My Books of the Week #1: Jerome K. Jerome and Francesco Guccini

As part of my obsessive explorations in the arts, I try to read two books a week. Here are the two books I read last week.

Nuovo Dizionario delle Cose Perdute (“New Dictionary of Things Lost,” Francesco Guccini, 2014)

Penned by one of Italy’s most acclaimed singer/songwriters and a sequel to a previous book listing things that used to be popular but no longer are – from habits to objects and beyond. It’s a bit of a witty boomer-fest but also a bit charming.

Three Men in a Boat (Jerome K. Jerome, 1889)

An amusing take on the travelogue and a witty satire on masculine rituals with scattered moments of poetry. At times appears to anticipate the spirit of early slapstick comedies, which it predates by some decades, particularly those of Laurel & Hardy.


10 Great Quotes from Jerome K. Jerome’s “Three Men in a Boat” (1889)

I recently read Jerome K. Jerome’s novel, Three Men in a Boat, originally published in 1889. Here are ten quotes from this novel that particularly stood out to me.

“Throw the lumber over, man! Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need—a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing.”

“I don’t understand German myself. I learned it at school, but forgot every word of it two years after I had left, and have felt much better ever since.”

“Heavenly melody, in our then state of mind, would only have still further harrowed us. A soul-moving harmony, correctly performed, we should have taken as a spirit-warning, and have given up all hope. But about the strains of “He’s got ’em on,” jerked spasmodically, and with involuntary variations, out of a wheezy accordion, there was something singularly human and reassuring.”

“We are but the veriest, sorriest slaves of our stomach. Reach not after morality and righteousness, my friends; watch vigilantly your stomach, and diet it with care and judgment. Then virtue and contentment will come and reign within your heart, unsought by any effort of your own; and you will be a good citizen, a loving husband, and a tender father, a noble, pious man.”

“Fox-terriers are born with about four times as much original sin in them as other dogs are, and it will take years and years of patient effort on the part of us Christians to bring about any appreciable reformation in the rowdiness of the fox-terrier nature.”

“I resolved, when I began to write this book, that I would be strictly truthful in all things; and so, I will be, even if I have to employ hackneyed phrases for the purpose.”

“It always does seem to me that I am doing more work than I should do. It is not that I object to the work, mind you; I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.”

“There was a time, long ago, when I used to clamour for the hard work: now I like to give the youngsters a chance.”

“The pool under Sandford lasher, just behind the lock, is a very good place to drown yourself in.”

“We said we could not expect to have it all sunshine, nor should we wish it. We told each other that Nature was beautiful, even in her tears.”

My Films of the Week #2: Diego Maradona, The Fisher King & More

As a lifelong cinephile, I have always consumed a copious amount of films. In this new feature, I keep track of the films I watch during the week.

Diego Maradona (Asif Kapadia, 2019, United Kingdom)

The third instalment in Asif Kapadia’s trilogy of docs on child wonders, whose touch turns everything to gold. Gripping, dramatic and exciting, continues to affirm its director as one of the most influential figures in modern documentary filmmaking.

Gascoigne (Jane Preston, 2015, United Kingdom)

The story of football player Paul Gascoigne. Unlike the aforementioned Diego Maradona, Preston’s approach is more straightforward and its nostalgic touch slightly annoying. Luckily, Gascoigne’s story is interesting enough to carry the film forward.

An Honest Liar (Justin Weinstein, Tyler Measom, 2014, United States)

A documentary on trickery and truth, An Honest Liar may have slipped under the radar ever so slightly but it’s well worth re-evaulating.

Tickled (David Farrier, Dylan Reeve, 2016, New Zealand)

An online tickle competition unravels deeper, darker truths. Tickled appears quirky at the start but then becomes a downright frightening reveal of the dangers of the internet and the manipulative, powerful people behind it.

The Tickle King (David Farrier, Dylan Reeve, 2017, New Zealand)

An addendum to the original feature film Tickled, documenting the tumultuous screenings of the original film by its reluctant protagonists. To some extent, I wish more movies had an accompanying short film like this one.

Deep Web (Alex Winter, 2015, United States)

Another film that aims to reveal truths about the internet and revolutionary ideologies behind it. However, despite narration from Keanu Reeves, Deep Web feels rather dull and slow-paced compared to other more gripping similar movies.

