Lorenzo & his humble friends

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

Tag: jean thomas

Bis di montagne

Saturday morning with my bike: Bevaix, La Fruitiere (coffee break in mountain hut), Le Soliat (lunch break with a rösti at La Baronne: remember to come back in here with some good friends/family), Couvet, Gorge de la Rose.

Sunday: Jean-Thomas, Alexis, and Jeremie. The latter is a living example of how not to dress when hiking in the mountains: I love papa Francesco t-shirt with a fresh coffee stain, sneakers, light socks, and Gandalf-like stick. Broc, Dent de Broc (1828), la Trême, Gruyères (Jean-Thomas says it looks “just like Tuscany” because you can clearly see “la mano dell’uomo“: I am not convinced), Fribourg, Marco, Deg, Thibaut, fondue moitié-moitié, fondue fribourgeoise, and double créme.

 

 

 

Roccia solitaria

Vicino a Scex Rouge, Glacier 3000, con Yvan, Jean-Thomas, Maria e Quinn, ultimo fine settimana prima della quarantena (8 marzo). Dietro alla roccia c’è un rifugio, talmente piccolo e nascosto che non riesco più a ritrovarlo nemmeno su Google.

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Macabre dancing

I discovered the Joy Division thanks to Marco, Leila and Niels in Torino, at Blah-Blah. I knew them before, as we all do, but I did not really understand what they stood for.

Two years later I found So This is Permanence during my visit to Shakespeare and Co. It is a volume of Ian Curtis’s notes and crossings outs on the original lyrics. It stands as a testimony of the influence of the likes to Rimbaud and Kafka on Curtis’ worldview.

A few months later, Jean Thomas insisted we watched a movie on Ian Curtis life: Control 2007. He sold me the movie not because it was about the Joy Division, but because it had a wonderful photography. That’s right. The movie, in black and white, is directed by Anton Corbijn, who had worked as official photographer for the band.

And then, some time ago, I stumbled into a short article by Fabio Zuffanti of La Stampa. I discovered a few other things that I did not know before. For example, the name Joy Vision comes from the sexual slavery wing of a Nazi concentration camp mentioned in the 1955 novel House of Dolls. The article also highlights the connections between Joy Division, David Bowie, and Albert Camus. And it finds the right adjectives: haunting, oppressive, claustrophobic (the sound); far, reverberating (Ian Curtis’ voice).

Non-universal suffrage

This is the link to the article I published together with Jean-Thomas and Sam on European Political Science. You can read it for free thanks to the funding we have received from GLOBALCIT and the Global Governance Programme to make it open access.

In the article, we present ELECLAW, a new set of indicators that captures the subtle and variegated legal landscape of persisting electoral rights restrictions.

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If I could chose an image for this piece it would be the 1913 feminist manifesto pictured above. The electoral franchise has become more universal as restrictions based on criteria such as sex or property have been lifted throughout the process of democratisation. Yet, a broad range of exclusions has persisted to this date, making the suffrage non-universal, even in established democracies. The exclusion of prisoners or persons with a mental disability, for instance, remains a divisive issue in most contemporary democracies. Another particularly widespread and controversial form of disenfranchisement stems from international migration, as a result of which non-naturalised immigrants are often excluded from elections held in their country of residence and, to a lesser degree, in their country of citizenship. In democratically governed states, regions, and cities, these infringements to the sacrosanct principle of universal suffrage have sparked debates about the very nature of the political community and the essential qualities of citizenship, resulting in frequent changes in the electoral law. Ultimately, a broad range of more or less severe restrictions has persisted to this date, making suffrage non-universal, even in established democracies.

Direction Istanbul à vélo

François came to Neuchâtel in the 1990s. He worked here and moved back and forth to Montpellier, although he likes Aix-en-Provence better. In 2016 he started looking for a new apartment and in the end he took the room I was about to leave.

When I came back, one year ago, we became part-time flatmates. He, like Jean Thomas, was away most of the time; but the few days we spent together were good. He is calm, thoughtful, youthful, curious, careful. When I think of him I think of expensive mattresses, verbena, sheeps, maps, and big white afro hair on a white man.

François left Neuchâtel in June last year. He has now embarked on new projects. One of these is a long ride from Montpellier to Istanbul. It began already a week ago and you can follow his steps on his new blog. Daje François.

