Lorenzo & his humble friends

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

Tag: marco

Les veins.,

Marco, che i lettori più fedeli hanno avuto modo di incontrare ripetutamente su questo blog (uno, due, tre, quattro, cinque, sei, sette, otto), ha appena avviato un nuovo progetto cartografico nel suo tempo libero. Potete vedere alcuni suoi lavori nello spazio su Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/lesveins/) e, se vi piacciono, potete farvi spedire le mappe direttamente a casa tramite Etsy (https://www.etsy.com/it/shop/Lesveins).

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.

Quattro

Romandy: it has been wonderful. And think that I was depressed before moving here.

View from my window, balcony, Konstanz with Cata, Giulia, Vevey, Lac Leman, Hugo Pratt, an elderly couple waling next to the harbour, Palais de Tokyo, Arianna, Berna, a Torino con Teresa, Marco Etta e Leila, Chacom e Brebbia, Forte di Bard con Alberto e Marco, snow in Neuchâtel, fencing, Robin and Salomon, tennis.

Etta mi fa gli auguri

Un cubano

Ieri partita di calcetto con la squadra che ho messo assieme: è la squadra dell’ufficio, Swiss Forum of Migration (SFM), anche se per il torneo ho deciso che ci chiameremo Savoir Faire à Manger (SFM). Perso 8 a 1. Al Bistrò, poco dopo. Arrivo prima degli altri ragazzi perché sono in bici. Mi siedo e aspetto. Di fronte a me due passano due ragazze. Le guardo felice. Poi il mio sguardo incontra quello di un altro solitario avventore, anche lui chiaramente ammirato dalle donne. Attacca discorso. E’ cubano, si chiama Elias. Continua a parlare della cultura e di come lui la venda. Come, non mi è chiaro. Quel che invece è chiaro è che lui conosce ben poco della storia e della geografia e dell’arte; ma all’Havana ha incontrato Lorenzo Jovanotti e Antonello Venditti e si sente quindi un ambasciatore dell’arte italiana nel mondo. Arrivano i compagni: Marco, Robin ed Elie. Proviamo a parlare di noi, ma Elias ormai non si scolla più. Quando Robin racconta brevi storie salaci sul suo erasmus a Palermo, lui allarga le braccia e urla ‘Questa è cultura! Mi commuovo! Piango! Cultura!‘. Capisco che devo andarmene. Elias mi attacca un ultimo torrone sulla semplicità nella vita e l’importanza di essere positivi e fraterni. Queste sciocchezze da hippie squattrinati mi fanno infuriare. Mi congedo; lui dice che mi ha pagato tutte le birre e la cena, ma non è vero. Insiste sull’andare a fare serata assieme a Berna più avanti questo mese. Me ne vado.

Oggi arrivo in ufficio dopo pranzo. Robin mi chiede se ero già andato via quando il cubano ha rovesciato tutte le birre sul tavolo. Marco mi dice che sono un Giuda e che ‘quel cazzo di cubano si è fatto offrire tutte le birre e la cena‘. Elie non vuole più parlarmi.

Penso che regalerò loro una copia di Prendilo tu questo frutto amaro, live all’Havana 1995.

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.

8 novembre

E’ il secondo martedì di novembre e come succede ogni quattro anni i cittadini americani si stanno recando a votare in quelle che sono le elezioni più seguite al mondo. Io non ho scritto nulla al riguardo, se non qualche riflessione tangenziale. Non che non abbia seguito questa campagna elettorale, intendiamoci: negli ultimi mesi ho letto molti articoli di persone che spiegavano ad altri come usare il proprio voto e ho ascoltato lunghi ragionamenti sul carattere dei candidati, il loro curriculum, i loro stipendi, il loro look. E’ che mi è un po’ passata la voglia, ecco tutto. Questa nevrotica iper-personalizzazione del dibattito fa sparire la parte nobile e divertente della politica, quella in cui discutiamo sul tipo di società in cui vorremmo vivere.

Io, ad esempio, trovo molto più politico degli articoli che molti di noi condividono sui social network quello che fanno Marco e Leila, due amici ritrovati qui a Torino. Loro non si lanciano in iperbolici appelli al voto e non scrivono strampalati articoli su un blog iper-narcisista e auto-referenziale. Semplicemente, comprano cibo di cui conoscono l’origine, vanno alle manifestazioni per i diritti dei lavoratori precari, studiano e quando possono cercano di organizzare attività per persone in difficoltà economica. Insomma, sono una coppia di hippie che cercano di vivere in maniera consapevole e credo sia anche per questo che è bello passare del tempo con loro.

Post scriptum: Forse il nesso tra Marco, Leila e le elezioni di oggi è un pochino labile, ma spero coglierete il concetto. Per tutto il resto ci sono la newsletter di Francesco Costa e gli articoli di Lorenzo Ferrari.

