Posts filed under ‘The Beatles’


Ciao Bloggisti!

I never thought I’d quote Steve Miller (the bane of my university years) but “time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future”. I can’t believe it’s already November and that my little girl is already two months old and my “big” girl just turned seven!

For the last few weeks “time” has been on my mind: the lack of, the speed of, the wasting of, the quality of, etc.

I’ve also been pondering how best to reconcile my need to write with my √ľberbusy existence). Yes, I’m getting used to life with three kiddos but I still have the urge to create things other than babies and clutter. I’d also like to communicate in some way with the outside world because I’m cooped up at home most of the time. But how to do it in between feedings, laundry and sleeping?

The only thing I could think of that would best fit my schedule is a point-form list of what I’m doing, thinking about, reading, etc., because world wants to know! Ideally I’d like to post one every day but, come on, we all know how prolific a writer I’ve been lately ūüėČ I’m also going to write traditional posts (god willing!) from time to time so this new system isn’t set in stone.

Ok, here we go!

What I’m watching: My current obsession is the American version of The Office. I can’t get enough of it and I’m trying to control how many episodes I watch per day because I don’t want it to end! I have Seasons 1-5 (thanks Sue!). I was a huge fan of the UK Office and was doubtful I’d enjoy the US version but I was so wrong. The writers and actors have done a superb job with each and every one of the characters. Maybe in some twisted way it reminds me of work and is a way for me to “escape” to the office every day.

Music of the day: yesterday I enforced a No TV day and played CDs instead. A little bit of Schubert and Vivaldi but my favourite was The Beatles White Album. Perfect for a rainy day, or any day for that matter. That time spent in Rishikesh did them good. It has a bit of everything and will never let you down (well, except for Yoko’s screaming in Revolution #9. It scared the baby.).

Best read of the day: this is actually from a few days ago but I happened to read it now. I had no idea the Japanese were this crazy for doughnuts. They sound like my kind of people!

What I’m eating: I just polished off a heaping plate of spaghetti with sugo di stufato d’asino. That’s just a fancy way of saying “stewed donkey meat sauce”. I know, it doesn’t sound as good in English but let me assure you, it was yum. Oh, and last night the hubster made a divine risotto alla zucca, or pumpkin risotto. He also cooked his famous frittata, this time with turnip tops (cime di rapa). And thank god I can have a glass of wine from time to time because tonight we’re going to open up a bottle of San Colombano, the only DOC wine produced in the province of Milan.

Best moment of the day: Baby and Diggy “talking” to each other. She was even laughing a little bit. So sweet!

Worst moment of the day: My kids overhearing the expression “bunga bunga” and giddily repeating it over and over again. Cringe cringe cringe.

Well, this turned out to be longer than I thought. But it was fun!

Will I keep up with it? Only time will tell.

2 November 2010 at 3:53 pm 3 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

Eating guitar strings

Ciao Bloggisti!
I have to be quick with this post because I’m home sick and so are the kids and they’re finally having a nap, which means I have about 30 minutes to write if I’m lucky. So here goes!
I’ve had guitars on the brain for a while now. As some of you might know, I’m a huge Beatles fan and after watching their Anthology documentary, I got the itch to start learning the guitar again. I half-heartedly began about 20 years ago when my friend Justin (who now happens to be a successful guitar teacher in Manchester) sold me a little acoustic guitar.¬† But being the impatient and undisciplined teenager that I was, when I didn’t start sounding like a young George Harrison after a month’s playing, I pretty much gave up. But in my old age, I decided to start anew, hoping that my willpower would have built up by now. I convinced to the hubster to buy me a brand new acoustic guitar for my birthday, I bought the Learning Guitar for Dummies book and DVD and now I try and practice when the kids are in bed, praying that my pathetic rendition of Fr√®re Jacques won’t wake them (or the neighbourhood cats) up. It’ll take a while to actually play decently but I’m proud of the callouses on my fingers.
Guitars were also on the menu of the latest restaurant I had the pleasure of dining at in the centre of Milan. Well, to be honest, Da Giannino, L’Angolo d’Abruzzo,¬† actually served up spaghetti alla chitarra, a square-shaped long pasta made from a stringed tool called chitarra (literally, a guitar). You can read more about this wonderful Abruzzese dish in my pal Joanne’s Frutto della Passione.

(Have to take a quick break. One of the “monkeys” just woke up and is screaming for me.)

(Ok, Monkey #1 now is on the sofa watching cartoons. I’m safe for a few minutes yet!)

Anyway, Jo happened to be at the restaurant with yours truly and raved about how authentic their spaghetti alla chitarra was. And if she says so, it must be true! I also was lucky enough to try the spaghetti in my tris di primi, a sampling of three different types of pasta. As well as the spaghetti, there were giant ravioli called schiaffoni (big slaps!) and little green gnocchi, all fresh, all delish!!

