Tuesday, 26 January 2010

about Danish mentality

Last friday night i was volunteering for a duBnBass event in Aalborg and I spent some hours at the door, being that annoying person who checks the stamp on your hand.
Besides the hard job to ask people to show me their hands, it was more annoying telling people to pay if they haven't done it before, especially after 1am, especially if you know them.
We, me and my friend, both struggled against our friendly attitude, to be responsible, danishly resposible and, if needed, we made them pay...at least, most of them.
We knew some of them got in without paying: some of them run into the club so fast that we couldn't stop them. At one point, one guy asked about earplugs and got in to see if they were selling them at the bar:
"I'll come back" he said.
"Ja, selvfølgelig..." (yes, of course..) we replied hopeless.
It's not necessary to say that he didn't come back.
After the end of the concert, I saw him while getting out, so i seized the moment and i asked him with tongue in cheek: "hej, where's your stamp?"
"Oh, right, i have to pay you!" and he gave me 100kr.
"We are closed, i don't have any change now"
While insisting on giving me the note,
he was serious, he wasn't surprised or anything. And actually, I was the one surprised. Surprised to see a guy insisting for paying an entrance fee at the end of a gig.
"Det er Danmark" (This is Denmark), i thought.

After a couple of minutes while the crowd was streaming out the club, another guy stopped by our desk and, as serious as the previous one, said: " Hej, i'm sorry if i got in without paying..."
My friend and I stared each other completely astonished..."Hvad???"
I couldn't believe my hears...people feeling sorry for crashing a party. Such a story couldn't happen in my country, not even in Germany, as far as it seems.
So, "Ja, det er Danmark!" and I love it.


Sunday, 24 January 2010

"Music is the art form most nigh to tears and memory" O.Wilde

Aalborg, vinter 2009

End scene, I am not an island (Troels Abrahamsen)
Want U (Lo-Fi-Fnk)
This Momentary (Delphic)
Let’s go surfing (The Drums)
I have a heart (Fever Ray)
It's the medicine (The Knife)
VCR (The XX)
Bycicle (Memory Tapes)
Deadbeat summer (Neon Indian)
Bad Kids (Black Lips)
Omen (Prodigy)
There's a light that never goes out (The Smiths)

London, summer 2009

Armistice, 1901 (Phoenix)
The Reeling, Sleepyhead (Passion Pit)
Panic! (The Smiths)
Heartbeat (The Knife)
Chemical (Notwist)
Happy up here (Royskopp)
Cassius (Foals)
Let’s make out (Does it offend you, yeah?)
Punk-A (Vampire weekend)
Get me away from here I’m dying (Belle and Sebastian)
Where’s your head at? (Basement Jaxx)
Salt air, Solo (Chew lips)
Too Fake (Hockey)
Inbetween days (The Cure)
Emerge (Fischerspooner)
Miss Mars (80kidz)
???? (Heartsrevolution)
I will follow you into the dark (Death Cab for Cutie)

Montpellier, hiver 2009

Time to pretend, Kids (MGMT)
36 Degrees (Placebo)
Daddy’s gone (Glasvegas)
Toop Toop (Cassius)
Catherine the Waitress (Teitur)
I wish that I could see you soon (Herman Dunè)
Digital love Acoustic (Alphabeat_Daft Punk)
Float on (Modest Mouse)
Your heart is an empty room, Crooked teeth (Death Cab for Cutie)
An attempt to tip the scale (Bright Eyes)
Un jour en France (Noir Désir)
Pop Porno (Il genio)

Bergamo, inverno 2008

Ne touche pas, Noir Désir, La nuit blanche (Vive la fete)
Your hands in mine (Explosions in the sky)
Radio protector (65daysofstatics)
Blue Monday, Ceremony (New Order)
Fake Empire (The National)

Paris, Aout 2008

La mia città, Tutto domani (Afterhours)
DeBaser (The Pixies)
In the Fade (QotSA)
Knives Out, House of glass (Radiohead)
Take it easy baby (The Doors)
Nel tuo giro giusto (Bugo)

Aarhus, farår 2008

Charlie fa il surf, Baudelaire (Baustelle)
All I need, Reckoner (Radiohead)
Bachelite (Offlaga Disco Pax)
Scary World Theory (Lali Puna)
80’s life, History song (The Good the Bad and the Queen)
Gypsy death and you (The Kills)
Miss you (TrenteMoeller)
Over and Over (Hot Chip)

Aarhus, vinter 2007

Harder Stronger Better (Daft Punk)
Marble House (The Knife)
Consequence (Notwist)
Young Folk (Peter Bjorn and John)
Pogo, I want want (Digitalism)
Videotape (Radiohead)
Crown of Love (The Arcade Fire)
This is the first day of my life, A perfect sonnet (Bright Eyes)
Enemy (Blue Foundation)
Universo (Cristina Donà)
What else is there? (Royskopp+TrenteMoeller)

...Singing a song before going to sleep

Jeg elsker den sang

Saturday, 23 January 2010

...About this blessed and damned Babel... Me, three in one, getting to grips with the new communication challenges

