Twisted Systems

    Nero Fiddles While Rome…

    Issue 158

    Sorry folks but I’m having a hard time thinking about the state of my current audio system or writing about music.

    The Russian attack on Ukraine has just about eaten up all my mental bandwidth. I’m in real mental anguish, and the irony is that this is coinciding with the longest vacation I have ever taken.

    Right now, I’m writing this from the kitchen of a beautiful house near the ocean off a Mexican coastal town called Akumal.

    The weather is perfect…every day.

    The ocean is warm…every day.

    My Bose mini-soundbar and my Wi-Fi is perfect…every day.

    I was just going to finally take a break after a six-month book promotional tour (both virtual and in person) supporting my new book, Twisted Business: Lessons from My Life in Rock ’n Roll.

    I was also looking forward to the end of COVID and its devastating effect on New York City in particular. Yes, COVID was starting to look like it was finally in the rearview mirror and the daily anxiety was starting to finally abate.

    So many family members and friends had it.

    Some died.

    During the two years that COVID took over just about every conversation, I did look forward to listening to music.

    My system continued to evolve as well and I didn’t feel guilty listening to it.

    It brought me comfort (along with watching just about everything available on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, Peacock, etc.)

    But here, as I sit in the kitchen of my Mexican vacation home, writing a piece which will more than likely will not make my editor at Copper too happy, I contemplate a much larger issue:

    The possible, terrible outcomes of this insane war, and my stomach is hurting. My brain is hurting.

    Stop right now if you need to move on to read about cartridge alignment theory, negative feedback and its effect on amplifier performance, or the latest great reference recordings.

    I get it.

    Nobody really wants to deal with the very harsh realities.

    I wish I could wake up and this would all be a dream.

    I did wake up, however, and it wasn’t a dream.

    What can a person do? Contribute with money to a Ukrainian Airbnb portal to get money in the hands of actual Ukrainian families?

    Yes, That is a start.

    My grandparents on my mother’s side were from Odessa (making me part Ukrainian) but that doesn’t make me any sadder or angrier about the situation. This is so much larger than that.

    I just found out that many of the Ukrainian fighters have adopted our song “We’re Not Gonna Take It” as their battle cry.

    There are several music promoters in Germany that want to put on a festival this summer to aid Ukrainian refugees and call it the “We’re Not Gonna Take It” Festival for Ukrainian Relief.

    Does that make me feel better? A bit, but I feel just about as helpless as most of you may be feeling.

    Add to this the fact that the 2022 baseball season has been in jeopardy due to the most ill-timed labor dispute. [At the time this article was written, the Major League Baseball lockout was unresolved. – Ed.]

    Some of you may not care about baseball so it doesn’t matter.

    It does to me, but at the risk of stating the obvious, having a peaceful world has much more significance.


    Belt-drive vs. direct-drive

    Moving-magnet vs. moving-coil

    Solid-state vs. tubes

    Planar drivers vs. paper cones

    No. Not today.

    Not when I just watched a video of a family wiped out in an instant by a rocket.

    Today, it’s about stopping the insanity which is having an enormous impact on the outcome of humanity’s future.

    For all those readers who can manage to not let these events prevent you from enjoying this hobby that we all love, I envy you.

    I can’t.

    Not right now.

    Until I can, I will suspend my contributions to Copper.

    This is, after all, a publication about music.

    Not war.

    My thoughts go out to all the victims.


    Header image courtesy of NASA.

    8 comments on “Nero Fiddles While Rome…”

    1. I love The Who’s version but no one ever has brought that up to my surprise
      BTW Only once in the history of the pop music charts has there been 2 songs with the same title in the top 10 at the same time

      Care to guess the name of the song?
      Don’t google it!

      1. I have no idea, White Christmas perhaps?

        For those who wish to take a view of the recent history that led to Putins’ horrific invasion check out ‘Winter on Fire’ which Netflix is currently making available to stream for free on YouTube.

        “A documentary on the unrest in Ukraine during 2013 and 2014, as student demonstrations supporting European integration grew into a violent revolution.”

        (insert ukrainian flag & peace sign)

    2. The terror-actions against the people of Ukraine is also the result of an economic system which focuses primarily maximizing profits instead of maximizing social welfare and solidarity and the acceptance of human rights. Strange enough western business men and politicians obviously have ignored the existing enemy images which are still cultivated in Russia and China and many Islamic countries. Since 3000 years China believes its culture being superior in comparison with barbarian cultures of western civilizations. And most European politicians were really most naive. Vive la liberté.

    3. Jay Jay,

      While I understand your thoughts, shrinking violets are not in season. An ancient proverb says the pen is mightier than the sword. It can and has brought down governments. Putin is insane, but not stupid. He picked the best time to strike, while we are suffering ineffective and inattentive leadership at home. And while the Ukraine burns, Niro fiddles with campaign promises rather than effective actions to eliminate this suffering. Copper is not the place for this discussion, I know. Those of us that can wield the pen must find effective outlets and do so for the common good. To be sure, it is incumbent upon us to do so. I hate to say this, but it probably means a lot of suffering in Russia until the populace rises up and throws the bums out. If that doesn’t happen in a timely fashion, Poland is probably next.

      Enough said. Going back to lurking mode.

    4. That’s the problem with [sarcasm font on]Great Men[sarcasm font off]. The only thing they’re really great at is foxtrot-ing (see radiophonic spelling alphabet) things up for everybody else. Take whatever time you need Mr. French. We’ll be here (hopefully) when you get back.

    5. Very well spoken sir. I am also very disturbed by the horror of the war against the Ukraine. I dont understand what is to be gained b whom and why the rest of the world is letting it happen.
      I am sure the nuclear warheads still on missiles hidden in silos and in airplane bomb bays are causing some hesitation but really? Why cant we just get along?
      So sad.

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