Monthly Archives: June 2017

“I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself” Rita Mae Brown

A friend of mine told me that I could make money with my blog; first I laughed at him because it’s not a popular one (and the fact that he reads it doesn’t mean that it’s a stellar blog, but that he’s a ducking stalker). Second I introduced him to the wonderful world of PR friendly blogs and why I don’t like them.

A PR friendly blog is run by someone open to working with companies to review, giveaway or promote products. When I see that badge or disclaimer I have the feeling that everything I’m about to read is bought and paid for and that those bloggers have their hands out for freebies. Honestly I think that blogging is more than reviewing stuff, above all if you do that because you’re paid to talk in an enthusiastic way of any shit agencies propose you. How can I believe you knowing that your sponsor won’t accept a bad review and that sometimes posts need to be approved by their customers? Didn’t you start a blog to be free to write, to express yourself or to communicate with people?

It’s a bit dishonest to share and magnifying products you don’t like, believe in or that won’t bring any value to your readers lives. It’s the same on Instagram where well paid models, wannabe celebrities and VIP, celebrate the magical properties of over priced herbal supplements in loose-leaf tea form. It’s a big scam: you lose weight because they contain senna that is a natural laxative. You can make your own detox/energetic tea with less than 5€ by mixing green or matcha tea, a bit of ginger or guaranà and adding some stevia, honey or cane sugar if you like it sweet.

Last two things to say.

1) Everything you read about in this blog, any review or recommendation is not a sponsored content. It’s something I experienced for real because I liked it or because it was a present from a friend or because it simply was something I was curious to try or to visit or to read.

2) A blog reflects who you are, if your content is valuable, brands and agencies will be happy to contact you. It will be up to you to accept the collaboration.

PS. Despite all this: I’m very “Concert tickets to see my favourite artists” friendly.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Barbie Girl -Aqua

 

 

 

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“In quoting others, we cite ourselves” Julio Cortázar

I love quotes and, as you can see, I use them a lot. It is mainly because, when I started this blog, I wanted that it had varied content, but a fixed structure that could encase my love for literature and for music. So I decided to have a quote as a title and a song at the end of each post, that could be its ideal soundtrack. Nothing original, as some of you remember, many fashion blogs used to have a song as a title. That’s a device I use for my fan fictions, where every chapter is named after a song (mostly from The Cure).

I find amazing how another person can sum up what I think or feel in a few words, I can’t be concise, so I admire those able to write memorable quotes a lot. I know it’s not something to be proud of: as a wannabe writer, I should be able to write my own quotes and using words of others makes me looks lazy or dumb. But is it a crime ordering a pizza instead of making it? Neither is using quotes.

I love using other people’s words also for my Instagram edits, like this.

While I don’t like female singers (just a very strict number are good to my ears), my favourite writers are mainly women and of course the quotes that most represent me, are from them.

You can tell the deepest truth with the lies of fiction– Isabel Allende: it’s this blog’s header and also a truth since I always mix reality and fiction, so nobody can tell when it’s the character speaking or when it’s me.

This hole in my heart is in the shape of you. No one else can fit it. Why would I want them to?- Jeanette Winterson: a celebration of unrequited love.

To tell someone not to be emotional is to tell them to be dead-Jeanette Winterson: I have this quote in my Instagram bio. It’s an invite not to be ashamed of feelings.

As if you could pick in love, as if it were not a lightning bolt that splits your bones and leaves you staked out in the middle of the courtyard. (…) You don’t pick out the rain that soaks you to the skin when you come out of a concert– Julio Cortázar: a bit long, but it pictures well the inevitability of love. This explains exactly that when love hits you, everything loses its meaning, that reason should never win over feeling and instinct.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Say- Kingsfoil

 

“Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down”- Simon & Garfunkel

I always say that music is my personal lifesaver, there even are scientific studies according to which, adding musical stimuli focus the mind away from pain perception and shifts its attention to the music itself.

But music can be also used for raising donations and awareness for a charity intent; for sure everybody remembers big Charity projects as Band Aid and Usa for Africa: the songs are extremely popular as the artist taking part of the act are (or were) at the time they were released. But there is plenty of songs made by single singers or group of artist that are made to raise awareness about a hot topic (like Warwick-Wonder-Knight-John’s “That’s what Friends are for” against AIDS) or to raise money for the survivors of a disaster (as Haiti’s or Italian earthquakes) or for a memory fund (for example “Candle in the Wind” by Elton John).

Many charity songs were successful, many weren’t; some are well known, some aren’t. Here’s a short list of the ones that come up to my mind.

