Growing up – and still – I had a lot of pen pals. It seemed that penmanship was a national trait in many countries. Every French person formed their letters and numbers in the same way. Every German, every Russian, every Italian, too. Unique handwriting for each person, but you could always tell from the envelope and the way the letters looked what country the letter came from.
I wondered the other day, as I watched the surprisingly good (for the most part) Italian TV drama 1992, about the soundtrack. It fit its time perfectly – but I wondered how many Italians at that time were really listening to most of the stuff included? Screaming Trees (the one song on the Singles soundtrack) – yes. Smashing Pumpkins – probably. But Teenage Fanclub and Primal Scream… eh, I have my doubts. There were not THAT many people listening to those bands anywhere, let alone in Italy (a place I perhaps unfairly judge in matters of pop culture). Or did I see this through my own faraway prism, imagining that because Fanclub and Scream were indie/off-the-beaten-path where I came from, they also were for everyone else?
I don’t let Italy fool me and do have many good Italian friends who also have great taste (in music, too), but images of Berlusconi, the ridiculous bimbo-filled TV game/variety shows and crap like Eros Ramazzotti (or other things I cannot identify) always spring to mind. Maybe some of these trusted Italian friends can set my biases straight. Were people really getting that down to the sounds of early 90s Glasgow bands? (I grant you – the show only included the two best-known songs from these bands – but it still surprised me.)