Archive for April, 2009

“Your country is a joke.”

Ciao Bloggisti

I was planning on writing about food in this post, because I’ve eaten some great things of late, but a couple of things happened today that made me change my mind.

The first thing was an email I got from my brother. All it said was “Your country is a joke” and this link.  I thought something horrible had happened in Canada, that they made Ben Mulroney Prime Minister. But after clicking on the link I found it was yet another article about Berlusconi. Now, those of you who read my blog know how I feel about the man. But for the last month or so, he’s been grabbing the headlines on a virtually daily basis, almost always after putting his high-heeled foot in his big mouth. From the photo session with the Queen to his “camping holiday” remark in Abruzzo, il Berlusca never fails to disappoint with his “jokes”. And he’s got a captive audience who apparently love his special brand of humour because he won overwhelmingly in last year’s election, promising good times for all.

And someone sure had a good time with our garden this afternoon because when we got home from work, we found that some jokester had tried to pull out the jasmine that had just been planted. He/She/It ripped away the vines that were growing around our fence. And this animal did it in broad daylight, not giving a rat’s hoo haa if they were going to get caught destroying private property, because even if they did get caught, they probably weren’t going to be punished. It left me feeling nauseous. But I guess I shouldn’t let it get to me because in Italy, anything goes! It’s all fun and games! Right? This is the “Terra dei Cachi”, isn’t it?

What do you think? Is Italy becoming a joke? Are there any redeeming qualities left? Or should I just pack up and go back to Canada, even if Ben Mulroney is Prime Minister?

24 April 2009 at 12:00 am 12 comments

Easter 1999 – Easter 2009

10 years ago. Seems more like 10 days ago. We were visiting one of our closest friends for Easter in L’Aquila. He grew up in Milan but moved to Abruzzo with his parents so he could help them build their dream house in their hometown, Poggio di Roio. It wasn’t easy for him to leave his friends and everything he knew but he made the best of it, found a job at the university and slowly carved out a new life for himself.

We couldn’t wait to visit him and see the house. It still wasn’t ready by the time we went down but he was proud to show us the work in progress, where the bedrooms would be, the wonderful view from the hill. His parents were hoping that our friend would eventually live there with his wife and kids. Like all Italian parents, they wanted to make sure their little boy was “sistemato”.

We stayed in L’Aquila, in a house which was usually rented out by students. I remember it being particularly cold that Easter, especially at night. But we loved walking around town despite the chill. We would stroll around the Piazza Duomo, visited the 99 Cannelle fountain, gazed upon the imposing Spanish Fortress. The architecture of the town ranged from Medieval, Renaissance to Baroque. It was a true jewel.

Ten years and 2o seconds later. Many of those Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque buildings are forever damaged or collapsed. The town we admired will probably never be the same again.

Our friend and his elderly parents were alseep in their brand new house when the earth began to tremble. They escaped in time and spent the night in their car. The next day they awoke to discover the dream house they spent over 15 years to build was full of cracks and collapsed walls, still creaking and shaking due to the aftershocks. The university campus where our friend worked is now a mass of rubble. Yet he’s as cool as a cucumber. Like most Abruzzesi, his strength of character comes through in times of adversity. He’s rolling up his sleeves, already thinking about how to rebuild the house, getting on with the day-to-day things.

Easter is a time of re-birth, a time of miracles. This year’s celebrations will be different. All Italians are profoundly shaken and saddened by this tragedy. But we know how lucky we are that our friend survived. He’s our Easter miracle.

“Baciamo le mani, Loris!”

If you’d like to help the Abruzzo Earthquake victims, please check out the useful links at the end of this WhyGo Italy article. Thanks.


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10 April 2009 at 12:03 am 6 comments

Here come the sons!

Ciao Bloggisti!

Big news everyone!! As you know, I’m a Beatlemaniac so when I read this article (courtesy of Abbey Rodent), I was so happy I started doing the Pharrell McDonald’s dance in the office:

While a Beatles reunion concert is sadly out of the question, Beatle fans may just get the next best thing: Julian & Sean Lennon, James McCartney, Dhani Harrison, and Zak & Jason Starkey are getting together for a series of concerts this summer.

Calling their outing the ‘Here Comes The Sons’ Tour, the surprising Beatles siblings “reunion” came about when Julian Lennon visited Friar Park, the home of the late George Harrison, at the request of Dhani Harrison and his mother Olivia, Harrison’s widow. Olivia had come across some George Harrison demos which George had intended to send to John Lennon in the months prior to Lennon’s tragic death. Harrison had recorded the demos trying to emulate Lennon’s voice, and decided that the songs were better suited for John. After Lennon’s passing, Harrison shelved the tapes, which were later discovered by Olivia.

Listening to the songs, Olivia also felt the songs needed a Lennon vocal and invited Julian Lennon to Friar Park to hear the demos. Julian listened and liked the songs, but thought that there were some parts that needed a higher, younger vocal register than he could muster. He rang up his half-brother Sean, and emailed an mp3 of a couple of the demos to the youngest Lennon. Both Lennon’s were excited about the songs and arranged to record them at Friar Park with Dhani and Sean doing the guitar parts.

Playbacks of the songs revealed to the young Harrison and Lennon Brothers that some distinctive bass and drum parts were needed. On a hunch, they rang Sir Paul McCartney to see if he might have interest in the project. Sir Paul politely refused, but suggested that perhaps his son, James, might be the man they needed to play bass. James McCartney arrived at the sessions with Zak & Jason Starkey, the sons of Beatles drummer Ringo Starr, who happened to be visiting the McCartney’s in London. The six Beatles siblings then went to work on the Harrison demos, and the finished results so pleased them, they decided that not only would they release the songs, they would also record additional original material for an album release, to be followed by a brief tour of the United States.

At a press conference held at Abbey Road Studios, the Beatles siblings made an official announcement of the tour and album release. “We’re all very excited by the songs”, Dhani Harrison beamed, “Dad really wanted John Lennon to record these songs, and in a way, I feel that we’re honoring his wishes”. “I’m very humbled that Olivia and Dhani asked me to listen to George’s demos”, chimed in Julian Lennon, “and I’m very happy that Sean is onboard this project too. We’ve been talking for years about doing something together, and these songs felt just right for us. And to have Dhani, James, Zak & Jason involved makes this a very special project as well”.

“Our Dads at first were a little leery about us doing this”, said James McCartney , referring to McCartney and Starr, “but after they heard what we put together, they gave us their blessings”.

“It’s funny in a way”, added Zak Starkey, “I’ve played with my Dad, The Who and Oasis, but playing with these guys, who are more or less as much brothers to me as Jason is, I’m really excited at the prospect of going on the road with them”. When asked who came up with the idea of calling the tour ‘Here Comes The Sons 2006′, Dhani Harrison raised his hand. “Guilty!’, he laughed, joined by the other five. “After all, I made the phone call!”, which elicited another round of laughter from the group. The tour kicks off at Irving Plaza in New York City on April 1st. More dates to be announced. Stella McCartney will be designing the stage wear for the group.

I hope the tour makes its way to Italy. That would be a dream come true.

 

Would you go to the Beatle offspring concert? Or do you prefer Offspring? Discuss!

1 April 2009 at 2:42 pm 5 comments


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