 

Post scriptum. Before publishing this blogpost I asked him consent: Si il y a que des gentils comme Elie, Marco, Jean-Thomas, les filles allemandes, alors ça va!

Swissmaking, one year later

Jean Thomas and François, Rue de la Côte, the mattress. Unine, SUN. Escrime on Tuesday and Wednesday, tennis with Salomon on Thursday. Gruyere and freshly baked baguette at the Saturday market. Xamax with Elie and Raffaele. Genève. Giulia. Les Bains des Pâquis. Pasta fresca with Marco. The morning breakfast with le dinosaure at the Boulangerie de la Côte. Football with Michael and the ‘Savoir Faire a Manger‘ team. Santiago. Salsa, tango. Johanna. Mail. Dinner chez Maria, Damaso, Guido. Come si chiamano le tartarughe? Basel with Annique, carnival. Valais, Zinal. The lights of Zurich. Chasseron, alpine skying. La Fée verte ou absinthe du Val-de-Travers. Chasseral. La tartare a Yverdon. The Italian Consulate in Bern. Gaetan, Fribourg. Interlaken. The Aar from Thun to Bern. The Black Office and Cyclop. La Case à Chocs in Fall, le Chauffage Compris in Winter, Univers in Spring.

Fearless Femme

I was 24 when I decided I wanted to do a Ph.D. on how secessionist regions treat immigrants. At the time I was a census coordinator for my municipality by day and a restless student writing my master’s thesis by night. I remember one excruciating session in the library, when I wrote an email message to this Scottish professor who had published some remarkable articles on the topic I was interested in.

Eve answered after a couple of days with a long message. She invited me to a conference in Edinburgh where I met many of people who would have gone on to become my colleagues and friends – Jean Thomas, Dejan, Daniel. Since that day, she become my passionate and rigorous mentor. After helping me to secure a scholarship from the University of Edinburgh, she encouraged me to make a move to the European University Institute. We then spent my first year working together, as she was a Jean Monnet fellow there and tirelessly read all my drafts. I owe her so much.

Eve quit the academia two years ago and now she goes on with the the project Fearless Femme to challenge sexism and reduce mental health stigma. Wish her the best of luck!

Zinal

Un buon weekend.

One of them

Good news. In October I sent out my Ph.D. thesis and a few days ago – the moment I landed in London to see Marco, Francesca, Camilla and Isabella – I received the approval of my four jury members. I will, therefore, defend in early 2018, slightly late on my initial schedule.

When I told Jean Thomas, he said this would finally make me ‘one of us‘.

 

In the meanwhile, I have one important announcement to make. I have bought not one, but two pipes when I was in Torino with Marco: the first and more expensive one is a Chacom, billiard, Canadian-style, made in French-Jura; the other is a Piemontese Brebbia ‘da battaglia‘, small-billiard almost Price of Wales in style. It has been a fruitful season.

Xamax

At the beginning of September I moved back to Neuchâtel to work on a postdoc project with Jean Thomas and the rest of the crew that I had met in the Spring of 2016. I must admit was skeptical about the place – never had I been in such a small and lonely community before. But life unravels in unexpected ways: the first weeks of September have been a real springtime in autumn, as Thomoose used to say.

Back in March. I remember a cold, rainy morning in Torino. Niels was about to leave. We had breakfast together and he gave me one piece of advice: hit the ground running. During my first days in Neuchatel I signed up for pretty much anything one could think of. And to be honest with you, the place has been treating me really well these weeks. Much of it, of course, has to do with the people: not only Jean Thomas, but also the other colleagues whom I knew already, and those who arrived after I left.

A couple of stories about my inburgering. When moving to any Swiss town you have to register with the commune – it really reminds one of 1984. In exchange, you are given a permit, an introduction to the life in the local community, and a voucher to buy some medicines in the pharmacy. True that: since Neuchâtel is next to a nuclear production site the government has decided that all inhabitants must have in their houses a box of pills that will save us in the event of a nuclear holocaust. And until that happens, we distract ourselves with football. Last Wednesday I went to watch the match of the local team, the Neuchâtel Xamas, playing against the Geneva bunch, Servette FC. Those of you who have my age will know both teams, since they played against some Italian sides in the UEFA European Cup during the 1990s. Now they are on top of the Swiss second division. Good match, everything considered. Neuchâtel Xamas won 3-2 with a winner at minute 92’. On the same day, Djanni got a humanitarian permit to stay in Italy, so we celebrated.