Imagine

Imagine. 1971. A masterpiece for music history. The soundtrack for everything. A melody that never stops resonating.

As a Beatles fan, I belong to that group of people that have been hating Yoko Ono for dragging Lennon away from the Fab Four. Yet, if it wasn’t for her, we wouldn’t have had so many of the greatest hits that were composed right after the band split up. 

Is she a musician? A painter? An artist? I’ll never get that. I just know she had a deep influence on Lennon’s songwriting and music style. An influence that generated different outcomes: the banned naked pics, the acts of solidarity, the wish for a better world. Or maybe it was just love: pure, romantic, and untouchable love.

That’s an example of life becoming music, or vice versa.

Together they were oddly extravagant. Together they were unique: solid, strong, unbeatable. United.

But then someone decided that such love wasn’t to exist. Someone decided to dismantle that perfect gear, to remove all the pins to make it collapse; to add an eternal pause at the end of that wonderful pentagram. 

Someone decided to pull the trigger.

This is what was supposed to happen. A disgusting and depreciable worm, a species of the lowest and most insignificant insects in the world shall take her away from you by ending your tiny life.

A fucking traitor!

Yoko wasn’t aware of that horrible plan, she was just a victim. She held John in her arms. Tight. And she would never forgive that guy, she would never accept what she’d lost from the very beginning. Loving hurts. 

But theirs is just an idyllic story.

When it comes to reality and real people, she was no victim. She was the one who crafted that plan, she was his partner in crime, the one who strove to get that felony accomplished. The one who enjoyed herself while offering her mortal lips to wrap the killer’s body. The one who felt sexually and morally satisfied. She made him shoot! You fucking traitors! How good must it feel to be under the spotlight for drawing such a shamefully crafty plan. What an artist! 

Nobody actually pulled the trigger. It was much easier: people don’t need a gun to place a hole in your body.

And while dying after that gun shot, my mind was just blurred, confused, glazed. I would scream out loud “SHE’S MIIIIIIIIIIIINE!!! You stay away from her, it’s not damn right!

Hell, I would never let her go.

And today…

Let’s go back to the song and how amazing it is.

Imagine there’s no heaven …

… Imagine there’s no countries …

… Imagine no possessions …

Imagine all that past hadn’t existed and you didn’t need to pay for it.

Imagine you were smart enough not to have met her that night. 

Imagine your hands weren’t shaking and you couldn’t feel her, touch her, kiss her.

Imagine you hadn’t caught that flight and rushed back into her arms.

Imagine you didn’t have to run away.

Imagine she hadn’t looked at someone else the way she looked at you.

Imagine how long you’d have lived for her…

[She’s the only thing that’s worth it]

Jim
The Britalian Post

Modern colonization

Whatever the reasons led the man to colonize the world, the hunger for discovery has probably been the main motif, an innate trait of the human being.

Men enslaved Africa, imported from India, and placed their handprints over China and Japan. The West wasn’t left apart: brave cowboys rode through the immense unexplored lands of America in order to take over new territories.

How fascinating it is to only think that somewhere back in time people left their home countries, their home towns, their families and affections, to undertake long and insecure travels that would keep them far away for months, or even years, while taking up the chance to access new lands and make history.

– I get anxious for a 3 hour flight, and I’m definitely not travelling to go change the world. –

The pure and positive, even sincere, purpose of exploring thus discovering didn’t have anything to do with the cruelty brought by the colonisation process–whereas for colonisation I refer to the subjugation and exploiting of newly found populations. 

Plus, they were also willing to teach. If imposing their own culture, habits, religion, maybe language at the top, can be considered a wise teaching process.

I wish I could provide an actual example of pacific colonisation but at the moment I can think of nothing that doesn’t involve wars and genocides. Maybe, if we also take into account isolated and specific events out of the main context, we might try to see the whole scenario under a different light. 

I believe I got one then.

I live in a shared house. I’ve never understood how many tenants are in the house, as people come and go and new faces frequently show up. One thing I know for sure is that we’re all young people, say in our late 20’s on average. Which is very promising in terms of daily interactions and house parties.

After spending the past late summer and the whole fall and winter securely locked in my room, I thought it was a good time to give my boring stand-alone-while-listening-to-sad-songs attitude a swift and embrace a open and social behaviour. This happened when I was approached a few times in the kitchen by Vlad – the Romanian guy that lives in one of the rooms on the first floor – who politely endeavoured to penetrate my rude anti-people attitude to start a conversation in the wait for our meals to be ready. I must have very much resisted his friendly “courting” and eventually I’m so glad that the guy didn’t give up on me. 

Meal after meal, drink after drink, cigarette after cigarette, chat after chat, that one-to-one situation escalated to a point where more people have become frequent house-attenders. Apparently, most of the tenants are from Romania and don’t stand the chance to invite friends over and gather around the barbecue, which means boosted-volume mainstream music and buckets of heavy alcohol. I happened to join them one evening after a long and warm Sunday out consuming beers in different spots of the city, and that’s when my brain crashed! I would be poured cups of Cognac like it was water. The funniest was the guy who doesn’t speak any English in charge of refilling my cup each time it was empty. These people are totally insane!…but I enjoy them.

