In one season of the hit television series Desperate Housewives, some of the male characters get together to play music by forming a band that becomes their leisure activity. My favorite character happened to be the lead guitarist (and he played a Fender Stratocaster in the series). So I empathized and found it very likable. It’s a shame that the writers had thought of this little act to make the members of the group look like immature children who had not yet left their adolescence behind.
Every now and then I vent on this blog the hifi quandaries that arise after certain reflections. Obviously I choose the exaggerated word quandary to be ironic about the problems that often attack the minds of hifi enthusiasts, known as audiophiles. How can these really be existential problems? Much more should we worry about and turn into a real quandary. So let me be self-ironic and get to the point, because for someone who has a blog titled “I still play vinyl” and shares tips on how to best adjust Thorens turntables, this could be a real revolution, something total that shakes the foundations. On the plus side, questioning oneself and one’s ability to change ideas and contradict oneself is sometimes a good thing…
First of all I want to clarify that in this post I do not want to teach anything to anyone. I simply want to put in writing and share some things I have understood; by writing them I pin down the concepts, make them my own and clarify my ideas further. In addition, I gather these concepts in a single page for my future memory. Then if sharing can help someone else, so much the better.
As I often say, I’m just a strummer, not a musician. With the guitar I can do some things at a decent level, enough to perform them acceptably in public. Then all I have to do is look around a bit and there are plenty of guitarists better than me. I’m just not that bad, okay?
If one day I will learn to read and write music, know a little more about music theory, harmony, etc., and maybe make some money playing or teaching, maybe then I will shyly call myself a musician.
A photo of me in my early twenties, smiling in a way that I rarely appeared in photos of the time, happy in my element, pleased with myself. I really wasn’t (but would I ever be?). In fact I was often portrayed with a long face, like I was angry or had just been in trouble. But in this picture I’m in a break in a rehearsal room with the band I played in as a college student, with my sister on bass and two other friends on drums and keyboards. I am holding in my arms the most precious object of my life. Not because it was something expensive, on the contrary. It was my first electric guitar, a copy of the Fender Stratocaster I had always dreamed of. My parents gifted it to me on my 16th birthday. We’ve been inseparable ever since. That’s why I look so good in this photo, which is why it made me think.
I admit that having grown up with Marvel comics, rock music and US TV shows, the American myth has accompanied me for almost all my life. Studying a scientific subject such as geology has also strengthened it, seeing that many of the fundamental discoveries have been made through Americans, while in Italy very little has been done and even less is being done for topics that concern my field of study. In fact, I had quite a few difficulties entering the working world as a geologist. Therefore, it was natural for me to see the USA as the land of opportunities even in geology. I was immature and I had no idea how the “system” worked in my country. If I had been aware of it, maybe I wouldn’t have missed the opportunities that came my way but that I recognized only in hindsight, when the train had already passed….
If my two and a half readers have followed my posts about turntable cartridges, they will have found them rather erratic. In one of them I admitted complete confusion. There are reasons to that. The first one is I had changed integrated amplifier, speaker cables and listening room in a short time period. I lost control on my overall sound so I was not sure what was going on. My few readers would know I am fond of Grado cartridges and the way the company is family-run in the old legendary labs in Brooklyn, NY. But I had some misfortune with my Grado styli and broke the two I had just when I had lost my job and could not spend money on that stuff. Something happened in that period that made me think twice about my favorite brand and caused some confusion in what I believed were my tastes. I found a Shure cart for free from a broken turnable.