Dark suit, black shades, a cigarette, a Triumph sportscar, and the Eternal City in all of its baroque theatre. It has been sixty years since La Dolce Vita (The Sweet Life) changed cinema forever; Italian director Federico Fellini’s fourth film, and the one which would propel him to international celebrity (meanwhile, making leading man Marcello Mastroianni an icon.)
How do you get over a hangover? You shower, and you put on a suit. And while, no – this is not a universal prescription, it is my very own tried-and-tested formula; advice I proudly relay to haggard, red-eyed pals in London.
Soul wasn’t just a music genre for Bill Withers, who sadly passed away recently, but an impulse – an expression, and a way to speak plainly about the tribulations (and successes) that defined his life and career. He may not have been a preacher, but he certainly preached – whether it was heartbreak, the war in Vietnam, or the suicidal thoughts of a failing husband (as in ‘Better off Dead’) Withers’ music endures because he was strong enough to reveal himself to us, peppering his smooth crooning with the occasional cry for help. That’s why we’re so endeared to him; why he’ll be missed.