Tag Archives: music

“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

” A friend who dies it’s something of you that dies” Gustave Flaubert

This day is never easy for me. Whoever said that time heals all wounds, was lying because each time I walk past the place where my best friend was involved in a car accident, I still close my eyes. And honestly I still wait for her to pop out from behind a tree how she used to do in our games or to hear her voice when the phone rings.

If the bond was strong, friendship never fade despite death, time and having new friends. We were 17 when it happened, we grew together, we had a special place where we used to play with dolls or Barbies, the same place that has witnessed our secrets and confidences about our first crushes. It hurts sitting there alone.

When a friend grows their wings it’s hard above all because it’s about someone like you, around your age and in the following years, at every milestone of yours, you ask yourself how your friend could be. Alessandra. Would she be a mom? Would she have a job? Would she be happy? Would us still be friends? I don’t know, I just miss her.

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This is a personal blog, so don’t look here for a way to cope with grief for a friend’s loss. Personally the only thing that works for me is music: artists can express what it means better than any so called “expert”, their words may caption perfectly how you feel. Look for your grief song, the one closest to your experience and play it on repeat, there also are dedicated playlists on Spotify. It helps a lot, above all on days like birthdays or anniversaries.

Mine is “Never Fade” by Josh Devine and Ollie Green: JD experienced the premature departure of one of his closest friends who was very young and put in music his feelings. Those above are the words I held in my heart, unable to express them until this song came out. I’m playing it since this morning: I’m sure Ale likes it, she loved music so much!

I love you my friend: you will be always missed and never forgotten.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Who knew – Pink

“If it wasn’t for music I’d be dead” Chester Bennington

I wish music was enough. Another one gone too soon.

I can’t call myself a real fan of Linkin Park, I just loved their songs and be grateful to them because they introduced me to nu metal; then I started listening to Korn and POD and many others. I have a playlist on Spotify with the most meaningful songs of my life, among the many beautiful ones of Linkin Park, I chose “Crawling” because it has always touched me emotionally. How many times I’ve listened to it, curled up in my bed, crying. I added another one today, from the band’s last album, that is “One more light”; I find it devastating, all the lyrics of last album are shattering if carefully listened after Chester’s passing.

“Who cares if one more light goes out?
In a sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone’s time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
We’re quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do”

Goosebumps.

Many things have been written about Chester Bennington, the most heartfelt came from fans and colleagues, personally JD’s glistening eyes while talking about how much his songs influenced him and inspired him to make music, were more meaningful than a billion of empty words.

Media seized the moment to talk about mental illness, depression and how it’s important to ask for help. For sure: opening up to someone, therapy and meds works, but let me be brutally sincere: not all depressions can be cured. Not if you’re a grown up person who realised the real entity of their problem, if you’re trapped in a dark tunnel with no exit. Looking for help may help if you’re a young person who can still change their life, not if you’re Chester or Chris or someone like me. I know that depression will be on my side, I have good days, even excellent moments, but I know she’s always with me, ready to devour my sanity when I feel sick, hopeless, ignored or simply down.

Another thing. A real depressed person barely shows it or talk about it: look at Chester’s pics on his Twitter, read what he said about his new album or about his life (“I have such a lust for life now, such a positive outlook” he said). He looks happy and passionate, he loved his family, job and fans.

I’m wondering what Chester was thinking when he wrote his farewell letter to his friend Chris Cornwell, if the sentence “I pray you find peace in the next life” was something he hoped for himself.

“The best traveller is one without a camera” Kamand Kojouri

<We were walking and you exclaimed:

-You’re pretty when you smile: you get dimples,

-They’re wrinkles.

You laughed, then you looked into my eyes and sweetly said:

-I love you because you never take yourself seriously!

So I grabbed your arm and screamed in my head: “Please, say that you love me again!”>

As I told many times, I love exploring London. One area that is barely mentioned despite of being surrounded by posh neighbourhoods like Maida Vale, West Hampstead, Queens Park and Kensal Rise, is Kilburn. I hope that the fact author Zadie Smith decided to set her new novel “NW” here, will give to Kilburn more visibility.

It is very easy to get there since the transport link is fantastic, I came here from the Bakerloo line, hopping off at Kilburn Park.

This area has been traditionally Irish for a long time, but now it has a huge and diverse mix of nationalities and races (I saw a large presence of Italians, for example). It is claimed to be dodgy at night, but the main street is always full of people. This one is a very long road called Kilburn High Road and it has chain stores (Primark, M&S), pound shops, a beautiful library, a famous cinema (The Tricycle Theatre), independent stores and a few pubs. Fun fact: Ian Dury formed his first band in 1970 and called it “Kilburn & the High Roads”.

Despite of being originated as an ancient trackway, a part of a Celtic route between Canterbury and St.Albans, High Road it’s not very attractive. Just a long serie of two storey buildings that make it look cheap.

In Kilburn Square there’s a very lively market where you can find mainly fabric, candles, hand made stuff and flowers.There are plans to redevelop it and revalue the whole area, but until now nothing has changed.

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I didn’t eat there, so I can’t suggest any gluten free option.

Last year I visited the S.Augustine Church, an Anglo-Catholic Parish Church consecrated in 1880 and affectionately known as the ‘Cathedral of North London’, one of the finest examples of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture. It is beautiful! I don’t like taking pics inside churches, so if you want to visit it, the church is generally open half an hour prior to the advertised service times and for up to 20 minutes afterwards. Additionally there is normally access on Tuesdays and on Saturdays in the morning.

I will surely come back: there’s one thing left to see, The Good Ship, a well known music bar actively committed to bring the best bands to Kilburn; it is also a place where you can see performing a large variety of artist, since every kind of entertainment is welcomed. Moreover there’s a 100 CD juke box and until the coin mechanism is fixed (probably never, they say) it is free.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Periscope – Papa Roach feat. Skylar Grey

“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 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

 

 

 

 

“Music can change the world because it can change people” ― Bono Vox

On Sunday the Old Trafford Stadium hosted the “One Love Manchester” tribute concert made of the performances from some of the biggest artists in the world. This benefit concert generated around $2.6 million in donations for the “We Love Manchester Emergency Fund”, to help victims of the terrorist attack on Ariana Grande’s gig.

I saw this show also as a statement of people saying “you can hurt us, but we’re still stand together supporting music and the right to have fun without fear”. Because the aim of assaults is to scare us, to bash everything that generates fun and happiness, to force us living in the constant fear of being attacked. What happened in Turin, where thousands of people who were watching the final match of Champions League, panicked after hearing the noise of some shots and turned into a human avalanche that generated over 600 injured, is a consistent example of the constant tension that lingers in our countries.

The best answer is keeping on travelling, on attending concerts and sport events: all the smiles and happy faces I saw last night are the best answer to hate and the reason why  my favourite part (in addition of Coldplay, of course) was the Parrs Wood High School Choir exhibition. Not only because the young and talented soloist (she is only 12 and has an incredible voice) was overwhelmed with emotion and calmed down only after being hugged by Ariana with whom she was duetting, but mainly because those kids represented the new generations who stand together and aren’t afraid to live their lives.

As regarding myself, I have experienced once again the healing power of music, because while I was singing out loud Coldplay and Oasis’ songs, I forgot my miserable condition and my sick sad life.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Fix You – Coldplay