Saturday, December 21, 2013


I went to Naples, Italy and then the UK for family related purposes, but it was really a trip for volcanoes and music.  A week in Naples, several days in London/Liverpool in early to mid December.

Being near the winter solstice, the days were short, sun rising at about 7:15 and setting at 4:30 in the Naples area, the day being even shorter in the UK.  This required early starts to the day to pack in as much as possible, the evenings reserved for music and cigars.

A trip to the National Archaeological Museum in Naples to see the frescoes, mosaics and sculptures excavated from both Herculaneum and Pompeii.  Faces centuries old staring out at me from the plaster.

Walking the streets of these two cities, once buried under many feet of ash and pumice, the stone pavement still rutted by the wheels of chariots and wagons.  I look into homes of the people who had the misfortune of having witnessed the August 79 A.D. eruption, a classic story every geologist learns about.

Basking in the sun while sitting on a bench atop Mount Vesuvius, drinking wine, smoking cigars, watching the sun cast its light across the Bay of Naples, silhouetting mountains and islands.

Sleeping in the tent atop a cinder cone near Pozzouli, the youngest mountain in Europe, the heavy rain tapping the fabric, a feeling of warmth and comfort in my sleeping bag.

Trains awash in bright, colorful graffiti, thinking that it actually looks pretty good compared to the run down interiors of the cars.

Listening to music that first night following my arrival in Naples, below a castle on the bay, two lovers in a passionate embrace as they stand near the entrance to the fortress.  I close my eyes and also fall in love with the music filling my ears.

Beams of sunlight silhouetting Vesuvius, the hazy floor of the Valley of the Giants below, framed by tall cliffs that were born during the destruction of the old volcano nearly 2000 years ago, regretting the fact I must go, perhaps never to return.

Like a child sleeping
Deep beneath the edifice
Wakes to make some noise

Cast its shadow then
On unsuspecting Pompeii
They thought forever

Tracks across the sky
Whether we are here or not
Falls into the sea

In the evening light
Human attendants scurry
Winged behemoth rests

Babe in a manger
Kneel before Walmart's alter
Cash celebration

My daughter and I flew into London on Friday the 13th.  Although I too am tired after a week of nonstop activity, I pull myself together for another night of music, this time a live show by Ranking Roger's The Beat.  Rude Boy, Rude Boy!  It's a short ride on the Tube from the hotel, dropping me off near the 229 Club.  By the time I arrive the opening act is in the middle of their set, the audience standing back from the stage watching.  Once Ranking takes the stage, they all move closer, leaving the area in front of the stage for those people who can't help but move to the music.  The man was sweating profusely, a result of being in a hot theater and his constant dancing and running back and forth across the stage.  All band members were clearly enjoying themselves, knowing that they were being recorded for a limited release of the live show (link for purchase below).  A very entertaining performance, that was similar to Dave Wakling's band that performs in the States, but different in that the energy level was a notch higher and all involved appeared to be genuinely "into it."  A short while after the show ended I was back on the Tube, at Paddington Station and then in bed, knowing we had more traveling to do the following day.

Download the show here:,_2013.mp3

To get a soundboard version signed by Ranking Roger, go here:

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