Lorenzo & his humble friends

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

Tag: thomoose

Grüne Papeterie

Shortly after NYE in Bordeaux, Thomas and I rejoined in Berlin. He was traveling from the South-West of Europe all the way up North to Copenhagen. We spent three days around Kreuzberg together with Anna and Felix (Jonas also made an impromptu appearance). It was grey and rainy, but we had a jolly good time.

If you are in the area, then go to Kvartira 62 for some vodka with pickles before dinner; Gong Gan for Korean bowls with Lego or Schwiliko for Georgian sources made with herbal roots; then head to die Kommune for Turbo Mate and finally visit the Hotel, where you can play team-chess until 2:30AM.  From there, we suggest you move to Tresor: apparently the bouncers have a very loose policy and let everybody in (Alas, we were not). Also, buy some drawing material at die Grüne Papeterie before they close it down and then go for a walk: you might bump into something that strikes you as beautiful. If you have only one museum to pick, then my informed choice would be die Berlinische Galerie – Anna and I were lucky and found a Bauhaus exhibition there.

On one of the pages of my paper I scribbled a little poem: “Silenzio / Improvviso battito d’ali / Uno stormo si leva nel cielo azzurro / Sferragliamento su rotaia“. Then I wrote down a list of ‘Things that make me feel I am in Berlin‘: candles, the s-bahn passing above your head, sneakers, musicians in the street, graffiti, bars that are more like apartments with open doors, a lot of queer and postcolonial books, smell of roasted meat when walking on the street.

Three poems fit for this season

Read the original texts by Thomoose through these links: Planting at Night; Sitting at a Barbershop in Firenze; Our Country.

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Thomoose himself took the picture above some 24 hours ago.

Books I have read, 2018

I remember reading Annie Ernaux’s Memoria di ragazza on the train during a long, romantic night ride between Stockholm and Kiruna. Outside it was snowing. I felt like I was part of a Swedish noir movie. Next to me, Giallu, and Nicco were muttering indistinct phrases while Jasper was listening to Bubble Butt. We had decided to split two beds and two seats. It all went smoothly until Giallu was locked out of his cabin. The thought of that still makes me smile. The book, which I had bought together with Anna in a little library of Rovereto that we had previously discovered thanks to Martina, is honestly not great. I like its reflexivity and the way in which you can reconsider your own past. It is a bit too depressing for my taste, though.

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Between January and February I read one book that had been given to me as a present by Martina during 2016: Jimmy Nelson’s Before they pass away. I remember seeing it in Iris and Erik’s apartment in Rotterdam when I was there six months earlier. Big book. Around the same time I also devoured Tim Marshall’s Prisoners of Geography. I am going to read more books on geopolitics in the next few years.

Between February and March I listened to Emmanuel Carrére’s Limonov through Radio Rai’s podcast Ad Alta Voce. Boy, what a good experience this was. Credit goes to Martina, who had recommended me the podcast – and the book: I remember I first saw it in her house, when she gave it to Fabio. I spent two weeks listening to it. Most vivid in my memory is the four hour non-stop session on my way to Zinal with Jean-Thomas and Elie. I also remember I stopped going to the office by bike around that time so that I could walk down slowly and listen to Limonov. This book left a trace.

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Definitely less impactful was Jack London’s Martin Eden. I wanted to read a big, classic book again after my entertaining experience with Il Conte di Montecristo. This has not matched my expectations, though. My second weekend in Zinal, this time with Annique and Eva, I read William Boyd’s Sweet Caress. I had previously bought the book in Zurich. Another book by William Body, Any human heart, is definitely one of the best reads I have ever had. Not this one, though. I should have seen it coming: the name of the author is written in way bigger characters than the title of the book on the cover page.

Back in Neuchatel I started a new audiobook, courtesy of Radio Rai: Umberto Eco’s Il nome della rosa. I had read this great piece of art as a kid but I had forgotten everything. When Pedro hosted me for the second time in Madrid in 2017, I remember buying a Spanish copy of the book for him that I found in a second-hand market in El Retiro. It was a beautiful sunny day. This is an extraordinary book that everybody should read twice in their life.

Il nome della rosa

I like to think of my spring in Paris together with Robert Doisneau’s Paris. When the first sun started to kick in in Neuchatel, I followed Francesca’s advice and I read Primo Levi’s, Il sistema periodico. My image of this book is that of the little cabins in Neuchatel’s harbor.

On my way to Cuba I decided to bring two books only: Eduardo Galeano’s Bocas del tiempo (strongly suggested by Jean-Thomas, who had loved the book when he read it in Argentina) and Alessandro Raveggi’s Panamericana (I had read about it somewhere and got curious). When I ran out of books, because we spent too much time reading due to the rain, Thomoose passed me his copy of Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. Oh what a pleasure to read it under the sun in El Varadero like a capitalist tourist.

In June I read Daniele del Giudice’s Staccando l’ombra da terra. This was a present by Giulia. Yes, yes, yes – a very good book.

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In July I celebrated the Tour de France by reading two books by Bidon: Il Centogiro and Se qualcuno viene mi fa piacere. Leonardo Piccione’s career as a writer is quickly taking off and I will forever pride myself with the discovery of his talent before he became known to the big public.

