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Archive for November, 2011

“The Pillars Of the Earth” by Ken Follet

November 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Title: The pillars of the Earth

Author: Ken Follet

Editor: MacMillian Publisher Ltd.

Pages: 1101

Price: 10.80 €

Wandering through London it is possible to bump into the most beautiful cathedrals in all over Europe: from the Saint Paul’s Cathedral, passing by the Southward Cathedral, to the renowned Westminster Cathedral.

In these buildings we can find people praying, people thinking about their life problems or more simply people visiting them.

But what’s the historical background of these buildings? Why did men build them?

This novel by Ken Follet tries to give us another way to observe these buildings.

Using an effective writing style, the author draws us towards a story of love, hatred, passion, ideals, treasons, trick, power and political struggle.

Set in the 12th century, during the period of King Stephen and the Anarchy, the story tells of Tom Builder, a penniless master builder, who was dismissed from his previous commission by Hamleight family, who has a hidden dream: building a cathedral.

After being fired Tom and his family start wandering to find a new employment but his wife Agnes dies in the forest giving birth to their last son, leaving him alone with his son, Alfred, and his daughter, Martha.

Here he meets Ellen, his future wife and previously a nun who left the monastery after falling pregnant, who lives in the wood with her son Jack, a clever and shy boy.

Subsequently they settle in Kingsbridge, where Prior Philip, serious and devout monk, runs the monastery and struggles against the thirsty of power of the Bishop Waleran Bigod.

In this town, facing troubles, betrayals and political competition, Tom begins the building of his cathedral.

Follet uses his characters to emphasize human behaviour.

On the one hand we can talk about the positive feelings: Tom Builder represents passion and devotion; Jack, Ellen’s son, represents stubbornness, bravery and determination to succeed; Aliena, Earl Bartholomew’s daughter who rejected Hamleight’s son, represents independence and willingness to solve the predicaments of life and Prior Philip represents strong faith in ideals and morals.

On the other hand we can identify the negative feelings: William Hamleight represents arrogance and obsession, he fervently desires Aliena after she refused his offer of marriage, and violence, which is used to achieve his whims; Waleran Bigod, continuously thirsty of power, represents the political ability to cheat and obtain more power from any situation.

A well-written book, a masterpiece, which observes the Middle Age from a different point of view allowing us to understand what lies behind buildings and which stunning power plots they can hide.

“Lulu” by Lou Reed and Metallica

November 24, 2011 Leave a comment

CD Album: Lulu

Author: Lou Reed and Metallica

Label: Warner Bros.

Tracks: 10

Length: 87:04

Released: October 31st, 2011

Price: £8.99

Sixties rock’n’roll created a huge number of myths and legends, including a few names such as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Lou Reed.

They changed the world of music completely.

During the eighties heavy metal, was a genre coming from rock made another music revolution, creating new myths and legends as Iron Maiden and Metallica.

When two big myths put together their talent, the result can only be explosive.

This is the case of “Lulu”, a collaborative album by Lou Reed and Metallica.

The story of this masterpiece started two years ago, during Rock and Roll of Fame’s 25thAnniversary, when the metal band and the songwriter played together for first time.

In February 2011 Kirk Hammet, Metallica guitarist, announced that his band had started working on a new work “not a 100 per cent metal record”.

After a few weeks James Hetfield, leader and singer of theLos Angelesband, revealed the collaboration with Lou Reed.

The artists finished recording in June and the label, Warner Bros, released the album on 31stOctober.

“Lulu” is a two CD concept album based on two plays, “Earth spirit”, 1895, and “Pandora’s box”, 1904, written by the dramatist Frank Wedekind.

These plays tell the story of Lulu, a woman living on street who is saved by a gentleman.

But the huge selfish nature of this woman, imbued with greed, thirsty of power, passion, perversion and hunger for money, will lead her to certain death.

The first CD contains six tracks and it tells us the beginning of the Lulu drama.

