Friday, 27 February 2015

Carry the weight...

...or crush under it.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Let Me Bring You Down 6

Never did I wanna be here again

And I don't remember why I came...


I'm not the one who's so far away
When I feel the snake bite enter my veins
Never did I wanna be here again
And I don't remember why I came

Candles raise my desire
Why I'm so far away
No more meaning to my life
No more reason to stay
Freezing feeling,
Breathe in, breathe in
I'm coming back again


Hazing clouds rain on my head
Empty thoughts fill my ears
Find my shade by the moon light
Why my thoughts aren't so clear
Demons dreaming
Breathe in, breathe in
I'm coming back again

[Chorus x4]

Voodoo, voodoo, voodoo, voodoo.

So far away...
I'm not the one who's so far away...
I'm not the one who's so far away...
I'm not the one who's so far away...

No more meaning to my life
No more reason to stay

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Quanto costa un grammo di felicita'?

Quanto costa un grammo di felicita'?

Un grammo?! E che ci fai con cosi' tanta roba? Ci vuoi rendere felice il mondo
intero? A te ne basta un granel di senape. Un granel di senape per spostare
le montagne, fidati! Beh, comunque non credo tu sia in grado di pagare il
prezzo neppure per un granel di senape. Ma dimmi, cosa ci vorresti ottenere? 

Cosa? Niente di particolare. Voglio solo una banale, noiosa routine quotidiana.
Voglio lavorare duro, tornare a casa con la schiena a pezzi e le mani insensibili.
Voglio sedermi a tavola con mia moglie e mio figlio. Voglio intorno persone
a cui mi sento legato. Voglio assaporare il mio cibo e voglio sentire il profumo
della terra. 
Non voglio glorie oppure divertimenti. Ne' avvenimenti eclatanti.
Voglio l'anonimato, voglio un cane e voglio un gatto.

Ma tu le puoi avere queste cose! La felicita' e' semplice da ottenere: basta volerla. Basta che smetti di essere negativo. 

E come si fa a non essere negativi in questo mondo? Come si fa
quando sai di essere a due mensilita' di distanza dall'insolvenza?
Come si fa quando esci per strada e vedi persone a vivere ridotte
come bestie, o bestie ubriache che fingono di essere persone?
Come si puo' essere positivi quando voi tutti fingete di non vederle 
queste cose e se ci sbattete contro per sbaglio poi le accantonate
come niente fosse? Alla fine io sono piu' positivo di voi! Vado
avanti anche se quelle cose le ho continuamente davanti agli occhi.
Voi dovete ignorarle o vi tagliereste le vene. Correte in ogni direzione
solo per non dover ammettere che c'e' solo il vuoto ad aspettarvi.

Io lo ammetto. E' questo che vi crea tanti problemi?
Avevo tutto quello che volevo. Avevo tutto e l'ho perso.
Se mi sai dire come posso essere nuovamente felice dimmelo.
Ma tieniti le tue critiche perche' sono stufo di stare ad ascoltarle.

