Archive for May 2011
by David Franchi – 25th May 2011
It was another great performance of Filomena Campus Quartet at the Pizza Express Jazz Club Soho, London. The Italian singer together with her Quartet and a couple of friends, Antonio Forcione and Jean Toussaint, has done a fantastic concert.
She performed songs from her new album “Jester of jazz” and some songs from her duo with Antonio Forcione. The line up of the Filomena Campus Quartet is composed of Filomena Campus (vocals), Steve Lodder (piano), Dudley Phillips (double bass), and Winston Clifford (drums) who in this occasion were joined by the special guests Jean Toussaint (sax) and Antonio Forcione (guitar).
Filomena has a great and eclectic voice, Toussaint is a charming musician and Forcione is astonishing gifted, while the other components of the band are talented and experienced artists.
Filomena dyes her performances with the colours of Harlequin costume. In her gigs she blends various genres of music but always within a jazz frame. Besides, her new album is inspired by Commedia dell’Arte and Theatre Of The Absurd adding a hint of theatrical style to the performance. There is also a vast component of her Sardinian legacy mixed with Italian theatre. The roots of Filomena Campus, in fact, are Sardinian, the big Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea, from which she takes inspiration.
During the concert at the Jazz Club Soho, in fact, Filomena Campus performed some songs in Italian and in her own dialect, such as the classical folk ballad ‘No podu repusare’, ‘The queen and the clowns’ dedicated to the famous Italian artists Franca Rame and Stefano Benni or ‘Sabbia e mirto’ inspired to the Mediterranean sea. But also she performed songs in English reviving the variegated jazz tradition. With Antonio Forcione, they played songs from their Duo repertoire, with a special solo performance of Forcione who showed great technical ability. The concert ended with a great final jointly with Toussaint who as usual masterly ’embroidered’ the tones.
Filomena Campus is an international artist well- known as jazz vocalist and also as theatre director. She has toured and collaborated with top UK jazz musicians including Evan Parker, Guy Barker, Orphy Robinson, Byron Wallen, Cleveland Watkiss, Jean Toussaint, Antonio Forcione and the London Improvisers Orchestra.
In 2010 Filomena founded the ‘Filomena Campus Quartet’ with Steve Lodder, Dudley Phillips and Winston Clifford and “Jester of Jazz” is their new original project. In these days they are touring in Germany, Italy and Croatia.
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by David Franchi – 24th May 2011
“Australian Season” is an amazing series of exhibitions at the British Museum, London.
The “Australian Season” is focused on the ‘Land Down Under’ culture featuring a broad programme of exhibitions, installations,
performances, lectures and film screenings. At the British Museum the ongoing exhibitions are: “Australia Landscape – Kew at the British Museum” (21 April – 16 October 2011), “Out of Australia: prints and drawings from Sidney Nolan to Rover Thomas” (26 May – 11 September 2011) and “Baskets and belonging: Indigenous Australian histories” (26 May – 29 August 2011).
“Australia Landscape” is a commissioned space, bringing together two major institutions of London, the British Museum and the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, sharing the same vision on cultural understanding and biodiversity. The landscape is
organised in the British Museum Forecourt displaying on open air Australian biodiversity. It is the fourth landscape in a five-year partnership programme involving the British Museum and the Kew Gardens. The space brings together vegetation and environmental samples from the variegated Australian continent.
“Out of Australia: prints and drawings from Sidney Nolan to Rover Thomas” is the first most important show of Australian art in London for at least a decade, and the largest and most ambitious devoted to Australian works on paper ever held outside of Australia itself. The exhibition was conceived as a result of the British Museum’s recently formed collection of Australian works on paper spanning from the 1940s to the present. It begins with the distinctive school of Australian artists known as the ‘Angry Penguins’ and follow the main developments in Australian graphic art, concluding with the rise of Aboriginal printmaking.
“Baskets and belonging: Indigenous Australian histories” displays a wide diversity of beautiful handcrafted baskets and also
an important collection of historic baskets such as a small water carrier from Tasmania, constructed from a single piece of kelp. Kelp water carriers appear in early historic drawings, but this object, collected in the 1840s, is the only example now known. An ongoing tradition, baskets are made using materials coming from the local territory. It is usually thought the indigenous Australians are from the same group, but instead they are many interconnecting groups, each belonging to different territory. At the time of European settlement they had been living on the continent for at least 60,000 years, and spoke more than 200
The season is complemented by a programme of events, including family activities, lectures, films, documentaries and gallery talks, many of which are free.