I'm writing in English, which is a language that i've been studying since i was 12, and my name is L.
My mother tongue is Italian, and, still, my name is L.
I also speak French, I haven't spoken it since that long, but, even though French people have hard time pronouncing correctly the sweet sound c of my name, i am still L.
It's known that talking in a foreign language is a hard challenge that, more and more people, lately, have to cope with. Boning up on books for years and watching original version movies is not enough to claim to properly know a language. The knowledge we get is limited. Often, especially in Italy,it only consists of a complex set of grammatical rules and an academic vocabulary, sometimes even obsoleted. Once abroad, it often happens that, even if you have years of study of a language on our shoulders, we got astonished, and also a bit upset, when we found out that natives don't speak as we thought, that we can't understand a single word and even when we understand, we are not able to reply. The big communicative obstacle that we have to face of is structured on three levels, which go together with our proficiency with the new idiom. First level is the one of the comprehension of short sentences and easy concepts. This is not that hard to pass, especially if we live close to native speakers. But I would like to focus more on our self-expression, which is something different than the communication of elementary needs. Who never, in the middle of a conversation in a foreign language, got anxious or embarrassed, while realizing not to be able to fully express his own idea? This is not just a matter of being good enough at talking about serious and complex issues (second level), but rather at giving to our speech those adorable language nuances that make communication adventurous, marking clear the essence of each speaker. For that reason, after some experiences abroad, or some communication attempts, i thought about how i appear to foreigners. In other words, who am I when I speak English or French?
1. The Italian: Me 100% of my linguistic potential, and so expressive one. My proficiency in my idiom is so high that enables me to give all sort of nuances i want to my sentences. I can give substance and life to my sentences, also being poetic, if needed. I can play with words, send messages, both overt or covert, and even give to my sentences different meanings. Thanks to my words and my way of expression, my interlocutor can understand who I am, and if he's really smart, he can even get what i don't say.
2.The English one: i would say 70%, quite weakened. Besides my fairly good knowledge of English, I still feel my communication not good enough to totally describe myself; my linguistic potential is limited so my self-expression.
And a part from the mastery level of the language, I guess it also depends on the differences in structures of English and Italian languages. Therefore the "somehow translated message" is depersonalized, and in a way, empty.
3.The French one: 80% Even if I have never spoken French since last year, the common history of French and Italian makes my learning much easier and faster than what happened with English. In fact, as both Italian and French are neo-romanic languages the translation mot-à-mot is often enough to send an effective and correct message.
A language is known to be reflection of its speakers, its folk, so to me it is much easier to create any kind of relations with French speaker people rather than with English speakers. This is because we share the same forma mentis, linguistically speaking.
Neo linguistic foolish mulings? Maybe, but it is a matter of fact that mankind has inside the primordial need to exchange messages with its neighbor (who's coming from further and further) and that communication is an important issue, more or less accepted, more or less perceived, of the complexity of our time.

Friday, 22 January 2010

London again...

A bit monothematic these days, I feel my trip to London getting closer

Chew Lips - Toro

Here an old article about my Chew Lips night in London

Thursday, 21 January 2010

England? Ages ahead

I was in London this summer when the Glastonbury Festival was taking place.

It was everywhere: newspapers, radios, even on TV. Right, it’s the biggest music festival in Europe, an event anyway, also for no-music freaks.

And again this summer the fabulous Blur’s reunion…everybody was crazy about it; every morning on tabloids, but even on the Guardian, an article about last Blur’s gig or, Demon Albarn’s last interview, was published. I remember how I found out that they played less than two km from my place at Rough Trade for an unannounced concert.

I just thought to move all of this to the Italian context. Ok, we don’t have any Glastonbury, we don’t even have Blur’s alter-ego, alas! And maybe that’s the point. Pop and Rock were born there, that means that English people rock inside, so that now, what is underground in the rest of Europe, is mainstream in the UK or, at least, is not relegated at the bottom of the national cultural panorama. Of course, Anglo-Saxons are hegemonic in the worldwide music scene, and it helps, well, it’s fundamental. But still, it can’t completely explain the uncultivated music tastes of Italians. I'm pretty sure that if I ask my fifty-years-old uncle about some Italian rock bands, he wouldn't have an idea of what I am talking about, and he would ask me if I am talking about a kind of ham or a computer related thing.

So, here’s our international music delegates: Laura Pausini, Eros Ramazzotti.

Could you imagine a national Glastonbury-like festival, broadcasting live on Rai1? and Radio1 playing pop-rock songs 24h/24? Naaah!

And yet, we do have good bands! But they are doomed to remain hidden in their national underground scene, or, if they are really motivated to get a brilliant career, well, they often have to come to compromises. (Few high hopes though…Vinicio Capossela is performing in one week at the Union Chapel in London, jo!)