Friday, 20 February 2015

The magic is in the words

You know that your magic is in your words. In your words lies your ability to enthral the people, to make them love you, to make them to dream, to give solace or sorrow. But to give this power to your words you need to infuse them with what of most intimate you have. So you stretch inwards, going deeply down towards your heart, and from there you draw fully to begin to narrate. You unfold your fears and your joys, your places, your life's story, your sorrows. You tell of the time you walked in the wood, stopping and staying still and silent to contemplate the colourful carpet made of mushrooms stretching all around you in every direction. You tell about the colours' explosion transforming the trees in Autumn, or about the Winter and a white landscape where yellow-green small bird flocks landed to eat the bread you had left in the snow. You describe the flavours of different foods you collected around in small farms and the pleasure you felt baking the bread at home or making the yoghurt or potting mushrooms under oil. You narrate about the works you deed to renovate that old house in the wood, working its wood and stone, a bond between you and a land which you felt to belong to, even if you were born on a different ground. In that soil, you thought to receive burial.
And while you're unfolding your story you feel you have the public under control. You understand it from how they watch you in silence, you perceive it in the change of their breathing. You see them relaxing and dreaming and becoming part of that land, of that story. Even if it's just for a moment. You shared yourself, you gave them some beauty, and you know you've fulfilled your purpose. What they don't see it's the toll that you pay. Every word, every memory, every sentiment and emotion you give to them through your narration is a tear where your flesh begins to bleed from, is a pain chewing deeply. Because you know that all of that is lost, it's something you'll never be able to go back to. And even if you would go back you would find it different, hostile, a poisoned place, and you would be just a stranger to it.
With such an awareness where can you find solace? How can your spirit not be veined with sadness? That vein of sadness is always there: now just a thread that nobody notices, then a swollen river brimming over your eyes. It's a bitter taste that never leaves your mouth: it doesn't matter how much sweet are the joys you savour, you well know that always, at the end, that bitter taste will come up again to your tongue. And who notices it doesn't understand, or doesn't want to understand, or doesn't know how to understand. That person is offended by it. Your sadness is an insult, it's the proof that you live stick to the past, that you live for someone else, it's your rejection of happiness. It's like if, after you lost your legs in an accident, someone would blame you for refusing to run together. It doesn't make sense, but it's what happens. Your magic is still there, but now it's sorrow what your magic dispenses. So you let the blame be laid at your feet, you let them put you at the bar, you bend your head and allow that the shame is put on as a mantle on your shoulders, a shame you know you don't deserve. But since it must always be a culprit, why not you? You let them saying and don't retort anymore. Who doesn't want to understand never will.
Adam lost stupidly his right to dwell in the Eden. He has been chased away, his return was forbidden. Can you imagine his frame of mind ascertaining that all his efforts were not enough to obtain something equally satisfying as before? He cultivated the land, but its fruits didn't have the same taste as before. He made artefacts, but they weren't perfect anymore. He slept but didn't rest. He ate but was never sated. He contemplated the skyline, but that beauty wasn't as perfect as the landscape he could admire from the top of the Eden mountain. But did he love his wife less for this reason? Did he hate his children? Did he stop trying, gave up his life? But how could he be completely happy with the Eden mountain standing out against the horizon, the memento of what he had and had lost?
You will walk towards places where you'll never find real satisfaction. Your hands will strive to build what is doomed to not last. What is it than if a love you believed sweet disclosed to be bitter? What is it if a person refuses solace to you? As much more pain can do it than knowing that you'll never feel at home again? Can such a wound be worse that all the wounds your memory inflicts you? But despite all this, you're still able to love, to savour the good of life, to appreciate the beauty. You're still able to get on with your life and even if you know that there's nowhere to go for you, you know also that you will meet someone who needs to lean on you. Your magic is there for those people, that they would stay with you for a long time or for a short while. For this reason, you get on, looking just for temporary solace, picking up what you find along the road and getting as much satisfaction as possible from it. Because all that you are able to give will never suffice. Because whoever says that wants to stay close to you will watch always what you are not able to do.

Would be easier, indeed...

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

A voice from the past

A second hand book is a voice from the past. A voice from the past telling us something about its former owner. Sometimes you can find a dedication revealing how much the person was important to the donor, or just a statement saying "this book belongs to..." which, together with the book state itself, will tell us what kind of person the owner was. Was it a precise person? Or was just a possessive person? Did the owner care about the book? Have the book been kept on a shelf or taken around? The book may be just worn out, as it always happen when you carry one in a bag. Or it may be literally spoiled due to careless. And sometimes you can find objects or notes among the pages. 
Browsing my new copy of the Uysses, I found the receipt of the purchase. Two minutes later then 1pm of 22nd of September 2010, a Thursday, in Charing Cross Road. Maybe a clerk on his lunch break? I cannot think really well about the former owner. The corners and the edges of the pages are bent, but the pages are clean, so it wasn't a "used" book. And there are stains due to a damp. Probably the purchaser has never read it. The Ulysses is a classic, one of those books that you buy just to show them on your bookshelf. Inside there was a Tube map, also. Brand new, of the year 2006. Four years older than the book.

