Friday, July 29, 2016


When things get too familiar, too routine, too repetitious, too obsessive, too frustrating, or too whatever, I like to try something that gives me a kick but doesn't necessarily lead anywhere or mean anything except a momentary YES!

Singing is like that for me - not serious singing, not proper singing, just fun. Songs I love, done my way. Best fun of all is concocting a different musical background for a well-known song (I use Garage Band) and singing over it. I recorded a few of these 'covers' and probably uploaded some in past blog posts but I don't remember when or where.

I must thank Roderick whose recent attempts to post a sound recording of his own voice led to my proposing variously convoluted techy options but the problem was finally solved by commenter MikeM who suggested a very straightforward solution. I've now used picosound myself to post two recordings.....

(Click on the titles to hear the clips)

1.  Nat's No Regrets  (Je Ne Regrette Rien)

2.  Nat's Cucuru  (Cucurucucu Paloma)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


A musical interlude.

I've always loved the song Caruso for its beautiful minor chords, its melancholy, but until now I never bothered looking up who wrote it or when. I assumed it was old, traditional, perhaps anonymous, and Neapolitan. Having finally consulted Wikipedia (please do likewise if you don't already know the story) I find that it really was about Caruso but even sadder than I thought.

Here it is on YouTube performed as a duet by Lucio Dalla (the song's composer) and Pavarotti in 1992. Listen to it before reading my rough translation.

CARUSO by Lucio Dalla 1986

Here where the sea sparkles
And the wind blows hard
On the old terrace
Facing the Gulf of Sorrento
A man embraces a girl
Who has been crying
He clears his throat
And takes up his song again

I love you very much you know
So very very much you know
We’re locked in a chain by now
It heats the blood in our veins by now

He sees lights flickering on the ocean
He thinks of nights in America
But it’s only the lights
The white froth behind a motorboat
He feels the pain in the music
He rises from the piano but then he sees
The moon emerging from behind a cloud
And even death seems sweet to him
He looks into the girl’s eyes
Her sea-green eyes
Suddenly a tear falls
And he feels he is drowning


The power of words
When every drama is a farce
A bit of makeup and makebelieve
And you can be someone else
But two eyes gazing into yours
So close, so true
Make you forget the words
Confound your thoughts
You become very small
Even your nights in America
You turn around and see your whole life
Disappearing behind the blades of a propeller
Even if life is ending
He’s not thinking too much about it
He’s even feeling quite happy
He launches into his song again


Monday, July 25, 2016


Late last night, on my way home from a marvellous musical soirée at friends' house, I'm waiting at a bus stop. Two African women next to me are talking with great animation, their voices bubbling, swirling like amplified, orchestrated bird song. I want to speak this language! I turn to the larger, more voluble of the two:

me: where are you from?
she (smiles, gives me a hug, kisses my cheek): Nigeria.
me: which part?
she: Lagos.
me: My friend Teju Cole is from there.
she: Ibo?
me: Yes, Ibo. You?
she: Yoruba.
me: Oh, I think he's Yoruba too.  

(Truth is, I can't remember which of the two Teju is).
The bus arrives. The three of us get on and the large woman sits behind me.
she: How old are you?
me: I'm not going to tell you. Guess.
she: Sixty-two.
me: Thank you, I'm flattered (actually I'm ecstatic) but you're wrong.
she: Seventy-one?
me: (smiling enigmatically) Wrong. How old are you?
she: Guess.
me: Thirty-five?
Her round face, firm and polished as a nectarine, breaks into a gleaming smile.
she: I'm fifty-one.

It goes on like this and by the time I get off at my stop, we have been friends forever. We hug, we wave. I love these women. I love London.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


Uplifting news:

I'm one of the 15 winners of a film poster competition to be displayed on the hoardings of a cinema opening at the beginning of September in the old Pizza Express building in Kentish Town. I've just heard from the organisers that I'm on the winners list.

The brief was to design a poster for one's favourite film of all time. So I chose Bicycle Thieves because its brilliance is timeless and because my dear departed brother-in-law Gerardo Guerrieri worked on the memorable script. Below is my poster design and yes, I did borrow from that famous photo. Will post more when all the posters are up on the hoardings.