Williamsburg fears and guilty pleasures

McCarren Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is jammed with beautiful girls on a sunny day. 

It’s part of the hipster-coolness, and either you’re in or out. I was out, my friend was scared. He was scared of beautiful girls, of matching outfits, of sun-bathing bodies. He kept saying that girls are mysterious creatures, often repeating “They laugh, and they cry. Then they cry, and they laugh. But they they cry, and laugh back again”.

I was totally amused by watching his reaction while crossing the park, his eyes wide open to the horizon, always talking about his funny behaviour as uncool kid. He was true, the overall feeling was of a superficial and constructed environment made by young people who were trying pretty hard to feel unique and yet part of a selected, unique social group: the Williamsburg peeps. He, on the other, was born wise and old, out of the Facebook circuit, even of Craigslist’s one too. And I was born to disagree with most of his ideas, but generally to be amazed and to truly adore him.

My friend is a big chubby boy, with a white shirt and an easy smile on. He think fast, he speaks even faster with a mixed accent that it’s hard to get at times. He sang a song that day he listened to on my ipod, while walking along the neighbourhood, while avoiding those beautiful girls. The song speaks about a woman who feels and wants to be strong and superior, but always goes back to the same old mistake and gets together with his lover, a merciless, arrogant man. No illusions or dreams left, just a little, meaningless feeling she’s holding on. The song says that a woman, when in love, can’t tell the difference within a blind love and the silliest patience.

My friend on a pavement, under a very hot sun on a Saturday morning was singing his guilty pleasure meaning every single word, letting his inner female side talking, maybe? Not at all, just endorsing the lyrics to explain why women are not ruling the world, because of their eternal hope towards love. And love is scaring as much as beautiful ladies in the park are. Bless him.

Argh, no possibility to find a better version, my apologies

About Pompeii and Flight Delay

It’s quite recent, but already stamped on the memory, memorabilia like.

I was on a plane, the biggest plane this Earth knows: Airbus A380. Economy, next to a window, I was pretty excited from the selection onscreen: movies, tv-series, news and music. So much music you can travel the entire globe once or twice. Thank you Emirates.

For my great pleasure I found Bastille’s album. I think their pop music is fresh and brilliant, kind of everyone’s cuppa tea without being too pretending. Quality product, anyway.

While I started the listening, the captain made the announcement to explain about the one hour delay we were having, gracefully telling us there was a trouble on the panel board whatever, and engineers must have taken a good look at it to fix it. Oh no…It must be karma or irony, but after a good 6 hour flight, followed by an infamous 5 hour await, I was expected to travel the other 7 hours in a pretty nice shape, by eating, speaking, listening to the music and not adding additional time sat on a comfy but small sized spot.  Maybe even by sleeping. Oh bugger.

It’s part of the package, when you travel, unexpected things happen. Just take the best out of it. Well I tried. I fuelled my cheeky soul with a fine gin and tonic, courtesy of a nice flight attendant, I took pictures of people next to me, not impressed by my act, at least the half that was awake, since the rest of them were Asians wrapped in their blankets not moving a single muscle, very impressive to watch. I also did a pretty good impression as Emirates flight attendant, taking a silly sneaky pic. Note I was awaken for 30 hours..

Image

I was there with my partner in crime and we were absolutely tired but hey, we are hilarious together, imagine when we are shattered. We both knew the song and started a lovely jam session, and people around didn’t seem so fussing about it.

That’s one of the best memory of my flight in the biggest aircraft and about the longest time on board: 11 hours.

Thanks Jupiter we had Pompeii with us.

An adult in the basement

My best friend turned 30 last week. He’s become a man.

He’s married and working to help and improve this society. He has big big heart, a cheeky smile similar to mine, a goofy walk. His voice is low and calm, he likes people and people like him.

I haven’t seen him since his ‘big yes’, where I wasn’t invited, except for a piece of cake later that day… I guess my best friend never saw me as his close friend, but just as an old friend. I guess, again, that these are the things that happen when you become an adult. Well, I admit that even in front of this rational, understandable thought my eyes see bitter.

But hey..

But hey, despite the sad tone I put in the words above, I am so so grateful to have tons of great and lovely memories with him: it was my pleasure and honour to spend the childhood with him.

We grew up, we walked along together for so many years and we made so many silly things I can’t even start counting them. That was truly special, and I don’t care if it’s over and we are distant now: somehow, somewhere there is a thread ready for us to be hold again all the time.