Apparently, at that time, the zones were 6 plus other 4 named A, B, C and D. I've never heard anything about it.
  There was an envelop inside the book, with two tickets for a concert. Tuesday the 5th of October, 1:00pm, at Wigmore Hall in Wigmore Street. 
The Young Classical Artist trust's lunchtime concert. Less expensive than a normal concert, or this person had a son or a daughter playing that day, or just had a long lunchtime break. Or was a retired person. I could find it out, with a bit of work, since on the envelop there was the name of "him".
  Books speak to us in many different ways. It's up to us listening or not.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Books for free

Happiness is a house full of books 
and a garden full of flowers.
-Arab proverb

"Would you like to speak to Susie or Mary?" Igor asked me while we were heading off to the station. Why not? I like to talk with women. Actually, I don't like it, I love it. But... "Why?"
"They are giving away 150 books for free. I thought you could be interested in." Women are good, but women with books are the best in life. Of course I'd like to speak to them. 
Half an hour later or so I was wondering not far from Chancery Lane station, swearing to my new iPhone: its map shows all the most useless shops (from my point of view) but doesn't show the tube stations! I roamed between  the stations of Chancery Lane and Holborn for a long while before being able to pinpoint my position. The only bookshop, standing exactly at the corner of the turn I was looking for, wasn't shown on the iPhone's map... the only shop I would have noticed. Technology is supposed to make our life easier, bloody hell, not more miserable...
But I made it, in the end. I found the office, a school for American students coming to London for a semester, and Marie shown me the huge piles of books.

"Are you interested in politic books or novels?" she asked me. "I... I'm interested in books", I answered with a smile. I started to rummage everywhere, till another guy came to take the whole stock. "Let the fight for the books start!" said Marie, introducing us to each other. Well, no blood was shed. I left with some books, a web site address to help me in my search of a philological club or association, and no phone numbers. 
On my way back to the station I sent a message to a friend: "Books for free! It's a shame I don't have a van." "Where? Where?" she asked me in turn. Eh, a little bit too far from where you're right now, sweetheart.

I would make that Arab proverb one line longer: 

Happiness is a house full of books, 
a garden full of flowers 
and a sweet woman in your bed.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

The sheep look up

On Tuesday evening, going to the gym, I noticed numerous police officers in front of the Southwark Council Hall. Someone had dumped rubble in front of the access. adorning them with signs: "Southwark Council: smashing our homes", "Fuck your regeneration!" In that moment I thought: "The sheep look up!" A group of protester have taken action against the regeneration programme of Aylesbury Estate, where council houses had been left empty and to get in ruin and now are going to be demolished. Luxurious estates and massive shopping centres will get their place. Cross Rail is almost ready: benefit people and common workers deportation is about to happen.
Yes, the sheep look up...

The hungry Sheep look up, and are not fed, 125
But swoln with wind, and the rank mist they draw, 
Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread: 
Besides what the grim Woolf with privy paw 
Daily devours apace, and nothing sed,

                               Lycidas, John Milton (1608-1674)