Talk Radio (Oliver Stone, 1988, United States)

Satisfied my fascination with movies about obsessive, self-destructive men quite well. It’s also as good a film about shock jocks as, I believe, we are ever going to get.

The Fisher King (Terry Gilliam, 1991, United States)

One of the best movies Terry Gilliam has ever written. Aside from its characteristic style, the film is entertaining and carries a charming romantic core that never quite gets overbearing. Great performances by the cast all around, Amanda Plummer in a supporting role steals the show.

Penrod and Sam (William Beaudine, 1923, United States)

Initially appears like a feature-length Our Gang-like movie but later reveals itself as a much more deeper, honest exploration of boyhood. Surprisingly contemporary and mature in its depiction of play as serious business for children, and in its general avoidance of stereotypes.

National Customs (Luo Mingyou, Zhu Shilin, 1935, China)

One of the few surviving Chinese New Life Movement propaganda films. It’s not a very impressive film and kind of falls apart with its ending but remains noteworthy, particularly for being Lingyu Ruan’s final film before she took her own life at 25.

Click here to buy my book of thoughts on film, Eye of the Beholder, on Amazon!

My Albums of the Week #4: Elton John, Ella Fitzgerald, Chick Corea

I would consider myself an “albums guy” and my taste in music is very varied. In this new feature, I list the albums that I listened to most intensely during the week. The list will include albums old and new, and the number of albums listened to every week will most likely vary on a week-to-week basis.

Chick Corea Elektric Orchestra, The Chick Corea Elektric Orchestra (GRP, 1986)

TRACKLIST (Favorite tracks underlined): 1 – Rumble / 2 – Side Walk / 3 – Cool Weasel Boogie / 4 – Got a Match? / 5 – Elektric City / 6 – No Zone / 7 – Kings Cockroach / 8 – India Town

At some point, we’re just going to have to stop thinking of ’80s FM Synth sounds as outdated cheese and begin to think about them as vintage awesome. If you are interested in taking that leap, you could do much worse than The Chick Corea Elektric Band. I can see where detractors are coming from. However, there’s so much to like about this album, including the talents of this stellar lineup. And, I’m sure, that even the most passionate detractors of this LP will appreciate “Got a Match?” as one of the most important fusion tunes of this period.

Ella Fitzgerald, The Lost Berlin Tapes (Verve, 2020)

TRACKLIST (Favourite tracks underlined): 1 – Cheek To Cheek / 2 – My Kind of Boy / 3 – Cry Me a River / 4 – I Won’t Dance / 5 – Someone to Watch Over Me / 6 – Jersey Bounce / 7 – Angel Eyes / 8 – Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie! / 9 – Taking a Chance on Love / 10 – C’est Magnifique / 11 – Good Morning Heartache / 12 – Hallelujah, I Love Him So / 13 – Hallelujah, I Love Him So – Reprise / 14 – Summertime / 15 – Mr. Paganini / 16 – Mack the Knife / 17 – Wee Baby Blues

A real joyful set, with Ella’s vocals right front and centre, backed by trio. I understand why it was not released… she makes quite a few mistakes, lyric-wise. Not that it matters because even when she forget the name of the city she is playing in, she makes a quick recovery. The First Lady of Song truly was one of a kind!

Elton John, Caribou (MCA, 1974)

TRACKLIST (Favourite tracks underlined): 1 – The Bitch Is Back / 2 – Pinky / 3 – Grimsby / 4 – Dixie Lily / 5 – Solar Prestige A Gammon / 6 – You’re So Static / 7 – I’ve Seen the Saucers / 8 – Stinker / 9 – Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me / 10 – Ticking

It probably doesn’t deserve the bad rep it gets. Caribou includes a great rocking tune like “The Bitch is Back” and a beloved ballad like “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.” Ok, the rest kind of goes right over my heard, with the exception of “Dixie Lily” and “I’ve Seen Saucers.” I see “Solar Prestige a Gammon” gets a lot of hate and I understand why. But to me, it’s positively weird and a cool tribute to The Beatles.

Limited online edition of the Pordenone Silent Film Festival

A limited edition of Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, also known as the Pordenone Silent Film Festival, will take place online on October 3-10. This will hopefully and most likely be the only time in history that the most passionate silent film festival in the world will take place entirely online.

Aside from restored and rediscovered gems of early cinema unearthed from film archives from all corners of the globe and screenings accompanied by stellar music, there will be such parallel events as panel discussions, workshops, book presentations and other events.