When we were fifteen we used to spend all Winter Sundays hiding in his basements. We could stay there for hours, (like not joking 10?), without feeling like going out and get some fresh hair. We had music, the guitars and so many things to say: jokes, rants, inappropriate dramas, bullshits mainly. We basically consumed this album while in the basement, cementing our personalities. We were goofy rockstars.

The song tattooed on my mind is “Swallowed” by Bush. Basement, and grunge, are forever.

Arrivederci amore, ciao

I don’t remember the first time I watched “La stanza del figlio”, an Italian movie by director Nanni Moretti.

It’s a touching story about loss, fatherhood, conciliation and, maybe, hope. It’s quite a different story than the others Nanni wrote, directed and produced; more narrative, less a neurotic-flux-of-thoughts. Slightly, dangerously at times, not autistic like the others. There is a tangible pace of sorrow in there and it hits you so much to make you uncomfortable.

Is there a way to understand a loss? Personally, I still don’t know. In the movie it seems there is a turning point to first compensate, then understand it when at the end Nanni / the Father gives a car ride to his dead son’s girlfriend and her new ‘friend’. In that occasion, the car should have stopped at the certain known and agreed point, just it doesn’t. To proceed together, to face the after, I saw it as a shy hope for the future of that family.

Four in a car, they start singing an old song: the song talks about a goodbye between two lovers, where the woman is strong and confident that it’s over and she will be fine after all. There is a genuine spontaneity in the singing together and enjoying the moment despite everything. I recall this behaviour an important aspect of being Italian. Somewhere, somehow, Italians have always hope.

Lyrics are pretty strong: a persistent use of metaphors from the nature like clouds and water, showing a constant change in feelings as in the outside; a bitter sense of detachment; a sad, but firm, awareness the past is past, the new has already come. My favourite passage is when she sings:

E quando andrò devi sorridermi se puoi, non sarà facile ma sai, si muore un po’ per poter vivere.”

(And when I leave you must smile at me if you can, it won’t be easy but, you know, you must die a little bit inside to be able to live)

Clever lyrics. I’ve made them mine, quoting them when convenient.

Once I quoted the movie with a nice guy I had met before, but never spoken in depth. I was fascinated by his exotic and religious name, moreover by his story. Complicity of a home party and alcohol, we started chatting and never stopped since then. We found a common ground in the love for old movies.

That night caught ourselves laughing out loud and sharing secrets, tips and stories: when we both confessed the love for ‘La stanza del figlio’ we started singing the song together, at 3 am in a silent dormitory. It was a little nice moment, somehow similar to the movie scene in the car for its spontaneity, that I’ll enshrine in my heart.


The song’s name is ‘Insieme a te non ci sto‘ più by Caterina Caselli and if you’ll ever read this post: much love to you, Jesus (the one w/o the cross, I mean).

Maybe kinda obsession

I might sound unpleasant, but I am pretty sure that before and during 90s it was the real time to be proud to be British. I can’t really explain, but it was time of great band, rock vs pop battles, MTV, Liverpool, London and Camden…before the massive use of phones and reality shows I reckon the Great B. was in a way a better place to live in.

Said this very much personal consideration, I was around twelve years young when I spent an entire afternoon watching the tape of a 10 minutes appearance, interview + ‘live’ performance. Non stop. Non crazy stop, not even for a loo break. Maybe kinda obsession? One step at the time.

At that time I was so uncool not to have a tape recorder, lolz my “alternative” (read: poor) family. During that week there was the most important television music festival, usual triumph of boredom with the only exception for international guests. Blur came, Blur conquered. And my friend recorded everything. The afternoon following the performance, we watched and watched it. Now, Blur have 4 musicians, easy; on stage there were just 2, in a clear state of boozy disorder. I could smell alcohol from the sofa, not kiddin’. They basically didn’t answer any of the silly question, but just kept dragging human-sized cartons of the other 2 members, who were officially ‘ill’. Interview was followed by the worst out-of-time lip-synch performance; where in the middle of it Damon didn’t even pretend to sing but started jumping and playing with Coxon’s carton. There was also a stranger playing instead of Alex. It was P.E.R.F.E.C.T…. a perfect defect. It was a bloody contemporary art performance.. I guess they arrived to the Italian Riviera and started drinking as they meant to die then turned it into art.

