Sunday, October 31, 2004


The wisest suggestion i've heard about election night goes something like this: buy large amounts of alcohol to celebrate or to forget.
As for me, not knowing whether the time zone will be appropriate for such activities and probably not being able to afford them in the first place, all i'll do is get ready for the worst to happen.
I'm not very optimistic about how things will go this time around, all i can say is that i really, really hope to be proved wrong.

Oh, but i have a couple of suggestions anyway(as if anybody cared): why not watch this movie and then listen to this interview? Or vice versa.

"We're talking about having our own personal Ceausescu here. His name will be easier to pronounce of course, probably it's gonna be a one-syllable word. Like Bush, or Quayle, or something like that. But the result is the same."

-F. Zappa, interviewed by J.B.Peterson, 21 June 1990

(Both links courtesy of

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Saturday Download, vol.2: Genesis

I had a very clear idea about what to upload this week. Then i changed my mind. Then i changed my mind again. Then i uploaded both of the things i wanted to share, so it would be easier to make my mind up.
Then i realized i wasn't really in the mood for either of the selections i had chosen, and decided to upload something that just feels right in this moment.

So here you have the song Genesis, originally recorded by Jorma Kaukonen in 1974 for Quah, his first solo album, in the version that Cristina Donà gave us a few years ago, only available on a limited edition EP which happens to be in front of me while i'm typing this.

Cristina Donà - Genesis
Recorded in 2000 for the Goccia EP
Cristina Donà - vocals, egg shaker, trumpet
Davide Govelli - acoustic and electric guitars, barlock
4'48" 192kbps mp3, 6.6Mb

As a bonus, i'm including the original version:
Jorma Kaukonen - Genesis
Jorma Kaukonen - acoustic guitar
4'20'' 192kbps mp3, 5.97Mb

"At the time, my wife Margareta and I realized we were really miserable and we were trying to be happier together. I was writing a lot of true love songs - true love almost gone wrong but saved at the last moment. Some people have suggested that wouldn't it be nice if you could write songs like 'Genesis' all the time, and I always say 'Yeah, it would be, but it would be great not to have to be in the place I was when I wrote it.' Many of the best songs get written in a state of abject misery. I prefer to write fewer songs and have less cataclysmic events in my life."

-Jorma Kaukonen, from the Quah album liner notes.

Song Lyrics:


Time has come for us to pause
And think of living as it was
Into the future we must cross, must cross
I'd like to go with you
And I'd like to go with you
You say I'm harder than a wall
A marble shaft about to fall
I love you dearer than them all, them all
So let me stay with you
So let me stay with you
And as we walked into the day
Skies of blue had turned to grey
I might have not been clear to say, to say
I never looked away
I never looked away
And though I'm feeling you inside
My life is rolling with the tide
I'd like to see it be an open ride
Along with you
Going along with you
The time we borrowed from ourselves
Can't stay within a vaulted well
And living turns into a lender's will
So let me come with you
And let me come with you
And when we came out into view
And there I found myself with you
When breathing felt like something new, new
Along with you
Going along with you

Next week, one of the things i had originally chosen. Or not. Something completely different, anyway.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Yefimov's History Lesson

Boris Yefimov, The History Lesson (1941)

'I do not intend to take a rest from politics. Nor will you. You'll continue drawing your cartoons because you do it well'
-Leon Trotsky,shortly before his exile in 1928, in conversation with Boris Yefimov.

Although i'm still trying to find out about the existence and eventual availability of comic books during Soviet Russia, the importance of satyrical cartoons from that period is universally recognized. Today, for example, i have come across this fascinating interview with Boris Yefimov, the now-104-year-old cartoonist who was active during the most oppressive years of Stalin's power.

Another cartoon of his and a very short biography can be found at this other site, which also mentions Yefimov's work on propaganda posters in the sixties.


While i was preparing the last post, my old friend Mitko suggested me to link to this image. Which as a long-time Michael Ende reader i just couldn't help doing. It actually reminded me of my childhood, grazie mitko!

Speaking of Escher...

Print Gallery, lithograph, 1956.

"Mystery of Print Gallery solved", the official M.C.Escher site i linked to the other day triumphantly titles.
This so-called mystery of what ought to be in the blank center of this famous painting never actually had been one, as can be demonstrated from various sources.
One source, for example, is Bruno Ernst's omnipresent text The Magic Mirror Of M.C.Escher, where the author points out that in Escher's final print, 1969's Snakes, it is not necessary to continue the painting to what may seem like infinity, because it is enough to simply suggest this possibility.

Snakes, woodcut, 1969

As we can see here(click picture for an enlargement), the rings at the center of the painting could go on into infinity as they would do in other earlier Escher works, and it is our awareness of this fact that dispenses the artist from actually representing it.
Escher recognizes his own limits, the approximation to infinity is literally that: an approximation, and even the finest artisan in the world could not achieve the detail needed.

The same thing happens in Print Gallery, where each side of the painting is amplified four times as much in the next. The center of the work would theorically show another approximation to infinity, with the same image repeated on and on. This, however, was not the point Escher wanted to make. Since he wanted to represent the amplification of images closing in on each other, what happened in the center was utterly irrelevant, and portraying it would have been a useless distraction.