-“Let it be” cover by the Brit-American ensemble Ferry Aid, released following a ferry capsizing which killed 193 passengers and crew in 1987.

-“Everybody wants to rule the world” by Tears for Fears, the cause was Sport Aid (famine relief in Africa).

-“Man in the Mirror” performed by Michael Jackson who was raising funds for his own fund called “Burn Center, Childhelp, United Negro College Fund”

-“Mama” by Spice Girls and “One way or another” cover by One Direction; different songs from different years to raise money for Comic Relief, a major charity based in the UK which strives to create a just world free from poverty.

I’m sure there are many more; the latest is:

Simon Cowell produced a cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” in honour of the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire and to raise money for the survivors of the 14th June blaze. Over fifty artists participated in the project and the song has jumped to the top of the singles chart just two days after its release and has been declared the second fastest-selling single of the year, after Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of you”.

Donate here to support those affected by the Grenfell Tower Fire: http://artistsforgrenfell.com

There also was a young couple of Italian architects and instead of staying silent and respect the pain of their families, this death has been instrumentalized by those who say that our youth has to emigrate in order to find a decent job. That’s true, but it has nothing to do with their decease, because, honestly, if nothing had happened they would have only been just a happy couple building its future in the wonderful London.

TRACK OF THE DAY: “Bridge over troubled Water”- Artists for Grenfell

“I am terrified by this dark thing that sleeps in me” Sylvia Plath

When I think my life has reached its lowest point, here it comes something that makes it worse.  I try not to indulge in sadness (even if lately I’m hooked up to bands like BMTH) and I always look for the light. But it’s tiring, unfair, because the first selfish thought is always “why me?”, what did I do to deserve all this?”

Even looking at my magic paper with the uplifting lyrics “Every day, every hour, turn the pain into power” seems not to work, because the only thing I can think about is that I don’t have the money to get these words inked as I planned.

I read a lot of motivational articles, but they don’t work, because in the end I think they’re just a bunch of nice words which don’t lead anywhere and some of them are bullshit. A positive attitude helps for sure, but it doesn’t solve. It doesn’t heal illness, doesn’t give you money, doesn’t protect your kids. In my opinion there’s no shame in feeling hopeless, sad or depressed: faking happiness may be most dangerous than feeling sad, because it kills you inside. Faking a strength we don’t have or believing in a hope we don’t have, is the hardest thing ever.

I’m not celebrating depression: I know it’s a horrible monster able to turn me in an insensible creature, a mean stepmother that feeds me with negative stuff and makes me say that I’d preferred to be dead at a concert or when I was on holiday because I was dead happy. It’s terrible, I know, but I have to die anyway and London Bridge is way better than a sad hospital bed.

It is said that when it feels like the end, it’s often a new beginning. I hope it’s true because at the moment I can only think that what doesn’t kill me makes me wish I was dead instead of making me stronger.

Ps. I’m sorry if I’m so slave to my mood and if my posts don’t have any logic. This is how I feel right now, but talking to a friend or a walk or a random act of kindness or JD, can change it at any moment. Don’t worry, I’m just venting.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Drown – Bring me the Horizon

“Always there have been six ravens at the Tower. If the ravens fly away, the kingdom will fall” John Owen Theobald,

I read a smart book by Julia Stuart that has been published as “Balthazar Jones and the Tower of London Zoo” in the UK and as “The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise” everywhere else. I don’t like to sum up plots, because mine are only honest personal opinions and not reviews, I can only anticipate that it describes the life of the little close community living within the gates of the Tower of London: the Beefeaters (particular Mr. Jones and his wife Hebe), the mean Raven master, the Rev. Septimus Drew who writes erotica under a pen name and has a secret passion for the barmaid of the Tower’s Rack & Ruin pub. The novel is also set in the “Underground Lost Property Office” where Hebe works and That is a continuous parade of odd, unusual objects and weird people. All the characters are well rounded and sometimes absurd, but here it lays the best feature of the novel that is a hallmark of British humour: despite of the tragic event in the background (the death of the Beefeater’s son), the novel is enjoyable and interesting. Here and there you can read facts about the Tower or about its prisoners.

The parts describing the animals are really enjoyable, but my favourite parts were the ones at the Underground lost property office, not only because Stuart makes the history behind each lost object interesting and endearing, but mainly because I figured in my head the amount of the bizarre things that people may forget on the Tube trains. How cool is imagining the history behind them and how hard must be rejoining them to their owner, I think this job it’s more interesting that it looks.

