Lorenzo & his humble friends

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool

Tag: canadians

I won’t be near

Perhaps it’s the weather or something like that, or maybe it’s about finally leaving Brussels. In these days I definitely over-think crashing in abysses of melancholy. After all this is the fourth city where I come, live, and go. I wonder if there is something I can leave behind for you, my friends, and if you will wait for when we will meet again and get some whiskey together and listen to Shimbalaiê and talk life and philosophy.

As for me, those who left me something will be on my mind as it has always been with the best people I met in Ireland, Spain, and Canada. People can live again in our thoughts and this is part of the wisdom I inherited by thomoose who, as a matter of fact, is very often with me even when he does not know. And you all, sometime you will just pop in my thoughts: even if I won’t be next to you and you know I won’t be near, I’d still be curious to know if you can see yourself as clear as someone who has had you on his mind.

Hiking on a highway

I spent last weekend in Brussels and Lorenzo asked me to write some lines for his blog.

Brussels is an interesting city, ugly yet beautiful at the same time. It is fascinating how a city which embodies the great European dream can be so depressing – at least, the new European part looks depressing. No statues of liberty in this city welcoming new people. Literary terms occurred in my head: Brussels seems like a weird paradox to me. Its exterior can be seen as some kind of awkward metaphor for today´s situation of the EU, as viewed by many people: the old part I found quite beautiful, while the new buildings taking over the city looked threatening. Sometimes, content is not enough – it should be expressed in tangible objects to make a strong case. Inspiring architecture would be a good start.

Anyway, there has been enough talk about this topic and certainly on Lorenzo´s blog. Because let´s make room for another cliché here: it doesn´t matter where you are when you are with friends. I discovered some universal rules about true friends during my visit, which I can apply to all my best friends:

  • they are hanging out with interesting people;
  • they are pursuing great things in life;
  • even hiking on a highway after taking some wrong turns is fun.

 

Iris, in Stockholm now.

Dinant

Iris was here in Brussels in the last few days. She’s now about to take a plane to Stockholm. I wish her and Mr Peace River a great journey. They have been tempered by an intense weekend exploring, with me and a bunch of other brave men, the whereabouts of Dinant, a cozy Waloonian village widely credited for the invention of the saxophone.

 

Creative suggestions

Seven movies to watch from six different friends who adviced me. I liked the experiment so much that it will continue in the future. If you have suggestions for the next posts, please send these to me via email.

Non mi ricordo chi (anzi sì, ma non rivelo quasi mai le mie fonti) diceva che “Pigmalione” e “Frankenstein” sono in realtà la stessa storia. Anche questo film credo sia una variazione sullo stesso tema. Il professor Germain, dopo anni di delusioni liceali pensa di aver trovato una perla rara nel giovane, disagiato ma talentuoso e vagamente perverso, Claude Garcia e nel suo misterioso romanzo in fieri. Una perla che cerca di coltivare e far brillare, a suo modo. Ma ecco il coup de théâtre: il romanzo inizia a coinvolgere lo stesso Germain e a prendere troppa vita tanto che, alla fine, non è più chiaro chi tra insegnante e allievo sia il pigmalione e chi, invece, la creatura ribelle. Un film intrigante e laido il giusto, corredato da un inquietante Hitler-bambola gonfiabile. Film consigliato: Nella casa. (G.S.)

The setting and characters strike a chord in a simple good way. The music and love strikes a chord in a simple good way. These good simple chords make me feel happy. every. single. time. Watch: Dan In Real Life. (T.L.A.)

Dove stare nel mondo? Dove le cose corrono? Dove il capitalismo cerca nuova identità? Seguire i mille rivoli di occupy wall street e le sue nuove declinazioni o il nuovo rampante cinismo cinese? Cullarsi nell’addormentata e pur creativa Europa o esplorare l’allegro e controverso sudamerica? Se tutti parlano di una cosa, io la seguo, la leggo, la ascolto e cerco ciò di cui si parla, forse un po’ meno. Film consigliati: Djeca/Buongiorno Sarajevo della bosniaca Aida Begi e La bicicletta verde; due registe che trasmettono emozioni forti, con profondi silenzi, due ritratti sociali eccellenti. (L.Z.)

