Friday, January 29, 2010

Vinyl Landmarks of the Sound

The more digital world gets the more analog my life becomes. Already for a few months I listen music from compact cassettes and vinyl records only. I tactile interaction with media. And in case of LPs, I love wonderful pre computer art and photographic work. Airbrush, grainy photography, innovative foldouts and sleeve cuts - pure joy to handle. I listen records more ritual and art work than sound quality. Most of my eclectic record collection comes from trash piles of New York. Worn an abused, reminders of the time when record release by favorite band was real cultural event and thrill of anticipation.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I went to see EUR, suburban area of Roma reachable  by Metro, because Michelangelo Antanioni filmed L'eclisse  here. EUR water reservoir or  “fungo” of this upper class neiborhood was present in many scenes and stuck in my head.  Obviously that M. Antanioni chose this location for unique look and feel.  I wanted to see and explore area for myself.  it was raining.  I have intended to  spent  a couple hours, look around, snap a few pictures, homage way. The moment got out of strange Metro station painted in Yves Klein blue it felt not like an ordinary place. Big and deeply dug in  construction project next to the station emanated quite subtle industrial soundtrack consisting of power tools and truck engines noise coming from depths of concrete orchestra pit. Audience consisted from two middle aged man with umbrellas observing action from the street level. Il Fungo was visible behind artificial lake and tall trees. It's look slightly changed  by presence of mobile communications antennas and by not working electronic clock display. Rain made streets almost absent of human presence, eerie Chirico like urban landscape. Monoliths of office buildings and modernist residential towers cut by park, private estates and various embassies behind the gates. Architecture here is very interesting expensively build modern of 50's and 60  surrounded by pine and cedar tree green.

While taking pictures across the street I have noticed tall woman dressed in long black coat and light beige shoes who was smoking a cigarette. She looked like someone waiting or have nowhere to go.
It seemed odd, somebody standing in the rain and place like that. She had big grotesque looking pale face. I was continuing shooting. Smaller ratty looking woman joined woman in coat across the street. They exchanged a few words, smaller one started walking to me obviously not very happy, since by talking picture of crossing I have pointed my camera at them. I realized that to woman are  prostitutes, and the big one most likely is a trannie. No wonder she looked so odd. I didn't expected to see them here in the early afternoon. The small one started bitching about me taking pictures and that she needs to work to feed her children. They mistook me for journalist, they don't want publicity. I explained that I didn't really took picture of them, but architecture, buildings. It why I'm here for. Not I'm not from the newspaper, I'm just curious tourist. She calmed down, I started walking away. She followed me just to be sure that I leaving her territory. I was moving towards Mushroom on the hill, structure surrounded by posh fenced residencies, and park. Here again I have noticed Middle Eastern looking youth in late 20's dressed in track suit aimlessly wondering among the trees in the rain. Most likely male prostitute. Destitute and void of the place just got stronger.

There is a restaurant at the top of water tower. Expensive, and I got impression,  not very welcoming one. I have trying to imagine what kind of clientele dines here. In the parking lot of establishment I found half bottle of red wine. I took a swig out it. Wine was sweet and cheap tasting. I wonder who drinks this kind of wine in Italy? Took bottle with me to the park to finish for the sake of experience. It was revolting sweetness, but I poured it down to my throat.  Took some more pictures and started walking back. Smaller prostitute was still at her street corner. I waved her good bye, she waved me back. Transexual was gone.

Monday, January 04, 2010

World Made by Hand

Nowadays, real luxury is being identified with craftsmanship. Tradition of making things by hand, fixing old stuff and maintaining feel of time still very much alive in Rome. Many business exist out of necessity to maintain old Roman apartments and lifestyle. Tiny shops and workshops maned by one person or staff of few busy with restoring antique art and furniture, creating wooden and metal architectural elements. Music instruments are made and the old ones travel from around the world to be lovingly restored here. Small independent fashion designers and shoe makers create individual pieces for people with style and taste. Design, materials and painstaking workmanship are exquisite. If you can't afford, just good too know that old traditions still alive and artisan skills in demand.