Category: ageing


BOB DYLAN AT LUCCA SUMMER FESTIVAL, ITALY – 1st JULY 2015

Same man - different mask. Bob Dylan - then and now.

Same man – different mask. Bob Dylan – then and now.

Why does Bob Dylan still play live and why do people still pay good money to see him?

The second question is easier to answer than the first. It is something of a cliché to refer to an artist as a living legend but Dylan surely merits this label. It’s therefore only natural that many will flock to pay homage (and cash!) to a man whose vast body of work is second to none.

When he exploded onto the folk music scene in the 1960s, an adoring public would sit in rapt silence to hear the words of this poet come visionary. On his Song For Bob Dylan, David Bowie got it about right when he sang: “you sat behind a million pair of eyes and told them how they saw”.

Robert Zimmerman’s ‘protest’ songs articulated the mood of a nation and helped fuel movements opposed to the Vietnam War, institutionalised racism and the dearth of moral /political values that causes like these symbolized. Yet, Dylan has always diligently avoided aligning himself to political or religious movements, stubbornly following his own path. “Don’t follow leaders” he advised in Subterranean Homesick Blues and he has never set himself up as a spokesman for any generation. Think for yourself has always been his message. Continue reading

senecaInspirational quotes and pithy anecdotes plague the social networks but there is nothing new about them.

If the Roman philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca (c. 4 BC – AD 65) were blogging, tweeting and posting today he would have a legion of followers enthusing over words of wisdom ike these:

  • “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare. It is because we do not dare that things are difficult”.

  • “Our lives are either spent on doing nothing at all or in doing nothing to the purpose, or in doing nothing that we ought to do”.

  • “We are always complaining that our days are few, and acting as though there were no end to them”.

  • “To err is human, but to persist (in the mistake) is diabiolical”

  • “The whole future lies in uncertainty : live immeduately”

  • “Life is amply long for he who lives it properly”.

  • “Postponement is the greatest waste of life”

  • “It is better to have knowledge of the ledger of one’s own life than of the corn market”.

All quotes taken from : On The Shortness Of Life & other life lessons for the 21st Century (translated by John W. Basore, 1932)

YOUTH directed by Paolo Sorrentino (Italy, 2015)

1youth3“Youth is wasted on the young”, quipped Oscar Wilde, or was is George Bernard Shaw?

Whoever made this observation, knew something of the poignancy and sadness of growing old.

All Paolo Sorrentino’s films to date have featured elderly characters struggling to come to terms with the realisation that the best years of their lives are almost certainly behind them. Youth , despite its title, is no exception.Paradoxically, it is more about facing up to the inevitability of dying than the carefree pleasures of our ‘salad days’.

At its heart is the friendship between a retired composer Fred Ballinger (Michael Caine) and Mick Boyle (Harvey Keitel) a film director who believes that he still has at least one great film in him. Continue reading

KURT COBAIN: MONTAGE OF HECK directed by Brett Morgen (USA, 2015)

€12 is a bit steep for the price of a cinema ticket but this was billed as an ‘event’ rather than a straight movie so in the spirit of the theme I thought ‘What the heck!’

The montage of the movie’s title comprises a plethora of mostly unseen home movie footage. This gives the dubious privilege of watching Kurt Cobain grow up in public, starting out as a cute kid and ending as a jaded junky.

Debates will rage about when it all started to go wrong. Was it when his parents divorced?, Was it all down to his addiction to hard drugs? Was it his inability to cope with Nevermind’s overnight success? or Was it mitigated by his relationship with Courtney Love?

You could make a strong case that it was all or none of these.

The reality is that Cobain seemed to be born with a suicidal gene and the images essentially serve as a chronicle of a death foretold. You only have to see the scrawled writings and drawings to see how he lived and died as a tortured soul that those around him witnessed but were incapable of curing. Continue reading

WHITE HILLS IN RAVENNA

WHITE HILLS live at the Bronson Club, Ravenna, Italy – 23rd April 2015

White Hills got a cameo spot in Jim Jarmusch’s Vampire flick ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ and being a cult band in a cult movie is as close to superstardom as they are likely to get.

Undeterred by a lack of mass following, they continue to put out great albums, the latest Walks For Motorists (which I reviewed for Whisperin’ & Hollerin), is well represented in the show tonight. From it, they kick off with the punchy No Will which morphs into the motorik drone of Lead The Way. Continue reading

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