The music, arranged by Metallica, gives a perfect gloom and dull atmosphere, while the suffering voice of Lou Reed, who wrote all lyrics, transmits despair to the listener.

The worst sides of the human nature are examined in a deep introspective way.

The second CD is four tracks long and more melodic, the message transmits eternal damnation.

Lulu is a desperate woman, “I don’t have the strength I once had”, the Reed verses declare.

The power and ability to obtain everything has become useless now, the material wealth can not avoid a mortal destiny.

The last song, “Junior dad”, is an excruciating meditation about the past life of Lulu, without a hint of regret, but only the strong desire of living forever.

Probably the fans will be disappointed, this is not a usual Metallica or Lou Reed album, it is “Lulu”, it lives an its own life, detached from the genre of these musicians.

This is a demanding and well-made musical effort which tries to analyse a difficult matter as the human nature deeply.

“The Lost Symbol” by Dan Brown

November 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Title: The Lost Symbol

Author: Dan Brown

Editor: Corgi Books Limited

Pages: 670

Price: 10, 80£

Reading a book is always a good, reading a good book is a pleasure, but reading an extraordinary book gives an endless pleasure.

“The lost symbol”, amazing third chapter of the Robert Langdon saga, is a race against the time without excluding blow below the belt.

Set in Washington DC, Dan Brown does not introduce a controversial religious secret but he tells of the most ancient organizations of occult: the Freemasonry.

Peter Solomon, mentor of Robert Langdon, high rank degree mason and director of the Smithsonian Centre, summons him for addressing a conference in Capitol Building.

Tired, breathless and anxious he rushes not to be in late, he come in Capitol Rotunda, the central hall of the building, where he do not find a lecture to give but he find the cut arm of his friend, recreating the Hand of Mysteries, an old esoteric symbol.

The author of this plot is Mal’akh, a thirsty of power mason member who previously kidnapped Mr Salomon and then he summoned the symbologist.

In this way, the kidnapper will oblige Langdon to interpret the figures on the Mason’s Pyramid, which should hide the location of the Lost Word, a secret who will give the criminal endless power.

Immediately it starts a frantic hunt who involves Katherine Solomon, Peter’s sister conducting experiments about Noetic Science at Smithsonian Centre, Warren Bellamy, Freemason and Architect of the Capitol, Reverend Colin Galloway, high rank mason, and Inoue Sato, head of the CIA.

Discovering sad truths and unthinkable arcanes, Langdon will be able to forbid Mal’akh of achieving his purpose and he will save his friend.

This book is flowing, quick and involving, a pleasant story well-structured and appealing.

Another time Dan Brown gives a proof of his great ability of writer, keeping the reader stuck to the pages from the start to the end.

Categories: Books Tags: ,

Sad autumn for Liguria

November 20, 2011 Leave a comment

The small borough of Vernazza before the flood in October. Source: http://www.trekguyd.wordpress.com

The view was appalling: water swept away cars, waste bins and dead animals.

People were on the roofs shouting and invoking help.

Throughout the city it was possible to hear the deafening noise of sirens and alarms.

The rain went on without ceasing a single moment.

This is not the new set design of the last catastrophic film of Steven Spielberg, but it is the picture ofLiguria, inItaly, this autumn.

The torrential rain caused floods and uncountable troubles in one of the most beautiful tourist resort, the Cinque Terre, and Genoa.

Cinque Terre (Five Lands) was a famous rugged portion of coast, composed of five villages: Vernazza, Monterosso al Mare, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore, inhabited by fishermen and peasants, and their economy was based on self-sufficiency and tourism.

In 1997 this vacation place became part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site

The road allowed us to reach Vernazza only and it was an amazing route through natural surroundings, winding up and down the hills.

Sometimes a little deer or a nice squirrel appeared before you crunching grass or nuts.

This small community represented the traditional Ligurian suburb, nestled among hills.

