Music and events

Welcome to my blog.

In this section are collected posts related 

to music and events.



Letters from the Johnny’s pub - Imaginary stories of rock music

Books, social and communication 

Books Translated - My books translated into English

Short Stories My short stories

Utopias Between dreams and reality

Debate - Controversy and a bit of malice

Remark - My thoughts collected. 

Super Cashiers - New humorous format on supermarket cashiers


Andy Warhol


Back from the exhibition on Warhol at Palazzo Cipolla in Via del Corso in Rome (last day yesterday, one hour in line), I was left fascinated by his figure. In my opinion, Andy represents the artist of the future by antonomasia, he proclaimed and created a series of crazy things in a serious way managing to be credible.

Having already written about shopping malls twice, raising questions about consumption and mass production, I could not be unimpressed by his aphorisms on products and brands associated with democracy and not because they are fundamental, but because they always raises a reflection.


Buying is more American than thinking, and I'm as American as they come.

I looked at myself in the window of a shop and I noticed that I’m really flashy on the street.

An artist can slice a salami, too!

I think an artist is whoever knows how to do one thing well; cooking, for example.

I don't know where the artificial stops and the real starts.

The way to be counter-cultural and to have a mass commercial success is to say and do radical things in a conservative form. Like McLuhan did: write a book to say that books are obsolete.

I started as a commercial artist and I want to end up as a business artist.

The idea of America is wonderful because the more one thing is the same, the more American it is.

The masses want to appear anti-conformist, so this means that anti-conformism must be produced for the masses.

What is really great about this country is that America has started the custom for which the richest consumer buys essentially the same things as the poorer. While watching Coca-Cola advertising on television, you know the President also drinks Coca-Cola, Liz Taylor drinks Coca-Cola, and you can drink it too.

Tutti gli scandali aiutano la pubblicità, perché non c'è migliore pubblicità della cattiva pubblicità.

The most beautiful thing in Tokyo is McDonald's. The most beautiful thing in Stockholm is McDonald's. The most beautiful thing in Florence is McDonald's. Peking and Moscow don't have anything beautiful yet.

If people collected all my sentences they'll see I'm an idiot and they'll stop asking me questions.

He was the incarnation of paradox even at the point of his death, when during a gall bladder operation - he feared death and yet he was fascinated by it - to avoid the pain he asked for a very strong dose of anaesthetic that was fatal for him.

Personally, I consider his way of thinking starting from the obsessive premise of consuming as a lifestyle: Andy Warhol is the modern icon that embodies the times we live better than anybody else does. If on one hand he artistically eats mass industry, on the other he certainly does not throw soporific messages to the mass.

We are speaking of a silk-screen printing plant as a parallel to the industries that produce consumer goods. More than one advertising poster has been inspired by the style adopted by Warhol, more than a music cover and even the modern photographic effects on our smartphones’ apps or PCs take into account the lesson of Andy. And not to mention all the television formats about various factories, from gastronomy to music, whose authors, aware of it or not, in some way (indeed, definitely in another way) pay tribute to Warhol. But he was a dangerous artist, you did not want to cross the artistic fauna that frequented Andy's farm, or at least it was for the right-thinking America that, although becoming more lenient because of the revolution of the '60s, was always heir to the star-spangled dream.

Finally, I dare, there is something sinister and devastating even in his last name: if we add a last vowel, we get war hole, the war hole or the hole war.

With regard to the countless aphorisms found on the internet, I think that Chinese proverb suits him perfectly: those who lie always find the truth in their hands.

I conclude with the sentence about the famous fifteen minutes of fame (which was only attributed to him), a prophecy that appears as a moral serigraphy of a society that offers countless instruments of arrival to a short fame through the web and social networks. Chances are that Andy in his madness had already foreseen it.  


Rock novel

All the money we made them make was ending up in little black boxes, then mounted on those fucking American bombers to bomb that fucking North Vietnam. I would have preferred the Mafia to Decca Records.

