Valse pour un amour

Valse pour un amour

Quand chargée de ton âge et ta chasteté

Parmi rêves et illusions

Des beaux jours qui ne reviendront jamais

Tu retrouveras mes chansons

En les écoutant tu seras surprise

 Que quelqu’un ait voulu chanter

La rougeur de tes lièvres de cerise

Désormais souvenir du passé


Mais il ne te servira plus à rien

Il ne te servira

Que pour pleurer sur ton refus

De mon amour qui ne reviendra

Mais il ne te servira ce rêve

Il ne te servira

Que pour pleurer sur tes beaux yeux

Qui personne plus ne chantera


Le temps vole, tu sais, le temps vole et va

On s’en rend pas compte toujours

Mais encore plus vite c’est toi qui s’en va

Le long de la pente des jours

Pour cela je te dis mon amour, amour

Je t’attends des maintenant

Mais tu viens, je t’en prie, viens ici chérie

Car ce soir c’est encore le printemps


Post Scriptum

Il y a longtemps j’ai traduit cette chanson de Fabrizio De André. Et en suite, je l’ai faite vivre, dans des soirées arrosées aux gout de Bohème, dans les yeux bleues de certaines filles. Elle m’a amenée de la bonne chance et laissés des agréables souvenirs. «Valzer per un amore» a fait du chemin avec moi, dans sa version Italienne, aussi bien que dans ma version Française. Elle est encore la et toujours aussi vraie.


En Français, sur ce blog…

Walk away

Walk away

 “I haven’t got any special religion this morning. My God is the God of Walkers. If you walk hard enough, you probably don’t need any other god.”
― Bruce Chatwin


Far away from home

There once was a king in India, a Maharajah, and for his birthday, a decree went out that all the chiefs should bring gifts fit for a king. Some brought fine silk, some brought fancy swords, some brought gold. At the end of the line, came walking a very wrinkled little old man, who walked up from his village in a many days journey by the sea and as he walked up the king son asked: “what gift did you bring for the king?” and the old man, slowly opened his hand to reveal a very beautiful sea shell with spirals of purple and yellow, red and blue.

The king son said: That is not a gift for a king! What kind of gift is that?”

The old man looked at him slowly and said: “Long walk, part of gift”.



Your turn now

It works better in nature; in a park or in a wood, preferably on a day when the sky is blue and the air is fresh. Leave your mobile phone at home or in your car. If you can, wear comfortable clothes and shoes and forget your looks as they will not be of any use. You are out for a walking meditation and, for a few minutes, please just be alone with yourself. Once you arrive in the place you chose, stand still for a short while: allow your body to get acquainted with the surroundings. Then start walking, keeping a pace slightly slower than normal.

Make a few steps in a straight direction and start relaxing your body: relax your neck and shoulder; if it helps, draw a few circles with your head: look at your right, then down, then left, finally up and repeat slowly.

There is no hurry: for a few minutes, you won’t be running after any short-term objective or self-satisfaction.

Put your attention on colors, lights, sounds surrounding you, your body temperature, the breeze caressing your face, your relaxed muscles and start breathing deeply, a bit slower than usual. Then pay a little more attention to the rhythm of your breath. Breathe in deeply and, as you fill your lungs with fresh air, raise slowly your chin. Then breathe out slowly and do it again and again. At a certain point, while you breathe, a smile should appear spontaneously on your lips; do nothing and leave it there. You are now connected to your body.

Now connect with the ground and your walking nature: remember, you have to walk slightly slower than usual. At every step, push your mind in your foot as it makes contact with the ground. It is important that you feel the contact between your foot and the ground at each step, while your mind waves circulate freely between your breath and muscles, the lights, colors, sounds around you.

Now it is time to establish a trustful link with yourself. While you walk, allow your mind to explore: some say that meditation is about emptying your mind while I would say it is the opposite:  be open to any kind of thoughts without confronting them. Maintain the connection between your feet and the ground and continue breathing slowly; let your thoughts blow freely like wind in the open space of your mind and do not cherish one more than another. Be fair to them all: do not get attached to any particular thought. If anything from inside or outside comes harming your mindfulness, acknowledge its presence in a detached way and continue walking and breathing slowly.

