First Love and Other Stories, Ivan Turgenev

Joseph Conrad said ‘Art should carry its justification in every line’ and if that’s good enough for Joe I think Chico Chica should do the same. Let’s aim high and make sure every word and note means something. One way of finding the inspiration to reach for the highest standards is to read Turgenev. If Chico Chica were ever to write a novel, I’d like it to be like one of his.

In Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, one character was reading Turgenev’s A Sportsman’s Notebook. I took this as a recommendation so I read it too. That was ten years ago and I can still remember the stories, the characters and the atmosphere. So when I picked up First Love and Other Stories, I knew I was reaching for a trusted brand. The book confirmed how good a writer Turgenev is. He seems to know me, so I feel it’s a really personal connection despite my being from a different nationality, milieu and century.

Chico Chica now have eighteen songs ready to record. These are the songs that constitute the band’s current set. Eleven of those are about love so that is, in the context of popular songs, quite a low proportion. But a few are comedic in tone and comedy songs are more likely to be about other things. In First Love and Other Stories all the stories have love as their central theme except the first, Diary of a Superfluous Man. This was the most striking in effect. The diarist saw his life as utterly superfluous. He assumed the world would not miss him in the slightest if he stopped living. He found human relationships very hard especially those with women. But instead of looking at his life as a tragedy, he took a detached view and saw it as a comedy. It was a strange combination of possessing a profound insights and being utterly clueless.

The subsequent stories were just as good. With Turgenev, I feel in safe hands. You can come and feel the safety of Chico Chica’s hands at:

St. Anthony’s Club The Red House 13 Upton Avenue (Corner of Upton Lane) Forest Gate London E7 9PJ. 8pm Wednesday 21st May 2014.



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