Australian season is supported by Rio Tinto.
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The piece was written in 1947 by the celebrated English author J. B. Priestley a renowned playwright, novelist, free-thinking broadcaster and left-wing activist.
This production particularly tends to recreate the 1940’s atmosphere including crew and staff wearing English post- war style clothes. The cosy Pentameters Theatre is sensible too. Located in a Victorian building, above The Horseshoe pub, it was founded in 1968 by Leonie Scott-Matthews, who is also the show producer.
“The Linden Tree” analyses the changing world immediately after the Second World War. Priestley allows his characters to debate key issues, especially religion versus science. The late 1940’s were a hard moment for the UK with shortage of coal and petrol and war-time rationing still ongoing. Besides, England had to face the end of the Empire and a declining position in the world. Additionally, the nuclear threat was not posing optimistic views for the future.
Therefore, the problematic question here asked is: should one fight on in the name of progress, or put personal happiness first?
The Linden family lived many years in the provincial city of Burmanley. They have gathered for Professor Linden 65th birthday celebration. He is “the trunk of the Linden tree”, the mother is the roots and the rest of the members are the leaves.
The performance starts with Mrs. Linden (Dot Smith) plotting with Alfred Lockhart (Clive Greenwood) against her husband to get him finally retired form University. Then one by one are introduced the characters of ‘The Linden children’: Rex Linden (Stewart Clegg) a social climber; Jean Linden (Lesley Ann-Webb) a Communist doctor in a troubled love affair; Marion Linden (Nadia Ostacchini) became Catholic and married with a French aristocrat; Dinah Linden (Nicole Anderson) is the youngest member and a
teenager student. Professor Linden (Chris Bearne) faces the bitterly reality of his age: the University doesn’t want him anymore. Mrs. Linden as well wants to go away from the city she always disliked. Professor Linden is unaware of the situation and takes two students Edith Westmore (Marusiya Kalinina) and Bernard Fawcett (Graham Dron).
The family splits up and goes to war. Mrs. Linden leaves the husband and goes to London. Rex, Jean and Marion support the mum,
while Dinah would remain with the father helping the housemaid, Mrs. Cotton (Anna Friend), in the house.
Directed by Michael Friend the show is a well conceived performance. Actors play good in difficult roles that require a long effort.
On the other hand, there is space for some small enhancement. For example as an academic Professor Linden should wear a blue or
black jacket. At times the authorial voice can leave the plot far behind, slowing the action and extending the length time to almost three hours.
However, this play is to be welcomed. It tells again of Priestley’s ability and it speaks with extraordinary freshness to our own
Dalì and the City exhibition
by David Franchi – 14th May 2011
Moor House is hosting a refined exhibition about Salvador Dalì. “Dalì and the City“, ongoing until the 30th June 2011, has an interesting point of view about the famous Catalan artist. The venue is a large office building in Moorgate, London, designed by Sir
While in the square in front of the edifice the anti -cuts protests are ongoing, inside the building this stunning exhibition displays pieces of Dalì rarely seen in the UK.
A tall bronze statue, ‘Alice in Wonderland’ (480 cm), opens the exhibition located outside of the building just in front of the entrance. Conceived in 1977, it is the master piece here and it has never been seen in the UK.
Indoor there is a broad array of sculptures, prints and original collages. Sculptures are interesting for their subjects, namely the “Melting Watch” a recurrent theme in Dalì works, who was so much obsessed by watches that in his autobiography “La vie secrete” (1942) said: “The mechanical object was become my worst enemy, and as for watches, they would have to be soft or not to be at all!”.
Dalì was fascinated by the occult and the subconscious. Therefore, the artist designed an entire Tarot Card series from which there are five of them on display, very original works created in a mixed medium of collage, gouache and watercolour on board.
This exhibition displays two pieces from the series ‘Memoires du Surrealism’ (1971). It was created by Dalì in the last years of his life looking back to his career and producing this series of twelve etching on lithographs.
Also on show pieces from the etching series ‘Flora Suite’ that blends Surrealism and flowers.