Keith Richards said it, when he found out that their record company, which had accumulated huge sums with the group of Jagger and Richards, reinvested part of these in the weapons industry. It is, unfortunately, the metaphor for the trick of rock music.

The rock that had its field of expression in the America of the 60s (in particular the music coming from England - the British Invasion - which had to establish itself in the United States, as a controlled origin trademark), is not the rock that we listen today. It is a matter of authenticity.

Maybe it is a rough example, but for me honesty in rock music is Vasco Rossi, an Italian rocker, who sings conta sì il denaro, me ne accorgo soprattutto quando non ne ho (yeah money counts, I realize it especially when I do not have any). 

There is a phrase used by Charles Bukowski at the beginning of Hollywood Hollywood, when Chinaski, driving his Volks through the marina towards Marina del Rey, defined those characters who messed about on their boats: they were all people - Buk writes – who succeeded in some way to get out of the grinder of human existence. And I, of course, was not even in their thoughts.  

Those figures described by Charles Bukowski remind me of the boss of bosses of rock and I consider the grinder expression an absolute stroke of genius. Dreams and ideals break on that rock represented by the bills to pay and the dimension of being outside the human grinder, to enjoy the celebrity and a possible immortality, are luxuries that few humans can boast. All of this is so far from the riots in the streets, the barricades and the conventions of the 60s. 

At that time, rock (and all its dramas), could have seemed like a mass party, but when the industries of concerts and records enter the counterculture and infiltrate like a disease, the essence fades.

The fact is that rock, for record companies, is a formula. Sam Phillips, producer and disc jockey, knew it well. He was the one who founded Sun Records. At the beginning, it was just an old garage equipped by Phillips as a recording studio. The place was born to welcome amateur musicians who wanted to record a record and then look for a label.

Actually, Sam Phillips did not hide the project of finding white people who played like black people to invade the market. If this can be considered a dream, it was Uncle Sam's dream (God, how I like, in these cases, to write American-like!).

Therefore, we must admit that, in addition to the formula and the business, for many entrepreneurs in the sector there was the component of the dream, too. If we add the “mom factor” to all this, the deed is done. It is not very rebellious as an image, and it is therefore necessary to explain it better.

Phillips' studio, which was not yet called Sun Records, was located at 706 Union Avenue in Memphis. On July 5th of 1954, a young truck driver from an electric company, Elvis Aaron Presley, was on the road for work commissions. He fortuitously noticed Phillips's studio and was left thrilled by it. Soon it would have been Mom Presley's birthday and the boy wanted to record a demo for her entitled My Happiness. The coincidence got married to the Fate, as Sam Phillips listened to the tape. The die had been cast. Sam realized his dream and Presley became the king. 

Many remember records with Sun Records as Elvis' most fruitful period. Some also write that the Sun recorded the first rock and roll record in history. It was Rocket 88 by Jackie Brenston, a song written by the great Ike Turner. But here we are already entering in the field concerning the discovery of the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin. The how, who, when, where and why on the birth of rock is a matter as infinite as the primordial spark of the universe. 


- Rock hasn't changed things – Rigatone says – but I like to think it was a trend. The big stars today are multi-millionaires, in practice they are companies, but have summarized the thoughts and frustrations of girls and boys who until the middle of the past century waited for a nod to enter society.

Punk music shocked the old-fashion-way in Great Britain, and the poet Dylan sang of another America, the psychedelic with its excesses, incited to widen the horizons of the Mind; The “Who” wanted to die before becoming old, concept unrelated to human factors; The sorrows of “Waters” linked to the war-related developments and how it became insensitive and of ice. The visions of Jim and the doors in America engaged in Vietnam, the disillusionment of the Stones compared to the role of stars acclaimed towards the contradictions of a world visited on tour.

Well, girls, I've lived all this inside my room listening from a new stereo from time to time I could afford a better one and then, at some point I saw them all, at least those who are still there, from behind the scenes of a stadium or a palace, but still in front of me.

