Lorenzo & his humble friends

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

Tag: fabio

Post-election

I was looking for good articles to share with you after the Italian elections of March 4. Not much. In a blatant act of self-promotion, I would simply recommend a short read and an interview (minute 11:30) I’ve made on Radio France International together with Fabio and professor D’Alimonte. In addition, I would also suggest a deeper read by Old Tom on the politics of frustration.

Great will be your reward…

… in the Kingdom of Heaven

Jean-Thomas; Giallu, Gianni, and Paola; Pietro; Martina; Marco and Leila; Pedro; Dani and Anna; mum and dad; Alberto and Marcantonio; Marco, Francesca, Isabella, and Camilla; Fabio and parents. These are the people who hosted me at their place over the last twelve months.

Migrare

Ogni tanto servono anche riflessioni personali e sentimentali e ti avviso subito, cara lettrice, che questa è una di quelle bombe sfacciatamente melodrammatiche che scrivo il venerdì sera dopo una lunga discussione a tavola.

Prima di tutti è stato Jonas e già il suo addio fu piuttosto melodrammatico. Tra pochi mesi Dani tornerà all’estero e questa volta sarà per qualche anno, se non per una vita. Ada partirà a gennaio e Nele anche. La maggior parte delle persone che hanno arricchito la mia vita a Firenze, da Martin a Fabio, Niels, Mariana, Anna, prenderanno il volo tra agosto e dicembre. Perfino i fiorentini, penso a Giallu, potrebbero andarsene. E io, che come sempre non ho ancora un programma definito [She said, “Where d’you think your going with that look upon your face / He said, “I’m going nowhere, would you like to come too”] non so ancora dove sarò. Forse dopo tutto anche io dovrò dire arrivederci a Firenze, questa città bellissima che mi ha accolto come una amica forte e virtuosa fin dai primi giorni. Da quando ho compiuto ventun anni ho sempre cercato di muovermi velocemente: non ho mai avuto difficoltà a stringere nuove amicizie e staccarmi sapendo che la vita è breve e va vissuta per tappe, senza fermarsi troppo a lungo nella stessa medesima situazione. E anzi, mi sono divertito a ricominciare daccapo anno dopo anno. Eppure questo posto, queste persone: non sono sicuro di essere pronto al distacco. L’unico modo di tirarmi su è una canzone che passa in questo momento alla radio e mi fa venire in mente una clip particolare: la emulerò, ballando ai tempi passati e quelli a venire.

Dr. Nefario

I regard myself as a very modest person and as an excellent chef. Unfortunately, though, my cooking skills occasionally abandon me for reasons that are yet unknown. The consequences can be disastrous, especially for the people who happen to be around at the time. This happened only once last year: that was when I invited Irene and Fabio for dinner. A bit of context here: unlike Fabio, who at the time was already a regular guest of the house, Irene had never been at my place before; and, unlike Fabio (with my greatest respect for him), Irene has this habit of behaving like a very polite person when she is with people she does not really know well. So at the end of the dinner, when I accidentally dropped on the table some brownies I thought I might had overcooked but I was hopeful they could still be good, upon trying one and still realizing the taste was awful Irene must have felt she could not really spit it out and she kept chewing the definitely overcooked brownie for a good minute or two. That went on without anybody really realizing until Fabio also picked one (“Ah, famme provà ‘sta delizia“), spitted it out right away and ran to the toilet screaming horrible slanders to the cook. Only then Irene felt authorized to gently spit her cookie too and declare it could, in fact, have been better.

Anyway! This episode remained buried in my memory until two days ago, when I watched an entertaining movie for kids (not that I do that often, but believe it or not I was taking care of a kid and watching Despicable Me seemed the most logical thing to do after the kid stormed my room, my house, and an entire park). The following sequence from the movie immediately stroke a cord.

 

I now like to imagine myself as Dr. Nefario and Fabio and Irene as two yellow Minions. I wonder if they would happily share this image too.

2015: resolutions

Go ski touring. Keep playing tennis. Start beating Fabio, Giallu, and Martijn at tennis. Write three good chapters for the Ph.D. dissertation. Publish one paper I can be proud of. Teach in high schools. Enjoy Florence with Thomoose. Buy a typewriter and use it to write letters. Spend time with Camilla in London. Bring the Ladybirds to the Coppa Pavone. Keep reading The Economist. Read all of the seven 1000-page classics of the literature books I bough last month -just kidding. But seriously: read at least three of them. Take the Dolomiti del Brenta Tour with Manuel, Mindo, Dani, Giallu and sleep under a sky full of stairs. Visit Prague, Beirut, and Jerusalem. Work and volunteer in Israel. Volunteer abroad with Legambiente, anyway. Run half a marathon in less than 1h45′. Spend my fifth new year’s eve with the Canadians. Keep writing. Also on the blog.

Stuff I have been reading in 2014

Seriously? Last time I wrote about the books I read was one year ago. Since then I have bought a lot of books, I have started many of them, and I have finished only a few. I think we are still talking about a dozen or so. Would it make sense to list them all? No, it wouldn’t. So I will only cite the three books that one way or another have had the greatest impact on this little mind since it moved down to Florence.

The book number one – in strict chronological order – should be Open, by Andre Agassi. Yes, it’s a best-seller, but unlike other best-sellers it is well written and it gave me that little incentive to start playing tennis consistently. I had rarely played before, maybe ten times in my whole life if we exclude the countless hours I spent bouncing a ball against the wall of my house back when I was a kid. (That, I in restrospect, can be qualified as low-quality squash at best). So I read Open by Agassi and it made me appreciate some distinguishing qualities of tennis, namely the feeling of being completely lonely on the court, the pressure and psychological challenge with your opponent, the fear. I started playing right after finishing the book and made it a habit to go twice a week with my loyal companions – Martin, Martjin, Pierre, Fabio, and Giallu. I haven’t improved much (guess I am not up for the psychological challenge yet?), but I am enjoying every part of it.

everything but tennis players

Then came another book about sport, endurance, psychology, and distress. Contrary to what you might think, The Damned Utd is not about Manchester United. Instead, this is a brilliant story about Brian Clough’s brief spell as manager of Leeds United football club in 1974. The book, that was suggested to me by Old Tom, is quite crisp. After reading it I watched the movie and realised that I genuinely liked the actor, Michael Sheen. I therefore started watching all his other productions, including the highly ingenious TV series Masters of Sex, and I am currently planning to watch the Blair trilogy. In the end, because of one single book I spent dozens of hours in front of my laptop. Not necessarily good, but certainly fun.

After two entertaining books it is time for something a bit more depressing. Ill Fares the Land is the last book published by Tony Judt before dying at the age of 62. Written under the debilitating effects of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Ill Fares The Land is the political manifesto of one of the greatest contemporary historians of our time. This is a compelling read advocating a return to social democracy. I have been recommending it to virtually everybody. Unlike Postwar, the 1000-page Judt’s masterpiece, this is a book everybody can finish in a couple of days. After finishing it I moved onto The Memory Chalet and Reappraisals, thus continuing my personal discovery of this outstanding academic who writes marvellously about things that I find passionating.

 

Memorie fiorentine di popolo

Back in the days there was a method, in my photography. Now the method is all gone. I took about twenty-twentyfive completely random pictures in my first two florentinian months. It is not easy, but if you can read through them you will learn a lot about yellow submarines, storms, spectacular falls, my attraction for the Germans, and much more.

 

The two pictures taken from the university are not mine, but Rosie‘s – who doesn’t even know me. I hope she won’t mind.