Go on like that for a few minutes, step after step, breath after breath, thought after thought; be attentive to what happens and stay connected to everything around and inside you. Then, just slow down until you stop, look around for a last time and finally close your eyes slowly. It is over.

It works better in nature and it does not take much time. All you need is your feet, lungs, thoughts, some fresh air, your chin and lips; it is really simple. Get off your car, let go of your phone and sorrows. Embrace and enjoy your thoughts, breath, smile. Go out for a walk with the best of yourself.


Credits

I heard the story that opens this post in a TED talk named “Swallowing the sword, cutting through Fear” by Dan Meyer. If you have a few spare minutes, watch it. Among other things, you will learn how to make the impossible possible and the difference between danger and fear.

I would like to credit Joshi Daniels for the picture titled “En route”, above.

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Chere Lolita…

Chere Lolita…

Chère Lolita,

La nuit dernière j’ai rêvé de toi. On était tous les deux quelque part probablement en Italie, dans un village aux façades colorés. C’était à la mer et je venais te chercher au quai avec une petite barque. T’avais mis une de ces robes que dans nos blagues de gamins stupides on appelle lolitaesques, qui s’envolait parfois à cause d’un coup de vent soudain. Je ramais et t’étais assise en face de moi, te protégeant les yeux de la lumière du soleil avec la main. Tu me disais que t’aurais voulu en cadeau un chapeau de paille a l’occasion de ton anniversaire tandis que moi, je m’acharnais sur les rames. On tournait autour d’une pointe et on arrivait finalement à une baie tranquille ou je jetais l’ancre que j’avais trouvée au fond de la barque.

A ce point de mon rêve, j’enlevais ma chemise pour sentir les caresses brûlantes du soleil sur ma peau bronzée et tu sortais de ton sac une grosse pomme rouge. Tu me regardais droit dans les yeux pendant que t’enfonçais tes dents dans le fruit juteux. Tu mangeais avec avidité, tout en continuant à passer ton regard indiscret sur mon corps.

Apres la baignade on revenait au village, on abandonnait la barque et on s’acheminait sur les étroites ruelles qui grimpaient vers la citadelle située au sommet d’une colline surplombante le village. Sur le chemin du retour une petite dispute éclatait entre nous sur le chemin à suivre pour revenir au port. On se séparait et chacun de nous suivais sa route.

Arrivé en bas je me disposais à t’attendre, je m’asseyais sur la digue et je prenais un air dérangé. Je ne sais pas combien de temps j’ai attendu ainsi, mais au fur et à mesure que les minutes défilaient, j’ai été saisi par la peur qu’il ne s’agisse que d’une illusion, que tu ne sois qu’une image crée par mon imagination. Au bout de mon attente j’étais envahi par une sensation de vide et, en regardant loin dans l’espoir de te voir apparaître dans la foule des touristes, j’étais désormais convaincu que tu n’avais jamais existé. Je me disais que ça ne pouvait pas être autrement et, les larmes aux yeux, je me préparais à partir, à revenir à la réalité.

j’étais envahi par une sensation de vide et en regardant loin dans l’espoir de te voir apparaître dans la foule des touristes, j’étais désormais convaincu que tu n’avais jamais existé

Et ça fut à ce moment que je t’ai vue marcher vers moi. Finalement t’arrivais en face de moi et les larmes n’étaient plus qu’un souvenir assez vague. Tu me caressais la joue et t’affichais une petite grimace capricieuse. Finalement t’approchais ta bouche à mon oreille et tu me soufflais : « Chéri, j’ai encore envie d’une pomme ».


Remerciements

Pour les illustrations, je souhaite remercier :


En Français, sur ce blog…

Don’t stop Tardelli

Don’t stop Tardelli

The Story

This post is an “emotional transfer” experiment.

Any psychologist could explain how who we are is the result of experiences that were instrumental in developing our personality; soul is like film in photography and bright moments we live, especially when we are kids or teenagers, leave permanent marks on it. From the moment we step into adult age, we keep eating Proust Madeleines for breakfast, every day. Most of the times, we just pretend we don’t care… we’re big guys (or girls) now.