It was all fascinating and amazing, when you see them in a few steps you think of nothing other than people like you, and that now, just as we are talking, exist and are doing something in the other part of the Earth, like us at the moment.

The fundamental thing is the message, always the message and this makes them, or makes what they have done, special because it has been listened to by millions of people all over the world.

In a nutshell, the common denominator of all these messages was the uncompromising NO to the war and to what devastates our society. Rock had tried to imagine a better world, perhaps using illicit means like drugs, challenging as long as he could. It was a phenomenal propulsion for a new thought. The lives of millions of people would have been different without rock music. Without those illusions and even violent visions, our society would be stuck in the past century.

Even politicians, who decided our destiny, had experienced a rock myth in their adolescence. Too bad when they come to legislate, they forget about it. If there's a limit to music, it's not being able to climb the last ramp of stairs, those that lead to management or, to use a poetic term, the scale and the heaven's door. Rock dies not because there are no more musicians or myths to be framed, but because this new generation that had to change the world and who had been fed up with all those messages, once they cross the threshold of the buttonhole, they think all messages received are childish and without implementation plan, more or less like the generation before them, which had them classified.

In this way, Girls, to paraphrase Neruda, you die slowly.

Taken from On my generation



On these stone, she founded a rock band


Euterpe, goddess of music

November 1960. If the British government had not announced the end of compulsory conscription, the history of rock music would have had a different path.

Many could not know it at that time, nothing had happened yet, but that announcement simultaneously united thousands of teenagers: each would have had a two years more in addition to the norm to cultivate their recklessness before society would step in with its solid arms, generating practical men. If we consider that lives of many people would have certainly been different without rock music for its propulsion to youth culture, we can say that the decision of the British government represents the cornerstone of the British revolution. Moreover, even Elvis, forerunner of the star-spangled rock and roll, finished his fuel when he left to serve in Friedberg, a US base in Germany, where American troops remained for twenty years after the end of the Second World War. The Pelvis certainly became more reassuring. 

To reflect better, maybe a real youth culture did not exist. Before that time, there were the tufts, the hair wax and the college time, macho symbolisms of those who had emerged victorious from a distant war, and strived to impose their status on the rest of the Western world, including what seemed to arouse indignation in the moralists and conformists at home. However, more than a youth culture, I would refer to that as a period of preparation for the adult world, an age and a state of mind that inexorably, before or after, they would abandon.

Those two gift years from Fate (or whoever for it), young Keith did not know what to do with, after all. Life in Dartford (Kent, twenty-five kilometres from London), did not fostered particularly fascinating perspectives. 

Yet in Roman times, Dartford had been fundamental for the intersection of two roads: the London-Dover and the one that from London led to East Anglia, in other words to the continent. At the end of 1961, instead - a few centuries later - history passes through Dartford station, on a commuters train. It is blues as background, outlining the dream of two eighteens. There is the emphasis and a halo of mythology surrounding the events of life. In reality, they happen by chance and escape previsions. The meeting between Michael Philip Jagger and Keith Richards takes place right at the station on an ordinary day of British life and seems to be come out of a Joyce novel: Dartford… ers.                                                                                                              

Jagger with a stack of records from Chess Records and Richards with his guitar. Chess Records, the label who launched Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, Chuck Barry, Little Walter and company. Muddy Waters, author of Rolling Stone. Mick and Keith meet again because, in reality, they were friends from elementary school. 

Jagger spends every Saturday morning at the Carousel with friends. It was a place with the jukebox. One January morning, Keith goes to visit him. Great shindig and invitations to every party. And then, there were the records and the blues, the days spent listening and disassembling tracks looking for the right sound. Until the arrival of Brian, Bill, Charlie, Ian Stuart. And the mutual friend, Dick Taylor. On these stones Euterpe, Greek goddess of music, founded a rock band. Later, there was the Marquee Club in London, before the afternoon at Jermyn Street, when Lennon and McCartney moved to Studio 51 and gave them I wanna be your man, whose composition ended up in the next room. And even before (I can’t get no) Satisfaction or anything else, first of all and maybe even of themselves, there was unconditional love for the blues.