Tris di primi: spaghetti alla chitarra, schiaffoni and green gnocchetti

Some of my commensali had another speciality from Abruzzo, roasted lamb with potatoes. The meat was fall-off-the-bone tender, flavourful yet not gamey, a result that’s often difficult to achieve when cooking lamb.


Roasted lamb and potatoes

I, however, opted for one of the dishes I just have to eat whenever we visit our friends in L’Aquila, Arrosticini. They’re succulent skewers of grilled mutton which, traditionally, should be eaten by holding the skewer with your hands and pulling the meat off the stick with your teeth. And that’s exactly what I did! I don’t know about you but I get a visceral pleasure from eating food with my hands, however messy it can be.



These arrosticini did not disappoint, all washed down with a house wine (which I failed to note) served in lovely, hand-painted ceramic jugs.

All in all, I was thrilled with my dinner. The food was great, the service fast and very friendly and best of all, it was extremely affordable.¬† We paid about ‚ā¨25 each, which included pasta, main course, dessert, wine, coffee and some deadly liqueurs. Prices like that are a rarity in Milan. So next time you’re in town and you’re hankering for a taste of Abruzzo , give Giannino a call. And please do call in advance because the place is literally an angolo,¬† tiny and always, always packed.

Da Giannino РL’angolo d’Abruzzo

Via Rosolino Pilo, 20 – Milano

Phone: +39 02/

Opening hrs: Tues – Sat 12:00pm – 11:00pm, Sun 12:00pm – 3:00pm

(Phew! I did it! Monkey #2 is still fast asleep. It’s a good blogging day!)

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5 March 2009 at 5:31 pm 4 comments

I wish I was Wonder Woman

Ciao Bloggisti!

Gosh, it’s been such a busy month for me! So much to do at work, my toddler’s¬†started doing back flips on the bed, we’re finishing renovations in the house, my car conked out on me last week and I have laundry coming out of my eyeballs (lovely mental image, non?). I’m so exhausted when I finally put the kids to bed that I just don’t have the energy or the inspiration to write anymore. And that’s getting me down because I really do enjoy blogging.¬† But instead writing I’ve been winding down by watching the superlative¬† Peep Show (it’s not what you think!) or The Beatles Anthology.

So what’s a desperate blogging mommy to do? Invoke the help of the gods? Nah, I’m sure they have better things to think about, like how to best destroy the weapon of mass destruction that is Aretha Franklin’s hat.¬† No, I have a better idea, I’m going to ask you, my dear friends from cyberspace, what to do. How can a gal with two young kids, a full-time job and no Mr. Belvedere¬† get her writing groove back? What do you do to get over the dreaded “block”? What are some new blogging tricks and doodads that might help me get inspired again?

One woman who has inspired me since I was a wee lass is Wonder Woman. Yes, she’s a hard act to live up to but maybe she’s just the person to help a working mommy blogger. Maybe, just maybe if I watch Lynda Carter it’ll turn me into Wonder Blogging Woman, able to deflect bullets, meet translation deadlines, bake lasagne, lasso her kids and write killer posts with just a simple spin. Ok, it’s a long shot but here goes…

See, it worked! I was able to lasso the demonic writer’s block and debilitate him with my magic powers!! Now if I can only manage to sort the laundry in my satin tights I’ll be set.

27 January 2009 at 12:29 am 3 comments

Happy Birthday John!!

Ciao Bloggisti!


Today is the 68th anniversary of the birth of one of my favourite artists, John Lennon. I cannot even begin to describe how much he and his music influenced me and how much his presence is missed.



This year I was lucky enough to visit his hometown, Liverpool, as I mentioned in June. It was amazing to wander around his old stomping grounds, see his childhood home, kiss the ground of the church hall where he met Paul McCartney, etc. 


So, to celebrate good ole Johnny’s birthday, I’ve been listening to his music and watching funny clips all morning. It’s put me in such a good mood that I’d like to share the love with all my friends in the blogosphere!


This first video is from a bizarre 1964 Swedish press conference. John is presenting his book “In His Own Write” along with his four friends George Parasol, Ringo Stone and Paul McCharmly.¬†¬†The interviewer is¬†clueless¬†and John and George are quite yummy, don’t you think?




The next one is one of my favourite solo songs, “Nobody Told Me“. It’s a fun video featuring John, Yoko, Sean Lennon (happy birthday to you, too!), a Canadian flag and Jack Palance (?).



So, what are your favourite John Lennon songs? What do you think he would be doing today if he were alive?

9 October 2008 at 12:08 pm 3 comments

Liverpool – Two Thumbs Up!

Ciao Bloggisti!

When I was in Liverpool last week my friend Val asked me if I remembered our “Master Plan”. I had no idea what she was talking about so she jogged my memory. We were major Beatle freaks in high school and way back in 1989, when we were about to leave for our school trip to Paris, we came up with a brilliant idea. We were going to have one free day in Paris where we could do anything we wanted. So we planned to go to the nearest train station, hop on a train to Calais, take the ferry to Dover and catch a train to Liverpool to finally make our pilgrimage to Beatleland! Then we were going to head back to Paris that night, hopefully before our teachers found out. Perfect plan, eh? Needless to say we didn’t follow through with our Master Plan and I think I ended up meeting my husband on my free day instead. Ah, destiny plays funny tricks sometimes!