You can get a pass for 9.90 euro and it could really be a life-changing experience for anyone. That’s because nothing is quite as visceral and poetic as early silent filmmaking. Nothing is quite as ugly and beautiful…nothing is quite as violent and gentle at the same time.

Register and find out more here

Click here to buy my book of thoughts on film, Eye of the Beholder, on Amazon!

Pat Metheny’s Pikasso Guitar

Pat Metheny is an absoute guitar master and we love him for it. Throughout his recorded career, he has pioneered many instruments, some more unusual than others. He has also crafted a distinctive synth guitar tone. Among his more unusual instruments is a beautifull odd-looking guitar named the Pikasso guitar, which aesthetically looks as if envisioned by Pablo Picasso himself.

This unusual instrument was a collaborative effort between Metheny and master luthier Linda Manzer. Metheny requested her to build a guitar that could have as many strings as possible. The final number came to be 42. The final product also included a hexaphonic pickup to interface with Metheny’s Synclavier synthesizer, which was an early digital synthesizer.

Admittedly, the guitar never caught on. From the looks of it, it would be difficult to even hold. However, it must be said that the guitar is wedged and shaped in such a way that Metheny, looking down, can see clearly each of the 42 strings. In fact, watching Metheny play it is a spectacle in its own right and it is downright remarkable to see how easy he makes playing it look.

There are videos of Metheny playing the Pikasso Guitar and he even most motably used it on his ninth album with the Pat Metheny Group, Imaginary Day from 1997. Here, he plays it on track 3, “Into the Dream.”

I mentioned the instrument in a recent livestream for JAZZIZ Magazine, hosted by Brian Zimmerman, where we talked about unusual instrumentalists and instruments in jazz. The other instrument I mentioned in this video is the newer Harpejji, developed in 2007, which is being pioneered by music polymath Jacob Collier, among others.

My Films of the Week #1

As a lifelong cinephile, I have always consumed a copious amount of films. In this new feature, I keep track of the films I watch during the week.

Les Unwanted de Europa (Fabrizio Ferraro, 2018, Italy/Spain)

Fabrizio Ferraro imagines the final days of Jewish philosopher Walter Benjamin, as he escapes collaborationist France across the Pyrenees in 1939. At the same time, a group of Catalan Republicans attempt to escape Spain’s Fascist regime after the Spanish Civil War along the same pathway. A solemn meditation on the history of unwanted people on the Old Continent, complete with black and white photography enhancing the idea of the repetition (or mechanical reproduction?) of history. An apt film to have been released on the eve of a European migrant crisis.

Topside (Logan George and Celine Held, 2020, USA)

An intense feature debut by Logan George and Celine Held, and a story of people living on the edge of society. A mother and her five-year-old girl have occupied a Manhattan underground tunnel as their home. There, they live until they are forced to move out, running away from authorities one cold winter night. Fuelled by urgency and suspense, Topside is a portrait of modern-day desperation. The underground setting offers a fascinating backdrop for a compelling and new exploration of what it means to be a mother, as well as what it means to be a mother’s child.

The Secret of Kells (Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey, 2009, France/Belgium/Ireland)

On the eve of a bloody warfare, a young boy named Brandon is recruited by a revered illuminator to complete a book that may save his village by way of completing a series of dangerous, magical tasks. The Secret of Kells is inspired by Celtic mythology and the origins of The Book of Kells. However, both the narrative structure and the eclectic style of animation reveal multi-cultural influences that enhance the message of the movie. In fact, the film is just as adventurous as it is a universally appealing coming-of-age story driven by the powerful message that the pen is mightier than the sword.

We Can’t Go Home Again (Nicholas Ray, 1973, USA)

Nicholas Ray’s final major project, We Can’t Go Home Again, is a semi-fictionalized account of his relationship with his film students at Binghamton University. The film is experimental in nature, pioneering the use of the video synthesizer. Though it was never truly finished, constantly re-edited by the filmmaker in his final years, its incompleteness enhances the Brechtian power of the project’s eclecticism. We Can’t Go Home Again also feels like a deeply personal reflection on such themes as generational gap and loneliness, and captures an essence of counter-cultural times in the United States. It may even be taken as an autobiographical reflection on his status within the then-new generation of filmmakers, which heralded him as a hero but was reluctant to integrate him.