“From the moment we step into adult age, we keep eating Proust Madeleines for breakfast, every day. Most of the times, we just pretend we don’t care…”

Those marking episodes are often very personal and would hardly make sense if we tried to explain them to our acquaintances. Still, individuals that grew up in the same time and place  share collective memories. There is a scene in movie “Good bye Lenin!” where the main character desperately looks for perished stocks of pickles, easily available in East Germany during the cold war. His mom felt in a coma before Berlin wall collapse and had recently awakened; surrounding her with Communist era memorabilia, he wishes to recreate for her an emotionally comfortable landscape. Whoever grew up in Eastern Germany and neighboring countries still associates old Trabant cars, pickles and certain Communist songs to childhood: if childhood was good, they will smile when they see a Trabant.

In this post, I will share with people who grew up in other places, one of the most defining moments for Italians, especially men, today in their mid-40s. I would like you to feel at least a little bit what we felt in that long summer of 1982.

I was born in Puglia, southern Italy, in July 1972 and back then I just turned 10; outside of Italy, eyes of the world in summer of ’82 were probably looking at short and deadly Falklands war between Argentina and Great Britain; I remember TV constantly reporting huge casualties on both sides.

I should not say, but in Italy we really did not care about Falklands war. If you found yourself walking on Italian streets in the night of 11 of July, you would have thought that some strange bomb had killed the whole country population while leaving buildings, cars and everything else untouched. That night we were ALL watching the football World Cup final.

Italy had a difficult preparation to the competition and  was clearly an underdog. In the second round robin, we faced the two best teams, Argentina and Brazil and no one would ever have bet a dime on us. Surprisingly, we won both matches. Yes, in Italy, when speaking about 1982 football World Cup squad we say “We”. You would believe that there were 50 millions of Italians on Spain pitches that summer. Still today, some of us mentally spend a few refreshing minutes on those sunny pitches every year.

“In Italy, when speaking about 1982 football World Cup squad we say “We”. You would believe that there were 50 millions of Italians on Spain pitches that summer.”

So we find ourselves playing the final against Deutschland team, packed with stars and led by mighty striker Karl Heinz Rummenigge.

And-we-kick-their-ass-big-time

Paolo Rossi scored our first goal and deserves a story of its own. Then at the sixty-ninth minute, Gaetano Scirea passes the ball to Tardelli, just outside of the penalty area. He adjusts it on his left foot and, while fading, shoots a precise, beautiful, strong strike which the keeper cannot reach.

And then Tardelli starts running across the field. The whole Italian team runs after him but for a long moment, no-one can catch him. Marco Tardelli keeps screaming his incredible joy in the air. This image is timeless and still moves our souls almost 35 years later. Every Italian ran with Tardelli that afternoon; we were young, bold and shameless and we would have loved if that run could never stop.

Marco Tardelli and Claudio Gentile at 1982 football world cup in Spain

“Every Italian ran with Tardelli that afternoon; we were young, bold and shameless and we would have loved if that run could never stop.”

Many years ago, I read a collection of short stories by Gabriele Romagnoli and one of the novels was a tribute to that precise moment of summer of ’82. It’s a dialog between two players, in a locker room lost in the middle of some Italian province. I’ll do my best to translate without making too much of an offense to the writer.

Don’t stop Tardelli

They are the last two, all the others are already in the corridor, waiting to get on the pitch. The right wing is nervously tying and untying his shoes strings, then he beats his cleats on the ground.

The left wing rolls his head back, closes his eyes and holds the hanger.

Right wing is ready to go; he is almost getting up but left wing starts talking, still.

Left wing: “What if they did not stop him?”

Right wing: “They did not stop who?”

Left wing: “Tardelli. What if they did not stop him after he scored the goal in World Cup final? You know, we watched that scene a thousand times on TV: he runs shouting, shaking  his fists, runs so fast, those spirited eyes…”

Right wing: “So what?”

Left wing: “Then the others reach him and drag him down. But what if they did not do it? What if no-one stopped Tardelli?”

Right wing: “And? What would have happened?”

Left wing opens his eyes.

Left wing: “If he kept running, with that orgasm inside, if he went out of the stadium shouting, people would have followed. He would have kept running with all that force. He would have never stopped, millions of people behind him, running after a winner who wants to win, again and again. That’s it! If we all followed Tardelli, would that have changed the world?”