That most excellent order of rock


Pack leader of a falsely soporific Liverpool where hundreds of bands exported the Mersey's sound in addition to the stagnant mould in their cellars, the Beatles became kings of that London very chic by day and joyful by night, where a starving press was hot at their heels, waiting for a parable for the masses of teenagers. In those days, the image of a Beatle on a toilet bowl in front of a leg crossed journalist sitting on the ground, rather than an ecological hallucination, was something that could have happened. The rest was done by rumours and democratic confidences, mythology and time passing by. The inaccuracies are the starting clues for the game of true or false.

Even the dates are wrong. Some Italian sources report 24th October, the British ones, obviously more accurate, declaim as unchallengeable the 26th October 1965 as the day when the Epstein’s boys (Epstein was the manager of the Beatles) received the honour of Members of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. It was the Prime Minister Harold Wilson, who proposed the nomination of the band. Wilson was hunting for consensus because at that time those four, through sales of music and gadgets, were the most requested English product abroad. As the investiture was announced, there was no shortage of protests: colonels and RAF soldiers, who had received titles for war efforts, gave them back, indignant.

The boys were about to release Rubber Soul - December 1965 - and were about to set the limits of rock music with a decisive leap forward that would be confirmed the following year with the release of Revolver. But this, for the residents of Buckingham Palace, was less interesting.

The crux of the whole issue was Lennon's statements about the fact that the four smoked a joint in the baths of the Royal Palace. A phrase does not mean anything, especially if pronounced by arrogance or, like everyone else at the time, by a victim of Beatlesmania, like John himself. The incident was later denied by George Harrison and never commented by Ringo and Paul.

Actually, at that time the Beatles used to smoke weed, introduced to consumption by Bob Dylan during a meeting on their ’64 US tour. Details, if the fact actually happened, we will never know.

John's sharp led further. There was a law in Britain that punished cannabis smokers, but also the owners of the residences where the crime took place. In fact, Queen Elizabeth became liable to condemnation. Three or four years later, the law was modified. 

All rock music stars had trouble with justice due to the use and possession of drugs. The Stones know something about it, since they were more busy dodging accusations than producing good ol’ English blues at the end of that decade, and they know something about it the baronets of Liverpool themselves, which, for the honour achieved, were led out from the scandals by a service door and subsequently, as a seal of their perseverance, they were prosecuted like their colleagues. 

Returning to that October day, John, to complete his work, told Alistair Taylor, Brian Epstein's assistant, that he had brought with him two LSD tablets with the intention of slipping them into the Queen's tea. Plan not completed, of course.   

The existence of a rock star is permeated by an alone halfway between the business-class migrant and the citizen of the world, which indefinitely places him in the jet set of the rich and roll. All or almost all of the stars of the showbiz are among the biggest taxpayers of their origin countries. They become businesspersons, merchants, patrons, and even incoherent, bourgeois, sometimes they are a danger to themselves, but represent, at least at the beginning of their careers, a contrast to the shady consciences and the established order. Each one in their own way, according to their ability and in relation to the placement of their audience.

In the fab four case, all this began to take shape into Taxman (album Revolver, 1966), the rancorous piece by George Harrison against the tax authorities that was the reason why the Beatles were invested with the MBE. They were the top list of the Exchequer, having to pay a surcharge of up to 95% on all their entry, being the Wilson government engaged in a policy of protection of the welfare state, of deflation and equality. The Beatles found themselves in the paradoxical situation in which the more they gained the more they were hit by taxes. The conferment of the title of baronets, therefore, was in fact a sort of hypocritical compensation.

The piece is a tirade against the high tax burden, there's one for you, nineteen for me, and against the Government, yeah, I’m the taxman, and you’re working for no one but me: if you drive a car I’ll tax the street, if you try to sit I’ll tax your seat, if you get too cold I’ll tax the heat.

