Category: music

Fabio begs to Foo Fighter: pleeeeease come to Cesena!

Fabio Zaffagrini begs to Foo Fighters: pleeeeease come to Cesena!

When you have a dream you have to allow it to fly. This is exactly what Fabio Zaffagrini did.

He wanted to persuade Foo Fighters to play a concert in my home town of Cesena, Italy.

The band  played a small club here in 1997 but that was before they achieved their current stadium-filling status,  The chances of them returning appeared slim or non existent – but not anymore!

Thanks to Fabio and his assembled team (the “crazy ones”) of Rockin’ 1000, it now seems only a matter of time (and logistics) before this great gig takes place.

This is the consequence of an amazing one-off open-air performance of one song (Learn To Fly) at the city’s Parco Ippodromo. Continue reading

RENEGADE : THE LIVES AND TALES OF MARK E.SMITH by Mark E. Smith with Austin Colling (Penguin Books, 2008)

I can visualise ghost writer Austin Collings lining up the pints of beer and whisky chasers in a Manchester pub then setting up a recording device in front of Mark E.Smith.

I doubt that any overly active conversational skills would have been required since one gets the distinct impression that his subject operates best in monologue/ranting mode.

In more or less chronological order, Smith catalogues his life and times as chief hirer and firer of The Fall “for people who are sick of being dicked around”. Continue reading


MILLENNIUM PEOPLE by J.G. Ballard (Flamingo, 2003)

“Learn the rules and you can get away with anything”

I visualize J.G. Ballard writing his dystopian fiction from his safe European home in the Surrey stockbroker belt of Shepperton. Although his views bordered on the misanthropic, his life was outwardly respectable and I reckon he was a big softy at heart.

However, the late author hated anything that struck him as pretentious and/or fake; which accounts for his venom towards cheap entertainment and much of what passes for modern culture. Continue reading


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

PLAID / M+A / CLARK – Villa Torlonia, San Mauro Pascoli, Italy

acieloaperto_12-giugnoIn the first of an excellent series of ‘a cielo aperto’ (open-air) summer concerts in Romagna organised by RetroPopClub, an impressive line up of three IDM electronica-orientated acts were given an hour each to strut their stuff.

London duo Plaid (Andy Turner and Ed Handley) opened proceedings with a solid but visually dull set. Two guys standing behind laptops is not the most thrilling spectacle at the best of times and the music was not dynamic enough to compensate for this. A few visuals were projected on the walls of the building behind but did nothing to hold the attention.

Local heroes, M+A from just up the road in Forlì put on a much more crowd-friendly show to warm up the atmosphere admirably. On record they are the duo M (Michael Ducci – vocals) and A (Alessandro Degli Angelo on keyboards). For the live show Marco Frattini adds some meaty percussion as a welcome alternative to soulless drum machines. Continue reading


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