C: Seasons may change, winter to spring / but I will love you until the end of time

After a day of rest (yesterday was SO busy I honestly have not had the time to sit in front of the screen to type anything worth a look), here I am again!

And with a musical.

When she was twelve or so, my sister -who is younger than me by three years- was absolutely obsessed with Moulin Rouge, to the point where even I knew all of the lyrics. Well, I sang along, I am not sure I knew the words exactly.

I knew enough words to understand that the meaning was probably similar to that I had found in “Que sera, sera” – someone may call it “defeatist attitude” or “fatalism”; and it presents the theme of time, which, as every regular reader or acquaintance of mine will know perfectly, is particularly important to me. And, obviously, it is THE song about true love -it was for me for a while, at least- so… screw Can’t stop loving you, Can’t get you off my mind, C’m on and love me, Candles, Call me, Calypso, Come home and all the other amazing love songs beginning with ‘C’.

To me, it is the song to promise someone all your time under any circumstances, and I would not exclude the possibility to use it for a wedding (not mine; I am going to live forever with five thousands cats on a Scottish island, there’s no chance of me getting married!).

And then there is the “until the end of time”, that simply fascinated me. Mankind cannot think about infinity and nothing because it has no way of experiencing it (and, Kantian as I am, I do believe that you need some form of experience to imagine anything; you can think of a flying donkey, alright, but that is because you know what a donkey is and what wings are for. It is impossible to think of something that does not have any connection at all with the reality you have experienced), so the idea of saying “until the end of time” to define the limits of love is interesting, and contradictory: love will have an end, meh. But it will be when all things that I know for sure exist will end. Isn’t is simply amazing? Apart from the fact that the refrain specifies that the “end of time” will not exactly be the end of the Universe, just “my dying day”. Oh well. I have purposely decided to ignore that.

Obviously, just admitting the end of an “undying love” poses the problem of ‘time’. The lovers decide to simply ignore the passage of time and time itself until time’s force will prove to be stronger than their love and will put an end to it. It makes me think of Greek legends on Titans and their attempt to overcome the Gods, even if they succumb in the end.

The verses itself, the description of that iconic, almost stereotypical kind of love that makes “the world seem such a perfect place”, makes me think of the Titans’ euphory in believing that they could have a chance -or, more in general, the rebels’ moment of excitement, hope and recklessness before the disillusion.

 

Come what may is a metaphor for Prometheus… I think this means I should end this post here.

BUT the Titans came before the Gods (Hesiodus): does that mean that love came before time? This is a big question on the origins of the universe here.

No, I am just taking the piss.

 

 

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B: What they want, I don’t know / They’re all revved up and ready to go

From 1964 to 1975: today’s song is “Blitzkrieg Bop”, which I have always called “Hey Ho”… that’s why I would always hear it from people or at gigs and never heard it myself. I had not listened specifically to Ramones for a long time, because the most horrible guy in my class had a t-shirt with the band’s logo -as everyone does, nowadays. However, I was so stubborn and horrible that I missed out on SO many bands because people I couldn’t stand liked them -and this was the case with Muse, for instance.

Crap I’ve finished my time already… since, on average, Ramones’ songs are shorter than three minutes, I had given myself only that amount of time to write. And I have finished it. It isn’t as easy as it sounds!

Well… see you tomorrow with C!

 

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A: I should be sleeping like a log

First day of my blog series!

It seemed obvious to me to begin with a song from the first album I was lent; actually it was the one that got me into music -I had not listened to music before, because that was what all of my peers were doing and I wanted to differ. I know, such a troubled kid. Clearly, I am going to talk about memories with this one post, not to punctually analyse the whole song.

 

So, “A hard day’s night”. And, before you ask, I have not seen the film… my bad. I promise I will, sooner or later!

 

I was given the Beatles’ “1” by my uncle, who had me interested by talking about that time when he queued for hours to get the last Beatles-modeled boots. Of course, at the age of 11 I had not studied any English yet, so I was amused by the way that song sounded – “IsbinaHaaaaadeisnai ten abinuokiuokauo”- and found the rhythm cool.

