Monthly Archives: August 2017

“Travelling tends to magnify all human emotions” Peter Hoeg

 

I know I probably write the same each time I post something about London, that is “this is one of my favourite places”, but I can’t help if every corner of this city is amazing.

Here’s Hampstead Heath part one, I don’t really have part two, since I have no pics from Parliament Hill or Kenwood House or Keats’ House, but I plan to go there as soon as I go back “home”, so stay tuned. Here’s our stroll from Hampstead Heath tube station to The Spaniards pub.

collage-2017-08-27

We headed on the right and panted for a solid quarter of hour on an uphill road called Heath Street, with a little deviation on mount road where I took a pic of a lovely white house that looked like something out of Alice in the Wonderland. My friend will never admit that, but we get lost as we followed Admiral’s Road and ended in a narrow street with a lot of plants and mud. Never trust the locals again! My advice is going straight on from the tube until you get at a roundabout. on the left there’s a park with more ponds and nice walks, on the right there’s Spaniards Road.

We followed the  main road, but you can also venture in the nearby park, where you can have a pretty nice view of the city. I stopped there just for a couple of pic, then I went back to the safe, trustable pavement.

collage-2017-08-27(1)

After a bit (or a lot, it depends on how you’re tired) of walking uphill, you get to a white building, That’s the Spaniards, one of London’s oldest pubs, immortalised by Dickens in “The Pickwick Papers” and it’s said that Keats wrote there his well known “Ode to a Nightingale” I didn’t stop there for lunch because I wasn’t sure they had gluten free options, so I ate a banana to stop my stomach from grumbling while I was waiting for the bus and taking pics of an attractive blue plate. I forgot I was right in front of Harry Styles’ crib, so I apologize once again for being in his security camera recording, eating a banana.

We were too hungry and too tired to walk any more, so we took the 210 bus heading to Finsbury Park and hopped off at Archway to catch the tube again. It’s a pleasant ride since you can see one of the richest London areas and have the chance to see many luxurious houses and cars. The bus goes towards Highgate Village, one of the poshest districts (if you want to have an idea about who lives there, look for “The Highgate mums” on social media and have a laugh) and I recommend you to visit the homonym cemetery, one of England’s greatest treasures since it has some of the finest funerary architecture in the country.

The East Cemetery is where Karl Marx is buried. Visitors may roam freely on this side, but there is an entrance charge, while admission to the West part is by guided tour only. Please notice that George Michael’s grave is in a private part of the cemetery, not accessible to visitors. I didn’t take any pics because I respected the meaning of the place, however, they’re allowed for private use.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Sign of the Times – Harry Styles

 

Advertisements

“Will you be the one to save me?” Evaride

Before you roll your eyes thinking “Here’s a childish post of a fangirl promoting some untalented boy band” read this until the end.

One of my top 3 favourite bands (Evaride) debuted with a pop-rock song called “Heartless” and I could spend thousands words to explain why it is amazing, but here’s not the the fan asking to support her idols, it’s something more important that affects me in a personal way, since it’s related to my child sponsor experience.

The proceeds of Heartless are going to benefit the community of Nyagihanga (Gatsibo district, East Rwanda). The band itself takes its name from the Rwandan boy Josh (Evaride’s drummer) was sponsoring through Food for the Hungry.  And as you already know, my sponsored child is from Rwanda as well.

So, please, stream it on Spotify or watch the lyric video below; if you like it, let Heartless take you to the stars by downloading it here: https://onerpm.lnk.to/Heartless

It will be a positive thing for your ears and for many children, families and communities as well.

Now you can roll your eyes or stop reading because it starts the “get to know the artist” part. Evaride is more than a band, it’s a group of friends and each one of them, despite his young age, has an undeniable and unique talent and a lot of experience as session musician or vocalist.

Sean Michael Murray

Sean has everything an artist needs: a killer voice, stage presence and contagious smile, moreover his skills transcend amongst different media. He began his journey in LA, then he moved to New York where he made his Broadway debut in Green Day’s Grammy Award-winning show, “American Idiot.”. From there, Sean joined the cast of the revival production of “RENT.”

Despite being on stage daily he wanted more, so he became the lead singer of a New York-based band called Fancy Reagan.  They won multiple battle of the band competitions and went on to win VH1’s reality show, Make A Band Famous, that allowed to them to record a song with Universal’s Republic Records. Their debut single “Knock Me Out” was the theme song for the NCAA 2015 March Madness.

