Anyone can buy a guitar, get some practice (Youtube would be enough), take some lessons or advice from someone who already plays and then say “I play guitar”. That’s what I did. An uncle gave my sister and me his guitar when we were 9 and 11 respectively. We experimented based on the first chords our uncle gave us. And we moved on. I in particular focused on being a guitarist, learning solos as well. Then when I was 16 the electric guitar arrived and by the time I was 20 we had a small band playing the songs of our heroes in the rehearsal rooms. When people say “I play guitar” it doesn’t mean much. I’ve always said that about myself – I play guitar – but what does it really mean? Do I play it alone? In a band? Do I perform publicly or do I play at home sitting on the couch? Even a professional can claim “I play guitar”. It only takes a small-time professional to humiliate someone like me who plays in his spare time. But there are also non-professionals with killer technique. The vast majority have not become famous, not even those who make a living from guitar.
I’ve been playing guitar since I was very young and some sense of rhythm I should have by now. If we extend the concept to everyday life, I see it a bit as a matter of being able to adapt to situations based on what is happening around and what our skills are. In short, being good at keeping the rhythm of life is definitely very useful. Sometimes I’ve been able to do it and adapt to unexpected changes, first and foremost the loss of my dream job. It’s no secret that I see the periods of my life marked by the cars used at that time. It may not be very poetic to tie memories to family cars but I have a whole section of this site dedicated to the subject. And the latest addition to the family bears the name of an award, as if to say that I have been …Bravo.
I had a dream. It was night and the headlights of a car illuminated a gate of a country house. It was as if I was looking at them sideways at their height, as if I were a child. I felt that feeling of security and warmth of going home with your family, a very positive feeling that was imprinted on me with that same image of the dream. The car headlights were round and chrome. There were four of them. In the middle was a V-shaped grille with a round logo on the top that always reminded me of a time when life was different, it had another, more natural rhythm. A time when when you were traveling or simply taking a ride you were untraceable and to call someone you had to look for a pay phone. It was also the most glorious period of the brand of that logo and I associate it with my childhood and a pre-digital period, with more human rhythms. It was the Alfa Romeo logo on a front panel typical of those years: Oo=V=oO.
Things change. Life is a becoming. What happens has consequences. It’s natural. The big changes in life, those that leave a mark, that cause the greatest stress and therefore require a greater readjustment of a person’s life, come sooner or later for everyone: bereavements, changes or loss of jobs, relocations, marriages and separations, births of children. They are both positive and negative stress. You are no longer the same when you become a parent, nor when you lose a loved one. As far as my life is concerned, the most beautiful and intense positive stress was the birth of my son: I discovered that you can’t describe how you feel, you only understand it when it happens to you; the feeling I describe to those who ask me is that I felt finally “complete”. So far the worst negative stress that has happened to me has been the loss of my job.
Two things made it heavier than it normally is: the struggle and sacrifices I made to get to the job I dreamed of and the critical age at which I lost it, shortly after I was 50. It was like being in no man’s land, too young to retire, too old to be hired again.
I was born and raised in Italy and obviously I have been exposed to our musical culture. I’ve been humming songs since before going to school. I also sang the musical parts, for the fun of the many uncles and aunts who buzzed around me. Then I started putting my hands on a toy keyboard and finally got to the guitar around the age of 11. Of course I played the Italian songs I listened to on the radio. But a voice inside me told me I needed something more…