That Sunday was a starting day for barbecues and house parties to be thrown one after another till 3ish in the morning in the days that followed. The guys clearly like the house and the backyard, since they spend more time in there than I do. Besides, they seem to have a lot of free time too. As far as I know, all of them work in hospitality which allows them to have late morning/early afternoon shifts and consequently enough time for night parties. However, their livers must be iron solid.

Sometimes I lie in my bed and hear them joking, singing, yelling, doing all of the things that won’t make me sleep. Come on guys I need to wake up at 5:30am and it’s already 1:30!

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, the guys are always partying, the guys are always in the house: firing our barbecue, resting on our couch, in our backyard, and building relationships with the other tenants. I don’t mind them being around, they’re a pleasant company. I mind not being able to always join their gatherings and being forced to sleep because I’m supposed to work the day after.

So when I was leaving for Italy last week at 2ish in the morning, I met some of them in the kitchen concluding their party. Guys, for real???!!! The girls that live on the first floor were also there and yes my sixth sense had spotted some affair going on. 

Do you believe it’s just about people having fun? Hell, no! This is a modern and pacific colonisation. Here’s the reality: they invade our houses, trespass on our premises, seduce our women. Help…

Whatever the reasons led the man to colonize the world, the hunger for finding entertaining locations has possibly been the main motif of today. Or maybe it’s girls, or free time.

Whatever the reasons, they don’t even need much travelling because they live close by. Settling is easy: the Romanian colonisation of the house has just begun.

Oh no, I’m being subjugated too! I’ve already started learning their language…

Jim
The Britalian Post

The musical

One of the first musicals I ever saw was We will rock you: a future-set story where music is prohibited and human beings are under the control of a dictator that seeks to transform them into drudges prone to passive obedience. Kind of.

Unwilling to undergo this form of dictatorial power are rebel gangs fighting with authorities to bring music back. The musical is shaped on the music from Queen as well as the characters that take their names and personalities from the songs. 

I saw We will rock you with my parents in January 2003 at the Dominion Theatre – guess where? – in London (same place, a younger Jim). Clear in my mind I remember the excitement, the surprise, the music played live, the comedy acts, the actors’ great voices, and a deep melancholy for the songs–Queen were my first idols when I was only 4. The show ended with Bohemian Rhapsody, that is not only one of the best and most heartfelt songs ever but a real national anthem.

On the song’s last solo – and everyone had already been challenged emotionally by the grandeur that they were attending – you can barely imagine how it felt when Brian May in flesh and bones showed up on stage to do the solo himself. A totally unexpected surprise that made the audience literally jump off of their chairs and loudly cheer to the top-notch rockstar.

We were standing in the last row – as no more seats were available when we bought our last minute tickets – and the epiphany left us speechless: few meters away was the member of one of the most outstanding bands in the history, a band that my dad and I have always so badly loved. The show, the songs, his presence on stage, all deeply touched me and I’m not afraid to say that thick tears started watering my hopeful 15-yr-old face.

The show tremendously inspired me: I no longer wanted to be among an unknown audience. I wanted to stand out and be a star myself. 

I was very young.

See, I’ve always had a thing for musicals: for the way they make life seem so much more alive, for the pure representation of love, for the characters’ unbeatable courage, for the wise lines, for the glorious endings. 

I’ve always wanted to be an actor and play an active role in a real life musical. And in my mind I actually have. I’ve often dreamt of being in a perfect romantic late springtime setting – like a bench on a path surrounded by dim lampposts in a lonely but fancy park – sitting with that one girl you like. And make her night special by suddenly standing up, dancing and singing on that super cool music coming from nowhere. Nice, uh?!

I’ve also miserably tried with music in the endeavour to become a rockstar, and for a while I really felt like one. I would have sacrificed my life, my sleep, my studies, my affections, my everything, to pursue the dream and be an active presence on stage. And it was definitely worth it, I don’t regret a minute of that time. But this is another story…

So not long ago, I was in Edinburgh for a weekend escape with my cousin. That would be my birthday present from her side. Edinburgh was so cold that we thought we would soon start icing but the weather didn’t stop us from taking part in all the activities the city has to offer. Hence on the Friday we joined a pub-crawling event. 80 people, 7 pubs, cheap drinks. Heaven! I still have confused memories except for the stunning Spanish girl that I discovered to be so freaking beautiful only the day after on Facebook while going through a horrible hangover that totally knocked me out. (Shame on me.)

At the 5th pub, we would entertain ourselves mostly with two funny French girls, both students I reckon. While clinking glasses, the girls told us they would leave in 2 days for a journey through the Scottish Islands. And leading us into temptation, we were asked to join.

The night was over and we managed to get to the hotel safe and sound–obviously we had first stopped to eat a huge burrito at about 3ish in the morning. Did you doubt it?

The night after (our last night in Edinburgh), before going to the appointment with the Ghost Bus Tour, we had a beer at this rustic open-area bar on Princes Street. Live acoustic chill-out music was playing on the background while the wind was visibly dragging us away. Luckily, hot lamps were slowly warming our chats. 