It took me almost 20 years but I finally fulfilled my dream of seeing Liverpool. Since it is European Capital of Culture this year, I thought it would be the perfect time to visit. And of course there was the mother of all concerts, PAUL MCCARTNEY AT ANFIELD, that I wrote about in my previous post.

Liverpool truly is a wonderful city and the people were so warm, funny and helpful. And of course, there’s THAT accent. OMG! Now, I’m a sucker for English accents in general but hearing those unmistakably musical and adenoidal Scouse tones sent me into a tizzy!! I could go on and on but I think I’ll show you a few highlights instead. Pictures are courtesy of my pal Sue:

Here’s a view of Liver Building and the Town Hall as seen from Albert Dock. Albert Dock also houses the Liverpool Tate which has a very interesting Klimt exhibition going on right now.

Local treats! The sugar mice and the pink chocolate pigs look particularly inviting.

Bad Statues in Liverpool: variations on a theme

Bad statue No. 1: a “gargoyle” of Paul McCartney outside the Hard Day’s Night hotel. With that mullet he looks more like KC of Sunshine fame.

Bad statue No. 2: that’s me sniffing the statue of John “gianthead” Lennon on Mathew Street. My friend Val looks on in disgust.

Bad statue No. 3: Arthur Dooley’s famous statue celebrating the “Four Lads Who Shook the World”. I have to admit it gave me the creeps. I’ve seen cheerier statues in cemeteries. It depicts a sort of Madonna holding four cherubs who are supposed to represent the Beatles. The mysterious thing is that Baby Paul went missing in 1975. Luckily they found him and only need some mud to put that cherub back up there. Read here for the bizarre story.

Of course, I went on the Magical Mystery Tour and visited all the Beatle sites, from John, Paul, George and Ringo’s childhood homes to Strawberry Field and Penny Lane. I was in heaven!

The Cavern: before and after

Me and Sue about to enter the Cavern Club, a recreation of the place the Beatles cut their musical teeth in Liverpool. The new Cavern occupies 75% of the site of the original club.

Me and Val dancing to the Scissor Sisters (?!?!) inside the Cavern. Note the way the blue circles under my eyes match with the top. I planned that.

As you can see, we had a blast! There’s so much more I didn’t see (the Cathedral, the Pier Head, FACT, Sefton Park, etc.) so I will definitely go back to Liverpool. Who’s coming with me???

9 June 2008 at 8:16 pm 4 comments

Liverpool – Beautiful Night

‚ÄúI don‚Äôt know what to say. Every time I come up to Liverpool, all the memories come flooding back.‚ÄĚ Sir Paul McCartney, Anfield Stadium, Liverpool, 1 June 2008

Well, Paul wasn’t the only one overwhelmed by the experience at Anfield. I’ve seen a few concerts over the years, The Stones, Bowie, Foo Fighters, Santana, the Who, to name a few. But last week’s Liverpool Sound concert in celebration of the city as European Capital of Culture was mindblowingly special. I mean, the fact I was seeing Paul McCartney perform in his hometown was incredible for me. As I mentioned in previous posts, I’m a huge Beatles fan so I just had to see him in Liverpool. But to see a musical genius at work was thrilling. He truly is going through his second renaissance. His voice was great, he played the bass, mandolin, piano and ukelele and he had a warm and easy rapport with the audience, telling stories as if he were sitting by the fireplace with old friends. You could also see how moved he was by playing in front of his fellow Scousers. It must have been incredible for the boy from Speke to see 36,000 of his people all there for him, singing his songs at the top of their voices.

It was also an historic moment for me personally as I was able to meet up with two of my best friends, one who lives in NY state and the other in Toronto. The stars must have aligned right on time because for all three of us to meet in Liverpool just for the weekend was a cosmic event. I never would have imagined when I proposed going to the concert as a lark in January that it would have actually happened. And I’m so happy it did!!

It’s hard for me to pick my favourite moments but one highlight has got to be Paul’s tribute to his old schoolmate George Harrison. It nearly moved me to tears:

I can’t tell you how touching it was to hear him sing George’s song. It was as if Paul was sending his old pal a message from home. And we all joined in, singing our hearts out. Major goosebump time.

Another great moment was when Dave Grohl (one of my faves!) joined Sir Paul onstage for an electrifying rendition of Band on the Run:

Ah, grungy Wings! Gotta love it. And gotta laugh at my friend’s description of Grohl as a modern-day Jacques Brel. His face not his singing, bien s√Ľr.

Anyway, fantastic concert, wonderful man. Paul, I’m not single but if you’re ever in Milan and want to go out for a kickass vegetarian risotto, call me.

So much more to say about my visit to Liverpool. I loved the city and the people! Will tell more in the coming days.


8 June 2008 at 1:10 am 2 comments

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