Also, none of my peers was listening to those old bands, which made me feel like a hippie therefore encouraged my enthusiasm, up to the point that I took most CDs from those years from my uncle. And I got to know the Rolling Stones, and the Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, Giorgio Gaber, Elvis, Mina, Eric Clapton. When I remained at school the following year, since in my secondary school, surprisingly, there was an Internet connection (YouTube!!!! Am I the only one of my age who remembers the magic of YouTube for listening to stuff?!), I diligently carried on my research and found out about The Velvet Underground, Jimi Hendrix, The Who and all those people. I mean.

The thing that shocks me the most is that I remember asking my music teacher if I could do my end-of-the-year research project [I was fourteen by then] on Pink Floyd (I just wanted to know about the albums cover, I was not that clever yet!) and my classmates being disgusted by the fact that I was listening to that. Well, most of them at least: four of them knew about the band. I think that was the sign of how marginalised I had become by the end of secondary school! Also because I totally missed out on Blue and Finley.

 

And… this is it. I will not analyse the musical characteristics because, not being a musician myself, that would be totally copied from some other source -therefore, I think that this one is a pretty good analysis; nor the lyrics , because I only understood them a couple of years ago; it will be enough to say that I thought it was about working in the mines… I got confused with the Sex Pistols, possibly!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, let me be faithful to my principles: I do not own nor claim copyrights on anything/anyone I wrote about. But yes, this is advertising (I just do not get paid for it, it’s voluntary): get a music taste better than my old classmates’!

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About having something to do and a long-term project

Today I watched “Julie and Julia” with my sister: to be short, it is about this young woman, Julie, who sets herself the challenge of cooking all the recipes from Julia Child‘s cookbook; it takes her 365 days for 524 dishes, and she records her experience through daily blogs. The movie itself is quite enjoyable: not only because of Maryl Streep and Amy Adams’ funny portrait of their characters, but because of a couple of secondary characters I found interesting -those holy husbands, for instance. And because of the oh so many themes that one could be willing to analyse… But I am not going to spoil it for anyone.

In fact, even if I did not have an extraordinary epiphany, ‘Julie and Julia’ inspired me! Not to cook, I would never be able to cook (screw the message of Ratatouille); to create a series of blog entries commenting on a passion of mine.

Yeah, I know… my apologies, my dear readers.

I will obviously focus those posts on something music related: have you ever played that game when you have to say band names in an alphabetical order, and the first one who cannot name a band with that letter (I have always found H challenging. I cannot spell things beginning with H) loses?, well, I will try and comment on a song with a title beginning with each letter of the alphabet.

Since there are… hold on… twenty-four?, no, actually, reciting the alphabet I could count twenty-six letters. So, since I can write about twenty-six songs at least, I will try and post daily for this month. I will pick the songs among the ones that I know already and that are linked to a special memory, because that way I will make sure to have an embarrassing post for you to read; but, as always, suggestions are welcome!

 

 

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De Lamentatione (About Complaining)

Quick consideration on life and everything: people complain. All the time, about anything, with anyone. And I do not think that there is anything wrong with this, I mean, complaining about stuff gives you a better view of things you should be happy about… for instance, I am complaining about people complaining so that I will feel particularly enlightened by the human race the next time I hear anyone saying something positive.

 

But. There is a limit. I myself am a person who is constantly trying to find that little thing that does not work, comparing people’s works to find the imperfections, talking about how much I wish this aspect was different… in a word, complaining. At the same time, I know that, when I am complaining about MY life [sounds tragic, but I am sure we all know what this expression means] I do not go as far; being honest to myself, I would say that I rarely complain about what is happening to me at all.

Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to think that the only thing they have to say is their complaints on their own lives. What I find unnerving is that, at times, I feel that I am in a worse place than my conversational partner, but his/her complaints prevent me from explaining myself and even from looking for a friendly hug -because, at the end of the day, I hate complaining because I hate hetero-induced self-analysis and pity, but I love silent, even if awkward, hugs. I would rather know that someone is willing to waste ten minutes of their time hugging me awkwardly rather than launching into a long and complex explanation of what I feel is going wrong in that moment.