Let Me Bring You Down 5

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Un romantico a Cambridge

 Viaggio di un giorno, lo scorso sabato, a Cambridge, citta' universitaria salita nelle glorie sotto il dominio danese. La citta' non e' che mi abbia impressionato. Stessa puzza di gas di scarico nelle vie principali come qui a Londra; stessa umanita' fastidiosa che si riversa ovunque, fatta di turisti chiassosi ed invadenti, incuranti di chi vive la', e di nottambuli festaioli e volgari esattamente come si vedono qui a Londra. Il cibo fa quasi schifo esattamente come a Londra e non mancano i segni di binge drinking sui marciapiedi. Italiano e spagnolo sono le lingue che senti piu' di frequente e l' architettura non ha niente di straordinario.
Pero' Cambridge e' pulita. Molto piu' pulita di Londra, e non ho neanche visto spazzini in giro. La gente che vive li' non si veste in modo strano, Londra e' la citta' dei weirdos, qui gli abitanti lasciano ai turisti i look sgargianti e si vestono decentemente. Beh, gli inglesi ci provano, quanto meno. Il centro cittadino e' una rete fitta di viuzze e vicoli intersecantesi, di memoria medioevale, dove l'accesso alle automobili non e' consentito e le bici in gran numero fanno lo slalom fra i turisti incuranti. I negozi hanno piu' classe delle
controparti londinesi, ma non e' che ci voglia molto, per questo. E se ti allontani un po' dal centro i turisti spariscono e puoi anche fingere che stai vivendo una vita normale. Per certo posso dire che le persone sono piu' amichevoli che a Londra: non ti guardano strano se rivolgi loro la parola per strada o in un negozio. O non fuggono di corsa su per una scala mobile come ha fatto un uomo nella stazione di King's Cross proprio quel sabato mattina, quando ho cercato di scambiare due parole mentre entrambi ci dirigevamo a prendere il treno.
In un piccolo art craft market ho speso una mezz'ora abbondante a parlare con i venditori agli stand: ho comprato il timbro col mio simbolo, il labirinto di Tintagel, da un inglese fuggito da Londra 15 anni fa il quale, ho scoperto, viveva a quattro passi da dove abito io ora; il sottopentola in legno di ginepro, che profuma di vero legno, ed il ginepro e' un legno profumato, qualcosa che non avevo piu' sperimentato da quando ho lasciato l'Italia, l'ho comprato da una donna che con mia gran sorpresa vive a Londra. In un piccolo charity shop ho comprato il libro sulle crociate e... beh, i libri li trovi ovunque, ce ne sono in abbondanza anche a Londra.

    In conclusione, potrei vivere in un luogo come Cambridge. Potrebbe addirittura piacermi. Ma non ero a Cambridge per fare il turista. Non mi piace essere associato con la parola turista. Infatti, un tempo c'erano i viaggiatori, che lasciavano la loro patria per esplorare terre straniere ed importare conoscenza al loro ritorno a casa; oggi ci sono i turisti, che vanno all'estero per esportare ignoranza. Preferisco definirmi un viaggiatore,  un viaggiatore dei  paesaggi  dello  spirito,  che  va  in 
cerca di quegli angoli non sempre nascosti che alla maggior parte della gente non interessa di vedere. E' molto piu' romantico. Nel senso di appartenente al Romanticismo

     Essendo io un romantico, a Cambridge ci sono andato per incontrare una donna, unica cosa che potesse schiodarmi da casa e che valesse la pena del viaggio. Nah! Niente di cio' che state pensando voi! Si', certo, e' cominciata in quel senso, con lo scambio di foto e messaggi erotici... cioe', lei mandava foto erotiche a me. Io che foto volete che mandi? C'ho l'erotismo di un ornitorinco. Ma poi le foto sono diventate quelle della famiglia e degli amici, del lavoro e dei luoghi che ci piacciono. Sono diventate piu' personali. E piu' preziose. Segno di una voglia e di un bisogno di condividere parte di se' stessi. E la giornata a Cambridge e' trascorsa passeggiando, guardandola fare shopping (abiti...cosi' sono le donne), bere e mangiare. E soprattutto a parlare. Non ho piu' passato del tempo con una donna cosi' interessante da quando la mia ultima relazione e' finita. Quelle poche ore passate insieme sono valse tutta la fatica e le spese del viaggio e molto di piu'.

     Definitivamente, potrei vivere in un luogo come Cambridge. Ma, cosi' ad occhio e croce, penso che sara' una diversa direzione quella che finiro' per prendere. Non sarei un romantico, altrimenti.