Finally the ‘Anniversary Series’ that brings together several techniques such as stamp-signed, mixed media lithograph, serigraph and l’eau fort, and pieces are representing the same theme of the sculptures.
Salvador Dali is an icon of the twentieth century art. He was born in Catalonia (11 May 1904 – 23 January 1989) and his real name was Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, Marquis of Dalí de Púbol. He claimed that his ancestors were descended from the Moors – so that Moor House sounds appropriate for an exhibition, isn’t it?
Dalí was a gifted draftsman with unique skills. His extensive artistic repertoire includes film, sculpture, and photography, in collaboration with a range of artists in a variety of media.
Dalì had a troubled private life. He believed to be the reincarnation of his dead brother. His mother death in 1921 was the greatest blow in his life. Dalì was expelled from the Academia where he was studying. He was also expelled from the Surrealist group. When Dalì married Gala, his father did not accept the marriage and after others arguments literally kicked him out of home.
Dalí was a highly imaginative person with an eccentric behaviour for which he was sometimes better known than his artwork. A cause of this he was attacked his entire life, badly nicknamed, received many accuses, treated like a dead when still alive, was object of extremely harsh polemics and probably exorcised by an Italian priest.
However, his notoriety didn’t stop to grow and nowadays Dalì is recognised as one of the most important artists of all time.
The exhibition is organised by Modern Masters Gallery and sponsored by Equiduct and The Dalì Universe. At Moor House until the 30th June 2011.
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“Highbury church and rock history”
by David Franchi – 10th April 2011
The Highbury church that made the history of rock.
After few days of working from home and with sunshine weather, I decided to take a walk in New Highbury Park, Islington, where buildings and part of the surrounding area are from the mid- nineteenth century.
Strolling around I arrive to St. Augustine church, part of the Anglican, Evangelical tradition of the Church of England. The members of the parish represent the very mixed population of Highbury, counting at least 22 different nationalities. Redevelopment has started, and the church is closed while the builders are in. Notably activities include the children school, the Islington Choir, groups for exploring Christianity, praying, fare trading, campaigning against poverty or climate change.
This particular building was built in 1869, in replacement of a temporary church first established in 1864. A parish was assigned to the church in 1871, taken from the ones of Christ Church and Saint Paul’s. The structure was restored in 1982. The church seats around 1,150 people. The building is made of brick with stone dressings, designed by Habershon and Brock in the Decorated style, typical of the Gothic Revival (or Victorian Gothic) architecture, practised in England in the second half of the nineteenth century.
But the major part of the building is the peculiar church hall. Built in 1881, later on it will become a piece of the history of
the music, hosting the very famous “Wessex Sound Studios” a recording venue for rock’ n’ roll legends. Now, astonishingly, it’s been transformed into homes.
In the 1960s, the Thompson family converted the church hall into a recording studio. They named it ‘Wessex’ because their previous recording studio was located in Bournemouth, in the Ancient English county of Wessex. George Martin, the legendary producer of The Beatles, bought the building in 1965 and make of it one of the hottest rock place of the history. Wessex lasted for 40 years and in Britain it was second only to Abbey Road for equipment and frequentation. In 1975, Chrysalis bought the studios and George Martin became a director of the company.
The list of music personalities who worked at the Wessex Studios is amazing. Here the Sex Pistols recorded many of their albums, including the revolutionary ‘Never Mind the Bollocks’ in 1977. The Clash recorded their celebrated – but never enough – ‘London Calling’ two years later. The Queen used the venue for ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘We will rock you’. Additionally, worked here Rolling Stones, The Pretenders, King Crimson, Marianne Faithfull, XTC, King, Slade, Peter Townshend, Jesus and Mary Chain, John Cougar Mellencamp, Theatre of Hate, Kylie, Talk Talk, Nick Cave, REM, Motorhead, The Moody Blues, Dido, Coldplay, Elvis Costello, Bob Geldof, The Damned, The Stone Roses, The Specials, Enya, Nik Kershaw, Erasure, Judas Priest, Tina Turner, and David Bowie. The list could probably be longer if one just had enough time to make research.