And at last, a thing that I really loved about this book, is the hate that the people working in the Tower, have towards dumb tourists. I used to laugh and shake my head while reading, approving every single nasty comment.

collage-2017-06-16

You know how much I hate tourist traps, so I can’t write any useful guide for Tower Hill, I only hopped off at the homonym tube station and had a quick look around the Tower of London before heading to Shoreditch that is a place where I’m more at my ease.

It’s worth a visit, anyway. I like to take unusual pictures, so I tried to capture the contrast between the ancient Tower and the shiny Shard. And, to be frank, the Tower Bridge is always a good model.

TRACK OF THE DAY: You’ve got time- Regina Spektor

 

 

“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” Maya Angelou

London. Once again. No terrorism involved this time, probably the wrong materials to insulate the Grenfell Tower, according to the speed of how quickly the fire took hold, probably a bad escape plan or out of date safety equipment. But the reasons why the blaze was originated are secondary in front of the people who have lost their lives and the mourn of their families. Unfortunately at least 12 people have died and authorities added that the number is expected to rise and police does not anticipate finding any more survivors.

In such a tragedy there was a positive aspect: first of all the generosity of people who immediately brought not only food, water, clothes, but also prams and toys. This adds up to the solidarity of hotels and restaurants who offered rooms and free meals for those people who have lost everything. And the second amazing thing was the rapidity of the London fire brigade to be there.

Each time there are fires, explosions and disasters, my thoughts go to these people who risk their lives to save others. When most people will flee and run away from the danger Firefighters, however, run towards them. They are heroes, they do that for a sense of duty and not for money, they don’t earn so much and many times they’re volunteers. These are the people we should look up to.

Heroes are not stupid famous people as I often read below celebs posts’, heroes are firemen, policemen who risk their lives for our safety, but also doctors and nurses who solve emergencies. Hero is also your Dad who breaks his back to grant you a solid future. And you should call Queen, not an useless Kardashian, but your Mom who keeps on smiling after a tiring day at work, who, for example, stays awake until late to sew your party dress or to cook your favourite meal.

You don’t need a tragic situation to become a hero, defending a person from bullies, helping an old person to cross the street, helping someone at work or at school may be little acts, but in their smallness, they’re big for their recipient. Everyone can be a hero, try to be one in everyday life and don’t waste this word for people who don’t deserve it: fame, money, fashion, parties, expensive clothes are just smoke and mirrors.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Angel by the Wings – Sia

 

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring”- David Bowie

collage-2017-06-08If you go to London, Brixton is a must see place. It’s the last station of the Victoria Line and it’s a pleasure for the eyes as soon as you go out of the Tube, for, just opposite the street, in Tunstall Road, there’s a mural painting of David Bowie made by the Australian artist James Cochran. It’s a personal version of Aladdin Sane’s album cover and I first saw it last year in January, when the place was full of flowers and grieving messages. On January this year it was the same, save for a glass put to protect the artwork.

Bowie was born in Stansfield road in Brixton and there are several places to see if you’re a fan of him or just a music lover, like the Arts Lab, the hair salon where the Ziggy Stardust hair style was created or the park where he performed in 1969. When I was in London there were two different walking tours that offer people an all-encompassing journey from birth to death of one of London’s biggest icons, with passionate guides able to enrich the visit with stories and anecdotes. There’s a 2 hour tour and a 4 hour one that includes a trip to Beckenham, browse the web and look for the most suitable for you.

Brixton of course, it’s not only Bowie, its market is the Europe’s biggest Afro-Caribbean food market. You can get there with just a two minute walk from Brixton tube station: Brixton Village and Market Row (just across the road) are basically a collection of narrow streets called ‘Avenues’ where you can find everything, tasting a large variety of street food and have a good meal for £10. As I’m gluten intolerant, I looked for something for me and it was a pleasure to see there was a wide choice. Beside of the always trustable Honest Burger, I personally tried Sansla creperie and I wasn’t disappointed. Remember to order a galette and not a crepe if you need to avoid gluten. The Banoffee tasted heavenly and the vanilla shake was delicious. Since I want to go back there to visit the windmill, I will surely hit Sansla for a different option. Here’s the link: http://www.senzalacreperie.co.uk/

In addition to all the open market stalls, the area is full of shops (included my beloved Poundland) and many interesting things to see (as I stated before, I need to go back to visit all the art galleries and the music shops) like the O2 Academy (or Brixton Academy), that was once a cinema and now it’s an important  centre for live music. The Academy was built in 1929 and still have its wonderful art decò style.

So, if you’re in London, don’t miss this incredible borough.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Guns of Brixton – The Clash