Sunday, 8 February 2015


In un post scritto su FaceBook un paio di giorni fa, commisi un errore di ortografia. Una grammar nazi me lo fece prontamente notare con un messaggio privato, dicendomi che mi voleva comunque bene anche quando sono sgrammaticato. Sarebbe da sposare solo per questo. Perche' mi ha corretto, non perche' mi vuole comunque bene. Pero' non sono proprio sicuro di come sarebbe la vita di coppia, in un caso del genere: "Hai scritto si' affermazione senza accento!" "Hai usato l'articolo pronominale sbagliato!" Comunque il problema non si pone: mi bruciai ogni possibilita' con la signorina durante un pranzo quando feci un'affermazione decisamente sbagliata per difetto sulla taglia delle sue tette. Capita.
Ma torniamo a noi. La vergogna per quell'errore di ortografia fu tale che non mi limitai a correggere l'errore, bensi' rimossi il post. Non era certo una delle mie perle di saccezza*, quindi l'ho fatto con poche remore. Ma sulla scia di quell'evento, e delle reprimende furibonde che spesso terminano ad insulti su FaceBook quando qualcuno scrive in modo sgrammatico**, mi e' venuta voglia di fare un piccolo gioco. Un test, come quello sullo spelling dell'inglese. Ho scritto il testo che segue, una cosa priva di senso, inserendovi 12 errori di vario tipo. Provate a trovarli. Se qualcuno trova un altro errore di qualsivoglia natura in questo post, eccettuata un' eventuale battitura errata sfuggita al controllo, vince una birra.

N.B. Sfortunatamente scrivo con una tastiera inglese, priva delle lettere accentate, che non e' certamente la cosa migliore per un test di questo genere, mi spiace. Tenete semplicemente presente che l'accento e' fatto con l'apostrofo, e che quindi non c'e' distinzione fra quello acuto e quello grave. Di conseguenza nessuno degli errori inseriti consiste in uno scambio di accenti.

"Decidemmo di catturare un' anaconda. Ma qual'e' il modo migliore per catturare un serpente di grandi dimensioni? Gli anaconda vivono in un ambiente che non da vita facile a chi, un po per passione un po per denaro, decide di dare loro la caccia. Ma l'importante e' che hai passione, propio cosi', che in fondo in fondo i soldi per queste missioni scientifiche sono sempre pochi. Quindi, mentre accelleravamo sull'organizzazione del viaggio, qualcuno comincio' a studiare quale fosse il modo migliore per raggiungere il nostro obiettivo; qualcun'altro si dette da fare nella raccolta fondi."

Quanti ne avete trovati?

*Saccezza: il termine fu coniato da Fabio, fondendo le parole saggezza e saccenza, che in diversa misura compongono l'amalgama alchemico della mia personalita'.

** The crow says black to the raven.

From Jacob's ladder to the perverse hallucination

Jacob left Beersheba, and went toward Haran. He came to the place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Takingone of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! And behold, the Lord stood above it [or "beside him"] and said, "I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God ofIsaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your descendants; and your descendants shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and by you and your descendants shall all the families of the earth bless themselves. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done that of which I have spoken to you." Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, "Surely the Lord is in this place; and I did not know it." And he was afraid, and said, "This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

Is this reality? Is this the real world?

Or do we live in a perverse hallucination?


Polvere, troppi ricordi, e' meglio esser sordi. E forse e' gia' tardi per togliere la polvere...

Friday, 6 February 2015

Near miss

Dubbi su questo lavoro ne hai fin da principio, ti chiedi se parlarne o no. Hai gia' fatto presente cosi' tante cose che non tornano. Come prenderebbero un'altra lamentela? Ci staro' attento, pensi. Saro' cauto. Il ritmo lo faccio io. Posso gestire la cosa. Poi succede che fai un errore, un pannello su cui stai facendo leva cede improvvisamente, il tuo attrezzo, una piccola barra di metallo, ti sfugge di mano, rimbalza in un modo assurdo e cade giu'. In strada. Dal decimo piano. Segui la traiettoria con lo sguardo, impiega alcuni secondi, hai tutto il tempo di renderti conto che ci sono delle persone sulla traiettoria. La barra colpisce l'asfalto ad un metro da una di loro. E' andata bene. Questa volta.

Cominci a porti domande. Fare finta di niente? Negare? C'e' un cantiere edile nell'edificio di fronte, chi puo' dire da dove la barra e' caduta? Agiti un braccio verso le persone che guardano in su. Gridi che e' colpa tua e che stai scendendo. Quali saranno le conseguenze? E' colpa tua? E' colpa della ditta che non ti ha fornito attrezzi adatti? Potevi rifiutarti di lavorare, no? A quali conseguenze? Ti poni tante domande, ma la risposta alla domanda piu'importante la sai bene. Ti e' chiara nel momento stesso in cui ti immagini cosa sarebbe successo se quella barra di metallo avesse colpito in testa una persona.