It’s weird though that Italy is known as the country of singers and musicians…we should be inclined to music…

But it’s always so hard to have something new to be accepted and absorbed there… such a lazy country, reluctant to any change. Maybe it’s just the wheel of destiny: we played our cards in the past. They were pretty good indeed. But now it’s time to stay at the back and look at some other better players...

Thom Yorke deejaying @BBC Radio1


Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Some Retro-Punk never hurts

Here, a female-retro-punk-band, once again from California: Dum Dum Girls

It's a good alarm clock for a sleepy snowy wednesday morning isn't it? Fast enough to wake you up, and light enough to cheer you a bit up, huh?
So, let's get up!

Then well, if, while listening, your foot starts tapping, you could let your fingers typing ryanair.com on the keyboard, so to look for some cheap flights around the end of february 'cause at that time they will be playing right in London...
But, even if they are not your kind of, isn't a trip to London always worth to cut a couple of days off, escaping the provincial town you jog' round?

Hey! oh, Let's go!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

When they used to tell us stories...

First literary/radiophonic post.
Today i'd like to highlight a fantastic radio program i've discovered a couple of weeks ago. It is called La storia in giallo, (literary The story in yellow, but the right translation would rather be A thriller story, as in Italy the genre thriller is also known as giallo, because the first thriller books used to have a yellow cover) and it is broadcasted by Radio 3, on air on Saturdays at 2 pm.
Every week a story is told. It can deal with historical or literary characters, such as Freud and Dorian Gray, or protagonists of famous mysteries and weird stories, like Nostradamus or Charles Manson.
During the first part of the program an extract of the story is told, then, usually, Antonella Ferrera opens a debate with a guest, who might be a professor or a researcher currently interested in the topic treated.
All the episodes i've listened to til now were really interesting as topics are treated in details. Then, listening to stories reminds me when my parents used to do the same before tucking me into bed.
Last Saturday a new series of La storia in giallo has started; the name has changed but the essence is going to be the same. Quoting Conrad, the new broadcast title is Cuore di Tenebra -dentro la storia- (Heart of darkness -inside the story-)
A fantastic alternative to TV able to trigger our fantasy, a fantastic example of national service to culture...for once.
Strongly recommended!

For Italian speakers/listeners

La storia in giallo

Monday, 18 January 2010

The XX Live @VoxHall Aarhus (DK), 16th January 2010

Second date, second sold out in Denmark for the English surprise indie band of last autumn: The XX.

Struggling against an implacable wind, some hundreds of people stay in a line to get in the VoxHall, the second largest venue club in Denmark. Loads of Ray-Ban wayfarer and checked shirts: Aarhus hipsters seem to have a meeting here tonight, but there are also some teenagers and even people in their forties.

An electro duo from Canada, The New Look, warms the atmosphere up, while the hall is getting crowded, and the audience alcoholic level starts reaching the Danish standards. Finally, when the West-end London trio steps on the stage it is about ten. Two voices, one guitar, one bass, a keyboard and a drum machine, Ladies and Gentleman: The Xx.

After Baria Qureshi left the band last November, now it 's Jamie taking care of both the keyboards and electro beats elements, and he seems to be doing all right. At the same time, Romy and Olivier’s voices play together in a pure intermitted cosmic melancholy. The audience is caught by the magnetic look of Olivier who, shows, although he’s barely twenty, how well can attract girls’ attention, as a girl watching the gig next to me confirms. On the contrary, Romy’s weak scenic impact empowers her shady figure: she’s dark and meek, like the words of her lyrics. Song after song the concert flows well, with just few interruptions, just to thanks the audience and present the mushy cover by Kyla, Do you mind, perfectly in line with the sweet gloomy atmosphere created during the performance.

It was nice to listen to a good quality execution of each song, concerning both vocal and instrumental arrangements. Too bad for the very bad amplification of voices and basses, especially at the beginning, as, dissociating the sound balance, it ruined the well-compact instrumental background of the in studio recording. The concert ends in less than an hour.

On the whole a good concert, even if something making the difference was still missing. Something able to turn a good gig into an amazing spectacle. Perhaps, it was a lack of experience; the ability to make lyrics alive, dragging the audience into the music world. The missed fusion between the stage and the public made people sing flattery hooks, as they were more focused on their own singing pleasure than on taking possession of the sweet apathy of the band.

But as their name reviles, the XX are only twenty years old, and they can already boast of a particular sound that made them the welcome surprise last autumn. Then, we will see…on the way to the artistic (but not only) adulthood…

Here's the start!

As i was not that satisfied with my studies i thought that starting a multilingual blog would have enabled me to engage all my in-potentia creativity in something more concrete, something real.
This is a double bet because i am going to write in English, sometimes also in French if it comes natural, it will depend on the topic i guess.
I said why i will be writing on this blog, but what will it contain? As marked in the title bits of my favourite interests, often music beats, but I might also write about literature, cult-ure and travels, both actual and visionary ones.
Sometimes thoughts and ideas will be a bit confused, as my mind is kind of uneven and intermittent...it is not by chance that i called it cult bits.
Welcome on the messy desk of a wannabe foreign correspondent music lover.