But time passes by and in 2003 the building was sold to Neptune Group which later converted it into a residential development. Today the place is known as “The Recording Studio” and it contains eight apartments and a townhouse. The internet site of the agent declares that The Recording Studio “might not make you a rock star – “but at least you can live like one”. Ironically, for a property here in a rock’ n’ roll location you need to have a lot of cash meet the expenses. Wessex Studios were famous for having the most new technologies. However, the mythical mixing desk ’40 channel SSL 4048E console’ now is still alive and used in a recording studio, located in Llangennech, Carmarthenshire, in South Wales. Well, it is strange to go for a relaxing walk and find out the history of music. Though it is now past, it’s always worth to amble and then go back home searching for the amazing history of this place on the internet.
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Martedì 10 Maggio 2011 – David Franchi
Grosseto: E’ stato definito il matrimonio del secolo quello celebrato tra William e Kate, la coppia che in futuro assurgerà al trono nel Regno Unito.
La cerimonia si è svolta in modo regolare. Il matrimonio è stato celebrato nella antica Westminster Abbey. Un rigido protocollo è stato seguito per tutta la manifestazione. Numerosi gli ospiti del mondo dello spettacolo, dello sport e della politica. Invitati solo i reali regnanti nel loro paese, ma ci sono state polemiche per la presenza si alcuni dittatori.
La famiglia Middleton, pur di origini umili, è adesso molto ricca ed ha regalato alla figlia Kate un suntuoso abito da sposa firmato Alexander McQueen.
Grandissima la partecipazione popolare e moltissime le feste in Inghilterra. Non si sono registrate le temute proteste degli anarchici, pochi gli arresti.
Il matrimonio ha creato un bel giro d’affari per il paese in crisi economica.
Il Principe William di Windsor e Miss Catherine “Kate” Middleton hanno finalmente coronato il loro sogno davanti ad un paese in festa e seguiti dai media di tutto il mondo. Nella sola Londra è stato contato circa un milione di persone nelle strade e numerose erano le feste in tutto il Regno Unito, compresa una colazione di matrimonio nella frazione di Chapel Row dove vive la famiglia Middleton e una celebrazione a Bucklebury Farm Park il paese natale della sposa. Anche le nazioni del Commowealth e persino gli USA hanno celebrato le nozze reali inglesi.
Tra gli ospiti di spicco invitati al matrimonio reale erano presenti David e Victoria Beckham, Sir Elton John con il partner David Furnish, Rowan “Mr. Bean” Atkinsons, il regista Guy Ritchie ex – marito di Madonna, la pop star Joss Stone, il fotografo peruviano Mario Testino amico di Lady Diana, la medaglia d’oro di nuoto Ian Thorpe e il campione di rugby Gareth Thomas. Tra i politici presenti Sir John Mayor ex- primo ministro inglese e tutore di William ed Harry dopo la morte della madre, il Primo Ministro David Cameron, il Vice Primo Ministro Nick Clegg, il Cancelliere George Osborne, il Sindaco di Londra Boris Johnson e il leader laburista Ed Miliband. Era assente Lady Margaret Thatcher per malattia. Tony Blair e Gordon Brown ufficialmente non sono stati invitati perché non hanno ricevuto l’Ordine delle Giarrettiera, ma il vero motivo non è chiaro.
Esclusi i capi di stato di discendenza non reale come il francese Nicolas Sarkozy, il Presidente degli USA Barack Obama, la tedesca Angela Merkel. Per l’Italia non è stato invitato il Primo Ministro Silvio Berlusconi, ma era presente il Marchese Vittorio Frescobaldi, noto anche per gli omonimi vini pregiati.
Fra i leader stranieri è intervenuta Julia Gillard il Primo Ministro dell’Australia la cui presenza ha riacceso il dibattito tra repubblicani e monarchici. L’Australia, infatti, come tutti i paesi del Commonwealth ha come capo di stato la Regina Elisabetta, ma una forte maggioranza della popolazione vuole passare alla repubblica.
Soprattutto ha lasciato senza parole la presenza nella lista dei capi di stato stranieri di almeno otto dittatori sanguinari: il re Mswati III (Swaziland) che ha studiato in Inghilterra; il principe Mohamed bin Nawaf (Arabia Saudita) che è stato ambasciatore a Londra; lo Sceicco Emiro Ahmad Hmoud Al-Sabah (Kuwait); la principessa consorte Lalla Salma (Marocco); Sayyid Haitham bin Tariq Al Said (Oman) ex- moglie del Sultano dell’Oman che ha anche fatto il militare nell’esercito inglese; lo Sceicco Emiro Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani (Qatar); il Principe Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (Abu Dhabi). Gli ultimi tre hanno tutti studiato all’Accademia Militare di Sandhurst nel Regno Unito.