Right wing looks at him and shakes his head.

Right wing: “Nothing would have changed, he would have felt down on the sideline. A player is a player and does not get out of the pitch. No-one would have run after him!”

Left wing (nervous): “Oh, really? Well, if today I strike the winning goal, don’t even try to stop me!”

Right wing gets close, puts a hand on his shoulder, looks in his eyes.

Right wing: “No winning goal today, dude. We fixed this match, we’re bound to lose”.

End of the story

Gaetano Scirea died in 1989, in a car accident while scouting local football talents in Poland.

We still call Paolo Rossi “Pablito”, to remember those Spanish nights.

Tardelli eventually got stopped that afternoon, but he never really got out of the pitch. 35 years later, it’s still common to see him running on TV, young, bold and shameless.

Italy won another title in 2006, after kicking once again Deutschland ass. But no football World Cup will be like 1982. Ever.

Other medias

If you speak Italian and wish to complete the Amarcord experience, you should also:

If you want to understand how Paolo Rossi could be convicted in a match fixing scandal and then be the best scorer in 1982 football World Cup, read “Viva l’Italia!” on this blog.

Non Fermate Tardelli

Sono rimasti solo loro due nello spogliatoio, gli altri sono già nel corridoio, in attesa di entrare in campo. L’ala destra slaccia e riallaccia le scarpe. Batte i tacchetti sul pavimento. L’ala sinistra tiene la testa rovesciata all’indietro, gli occhi chiusi, le mani aggrappate a due attaccapanni. L’ala destra è pronta, accenna ad alzarsi. L’ala sinistra parla senza muoversi: “E se non lo fermavano?”
“Se non fermavano chi?”
“Tardelli. Se non fermavano Tardelli dopo che aveva segnato il gol nella finale dei Mondiali. Sai quella scena vista mille volte in tv: lui che corre urlando, i pugni chiusi, le gambe a mille, la faccia da pazzo”
“Sì, e allora?”
“Poi arrivano gli altri, i compagni, e lo tirano giù. Ma se non lo avessero fatto? Se non avessero fermato Tardelli?”
“Beh? Che cosa sarebbe successo?”
“Ecco l’ala sinistra apre gli occhi Se avesse continuato a correre con quell’orgasmo dentro, se fosse uscito dallo stadio urlando, e la gente dietro, via, con tutta la forza, senza più fermarsi, milioni di persone dietro uno che ha vinto, con la voglia di vincere ancora. Ecco, se fossimo andati tutti dietro a Tardelli, sarebbe cambiato il mondo?”

L’ala destra lo guarda, scuote il capo: “Non cambiava niente, cadeva da solo sulla linea di fondo. Un calciatore è un calciatore, non esce dal campo. E nessuno gli andrebbe dietro”
“No? Beh, se oggi segno il gol della vittoria, tu non provare a fermarmi”
L’ala sinistra gli si avvicina, gli mette una mano sulla spalla: “Nesssun gol della vittoria, Tardelli, questa partita è venduta. Venduta a perdere”.

Viva l’Italia

Viva l’Italia

Mark Twain once wrote:

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

Well, not much prejudice will be left in me when, in a few years, I will reach a moment, where I will have lived longer abroad than in Italy, my home country.

Having spent a long time lately hearing languages I do not understand, eating food I would not be able to cook or struggling to absorb cultures that do not resonate in  me, a light and mellow nostalgic feeling brought me to question myself on the meaning of being an Italian far from Italy, today. Seen from Asia doesn’t Italy look like a small boot, caught in the middle of its walk between Central Europe and the doors of Africa and Middle East? And still, even from a distance, how vivid is this beautiful country in my heart, how much it permeates the way I speak, move, live my life!

So, I asked myself: “what is it like being Italian?” and the first answer that came to me, when I finished sipping my espresso was: “it is simple”. No need to overthink it. Italians are loud, lively, seductive, unreliable, full of passion and everybody will expect you to be like that. Just conform to expectations and they will be happy. They will probably go back home and tell their friends they met a real Italian and he was just like in the movies. Being Italian gives you an extra boost that can make people a bit happier and I am not sure Germans have similar stuff in their toolbox, for example.