 

So, what I am complaining about today is people’s (myself included: I am no Wonder Woman) lack of listening abilities… like, okay, complain about being late at your meetings/being single/having horrible siblings for a while, but then it’s my turn!

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Call 4894608 and I’ll be here

In order to write my last post better, I looked at the journal I kept this year. I am not talking about the journal where I depicted myself as a Government spy obsessed by cooking and shower times (that notebook is now safe in my room’s bottom drawer, ready to be found by next year’s students), but about my actual diary.

 

I had decided to keep it on the fourth of August, but actually began writing more than “Beginning of this diary” only on the 21st, same month (and it was a Tuesday). I was on holiday with my uncles and aunt, in a lovely seaside town close to Venice, and I was reading ‘Pride and Prejudice‘ (which I loved to bits, and about which I wrote: “I find the kind of education the young ladies Austen wrote about fascinating. I wonder what it would be like to study the art of conversation and ceremonials nowadays”) and ‘De Profundis‘ (that I simply defined “fascinating”, at loss of words and descriptions; I definitely suck at literary criticism). And then I wrote about talking with my mum and sister about the ‘Brits way of life’ [not my words; someone at Uni, during the International Students Induction week, spoke in those terms]: “also, I am not sure whether or not to believe about parties every night, I mean, you need a night off every now and then don’t you. And I also hope that there are a few people who are not alcoholics”. HAHA you were wrong, miss Myself-from-the-past.

 

Anyway, on Wednesday the 19th of September I wrote about my first night in Canterbury by myself, reflecting upon the strange feeling of being in a 10 persons flat by myself with a few apples and tea bags, immediately followed by insults directed to myself for having locked myself out of my room and having had to go to the major building’s reception to ask for security to come and let me in. In my pijamas. At half ten pm. Stuttering and not completely sure about the Security guard’s name. That’s what you call a good start, I believe..?

 

Moving on.

My next entry in the journal is about the following day and it was written before attending a dinner, offered by the University, where all the International Students could team up, meet and generally spend time together after a full day of workshops and induction talks about “the Brits and their little funny things” [quoting the same person as earlier]. This entry begins with: “Fuck. Everyone speaks just so well, apart from one Spanish girl who has never studied English. I am feeling such a cretin right now.” then a few words about the beauty of the city and the niceness of a few people I’d met, and “looking forward to tonight, hopefully I’ll get to know a few people better… even if I do not really remember anyone’s name and no one will be wearing a label, fuck.” …well this one does not really need commentary, does it? The funny thing is that this post ends with “I usually write the most when I am upset… and I have been writing way too much for just a few days. I hope I will not have filled this notebook before Christmas, otherwise that’d indicate that this place stinks and sucks, and I definitely hope it won’t be so shit, fuck sake”. Bonjour finesse…! *

 

After that, I moved to Broadstairs, went exloring with A. and met a few lovely people. So it was only on the 23rd that I adjourned my diary: “The flatmates are moving in! Wish me luck!”, followed by the first impressions on them, written that same night. I was absolutely right about everything but one thing: “Also, it seems like language-related things are alright. They seem to understand me and I can kind of understand them, unless we’re having a group conversation, because that is WAY too fast and I cannot follow more than one person apparently, which is unbelievably annoying”… how wrong. Apparently one of my flatmates did not understand a single thing of what I told her en passant as soon as I saw her; and about my mistakes relating to my own understanding, well, there’s a lot about that later on in my journal.