The aforementioned "news headline" is interesting anyway, as it links to a completely mathematical explanation to the problem, Escher and the Droste Effect which i particularly recommend to anyone studying or interested in maths-related disciplines. It explains some of the aforementioned topics with insightful computer-generated images and a pdf article which, although i was only barely able to grasp most of the maths, is quite a good read.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Jury Duty

That latin american film festival i mentioned the other day? A bizarre turn of events landed me a place in the jury, with my nice badge, festival program and seven-day pass bundled in. Sweet.

To which i must add this small anecdote:
Five minutes ago i pop by the living room and find my mom relaxing in front of the tv. On the screen, a cop-looking couple fighting a bad guy with a knife.
Me: "What're you watching?"
Her: "Oh, those two german cops are finally catching the bad guy, who's an evil chilean expatriate."
Me: "For real??"
Her: "Yeah! And the cops just found out they're brother and sister, so now they can't fall in love with each other anymore."

Which completely spoiled the fun out of going to the festival, because no movie could beat the premises of the show my mother was watching on tv.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Oscar Peterson - Wave

Starting a new tradition here at WGD Central - the Saturday Download.
Expect something worthwile in this space every week. That'll probably also make me update more regularly.

This week, i'm making this nice little sound file available, originally recorded in 1969 for the Motions And Emotions album, with the great Claus Ogerman arranging and conducting the orchestra. Which explains how this can manage to be one of the most beautiful encounters of improvised piano and strings i've ever heard. But maybe that's just me.

Oscar Peterson Trio with Claus Ogerman Orchestra - Wave(Jobim)
Oscar Peterson - Piano
Sam Jones - Bass
Bobby Durham - Drums
Claus Ogerman - Arrangements, Conduction
Unknown Orchestra.

Recorded in Villingen, West Germany in march 1969.
(info from this site - grazie pino!)

Download the 11Mb 256kps mp3 here, or just go for the 5.5Mb 128kps one if you have a slow connection.

Meanwhile, in FredLand...

Continuing the life chronicles of the famous Fred...

Scene: Fred's place, kitchen.
Fred opens the fridge, turns to his dad.
Fred: "Why is there only beer and sausages in the fridge?"
His Dad: "They were cheap. We got them in slovenia."
Fred: "Ok, that's fine for you since you're going away for the weekend. But what am i going to eat?"
His Dad: "Beer and sausages."

Friday, October 22, 2004

The Tati - Belleville connection

Word has just reached me (Via the magazine Internazionale, thus justifying the renewal of my subscription) that Les Triplettes De Belleville director Sylvain Chomet's next project is based on L'Illusioniste, a recently discovered script written in the '50s by none other than the great Jacques Tati.

I have been wanting to see Les Triplettes De Belleville for quite some time already, having read great reviews most of which pointed at Tati as one of the influences in its making. But i didn't know the film was an all-out homage to the director, even making him appear in one of the scenes, as i discovered reading This Interview. So for these and other reasons it's gone way up to first place in my dvd's-to-buy list.

It is an added satisfaction to know that the L'Illusioniste project might also end up being the first full-length animated movie ever made in Scotland. Score one to my homeland.

Future appointments

Over a hundred works by M.C.Escher are on exposition in Rome's prestigious Musei Capitolini until the 23rd of january, 2005. Meaning i'll just have to pop over and take a look, then.

In the meantime, i'll probably be spending quite some time in Trieste next week.

And speaking of Escher, why not catch up on another dutch outsider protosurrealist?

Friday, October 15, 2004

William Shatner - Has Been.

It's crazy. It's absurd. It's almost esoteric.
But most of all, it sounds surprisingly good.

It's produced by Ben Folds and features guest appearances by Aimee Mann, Joe Jackson, Lemon Jelly(!), Henry Rollins, And Adrian Belew(!!)

You can listen to it here and read(and hear) more about it here.

WGD will be back for good as soon as humanly possible.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


As if he didn't already have enough problems, the webmaster has a cold.
He sneezes, the aftershock sends him to the other side of the room.
Damn chair with wheels.

WGD will be back for good as soon as possible.

The sms i didn't send

Was in London over the weekend.
Here's a text message i was going to write but eventually didn't bother to send:

"Dormo a casa di Gri.
Ha un divano!"
(Send: Y/N)

WGD will be back for good as soon as possible.

Involuntary Simpsons Quote

On the way back home last night.

Her: We should rob the little store down there. I wonder why we never thought about doing that.
Me: Why bother robbing a little store when this town has two banks and a post office?
Her: Yes, but i'm hungry now!

WGD will be back for good as soon as possible.

Monday, October 11, 2004

How i learned to stop worrying and love the bomb, revisited.

"what shocks me most about it all", a good friend of mine* once told me after watching Dr. Strangelove for the first time, "is how close we actually were to that happening. And how little we know about how close we still may be."
Turns out the movie was much, much, much more realistic than most believed, even those of us who have studied 20th century history to a good extent. And this article explains why.
(Link via Mark Evanier)

*whom i still owe some money so i won't make his name here in fear of having accidentally misquoted him.

Won't Go Down will be back for good as soon as possible.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

(please wait)

We are currently experiencing severe hardware problems.
Won't Go Down will be back for good as soon as possible.