Our chats…

I guess I don’t need to be specific but…ok I will. 

We’re cousins, right. We have more or less the same blood flowing in our veins. We’ve grown up together, we’ve been facing London together, we’ve learned each other’s thoughts, secrets, fears, behaviour, flavours, types. Some may simply call it family; I will call it: love far beyond terrestrial love. (Yeah…sometimes love can go beyond love. How crazy…)

And we don’t necessarily need words to communicate. A mutual look and she brought it up. What? The girls’ invite of course. 

Now hang on, hang on a sec. Stop all your current thoughts and ask yourself: what would I quit everything for? Does it need to be something extremely vital or I’m brave enough to challenge my life? 

Tough one!

That’s what we asked each other – and in the meantime that melancholic music was boosting an ideal musical-style moment when you opt for the challenge and leave everything behind. “It’s done! Decision taken.”

A mellow mutual smile.

In the real world though, what happens when we walk away from this very place and the music disappears in the distance placing a full stop to this musical we’re looking to play? 

Was music the only key to everything? (…funk me!)

I really wish we never considered this possibility. In that moment, job duties, career, commitments and responsibilities came up to interfere. 

We didn’t go. 

We spent our last great day in Edinburgh and went back to our regular life in London.

What had happened to the young people that were once supposed to be stars? That were once meant to stand out and take up on stage?

We had grown up. 

Once again we were no actors in the musical. We were only attending its grandeur.

Jim
The Britalian Post

The bald eagle

The bald eagle.

A symbol of a solid country that keeps growing steadily despite the temperamental paradoxes. A symbol of pride, belonging, intrepidity, but above all a sense of resoluteness and determination.

A symbol of a solid identity that is tacitly approved all over the world, a one-way identity that built a huge and self-confined empire and that claims independence for itself more than for others. A symbol of fierce excitement, joyous separation, but above all a sense of bold yet naive disregard.

The American passport.

Every time people pass by holding it tight in their hands I feel someway jealous. Maybe because of its variety of colours or for the writing “We the People … Of the United States,” with the appropriate initials in capital letters, that awards emphasis on the sense of being part of a cohesive community, a piece of a puzzle that needs all of its units to be totally completed. And no one is ever left behind. 

Ever?

Well, I do not own an American passport thus I don’t really know how it feels.

Unfortunately, my experience as an “American citizen” didn’t really last long nor did it end positively, but I won’t carry on with this story any further. Thing is though, once you have a taste of the American lifestyle’s flavour there’s no going back: you can get addicted and I truly did!  

Food! Food everywhere, at anytime…in enormous supplies! Diners, milkshakes, giant burgers, pulled pork, fries, cheesecakes.

Sport! Basketball, football – My best moment was at a baseball game while consuming a hot dog and a fresh beer.

And more… Long distances, breathtaking landscapes, amazing cities, super crowded pubs, welcoming people and – why not – beautiful girls! 

My cousin Louis – American by birth, Italian by heart and almost perfect bilingual – and I were chit-chatting in a small nice pub in Baltimore with few pints at hand. We would likely be guessing about how to literally translate Neapolitan sayings (the dialect from Naples, my hometown) to English. A lot of fun indeed!…yeah, I mean, just for us…

Suddenly, we seemed to catch the attention of the two blond girls sitting on the stools by the opposite corner of the bar; perhaps our speaking loud sounded a bit awkward to them and they eventually understood we were not speaking English at all. Anyway. After winking at each other for a while, one of them would stand up and come sit next to me. Must say: she had a gorgeous smile!

Blond-haired, blue-eyed and nonetheless tipsy, she asked: “What’s that accent from?”

And me: “Italian! I’m here on vacation and I’m visiting my cousin here Louis and family.”

She: “Italian? Oh man, this is so cool!!! I think I know a bit of Italian…”

Me: “Oh do you?”

She: “Yes…BONJOUR!”

Me: “-.-“

The story has a sort of happy ending that is not worth telling.

Look, this is not about being ignorant or miserable as people just make funny mistakes at times – I don’t blame the pretty Jess. This is about living in a stronghold-country that is not entirely separated from the rest of the world but apparently very far away. As a matter of fact, when most of interactions happen in your home-country why would you ever learn any other language?! Why would you endeavour to understand others when all others endeavour to understand you?! I’m not aiming to generalise a concept but – in all sincerity – still this is what it looks like from the outside.

Am I a victim of my extreme personal judgment or of a altered and dreadful point of view?  Many would say that I am wrong on all accounts. But my thoughts won’t surely stop the earth from spinning around normally. Since, to be hypocritically honest, I’ll always long for America and never give up on this feeling.

What point am I making?

Point is what a wise man told me once, for how harsh may it sound: when you own an American passport the whole world eagerly becomes your own theatre. A theatre where Americans can act as stars while others just open and close the curtains.

And like eagles, Americans can see and fly the distance, high and mighty, over any border with unlimited freedom.

I wish I was American. I wish I was a bald eagle.

 
Jim
The Britalian Post