Il Principe Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa (Bahrain) che ha studiato a Cambridge, anche lui invitato alle nozze, ha dovuto declinare l’invito, a causa delle violenze che stanno sconvolgendo il suo Paese.
Tutti costoro sono tiranni e alcuni stanno reprimendo con brutale violenza le proteste di migliaia di cittadini. La famiglia reale si è giustificata dichiarando che è prassi comune invitare per i matrimoni reali sovrani di altre monarchie regnanti. In effetti tra gli invitati c’erano anche re e regine di paesi democratici come Spagna, Norvegia, Belgio e Lussemburgo.
A fronte dello sfarzo nobiliare la famiglia Middleton sembra rimpicciolire. Numerosi i se e i ma che hanno accompagnato il fidanzamento di William con la “borghese” Kate. Non essendo di nobili origini Kate è stata subito ribattezzata la principessa “low cost” e critiche sono piovute soprattutto sulla madre. Ma la famiglia Middleton pur non avendo sangue blu nelle vene, e nonostante gli antenati minatori, di certo non è umile, ma anzi è molto ricca grazie all’azienda di famiglia e Kate è in realtà una milionaria.
Tanto che il vestito della sposa, un regalo dei genitori, è stato realizzato dalla Alexander McQueen, dello stilista morto suicida l’anno scorso. La designer Sarah Burton lo ha definito “l’esperienza delle sua vita”. L’abito è stato fatto a mano dalla Scuola Reale di Ricamo della Hampton Court Palace e misura 2,70 metri. I sarti addetti alla lavorazione del vestito si sono lavati le mani ogni 30 minuti per mantenere il tessuto senza macchie e gli aghi venivano cambiati ogni 3 ore affinché fossero sempre appuntiti e puliti. La tiara della sposa è firmata Cartier. Il Principe William ha indossato l’uniforme da Colonnello delle Guardie Irlandesi con lo stemma della Royal Air Force.
Mentre il sito della BBC è stato messo in ginocchio dal traffico, si è registrato un aumento vertiginoso nei consumi dell’energia elettrica a causa dell’eccessivo uso delle televisioni.
La partecipazione popolare è stata grande. Le strade erano gremite a tal punto che era praticamente impossibile passare. Gli accessi a “The Route” il percorso che gli sposi hanno seguito all’andata e al ritorno da Westminster Abbey sono stati chiusi molto presto a causa della troppa gente presente. Molte persone, infatti, si sono addirittura accampate il giorno prima ed hanno dormito in tende e sedie, alcuni anche avvolti nei cartoni, pur di poter vedere la coppia passare. E tuttavia si sono dovuti accontentare dei maxi- schermi per poter seguire il matrimonio nella sua totalità.
Già la mattina presto gli accessi erano chiusi e si veniva dirottati verso Hyde Park che ha visto circa 300.000 persone presenti una vera e propria discoteca all’aperto, con maxi -schermi e diretta BBC, concerto e presentatore. Numerosissime le feste organizzate circa 5.000 in tutta la Gran Bretagna, di cui 2.000 nella sola Londra, tutte di diversi tipi: dai party privati, ai pub, dai concerti alle feste alternative.
Le tanto annunciate proteste degli anarchici che da mesi turbano il sonno dei governativi non sono avvenute. Sono state arrestate 52 persone, ma molte sono le critiche piovute su Scotland Yard che ha operato arresti preventivi nei giorni precedenti il matrimonio utilizzando le leggi antiterrorismo. Circa 10 persone sono state arrestate durante una Right Royal Orgy a Soho. Altre 13 persone sono state arrestate a Charing Cross perché in possesso di equipaggiamento per scalare e manifesti contro la monarchia. Inoltre, 21 persone sono state arrestate il giorno prima del matrimonio a seguito di raid in 5 casa occupate a Londra. Tuttavia, l’imponente servizio di sicurezza composto da circa 5.000 poliziotti ha retto bene e non si sono verificati incidenti di rilievo. Il matrimonio ha regalato alla stanca economia inglese un giro d’affari calcolato in 2 miliardi di sterline che avrà effetti anche nel futuro. Un bel regalo di nozze.
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