I’m more Shure now…

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. Continue reading  

Sunday morning guitar players

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.

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The website of lost causes…

HiFi? And who listens to music anymore with two well-placed speakers and a system with separate components? Stream in earbuds and go!

The electric guitar is no longer the star of music, the cool “musician” dances and makes a scene, he certainly can’t play. Young people do not sacrifice themselves to learn an instrument….

Computers are very up-to-date but the Internet is not what it used to be, computer literacy is not needed since a PC is used for social activities and gaming.

Geology? And what is it? Is it useful? I graduated in it and ended up doing another job myself. Geology is not duly considered among the sciences. It’s a big mistake but it continues to be ignored;

Photography? Film? No way! A smartphone is enough, what do we care about exposure latitude and field depth!

Cars with a certain character? Mah … the German stereotype = cool goes for the most. Instead, the made in Italy would deserve but … who believes it except me?

Aikido! Art of harmony? But I want to fight, otherwise what is the point of a martial art? The streets are dangerous and I need to defend myself: MMA and BJJ!

They may be lost causes but I enjoy them…and I let off steam! It all started with the curiosity of understanding how a website works. Then it got into my head and grew over the years. It’s something I do for myself, aware of the fact that maybe nobody reads me. If someone will find useful the things they read here, I’ll be the happiest blogger on the internet… 😉

Happy reading!

Exams and failures

Pasquale_RobustiniIn the summer of 2012, during the usual Philippe Gouttard seminar in Follonica (Tuscany), I failed my 3rd dan Aikikai exam with the great French master. Some would argue that my image as a teacher, although since a short while, could suffer a serious damage. Furthermore, the feelings after a failure are diverse. The will of practicing decreases a bit. You feel a somehow mentally tired knowing that all you’ve done was not enough, while you were convinced it was much. Like after a bicycle or horse accident, it is important to start over again soon! Thank God I was at a seminar, so, immediately after my failed test, I was back on the mat!
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Understanding the Great Masters

gouttardFor the past three decades, I have been returning to Tokyo every year in order to train with the masters of the Hombu Dojo, and every time I feel the same joy, even though my expectations are not always fulfilled once I actually step on the tatami. But it is just fine like that. Given this situation, there are questions that I am being asked rather often, particularly during the social moments such as those spent at the cafe nearby the Hombu Dojo, the one where foreign practitioners often meet between classes. These questions are mostly “Why are you coming back to Tokyo every year? What are you coming for? Why do you always go to Saku to train with Endo Sensei even though your practice does not at all correspond to the principles that he is demonstrating?” Continue reading