Damon Albarn was my first music love and I was in trance watching him tripping over invisible objects. I was totally smitten with him and not for any clever reason fascinated by his scene.

Damon Albarn, oh Damon Albarn. For the first time I was really in love with his hair, voice and, yes!, accent. Everybody who’s met me knows (and doesn’t understand completely) that I adore strong, bit posh, British accents.. it’s a seductive weapon for me. Indeed. And if you disagree, now you know the origin and who to blame, Sir Albarn.

Oh, I have to tell you the end of the story about that afternoon. My friend’s mum came back and found us mummified in the same position as she left us, and freaked out. She took the tape out in custody and obliged to leave. I really had to wee too.

The song, by the way, was “Charmless Man”, AKA nana nana na na naa nanaa.

Enjoy.

( a different live version, because of copyright the only one I can watch and upload!!)

Anniversary with Mr. Memories

 

 

My grandpa reading me a story about two dogs, their adventures and friendship.
My other grandpa offering me a sip of beer while watching Summer football games on tv.
Hours at the library with The Peanuts before tea time, my addiction to earl grey.
My brother, sleep-walk across a closed door, broken glass everywhere. Unharmed kid.
The time Loli and I pretended we were filthy rich and we threw all the Monopoly’s money from the top of the stairs on our mothers’ heads…they weren’t particularly impressed.
The time we burnt all my art paintings because school was over, boredom kicked and the prof was a bitch; this when outside it was August 15th and 40 degrees.
How our bodies could perfectly slot in one, calling it ‘the tetris move’.
The first time at the stadium, a night game in the cold.
The smell of moss, of wood, of Dolomites.
Eating red berries as if they were oxygen to breathe.
The night Ale and I were the only two awake in town…a broadcast on local tv. The drinking at the church cross while watching the valley. J&B and booby hills, sis.
The hours at the gym playing volleyball. Every mistake or laugh 10 laps to run, 30 crunches. Mistakes every minute or so. A bloody tonic body though.
Kissing in the Summer rain in a street, storm of feelings during this personal movie.
Tape recorders, walkmans, cd-players, mp3s. Life before Ipod.
Sundays spent to listen to music and create it. Bonding in a garage.

All the things I forgot. All the things I pretend to forget. All the things I don’t want to write about.

This was my neighbourhood for many years: Arcade Fire’s neighborhood #1 (Tunnel) gets very close to explain it.

The starlight in the morning

I have lots of boosting-up songs, ready-to-take-from-the-magic-hat-called-Ipod pearls, but this one is related to a big moment of my life.
I somewhere wrote about my teeny tiny passion for football; to be fair sports in general, but football is one of the fondest. This time I am going to talk about a song, football and me.
Whistle..let’s go.

I woke up, every muscle aching like hell. The side effect of sleeping on the backseat of a small car. I didn’t know what time it was but the first thing I did, bar the pain, was to smile.
You could see and count all the teeth, to be precise.
The car was parked in a parking lot next to a small playground, and you could see people starting going to work; I didn’t have a precise idea of what time it was, but the light was very bright that morning in July.
It was less than 24 hours from our decision. There are times you just have to let yourself in an adventure, moved by a firm perception, by a je-ne-sais-quoi that makes your idea crazy, hell yeah crazy, but convincing at the same time. The decision was to leave everything we were supposed to do that day, take the car and drive for a good 5 to 6 hours. Destination? Munich. Yes Germany.
So, football, Munich, Germany, July. I’ll add a year too: 2006.
Got it?
It was on early July 4th 2006 that we decided to drive to Germany and watch the semifinal Germany- Italy on German soil with German people. Thousands of them, to be precise…
We were absolutely convinced we were going to win. Absolutely, more convinced than the Pope about his faith. We also spent the afternoon in a Biergarten, me sweating over my dressing up in polyester like an Italian player, and drank and basically being mocked by anybody.
Well, we won. And we celebrate like hell, while around sad crying faces.
The next morning, ecstasy of glory. And so, with all the muscles aching and adrenaline still running, we had a change of clothes (ignoring hygienic civilised standards) and then breakfast, while screaming the song. Everything in the car on a parking lot in Munich center, very student budget.
Guys, we didn’t care, Italy was in the finals, but we had our final ourselves by betting in this adventure. The lyrics claimed:
“My life, you electrify my life”
The song was “Starlight” by Muse and this is the best memory I have of World Cup 2006, with my ‘hopes and expectations, black holes and revelations’.