As a solo artist, he collaborated with Bobby Green. They co-wrote the single “Changing Me” that got over 3 million plays on Spotify. Before joining Evaride, he was part of the NY based pop rock duo Static Stereo.

Hayden Maringer

When you get to know Hayden, the first question is: “Is there anything he can’t do?”. His professional resume is impressive:

As a guitarist he performed on the biggest tours, TV broadcasts and stages in the world with artists like Jennifer Lopez, Demi Lovato, Miranda Cosgrove and many others. He’sa film/tv  composer for Universal, BBC, and Ford to name a few.

He’s also a producer and a music director, that’s why he is skilled in every aspect of show productions. Moreover he owns the Maringer Music Management.

And last but not least, he’s an actor: you can see him in “My crazy Ex Girlfriend”” and as a guitarist on the Fox hit TV show “Glee”

I can assure you he is a first class guitarist, he can even make his guitar sound like a motorbike!

Josh Devine

Last member is the drummer Josh and it’s quite awkward for me to present him in a professional way because to me he’s simply JD, my lifesaver, my light in the dark.

Anyway, according to the saying that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, he’s the first son of the gifted singer of Seven, Mick Devine. He started drumming when he was three, but can also plays bass, guitar, piano and he can even sing.

He won the 2007 Uk drummer competition when he was only 15 and the following year, he won the Mapex Drummer of tomorrow competition. His will to work hard, incredible talent and some jaw dropping clinics, assured him to take part to studios sessions, shows and numerous tours with For all my Valentines, Charlee Drew and Fandangle.

In 2011 he begun working and touring with the UK rapper Skepta and later on that year he joined the back band who played for One Direction for whom he played the drums until they went on hiatus in 2015.

Meanwhile he wrote a song for Josh Golden and then for Kingsland Road together with the songwriter, producer and friend, Ollie Green. They thought that their voices in the demo didn’t sound bad, so they decided to release a few songs and see what would happen. They released the EP “Through the Fire” and the single “Never fade”.

At the moment he’s in Evaride, ready to start a new adventure and of course I’m still here, supporting him (-After all these years? -Always! cit,)

TRACK OF THE DAY: Heartless – Evaride

 

 

 

 

“Anorexia isn’t about being fat, it’s about having fat” Caroline Kettlewell

Yesterday I saw “To the Bone” and it triggered so many thoughts, that in this post, I have to separate the review of the film from my personal life.

The film is about Ellen, a 20 years old girl who suffers anorexia and after failing several recovery programs, is forced to join the unconventional Dr Beckham’s inpatient program. She moves into the house where there are already five other female patients, each one with her story and secrets and Luke, a dancer who’s recovering both from a knee injury and anorexia. Ellen hardly manages to stick to the program and when some events destabilize her, she runs away. I don’t want to reveal anything more (I hate when I find huge spoilers in the plot resume), but I liked the ending.

Both the director Marti Noxon and the main actress Lily Collins have experienced anorexia (Collins has even written about her own experience with disordered eating in her novel “Unfliltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me” and that’s a good  feather in the cap. The film has been criticized because according to people, it glamourises eating disorders, but I didn’t have this impression, I found it honest. The character of Megan (a pregnant woman trying to gain weight for her child) was very effective: it shows that neither the love for an unborn child can save you from anorexia. No matter how much you’re loved, successful, talented you are: nothing is strong enough against eating disorders when they have deep roots in you; I’m not talking about the girl who doesn’t eat because she wants to me skinny, she can be saved, an eating disorder is more than this, it’s trying to kill yourself in an indirect way.

The film has been accused to show in details the tricks to avoid eating; I think that’s ridiculous. If you’re determined not to eat you don’t need a fictional story to tell you how to: there’s a lot of pro-ana websites and dedicated chats where girls shows their bones and support each other on this road to Hell, exchanging suggestion and products as laxatives. Looking up to my personal experience I didn’t need any person or film or anything else, I knew what to do. I drank vinegar to defeat hunger, I cut food in very small pieces and spread it all over the plate, I faked cleaning my mouth to spit food in the napkin. And I starved myself a lot.

If I have to find a negative thing about “To the Bone”, well, I didn’t appreciate that the viewer gets hugely distracted by a romantic sub-plot, I’d rather preferred to know better the personal history of Ellen’s inmates.

