Archive for the 'music' Category

uncoupling at the party

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

I went partying last night in the dome, inside the castle mountain in Graz, where tunnels and bunkers have been carved out by the Nazis during the second Word War and now are used as dance floors and conference spaces. This is music that — given the sheer volume and the drum&base pumping — passes through you, or at least, it does so if “you let it”, as someone told me (ehm, shouted at me) on the dance floor. Now here is a thought. In the morning I had a workshop on my book as part of the Elevate festival, and among other things we discussed the idea that the capital relation, or the value struggle, passes through us. Mmhh, so, what happens when in the evening the music passes through you? It happens that it is banging the capitalist relation out of ourselves, at least momentarily, leading to the momentary uncoupling from the temporal dimension of capital, the one that requires schedules, deadlines, responsibilities that have no or little meaning as well as endless struggle against it. If you add the fact that in music, rhythm constitutes the commons (see this blog entry), then this is it! The dance/rave culture that lives its nights and morning floating from one dance-floor to another, is the contemporary manifestation of what in the 1970s was called “il bisogno di comunismo” (the need for Communism) . . or “commOnism” . . .

While the world is burning, I play the fiddle

Monday, April 30th, 2007

orchestra.jpgAn old friend of mine called on a saturday morning, looking for me. But he was told that I was at my regular violin lessons that I started taking few months ago. So he said: “ah ah, so while the world is burning Massimo plays the fiddle!” Indeed, I am, and while I do that I live in another world, and think about its dissonance or parallels with our daily lives.

I have joined the East London Late Starters Orchestra last October, few months after I bought myself a cheap violin.The orchestra is an amazing community. It was set up about 25 years ago, a student run training orchestra for those who pick up an instrument late in life. Tutors-conductors are kind, enthusiastic and very communicative of their own individual approach to music, conducting and technique. I am learning much more than few tunes on the violin. (more…)

The World Turned Upside Down

Friday, October 27th, 2006

zapataguitar.jpgThanks to Leon Rosselson for providing material to compile this post!

Perhaps the best song written about enclosures and struggles for commons. It talks about the struggles of the ”Diggers” who reclaimed the king’s land as a commons for all. It was composed by Leon Rosselson in 1975, taken into the charts in 1985 by Billy Bragg and also performed by Dick Gaughan, Chumbawamba and Attila the Stockbroker among others (according to Wikipedia, although I think that Chumbawamba’s version is a late XIX century song with the same title). To put this song in the context of other “Digger” songs check here.

The song, “The World Turned Upside Down,” by English folksinger Leon Rosselson, weaves many of Gerrard Winstanley’s own words into the lyrics. Gerrard Winstanley (1609 - September 10, 1676) was an English Protestant religious reformer and political activist during the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell. He was aligned with the group known as the True Levellers for their beliefs, based upon Christian communism, and as the Diggers for their actions because they took over public lands and dug them over to plant crops.

Click play to hear:

1) Leon Rosselson presentation of the song at a radio show on

2) The song itself, sang by the author

For the lirics and some quotes from Gerrard Winstanley writings click (more…)

It’s the commons!

Friday, October 13th, 2006

video_button_white_dred.gifDavid Rovics sings the Commons. If you cannot see it below, click here. The song text is below the video frame.

The Commons
David Rovics

First you told us only through you could we know God
And if we dared to question then He wouldn’t spare the rod
For you we worked the soil, for you we dug the moors
For you we shed our blood and fought so many pointless wars
And now you build your fences and say there’s nothing we can do
You say the world around us belongs fairly to the few
But about six billion people no doubt will agree
This world is our home, not your property

It’s the commons, our right of birth (more…)