Even rich people cry, especially if they are not born rich. The social extraction of the four is essentially proletarian, only Lennon came from bourgeois origin, in spite of his not so quiet childhood and adolescence. 

Taxman could be considered a flag to wave in the face of greedy and pimping institutions, in fact the author explained how he felt. George said: When you are born poor, you find a job and start making money. You're so happy to get rich and you think you've done nothing wrong. All those taxes stated the opposite, that it was impossible to change one's condition in an honest way for those who came from the working class

The Beatles, at that time of an average age of twenty-five and in the midst of the madness that involved them, were looking around, observing society and the contradictory aspects of it. In the midst of an apparent happiness, John wrote Help!, the demonstration that the essence of the messages got lost in the collective adulation which in some time would have found its end with the end of the tour and the live performances, opening the second era of the fab four, studies and the definitive consecration.

In 1969, John Lennon returned the MBE medal to the Queen. It had been kept by his aunt Mimi in a living room shelf at 251 Menlove Avenue. John asked it back without explaining his intentions, then sending it at Buckingham Palace to protest against British involvement in the Biafran War and the support to the United States in Vietnam. To crown his sarcasm, he added that he was outraged because Cold Turkey, his second solo single with references to drugs, was sleeping at the bottom of the charts. The Queen did not understood his sign and maybe not even the sense of humour.


Rock around the clock


Surely Rock and roll hasn't changed things in the world, but surely many people's lives would have been different without rock and roll. More or less I wrote this (sometimes I don't remember even the exact text of my books) at some point in On my generation. Namely, when I'm sad and things don't go well, I often console myself with a beer, tobacco and a blues disc, the root of rock (and so many other things). People who invented rock and roll and many of those have changed it, or who have been fundamental for it, have done it in a short time and almost without realizing it when they were doing it, and all this is amazing.

In the movie Cadillac Records are described the events of Chess Records, the record company of Chicago founded by Leonard Chess and his brother Phil. They promoted people like Muddy Waters, the harmonica player and singer Little Walter, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Etta James and others. The movies titled Cadillac Records because Leonard used to give a Cady to his musicians. 

Chess was the dynamo of what today we can call Chicago Blues, the electronic one. All these people have alternated in the time frame of fifteen years. This movie proves, if needed, the rock matrix was black. These guys, peasants, children of peasants (like Muddy Waters, nickname gave him by his grandmother because the little Muddy liked to swim in the mud of the Mississippi shores) worked in the cotton fields of white people and at the end of a hard day, sat in the verandas of their houses, they pinched the strings of their acoustic guitars literally with their hands dirty of ground. Pretty soon they found themselves from the fields to the registration halls, thanks to the guys of Chess. Full of money, full of women, a great talent in their hands and that bother called success, to be managed. It's a wonderful period, the moment of purism. People who went around with their fingers full of rings and the gun in the holster, just not to forget who they were and where they came from or, maybe, why they didn't realize what they had become. At some point in the movie, there's Muddy Waters out of the studios, leaning against a wall with a foot, smoking a cigarette. He looks like a character of "Poveri ma Belli", but he isn't. Five English guys, who came to Chicago to visit Chess Records Studios, got out from a taxi. He welcomes them, greets them and brings them their suitcases: those guys are the Rolling Stones, overwhelmed fans of Muddy Waters!

In that frame, however, we were already in '64, when that boys had the privilege of playing in Chess studios in Chicago after their initial successes in homeland. In that moment (until then Stones played only covers) they started writing their own pieces. When Muddy's fairytale started to decline, Dartfort's guys will pay Muddy's English tour. Besides, they had to return the favour to the author of Rolling Stone, hadn't they?

Years later, many years later, there's the story told by Keith Richards about his recent meeting with Chuck Berry. An airport somewhere in United States. Richards sees him and he walking toward him to greet him. He approaches him and says: - Hey, Berry, what's up? - But old Chuck, who doesn't love being disturbed, throws a punch on his muzzle, then says: "Hi, sorry, I did not recognize you...