But if you scratch the surface a little, reality is bitter-sweet and Italians know how to suffer, as well. To make it simple, our Greek cousins were stranded on our coastline long ago and found landscape and climate enjoyable. They brought with them an unequaled aesthetic taste that Romans managed to corrupt and sublimate at a slow pace, in the millenary cycle of Empire rise and fall. Armored with genius, Romans ruled the world and after the Empire slowly succombed its own contradictions, the soft spot they left in the middle of Europe teased appetite of people from everywhere, who arrived or left Italy to plunder, trade, paint, love, write, sail, plot, play music, build cathedrals, conquer. After all this simmering of arts, ambition, passions, Italian people was born uneven, attracted by good and evil in a symmetric way; our eyes relentlessly chase sin, beauty and other unreachable ideals, like in a Piero Della Francesca perspective.

“After all this simmering of arts, ambition, passions, Italian people was born uneven, attracted by good and evil in a symmetric way; our eyes relentlessly chase sin, beauty and other unreachable ideals, like in a Piero Della Francesca perspective”

The French expression “pourriture noble” could be translated in English by “noble decay” and designates a bacterium exploited in wine making to produce some of the sweetest and most delicious wines. Italy is undergoing a noble decay process for centuries now, and  cycles bring us ripe fruits such as Renaissance and more sterile periods.

“Italy is undergoing a noble decay process for centuries now, and  cycles bring us ripe fruits such as Renaissance and more sterile periods”

So, this is it: for those who want to grasp how tragic and beautiful Italian public life has been in recent past, I have put together faces and images that are an hymn to tragedy and creativity, to Italians we love and admire. To those that from time to time, still managed to awaken our weary pride and distracted us for a moment from our important occupations, like flirting or cooking spaghetti ai frutti di mare!

If I shot a movie on Italy, it would be like this

Original Soundtrack

Francesco de GregoriViva l’Italia

Starring: in order of appearance

Enzo Ferrari and Gilles Villeneuve

Gabriele Salvatores Mediterraneo, Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1991

Architect Renzo Piano

Burt Lancaster and Claudia Cardinale in Luchino Visconti‘s Il Gattopardo, from Tomasi di Lampedusa novel

Director Claudio Abbado

Sergio Leone and Robert De Niro at C’era una Volta in America screening

Federico Fellini, Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren on Otto e Mezzo shooting

Fiat 500 – Urban scene in Florence

Paolo Rossi and Enzo Bearzot at 1982 football world cup in Spain

Sprinter Pietro Mennea

Giorgio Armani, an icon of style

Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastroianni in Federico Fellini‘s La Dolce Vita

Songwriter Fabrizio De Andre’

Years of lead

Bud Spencer and Terence Hill

Enzo Bearzot and Sandro Pertini at 1982 football world cup in Spain

Vittorio Gassman on his Vespa

Hugo Pratt‘s Corto Maltese

Iconic Tuscany

Songwriters Giorgio Gaber and Enzo Jannacci

Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider

Marcello Mastroianni, Sophia Loren and Vittorio De Sica

Legendary Vespa Piaggio scooter

Nanni Moretti on his Vespa in Rome

Writer Dino Buzzati

Writer Umberto Eco

Marco Tardelli and Claudio Gentile at 1982 football world cup in Spain

Vlora ship in Bari, 8th of August 1991

Milo Manara sketch

Judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, both killed by the mob in 1992

Gilles Villeneuve, arguably the most spectacular F1 driver ever, and his Ferrari

Writer Italo Calvino

Songwriters Lucio Dalla and Francesco De Gregori during Banana Republic tour in 1979

Amare nuoce gravemente alla salute

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 10.36.55 pm

 

Mollare quella che era diventata mia moglie? Avevo esitato per i dodici anni successivi al nostro primo incontro, poi un sera successe. Esitai anche quella sera, ma poi per un attimo il coraggio si concentro’ in me ed in quell’attimo preciso, decisi veramente di scappare e mollar tutto. Le dissi che andavo a comprare le sigarette. Lei mi fisso’ con l’aria seccata che sapeva fare tanto bene e mi disse di tornare presto. Io le dissi O.K., uscii e non tornai mai piu’. Mentre scendevo le scale, capii di aver fatto la scelta giusta. Non ho mai fumato in vita mia.