 

For instance, as late as on the 11th October I wrote: “…and that makes me feel stupidly miserable, I mean, I basically don’t speak because I am LATE. Still having troubles with conversations involving more than two people, which means every single conversation, with talking/understanding when there is background noise e.g. music, which means always, as we’re always playing music. The positive aspect is that I would theoretically be okay with one-to-one conversation, if we are far enough from the source of outer noise, apart from the fact that I am so nervous worrying about not understanding that I miss out on words and ask ‘pardon’ half a second before grasping the meaning of whatever that poor and lovely soul was trying to communicate. Fucking annoying, I would annoy myself to death if I were talking to myself -luckily enough for me, this problem does not exist since I rarely speak at all. Why do you have to be so fucking slow anyway. Reminder for the next life, add 6 more hours to your days and listen to more radio or do something more. On a very more positive note, the lectures are going alright – I am even enjoying accounting!”. And then talk about why my language tutor (K., who has literally stopped me from booking the next available flight to Milan and sending out a request to the Department of Economics of the UniMi) about youth’s weirdness, aka my flatmates’ pranks that I had taken seriously and had made her worried about my emotional state… this will forever make a good story! **

 

Anyway, after that very angry post and a two lines post, the day after, basically saying that I felt silly, combined with a few cheer-me-up kind of insults to myself, I decided that I had indulged in complaining a bit too much even for my own private journal, so I simply did not write in it until I had positive stuff to talk about – so we arrive at the next entry, 8th December: I talked about conversations about the Universe and reincarnation, a trip to the city library, and I randomly wrote “The Pokemon theme is different.” right after having written “and also I’d like to finally speak without the impression of having fucking rocks in my idiotic mouth”***: a decent psychological escamotage, I suppose! Except that the last sentence is

Still feels a little bit like middle school, but – I hope it will snow soon”.

A bit less of a decent escamotage, this time…

 

The best post in the whole diary is a single line I wrote on the 17th February:

I CAN THINK!”

I hadn’t gone crazy, just realised it was possible to think and speak my mind at the same time. It does seem stupid, but this realisation came to me so suddenly I felt the urge to acknowledge this marvellous progress in my language abilities -and it was about at the same time when I began googling English words to translate them into Italian. And when I began understanding one of my flatmates, too. * ashamed face *

 

Then a few posts on life and things that were happening… then, which made me laugh, a long post on the 21st May that basically says someone’s name, his/her actions, my reasons for being pissed off and a “fuck you” at various intensities, according to what they had/hadn’t done. I think that that was the moment when I was very kind to anyone… because I had already insulted them and I felt liberated. In these moments I remember why I have always kept a diary: it is hilarious to go back and re-read, and reading this year’s journal in order to write a post about it at 2 am is just the funniest thing ever.

 

Anyway, after that, we arrive at today’s post, made of various comments that I wrote during the five hours long coach journey to the airport and that includes things like my favourite places in the area, the places that I want to visit/know better next year, small memories that I am afraid of forgetting because they are silly little things, all kinds of shit people think of when travelling. I literally had to stop myself when I began writing nonsense such as “hour is said without the H. How does that make any sense”, because that is something that surprised me in September and shouldn’t really come to my mind again.

I am definitely keeping a journal again next year, hopefully writing a bit more often in it because it is funny to see how my mind works, in retrospective.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* As this blog has been partially requested by a non-Italian speaker friend, I have decided to write it in English; to comply, I am translating my diary entries, that are in Italian until the 26th April, into English. And you should be thankful for that, because my swearwords in Italian sound way worse than they do in English. I should work on that whole “being a lady” thing.

 

** A good story that I will not tell here, though. As I have always done, I try not to mention people’s names nor make them recognisable to those who know them, and giving away those stories would definitely have this effect.

 

*** Yeah, I am always so polite, I know.

 

 

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Suddenly I noticed that it weren’t quite the same / Feel different one morning, maybe it was the rain

Here I am, at Luton Airport, 22:33 of the 26th of June 2013.

 

This is the very end of my first year as a University student, in the UK -well, let’s make it sound less tragic: in England. In Broadstairs. In a 1000 people campus. Now, that’s better.

While I was waiting for the coach that took me to London Victoria, earlier today, an old lady sat on the bench beside me. She was out of breath after walking up the hill from the supermarket halfway to her house, so she took a moment of rest. We chatted for those fifteen minutes before my coach arrived: she is the loveliest lady. She told me about how she has been living in Broadstairs for the past 55 years, seen the town changing and the shops closing down, organised local events and seen the weather becoming colder and colder (“We won’t have a summer”). I was so glad when she moved in for a hug, as soon as we saw my coach approaching; and I even hope I will meet her again, at some point.