I’m not proud of my past and even if I seem over anorexia because I regularly eat, I still have that kind of mindset: I fat shame myself, I’m terrified of weight gain and I still suffer of body dysmorphic disorder. That is I perceive myself fat even if people see me skinny. Of course this is another battle I have to fight alone: my family trivializes it as if it was easy to resolve this distortion by simply “getting over it”.

Anorexia fucked up my stomach, my teeth and my heart (because when your body doesn’t have no more fat to burn, it attacks muscles and, as you know, heart is a muscle) and I wish I knew that what I was doing would have affected future me.

I’m still struggling with this problem, so I have no valid suggestion, the only thing that works for me is thinking “what if a person I love has this problem” or “may my mindset influence someone I care for?”. You probably don’t want your daughters or sisters grow up thinking that they’re physically inadequate, so do for them, try to love yourself or at least try not to body shame in front of them. Maybe this could be the right way, maybe.

TRACKF THE DAY: Ana’s Song- Silverchair

 

“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice” Nelson Mandela

As I already written I’m sponsoring a 8 years old Rwandan girl named Divine through Food for the Hungry. It takes about three/four months to get one letters because both mine and hers, need to be translated in English and it’s not easy to deliver mail to remote villages, that’s the only negative side of sponsorship.

This time the letter was a “get to know me better” kind, an update about Divine’s favourite activities written both in Kinyarwandan and English. My goal is to learn some basic sentences, so I will be able to wish her a happy birthday or cheer her in her language, but it’s very hard to learn.

The girl in the picture is 9 and asked me to take her a photo while she was drawing to reply to her faraway sister and asked me to share it on social media, so other families might be inspired and consider to become a child sponsor.

If you have kids or younger siblings, this could be a life changing experience also for them. They learn that the children in need aren’t just the numbers or the nameless people they heard about on tv. They realize that they are kids like them, who go to school and like to play as they do. They develop a bond with that sibling who live in a faraway country, get in touch with a new culture, different uses and ways to live.
Sponsoring a child is a chance of growing up in culture, love and compassion that involves the whole family.
Consider this, have a look at FH projects and choose to change the existence of a child, of their family and community… and of course your life!

Link here: https://www.fh.org/give/sponsor-a-child/

TRACK OF THE DAY: Diamonds on the soles of the shoes

“If you happen to pass by 84 Charing Cross Road, kiss it for me?” Helene Hanff

I’ve just read this delightful non fiction book and I absolutely loved it! It consists of the two-decade long correspondence and friendship between the reserved Frank Doel, an employee at Marks & Co. Booksellers at 84, Charing Cross Rd in London and the New York based writer and bibliophile Helene Hanff. She is an avid and enthusiastic reader looking for rare second hand books who doesn’t like the dirty, broken editions she can find on NY stalls so she prefers buying them overseas. From the start we can appreciate the contrast between her American informality and Frank’s British professionalism, but as long as the story goes she establish a friendship with him, his family and all the employees of the library and the correspondence becomes informal and heartfelt. We gradually see Helene becoming intimately involved in the lives of the shop’s staff, sending them food parcels during England’s post-war shortages and sharing with them details of her life and career.

I’m grateful that this book had been published in the 70s and that it’s a true story, a modern fictional writer would have inserted a love affair between Helene and Frank who was married and had two daughters, ruining the spirit of the book. Because the magic of this book it’s in its innocence. The rare and pure friendship established between people who live so many miles away thanks to letters.

That’s so relatable to me: I feel so unloved and underappreciated by everyone I live with, while I feel like I’m another person when I’m virtually or in person, with my overseas friends.

I recommend this read to all the book lovers, those who like to browse little bookshops or used book stalls and, like Helene, love “inscriptions on flyleaves and notes in margins”, like “the comradely sense of turning pages someone else turned” and are fond of “second hand books that open to the page some previous owner read oftenest”.

collage-2017-08-09

The Marks & Co book shop located at 84 Charing Cross road has closed, but the street, located in the Charing Cross district at the west end of the Strand in London, is still renowned for the variety of the second hand books shops and independent book stores. The biggest and most known one is for sure Foyles opened more than 100 years ago, but the main road and also the side streets are full of little gems.