You had doubts on this job since the beginning and wonder if speak them out or not. You complained so many times. How would they get another complain? I'll be careful, you say. I give the rhythm, I can manage it. Then you make a mistake, a panel you're levering yields suddenly and you lose the grasp on your tool, a small metal bar. It bounces in a crazy way and fall off. On the road. From the tenth floor. You follow the trajectory with your gaze, you have time enough to realize that some people are on the trajectory. the bar hits the tarmac one meter from one of the people. You've been lucky. This time.

You start asking questions to yourself. Shall I pretend nothing happen? To deny? The building on the other side of the road is a building site, who can say where the tool fell from? You wave an arm towards the people starring upwards. You shout that's your fault and that you're coming down. What will the consequences be? Is it your fault? Is it your employer's fault since he didn't provided the right tools? You could refuse to work, didn't you? What would the consequences be in this case? So many questions, but you just know the answer to  the main question. You knew it in the very moment you imagined what would have happened if the metal bar had hit a person on its head.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

The funny side of English language

On my side, I've always uttered that English is an illogical language. I collected, obviously, more agreements from British than from Italians, who always try to demonstrate that I'm wrong. Well, I'm not alone in my firm belief and at least one English mother tongue linguistic says the same. Bill Bryson, in his book "Mother Tongue" writes at page 1, line 20: To be fair, English is full of booby traps for the unwary foreigner. Any language where the unassuming word fly signifies an annoying insect, a means of travel, and a critical part of a gentleman's apparel is clearly asking to be mangled. And at page 2, line 5: The complexities of the English language are such that even native speakers cannot always communicate effectively [...]. And so on. The most critical part of English is, probably, the spelling, which resisted to any attempt to reform it along the centuries. Following a test from Bryson's book, written at page 112.

  Just as a quick test, see if you can tell which of the following words are mispelled.


In fact, they all are. So was mispelled  at the end of the preeceding paragraph. So was preeceding just there. I'm sorry, I'll stop. But I trust you get the point that English can be a maddeningly difficult language to spell correctly.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

It's up to you

Puoi accettarmi anche sapendo che probabilmente non saro' mai completamente felice? Io avevo tutto cio' di cui avevo bisogno e, in fondo in fondo, cio' era tutto cio' che volevo. Ogni cosa di meno di cio' che avevo non sara' mai soddisfacente.
E' qualcosa che non dipende da te.
Puoi accettarmi anche sapendo che non saro' mai completamente tuo soltanto? Ho amato due donne nel mio passato, che ora sono fantasmi nel mio presente. Quando penso ai bei momenti vissuti con loro non posso evitare di farlo con tenerezza. E quando penso alle loro sofferenze non posso evitare che i cuore mi si stringa.
E' qualcosa che non dipende da te.
Puoi accettarmi cosi' come sono? Sapendo che il mio amore per te non sara' da meno? Puoi accettarmi sapendo che per te posso rinunciare a tutto tranne che a me stesso? Puoi accettarmi?
Questo dipende da te.

Can you accept me even knowing that probably I won't ever be totally happy? I had everything I needed and in the end it was all that I wanted. Anything less than what I had will never be satisfying.
It's something which doesn't depend on you. 
Can you accept me even knowing that I'll never be just totally yours? I loved two women in my past, who are now ghosts in my present. When I remind of the beautiful moments I lived with them I cannot do it without tenderness. When I think about their suffering it's heartbreaking.
It's something which doesn't depend on you.
Can you accept me as I am? Knowing that my love for you will not be less so? Can you accept me knowing that for you I can give up everything except myself? Can you accept me?
This depends on you.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Google it, baby

Asking where the nearest laundromat is?
What the today euro-pound rate exchange is?
How to go to Gatwick Airport?

Google it, baby.

If you want to watch the final scene of 
"Bridge on the River Kwai"...
...well, google it, baby.