This is a movie about all the important things in life; the story is a beautiful, happy, tragic, intense, and deeply touching rollercoaster ride. In Flanders fields, one man with an American dream and a tough, tattooed woman team up in a country band and fall in love with each other. While the country songs form the playlist of their lives together and the tear-jerking end is inevitable, the camera shots of a family’s life in a Belgian setting make the movie very real. Watch: The broken circle breakdown. (I.d.G.)

Questo film riunisce due delle mie passioni segrete: i disadattati sociali ed il whisky :),  ma soprattutto è un film inaspettatamente ottimista, che tocca temi importanti in modo spensierato, mai patetico. E’ la storia di una banda di sfigati che, con un po’ di cervello e parecchia fortuna, riesce a prendersi la rivincita di tutta una vita. The Angels’ Share è un film del 2012 diretto da Ken Loach. (S.T.)

A tangled web of stories which is not particularly about something special, other than life itself maybe. The “real”ness of the movie, along with perfect acting and lifting music makes it one of the best works of the end of last century. Be prepared because Paul Thomas Anderson makes it really hard for you to pause and go to the bathroom from right after the first scene starts straight to the end of last scene 3 hours later! Watch: Magnolia (S.K.)

Koninkrijk

Thanks to my Canadian friends who are kind of becoming my second family. This time around it has been a sneaky unplanned 8 hour nightrush in Utrecht. Much warmer than the last time I was there. No matter how, why and when, it always feels like home with you guys.

It never rains on Thursday

On Thursday March the 17th in Victoria, BC, Canada, I was feeling grumpy and nostalgic, missing my Irish friends and that one semester I spent in Dublin. In spite of the insistence of mr Peace River, I was not in the mood of celebrating San Paddy’s day. It just did not feel like Ireland. The weather outside was just fine. Obviously, the weather in Ireland was never fine. It was not even close to that Irish gloomy atmosphere and I missed so much.

However, the day after I I got up laboriously. I was hangover and I realized I lost Thomas’ vest. Later it turned out to be Thomas’ friend’s vest. Outside it was a grey day. It was raining and a couple of old men down at the harbour were having a pint. I put on the some Great Big Sea music and spent the rest of my day in the proper Irish mood.

UVic

Thanks to Federica for sharing this nice video from UVic, the place where I studied in 2011. By the way, I just got a PhD proposal from there for a place at the Department of Political Science from September this year.

Time for food

Over the weekend I finally got the time to put together and write down some of my recipes on a small paper. This is something I wanted to do for a very long time. Cooking is one of the most enjoyable activities I know. But food is not only a mere pleasure. When in Bruxelles with Mita I saw a poster that said People eating alone die earlier. Every recipe I now have on my paper reminds me of some special persons and some special places: crepes, Stefania in Santa Cruz; pasta Sangiovese, Marco and Giulia in Dublin; pasta alla vodka, Saverio and the rest of the crew in Valencia; Salmorejo, Martin and Anna in Granada; tortilla, Pablo in Salamanca; cheeseburger, Evan and Neel in Tofino; pancakes, Thomas in Victoria; pasta amatriciana, Aaron in Victoria; fried banana, Iris and the rest of the crew in Fanø. 

Comfortable in my skin

After so many serious political posts, here’s a little break. This is a song by one-man band Xavier Rudd, whose fan base is particularly strong in Australia and in Canada. I’m sure this is cool music for the sensitive soul of  my friend James, who just turned 22.

It is always the time for skinny dipping

On January 1st, over 1,000 New Year swimmers braved freezing conditions in the River Forth in front of the Forth Rail Bridge during the annual Loony Dook Swim in South Queensferry, Scotland.

Meanwhile, in the Netherlands a lone diver was running into the North Sea for Nieuwjaarsduik.

And us? This time around we were not there. And for some reasons, Jasper, Joe and I look way more relaxed in 2013. Just getting older, I guess.

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The first two photos are part of the 2013: Marking new year gallery of the Boston Globe.