In August I read Emmanuel Carrére’s Il Regno. I remember going through it on the Lake of Molveno, together with my dad who had read it a few months earlier. Two other books I read in July: Paolo Soglia’s Hanno deciso gli episodi, and Augusto Pieroni’s Leggere la fotografia. Not quintessential.

In Croatia I read Emmanuel Carrére, D’Autres vies que la mienne. This is the second book in French I completed after Albert Camus’ L’Etranger, which I read last year. I was proud. This book is way too long though and I would only recommend the first one hundred pages of it. I also read a comic book by Vladimir Grigorieff and Abdel de Bruxelles, Le conflit insraeélo-palestinien, which I had bought in Brussels with Anna.

In early October I read Robert Capa’s Slightly Out of Focus. It was good to read it on the boat with Giallu, Nicco, and Jonas. I told Thomoose to read it. It is entertaining. You read Capa and you can never tell whether he is for real. He just goes like – hei, let’s have a good time. In late October, on my way to Kenya, I read Desmond Morris’ La scimmia nuda. This was a present by Eliana. Nailed it. It was a good coincidence to read it in the country that really is the cradle of humanity.

Between November and December I read Giuseppe Sciortino’s Rebus immigrazione. He was my professor at the bachelor’s in sociology. This is a small and lean book that I read during one train ride from Trento to Neuchatel.  Finally, in December I read Mary Ellen Mark’s On the Portrait and the Moment. This was my graduation present by Iris and Erik. They know how to make their pick. The most charming part of photography, for me, is portraits – of humans, rhinos and elephants. Landscapes are boring.

And this is the end. Reading back the post I realise that my book choices are closely tied to the people I know and the place I visit. I do not do this on purpose. But it feels right.


Read my ‘books I have read‘ posts from 2017201620152014., 2013.

Like a Karius pass

Okay, time to confess: between May and June I went to Cuba with Thomas. It was the first time we spent time together since our Tuscan farewell in 2015. Apart from the rain that escorted us for the first seventeen days, these are the words that I will remember from this experience: Casa particular, tabacco con miel, Malecón, Capitolio, El Nacional, arroz con frijoles, ron collins, mojito, daiquiri, cubanito, Floridita, finca la vigìa, coco, bucanero, montecristo, robusto, cochiba, Rom de Santiago. Comisión, yuma, jinetero, hustlers, scam, campesinos, todo está fresa, 26 julio, 1958, José Marti, Camilo Cienfuegos, René Portocarrero, realismo sucio, bloqueo, yoruba.

In bold characters the things I liked about my three-week vacations in Cuba. All the rest, we highly disliked. I do not feel like explaining why right now right here.

If only I could read the signs: I should have known better.

2018: resolutions

Go ski touring in Switzerland. Finish the Ph.D. in style. Improve my French. Memorise twelve poems: one per month. Cook. Read one, big classic of Russian literature. Reunite Dani, Jonas and Tosan. Collect whiskey and photography books. Go sailing. Avoid developing an addiction for the pipe. Continue fencing and playing tennis. Race with the bike. Drink alcohol with Anna, visit Tirana. Hike with my parents, with Giallu, with Nicco. Travel outside Europe, meet Thomas. Spend some days with the Canadians, possibly in Istanbul. Get married. Nervous laugh: I was kidding on that last one.

Rebuilding is an exciting time

And in my puttering
I’ve let some relationships die
for I did not water them
But I don’t think i’d have known
relationships need watering at all
had I not been away to see them wilt or die.
The plant lives to give us life,
this is simple.
But we must also do our part.
Some of my best friends are like cactus
others wilted much faster-
I blame no one.
In life I have been torrential
other times a drought
Life, for all its seeming complexity,
is an experiment in precipitation.
Explorations ecosystems
and the flower in a badlands
growing through a buffalo’s skull, whispering:
“I let some relationships die
for I did not water them.
I blame no one.”

Poem by thomoose, who can also be found here.

This is fine

An occasional update on my murky links with Premier League’s team Aston Villa. I must admit things are not going well on that respect. Last May I lost this bet as the Villans were slaughtered four nil; and I still have to send my dues – one bottle of grappa – to the old moose Thomas. But things got even worse this season, with Aston Villa loosing virtually every single match they played and occupying the rock bottom of the ranking. I had some hope things might improve with the window of transfers in January. But they did not: Aston Villa signed no one. How a team in such deep trouble can do no business whatsoever in a transfer window almost beggars belief.

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No team with 13 points or fewer from 24 games has ever avoided relegation. Or, as it has been kindly put by some pundits, the Villans are now staring relegation right between the eyes. Once again, someone on the other shore of the Ocean is making fun of me.

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.

It’s on

You might remember my previous posts about Aston Villa. It is now time for you to know that Thomas is a loyal Arsenal supporter – which, living in Canada is not easy: you on game day have to go to the pub at 11 in the morning.

Both our teams had a miserable season – more Villa than Arsenal, to be fair. But they had an amazing run in the F.A. Cup. They are playing the final now and we are both watching.

wembley 30 may 2015

 

So long

last ride

Post scriptum: now that he is gone, this song keeps Thomas alive in my mind. At first I thought it would have been lame to put it on the blog, not least because quite a few people assume we are a covert homosexual couple – for the records, we are not. But then I realized the song was originally dedicated to a dog. There is no better match, Thomas the sundog shall forever be pleased.