Eh, eh, there is only a throne, the place for only a person in this world.

Oh, rock and roll is the son of a big bitch, surely among all these persons there's a father, but no one knows who he is. The great Chuck Berry, the one of Johnny Be Good, could be its the king, if the great storm didn't fall on the world. It's Elvis's moment and there will be no one else left, the hour when the big mass appropriates rock as a popular phenomenon, and for those under contract with Chess Records comes down the sunset, the whites steal scene and paternity. The white man who sang like a black or a black man who sang the country music of the white men, this was Elvis on the radio. The time most people love, people like Lennon for example, was the Elvis pre-army, the period before his military service, the one of the records for Sun from 1955 to 1958. Three years, only three years which changed the history of rock music. The rest, what happened in the following period, is frankly mortifying for his figure: his meeting with President Richard Nixon, the denunciation of The King to US authorities about the fact the Beatles represented a threat to US youth. Your Majesty, Berry would never have done it.

The fact that the chronology of events is so "close" between the Elvis phenomenon and black rock must not mislead. It was like a tempest: a storm in a part of the city while the sun shines on the other side. At the beginning, they were local phenomena (Elvis, on the other hand, "entered" in all US homes only when Colonel Parker - his manager - contracted with television) and the United States is an extremely wide country. Events happened in a too fast succession and they were so many. But every thing ends if you don't feed it or, if you feed it too much, it ends for excess. The sunset of the period of Chess Records and the decline of Elvis bring us to an equally fascinating event: the British invasion.

Often we wonder about mass reactions and fanaticism. It's February 7, 1966, when a Pam flight left New York City to London. Only three months earlier, John Kennedy was murdered (Dallas, November 22, 1963) and that year Christmas was a recurrence few Americans had the spirit to celebrate. From November until the beginning of that snowy February, media were obsessed only by the amateur video about the president's murder.

Murray the K is an American disc jockey of WMCA radio station in New York. On the plane flying from London to New York, there's an English music group (absolutely unknown in America) and all its staff. On the morning of that February 7, Murray on the radio gives the starting whistle to what will be the madness of the century: It's 6:30 AM, the Beatles Hour. they left London For thirty minutes. In that moment they are on the Atlantic Ocean, heading to New York. The temperature is 32 degree Beatles.

Within a month, the Fabulous Four will have four 45 laps to top positions in the American charts. The single which had upset the young Americans in the radio was "I want to hold your hand" and, in a manner of speaking, it was like the whole country was holding his hands. The rest is history, chronicle and legend. The British invasion had been a little bit planned (guys screaming at New York airport had been gifted with a dollar and various gadgets), but all the rest was come about by accident, thanks to lucky and mysterious circumstances. Beyond any reasonable point of view, it seemed what the world needed at that time.

They leave their own music, a kaleidoscope of innovations, and their strength lies in sounds that often don't vanish, not the big hits, but what remains unheard to the big part of people. Then remain stories, legends, someone who dies for fake and others who die for real, anecdotes and affairs which increase mythology, as the one related to the delivering of MBE. On October 26, 1956, Queen Elizabeth awarded the Fourth with the honour of Members of the Great Order of the British Empire. In England there is the law which punishes the homeowner if drugs are consumed within the house. Liverpool kids, event never denied or confirmed, consume a joint in the bathrooms of Buckingham Palace.

When you did it in America, you did it everywhere. No singer or English group, up to that time, had reached the top in United States. In that moment it seemed almost impossible to get visibility if you hadn't been of British nationality. There are exceptions, one, bigger than others, is called Jimi Hendrix. Complicated childhood, hard dues to emerge, Jimi represents what we could call the highest sacrifice. Hendrix and its reverse path, from United States, Seattle, its city, to England. It's September 23, 1966, the guy embarks from Kennedy Airport and landed at Heathrow, London, next morning. He's stopped at customs because he has not a work permission. He get in touch with the London scene and give birth to Experience. Four years scarce, between arguments, anger and band changes, four albums produced, until the his still obscure death, on September 18, 1970, almost four years after his first landing in London. Jimi, on the horseback of his Fender Stratocaster, was able to fly over the sky. The way to play guitar hasn't been the same in rock music.

