Spanish Republic
, drawn by Luis Miguel Arias
; my Paraguayan flag is 6 x 12 feet, made of wool with hand painted emblems; I am trying to obtain a flag of the Republic of Biafra
Alex Garofolo - Hamilton - Canada
FOTW Editor´s Flag
Born and raised in Hamilton, in tropical southern Canada, I have liked flags since as far back as I can remember. My mom used to buy me those 2 x 3 inch flags from a shop at the mall and the colourful imagery made me want to learn about the people and places they represented. The focus of my vexillological research is the flags of nation-states, in particular, their semiotics: what the flags are telling us, how they relate to each other and how they contrast against each other.
In 2014, I received a Bachelor of Arts, with a Specialization in Spanish and a Minor in Linguistics, from Concordia University in Montréal, Canada. As an independent study, I researched and wrote a comprehensive Historia vexilológica de los países hispanohablantes (Vexillological History of the Spanish Speaking Countries). I am working on getting it published, currently locked in the editing phase.
Since 2007, I have been running my own flag website which features the flags of sovereign nation states, and in 2014, became editor of the FOTW sections on Paraguay and the Guaraní.
Away from my desk, I have done a lot of traveling. I love to walk, so once I had seen enough of my hometown, I set out for new neighbourhoods to explore. I was lucky enough to visit China two times in the 1990s, back when it was something of a novelty for westerners. In 2003, I hitch hiked from the Río Bravo to a banana farm outside San José de Costa Rica, and back. It was like hopscotch going from town to town with my guitar over my shoulder, being welcomed into communities and households along the way. This was how I learned to speak Spanish, which led me to a university degree many years later.
In 2004, I ran for city council in Hamilton; my concept of "municipalization" proposed that the city would solve the problems of homelessness and vacant properties by allowing people to move in to empty buildings, with certain conditions. At the end the of year, I did just that, spending a couple of months staying with friends in an abandoned fire station in Belgium; that building was older than my country and I wrote and recorded two albums while I was there. For a few years, I lived in Halifax, in Atlantic Canada, where I held some interesting jobs, like at a surplus store, at a Guatemalan restaurant and striking sets for a theatre company. And I was a member of Blue Shirts, a noise band that managed to go on three tours.
Eventually I came to Montréal for school, and I am still here, loading boxes in a warehouse and raising a ridiculous, energetic child with my partner.
Alex Garofolo, 27 October 2014.