Got a feeling I’ve been here before…

Got a feeling I’ve been here before…

In 1973, when Donald Fagen snarled disparagingly of “Show Biz Kids” in their “Steely Dan t-shirts”, he couldn’t have expected that forty years later he’d be embarking on epic cross-country tours, singing the same line night after night to thousands of fans dressed in over-priced garb emblazoned with the name of his very same band. The irony is not lost on Fagen nor his Steely Dan co-founder Walter Becker. Having given up touring in the mid-seventies, retreating to the studio to focus on the pursuit of jazz-rock perfection, the duo reformed a live band in the early nineties and have…

Where everybody knows your name?

A couple of years ago I wrote about what I had perceived as a growing trend in Hollywood for inserting the name of a movie’s main character into its title. While this tendency has not subsided completely, lately I’ve begun to notice other naming devices used by film and television producers (especially within the comedy genre) that do little to dispel perceptions that the industry’s creative well hath run dry. I no longer consider myself an avid viewer of network television, nor a frequent movie-goer (which I’d like to think says more about the deteriorating quality of both media than…

Verpiana Memories

Verpiana Memories

When I was a boy my best friend was another boy named Joe. We must have met when we were about four or five, and from that point on spent what seemed like most weekends together. Thanks to this near inseparable friendship, Joe’s parents quickly became close friends with mine. Both were artists — his father a sculptor and his mother a ceramicist — and both were pretty successful in their respective fields. My family and his would often go to the cinema or have dinner together at the weekends, and then one of us would sleep over at the…

Football without borders

Football without borders

As you will not need reminding, next week’s Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund will be the first such game to involve two teams from Germany. The emphatic nature of both clubs’ semi-final victories has caused the media to focus on the fact, although it is already the fourth time teams from a single country have disputed the final of Europe’s most prestigious cup competition. Spain, Italy and England had each achieved the same distinction prior to this weekend’s upcoming Battle of the Bundesliga. In 2000 Real Madrid beat Valencia in Paris, in 2003 Milan overcame Juventus…

The Eternity of a Moment

The Eternity of a Moment

I’ve never been much of a planner. I know what I like, and I usually know what I want, but rarely do I have any idea how to go about getting either. And yet life happens irrespectively. So from time to time I am inclined to ask myself, Well, how did I get here? It’s a timeless and universal question that invariably pops into the mind of every adult when they realize that their life is moving more quickly than they can comprehend. Yet as the past begins to stretch away behind me, the easier it becomes to recognize and…

Black and blue

Black and blue

In August 1990, just weeks after Totò Schillaci’s exploits at that summer’s World Cup, a shared place of birth would have seemed the only connection between the newborn Mario Balotelli and Italy’s Golden Boot winner. Born in Palermo to two Ghanaian immigrants, Thomas and Rose Barwuah, young Mario had a difficult first few years, undergoing a series of intestinal operations as a toddler. Even after being placed in foster care with the Balotelli family in the northern town of Brescia, the idea that Mario would one day wear the blue of Italy, let alone become a national icon, would have…

Rained on and reigned over

Rained on and reigned over

One year on from the wedding of William & Kate, another royal event is already upon us, as Britain unites for a vapid exercise in fervent plastic-flag waving. This time the occasion is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, although the worthier cause for celebration, besides the ability of the grotesquely privileged to stay alive, is once again lost on me. As is always the case with royal events, the enthusiasm of the national media and huddled masses is as baffling as it is predictable. Of course, royal appearances have always been accompanied by a sea of blinkered supporters,…

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