Patience and time

One important discovery I made this year is that moments come back, sometimes in a more mature and tangible way than how you remembered them. Your read about my bromance with Thomas already; now in Montreal I had the luck to share the apartment with Marco and Leila, who made my life a little bit funnier between 2009 and 2012. We have been in touch ever since, on and off, and we also met each other quite a few times; but of course it was never as good as spending one whole week together in the same house. Much time has passed since we first met and of course now we have changed, our lives have changed. And yet, living together just for a little while was so good, and so important to me.

I might not be very good at it, but one thing I know now is that the capacity to cultivate friendships over time is one of the best qualities a man should have.

Je me souviens just part of it

Monsieur,

D’après un article (4 fév.), il y a confusion concernant la devise du Québec. Comme vous l’avez écrit, elle est de E. E. Taché. « Je me souviens » n’est que la première phrase [de la devise], ce qui explique peut-être la confusion. La devise va comme suit :

Je me souviens / Que né sous le lys / Je croîs sous la rose.
I remember / That born under the lily / I grow under the rose.

Je suis la petite-fille de Eugène-Étienne Taché. Ma tante, Mme Clara Taché-Fragasso de Québec, est la seule des filles de E.-E. Taché toujours en vie. J’espère que [cette information] éclairera quelques-uns de vos lecteurs.

The text quoted above is a letter sent by Hélène Pâquet in response to an article appeared on The Montreal Star in 1978. Hélène, as she herself explains in the last paragraph, is the nephew of Eugène-Étienne Taché, the Assistant Commissioner for Crown lands in Quebec and architect of the provincial Parliament building. Upon his death in 1912, Taché wanted the motto written above to be carved in stone below the coat of arms of Quebec that appears above the Parliament Building’s main entrance door. So it was done; and since then Je me souviens came into official use. In contemporary Quebec it still occupies so many spaces, including the licence plates of the cars. For many French Quebeckers Je me souviens poetically symbolizes the days of New France (the lily) and the subsequent conquest by the English crown and the Confederation (the rose). Some say that when the French Canadian says “Je me souviens”, she not only remembers the days of New France but also the fact that she belongs to a conquered people.

This story is meant to show you that Quebec is a place of powerful suggestions. I spent three weeks in its biggest and most vibrant city, Montreal, and now that I am back to Florence I can upload some pictures and add some explanations – you will see the explanation if you clic on the picture. I am also going to upload a music video; and I would have chosen a video without any advertisement at the start but then this is by far the best live version of it and it deserves to be seen.

The video is somehow related to one particular thought I wanted to share with you. When I was in Montreal it was Freshers week, which is the time when all new students arrive to university and go pretty crazy celebrating. It is the first moment in their life they are free, and independent, and you can read it in their face. There is excitement, but there is also fear: it is a sense of utter freedom, and utter loss at the same time. It is a passing ritual I love, because in that moment your brain and your heart are clean, so clean and free that you can start from scratch and discover so much and you won’t feel alone because there are so many people around you who are in the exact same situation and you can perceive they feel exactly the way you do. I was lucky enough to be in that kind of situation many times in my life, having changed place and started something new – quite often, already. So every time I would find myself in a situation like this – well, you know, I would share the excitement, and the thrill, and everything that comes with it. Not this time, though. This time I just saw very, very young students, and for the first time in my life I felt I was a bit more mature than they were. I was happy for them, though. But I was not part of it, as I was a passenger riding in the backside. And so I thought of the song, and finally, many year after I first listened to it on the radio, it made perfect sense.

A Villan

Aston Villa Football Club, also known as Villa, The Villa, or The Villans, is a professional football club based Birmingham. The team is among the oldest football clubs in the history of English sports and it is famous for having exhibited a surprising determination in remaining in the Premier League over the last twenty years without winning a single trophy. Mind you: though unimpressive it can seem on the outside, this is a club capable of hiring players who say stuff like: I’d like to play for an Italian club like Barcelona (Mark Draper) or Allegations are all very well but I would like to know who these alligators are (Ron Saunders).

So I have been timidly supporting the Villans for the last few years. I think it all began when Marco spent a brief period in Birmingham and provided me with some excellent merchandising – notably, a very fin claret scarf that I love to wear when I attend any kind of sport event, regardless of the team. This, in fact, has caused some troubles when Fiorentina played against Torino, a team whose colors are alarmingly similar to those of the Villans.

The reason why I am writing about this now is twofold. First, over the last few months I came to the realization that my social life luck goes hand in hand with the destiny of the club. January and February were highly unimpressive months for me and it was in that period that Aston Villa lost every single match they played. However, as March arrived, the team rebounded and got a couple of impressing victories and I, too, started having a much healthier social life again. This, I believe, is a discovery of the utmost importance, which is likely to have some practical consequences on my future strategic planning. If Villa is playing Chelsea, say, I will probably be obliged to spend a few days shut at home to avoid the cataclysmic personal consequences following an embarrassing defeat. But the very reason why I am writing this now is I am currently in Birmingham. I am here to attend a conference which, at the moment, seems everything but a career changer. I am leaving for London tonight and I will be meeting Marco, Francesca, Isabella and Camilla. So I am on a good track to start working on one of my new year’s resolutions. Go, alligators.