A church and its square were surrounded with stone arcades and below there were fish and craft shops, then in circular layout the houses of the inhabitants.

A small harbour for the fisher boats and a beautiful beach are situated in front this plaza, where the sea was so crystals clear that it seemed to be in theCaribbean Sea.

A peaceful and sunny place for setting a fairy tale.

Vernazza after the disaster. Source: http://www.trekguyd.wordpress.com

Since October 24th this does not exist anymore, a huge wave of water and mud flooded everything.

Where tourists used to take pictures or sunbathe, there were excavators and heaps of silt.

Craftsmen and fishermen shut down their businesses, “I lost everything,” Aldo Basso, a pizzeria owner, said, “The mud buried my shop. I don’t know how I can go on.”

“We are working without stopping to solve the biggest problems,” Vincenzo Resasco, Major of Vernazza, declared. “We need every kind of aid. It will be hard, but we can go out from this terrible situation.”

After one week, while everybody was hoping a good recovery for this small heavenly place, the two main rivers ofGenoa, Bisagno and Sturla overflowed causing countless damages.

Genoa, founded around 5th – 6th century, is situated in a strategic location.

High hills protect the northern part of the city, while the southern part looks out onto sea; this allowedGenoato be one of the most important harbour cities from the Middle Ages until nowadays.

This predominance allowed the city to be nicknamed “Superba”.

But this time, weather condition defeated the glory of this community.

Every road was flooded, houses transformed in pools in front the desperation of the owners, mud, coming from the hills, invaded everything, manholes exploded under water pressure, people lost everything, their belongings, their cars, their houses and unfortunately some lost their lives.

Million of Euros in damages is the result of a wrong policy based on territorial exploitation, “The ruling class established the wrong relationship with the environment,” Mario Tozzi, famous Italian geologist, claimed to the Italian press, “They allowed building contractor to create edifices near rivers and sometimes above them, without allowing water to flow in good way.”

Mr Gian Vito Graziano, National President of Geologist, voiced the same opinion, “There is a strong necessity to plan with the environment and not to plan against it.”

The reaction of the youngsters was amazing, without thinking twice they organised special voluntary team, “Angels of the mud,” to help people and authorities to settle damages.

“This movement was born spontaneously. We want to help the people,” Simone, a 19-years-old smiling, dirty, tired “Angel of the mud” said proudly, “Many times we were told that doing well is good. We, knowingly or not, are made for doing well.”

This is a little ray of hope for recovering from this disgrace and for deserving again the nicknamed “Superba” of Italy.

The water of two main rivers of Genoa invade the streets. Source: BBC Online

Categories: Italy Tags: , ,

Here I am

November 18, 2011 1 comment

Since I was a child my interest was investigate, understanding what was around me and how the events develop.

Growing up this interest became a sort of passion, understanding different cultures, different ways of thinking, different stories was fundamental to compare my social environment with the others on our World.

The University studies allowed me to deepen the knowledge of “other”, law gave me the possibility to compare political systems, economy was important to understand the mechanism behind political plots, history supplied the necessary background and sociology gave the basis to observe the human behavior.

But my academic course focused also on journalism, providing a course of Media Law, important to know the limit of journalism, Theory and Technique of journalist language, teaching how an article has to be written and History of Journalism, an interesting background of the journalistic development.

Journalism is my field of action and to improve my knowledge, since 13th September I have been in London, enrolled in a Postgraduate course in General Journalism at the London School of Journalism.

A reader could ask: why London?

Well this is my second passion.

I visited this city in the 2005 for the first time and it was love right now….

Different reasons obliged me to postpone my transfer in England, but once I finished the University nobody and nothing could stop my project.

Finally here I am…for studying journalism in the country where it was born and improving one of the most used languages in the world.

I’m not a journalist yet and this blog does not want be a guru of the sector.

The purpose is to allow me to voice my opinion in the sectors of my interest politic and economy, also giving space to my  favorite pastimes, reading, listening to music and travel.

Categories: Italy