Talent deliver a musician to immortality. Somehow, I think the threads which bind him to his origins are broken. An artist belongs to everyone and becomes universal, despite the fact everyone, as a human being, tries to remain faithful to their origins and often he/she refers to them when ground begins to burn under their feet. A turbulent and elusive existence goes forward a slim balance between success and personal life. This can make us understand excesses and vices. This balance is a fragile and often is enemy of the art. So, Is he a musician a sort of lay monk who sacrifices himself on the altar of music? Rhetoric, emphasis, words, better, bombast. There are so many artists who have made the balance their solid foundation of their work and life. But those who, in a short time, have written their names indelibly and have flown to a better luck, will have a special place in our hearts. Those who, in one way or another, have "sacrificed" themselves. They are cursed artists and in their madness there's all the meaning of existence. Pardoned and unlucky, balanced and unbalanced, as far as I was concerned, as he/she sang, I loved them all.                  

It's impossible quantifying musical and artistic heritage. We could venture into lists of albums, artists, but we wouldn't finish. Have those years changed the world? I'd say they do it, but not in an institutional sense. Maybe, as I wrote at the beginning, lives of many people would have been different, those people would be other people. What's left? Well, just music.


The Banksy sign


I go down the stairs. The lift is needed by the workers who are working on the condo drain and in the next two tenants are grilling the janitor, worried that the column is not tampered with. I peep into the mailbox, where deadlines and bills look at me, but leave the warnings lying until I get back from going out.

Full on summer in Rome, you fight solitude and enjoy a habitable city. In front of the newsstand, people are abandoning news because the new management has removed the newspaper review and therefore free reading. This is the only new thing, in addition to the fact that the championship is about to begin: if football is the opium of the peoples, a newsagent becomes the pusher of the neighborhood.

I meet an old friend of my father and I stop to talk about the cost of living. I learned I look a lot like dad. Same pauses, same sighs, same step. I had dreamed of dealing with other things in my life. Musician from youth and then, with age, writer. I was hoping to stay away from everyday business, and now I'm just like everyone else discussing things about everyone, as like happened to my dad. He had a serene retirement, except at the end. Since he’s been gone, I look like a normal person and I don’t mind.

Elderly groups walk aimlessly, looking for shade and a fountain. Along the tree-lined boulevard, a curious crowd fixates upon the wall of the fire brigade. I approach. They are looking at a stencil drawing with two firefighters holding a pump from where fire comes out instead of water.


 “Banksy, Banksy made this, it can only be him!” yells a small boy with rasta hair and a Marley sweater.

 “Who?” asks an old lady with a shopping trolley.

"He is the greatest exponent of Street Art, Madam, who makes a drawing on the wall and then flees, prefering to be anonymous," he explains the one I will call Bob Marley.

 “Well… like Zorro,” says the old lady.

 “Eh, but what does this thing mean?” says one old man to another.

“But what does it represent? It’s a work on the ambiguous role of institutions in society,” explains the rasta.

The small crowd has gotten bigger. Reporters from a radio station arrive. One approaches Bob Marley, “Is it you who phoned us?”.


 “Yes, it was me. Look here: this is a Banksy original!”.

Everyone takes pictures with their phones. A group with television camera salso arrive. The crowd thickens. I discuss it with a boy from the radio station.

 “You’re missing out that it’s about Banksy,” I say to him, “because he would never dream of attacking firefighters, a body that stands by the people with safety and civil defense. And then, honestly, Banksy here at the Quadraro…”.

 “Well, I don’t want to say that,” says the reporter, “actually it would be plausible that someone like Banksy would appear in the suburbs, after all”.

