"Champagne for my real friends. Real pain for my sham friends" (used as early as 1860 in the book The Perfect Gentleman. Famously used by painter Francis Bacon)

venerdì 19 luglio 2013

DEPECHE MODE (thoughts from Milano)

Metal badge verosimilmente del 1998 

(thoughts from Milano)


Given the fact that I wrote in English very few times for this blog, it may appear an oddity that I am now writing not in Italian about an artist I do like and care for a lot, but which does not rank within, say, my favourite three.


The reason for this exception is both of very short and very long period, the first derives from the latter.
Depeche Mode are not a fad: that’s why after years I attended again another concert of them and still value as masterpieces two albums they made: Black Celebration and Music For The Masses ([1]).


While I did (and do) not understand the vast majority of people who crowded Milano (Italy) football temple San Siro Stadium on the night of July 18th, 2013 (their second concert in this venue if I remember well) as they were way different in look (I was one of the very few wearing full black as if I were attending a DAF or a DM gig in Zürich ([2])), age (see on the contrary 101, the movie directed by D. A. Pennbaker), musical tastes (women were in the “average public” of those listening to love crooners of any kind) from me, I have to conclude that DM have a “diagonal” following.
Not even with binoculars I managed to understand who, at the front before the stage, were hailing a hand-made flag stating “Dave’s Slaves”: were those gay boys or else?
How comes local ladies scream for the mimics and naked torso of Dave Gahan, who I always consider in terms of looks and poses a unique mix of Sal Mineo, Marc Almond and (inevitably) a bullfighter, hence a homoerotic image which should appeal more to males (including heterosexual ones ([3])?


How comes Martin Gore is now respected as a guitarist, singer and whatever else, while before he was the “nutter who inexplicably can write great songs he is too shy to perform”?


What about Andy Fletcher who stays behind and happy but at press conferences speaks like the Minister of Propaganda?


Why Black Celebration, the album, is becoming prominent again (like when I attended that Swiss gig)?


DM “cross” people also geographically, and this is well demonstrated by a documentary which you may have failed to know about (like I did) also because it does not have as of today, five years after its first screening, a DVD release ([4]): The Posters Came From The Walls.


The geography of following still makes Britain, and notably England and specifically their hometown Basildon, not “the country and town” of Depeche Mode, as it is very well outlined in an interesting article by Dr. Sophie Deboick by the title “Basildon Bond: Depeche Mode & The Essex New Town” published at the end of 2011 in the excellent web-magazine The Quietus ([5]).


So the Deps’ mysteries still make them all (including the now, since a while, ex Alan Wilder) an interesting band, which manages to use guitars but not so much, sometimes goes for stompers a-la-Glitter-via-Sheffield (“Soothe My Soul”), which can cope with Anton Corbijn being somehow “artistically married” with both them and U2 ([6]) (hence he cannot always have great ideas).
And they make me write about them once more.





© 2013 Steg, Milano, Italia.
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[1] I wrote, although briefly, about “me and Depeche Mode” in the post by the title “From Basildon: Lessons In Musical Danger”: English title for a writing in Italian which is quite an odd in terms of how I usually write. I had to do it in that way because I thought I would have been too obvious if I chose a linear outline.
Hence, some overlapping between these two posts may apply.
[2] Respectively a couple of years ago and more than twenty-five: see footnote above.
[3] Do I have to namedrop Kenneth Anger and a quote from Richey James of Manic Street Preachers: “All Rock ‘n’ Roll is homosexual”?
[4] Because of Mute retaining copyright but not releasing, it has a story a bit like Cocksucker Blues (for those familiar with this Rolling Stones documentary).
You may still find some clips and pieces on the web.
[6] Who someone describe as people making music for people who do not like music.

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