This year there have been so many people who I have only met in one occasion, for a couple of times at most, but that have had some impact on my way of thinking. However, as everyone who knows me can confirm, I am easily impressionable…

But those people I am talking about are the ones that, in a way, caught my imagination.

 

The very first one, in chronological order, is a shop assistant in Tesco I have met on my second day in Broadstairs. I had gone shopping to get some lunch and, at the till, he asked me -which is a routine procedure, apparently- if I wanted help packing my bag. I had no clue whatsoever about what he had just asked me, so I tentatively went for a “…no…?”, at which he replied, clearly to my benefit: “Yeah, thought you could do it yourself” smiling and handing me a plastic bag. Now, this seems a totally stupid fact to remember, but it did mean something for me. I have such a simple mind, really.

 

The day after, I went to church. I wanted to do something, to meet people in the area, and at the same time to find myself in an environment that was more familiar than shopping centres with only two shops I had heard of, or a deserted high street. And there I met the nicest man, B. I have met him more than twice ever since, and every time meeting him puts a smile on my face, because of his ways: he is relaxed and calm, yet attentive and witty. I will admit that I have gone back to that church a few more times just to have a small chat with him, as his only presence worked as an ‘antistress’ factor on me.

 

That same Sunday everyone was moving in and the first one to arrive in my block was K., a lovely lady I have only spent that afternoon with: we went to watch the football at the campus bar, but it was not broadcast, so we had a chat about out expectations of Uni and sports in general instead. It is a pity that I have not spoken with her properly ever since, but that little chat was the best thing of that week, since I had been pretty much confined in my room! And, yes, it did make me a bit more confident about my abilities to understand people around me (…even if that confidence was soon to be blown away by the first group conversation with my new flatmates. Don’t worry, I will produce a post ad hoc about that)!

 

Then there was a boy I met at Broadstairs library: we just had a quick conversation on a few novelists’ merits, but that was cool -and it was also the very first occasion of the year for me to debate literature with anyone. So cool.

 

A particularly nice meeting was with a girl from Dublin I briefly discussed Joyce with, while stewarding at the Graduation Ceremony and debating the utility of an Events Management course; it definitely confirmed my aspiration to go visit Dublin as my honeymoon. Also, at all the Open Days and Ceremonies in both Canterbury and Broadstairs I have always had very interesting meetings: from the lovely young applicant whom I discussed our dream-house with to the retired physics teacher I talked about the Universe with, everyone told me something interesting. I wish I had more arms to jot down all the things that impact on my imagination!

 

The person who gave me the most reasons to clutter my arms with writing was B., a volunteer guide of Canterbury Cathedral: the most knowledgeable guide ever, she even answered to a few of my questions in French. And she definitely knows how to debate columns and history and all the cool things that I am interested in -I will be back to the Cathedral on as many Fridays as I can, between noon and two.

 

Another very special memory is dedicated to S., a Spanish girl I met when spending the night at Gatwick Airport, who patiently waited for me to remember the little bits of Spanish I had learnt so far, taught me enough swearwords to go by in Madrid and discussed the perks of Italian cuisine with me. It was the funniest night I could have ever imagined to spend at the airport!

 

Also, last but not least, there are all the ladies I have met at the supermarket or at different bus stops: all those conversations about the weather were always enlightening, and so were the advices on how to cook a ‘toad in the hole’ and various puddings. They all cheered me up!

 

This may have been/this may look like a long, boring and meaningless list of people, but it was not meant to be -and it is not, for me. Also because it is now 1:29, so it took me a while to think about it: I would not define this big effort useless! Anyway, I have a feeling that I would end up being pathetic if I kept writing about them, so I will just leave it, for now. But, if any of those people recognise themselves in someone I have talked about, well, thank you =]

 

 

Oh my, iTunes just decided to let me listen to ‘London Calling’. It’s not like every single friend of mine would keep sending me that song before I left in September, just because I had my moment when I’d go crazy for The Clash and because it has London in the title… still, in the words of a dear friend, “I would marry my iPod right now”.

 

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