 “But listen, we have experts on Street Art,” interrupts the boy with the Marley sweater, “why are you saying that it’s not him?”.

 “Well you explain, then, how you can say it is him”, responds the jouranlist.

 “I am a Banksy scholar,” replied the rasta, “and so, I know his moves!”.

 “His moves. Are you talking about Diabolik?” says the journalist.


Bob Marley goes away, offended. He sits on the edge of the path, smokes a cigarette, thinks. Then he gets up and heads to the television crew. Talk to two of the group, he gestures. After five minutes he releases an interview, saying the same things he said earlier, adding that he is also a writer. And it does not feel much lower than Banksy. In the end, obssessed, he launches a live challenge, staring at the camera.


 “Oh Bansky, you have to give me a chance, I’m here with my face and my voice, but I certainly don’t hide behind a mask…”.

I walk away. I go back to the door, pass the guard, where a radio is tuned to the station that sends the unlikely news of Banksy's presence in our neighborhood. In front of the lift the door the janitor is again cleaning up the footsteps left by the workers. She is exasperated: - These come, they make noise, they get dirty and go. Do you know that I missed those I saw?

 “Maybe it was Bansky, madame, actually, I would say this is truly the sign of Banksy!”.

“Who? Bless he who wants to joke around with this kind of heat…”.



George Harrison: a gardener’s life

George Harrison Beard

"I am a very humble person. I don’t want to stay in the music industry full time, because I'm a gardener. I plant flowers and watch them grow. I don’t go to events or parties. I'm at home and look at the flowing river.

Many claim that George Harrison was the least interested in being a Beatle and accused him of having been caustic towards the dramas of his Fab period. Others claim he was crushed by John and Paul's fame and creativity. My friend Nicola, when George expressed less than flattering impressions about Oasis, told me that was bitter in his opinion because he was aware of being forgotten.

It is unique that as one of the most reserved people in the rock and roll jet set, he in reality created a lot of bitterness.

Unravelling the ribbon of the story, the Beatles were a phenomenon that suddenly exploded. They emerged from nothing and returned to nothingness. It was unrepeatable and unrepeated brillance. All four of them were the Beatles, in spite of themselves: John with the impetus, Paul with enthusiasm, Ringo with his loyalty and the ability to keep the pieces together; George with the strength to listen, patience to wait for his turn, originality.

When George was enthusiastic about something, he had the strength to have others follow him, as was the case with India and the Maharishi. We have him to thank for introducing the sitar into music. The first great benefit rock event, the concert for Bangladesh, was his work.

Regarding the frustration, it was partly about the group but a notable percent was due to hysteria. The Beatles appeared to the world's public in '63 but the partnership began in '58. Their relationship was first of all adolescent and then adult which became, in the years of success, a business matter.

George lived his development and personal growth in the shadow of John and Paul and many dynamics, caused by enormous success, remained the same as adolescence: how can he not suffer?

He had contradictory passions that spanned from Formula One to meditation and women; from music to gardening and cinema. George was the one who, during a night with Paul playing She’s Leaving Home, asked, “Beautiful, what is it?”

When his son Dhani, after his schoolmates ran over singing Yellow Submarine and discovering that his father was part of the group, asked him why didn’t you ever tell me that you were in the Beatles? George replied: "Sorry. I suppose I should have talked to him about it.

But George was also what he wrote All Those Years Ago and When We Were Fab. He had a profound sense of irony and the alleged lack of interest in the wonderful period, in fact, a need to dissect a demon.

To understand George Harrison, one would have to accept what was really important to him. George's existence has oscillated, like a few others, between the materiality of earthly things and the pursuit of spirituality. For him, the Beatles were a happy and even tormented period of his life, but his life didn’t stop with the Beatles.

All experiences, whether positive or negative, are fundamental if they teach you something. If they teach you nothing, they’re nothing.

George Harrison 


© Enrico Mattioli 2018