Today I tell a truly incredible and exciting story. A story of humanity, of passion, of music. A story that somehow involves Bruce Springsteen. Humanity, passion, music, Bruce: practically all synonyms.
Michele and his disability
Michele Tagliaferri is a 33 year old guy, he lives in Piacenza (Italy) with his parents. He’s a guy who loves music, particularly rock and, even more, Bruce Springsteen. He lives him, he watches him, he loves him. And he hears him. Yes… He hears him, despite not being able to listen to him, because Michele at the age of two was struck by a disease that made him deaf.
It all started in the early ’90s. Little Michele was born to two parents passionate about rock. His father Luigino had attended Bruce‘s legendary concert in Milan in 1985 and three years later he returned to see him in Turin, this time, also bringing Laura, his wife. Both became Bruce‘s avid fans, but the misfortune that struck little Michele strongly affected them. No more concerts, no more clubs and parties. The music they listened to in those years was limited to that broadcast on radio and television. They watched in particular the TV programs broadcast late on rock. The little Michele, while playing on the floor, during those musical programs he turned unfailingly towards the TV. He could not listen to that music, but the low frequencies emanating from the television were transferred through the floor into his feet and into his hands, to his heart. And he liked that feeling, he did indeed. So he started asking Mom and Dad to put the music videotapes they had.
Here comes Bruce!
Among those videotapes could not miss the Video Anthology by Bruce Springsteen, published in 1989. One day Laura and Luigino put it in the reader and, once they pressed the play button, Michele turned to the screen and saw that man with the guitar playing and singing as if there was no tomorrow. For the child it was love at first sight. Within a few years Michele, now a teenager, began to ask his parents to take him to record stores, clean markets and newsstands, every time he knew that a record, an article or publication would be released about Bruce. Today, after many years, Michele has already attended several Bruce‘s concerts and owns 18 guitars, of the same color or model as those used by Bruce. He doesn’t know how to play them in the fullest sense of the word, but if you visit him, he’ll pick one up and make you feel how good he is at playing the acoustic Born In The U.S.A. with the bottleneck. He has every record and official video of Bruce, but especially hundreds of recordings found on the web, in the markets or in the trusted record store in his town, who knows they have to warn him when something new arrives. And then posters, whole albums of newspaper clippings, rare magazines, watches and magnets, dolls and models of guitars, pillows and books. This… and much more, as long as it has a reference to Bruce Springsteen.
An Italian star-fan
Today Michele is in his own way a famous person. In the world of Springsteen fans, many people know him and admire his stubborn worship of Springsteen. He participates in many fan gatherings, where he patiently and enthusiastically assists in concerts that he can only see and spoken speeches that mom Laura can only translate with sign language. La Libertà, the daily newspaper of Piacenza, has dedicated a whole page to him, taking him as an example for all people who do not surrender to a disability. He even happened to participate in a musical event in which he took the stage and, dressed exactly like Springsteen in the official video of Born In The U.S.A., he performed the perfect visual imitation of his idol. Recently, I had the honor of visiting his little wonderland, truly amazing. But above all I had the pleasure of getting to know a beautiful family and a guy who really has a lot to teach us all. Go ahead, Michele, nothing is gonna stop you!
Read also: Thunder Road