April Highlights!

Hello peeps!

It’s the last day of the month and it means only one thing: we are open for business! It is that time of the month where I, or better the mouthy part of mine selects her favourites and highlights. We start with music, to honour the title of the column itself: it is a pretty happy selection of 10 songs to celebrate my good friend’s birthday, the birth of a cute special baby in my family and my dog’s anniversary: Janis, queen of this world and other thousand parallel universes turned 10. You can see her pretty lovely face as cover for the album too:

Click on the pic!

Click on the pic to listen to!

On the other hand, it was a very busy month of travels and work, so I hope you forgive me to neglect on movie or flowers selection. If you pop over THIS PAGE NOW you can see the entire selection… Some highlights? Daisies are girls best friend, Broadchurch, a podcast about design, Norwegian sweets and much much more. Come and see yourself, click click click!

Enjoy and bring joy with you, always.

Val

March Highlights!

I have a kind of soft-spot for March.

Yeah you know, it’s the kind of month you start seeing the sun more, consequentially you start loving everything around you, to then realise you love everything except the fat that is partying hard in your weak, pale body since the frozen days back in December January and February but hey nevermind you still have 10-15 days to go out and get fit before rainy April start. Story of everybody’s in a continental climate’s life.

Oh, and for me March means business. Birthday business. So the list of favourites is pretty special, starting from the playlist. Spoiler, it gets super boosting-up:

Here’s the link to the full list, https://valanzo.com/playlist/ some juicy favourites to interact with (click on all the bold words and links to get more info). Highlights? True Detective, Stephen King, Macarons…

Enjoy and bring joy with you, always.

Val

Cimetière du Père Lachaise, Paris

Cimetière du Père Lachaise is one of the most iconic and suggesting place to be when in Paris. Statement.

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This cemetery attracts me like a magnet and never stops to give me goose bumps. Walking along the graves, acknowledging the shape of time, the ruins, the broken stones: To be in there is like a live movie on a dead land, where life and death and emotions, vanities and hopes and expectations collide in a silent, eternal embrace.

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And there is a twist in the movie plot: I can find people who inspired and educated me in arts and science. Good good feelings. There are many I studied on manuals and book, enjoying eternal peace in Père Lachaise. The first one I think of is composer Frédéric Chopin. I always melt in his Nocturnes while visiting the cemetery. What I naturally imagine to hear is the sweet, powerful melancholic sound of a piano. Are you melting, you too?

Please visit the complete set of pictures I took, available here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjVgKD2t

February Highlights!

Hello friends!

It is now online on its special page the complete February section of my monthly favourites! Link for lazy bums here

We start as usual with a music compilation, quite referring love, hope and patience:

Furthermore, I spoke about flowers, movies, artist, and also the  dish of the month, a pretty healthy one this time.

Thanks to your suggestions I also included some new favourites: book, radio program/podcast, tv series and photography (well, the best, or most significant, photo I took during Feb.). I hope to keep it sharp, inspiring and relevant. Oh, keep in mind that every section has a link if you want to know more about the topic. 🙂 Just click here…

Enjoy and bring joy with you, always.

Val

January Highlights!

Hi!

It’s the end of the month, and as promised I started a new chapter of this blog, a monthly list I am going to post every 30 days from now on where I will tell you about my biggest favourites, starting with, as the name states, the music, but including also art, movies and more! (…suggestions are welcome too, if you want my opinionated fingers to write about something particular just leave your ideas in the comments below…)

You can start by looking at January on newly created section “The Playlist” that it’s next to “About” on the grid title above.

As a starter, I hope you will enjoy my virtual January mixtape, made with loads of love (and 8tracks).

Enjoy and bring joy with you, always.

Val

P.S. For my dear subscribed followers, the page is not actually a blog post so you won’t get a notification; I am working on moving my WordPress blog to somewhere more useful and open and funny but in the meantime I will post my favourites every end of the month so just pop over during those days if you feel in the mood, cheers!

Leftovers ‘013: Genova

Zena. Today I am writing about Genova, Genoa, Zena mainly because a songwriter, a musician called Fabrizio De André. 15 years ago he died..

A death anniversary is not the most pleasant way to introduce a city, so I beg you pardon for the unattractive start. But there are some cities that are incredibly tied with their history and peculiar citizens it is frankly difficult, I might say impossible, to tell about them without talking of inhabitants, present or past ones. De André described his city with devotion and sincerity: two great examples are “Via del Campo”, the street where a prostitute lived, or the album “Crêuza de mä”, entirely in dialect. Masterpieces to understand the rhythm and pace of Zena, its hard on the surface, sweet inside heart, moreover its pulsing, vivid blood.

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The other day there was the anniversary, and my mind was running free through his songs and I could feel like being back in Genova. I love the city; I love it because it’s nestled in hills ending in the sea; I love it because of there the grey turns in orange and light blue, and the light is fierce like the eyes of its citizens. There is a delicate balance between sight, perception and knowledge: multiple directions, infinite discoveries and, from time to time, the harbour and the see. Bliss.

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I thought of short descriptions to explain what Genova is, and I came out with:

– verbally violent (those walls has hosted an impressive quantity of swearing)

"WE don't give a 'flip' about the new Pope"

“WE don’t give a ‘flip’ about the new Pope”

– anarchist (800 years as indipendent sea Republic still count. A lot..) but full of churches everywhere

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– totally blunt (it’s not being rude, it’s being brutally honest and good, like a focaccia)

The most delicious thing your lips can ever touch.

The most delicious thing your lips can ever touch.

– multicultural (the harbour, the mix of cultures, the language so different and funny to hear)

Coloured mix

Coloured mix

– inspiring (Porto Vecchio, the harbour is peacefully active for every mindset)

Porto Antico

Porto Antico

I know I can’t fit in Genova, because I come from “the end of countryside” (P. Conte “Genova per noi”) but I fulfil my desire of Genoa by humbling walking up and downs and taking pictures of dark tight alleys becoming little squares of light. There, in my silences, I’ll be part of this particular city while laughing and observing the sun laying down beyond Magazzini del Cotone, when the lighthouse is already switching on.

More pics here! http://www.flickr.com/photos/60353299@N08/sets/72157639742599343/

Strangers

I now admit the fact that, whenever possible, I take pictures of strangers. Is it weirdo-material? Maybeeeee.

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Or maybe not, let’s say I am just an enthusiast of all I had/have around. But please, promise me that if I turn my blog in a cats and dogs sanctuary you are going to call somebody very competent to cure me.

This is a little collection (click here!) of people, faces, actions I saw in Hong Kong and Macau back in May. Enjoy.

And remember that “people are strange when you’re a stranger

P.S. The freak in white skin is me…

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..

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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.