The road is named after the homonym district, where, in front of the railway was placed one of the twelve crosses that marked the route of Queen Eleanor funeral procession. It is in central London, very close both to Oxford street and Leicester Square, so with countless of shops, theatres and places to eat.

A little curiosity: in the Harry Potter books, The Leaky Cauldron pub is in Charing Cross Road.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Friends will be Friends – Queen

 

“Our fingerprints don’t fade from the lives we touch”

There’s a part of the novel “About a Boy” by Nick Hornby where Ellie and Marcus see in the newspaper that Kurt Cobain committed suicide and Ellie gets so sad that she gets drunk, then jumps out of the train and throws a boot at a music shop that had a big Kurt Cobain’s cardboard in the window. She wanted to punish the shop owner who, according to her, was trying to exploit her idol’s death, to make money.

When a musician dies, it’s so sad to see that many greedy shops raise CDs prices and that there is an invasion of merch, without mentioning those who feel like to mourn their loss even if they had never listened to a single song. Was Chris Cornell right when he said that an artist’s work isn’t fully appreciated until their death? Or is it simply the mercenary or narcissistic desire to take advantage from the situation?

Luckily it’s not totally true, thanks to common people and fans and their sincere tributes (on socials I still see a lot of posts for Chester Bennington as I saw for David Bowie last year), sign that the death of a great musician can create a collective sense of loss and nostalgia. They may be gone, but their music and the feelings it gives, will remain forever.

I’m writing this because three days ago it was the 25th anniversary of Jeff Porcaro’s premature passing and the grief is as strong as if it had happened yesterday. As a huge Toto fan, music lover, drummers’ estimator, it’s still something hard to overcome.

In my opinion he’s one of the greatest drummers of all the time and this goes beyond his drumming skills (I know that plenty of drummers can play a Purdie shuffle): it’s about his personal groove, his consistency and also it’s something that goes beyond the notes. He took seriously his profession, he played with passion and dedication, not only with Toto, but also as a session musician. He was one of a kind artist and I totally agree with Steve Lukather that when Toto perform, it’s like Jeff is on stage with them.

(OT: I know that if someone posts something on Snapchat or Instagram story it’s to make it ephemeral and I’m not one of those disrespectful accounts that leak and share these things. But a friend sent me this video of JD playing the Rosanna half time shuffle: it’s something I’ve been craving for four years. So I hope Josh won’t mind… and neither you).

TRACK OF THE DAY: Josh Devine performing the famous Rosanna shuffle

“What doesn’t kill you makes you wish you were dead” BMTH

So, another negative thing happened to me, one of those I couldn’t predict or control and the first inevitable question has been: “Why do bad things keep happening to me?” and after venting with my irreplaceable friends, I tried to react. Nothing is working at the moment, here’s how I debunked every possible solution given to this question.

  • Even in the worst, there’s some good waiting for you. I tried to list down what’s good and what’s wrong in my life, I tried to ignore that the negative list is way longer and easier to be filled, but honestly, the glad game didn’t work. Because bad things are still there, unsolved, no matter how many things I’m grateful for are written in the other column.
  • Write down your history, analyse it, once you find the wrong patterns, you can begin to change your life. I could write an entire book, the problem still is: I have health problems who lead me to mental illness and don’t allow to have a proper job in order to earn the money I need to cure myself and get rid of an abusive relationship. The picture i very clear, how can I change the colour palette? Next.
  • Bad things happen to everyone. That’s the polite version of the sentence “others have it worse”. Given that it would be sadistic to feel better thinking about to those who are having a worse time, it doesn’t change the fact I’m in pain. Or doesn’t solve my problems, it may only help me to develop a positive attitude or to be more concerned about others.
  • You are responsible of everything that it’s showing up in your life, flip your way of thinking and it’s going to get better. This is bullshit, well, mostly. It could work when you’re griefing for the end of a relationship, or because what happens depends on your bad habits. You’re entitled to change your life and a positive mindset will be surely helpful. But this doesn’t work when you’re given to diseases, no way. I could face them better, but I won’t heal. I could be the best fighter and I can assure you I’m not sitting down here all day being a cry baby, but things only get worse.

There are things that can’t be changed, only faced, but I’m tired of fighting, really. Why me? And don’t tell me that life (or God, it depends on your belief) is giving me burdens I can bear, because I’m not that strong, really.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Nobody can save me – Linkin Park