- 04 May 21
Between A Rock And A Hard Place
There was a knock on the door, late at night. By the time I opened it, they were gone, with only an embossed envelope, left on the mat, indicating that anyone had been there at all. The language on the letter it contained, despite the beautiful cursive script, was broken and disjointed, indicating that English might not be the author's second language, much less their first.
Our much thanks for words that very kind about The Black Stone Affair. We are much pleased you like. We hope you will find good extra song, which we release on vinyl and now stream. We will be watching you, close,
i figli di Stefano Paradisi"
I bolted the door and set the penthouse alarm. How did they get my address? Should I be nervous now I know they are "watching me, close"? I poured a fortifying drink and put the 45 on the turntable.
I should probably fill you in here. A while back I received an email about a new release. Nothing out of the ordinary there, it happens all the time. This one was signed by a Signora Verde, pointing me in the direction of the soundtrack to a long lost Italian Cinematic masterpiece, The Black Stone Affair. The movie had been the crowning vision of Stefano Paradisi, but a mysterious - and quite possibly malicious - fire destroyed his work. The soundtrack was also thought lost, until now. I liked it, and said so on the website of the world's greatest cultural periodical.
It wasn't more than a day or two later that I found myself in the local bakery, queuing patiently, as I normally do. "Signor Carty!" someone shouted, causing my head to lift from my newspaper. "No more waiting in line for you, like un pazzo! We take care of you!" I left shortly after, laden down with all manner of Italian pastries after my back had been well-slapped and my face had been well-pinched. In my confusion I nearly missed the dark haired man in sunglasses, looking straight at me from a nearby car. Maybe I'm being paranoid, but I could swear I've caught him in my rearview mirror several times since.
In the weeks that followed, I received ever more insistent messages from the same Signora Verde, wanting to know when we would post this video clip. She also indicated that members of her organisation would be happy to call to my home, again, should I require any "help" in this regard. It was an offer I could refuse. "Usa questo," she insisted. It's a paragraph written by their English public relations associate, Gaby. Perhaps an unfortunate first name, given the type of people we're obviously dealing with.
"Although “La Pietra” was ultimately left on the cutting room floor when Whatitdo Archive Group was assembling the soundtrack order, the “black stone” or “pietra” will always be the star of the film, and this bonus track encapsulates everything the stone represents in pure sonic form. Even if this track boasts a strong rhythm section featuring bass, drums and baritone guitar, its composition is ultimately orchestral. Tubular bells, timpani and violins swirl across the sonic spectrum and dance over one of the heaviest drum breaks from this time period. Despite these symphonic instruments, this 45-exclusive easily serves itself as a must-have in any modern DJ’s wallet of 45’s housing their secret sonic killers ripe for their audience to covertly Shazam."
She's either pathologically upbeat, or this was written under duress. For myself, I only ask that if you hear from me no more - if I should mysteriously "go for a swim" with "una pietra" tied about my ankles - then tell my daughters I love them, and that they'll be well taken care of thanks to my generous Hot Press M.I.A. insurance policy.