Click here to buy my book of thoughts on film, Eye of the Beholder, on Amazon!

5 of my interviews from the 77th Venice International Film Festival (VIDEO)

For the sixth year in a row, I covered the Venice International Film Festival for FRED Film Radio, the online talk radio about all things cinema that I have collaborated with for a long time. There, I interviewed several guests, including directors and producers who presented movies within the program of the festival, which was the first of the major international film festivals to hold a physical edition.

Here is a selection of five of the video interviews I conducted at the Lido di Venezia.

Director Hilal Baydarov on his film In Between Dying, presented in competition at the 77th Venice International Film Festival.

Director Julia von Heinz talks about And Tomorrow the Entire World, presented in competition at the 77th Venice International Film Festival.

Actress Isabel May talks about her role in Run Hide Fight, presented out of competition at the 77th Venice International Film Festival.

Director Ann Hui talks about her latest film, Love After Love, presented out of competition at the 77th Venice International Film Festival. The director was also honored at the festival with a Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement.

Director Ana Rocha de Sousa talks about her feature debut, Listen, presented in the Orizzonti section of the 77th Venice International Film Festival.

More of my interviews from the 77th Venice International Film Festival are available on

Click here to buy my book of thoughts on film, Eye of the Beholder, on Amazon!

77th Venice International Film Festival: My top 5 films

For the past 10 days, I have been covering the Venice International Film Festival on the Lido di Venezia for FRED Film Radio. During this time, I watched about 40 movies presented within its program. Here is my personal top 5, compiled out of the films that I have watched across all sections of the festival.

5. LISTEN (Ana Rocha de Sousa, UK/Portugal)

Listen explores the seldom represented subject of forced adoptions. This is a fevered drama of two expats, down and out, living in Britain, whose lives go from bad to worse after their children are taken away from them. Enriched by narrative attention to detail, Ana Rocha de Sousa’s modern realist feature is focused, effective and at times downright frightening. It reveals horrible truths about society and human nature in a way that evokes the films of Ken Loach and John Cassavetes.

4. DEAR COMRADES! (Andrei Konchalovsky, Russia)

Andrei Konchalovsky revisits a page in Soviet Union history, when authorities opened fire on a crowd of demonstrators in the early ’60s. He does so by following the travails of a female authoritative figure whose staunch Communist beliefs are shaken by the event. Tense and compelling, Dear Comrades! is equally praise worthy for its style, which evokes such films of the period as The Cranes Are Flying and Ballad of a Soldier, complete with black and white photography.

3. IN BETWEEN DYING (Hilal Baydarov, Azerbaijan/Mexico/USA)

In Between Dying is an epic, meditative journey on the nature of existence, the likes of which have rarely been seen since Pier Paolo Pasolini. Beginning in the modern times and fading into timelessness, Hilal Baydarov follows his lead character, a young man on a scooter and his encounters with women along the way, which will lead him to an existential conclusion. Added point for the sheer delight of the landscapes, which the cameras revel in documenting.

2. SUN CHILDREN (Majid Majidi, Iran)

A cross between the films of Francois Truffaut and The Goonies. This is socially committed cinema that is unafraid to also be gripping and entertaining. The central theme of Majid Majidi’s film is that of child labour and the story is that of a young boy who enrols into school just to dig up a buried treasure for an exploitative mobster. Engaging and engaged.

1. RESIDUE (Merawi Gerima, USA)

A powerful and heartfelt portrait of Black life and gentrification in the United States. A cinematic poem that manages to be both tough-skinned and tender, both determined and melancholic. Residue feels like the essence of the rise of a new Black American cinema shake-up and, given that this is the feature debut of Merawi Gerima, the beginning of a very promising filmography.

Click here to buy my book of thoughts on film, Eye of the Beholder, on Amazon!


Welcome to THE ART MOVEMENT, a radio show about arts and culture, where all art forms and free thoughts are allowed. The show is hosted and produced by globe-trotting arts presenter Matt Micucci, and features plenty of music, interview clips and thoughts on current events.

Listen to Episode 24 via one of the players below.

In this episode:

  • Charlie Parker turns 100;
  • Update on the Cinemateca Brasileira;
  • Mário Peixoto’s Limite;
  • Is Amazon exploiting artists?
  • Analog vs. digital;

and more, plus lots of music!